Guthrie was one of the greatest preachers and social philanthropists of 19th Century Scotland. He published numerous books, edited the Sunday Magazine (with a circulation of 100,000), was courted by some of the most powerful and richest people in the country and yet spent his life championing the cause of widows and orphans. His statue in Princes Street Gardens stands as a memorial to this great man and yet hardly anyone, even in Christian circles, knows anything about him. His books remain out of print and his incredible social philanthropy remains largely forgotten. A little less than 1 year ago I set up this blog to try and re-establish Guthrie's reputation and share a little of his incredible life. There are lots of articles on the blog about Guthrie's life and ministry like here. As with most of these projects it has been me that has been most helped as I have spent hours researching and reading about one of Scotland's greatest leaders. But why remember Guthrie today? Guthrie was (and still is) an inspiration, an example and a treasure of Christian wisdom. Here are a few reasons why he should not be forgotten.
Firstly, Guthrie leaves us a legacy of biblical community engagement. When Guthrie arrived in Edinburgh in 1837, the city was growing rapidly with the industrial revolution. With large scale immigration from Ireland and large scale movement within Scotland from the country to the cities, Guthrie found extreme overcrowding combined with the most heart rending poverty within central Edinburgh. Drunkenness was a widespread problem with many children being forced out to beg, borrow and steal to feed their parents’ habit. There is a famous st
Never mistake the dead robes for the living body of religion. Never forget that "to do justly, and love mercy, and walk humbly before God," is what the Lord requires of thee; that faith without works is dead; that form without spirit is dead; and that, the highest piety being ever associated with the deepest humility, true religion is like the sweetest of all singing-birds, the skylark, which with the lowest nest but highest wing dwells in the ground, and yet soars to the skies - (Thomas Guthrie, The Pharisee and Publican, The Parables, 1874).