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Andrew Bonar's Text

Andrew Bonar's Text

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Published by glennpease
BY F. W. BOREHAM


It is an old-fashioned Scottish kirk — and the Com-
munion Sabbath. Everybody knows of the hush
that brooded over a Scottish community a century
ago whenever the Communion season came round.
The entire population gave itself up to a period of
holy awe and solemn gladness. As the day drew
near, nothing else was thought about or spoken of.
At the kirk itself, day after day was given up to
preparatory exercises, fast-time sermons and the
fencing of tables.
BY F. W. BOREHAM


It is an old-fashioned Scottish kirk — and the Com-
munion Sabbath. Everybody knows of the hush
that brooded over a Scottish community a century
ago whenever the Communion season came round.
The entire population gave itself up to a period of
holy awe and solemn gladness. As the day drew
near, nothing else was thought about or spoken of.
At the kirk itself, day after day was given up to
preparatory exercises, fast-time sermons and the
fencing of tables.

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Published by: glennpease on Aug 09, 2014
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ADREW BOAR'S TEXT BY F. W. BOREHAM It is an old-fashioned Scottish kirk — and the Com- munion Sabbath. Everybody knows of the hush that brooded over a Scottish community a century ago whenever the Communion season came round. The entire population gave itself up to a period of holy awe and solemn gladness. As the day drew near, nothing else was thought about or spoken of. At the kirk itself, day after day was given up to preparatory exercises, fast-time sermons and the fencing of tables. In this old kirk, in which we this morning find ourselves, all these preliminaries are past. The young people who are presenting them- selves for the first time have been duly examined by the grave and somber elders, and, having survived that fiery and searching ordeal, have received their tokens. And now everything is ready. The great day has actually come. The snowy cloths drape the pews; everything is in readiness for the solemn festival; the people come from far and near. But I am not concerned with those who, on this impres- sive and memorable occasion, throng around the table and partake of the sacred mysteries. For, at the back of the kirk, high up, is a cavernous and 327 228 A Handful of Stars apparently empty old gallery, dark and dismal. Is it empty? What is that patch of paleness that I see up in the comer? Is it a face? It is! It is the grave and eager face of a small boy; a face over- spread with awe and wonder as he gazes upon the affecting and impressive scene that is being enacted below. *As a child,' said Dr. Bonar, many years afterwards, when addressing the little people of his own congregation, *as a child I used to love to creep up into that old gallery on Communion Sabbaths. How I trembled as I climbed up the stairs! And how I shuddered when the minister entered and
 
began the service ! When I saw young people of my own acquaintance take the holy emblems for the first time, I wondered if, one great and beautiful day, I should myself be found among the communicants. But the thought always died in the moment of its birth. For I found in my heart so much that must keep me from the love of Christ. I thought, as I sat in the deep recesses of that gloomy old gallery, that I must purge my soul of all defilement, and cul- tivate all the graces of the faith, before I could hope for a place in the Kingdom of Christ or venture as a humble guest to His table. But oh, how I longed one day to be numbered among that happy company ! I thought no privilege on earth could compare with that' II A couple of entries in his diary will complete our Andrew Sonar's Text 229 preparation for the record of the day that changed his life. He is a youth of nineteen, staid and thoughtful, but full of life and merriment, and the popular center of a group of student friends. May 3, 1829, — Great sorrow, because I am still out of Christ. May 31, 1829. — My birthday is past and I am not born again. ot every day, I fancy, do such entries find their way into the confidential journals of young people of nineteen. Ill God's flowers are all everlastings. The night may enfold them ; the grass may conceal them ; the snows may entomb them ; but they are always there. They do not perish or fade. See how the principle works out in history ! There is no more remarkable revival of religion in our national story than that repre-
 
sented by the Rise of the Puritans. The face of England was changed; everything was made anew. Then came the Restoration. Paradise was lost. Puritanism vanished as suddenly as it had arisen. But was it dead? Professor James Stalker, in a Centennial Lecture on Robert Murray McCheyne — a name that stands imperishably associated with that of Andrew Bonar — says most emphatically that it was not. He shows how, like a forest fire, the movement swept across Europe, returning at last to the land in which it rose. When, with the Restora- 230 A Handful of Stars tion, England relapsed into folly, it passed over into Holland, preparing for us, among other things, a new and better line of English kings. From Holland it passed into Germany, and, by means of the Mora- vian Brethren, produced the most amazing mission- ary movement of all time. From Germany it re- turned to England, giving us the Methodist Revival of the eighteenth century, a revival which, according to Lecky, alone saved England from the horrors of an industrial revolution. And from England it swept into Scotland, and kindled there such a revival of religion as has left an indelible impression upon Scottish life and character. It was in the sweep of that historic movement that the soul of Andrew Bonar was bom. IV 'It was in 1830,' he says, in a letter to his brother, written in his eighty-third year, 'it was in 1830 that I found the Saviour, or rather, that He found me, and laid me on His shoulders rejoicing.' And how did it all come about? It was a tranquil evening in the early autumn, and a Sabbath. There is always something conducive to contemplation about an autumn evening. When, one of these days, one of our philosophers gives us a Psychology of the Sea- sons, I shall confidently expect to find that the great majority of conversions take place in the autumn. At any rate, Andrew Bonar's did. As he looked out upon the world in the early morning, he saw the

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