Guthrie the Prolific Writer
When Thomas Guthrie (1803 - 1873) eventually had to leave his congregation of St John's, Edinburgh due to ill health in May 1864, it seemed that his ministry was at an end.  In God's providence, a new field opened up to him in the writing and editing of a weekly periodical the Sunday Magazine.  With the exception of a Plea for Ragged Schools first published in 1847, Guthrie's other publications, until 1864, were mainly published sermons; the Gospel in Ezekiel in 1855, The City its Sins and Sorrows in 1857, Christ and the Inheritance of the Saints in 1858 followed by The Way to Life and Speaking to the Heart.  We might wonder what would have happened if Guthrie had been given such an opportunity earlier in his ministry.  As Dr Tweedie said of Guthrie; 'I wonder [if] Dr Guthrie did not discover his literary faculty twenty years before he did, if he had, his usefulness would have been trebled' (quoted by Oliphant Smeaton in Thomas Guthrie, Famous Scots Series).

Many of Guthrie's later books were first serialised in the Sunday Magazine which he co-edited with Dr Blaikie.  Guthrie was involved in editing and writing the magazine from 1864 and was editing The Lepers Lesson 10 days before his death in February 1873.  The magazine continued after his death and was published until 1905.  It is incredible to think that even with a credible and widely read Christian magazine called Good Words (published by Dr Macleod) the Sunday Magazine still had a circulation in the early days of over 100,000!  For my full blog on Guthrie's work with the Sunday Magazine you can read it here.

Full list of Guthrie's books;

A Plea for Ragged Schools

The City its Sins and Sorrows

Saving Knowledge, 1970

Man and the Gospel

The Gospel in Ezekiel

Studies of Character

Out of Harness

Streets Paved with Gold

Once again I have to thank Rev Dr John Nicholls, Chief Executive of the London City Mission for sending me further material on Ragged Schools in London.  Below are a few quotes from chapter 4 of John's book co-authored with Irene Howat called Streets Paved with Gold, Christian Focus Publications, 2003.  If you want to read the entire chapter it can be downloaded from here and is used with kind permission from Christian Focus Publications. 

Within the chapter on Ragged Schools by Nicholls and Howat there is a good summary of a what a Ragged School was;

'An Edinburgh man, when asked to describe a Ragged School, said they were Sunday schools set up in the poorest parts where every house was ‘worn-out and crazy’ and nearly every tenant a beggar, or worse. ‘These schools, he said, were for ragged, diseased and crime-worn children, such as would not be admitted to any other kind of school.’ The one he instanced was in Field Lane, Smithfield, where 45 young people had to overcome the objections of their parents in order to attend; the parents viewing any possible reformation in their offspring as a potential loss of criminal earnings. Some of the children, who were aged six to 18, had already been in prison, and that, the Scot concluded, would be where they would spend much of the rest of their lives unless educated at the Ragged School. The teacher at Field Lane School was a big-hearted woman who did the work voluntarily three days a week' (Chambers’ Edinburgh Journal, 7th June, 1845).

For the complete blogpost about Streets Paved with Gold follow this link.

Unity and Diversity by Sandy Finlayson
One of the best books on Free Church history in recent years has been Sandy Finlayson's 'Unity and Diversity' published by Christian Focus Publications.  The book is a series of biographical sketches of some of the founding fathers of the Free Church including Thomas Chalmers, Thomas Guthrie, James Begg, William Cunningham, Andrew Bonar, John Kennedy and John 'Rabbi' Duncan.

To read the rest of this post click here.

No comments:

Post a Comment