William Brown (1783-1863) was the youngest son of John Brown of Haddington (who died when he was only four) and editor of his father’s writings. He studied divinity from 1801 at Selkirk under George Lawson, and also graduated in medicine at Edinburgh. Ordained in the Associate (Burgher) Synod in 1807, he married Isabella Taylor of Prestonpans. He had a great interest in Christian missions, but was frustrated in his intention to serve as a missionary in China. However, he became Secretary of the Scottish Missionary Society and was Superintendent of its training seminary for more than twenty-five years.
Brown’s major literary work was his The History of the Propagation of Christianity among the Heathen since the Reformation, in two volumes (1814). In 1829 he published a slightly abridged edition of Richard Baxter’s The Reformed Pastor. This edition has been republished by the Banner of Truth Trust in the Puritan Paperbacks series (ISBN 978 0 85151 191 7) and is now one of the Trust’s best-selling paperback titles. He also edited his father’s A Dictionary of the Holy Bible, and compiled a memoir of him, which was published, with selected ‘remains’, in 1856 (republished by the Trust in 2004 as The Life of John Brown with select writings, ISBN 978 0 85151 857 2).