This week I came upon the writings of Brownlow North, one of the great evangelists of Scotland in the 19th century. Born in 1810 into a family known for its history of Parliamentary and Church leaders, Brownlow lived a worldly life, a sportsman, soldier and country gentleman. A biographical piece from Banner of Truth writes,
as a youth he was sent to Eton where he became known as ‘Gentleman Jack’. Life was one long round of self-indulgence. He grew up as a constant smoker, a heavy drinker and a notorious gambler and admitted, ‘My greatest idea of pleasure was to shoot grouse and catch salmon.’
After 44 years of turning his back on God and defying the Church, Brownlow wholeheartedly “gave his heart to Christ,” after what’s best described as a near death experience. You can read more of his biography here.
The story goes, after he was saved, he became good friends with his pastor, as was asked on one occasion to preach in the pastor’s absence. The congregation was so upset that Brownlow would be preaching, they left a letter in the pulpit documenting all of his public sins. Humbly, Brownlow read the letter to the congregation, and told them there were many more sins that Christ had forgiven as well, and that if Christ could forgive him those great sins, Christ could forgive them also.
As we have been encouraging continued maturity and spiritual development here at Lennox Ebenezer, I thought I’d share with you what are known as Brownlow North’s Six Short Rules For Christians:
- Never neglect daily private prayer; and when you pray, remember that God is present, and that He hears your prayers. (Heb 11:6).
- Never neglect daily private Bible reading; and when you read remember that God is speaking to you, and that you are to believe and act upon what He says. I believe all backsliding begins with the neglect of these two rules. (John 5:39).
- Never let a day pass without trying to do something for Jesus. Every night reflect on what Jesus has done for you, and then ask yourself, “What am I doing for Him”? (Matt 5:13-16).
- If you are in doubt as to a thing being right or wrong, go to your room and kneel down and ask God’s blessing on it. (Col 3:17). If you cannot do this, it is wrong. (Rom 14:23).
- Never take your Christianity from Christians, or argue that because such and such people do so and so, therefore, you may. (2 Cor 10:12). You are to ask yourself, “How would Christ act in my place”? And strive to follow Him (John 10:27).
Never believe what you feel, if it contradicts God’s Word. Ask yourself, “Can what I feel be true if God’s Word is true”? And if both cannot be true, believe God and make your own heart the liar. (Rom 3:4; 1 John 5:10-11).