But as we stand and look at Cardoness Castle, with its hard tasks for eternal life, a divine voice says to ourselves, Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; and at that voice the old keep fades from our eyes, and our own house in modern Edinburgh rises up before us. Here, too, are old men with hard tasks between them and their salvation—a past life to read, to repent of, to redress, to reform, to weep deliberate and bitter tears over. There are debts and many other disorders that have to be put right; there are those under us—tenants and servants and poor relations—whose cases have to be dealt with considerately, justly, kindly, affectionately. There are things in those we love best—in a father, in a mother, in a husband, in a wife—that we have to be patient and forbearing with, and to command ourselves in the presence of Salvation was not easy in Cardoness Castle, with such a master, and such a mistress, and such children, and such tenants, and with such debts and straits of all kinds; and Cardoness Castle is repeated over and over again in hundreds of Edinburgh houses to-night.
’Grace groweth best in winter.’—Rutherford.
Elizabeth Melville was one of the ladies of the Covenant. It was a remarkable feature of a remarkable time in Scotland that so many ladies of birth, intellect and influence were found on the side of the persecuted Covenanters. I do not remember any other period in the history of the Church of Christ, since the day when the women of Galilee ministered of their substance to our Lord Himself, in which noble women took such a noble part as did Lady Culross, Lady Jane Campbell, the Duchess of Hamilton, the Duchess of Athol, and other such ladies in that eventful time. We had something not unlike it again in the ten years’ conflict that culminated in the Disruption; and in the social and religious movements of our own day, women of rank and talent are not found wanting. At the same time, I do not know where to find such a cloud of witnesses for the faith of Christ from among the eminent women of any one generation as Scotland can show in her ladies of the Covenant.