The history of the Scottish covenanters is unknown or forgotten by many in their native land. In this reprint, Sprinkle Publications provides today’s Christians with valuable insights and aids to instruct their children in how to face the raging and roaring of their enemies. Three stories by Robert Pollok — first published in the latter part of the 19th century — make up this volume.
“The Persecuted Family” opens to us the lives of Pastor James Bruce, his wife, and their two children. He faithfully served his congregation for fourteen years until refusing to acknowledge the spiritual supremacy of the restored King Charles II. He and his family were exiled from the pastorate and willingly endured perils and persecution. Pollok describes the mutual faithfulness of the congregation and of the pastor in these years of trial, even of trial unto death.
In “Ralph Gemmell” the author recounts the story of a young man whose mother was supportive of the covenanters while his father was one of their archenemies. Tension heightened in the aftermath of his mother’s death. Ralph had to make the choice of whether to bow his knee to the one true God or to follow his dad’s religion. Each choice offered very different blessings and consequences.
“Helen of the Glen” portrays the early years of Helen Thomson and her young brother William. Their father died on a foreign battlefield on behalf of his country. Soon their mother was killed on a spiritual battlefield by a member of the king’s army as she fled when a covenanter worship service was raided by a band of cavalry. After being taken in by a friendly farmer, the two orphans matured and came to terms with the reality of saving faith and its implications for their lives.
The author has vividly sketched the suffering as well as the spiritual strength that marked the covenanters’ times. Readers are exposed to home life, to life on the run, and to sermons delivered in secret by faithful pastors. Good and evil are clearly demarcated. The author conveys much sympathy for these families. Their faithfulness greatly aided the spiritual and civil liberties we moderns enjoy. Often in his narrative the writer makes application to the reader. This is a volume for adults and youth. It can be read aloud and discussed to the benefit of all.
Although we live in a different era, we must work out the question of lordship. Is God or the state Lord? Can Christianity be compartmentalized to one day or one hour a week? This volume provides a historical reminder that Christians have been willing to die rather than deny the supremacy of God in all of life and Jesus Christ as head of His church. This is the truth that our families need to appropriate day unto day.
- Byron Snapp
Byron Snapp is a graduate of King College (B.A.) and Reformed Theological Seminary (M.Div.). He was Associate Pastor at Calvary Reformed Presbyterian Church, Hampton, Virginia, from 1994 until his retirement in December 2014. He is a native of Marion, Virginia. He has had pastorates in Leakesville, Mississippi, and Gaffney, South Carolina. He served as Assistant Pastor in Cedar Bluff, Virginia prior to his ministry at Calvary Reformed. He has served as editor of the Presbyterian Witness and was a contributor to A Comprehensive Faith and Election Day Sermons. He is currently a member of Westminster Presbytery in the PCA. He and his wife Janey have 3 children and several grandchildren.