William Guthrie - Smellie's Appreciation.


WILLIAM GUTHRIE is a far-shining star in a galaxy of stars. The Scotland of his time was rich in great and deep-thinking men, among whom he claims a conspicuous place in virtue both of his intellectual gifts, and of his spiritual endowment. He belongs to the period of the Second Reformation - the unforgettable period which had its commencement when, in 1638, the National Covenant was signed in the Churchyard of Greyfriars and when, later in the same year the heroic Glasgow Assembly swept Episcopacy away. Samuel Rutherford and George Gillespie and Robert Baillie and David Dickson and James Durham and Hugh Binning, and others who merit honourable and enduring remembrance, were his contemporaries. They were princes in theological learning, as well as white-vestured saints in the Temple of God, among whom he moved.

It is indeed marvellous, as Dr. James Walker has told us, that the first century of Scottish Presbyterianism should have achieved so very much in the elucidation of Biblical truth. It was an epoch of endless struggle. You listen, the almost the whole of it, to the clash of hostile swords; you read of little else than the marches and counter-marches of armed men, the weary campaigns, the bitter recriminations, the battlefields where brother contendes to the death with brother. Inside the Church, no less than in the State, there are perpetual confusions and wars. Prelatist and Presbyter, Independent and Covenanter, Resolutioner and Protester - they have the sharpest words to fling at each other, and it seems as they could rescue from their all - engrossing debates, no leisure and no quietness for higher and more fruitful studies. But, somehow or other, they succeeded in doing the impossible thing. There were among these Scottish Eclesiastics scholars, whose fame rang through Continental Protestantism, and who could only be portrayed by their admirers in eloquent superlatives! There exegetes and commentators, whose published expositions covered the entire New Testament and a large part of the Old. There were theologians, who could play their strenuous part in the Westminster Assembly, that rallying-ground ot keen intelligence and reasoning, and could compel their opponents to yield to them the tribute of unfailing respect. It was a when religion had roused itself from a long sleep, and when, in its morning buoyancy, it rejoiced to face the largest problems and to attempt the noblest tasks. The compeers of William Guthrie are recalled with gratitude by all Scotsmen who love the society of wise and holy; and, "Fool of Fenwick" as his detractors sometimes branded him, he is a figure as attractive and as worthy as any in the glorious company.
The eldest son in a Forfarshire family of good standing, he was born in his father's house of Pitforthy, near the old town of Brechin, in 162O. Whether he breathed from the outset the atmosphere of Presbytery, is not easy now to discover. His cousin James Guthrie - the brave captain of the Covenanters in subsequent years; "the short man who could not bow", the martyr whom the traitor Sharp sent to the scaffold, "where he was so far from showing any fear that he rather expressed a contempt for death " - was at first "prelatic and strong for the ceremonies". Perhaps William Guthrie's sympathies ran originally in the same direction. But, if that were so, the change must have come early in his life, and it was one which affected all the members of his home. No fewer than four of the five boys in the Pitforthy family were to become Covenanting ministers. Robert was delicate in health; and died soon after receiving license. Alexander was ordained over the parish of Strathcathro and laboured there until his sorrow at the Restoration, with its attendant miseries for Scotland, brought on him an illness from which he never recovered. John, the youngest of the band of brothers, found his field or work in the Ayrshire village of Tarbolton, and passed through more than one dangerous adventure after Charles returned to claim his own. There cannot have been many homes in the length and breadth of Scotland which did so much for Christ's and Covenant as that of the Laird of Pitforthy.
At the University of St. Andrews Willain Guthrie made a name for himself in his Latin and Greek Classes. But his College days brought him two advantages more desirable than any acquaintance, however familiar, with Cicero and Virgil and Plato. One of these was the intimate friendship of his cousin James, who was his senior by six summers. James Guthrie was regent, or assistant-professor, of moral philosophy when William came up to matriculate and at once he took the lad to be with him in his own rooms. It waas the beginning of a comradeship which no suspicions or misconceptions interrupted in the years that followed. To the end - on to the sad and triumphant day in June 1661, when at the Cross of Edinburgh the minister of Stirling fought his last and best fight - William Guthrie cherished an enthusiastic love for his cousin. He found in him a courage even more indomitable than his own, and his convictions were knit and compacted into firmness by his intercourse with his friend. From the first he had his shrewd premonitions of the goal to which that friend was travelling, and he was disposed to envy him the iron crown of martyrdom which he saw waiting for his brow. "You will have the better of me," he said, "for you will die honourably before many witnesses, with a rope about your neck; and I will die whining on a pickle straw." But to us, who look back upon them both, the one appears a witness-bearer every whit as resolute and admirable as the other.
When,however, he entered the divinity school, a profounder happiness still was in store for William Guthrie. Samuel Rutherford had been sent, in 1639,much against his own desire, to the University town to fill the vacant chair of theology in St.Mary's College. "Never," said he, when the Commission of Assembly told him that he must leave his tiny church among the Galloway hills, "never did I so much long for death; the Lord help and hold up sad clay. But what was Anwoth's sore bereavement was the incalculable gain of St. Andrews. From its pulpits the "little fair man" showed to very many - beside that English merchant who has narrated the story of his conversion in one pregnant sentence - " the loveliness of Christ" seldom, in any country or any century, has there been a soul more absolutely enthralled by the divine enchantments of this surpassing loveliness. And in the professor's chair he exerted a sovereign influence. It testimony of one of his pupils, that "God did so singulary second his indefatigable pains that the University became forthwith became a Lebanon, out of which were taken cedars for building the house of the Lord through the whole land." William Guthrie was these cedars. It was through Samuel Rutherford that the Holy Spirit spoke to his conscience and will in the accents which are at once sweet and irresistible. Harkening to this master in Israel, he awoke from sleep and arose from among the dead, and Christ gave light. Lovable, high-minded, "naturally Christian" though he had been from boyhood, he received now that touch of the glowing coal from the Altar, which cleanses the lips and sets the heart on fire. He was equipped, in the fullest sense, for the ministry of the Gospel of God's grace.
Before that ministry commenced, he furnished a signal proof that,in one of Rutherford's suggestive phrases, he had "given Christ his young love, even the flower of it." In order that nothing might wean him away from the duties of his calling, he surrendered and gladly, his right of succession to the Pitforthy estates. There was one brother in the household who not intend to be a preacher, and to him the heir to the property made over his possesions and responsibilities. It reminds us of Francis of Assisi, who married the Lady Poverty, and lived lived thereafter in a large room, a realm of content and faith; the nearer the saints are drawn to their common Lord, the Son of Man who had not where to lay His head, the more manifest and the more vital are their resemblances to one another. And, beyond question, William Guthrie had an ample reward for his self-sacrifice; even in this life, in his freedom from secular entanglements, in his genial and joyous temperament,and, above all, in the wonderful power which his Master endowed his preaching and the abundant success with which He accompanied it. This, pre-eminently, was one of those cases in which "there is that scattereth and yet increaseth".
