"Hugh Binning [1627?-1653] was a rare individual. The greatness of his
spirit and abilities gave his parents good grounds to conceive the pleasant
hope that he would be a promising child. When in grammar school, he showed such
proficiency in the Latin tongue and Roman authors that he outstripped his
fellow classmates, though some were years older than he. When his schoolmates
went out to play, he declined their company and chose to employ himself either
in secret duty with God or in conference with religious people. His favourite
pasttime was to recreate himself in this manner.
He had an aversion to sports, games, and other diversions, not from a melancholy spirit (being rather of an affable, cheerful, and debonair disposition), but thinking that time was too precious to be lavished away in these things. Religion and religious exercises were his choice, and the time he had to spare from his studies he spent that way.
He began to have sweet familiarity with God, and to live in near communion with Him, before others began seriously to lay to heart their lost and undone condition by nature, and that additional misery they expose themselves to by walking in a wicked way and sinful course. When he was 13 or 14 years of age, he had even then attained so much experience in the ways of God that the most judicious and exercised Christians confessed that they were greatly edified, strengthened, and comforted by him. It provoked others to greater diligence in the duties of religion when they became aware that they were being outdone by a youth.
Binning entered the University of Glasgow at age 14, taught there at the age of 19, and died at the age of 26.
"The Rev. Hugh Binning entered upon his pastoral charge at a very eventful period. He was ordained in the interval between the death of Charles I. and the coronation of his son Charles II., which took place at Scone, on the first of January, 1651. In the first year of the incumbency of Binning, the fatal battle of Dunbar was fought. In different parts of Scotland, three different armies, without concert with one another, subsequently took the field, to oppose the progress of the parliamentary forces. And it was not till after the death of Binning, that General Monk succeeded in reducing the country to a state of subjection. Meanwhile, the same jealousies and animosities prevailed, which had previously divided the Scottish nation. The nobility, as well as the clergy, were opposed to one another, and adopted different views of the national interests. And what tended not a little to increase the public divisions, the Anabaptists, Quakers, and other sectarians, connected with the English army, employed themselves wherever they went, in propagating with great industry, their peculiar opinions. By keeping these things in view, the reader will be better able to understand, in the writings of Binning, numerous allusions, more or less recondite, to the particular circumstances of the times."
Rev M. Leishman, in his Preface to Binnings' Works.
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