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The Covenants of Scotland
This book discusses each of the thirty-one Covenants of Scotland.
It presents the texts of the Covenants, sets out the events leading to the framing and subscribing of each, and examines the results which followed.
The struggles for religious freedom in Scotland are central to the the secured liberty enjoyed today in that part of the United Kingdom and form an integral part of its history.
This book details, in convenient form, what were epoch-making documents the detail of which is not often considered today.
The history of Scotland is bound up with the Covenants then entered into, and acted upon, by the people.
A Little Outline from Lord Bannside's Study Notes
Love tested and tried
So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?
He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee.
He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
The repeated Interrogation - lovest thou me? Repeated three times.
Peter denied Christ thrice. Now thrice he is challenged about his love for Christ.
The reticent affirmation - thou knowest that I love thee.
The required occupation - Feed my lambs. Feed my sheep.
A Closer Look
The Sermon on the Mount.
Over the next few months we will reprint here a beautiful, passage by passage, study of the “Words of Life” as spoken by Our Lord Jesus Christ and considered by the authors Nelson Beecher Keyes and Edward Felix Gallagher in their illustrated column Our Christian Heritage.
If someone asked you the question, “What is a word?” how would you answer? A word is a symbol, a brief sign, for a thought or an idea. It has its sound, but far more important is its meaning, the something that it pictures for us. And it is only as it sets up in our minds the picture which is intended that it has truly served its purpose. Thus, the words of this mighty sermon need to be considered closely.
Take the very first word of the discourse, often rendered as blessed, which signifies the condition of souls in heaven, but which we have need to approach within the limits of earthly life. We have need to find satisfaction, happiness, contentment in the life about us and in which we are cast, and in which we have a part. It is true that a person may have the blessing of many good fortunes but not be happy; while the blessed are necessarily happy with their lot.
Who have the best assurance of finding such happiness? Those who are “poor in spirit.” Once again let us look behind the mere sound of the words for their real meaning. No doubt the place to begin is with the more important term spirit. One biblical meaning is the breath of life breathed into us by the Creator.
We can look forward to greater rewards in the society which Jesus envisions if we approach life in a spirit of humility.
Spirit can also mean fire, bravery, animation and enterprise. But when uncontrolled, these can beget pride, conceit and vanity. To be poor in spirit would sure rule out these undesirable forms of the active principle of life, these too common manifestations of the energetic approach to living. The word we seem to be seeking is perhaps best satisfied by the term humility. “In the spirit” carries in it the sense of “not in actuality.” Riches have ever been a concern; and to one poor in spirit there is ether little desire for them or attachment to them even if they are already possessed. Such is the essence of humility, to possess this world’s goods but in a manner as though one possessed them not.
Happy then are the humble. We can look forward to greater rewards in the society which Jesus envisions if we approach life in a spirit of humility. We will then be better prepared to make sacrifices where necessary to obtain those things which really make for happiness and contentment of mind in the Kingdom of God. Such a Kingdom belongs to those who have learned to outgrow the childish ambition to satisfy every whim, fancy and desire; and to substitute for it persistence in seeking worthwhile ends by fully acceptable means.
THE NEED FOR TRUE HUMILITY
The common denominator in life is, unfortunately, money or its equivalent, worldly goods. But their possession, or their lack, is not a proper measuring rod. The rich often prove that they are not only capable of, but on occasion display, becoming humility. The have-not’s, considered better schooled in the ways of humility, nonetheless possess the ability at times to be arrogant. Those who are poor in spirit find happiness without respect to worldly wealth or power. This is true since humility demands that we acknowledge the power of God working through us; and that beyond that we be as putty in His hands, to be moulded to His purposes.
One of the basic urges of man is self-preservation. The will to stay alive as long as life is humanly possible is firmly built into most of us. Thus, our appetites and our organic needs move us to action to keep life within us.
