The Life of John Milne of Perth by Horatius Bonar
BOT.-2010. d.w. 464pp.
John Milne became minister of St. Leonard’s, Perth, in 1839, and was almost immediately associated with an awakening in which an outstanding circle of preachers shared. Among them were his close friends, William Burns, Robert M’Cheyne, and Horatius Bonar. Bonar, author and hymn writer, was at his best in his Life of John Milne. From first-hand knowledge of the revival period, and from original documents, he has preserved an account of Milne and the evangelicals who, in the words of Alexander Whyte, ‘had an immense influence on the religious life of Scotland’.
These men shared the conviction of M’Cheyne, ‘It is not great gifts God uses so much as great likeness to Christ’. The Milne biography wonderfully illustrates that truth. It shows us why, at a later date, C.H. Waller, could speak of the 1840s in Scotland as ‘the nearest approach he knew to apostolic conditions of faith and living’.
Apart from a short period of missionary service in India, Milne spent his whole ministry in Perth as a pastor and evangelist. Bonar’s account of one who lived close to Christ remains a guide to what the churches need in every age.