The Diary and Life of Andrew Bonar (1810-1892), gives a panoramic view of one of the most fascinating periods of Scotland's church history. But first and foremost it is the record of God's work in the life of a man who represented all that was finest in the evangelical life of that country.
A pupil of Thomas Chalmers, friend of Robert Murray M'Cheyne, participant in the revivals of 1839 and 1859, faithful witness against the inroads of 'Higher Criticism', Bonar's name became highly esteemed far beyond the borders of his own church. Yet his life-long concern was communion with God and his diary discloses that hidden yet most helpful aspect of his witness.
Convinced, like M'Cheyne, that 'it is not great talents God blesses so much as great likeness to Jesus' and that 'unholiness lies at the root of our little success', Andrew Bonar sought to press further and further into the presence of God. He knew that 'one of the gravest perils which besets the ministry is a restless scattering of energies over an amazing multiplicity of interests which leaves no margin of time and of strength for receptive and absorbing communion with God'. Consequently prayer, meditation, and Bible study were for him the chief work of every day. The confession, in reviewing his life and ministry, 'One terrible failure confronted me everywhere, viz., ;Ye have asked nothing in my name& want of prayer in right measure and manner', was not the vain regret of a morbid mind but of one who had learned by experience the supreme importance and value of prayer.
Unlike some diarists, however, Bonar was no recluse. Rather he 'seemed to live in a perpetual sunshine and to spread not gloom but brightness and good nature wherever he appeared'. His Diary and Life is one of the great treasures left to the church from the nineteenth century, and deserves to be widely and eagerly read.