Robert Mackenzie's John Brown of Haddington (1918)

Welcome to the Still Waters Revival Books video book summary for “John Brown of Haddington” (1918) by Robert Mackenzie

“John Brown of Haddington” (1918), by Robert Mackenzie, covers the life of one of the most important Scottish Presbyterian ministers of the eighteenth century, John Brown of Haddington.

He was born in 1722, and by the age of thirteen he was an orphan, living in poverty. He became a herd-boy, watching sheep to earn his living. However, he had a deep interest in the things of God, and set out to educate himself in the original languages of the Bible. He taught himself Greek, and then went to a book shop to buy a Greek New Testament. The bookseller said he didn’t think Brown could read it, and some University professors who were in the shop asked Brown about himself.

“Then one of them, not unlikely Francis Pringle, then Professor of Greek, asked the bookseller to bring a Greek New Testament, and, throwing it down on the counter, said, ‘Boy, if you can read that book, you shall have it for nothing.’ He took it up eagerly, read a passage to the astonishment of those in the shop, and marched out with his gift, so worthily won, in triumph” (pp. 34-35).

Brown was able to teach himself not only Greek, but Latin and Hebrew as well. Some young men in the vicinity who were studying for the ministry became jealous of this poor herd-boy who had little formal education but was so advanced in the study of languages.

Thus a rumour was spread that John Brown had received his knowledge of the languages from Satan himself! This rumour spread, and stuck with him for years to come, causing him much anguish. (Interestingly, one of the fellows who helped spread this slander was a licentiate who was found guilty of unworthy conduct and deprived of his licence to preach about the same time that Brown himself was licensed).

Brown subsequently became a pedlar, and then a soldier fighting against “the Pretender,” Prince Charles Stuart, who unsuccessfully tried to achieve power with the support of Highland troops. Subsequent to that brief war, Brown became a schoolmaster, and finally a divinity student in the Secession church.

After successful completion of his studies, he was called to be a pastor in the town of Haddington. It was there that he spent much of his time writing the books for which he became famous. Among his better known works are

“The Self-Interpreting Bible”

“The Christian Journal”

“A Dictionary of the Holy Bible”

“A General History of the Christian Church”

“The Psalms of David in Metre” (his notes on the Psalms)

“The Absurdity and Perfidy of all Authoritative Toleration of Gross Heresy, Blasphemy, Idolatry, and Popery in Britain” (including his defense of the continuing obligation of the Solemn League and Covenant), and

“The Harmony of Scripture Prophecies”

Brown was a stalwart for many important points of Biblical truth in his day, but his work is of more value today than ever before.

Read this book to be encouraged about how God can take a poor, uneducated farm boy, and make him into one of the great spiritual leaders of his day.

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