The Story of John Brown

There are some of you that think that the smarter you are and the more you know about the Bible, the better your teaching and your family legacy to family will be.

Allow me to tell you a story: John Brown lived in the 17th century in Scotland. He was the owner of a little croft (small rented farm). He was a poor man and never owned more than twenty sheep and more than one cow at a time. He loved Christ.

John Brown and his wife, Isabel, were married by a man named Alexander Pieden. On the day, they were married Pieden pronounced a word of prophecy over John. He told the bride, Isabel, that she should love John with all her heart because she wouldn’t have him for long. That she should keep his shroud close because she would need to use it and when she used it, it would be a shroud stained in blood.

They were living in the time of the persecution of the Scottish church. Daniel Defoe who wrote Robinson Caruso chronicled this time. It was the most severe persecution in history, greater than that of the Roman Empire or the Popish inquisitors.

John had a severe speech impediment, and it prevented him from becoming a pastor. Despite this impediment, he became a teacher of the gospel to young people. He taught them the truth of Jesus. One evening each week he interpreted the Bible and shared the confession of faith. For him, it was a training school for theologians and heroes.

In this time in Scotland, authorities hated Christians. One authority, Claverhouse, came looking for Pieden but could not find him. However, he was satisfied to find John Brown. Claverhouse gathered soldiers around him and said to him, “Say your prayers for you shall die now”.

John immediately knelt down on the grass and began a very long prayer. He prayed for the downtrodden in Scotland and for God to preserve a remnant of Godly men who could continue the ministry in Scotland. His prayers angered Claverhouse and he turned and said to his fellows, “I thought you said this guy could not preach” because he was praying without any stammer at all.

When the prayer was done Claverhouse spoke again, “take a good look at your wife and children and say goodbye.” The woman John loved was standing there with his son in her arms. Going to her, John said, “Now Isabel… the day has come that we were told would come the day we married.” She replied with a fortitude of which she herself marveled afterwards, “John I can willingly part with you.” “That is all I desire,” he answered. “I have no more to do but die.” He kissed his wife and gave them his goodbye. Then Claverhouse ordered six soldiers to shoot him. The soldiers looked down on the ground and refused to lift their guns. Claverhouse unclipped his own belt and his own pistol, and he put it to the head of John Brown and killed him.

He turned to Isabel and said, “what do you think of your husband now woman?” She replied, “I never thought so much of him.”

This was a story of John Brown, the poor farmer with twenty sheep and one cow and the John Brown with a Bible study for kids. He is the John Brown from 1685. It is the same John Brown that none of us had any clue about before today, and none of us ever knew.

If nobody really knows us, does it matter?

What matters is this: that we guard the gospel, that we turn away from foolish ways…that we consider the dreadful tragedy of professors and biblical scholars and theologians that have missed the mark. We must rest in the grace of God.

The history of the guarding of the gospel is not simply a history of those who have a level of academics and theology who wrote down the creeds that we are so thankful for, but it is also a history of unsung men and women who in their day were prepared to live and die for Jesus Christ.

The gospel is very simple—allow God’s grace to flow through you and trust that He will bless your efforts. You will then have a legacy of love and truth.

Thanks to Alister Beg for this story.

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joe-sturnioloBy Joe Sturniolo
Christian Family Legacy and Wealth Planning
Joe believes that stronger families are the vehicle God uses to bring
about significant impact for His Kingdom.

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