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James Stewart, a Covenanter lawyer and writer, is characterized by Wodrow as "a great Christian, and an able Statesman, one of the greatest Lawers ever Scotland bred, of universall learning, of vast reading, great and long experience in publick business..." (Wodrow's Analecta II, 205).
This book is "(t)he product of joint authorship. The first and logical part of this famous covenanting work was executed by Sir James Stewart of Goodtrees; it bears the stamp of a mind of great vigor and grasp. The narrative portion was written by the Rev. James Stirling of Paisley, whose Recollections form a interesting portion of Wodrow's Analecta.
In 1667 the Council issued a proclamation against Naphtali, ordering it to be burned. (Wod., II., 100.) All copies were to be delivered up to the nearest magistrates, and a fine of ten thousand pounds Scots was the penalty inflicted upon any in whose hands the book should afterwards be found. It passed through the flames unscathed only to become dearer than ever to the Scottish hearts. Numerous editions have appeared, edited by such honored names as Dr. Henry Duncan, Ruthwell, Dr. W. Wilson, Carmylie, and others... The Book was translated into Dutch in 1668 by Borstius of Rotterdam...
The literature of the covenanting age must not be tried by a severe aesthetic standard. During the persecutions, indeed, it was confined chiefly to protests, declarations, and dying testimonies. In these last, as collected in Naphtali and elsewhere, there is a certain severe, purged simplicity, a pathos and grandeur which move you to your depths. There are not many individual expressions that will bear quotation; the power is in the whole, and you cannot help admiring the manly sense, spirit, calmness, dignity, and piety which distinguished the sufferers to a degree so equal that you fancy them a band of brothers" (cited in Johnston, Treasury of the Scottish Covenant, pp. 375-367).
A rare old gem of 554 pages.
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