Would We Lose What Our Forefathers Gained?
Words from the Disruption of 1843, which gave birth to the Free Church of Scotland, when one church elder appealed to the people. Words which remain timely :
“Lawsuits, fines, and actions of damages have now superseded the gibbet and the stake. But the spirit of persecution is as truly at work as ever it was in the days of King Charles. . . . What cowardly dastards we must be, if we lose without a struggle what cost our forefathers so much to gain. Imprisonment, fines, death, tortures had no terrors for them . . . Yonder lies the Greyfriars’ Churchyard where our fathers solemnly subscribed the Covenant—some of them with their very blood; and there, sir, lies the Grassmarket, where the fires of persecution were often lighted . . . Who is there who can stand where we now stand . . . without feeling the glow of enthusiastic zeal thrilling through his every nerve and fibre? Let us, then, with one heart and mind, declare our unalterable adherence to the principles for which our fathers bled and died, and for which our Church is now contending. Let us declare that, come what may, we will abide by these, and stand by the ministers who are ready to maintain them to the uttermost. But, sir, let us not attempt to do this in our own strength; . . . let us resolve to do it in the strength of God.”
Quote source: Annals of the Disruption, by Thomas Brown (1884), page 4.
Image source: Frontispiece portrait, “The First Free Church Assembly—Signing the Deed of Demission,” as found in Annals of the Disruption, by Rev. Thomas Brown (Edinburgh: Macniven & Wallace, 1884).