Friday, September 01, 2006

Thomas M'Crie: I. ‘The Boy is Father of the Man’

Perhaps one of the greatest Scottish Christian biographies ever written is Thomas M’Crie’s “Life of John Knox’. Often republished (most recently by the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland in a cheap popular edition) it is still regarded as THE biography of Knox in Reformed circles. But perhaps relatively little is known of its author. Our intention in this series, God willing, is to remedy that defect.
Thomas M’Crie was born, like Thomas Boston, in the town of Duns in the old county of Berwickshire. Since Berwick is in England Duns has long laid claim to the place of country seat of Berwickshire, and in order to secure that claim it has laboured long and hard. Many people believe that Duns was also the birthplace of the medieval scholastic theologian Duns Scotus, but that is debated.
Theologically M’Crie’s parents were in agreement with Thomas Boston, members of the Anti-burgher Secession Church. Thomas was born in November 1772, and his mother prayed with him from an early age. A serious lad, Thomas M’Crie early thought of becoming a minister, and although the ambition was by no means uncommon in Scotland, Thomas took it very seriously. He was a boy of studious habits and read everything he could lay his hands on - which in the pious Anti-burgher atmosphere meant books of the kind today republished by the Banner of Truth Trust.
His father was less keen on the idea, declaring that he would not make one of his sons a gentleman at the expense of the rest. Thomas agreed with him, and as soon as he could became a school-teacher - at the age of fifteen. At sixteen he left home for the University of Edinburgh. The following year his mother died, having seen her son set off on a career that no-one could have predicted.

Next time, God willing, we shall follow him through university and into the beginning of his ministry.



Blogger Paul Lamey said...

Great post...I'm looking forward to the rest of the series.

2:45 am  
Blogger Highland Host said...

Hopefully it will not be a disappointment

11:04 am  

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