Fort William

This summer I called at a northerly British town, the name of which has changed several times. Originally Maryburgh, it was renamed Gordonsburgh, and then Duncansburgh before settling on Fort William. Arriving in June, the heatwave fried us, yet snow was still visible atop nearby Ben Nevis. We had time to visit the site of the old fort around which the town grew, which now lies ruinous, a haunt of teens and dogwalkers. The area was more prosperous than I had heard tell and the tourist industry appeared to be booming. The fort, first established by Cromwell’s New Model Army in a bid to pacify the troublesome Scottish clans, was a symbol of oppression and domination. Yet it was that very order it imposed which allowed the current prosperity and flourishing. Should ever insurrection and violence again characterise the Scots Highlands, peace and affluence would be among the first to flee. Order and security allow other things to thrive.

The Christian, unlike the lawless unbeliever, is subject to God’s law and Christ’s yoke. Yet this commitment to righteousness and good living grants many benefits. Godliness creates healthy families, unabused livers, growing savings accounts and generous spirits. Ungodliness begets greed, selfishness, malice and envy. Subjection to Christ beings exaltation; submission to His will brings freedom; obedience to His word brings joy and healing.

Make me a captive, Lord,
And then I shall be free.
Force me to render up my sword
And I shall conqueror be.
I sink in life's alarms
When by myself I stand;
Imprison me within thine arms,
And strong shall be my hand.

-George Matheson, 1890