Wednesday, December 05, 2007

'This One Thing I Do.' John Brown of Broughton Place. - X

John Brown was just entering on his wider career as an author when tragedy struck his family. His beloved wife was seized with an illness that brought her in lingering agony to the grave. She died in his presence, confessing a sure and certain faith in Christ, but Brown was a Christian, not a stoic. Our Lord, as we have said before, wept over the grave of Lazarus, even though he was about to raise him up, and so why should not a Christian husband shed tears over the grave of his young wife, who is not to be raised up until they join in the general resurrection from the dead?
Brown was carried down into the depths of depression. His wife had been so close to him that it was like losing a part of himself, and he was left with a sense of utter desolation. With huge effort he preached a funeral sermon on the words addressed to the Prophet Ezekiel when God took away his wife, a sermon that moved all the congregation to tears. They were amazed that the preacher himself did not weep - but no doubt he did so in private. Over her grave in Symington Churchyard he raised a tablet that read:
This tablet records the singular worth of Jane Nimmo Brown, wife of John Brown, minister of the Associate Congregation, Biggar, and the deep but not hopeless sorrows of her bereaved husband.

Though he was soon back at his work, the wound he recieved from this loss was not soon healed. Yet he knew that it was of the Lord, and therefore he knew it was for the best at last:
Too wise to be mistaken, he,
Too good to be unkind.

Mrs. Jane Nimmo Brown was not a perfect human being, no-one is, but she was a gift from the Lord to her husband, as a good wife must be. She had managed the manse at Biggar with all the skill of the Proverbs 31 wife, and she had been the best friend and confidante of her husband. In many ways the work of the pastor's wife is a difficult one. She is not trained as he is, she has not passed many examinations, and she has not chosen the path with the deliberate steps of her husband. Yet she is expected to enter into the work beside him, to take ladies' meetings, to act as counsellor to ladies in the congregation - and to be a housewife at the same time!
John Brown was carried deeper by this tragedy, but his faith in God remained unshaken. Indeed, it was strengthened. And God still had much for him to do, as we shall see, God willing, next time.



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