So, well - instructed now in the things of the kingdom, carrying within him a heart at leisure from itself, emancipated by his own act from the burdens and solicitudes of the world, Guthrie was ready for his life-work. He went westward, to the county of Ayr, that he might be tutor to Lord Mauchline, the eldest son of the Earl of Loudoun, one of the best noblemen of the day, learned and virtuous, Chancellor of Scotland, and a hearty and steadfast champion of the Reformation. But the tutor had not been long at Loudon Castle, until he was called to undertake his own coveted task of proclaiming Christ's Evangel. Preaching on a Fast-day in the neighbouring town of Galston, he had among his listeners some of the parishoners of Fenwick - Fenwick which only recently been separated in ecclesiastical lmarnock, and now had a kirk and congregation of its own. As they sat and heard the young licentiate speak of his Master and theirs, they felt that here was the minister whom God Himself had appointed for them. But there were difficulties in the way. Lord Boyd, the superior of Kilmarnoch was an unbending Royalist, and he mistrusted anybody who came commended to him by the Earl of Loudon. For a time the settlement had to be postponed. But ther disappointments and hindrances, while they made the people of Fenwick angry with the man who the author of them, only served to reveal the winsome Christianity of their minister-elect. His temper was neveer once ruffled. In these fields of delay he "plucked heart's-ease and not rue."
One reads the nobility of the man in the letters he wrote during the months of waiting, to his bosom-friend, the younger Sir William Mure of Rowallan, the picturesque ruins of whose Castle may be seen today, close by Fenwick village. " I am glad" he begins on one occasion "to entertain familiarity with any who are made partakers of the privileges sons of God, and it is my glory to be entire with such as are courtiers with the King's Son." Then he goes on "As for that business which hath put so many to trouble, wisest Providence keeps a princely way in it. The present stop, if it be not an offence to you, shall not be grievous to me. Lay aside these nothings and detain the King in the galleries in the behalf of Zion. And let your desires be still that I may be fitted for you, if He see it fitting." Manifestly Willin Guthrie's spirit held "no draught of bitter dew" Rather
It contained the song of birds,
And the shining of the sun.

And meanwhile, though his lips were for the most part closed, he could preach by his pen. Sir William Mure's lady, Dame Elizabeth Hamilton, daughter of the Provost of Glasgow, like so many of her high-born sisters in that earnest age, was anxious above all things to have some seal of her "calling and election ": was she Christ's, or was she not? She could not have consulted a safer spiritual director than man who was by and by to write "The Christian's Great Interest" She told her husband how she should "know if her work were thorough." If her conscience were only eased, not cured, then she would be quickly satisfied, and "no place of Scripture would be made lively to her which she dared call her own," and she would see no more to be sin than she saw before, and she would be possessed with no deeper awe at the performance of religious duties, and she would hold the Bible in no loftier esteem than had been her custom. But if conscience really was healed, Lady Mure would find herself the tenant of a new world. No poppy or mandragora or drowsy syrup would be permitted to lull her into sleep. She would look for her charter in the Word of Life itself. She would regard faults, which the world counted nothing, "to be as offensive to God as gross outbreakings." She would dread especially that searching sentence, Cursed is he who doeth the work of the Lord negligently, and would fear in the much in the time of service, and would remember that "the iniquity of holy things will damn, if God cover shortcomings." Already we feel that we are in company of a skilled and faithful and tender physician of the soul, and we have foreglimpses of what will be the good minister's chief concern, and master passion.
But, at length, the dream which visited him years before in St. Andrews, and which had tarried so long for its realisation, was fulfilled. We read in the Analecta, that priceless storehouse of Covenanting anecdote, that "Mr. William Guthrie, when at the College or a student of divinity, dreamed that he was in the West of Scotland, and went into a house beside a new kirk; and the impression remained very fresh in his mind; and, the first time he came to Fenwick, he could observe no difference between what dreamed and what he saw." Lord Boyd's objections were overcome in the end; and, in the November of 1644, the preacher was ordained the parish which was was determined to have no one else for its instructor and shepherd. It was one of far-reaching of Scottish ministries which was inaugurated that winter's day; it has diademed the Ayrshire hamlet with a wreath of unfading glory. Many a time, in succeeding years, the attempt was made to draw Guthrie from his secluded countryside to busier and more prominent spheres; but nothing could coax him to forsake his early love. To the last, until the Summer morning twenty years away when the bishops and dragoons drove him out, he was loyal to Fenwick.
The church still stands which he knew and rejoiced in, and made the birthplace of souls. It is an unassuming building, shaped like a Greek cross, with a small tower and belfry at its western end. Inside there are three galleries, each with its front of carved Oak; while, close to the pulpit, the visitor discovers a quaint relic of the older day - an iron stand, on which is fixed a half-hour sand-glass that was once employed to time the sermon. In the green grass of the homely churchyard there are "the graves of the martyrs" -Robert Buntine and James Blackwood, executed 1666; James White, shot at one of the moorland farms near by ; John Fergushill and George Woodburn and Peter Gemmill, killed at Woodland in 1685. These were among William Guthrie's parishoners - and their deaths witness what strength as of adamant his preaching breathed into their hearts. He had hearers more famous, too, though they could scarcely be more faithful, the Howies of Lochgoin, and Captain John Paton of Meadowhead, who sleeps with his spiritual kith and kin outside the Greyfriars Church in Edinburgh, but to whose heroism and piety a monument has been raised in the humble God's acre at Fenwick. To the Scot who reverences what is best in his country's history the place is holy ground, not only because of the man whose voice, "loud and edged with charming cadences and elevations" used to sound through the simple shrine, but because of the leal-hearted lovers of Christ whom he took by the hand and led into that "garden of the Lord where blood-red roses grow".
To his manse, in the August after his ordination, minister brought his wife, Agnes Campbell, who related in some distant kind of way to his former patron, the Earl of Loudoun. She was a woman of a gracious spirit as well as of a beautiful face, and she "one faith, one hope, one baptism" with her husband. In after years, when death had snatched him only too soon from her fellowship, she wrote letters instinct with good cheer to those captives and sufferers of the Covenant whom she knew ; William Guthrie was fortunate certainly in his home-life. But, from its start, his wife had poignant experiences of the trials which dogged the households of Presbyterian preachers in those vexed times. In 1648 he was present, with six other ministers, at the rising on Mauchline Moor. In 1650 he was with Leslie's army, when Cromwell sent the Scots flying in disastrous rout. Agnes Guthrie, we may be sure, had anxious heart during these seasons of absence. At first, indeed, she declared that her husband must not encounter any such hazards; but just then, a violent illness brought him, beneath his own roof-tree, to the verge of death, and she saw that by the fire or in the saddle, she must entrust him to the kceping of God.
