‘The St Andrews Seven’ – A Review by Donald Mackay
A review by Donald Mackay of The St Andrews Seven: The finest flowering of missionary zeal in Scottish history by Stuart Piggin and John Roxborogh.1
This is a reprint of a book that first appeared in 1985. A Korean edition was published in 2002.
The claim implicit in the subtitle of the book is not exaggerated: neither, in the reviewer’s opinion, is the assertion made in the preface that, once the reader has reached the halfway stage, he or she will not be able to put the book down.
The story is of a profound movement of the Spirit that began in the 1820s with the appointment of Thomas Chalmers to the chair of moral philosophy in the University of St Andrews. Chalmers’ fame as a thinker and orator drew many to his lectures, but no less significant was his enthusiasm for missionary endeavour, which was swiftly transmitted to his students. Among these were the subjects of the book – six remarkably gifted young men who, with Chalmers himself, make up ‘the St Andrews Seven’ of the title.
The first half of the book is largely taken up with tracing the early life and spiritual development of each of the Seven – a fascinating study, reflecting the burgeoning spirituality that found expression in the Disruption of 1843. What is particularly striking is the way in which an enthusiasm for foreign missions was transmuted, in the experience of each of the six students, into a conviction that they personally must answer the call and become missionaries to India. This is the theme of the book’s second half, leading to an assessment of the impact they made on the Indian subcontinent and of the lasting legacy of their endeavours. Christian education formed a vital part of their evangelistic thrust – not a fashionable model today, but a matter of considerable interest to a Church that supports educational establishments in South America, South Africa and India.
The authors, both from Australasia and both apparently still flourishing, do not shrink from expressing in the book their own appraisal of the biographees and of the values they espoused. They are to be congratulated on a vivid and eminently readable work.
the finest flowering of Missionary Zeal in Scottish History
A review by Donald Mackay of The St Andrews Seven: The finest flowering of missionary zeal in Scottish history by Stuart Piggin and John Roxborogh.1 This is a reprint of a book that first appeared in 1985. A Korean edition was published in 2002. The claim implicit in the subtitle of the book is not […]
From The Record, the monthly magazine of the Free Church of Scotland, October 2015.
The Art of Preaching February 12, 2019
The following is abridged from a pamphlet by James Begg (1803-1883), The Art of Preaching, printed in 1863, twenty years after more than 400 ministers had left the Church of Scotland to form the Free Church of Scotland. While in the context in which Begg wrote there were no doubt peculiar historical circumstances affecting the […]
Coming Events and Present Duties February 7, 2019
‘Then shall the Kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. . . at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh….. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour […]