Wednesday, 11 March 2015

A Scottish Evangelist: Henry Drummond

Henry Drummond, 1851 - 1897
        As I was on my email account yesterday, along the top of the page where ads sometimes appear was this Quote of the Day: "Strength of character may be learned at work, but beauty of character is learned at home."  It was said by Henry Drummond, a Scottish Evangelist who lived from August 17 1851 to March 11 1897: today is his 164th birthday.
        Henry Drummond was born in Scotland, quite close to Stirling Castle, and attended Edinburgh's New College where he studied Science, Mathematics, and Divinity. He believed he was gifted by God to preach the Gospel, however he did not feel called to pastor a church. But there soon came a change. At this point in the scientific world, Charles Darwin's book, "On the Origin of the Species" was being widely read and discussed in scientific and Christian circles. Drummond believed that his call was to point out to Christians and others that "every step of Science discloses the attributes of the Almighty with a growing magnificence. Certain it is that the Christian view and the scientific view together frame a conception of the object of worship, such as the world in its highest inspiration has never reached before."
        But it is not clear whether or not he took the Creation account in Genesis literally, only pointing out: "Look for a moment at the magnificence and sublimity of Christianity from the standpoint of evolution. Look at the size - illimitable. Look at the beauty. Could anything be more perfect than the greatest thing in the world; any force so irresistible as the greatest evolutionary power Love? All this fits in perfectly with science. A Christian is a man who furthers the evolution of the world according to the purpose of Jesus Christ."  However, whatever his thoughts were on Genesis, he still was a man who sought to bring Science into harmony with the Bible.
        Drummond was also a man who been given great wisdom and compassion by God.  He once said in a lecture to students at New College that, "Once in my own life I came to a cross-roads. I did not know in which direction God wanted me to help His Kingdom, and I started to read the New Testament to find out what the ideal life was. I knew I had only one life and I didn't want to miss it. I found out that the only thing worth doing in the world was to do the Will of God. Whether that was done in the pulpit or in the slums, whether done in the college class-room or in the street didn't matter at all."  He was convinced that the only answer to the brokenness of this fallen world was the powerful love and salvation of Christ alone, and to that end he sought to bring reform to the poverty stricken areas of Scotland first, and worked with men such as D.L. Moody throughout the United States.  He even traveled to Africa, following in the steps of David Livingston, to preach the gospel to those who had never heard of Christ.
        Drummond had bone cancer in the later part of his life, and died assured of his salvation in Christ.  Words that he had spoken at the funeral of a friend earlier are a fitting memorial to the life of service to Christ from this Scottish Evangelist:
        "The end of life is simply to do God's will, whether that be working or waiting, winning or losing, or suffering or recovering, or living or dying. Death can only be gain when to have lived was Christ. There are two ways in which a workman regards his work as his own, or as his Master's. If it is his own, then to leave it in his prime is a catastrophe, if not a cruel and unfathomable wrong. But if it is his Master's one looks not backwards but before, putting by the well-worn tools without a sigh and expecting elsewhere better work to do."

"To become Christ-like is the only thing in the whole world worth caring for, the thing before which every ambition of man is folly and all lower achievement vain."
                                                                       ~ Henry Drummond

Written and Posted by William A Moore

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