It would have been useless to attempt to limit participation in his country's affairs. Like numbers of his brothers in the ministry, he was as patriotic and public-spirited as he was religious - he could not understand a piety which was divorced from good citizenship. In the miserably unhappy quarrel within the Covenanting ranks between Resolutioners and Protesters - between the Moderates, who were prepared to admit to Parliament and to office in army men of Royalist sympathies, and the more consistent Puritans, who would fain have kept all civil and military situations for Abdiels, "unshaken, unseduced, unterrified" - he was, of course, on stricter side. Samuel Rutherford, his old teacher and his dearly loved father in the faith, had now and then doubts, regarding his disciple. In that one letter of his to William Guthrie which survives, he warns him against showing the smallest shred of sympathetic feeling or speech towards the English Oliver and his Sectaries. "My heart," cries Joshua Redivivus in an ecstasy of alarm, "trembles to entertain the least thought of joining with these deceivers." Yet Scotland might have done worse than honestly try to comprehend the deceivers Rutherford abhorred; and the best of men may sometimes make sad mistakes.
But the parish minister of Fenwick had many sides. He was," says James Stirling, who was preacher in the Barony Church of Glasgow from 1699 to 1787, "a great melancholian." And thus he belongs to that brotherhood in which we enrol Jeremiah prophets, and Thomas among the apostles, and Melanchthon among the Reformers, and Blaise Pascal, and William Cowper and Henri Frederic Amiel and John Ker and Christina Rossetti in later times - the sensitive, reflective, brooding souls, whose thoughts plunge deep down and travel away into infinity, who take few things for granted, who are predisposed and to sadness, and who look out on men and the world with eyes in which there is often a mist of weeping. Guthrie's melancholy was due, in large measure, to his frail body. All his life long he bore about with him an excruciating disease; he had the sentence of dissolution written only too legibly in himself, and scarcely a week passed but he was reminded that the sentence must soon be executed. That day, for example, when he prophesied his cousin's splendid exodus and contrasted it with his own pitiful home-going, he added, "I will suffer more pain before I rise from your table now than you will have in the whole of your death." It would have been strange if one so feeble in health had not been sometimes pensive and grave.
And yet, despite these serious moods, a gayer and blithesomer heart than his never beat. He is the living contradiction of the notion, to which too many have subscribed from whom better things might have been expected, that the Covenanters were sour-faced and martinets, men morose and jaundiced, and fault-finding; he laughs the caricature out of court and out of countenance. Here is a Covenanter who was full of merriment. His conversation throbbed and spar with humour. His nature took a perpetual delight in camaraderie and friendliness. There were moments he confessed, when his love of fun got complete mastery of him and carried him overfar, and then shed salt tears in secret over his quips and jests in company. But that was seldom. One day he James Durham were together, in a gentleman's house, at dinner, and he was so mirthful, and his talk rippled with brightness and vivacity, that Durham, usually the most composed of men, caught the infection and laughed again and again. Immediately dinner, in accordance with the seemly custom of family, Guthrie was asked to pray. And such a prayer it was, brimful of seriousness and fervency; everybody confessed that it opened the gates heaven and brought God Himself very near. "O Will!" Durham cried, as they rose from their knees "you are a happy man. If I had been so daft as you were, I could not have been in any frame for foty-eight hours." "It was often observed," Wodrow says, "that, let Mr. Guthrie be never so merry, he was presently fit for the most spiritual duty; and the only account I can give of it," continues the sagacious minister of Eastwood, "is that he acted from spiritual principles in all he did and even in his relaxations" That is indeed the true solution. There was no profane territory anywhere in this laughing and weeping man. His whole being, in its melancholy and in joyousness, was the willing vassal of Christ.
Because of that terrible sickness which haunted him,it was good for William Guthrie to be much open air. Nothing gladdened him more than a day's hunting in the Ayrshire moors with his friends Rowallan and Crawfordland, unless it were a days fishing in some brown stream where the trout leaped and darted and hid. Out of doors, in God's spacious temple of wood and water and hill, he drank in health to body and spirit. It is no marvel perhaps that these wholesome recreations of his exposed him to criticism. We are told of a typical instance. When he was busy with "The Christian's Great Interest", he was eager to hear of godly souls anywhere who had passed through sharp tribulation into the peace of the new life, and, wherever it wherever it were possible he sought them out himself. Away in East Lothian, beneath the shadow of the Abbey Haddington, lived one of these richly experienced saints - a good man called Bahan, "who had been under great depths and distress and was got out ofthem. To him Guthrie went, all the road from Fenwick. He stayed a night and a day, and was much taken with the conversation of this poor man and his wife. Then, the following morning, so soon as breakfast was over, he "proposed to go to the fishing." But the good woman said that she wondered how such a man as he could spend his time so frivolously. He assured her that to carry a rod and cast a line and land a fish were among his chief delights. "Ah well," she made reply, "Solomon says, that he who loveth pleasure shall be in poverty! " notwithstanding the reproof, her guest and her husband went off to the tempting stream; and, when they came in again, Mr. Guthrie was so far from showing any penitence, that he was "very facetious in conversation." By and by, however, they sat down to family worship, and at once angling and humour and argument and the plain little cottage were all alike forgotten, and they were in the secret place of the Most High. When the grave sweet exercise was past, and the stranger rose to bid his farewells to his kindly entertainers, he turned to his clever censor. "I hope," he asked, "you do not mistake my freedom?" "No, no, sir;" said she, "but I observe that, when you came to the prayer, you seemed lament it before God." Great was the liberty - the story-teller's comment - " Ministers and Christians used one with another in former times." Yes, was it not on both sides a salutary and stimulating liberty? It may be that the Haddington cottager was not the vanquished party in her friendly dual with the famous and much-loved minister; and yet there are probably few of us who will not feel ourselves drawn more closely to him because he could not say No to the importunate calls of his heart, when
trout below the blossomed tree
Plashed in the golden stream.

We begin to understand that the Covenanter, thought surly and dogmatic, was as genuinely human as any of us; and that Royalists like dear Isaac Walton, and Malignants (the word is used strictly in a historical sense) like our fascinating and versatile Mr. Lang, are not the only people who have found angling, after tedious study, a rest to the mind, a cheerer of the spirits, a diversion of sadness, a calmer of unquiet thoughts, a moderator of passions, a procurer of contentedness." But William Guthrie's, sureme work, after all, was that of fishing for men.When he went to Fenwick, the spiritual condition of the place was as low as it could be. Some of the houses of his parishioners were six or seven miles disant; the country was full of morasses and swamps; there were no proper roads; it is scarcely a marvel that many of the inhabitants never dreamed of attending the New Kirk, as it was commonly named. They gave the Sabbath to amusement. They told their minister that they had no wish to be visited by him;in their homes;They were rude enough, here and there, to close their doors in his face. But he refused to be discouraged. Like the dying Neander, saw the Aurora in the morning sky. In his cause he would not recognise the possibility defeat.
