Thursday, August 30, 2007

'Through Many Trials' David Brown - II.

David Brown came from a good background. His paternal Grandfather was Rev. William Brown, first pastor of the Secession Church at Craigdam, Aberdeenshire. William Brown was a gifted preacher and, what was more important, a godly man. He accdepted the call the Craigdam on £15 a year, and remained in that congregation all his long life. He was also gifted with physical health, and his brisk pace earned him the nickname of 'The Rinnin' Minister'. His grandson, also gifted with good health, was nicknamed 'The Running Commentary' for obvious reasons.
One of the sons of the Craigdam manse was called Alexander. He was not called to the ministry, but his calling was that of bookselling in Aberdeen. Every minister wil tell you what an honourable calling that of bookseller is, though some of us will also chafe a little at the prices!!! Alexander Brown also maintained a subscription library, another service we are sure the ministers and students of Aberdeen enjoyed. He bound books, an art that we are sure was much in demand in the town that boasted as many universities as the whole of England in those days (admittedly Aberdeen's were a lot smaller, but then Aberdeen is a lot smaller than all of England).
The esteemed bookseller was appointed a town councillor, and he rose to the office of Provost, holding the post twice, in 1822-3 and 1826-7. His wife, Catherine Chalmers, was granddaughter of Robert Trail of Edinburgh (father of the famous Puritan author), and one of her sisters was the mother of William Chalmers Burns the missionary to China. Mrs. Brown was the very pattern of the Proverbs 31 wife, helping her husband in his business. In those days all account-books in Aberdeen had to be sent to Edinburgh to be professionally ruled. Mrs. Brown saw an opening and ordered a ruling-machine from London. Keeping this device locked up in a garret of the family home, she provided all the ruled paper needed in Aberdeen!
She also gave birth to eight children, five sons and three daughters. All three daughters married ministers, three sons went into business, and two sons, David and Charles, were called to the ministry. (Charles wrote 'The Divine Glory of Christ' and 'The Ministry', both of which are published by the Banner of Truth Trust. Catherine Brown, one of the daughters, married Islay Burns, brother of William Chalmers Burns and Robert Murray M'Cheyne's successor at St. Peter's Dundee.
But all was not complete bliss in the Brown household. Provost and Mrs. Brown attended different Churches. Provost Brown, born a Seceder, had joined the Established Church for worldly motives, while his wife, born into a Church of Scotland family, had joined the seceders because she could not get the Gospel in the Church of Scotland churches in the Granite City!
So were David Brown's antecedents. God willing, next time we shall look at the early life of the man himself.



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