XIII. ROBERT GORDON OF KNOCKBREX
’A single-hearted and painful
Christian, much employed in parliaments
and public meetings after the year 1638.’—Livingstone.
’Hall-binks are slippery.’—Gordon to Rutherford.
Robert Gordon of Knockbrex, in his religious character, was a combination of Old Honest and Mr. Fearing in the Pilgrim’s Progress. He was as single-hearted and straightforward as that worthy old gentleman was who early trysted one Good-Conscience to meet him and give him his hand over the river which has no bridge; and he was at the same time as troublesome to Samuel Rutherford, his minister and correspondent, as Greatheart’s most troublesome pilgrim was to him. In two well-chosen words John Livingstone tells us the deep impression that the laird of Knockbrex made on the men of his day. With a quite Scriptural insight and terseness of expression, Livingstone simply says that Robert Gordon was the most ‘single-hearted and painful’ of all the Christian men known to his widely-acquainted and clear-sighted biographer.
Now there may possibly be some need that the epithet ‘painful’ should be explained, as it is here applied to this good man, but everybody knows without any explanation what it is for any man to be ‘single-hearted.’ This was the fine character our Lord gave to Nathanael when He saluted him as an Israelite indeed in whom was no guile. It is singleness of heart that so clears up the understanding