Many an incident is recorded of his untiring perseverance, his ingenuity and strategy, his determination to bring men, in spite of their own stubbornness, into familiarity with Christ and heaven. He would dress himself as a wayfarer, and would get a night's lodging in this cottage and that other, and would talk about the matter of the soul and eternity. Once he transmuted a poacher into an elder and a saint. The man declared that the Sabbath was his most profitable day, that abroad in the fields with his gun he had the best sport when his neighbours were safely shut up in church, and that every Monday morning he could calculate on earning half a crows the sale of his moorfowl and hares. "I will pay the half-crown," the minister said, "if you will come to the house of God next Sabbath." The bargain was struck, but, when the offer was repeated, bribe was refused. Within the walls of Fenwick Kirk the poacher had heard what, he felt, infinitely greater value to him than a bushel of half-crowns - than a whole kingdom of silver and He was never absent afterwards from his place pews, and ere long, with the consent and goodwill of all, he was enrolled among the office-bearers of the sanctuary. There was another time when Guthrie persuaded a family into the observance of hou worship. Dressed in his traveller's garb he had gained admission to the home, and was staying until the next day. The hour came when "the Books" should brought out, but there was no sign of their appearance. The stranger hinted that he would like to join his hosts in their evening devotions; but the good man maintained that he had not the gift of prayer, - that it was useless for him to attempt a duty so sacred. "Nay, but you must try," the troublesome guest insisted; and nothing would content him - they were all kneeling on the kitchen floor. " cried the abashed, nervous, stammering suppliant, "this man would have me to pray; but Thou knowest that I cannot pray." Was it not a hopeful beginning - the confession of ignorance, the avowal of inability, the bewailing of the heart spiritual penury and the mouth's guilty cowardice ? We are certain that, through the subsequent years, the altar of God was kept in good repair in that particular house.
So there burned in William Guthrie the passion which dominates the true ambassadors of the King of Kings, the fire which consumes them - the yearning to redeem. When Henry Venn preached, it was with a flaming urgency of consecration that "men down before him like slaked lime." When Ludvig Hofacker spoke of Jesus, the heads of his hearers were instinctively lowered, as the grain in the autumn fields is swayed and bent by the breeze. When Rowland Hill looked out on the sheep scattered,the cry was wrung from his lips, "0 that I were all heart and soul and spirit, to tell the glorious gospel to perishing multitudes!" When William Burns was asked his thoughts on finding himself for first time in a Chinese crowd, he turned to his questioner and answered, "The lost, and a Christ for them." Among those dedicated, seraphic, love-conquered men, the minister of Fenwick stands. The intolerable craving" to save "shivered throughout him like a trumpet-call."
He had his recompense. Soon his parish became - what Jewish legend was accustomed to call the house of Obed-Edom, where God's Ark sojourned for a while - " the Field of the Blessed Man." The people, we read, turned his glebe into a little town so anxious many of them were to live in the vicinity of the church. Week after week crowds gathered to hear him from every district of the West county from Glasgow, from Paisley, from Hamilton, Lanark, from Kilbride, from places even more remote. "The lobbies of Fenwick Kirk," writes Dr. Alexander Whyte, "were like the porches of Bethesda, with the blind, halt and withered from the whole country round." And in the lowly meeting-place, as in Bethesda, the power of the Lord was present to heal. "A very exercised woman, Agnes Biggart," told the minister of the Barony, whom we have already quoted in these pages, "that Mr. Guthrie would in one sermon have gone over a great part of the spiritual exercises of a true Christian." He had "a strange way of persuading sinners to close with Christ, and answering objections that might be proposed." ,Then, too, possessed "a gift, peculiar to himself, of speaking to the common people in their own dialect." And his pulpit-prayers - what liberty there was in them, what loftiness, what ardour, what "melting of spirit with many tears"! One week-day Mr. Stirling s mother heard him preach. He "had a most wonderful prayer," she said, "wherein he greatly lamented God's taking away the burning and shining lights,. and that He had left but a few small candle-wicks behind, and these were bad and had very little oil about them." She thought that, if she had got nothing more, that opening prayer was worth all her journey. And then the Sacramental Sabbaths in the New Kirk - these were nothing less than forerunners and prelibations of heaven itself. James Hutcheson of Killellan was the assistant minister on one of them; many a time afterwards he declared that, "when at that Communion, he believed, if there was full of saints in the world, it was the Kirk of Fenwick that day": the vision of the faces he had and the raptures he had shared was cherished his whole life through, as St. Paul cherished in the Most Holy Place of his soul the memory of the day when he was caught up into Paradise and "unspeakable words which it is not lawful for a man to utter. Was it not a golden age, an acceptable year of the Lord, in the Westland parish? It not surprising that men high in worldly rank sometimes said that "they would have been heartily content to have lived under Mr. Guthrie's ministry, - they had been but in the station of poor ploughmen." In truth, it would have been a wise exchange, and they would have gained much more than they lost.
Perhaps one who has "a taking and a soaring gift of preaching needs to be heard before his full worth can be appraised and known. There is much in the tones of the living voice, in the varying looks of the features, in the action and gesture of the speaker. But, two centuries and a half after they were uttered, William Guthrie's sermons are good to read. Many of them surrvive, which carry their own internal evidence of authenticity, and which talk to us in the unmistakable accent of "The Christian's Great Interest" In studying them, we can safely set aside his widow's warning against accepting as genuine all that is purported to come from his lips and pen; we can believe ourselves actual listeners in Fenwick Church in years that lie between 1650 and 1664. And what the impressions we shall take away of one who, as John Livingstone said, was "a great light in the West of Scotland"?
This, for one thing, that,- like all his Covenanting brethren, he overflowed with the love of the patriot. Before his eyes floated a glorious picture, an ideal which he longed to have translated into fact, the dream of his native country wedded in unbreakable union with the Lord Jesus Christ. He was as convinced as ever Andrew Melville was that the Stuart King, while he had his rights so long as he ruled in the fear of God, was but the "silly vassal" of sublimer Monarch than he. "I never knew," he said in a sermon preached in the August of 1662," that the human laws of the Prince made void all the divine laws of Christ. I never heard that doctrine taught but within these four years, God be thanked. Truly ye have a bonnie plea of it - a brave pretence of it forsooth! A man baptized into the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost should think shame to instance such a pretext. You must comply, you must abjure the Covenant, that you may prove your loyalty and respect to His Majesty 's Grace! Let me tell it quietly betwixt me and you, there few good news in the land since the like of you came so loyal. If our King had been a man qualified with grace, as once was supposed him to be, and had borne down vice and profanity, there had not been much loyalty in the breasts of a thousand of you. Always I thought it had been true loyalty to the Prince to have kept him in his own room, and given him his own due; to have kept him subordinate to and his laws subordinate to the laws of Christ. Fear God and honour the King, I judged that had stood in all the world; but there is a generation now has turned it even contrary, Fear the King and then honour God. I never thought that that was true loyalty yet They make the rule all wrong that put the King in the first place; he will never stand well there." These are words ringing with a magnificent courage, and as true as they are courageous. And such were spoken in those years from this Ayrshire pulpit.
