This year is the 200th anniversary of the birth of the great Scots preacher Andrew Bonar (1810-1892), and so it was good on 7 June to have Rev. Maurice Roberts, all the way from Inverness, giving this year’s Evangelical Library (EL) lecture on the man, at Bethesda Baptist Church, Kensington, London.
The EL lecture serves both to remind people of the work of the library, now in a new location (Bounds Green, North London), and to explore some aspect of our evangelical history.
Andrew Bonar was the seventh son of a seventh son, of good covenanter stock, with two brothers in ministry – Horatius and the lesser known John. After a summary of his life, Mr Roberts looked at seven things about Andrew Bonar – his conversion and college life under Chalmers (1828-34); his work in Jedburgh and Edinburgh (1835-38); his first ministry – at Collace (1838-56) which included a report on the 1839 trip to Palestine, later written up as a lengthy book; his early years at Finnieston (1857-64); his ministry in Glasgow (1864-75); his ‘labours more abundant’ (1876-88), and his closing years (1889-92).
The main source for his life is his diary (begun in 1828 and kept up almost to the end; written in Byrom shorthand) and his letters, later published by his daughter Marjory. Mr Roberts closed with four lessons. These were the importance of being wholehearted in service, full of love to all, being concerned for the Jews, and remembering to live well in the short time we have on earth.