From Illustrations From the Book of Proverbs “The plague is as rampant in our streets as it is represented to be in the Proverbs. Mankind has sat for the picture: there is no mistake in the outline; there is no exaggeration in the coloring. It is a mirror held up for the world to see itself in. Dark as the lines are in which the importunate, shameless solicitations of a wanton woman are drawn on this page, they are not darker than the reality, as seen in our crowded thoroughfares by day and by night. The vulture, with unerring instinct, scents the carrion and flutters around the place where it lies until an opportunity occurs of alighting upon it and satiating her appetite on the loathsome food. The power of sin lies in its pleasure. If stolen waters were not sweet, no one would steal the waters. This is part of the mystery in which our being is involved by the fall, and it is one of the most fearful features of our case. Our appetite is diseased. If our bodily appetite were so perverted that it should crave for what is poisonous and loathe wholesome food, we would not give ourselves up to each random inclination: the risk of death would be great and valuing life, we would set a guard on the side of danger. But in man fallen there is a diseased relish for that which destroys. Sin, which is the death of a man’s soul, is yet sweet to the man’s taste.”
Rev William Arnot (1808–1875) was a Scottish minister and theological writer. He was born on 6 November 1808 at a farm in the parish of Forgandenny near Scone, where his father was a farmer. William was the youngest of seven children. His mother died at his birth.[ He was educated at the local parish school then trained as a gardener alongside his older brother Robert Arnot. He worked independently as a gardener from age 16 to 20. He then decided to study for the ministry. In November 1828 he left for Glasgow and, after a year of private study, entered Glasgow University in October 1829. He had two noteworthy classmates, whose biographies he later wrote: James Halley, who died quite young, and James Hamilton, later minister of the National Scotch Church in Regent Square, London. After completing his theological studies he was licensed by the Church of Scotland in October 1837 and became assistant minister to Rev John Bonar of Larbert and Dunipace.
In 1838 he found a patron and was ordained minister of St Peter’s Church in Glasgow, one of the new quoad sacra churches built under the extension scheme of Rev Thomas Chalmers. At the Disruption of 1843 he left the established church and joined the Free Church of Scotland, taking a large portion of his congregation with him. In 1863, on the appointment of Rev Dr Robert Rainy to a professorship, Arnot was called to replace Rainy as minister of the Free High Church in Edinburgh, housed in New College, Edinburgh. While in Edinburgh, from 1871, he edited a monthly religious magazine, the Family Treasury. He three times visited America: in 1845, to minister in the dominion of Canada; in 1870 as a delegate from the Free Church of Scotland to congratulate the presbyterian churches in the northern states on their reunion; and for the third time, in 1873, as a member of the Evangelical Alliance, to attend its meetings at New York.
Having been a sympathiser with the northern states and the anti-slavery movement, he was well received in the United States. The honorary degree of D.D. was offered to Arnot by the University of Glasgow, and afterwards formally by the University of New York; but for personal reasons he declined both. He died after a six month illness at his home, 8 Merchiston Avenue in Edinburgh, 3 June 1875. He is buried beneath a huge but simple red granite monument in the northern half of the SE section of Grange, Cemetery in Edinburgh.