Guthrie, Thomas, Dd
Guthrie, Thomas, D.D.
an eminent Scottish pulpit orator, philanthropist, and social reformer, was born July 12, 1803, at Brechini, Forfarshire, where his father was a merchant and banker. He went through the curriculum of study prescribed by the Church of Scotland to candidates for the ministry, at the University of Edinburgh, and devoted two additional winters to the study of chemistry, natural history, and anatomy. Meanwhile he was licensed to preach by the Presbytery of Brechin in 1825; subsequently spent six months in Paris, studying the physical sciences. In 1830 he became pastor of the Church at Arbirlot, in his native county, and in 1837 was appointed one of the ministers of Old Greyfriars parish, in Edinburgh. Here his eloquence, combined with devoted labors to reclaim the degraded population of one of the worst districts of the city, soon won for him a high place in public estimation. In 1843 he joined the Free Church, and for a long series of years continued to minister to a large and influential congregation in Edinburgh. In 1845 and 1846 he performed a great service for the Free Church by his advocacy throughout the country of its scheme for providing manses or residences for its ministers." His zeal was not diverted in mere denominational or sectarian channels. He came forward in 1847 as the advocate of ragged schools, and to him the rapid extension of the system over the kingdom is very much to be ascribed. He also earnestly exerted himself in many ways in opposition to intemperance and other vices. He possessed great rhetorical talent, and his style was remarkable for the abundance and variety of the illustrations he used. Few public speakers have ever blended solemnity and deep pathos so intimately with the humorous, is tendency to which has more frequently than anything else been pointed out as his fault. Dr. Guthrie always displayed a generous sympathy with all that tended to progress or improvement of any kind. He was moderator of the General Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland in May 1862, and died near Edinburgh, February 23, 1873. His most important published works are, The Gospel in Ezekiel, a series of discourses: — The Way of Life, a volume of sermons: — A Plea for Drunkards and against Drunkenness: — A Plea for Ragged Schools, followed by a second and a third plea, the latter under the title, Seed-time and Harvest of Ragged Schools: — The City, its Sins and Sorrows: — A Sufficient Maintenance and an Efficient Ministry (Edinburgh, 1852, 8vo). He edited a new edition of Berridge's Christian World Unmasked (ibid. 1856, 8vo). For some years before his death he acted as editor of The Sunday Magazine, founded in 1864, in which year he retired from his regular ministrations. His Autobiography and Memoir was published by his sons (1873), and his Works (1873-76, 11 volumes). See also Popular Preachers, page 33; Smith, Our Scottish Clergy (Edisnb. 1848), page 342; (Lond.) Evangelical Magazine, February 1874; Allibone, Dict. of Brit. and Amer. Authors, s.v. (W.P.S.)