Scottish Puritans: Select Biographies constitutes one of the great treasures of Scottish Christian literature. In quick succession, we meet such justly famous and revered figures as John Welsh, David Dickson, William Guthrie, and James Fraser of Brea, but also the lesser known and long forgotten, like the land-labourer of Carrick, John Stevenson.
The 17th century was a dynamic period in Scottish church history, and yet many of its rich records lay hidden in privately owned manuscripts for two hundred years. It was only with the evangelical awakening of the 1840s that close attention was given to their publication, and a Society, formed for that purpose in Edinburgh, took the name of the historian, Robert Wodrow (1679-1734).
On the 26 volumes thus published subsequent authors have depended heavily, and particularly so with respect to the two volumes originally entitled Select Biographies. In an era when Puritan literature is again being rediscovered their reprint is timely, providing as it does the opportunity to go back to first-hand sources. Here, for the most part, men and women live in their own words, or in the witness of their contemporaries.
Of the two volumes packed with biography, the first tells the story of John Welsh, Patrick Simson, and John Livingstone, men 'who acted a prominent part in their eventful times but whose histories were not so generally known'. Letters, sermons, and some other rare material supplement the biographies of these men.
Also included in this first volume are: the Last and Heavenly Speeches of John, Viscount Kenmure (attributed to Samuel Rutherford), the Memoirs of Walter Pringle, and the Soliloquies of Mrs Janet Hamilton of Earlstoun.
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