George Gillespie


Rev. George Gillespie was one of that remarkable band of statesmanlike ministers that God gave to Scotland in the seventeenth century. Gillespie died while yet a young man, but before he died, as Rutherford wrote to him on his deathbed, he had done more work for his Master than many a hundred grey-headed and godly ministers. Gillespie and Rutherford got acquainted with one another when Rutherford was beginning his work at Anwoth. In the good providence of God, Gillespie was led to Kenmure Castle to be tutor in the family of Lord and Lady Kenmure, and that threw Rutherford and Gillespie continually together. Gillespie was still a probationer. He was ready for ordination, and many congregations were eager to have him, but the patriotic and pure-minded youth could not submit to receive ordination at the hands of the bishops of that day, and this kept him out of a church of his own long after he was ready to begin his ministry. But the time was not lost to Gillespie himself, or to the Church of Christ in Scotland,—the time that threw Rutherford and Gillespie into the same near neighbourhood, and into intimate and affectionate friendship. The mere scholarship of the two men would at once draw them together. They read the same deep books; they reasoned out the same constitutional, ecclesiastical, doctrinal, and experimental problems; till one day, rising off their knees in the woods of Kenmure Castle, the two men took one another by the hand and swore a covenant that all their days, and amid all the trials they saw were coming to Scotland and her Church, they would remain fast friends, would often think of one another, would often name one another before God in prayer, and would regularly write to one another, and that not on church questions only and on the books they were reading, but more especially on the life of God in their own souls. Of the correspondence of those two remarkable men we have only three letters preserved to us, but they are enough to let us see the kind of letters that must have frequently passed between Kenmure Castle and Aberdeen, and between St. Andrews and Edinburgh during the next ten years.

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