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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

"Hunted and Harried" by R M Ballantyne


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By Alexander Carse - http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/yourpaintings/paintings/covenanters-in-a-glen-94045, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28714653

An illegal conventicle. Covenanters in a Glen, painting by Alexander Carse.
I have just finished reading this book by R M Ballantyne.

I have many of R M Ballantyne's novels and indeed I sold a collection of them on Gumtree a couple of years ago.

I thought most of his books were Children's literature and usually with a Christian world view woven into the plots.

This book certainly has a Christian perspective but probably questionable material  for pre teens today.

It tells the story in a part fiction part real life saga of the "Covenanters" period of the struggles in Scotland in the 17th century endured by the Presbyterian Church.

Perhaps Ballantyne's most famous novel was "The Coral Island" which I first read as a pre teenager.

This book is about a period of history I really knew nothing of.

What a terrible "eye opener" .

It's parallels in modern times are probably similar to the recent troubled years of Ireland.

The Signing of the National Covenant in Greyfriars Kirkyard, by William Allan.
By William Allan (1782–1850) - City of Edinburgh Council, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=51122655

It shows how people of faith,"covenanters" are persecuted by Dragoons on the order of the King of England who was according to history trying to re establish the Papacy in Scotland.

The Covenanters were Presbyterian Evangelical Christians.

They were forced to hold clandestine meetings in houses and open air meetings in secluded places in the countryside.

These were often attended by thousands.

The locations were called Conventicles.

There was a price on certain clergy and lay people's heads.

Many were forced to flee and hide in caves.

The novel graphically follows the lives of a core group of people,mostly fictional, but based on facts.

They are shown interacting with actual historical figures from both sides of the divide.

The treatment given to the Covenanters was totally anti Christian.

The Covenanters were peaceful people but driven to defend themselves and their families.

Eventually the king was overthrown and decrees were drawn up and signed to make sure nothing like what hapenned could ever happen again.

This was not before many years of bloodshed and martyrdom.

you can read the whole book at the link below at project Guttenberg.

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/21738/21738-h/21738-h.htm