Guthrie, William

, an eminent clergyman of the presbyterian church of Scotland, descended from the ancient family of Pitforthy in the shire of Angus, was horn on his father’s estate of Pitforthy in 1620, and educated at the university of St. Andrew’s under his cousin, professor James Guthrie, who was executed at the restoration for his opposition to episcopal government, although he had with equal zeal opposed the usurpation of Cromwell. Under this tutor our author became a very hard student, well versed in the classical languages; and after taking his degree of M. A. studied divinity under professor Samuel Rutherford. He became afterwards private tutor to the eldest son of the earl of London, chancellor of Scotland, and in November 1644 was presented to the church of Finwick, a newly erected parish, and consisting of inhabitants rude and unacquainted with religion. The pains he bestowed upon them, however, soon produced a favour able change in their manners, and his easy and affable address and example had a remarkable elfcct upon them. With this view, as he was fond of fishing, fowling, and other field sports, he took those opportunities to mix | among his people, and recommend morals and piety. He was not less happy in curbing the insolence of Cromwell’s army when in Scotland, by addressing them with an eloquence and air of authority which they could not resist. In the mean time his great fame as a preacher procured him invitations from the more eligible churches of Renfrew, Linlithgow, Stirling, Glasgow, and Edinburgh, to all which he preferred his humble situation at Finwick, and continued among his parishioners until 1664, when he was ejected by Burnet, archbishop of Glasgow, notwithstanding the solicitations of the earl of Glencairn, then chancellor of Scotland, and other persons of rank, who represented Mr. Guthrie as an excellent man and well affected to government. He did not long survive this sentence, dying Oct. Jo, 1665. Some spurious publications were attributed to him; but the only genuine work extant is his “Christian’s Great Interest,” which has long been a standard book in Scotland, and has been translated into Dutch and French, and, as reported, into one of the Eastern languages, at the expence of the Hon. Robert Boyle. 1


Life prefixed to the above work.