The Scots Worthies
John Howie of Lochgoin, author of the classic work The Scots Worthies, lived all his days in relative obscurity in Ayrshire in the southwest of Scotland which, in earlier times, had been the scene of many notable events in the history of the Covenanters. Lacking the benefit of formal higher education, he was nevertheless well-read and deeply educated in the history of his Christian forebears. Conscious of the unfounded criticism and misrepresentation of them which had arisen even in the eighteenth century he devoted himself to compiling this fascinating volume of cameo pen-portraits. But his concern was more than historical. He recognized the power of Christian biography to instruct and inspire and to exemplify the outworking of the grace of God in human life. Howie’s chief aim was to write in such a way that readers would be encouraged to grasp the heroic, sacrificial, and glorious nature of life consecrated unreservedly to Christ.
Within the covers of a single volume John Howie’s The Scots Worthies offers stirring mini-biographies of the great roll-call of the Christian heroes of Scotland in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. A unique work it includes all the figures described by John Dickson while himself a prisoner for Christ on the Bass Rock: ‘Innocent Hamilton, godly and patient Wishart, apostolic Knox, eloquent Rollock, worthy Davidson, courageous Melville, prophetic Welch, majestic Bruce, great Henderson, renowned Gillespie, learned Binning, pious Gray, laborious Durham, heavenly-minded Rutherford, the faithful Guthries, diligent Blair, heart-melting Livingstone, religious Welwood, orthodox and practical Brown, zealous and steadfast Cameron, honest-hearted Cargill, sympathizing M’Ward, persevering Blackader, the evangelical Traills, constant and pious Renwick’.
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