Haunted by Conscience Past…

by Thomas Guthrie (1803–1873)

7374818-conscience-just-ahead-green-road-sign-with-dramatic-storm-clouds-and-skyEven when they wallow in sin as swine in the mire, there is a conscience within men which convicts of guilt and warns of judgment.

Dethroned, but not exiled, she still asserts her claims, and fights for her kingdom in the soul; and resuming her lofty seat, with no more respect for sovereigns than beggars, she summons them to the bar, and thunders on their heads. Felix trembles ; Herod turns pale, dreading in Christ the apparition of the Baptist; while Cain, fleeing from his brother’s grave, wanders away conscience-stricken into the gloomy depths of the solitudes of the unpeopled world. Like the ghost of a murdered man, conscience haunts the house that was once her dwelling, making her ominous voice heard at times even by the most hardened in iniquity. In her the rudest savage carries a God within him, who warns the guilty, and echoes those words of Scripture, ‘” Depart from evil and do good.”

Taken from “The voice of conscience” by Thomas Guthrie


Meet the author and part of your Christian heritage: Thomas Guthrie D.D. (1803–1873) was a Scottish divine and philanthropist, born at Brechin in Angus (at that time also called Forfarshire). He was one of the most popular preachers of his day in Scotland, and was associated with many forms of philanthropy – especially temperance and Ragged Schools, of which he was a founder.

He studied at Edinburgh University for both surgery and anatomy (under Dr Robert Knox) but then concentrated on Theology.He was licensed to preach from 1852, and became the Minister of Arbirlot, in Angus, and then of Free St. John’s chapelEdinburgh. Possessed of a commanding presence and voice, and a remarkably effective and picturesque style of oratory, he became perhaps the most popular preacher of his day in Scotland, and was associated with many forms of philanthropy, especially temperance and ragged schools, of which he was a founder. His hard work as a proponent and founder of Ragged Schools led him to be quoted by Samuel Smiles in his famous book Self Help.

He was one of the leaders of the Free Church of Scotland, and raised over £100,000 for manses for its ministers. He was made Moderator of the Free Church of Scotland in 1872. Other roles included manager of Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, work for the Blind Asylum and work at the Night Refuge.  Among his writings are The Gospel in Ezekiel and Plea for Ragged Schools (1847), and The City, its Sins and Sorrows.

Born at Brechin, Forfarshire. Minister successively of Arbirlot and of Greyfriars and St John’s parish churches and of free St John’s Church in this city. Thomas Guthrie died in 1873 and was buried in The Grange Cemetery, Edinburgh. His will left his copy of the National Covenant to the Free Church.