But, side by side with these public and polemic utterances, which remind us of the Hebrew prophets their righteous zeal for the welfare of the commonwealth, there is abundant evidence of Guthrie's anxiety that his people should be well instructed in the contents of Scripture. He was devoted to that expository preaching for which the Presbyterian ministry of Scotland has long been distinguished. Through book after book of the Bible he travelled in fellowship with his auditors - their teacher, their sagacious and kindly comrade. Wordsworth. writes of his sister Dorothy that she "couched his eye to behold the beauties and the grandeurs of the natural world; and the heights and valleys, the lights and shadows, the minute lovelinesses and the horizons of the Word of God, must have grown plain to to many worshippers in Fenwick, as the minister himself a citizen of the country, conducted through that "good land and large."
We are not astonished that, at a time when persecution was never far from the doors of the faithful, his message should often concern itself with the prerogative of suffering, and the blessings which grow like flowers, on the sides of the Dolorous Way. "Christ hath a sweet sharp hand in these things," he would say. The Lover of their souls must not be misinterpreted, when He came to His disciples with the rod and the sword: is not His rod, like Jonathan's, dipped in honey? and does not His sword, like the Cid's, wound simply that it may heal? "When ye think your trials at the highest pitch you can bear or recovered from," William Guthrie would tell tempest-tost friends, "leave room for Him to wind them up a pin higher, and mistake Him not though He do so." After all, the Christian, though they should take from him "goods, honour, children," was wealthier than his adversaries. "You have Master; He is better than ten sons and ten superiorities." "The Lord hath given the wicked the movables, and me the charters and the inheritance." The one thing to be dreaded was that reproach and obloquy should gender compromises and inconsistencies. "Know and believe," our Happy Warrier called to his fellow-soldiers in the spiritual campaign, "Th at there is nothing to be feared but God and an evil conscience. As a man in Ireland said to a Bishop when he threatened to imprison him: ‘I know no such prison as an evil conscience.' And so, if ye resolve to fear nothing but the God of heaven and an evil conscience, ye need not fear man; for the fear of these will quiet all your other fears." And thus he proved himself a Barnabas, Son alike of Exhortation and of Consolation.
It was not a sickly and slipshod godliness which he inculcated; he bade his hearers rise to something better than the conventional religion of the crowd. "No almost," he said, "can reach perfection, for it hath not the nature of the thing." All in all, or not at all - there was the searching and inevitable alternative for the saint. "A man who knows true Christianity," he maintained, "would harry and spoil hell, if he could," such desperate earnestness drives him on. It was the minister's keen sorrow that truly wise folk are thin sown." He looked at the prayers of most Christians - how pithless! how blunt! how feeble! lame of foot so that they could not run to God's Throne, palsied in hand so that they could grasp His arm and hold Him fast! "They have no bones, strength, nor edge; they will never pierce heaven." "See, sirs," he entreated the members of his congregation, "that ye stay still at His door until ye get an answer; be not like those who shoot blunt-shot, and never look where it goes." Or there was covetousness of numbers, who boasted that all their heart was drawn above. "I dare boldly say" he avowed, "that some of you lay more weight on six or seven steps of a rig's end to sow a little flax seed on, than ever you did upon your precious and immortal souls." "For a clat of this world's gear," so he phrases it in the curious and uncompromising "Letters of Horning" - for what little property they could rake and scrape together through niggardliness and toil - many who had named the sacred name of Jesus Christ were sacrificing the delicate bloom of their religion, and were dragging its white and priestly robes in the mire. Seldom has there been a watchman on the Church's walls more alert in scrutiny, more practical in counsel, more unsparing in rebuke of what was wrong, more eager to rouse the listless to a purer aspiration and swifter effort.
But his chief solicitude was to lead dying men to the good Physician. He would "have stolen them off their feet to Christ," one says, "before ever they were aware." It was not that he made the gate into life too accommodating and wide, or the road to heaven too easy. There were terrible risks of self-deception. Esau "grat his fill " - how expressive is the homely Scots! - " but he never grat himself into repentance." Judas "was admitted to come far ben, before he betrayed his Master." Even into Peter's faith "Satan sought to put a skail-wind " - a wind which should disperse all Peter's trust and hope. And yet men ought not to linger, before subjecting the Saviour to the test, until their own feelings and frames were everything they could wish. "The business is not desperate or past remedy, so long as there is so much softness of heart as to perceive or take up the hardness of our hearts, and to be capable of regretting it before God. Hard softness, as we may call it, is not the worst kind of hardness." Indeed, the motive might be far from high, and yet the seeker would not be sent away - he would be loaded with a largesse he had never asked. Sick folks, who appealed to Jesus in Galilee for physical health found that He enriched their immortal spirits as well as cured their bodies. "Some came, as it were to buy a needle. ‘But stay, said He, ‘I will tell you that there is not a whole shirt upon your back." In this way He made many a bargain with poor souls." Any one, far off or near, publican or Pharisee, might "lippen for a good turn at the hand" of One so liberal. Only let bankrupt men "threep it Him " - urge the sorrowfulness of their case with pertinacity that could not be quiet - and, soon or they would know "His blinking in upon their ionscience," the lovelight in the Bridegroom's glance; then, by and by, they would enjoy "approven homeliness" with the very King of heaven. Again and again William Guthrie protested that the subtlest - and worst - unbelief is that which pronounces sin too dark and too heavy to be forgiven by the redeeming Lord. "What!" he cried in amazement and almost in indignation, "will you dare to say that you durst not adventure on His perfect righteousness for your everlasting relief?" With an unflagging persistence the Masters envoy besought all who heard his voice to make their peace with his Prince Emmanuel, who was so ready to be reconciled, and whose friendship was the consummate good. For, he said, "they have small skill that seek after a greater ferlie," a more supreme wonder, "in all the world than Christ."
