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The Cotter's Saturday Night

Recently, in my studies, I twice came across references to the poem "The Cotter's Saturday Night," by Robert Burns. The first was in a commentary on Psalm 127 which said, "This Psalm has been called 'The Cotter's Saturday Night Song.'" I had to look up the word "cotter," which I discovered means a cottager, cottage dweller, the mark of a peasant, rural laborer or small farmer. The other reference was in a message by the late Rev. J. Gary Aitken entitled, The Biblical Standard For Covenant Fathers and Family Worship. Rev. Aitken quoted remarks made by Dr. John F. Cannon to the 1897 General Assembly of the PCUS on the occasion of the 250th Anniversary of the Westminster Convention. Cannon declared, "It is no accident that The Cotter's Saturday Night was written by a poet trained under the Westminster Standards, and that its scene is laid in a land molded by Presbyterianism. A Scots servant girl hearing the poem read before a company of admiring English people naively said that she saw nothing very wonderful about it, for that was the way they did at her father's house every night. Such scenes are indigenous to Presbyterian Soil; and if our beloved old church ever loses her glory, it will be when the fires go out on her family altars."