He was born and lived in Glasgow, where with others he established an IM Church in 1820. He founded the IM Magazine in 1823 and was its editor 1823-29, 1847-9 and 1865-68. He was President of the denomination for thirty years and architect of the connexional constitution (1852) which made what had been a loosely related group of churches into a recognizable denomination. He put in writing the principles which held the churches together and gave the unpaid ministry an ideological basis which remained unchallenged until the late twentieth century. He was the author of Election according to Holy Scripture (1832) and Appeal to the Christian World (1866).