What a ministry it was! And, while it had headquarters at Fenwick, its beneficence was not restricted to the preacher's congregation. He travelled up and down all the Western shires; nobody in such request at Communion seasons as he; wherever he spoke of his Lord and Friend, the house was filled with the odour of the spikenard. Wodrow has a story of a Glasgow merchant who, coming from Ireland, was compelled to spend a Sabbath in Arran and was troubled with the misgiving that he hear no sermon except in Gaelic. But, when he went to the church, Guthrie was in the pulpit. And never in his life had he witnessed so much concern in any audience; the wind of the Spirit was blowing victoriously. "There was scarce a hearer without tears; and many old people, in particular, weeping." It mattered. not where the good man was; somebody was sure to hear God's footfall accompanying him. To hearts all over the country that had been imprisoned in sleep he brought a divine morning, such as that which William Allingham paints, when "white thoughts stand luminous and firm, like statues in the sun," and,
Refreshed from supersensuous founts,
The soul to blotless vision mounts.

So it happened once, north in Angus, when he journeying to the old home in Pitforthy. In darkness he lost his way, and, after wandering aimlessly a time, discovered himself in the policies of a gentleman, whom he had never seen, but whom he to be relentlessly opposed to the Covenanters. He knocked at the door of the mansion, and was taken in. Soon he had to confess that he was a minister, - then, in a little while, he craved permission to pray. It was granted, although the master of the house "carried pretty abstractedly." But the prayer moved the three daughters in the home as they had not been moved before. The visitor stayed overnight, next day, the curate of the place was bidden stand aside for once, that the unexpected guest might ‘preach in his stead; "and these three young gentlewomen were converted at that sermon." Everywhere eyes rekindling, and souls born into the liberties of New Jerusalem, followed William Guthrie with a gratitude too deep for words.
But the storm-clouds were gathering round Fenwick Kirk and Manse. The Covenanters might entertain. an ineradicable distrust of the Commonwealth; but it gave them a security of which they were very soon to be robbed, and on which, in later years, they would to look back with no little wistfulness. The Restoration meant for Scotland, as for the rest of the country, a carnival of misgovernment and irreligion. The Parliament in Edinburgh was filled with sycophants and place- hunters, of whom the dissolute Earl Middleton was president. The Act Rescissory was passed, cancelling everything that the Legislature had done on behalf of Presbytery since 1638. At the Cross in the High Street, the Marquis of Argyll and the unbending minister of Stirling forfeited their heads. The godly folk in the land held their breath in suspense, not knowing what to think, but dreading that the worst was yet to be experienced. Guthrie had never reposed much faith in Charles Stuart. Visiting, some time in 1660, in the house of Sir Daniel Carmichael, Treasurer-Depute of the Kingdom, he found every one jubilant over the fact that the King had come back to his realm; but, when he led the family in their devotions, this was his ominous forecast of the near future - " Lord, the country is rejoicing at this mans being brought home; but Thou knowest how soon, for all this, he may welter in the best blood of Scotland." Sir Daniel was "a little roughsome" at hearing half-treasonable speeches made within his own walls; he complained that his guest would "put them I. all in hazard to be hanged"; and yet how quickly and how tragically the clear-eyed minister's prophecy had its fulfilment!
For himself there was a short respite. It was due in part to that native and beautiful courtesy which gained for him, unbending Protester though he was, a kindlier consideration than the opposing party extended to most of his fellows. "They that made Mr. Guthrie a minister," one of his own elders said, "spoiled a good Malignant." Then, too, he had a few powerful friends at court. The Earl of Eglinton and the Earl of Glencairn, the latter of whom could not forget the preacher's helpfulness at a time when his own fortunes were at their lowest, exerted themselves tothe utmost to shield him. For four years - after the Restoration, Fenwick was allowed to keep the man whom it revered and loved. They were years of notable usefulness. More and more the people trooped to hear him, hundreds often standing outside the open doors in the churchyard. Crowned with favour as his labours had been from their outset, God kept the best for the last, and, as His servant "stepped Westward," it was evidently towards a "region bright" and a "heavenly destiny."
He was active, also, in the meetings of the Glasgow Synod, and strove hard to induce his brethren to send a plain-spoken address to that godless Parliament in Edinburgh; but the majority of them were not as decided and dauntless, and, much to his chagrin, a temporising deliverance was adopted. For some Synods and Assemblies, it may be feared, he felt small reverence. "Mr. James Stirling tells me," writes Robert Wodrow, "that Mr. William Guthrie and Mr. John Durie used to divide the members of the Assembly into Vocales and Consonañtes, and Mutae and Liquidae and Diphhongae. The application of these, to most part of numerous meetings, is pretty obvious." Prophets and apostles, one learns from manifold sources, are not always the most successful ecclesiastics.
Glencairn and Eglinton might postpone the blow, but they could not avert it. At length the patience of the Archbishop of Glasgow was exhausted. To the appeals which the noblemen made to his clemency, he veturned the emphatic answer, "It cannot be done; shall not; he is a ringleader and a keeper-up of schism in my diocese." So, in July 1664, the familiar voice was heard in Fenwick for the last time. It a Sabbath morning. On the preceding Wednesday Guthrie had kept a congregational fast, and preached from the regretful cry of Hosea, the prophet of the love and yearning of God - O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself. Now, for his final message to those friends of his soul, whose adoption he had tried and proved beyond dispute, he chose a softer and more gladdening word - the word of promise and hope which follows immediately, like the clear shining after rain. But in Me is thine Help. At four o clock, in the cool and clear summer dawn, the congregation assembled. Twice over their minister mounted the pulpit that morning, making a short interval between his sermons, and in the end dismissing his people before nine. 1t was with stricken and bleeding spirits that they turned away, when they had listened to the prayer which commended them to God - God who abideth faithful, the Same yesterday and to-day, yea, and for ever.
That Sabbath, at noon, the curate of Calder, the only man who could be persuaded to perform the ungracious task, arrived with an escort of twelve soldiers, to suspend William Guthrie from his office and to declare his church vacant. There was some conversation in the manse. The curate spoke of the leniency which had been shown the Covenanting leader, and he received the reply, "I take the Lord for party in that, and thank Him for it - I look upon it as a door which God opened to me for preaching the Gospel." "I bless the Lord," this true bishop continued, "He hath given me some success and a seal of my ministry upon consciences of not a few that are gone to heaven, of some that are yet in the way to it." By and he turned to the soldiers. "As for you, gentlemen" he said, "I wish the Lord may pardon you for ountenancing this man in this business." One of them retorted, "I trust we may never do a greater fault." "Well", was the grave response - an arrow shot at a venture - "a little sin may damn a man's soul." Then a blessing was asked, and refreshments were served by persecuted to the persecutors; and curate and horsemen went away to announce to an empty church the eviction of its minister.
