Hugh Binning (1627-1653) was a bright spot in the Scottish Reformation. At 19, he occupied the chair of Philosophy at the College of Glasgow. In 1650, he was ordained as minister in Govan, near Glasgow. He’s probably most known for silencing Oliver Cromwell when he tried to bridge the gap between the Resolutioners (generally pro-King) and Protestors (generally anti-King). Though he and Cromwell remained on opposing sides, Cromwell couldn’t help but acknowledge Binning’s irenic spirit and worthy scholarship. Binning died from consumption (tuberculosis) at 26.
Binning wrote A Treatise on Christian Love, from which the following quote is taken:
“. . . charity must rule our external actions, and have the predominant hand in the use of all gifts, in the venting of all opinions. Whatsoever knowledge and ability a man has, charity must employ it and use it; without this, duties and graces make a noise, but they are shallow and empty within. Now he shows the sweet properties of [charity], and good effects of it: how universal an influence it has on all things, but especially, how necessary it is to keep the unity of the church. . . . It is a great weakness and meanness of spirit to be soon angry” (Banner, 2004: pp18-19).
If that was good enough to quiet Cromwell, it must be good enough for me.