[In the modern era of easy religion and seeker friendly churches, the question still needs to be asked, and it also needs to be earnestly answered. Is your pastor faithful? I don’t just mean faithful to his wife or spouse. I also mean to his or her calling as a minister. What is this calling you ask? A minister’s calling is to faithfully preach the Word, the Gospel, or the Good News. This Gospel is what Jesus has done for us. It is the declaration of the Great Atonement of Jesus Christ for sin. That is, the blood work demanded and accomplished, for all the sins of all of the Elect who are in Christ Jesus. But if this calling, this preaching, is to be faithful, it must also encompass the fact that our salvation is from sin, and is not our salvation in sin. Why is this important? Because salvation from sin mandates a clear call to repentance, and the Christian to walk in holiness, and in separation from this world’s fleshly values, desires and ambitions.
But if your pastor does not also include, or stress a call to repentance in his ministry, and a call to holiness; that is, to walk differently from the world and its values and desires, but rather seeks to walk as closely to the world as possible, can you say that he is being faithful to his calling? No! From the Scriptures, you cannot. –MWP]
There is one tombstone in the Kiltearn Churchyard…
…more remarkable than all the others. It lies beside the church-door, and testifies, in an antique inscription, that it covers the remains of the “Great man of God and faithful minister of Jesus Christ” who had endured persecution for the truth in the dark days of Charles and his brother. He had outlived the tyranny of the Stuarts, and though worn by years and sufferings had returned to his parish after the Revolution, to end his course as it had begun. Calculating aright on the abiding influence of his own character among them.
He gave charge on his deathbed to dig his grave in the threshold of the church, that they might regard him as a sentinel placed at the door, and that his tombstone might speak to them as they passed in and out.
The inscription, which, after the lapse of nearly a century and a half (as of 1830), is still perfectly legible, and concludes with the following remarkable words:
“THIS STONE SHALL BEAR WITNESS AGAINST THE PARISHIONERS OF KILTEARN IF THEY BRING AN UNGODLY MINISTER IN HERE.”
Written by Hugh Miller.
Meet the Author and part of your Christian heritage: Hugh Miller (1802–1856) Scottish geologist and writer, folklorist and an evangelical Christian. He was a self-taught Born in Cromarty, he was educated in a parish school where he reportedly showed a love of reading. At 17 he was apprenticed to a stonemason, and his work in quarries, together with walks along the local shoreline, led him to the study of geology. In 1829 he published a volume of poems, and soon afterwards became involved in political and religious controversies, first connected to the Reform Bill, and then with the division in the Church of Scotland which led to the Disruption of 1843.
In 1834 he became accountant in one of the local banks, and in the next year brought out his Scenes and Legends in the North of Scotland. In 1840 the popular party in the Church, with which he had been associated, started a newspaper, the Witness, and Miller was called to be editor in Edinburgh, a position which he retained till the end of his life.
Among his geological works are The Old Red Sandstone (1841), Footprints of the Creator (1850), The Testimony of the Rocks (1856), Sketch-book of Popular Geology. Of these books, perhaps The Old Red Sandstone was the best-known. The Old Red Sandstone is still a term used to collectively describe sedimentary rocks deposited as a result of the Caledonian orogeny in the late Silurian, Devonian and earliest part of the Carboniferous period.
Miller held that the Earth was of great age, and that it had been inhabited by many species which had come into being and gone extinct, and that these species were homologous; although he believed the succession of species showed progress over time, he did not believe that later species were descended from earlier ones. He denied the Epicurean theory that new species occasionally budded from the soil, and the Lamarckian theory of development of species, as lacking evidence. He argued that all this showed the direct action of a benevolent Creator, as attested in the Bible – the similarities of species are manifestations of types in the Divine Mind; he accepted the view of Thomas Chalmers that Genesis begins with an account of geological periods, and does not mean that each of them is a day; Noah’s Flood was a limited subsidence of the Middle East. Geology, to Miller, offered a better version of the argument from design than William Paley could provide, and answered the objections of sceptics, by showing that living species did not arise by chance or by impersonal law.
In a biographical review about him, he was recognized as an exceptional person by Sir David Brewster, who said of him:
“Mr. Miller is one of the few individuals in the history of Scottish science who have raised themselves above the labors of an humble profession, by the force of their genius and the excellence of their character, to a comparatively high place in the social scale.”
For most of 1856, Miller suffered severe headaches and mental distress, and the most probable diagnosis is of psychotic depression. Victorian medicine did not help. He feared that he might harm his wife or children because of persecutory delusions.
Miller committed suicide, shooting himself in the chest with a revolver in his house on Tower Street, Portobello, on the night he had finished checking printers’ proofs for his book on Scottish fossil plants and vertebrates, The Testimony of the Rocks. Before his death, he wrote a poem called Strange but True.
A shocked Western world mourned him, and his funeral procession was among the largest in the memory of Edinburgh residents.
He is buried in the Grange Cemetery in Edinburgh.
[ A NOTE TO MY READERS AS TO THE PURPOSE OF THESE STORIES: Recently, I have written about Christians who before us have suffered great persecution and/or died in the cause of Christ.
I do not do this because I have less regard for theology than I once had, or that I now scorn the importance of those doctrines which were once given unto the saints. Nor, do I wish to lessen those scriptures which are they that do testify of Christ. And even more importantly, I do not wish to glorify man; so there is no need to sensationalize or even to make significant the facts of their deaths or of their persecution. For in one sense, that is truly not what is important.
Rather, I wish to make alive their faith, to make alive their living faith which was their living testimony unto Christ Jesus. They were not all great Christians. Many of those that I read and write about had significant flaws, some morally and some theologically… But all had found “The Christ.” And they each had witnessed to, and testified of that living Christ which takes away the sins of the world.
Having done all, these Christians stood, and their stories still stand today, demonstrating to us and pointing to us their Lord, both with their teachings, but more importantly, with their lives. And therein lies the power… They were totally committed.
As you look around yourself, do you see that type of commitment? As you look deep within yourself, do you see yourself standing in their shoes? Can you say, with grace, “If called, there go I?” As you look around your church, can you sense, as a member, an increasing importance of who we are in Christ Jesus, or do you see an increasing importance of who we are in the world? From your vantage point, which seems to be most important?
Never before has the Christian Church been assaulted on so many fronts. Never before, has it faced so many enemies from without and enemies from within. One shudders at the sound of all the axes being laid to the roots of our Christian heritage, and we ask ourselves, “When Christ comes will he find faith on the earth?” To this question, I am deeply stirred with a sense of urgency.
Today, I call to you wherever you are, find your commitment, find your passion, find who you really are –in Christ! Resolve in yourself right now, to make Him and his cause, the purpose for your highest commitment, and the reason for your deepest passion. I can tell you, that you will never be sorry.
As apostates and apostasy continues in the church, I seek new ways of pointing others to Jesus. In this new project, to which at this time I am now committed, I will strive mightily to point to our blessed Savior through the fingers and lives of those Christians who have once lived and died for Christ, and whose voices and anthems, I believe, now blend with the others from the church triumphant, and with the angels and cherubim as they circle around the throne of the Living God; “To whom be glory forever. Amen.” –MWP]