James Guthrie

Associated Locations:

  • Greyfriars Kirk – Signing of the National Covenant
  • Forfarshire, Scotland – Birthplace

Associated Dates:

  • 1612 – Born
  • February 28, 1638 – Signing of the National Covenant
  • June 1, 1661 – Martyred

James Guthrie

Christ-like Character Traits

Self Control

“His temper was very steady and composed; he could reason upon the most subtle points with great solidity, and when every one else was warm his temper was never ruffled. At any time when indecent heats or wranglings happened to fall in when reasoning, it was his ordinary custom to say, “Enough of this, let us go to some other subject; we are warm, and can dispute no longer with advantage.” Perhaps he had the greatest mixture of fervent zeal and sweet calmness in his temper, of any man in his time.” 1

Inspiring Stories

Nae Jouking

“One day a friend would have had him compromise a little. Said he, ‘Mr Guthrie, we have an old Scots proverb, “Jouk [duck] that the wave may gang oure ye! Will ye nae jouk a wee bit” ‘ And gravely Guthrie replied, ‘There is nae jouking in the Cause of Christ!'” 2

Signing the Scottish Covenant

“After having served his college some time as regent or assistant professor in the Moral Philosophy Chair, Guthrie took licence, and was immediately thereafter settled as parish minister of Lauder, in the momentous year 1638. And when every parish in Scotland sent up its representatives to Edinburgh to subscribe the covenant in Greyfriars Churchyard, the parish of Lauder had the pride of seeing its young minister take his life in his hand, like all the best ministers and truest patriots in the land. But just as Guthrie was turning in at the gate of the Greyfriars, who should cross the street before him, so as almost to run against him, but the city executioner! The omen —for it was a day of omens—made the young minister stagger for a moment, but only for a moment. At the same time the ominous incident made such an impression on the young Covenanter’s heart and imagination, that he said to some of his fellow-subscribers as he laid down the pen, ‘I know that I shall die for what I have done this day, but I cannot die in a better cause.'” 3



Scots Worthies (John Howie)
Causes of the Lord’s Wrath Against Scotland (James Guthrie)

Related Articles

James Guthrie (Alexander Whyte)

  1. John Howie, The Scot’s Worthies, pg. 254
  2. Jock Purves, Fair Sunshine: Character Studies of the Scottish Covenanters
  3. Alexander Whyte, James Guthrie
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