But, though William Guthrie was not permitted any more to speak in his Master's name, he lived on in for a few months longer. Nothing damped the invincible sweetness of his disposition; nothing marred that rejoicing heart which "sang because it must." It is a delightful incident which John Howie recalls in The Scots Worthies of this period in our hero's history. The silent minister and some of his friends gone to the neighbouring village of Stewarton, to hear a young man preach. Coming home again, they told Guthrie how dissatisfied they were with the sermon. "Ah," he said, "you are much mistaken; it was an admirable sermon." And then he proposed that they should sit down on the grass, and he would rehearse to them. So, "in a good summer night, about the in-setting," they "put up at God's green caravanserai," and found a sanctuary under the open sky; the sermon was preached to them a second time with what different results! "They thought it a wonderfully great one, because of his good delivery and their amazing love to him." It will be strange if we are not enamoured of the man who, instead of repining over his own misfortunes, took such generous pains to gain for a discredited beginner the charitable opinion of judges disposed to be censorious and severe.
The end of life was at hand now, for it came quickly after the termination of the life-work. Pursued by ill-health always, he did not grow stronger with the revolution of the seasons. Eleven years before the close, we find him describing to Sir William Mure, the. friend who never failed, the potent qualities of a mineral spring from which he hoped to draw a measure of vigour into his feeble body. "No question," he writes, "the water must be of some singular virtue - -- -such is the smell and taste of it, and it so affecteth the ground it runs on; it changeth the colour of a piece of money, first into the hue of gold, before one can number forty, and, after that, it makes it black." - - - But it was a draught of the river of the water of life in the Paradise of God which was to cure his persistent sicknesses and to endow him with an immortal strength. In the June or July of 1665, the brother to whom he had bequeathed Pitforthy died, and he went North to help in the arrangement of the family affairs. But his disease returned in an aggravated form, and he realised that his own working-day was over. The pain he suffered was agonising; again and again it - made him delirious; "but," he said, "though I should die mad, I know I shall die in the Lord." On the 10th of October, in the house of his brother-in-law, Laurence Skinner,
( Both John Howie and the Rev. Robert Trail give Mr. Skinner's Christian name as Lewis, not Laurence. But they are wrong; and am indebted to Sheriff Charles J. Guthrie, K.C., for the knowledge of their mistake. He has shown me a most interesting copy of Bishop Morton's A Catholike Appeals for Prstestants (London, x6to), which carries on its title-page the name of :--" Master Laurence Skinner" in his own handwriting. That this can be no one else than the minister of Brechin is rendered evident by the fact that, on the fly-leaf, the seventeenth-century owner of the book has inserted, again in his own hand, the register of his family ; and in it the following entry occurs - " Anno Dom. 1652, Febr. so, uxorem duxi, viz. Margaretam Guthrie." appears from this register, too, that the first son born to the 5kinners, after the death in their home of the minister of Fenwick, was called William, probably in memory of his famous uncle. Laurence Skinner was one of the Presbyterian ministers who acquiesced in Charles the Second's Prelacy; and, in this connection, Sberiff Guthrie sends a valuable note: "It is not known when Mrs. Skinner - Margaret Guthrie - died. But Dr. Thomas Guthrie used to say that it was a tradition in his family that, on her death, her relatives refused to allow her body to be buried in the Pitforthy vault, intending thereby to mark their disapproval her conformity to Episcopacy! " - An examination of Dr. Hew Scott's Fasti confirms the accuracy of Sheriff Guthrie's information. From its pages one learns that there were two ‘Laurence Skinners, father and son, both of whom were ministers of the Church of Scotland. The father was ordained over the parish of Dunlappie in 1618, and was translated to the parish of Navar, near Brechin, in 1648. The son, William Gnthrie's brother-in-law, after acting for a while as a schoolmaster, succeeded his tether as minister of Navar in 1648, and was called thence to Brechin in 1650, where for more than forty years he carried on his ministry, ‘dying in the August of 1691.)
one of the ministers of Brechin, he got his release from the troublesome world: the faith he kept, the good fight fought, the crown bestowed, He was only forty-five when he laid down his task and fell asleep.
William Guthrie was homo unius libri, in this particular sense that he will always be remembered as the author of one book alone. It is true that, appended to some of the editions of The Great Interest, there appears A Treatise of Ruling Elders and Deacons which -has now and then been ascribed to him - a short and shrewd and helpful treatise. But Howie of Lochgoin, whose connection with Fenwick was so intimate, - asserts in categorical terms that this was the work of James Guthrie, and it is not for us to dispute the assurance. The man, indeed, who wrote the book reprinted in the following pages, little in its bulk but weighty and ripe and authoritative, needs no other monument In virtue of his one achievement, he takes his place among the masters of religion.
It is interesting to learn, on his own confession, that he had no thought of publishing even this volume, for which the Church of Christ has thanked him often and heartily. He was forced to do so, through the zeal of friends who were more enthusiastic than prudent. In 1657 there was given to the Covenanting world of. Scotland, from the printing-press in Aberdeen, a small pamphlet with a big and ostentatious title - A Clear, Attractive, Warming Beam of Light, from Christ the Sun of Ljfe, Leading to Himself; wherein is Held forth a Sound and Easy Way of a Soul's Particular Closing with God in the Covenant qf Free Grace, to the Full Ending and Clearing all Debates thereanent. The pamphlet was published anonymously, but report everywhere ascribed it to Guthrie. There was little about it he liked; neither the magniloquent designation nor the inchoate and undigested contents pleased him. He found reproduced in its pages the notes of some sermons which he had preached on the subject of personal covenanting, but they were exceedingly imperfect and he had never himself been consulted about putting them into print. He felt that, much as he shrank from it, he must rectify the wrong; and thus The Christian's Great Interest sprang unexpectedly existence. Some time in 1659, just before the Comonwealth gave place to those fateful days for Presbytery which succeeded, it saw the light.
The book's popularity was immediate and widespead. It passed soon from Scotland into England. 1667 - the year, as one remembers, of the publication of Paradise Lost - we find the fourth edition printed in London, "for Dorman Newman, at the Chyrurgeons Armes, near the Hospitals Gate in Little Britain" the fourth edition, "wherein the Errata's of the former Impressions are amended, and several words, which sounded hard in the English, are rendered more clear and intelligible." From London it crossed the narrow seas to Holland and other countries of the Continent. And, before long, it had proved its value in the most practical and irrefutable way; it won the hearts of men and women for the Redeemer of the lost and the Good Shepherd of the sheep. One story its quickening power is preserved for us in Cloud of Witnesses. John Wilson, the son of the town clerk of Lanark, was a captain at the battle of Bothwell Bridge, that dreariest of days for the blue banner of the Covenant. He managed to make his escape. -but, after a time, he was apprehended, and Lords adjudged him to be hanged in the Grassmarket, on the ninth of May, 1681, between two and four in the afternoon." In his last speech and testimony, he gives us a glimpse into his spiritual autobiography; Three books, he declared - books which have not yet lost "life and use and name and fame" in Scotland - were the means of awakening him to a sense of sin and of leading him into the family of the Father. The first was Robert Fleming's Fulfilling of the Scriptures the second was Andrew Gray's Directions and Instigations to the Duty of Prayer; and the third, which counted the best of all, was William Guthrie's Trial of a Saving Interest in Christ. "Meeting with Guthrie's Trial," John Wilson said, " I found sensibly that I swallowed up a law-work in love." The pages which are commended by the dying lips of martyrs scarcely need any other praise.