But man, too, is a social animal. By close association with our fellows there is bred into us the desire to excel, to succeed, to win over others, to overcome difficulties, to break through obstructions. Along with this desire, and as a stimulus to it, we develop a sense of pride in our achievements. Such pride seems to be more or less necessary to furnish motive power to more praiseworthy efforts. But what is its limit? Should it not be altered to true humility that acknowledges all as God’s gifts, to the realization that it is God “that giveth the increase”? Such understanding, too, often comes only in one’s twilight years.
Success can become something of an evil obsession, when we focus entirely upon the goal and do not morally weigh the means of reaching it.
“Be not wise in your own eyes, do not lean entirely on your own sagacity,” counsels the author of Proverbs. “Trust in the Lord. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your steps.” (Proverbs 3:5-6) Success can become something of an evil obsession, when we focus entirely upon the goal and do not morally weigh the means of reaching it. The feeling is all too common that if the objective cannot be attained in one way, it must be in another. And under untamed pride, the other way may not always be a morally permissible one.
A WARNING TO THE PROUD
When pride steps up to the point of arrogance, when it climbs above charitable consideration of others, it is no longer a desirable stimulant. When it goes to our head, so that we no longer feel the need to seek God for aid and strength, then we have put ourselves entirely outside the Kingdom. The hope for sound advancement lies with those humble enough to know that they need divine assistance.
Also, humility is not a garment that can be put on and taken off at will. Israel should have learned this stern lesson years before in the time of the Judges. When the people humbled themselves and sought God’s guidance, he sent them saviours to lead them out of the quicksand into which their richness of worldly spirit – their fattened pride – had led them. Soon cocksure and self-sufficient when danger was removed, they quickly bogged down again in the idolatry which seeped in, as conceit emptied their hearts of the love of God. Joshua had said, in becoming humility, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 23:15). How much greater sense of security, or happiness of mind and of soul, he must have found then did those who, in their pride, in a later time “did that which was right each in his own sight” and wound up in the hands of their enemies (Judges 17:6).
The hope for sound advancement lies with those humble enough to know that they need divine assistance.
Without sufficient humility, there can be little real faith, no, not as much as to equal in size the tiny mustard seed (Luke 17:6). Pride locks up the heart, as in a steel box. Moses and other Old Testament worthies had long since pointed out the danger in this respect (Deuteronomy 8:11-20). It hardens the heart, and makes it insensible to the rights of others (Psalm73 :6,8,9). It engenders strife (Proverbs 13:10) and leads to great difficulties (Proverbs 16:9,18). It ends up in blind conceit and insecurity (Proverbs 28:11,26). It will be the humble alone who will find the better way – the way of faith (Proverbs 3:5).
THE HUMBLE MAY ACHIEVE THE KINGDOM
Those who act in humility possess the Kingdom of God. It is theirs to enjoy now, in this life; and not only reward to be hoped for in the future life. That was Jesus’ promise. He made it clear that you can enjoy life today, if you will but approach it with the right attitude of mind and heart. If you will but curb your desires as He directs, keep your hopes and ambitions under control, approach life constructively and in a sense of love and justice for all. In that way, and only in that way, you may be at peace with yourself and with others.
However, to be humble does not mean to be passive. Humility does not imply apathy, indifference or recreancy. Quite the contrary. Submission to a Higher Power, in which faith can be lodged with complete security, can be one of the finest sources of satisfaction. Submission to a God who can be, and is, firmly and unfalteringly believed in, can be conducive to a warming sense of security and permanence. But humility does not mean submission to or the condoning of evil. That, the humble must firmly resist and humbly combat.
Those who act in humility possess the Kingdom of God. It is theirs to enjoy now, in this life; and not only reward to be hoped for in the future life. That was Jesus’ promise.
Yet out of the faith in God, born of humility, comes the power to blunt and turn aside the arrows of outrageous fortune. Out of poorness of a worlding’s spirit comes mental health and well-being. Out of humility comes the possession of that Kingdom whose dimensions and make-up is being opened up before us through Jesus’ words.
Think on This!
"Do not say that Luther, or Calvin, or Whitefield were great men, and therefore around them great things gathered. The weakest of men may be more honoured than the greatest, if God so wills it."