Alex Maclennan (Edited by N Campbell and Rbt Dickie)
Published by Reformation Press
Robert Dickie is to be thanked, for his work at Reformation Press, in bringing this fine man’s thoughts into print. The book begins with an excellent ‘introductory sketch’ of 26pages by Norman Campbell. This introduction is full of interesting anecdotes and footnotes that guide you to further material. Norman Campbell has done a superb job of telling the biography before you get to the autobiography. It may feel strange to have both, yet they complement one another beautifully. The biography is really the story of his life that lets you understand the chronology around what you are reading, while the autobiography would leave you without any real appreciation of this story. The autobiography is really a series of his spiritual reflections on key events.
Alex Maclennan grew up on Rona (which I am sorry to admit that as a true Englishman, I had to find on a map) but, Campbell in a delightfully clear way opens up the godly community that lived on Rona and Raasay in the late 1800s. In the Great War, Alex Maclennan left for Australia with the merchant Navy. He notes that at Fiji in 1918, the natives were stowing the sugar as fast as they could on the Saturday trying to finish before midnight – he says, it shows the missionaries did splendid work. In Gisbourne (NZ), he would often climb the hill next to the harbour to quietly read his Bible on the Lord’s Day. When he returned, he took a 45 acre smallholding in Muir of Ord, and it is from these experiences of everyday life that he draws many pithy practical applications of biblical truths in the diaries section of the book.
Monday 9th December – John and I attended the funeral of M today. He was in his 97th year. I believe he went to the ‘better country’. He was saying in his last days on earth: ‘Two things I regret and I am too late now – I never spoke to the Question on Friday and I never went to the Lord’s Table’ May that be a warning to others.
Friday 29th January – Inverness Communion. Question Meeting. The text was given out by Robert Watt in 1 Peter 2:3. ‘If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.’ Sixteen rose to speak. One thing can be safely said about the Question, that all who are born again get a good taste from the pure gospel and get a bad taste from what is not the gospel.
Wednesday 20th April – I was at A’s funeral. There were many wreaths. A man said to me, ‘There are only two flowers I want myself, the rose of Sharon and the lily of the valleys.’ It was a beautiful thought.