But the theologians, also, have given them many a certificate. "You have truly men of great spirit in Scotland," said John Owen, most massive of the Puritans; "there is for a gentleman Mr. Baillie of Jerviswood, a person of the greatest abilities I almost ever met with; and for a divine," he went on, bringing from his pocket a little gilt copy of Guthrie's treatise, "that author I take to have been one of the greatest divines that ever wrote. It is my vade-mecum I carry it and the Sedan New Testament about with me. I have written several folios, but there is more divinity in it than in them all." The loftiest are ever the lowliest, and contemporaries and successors are better able to rate John Owen at his proper worth than he was himself; but the chapters in whichone of the princes of scholars and saints found such surpassing merit cannot but deserve our remembrance and our study. Thomas Chalmers, too, was as outspoken in his admiration. "I am on the eve of finishing Guthrie," he records, "which, I think, is the book I ever read." And Andrew Bonar, sunny, - heaven-possessed, Christlike, the biographer and true yokefellow of Robert Murray McCheyne, tells us in Diary that the "first beam of joy" which came to him, the earliest "hope that he really had believed on Lord Jesus," he owed to The Great Interest. It was the minister of Fenwick who took him by the hand, and led him up to those Delectable Mountains from whose green pastures and heart-filling prospects he never once came down.
The greatness of the book is not the greatness of intellect or imagination or eloquence. What strikes us is its crystal clearness of thought, its sanctified common sense, its unfailing sanity of statement, its pithiness of phrase. It is a guide to the soul which is asking the road to God, or which wishes to be Assured that the road it has been walking is the right one; and it is a guide which never leaves the traveller the least uncertainty. There are no mists in these no confusions, no ambiguities. There is no needless verbiage, no elaboration of language which may only bewilder the seeker after Christ and peace. The matter in question is the most momentous, and this Seelenfuhrer resolves that the rules he supplies shall be as plain and simple as they can be - he may read them with intelligence and a fruitage of joy,
who binds the sheaf,
or builds the house,
or digs the grave.

The Great Interest is crisp, unencumbered, homely, level to the understanding of all. The common people hear it gladly, as long ago, by the seaside in Galilee and in the narrow streets of Jerusalem, they heard the Master of the man who penned it.
Yet there are few paragraphs which have not their memorable sentences. It is a work and business which cannot be done sleeping, cries the watchman who is too kind to let us fall into heedlessness. The robber on the Cross was nobly daring, he tells us, to throw himself upon the Covenant. The soul that is smitten with hunger for the living bread in the Saviour's house resolves to die if He command so, yet at His door and facing towards Him. The man who prizes redemption as it should be prized carefully gathers and treasures up his Michtams or Golden Scriptures, in order that, through the comfort they bring, his doubts may be scattered. If.you will, you are welcome, the ambassador of the King assures our hearts, which have a hundred difficulties to suggest. He turns all ways in which He can be useful to poor man - it is his commendation of the Healer who is at such pains to induce us to make trial of His grace. But Jesus has a holy jealousy too; He will never clout the old garment of hypocrites with His fine new linen; we must trust Him with an absolute and utter faith. When the Holy Spirit breathes on the disciple, there is an edge put upon the grace of God in him; did not William Guthrie know it from glad experience? Our belief, he warns us again, must not swim only in the head; indeed, it is not enough that it should be a business in the outer court of the affections, it must be found in the flower of the affections and in the innermost cabinet of the soul. A man, he says too, who is determined to seek and find, will close with Christ not in some fit of emotional excitement but in calmness of spirit, and, as it were, in his cold blood. The Christian has such an intimacy and familiarity in prayer, it is explained in another place, that he does not use a number of compliments in his addresses to his Father in heaven, and does not speak to God as one who has His acquaintance to make every hour. And, almost at the end of the book, we are admonished against the folly of expecting our harvests while it is still our changeable and boisterous spring; the ripe fruit and the full assurance can scarcely be ours immediately after we have fled to our Redeemer's arms; nay, these things will keep a man in work all his days. Is not this a sententious, axiomatic, wise- hearted teacher? Does he not bring us "apples of gold in baskets of silver"?
We feel, moreover, as if there were an advance in insight and in tenderness as the writer proceeds. His Second Part is even better than his First. Nothing could well be more convincing and, at the same time, more consoling than the chapter in which he proves that no heinousness of past evil forbids us from meddling with Christ' s forgiveness, and that none of us can sufficiently declare what is God's Uttermost. Very skilful too, and replete with discrimination and sympathy, is the succeeding chapter on the Sin against the Holy Ghost. We know how the awful fear having committed the Unpardonable Sin has tortured and darkened sensitive Christian souls. Who that has read them can forget those moving pages in Lavengro about the wandering Welsh preacher, a man with the perfume of goodness? Listen - "About midnight I was awakened by a noise; I "started up and listened; it appeared to me that I heard voices and groans. In a moment I had issued from my tent - all was silent; but the next moment I again heard groans and voices; they proceeded from the tilted cart where Peter and his wife lay; I drew near, again there was a pause, and then I heard the voice of Peter, in an accent of extreme anguish, exclaim, Pechod Ysprydd Glan ! - Opechod Ysprydd Glan-! and then he uttered a deep groan. Anon, I heard the voice of Winifred, and never shall I forget the sweetness and gentleness of the tones of her voice in the stillness of that night. I did not understand all she said - she spoke in her native language, and I was some way apart; she appeared to endeavour to console her husband, but he seemed to refuse all comfort, and, with many groans, repeated, Pechod Ysprydd Glan!- "0 pechod Ysprydd Glan! I felt I had no right to pry "into their afflictions, and retired.
Now, Pechod Ysprydd Glan, interpreted, is, the "Sin against the Holy Ghost." How effectually William Guthrie would have used the gruesome spectres from the poor haunted heart. "Whatsoever thou hast done," he writes, "if hast a desire after Jesus Christ, and dost look with a sore heart after Him, and canst not think of parting with His blessed company for ever; or, if thou must shed with Him, yet dost wish well to Him all His, thou needest not suspect thyself to be of this unpardonable sin; for there can be no hatred of Him in thy bosom as is necessarily required to make up that sin.
From its opening to its ending the little book is fashioned of the fine gold of the heavenly country; and its value is not impaired, nor its lustre dimmed, because two centuries and a half have gone past since cunning hand and the gracious heart of the crafts moulded it into shape.

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