Henry Scougal was a Scottish theologian, minister and author. After studying at King’s College Aberdeen he pastored a church before returning as professor of divinity at King’s.
George Whitefield’s most acclaimed work was The Life of God in the Soul of Man, originally written as an encouraging and spiritually insightful letter but later published and pivotal to Methodist Revival; George claimed he never understood true religion until reading this classic work.
Early Life and Education
Henry Scougal was born in Scotland in 1650 and quickly immersed himself in religion from an early age, spending much of his free time reading, meditation, and studying Old Testament passages for historical information. Later he attended King’s College Aberdeen and graduated with distinction.
After graduating, he was ordained and served as minister at a church 20 miles outside Aberdeen for one year before returning to his post as professor of divinity at Aberdeen College.
Scougal wrote one of the most enduring Puritan classics during this time: The Life of God in the Soul of Man. Initially written as an encouragement letter for an uncertain friend, its influence soon extended to such people as George Whitefield and Charles Wesley.
Scougal was a prominent Scottish theologian and minister known for writing multiple books. After graduating from King’s College at Aberdeen at age nineteen he quickly earned the position of professor of philosophy at that school before serving as pastor for one year before returning to academia.
Scougal produced several works during his tenure. Most famous among them is The Life Of God In The Soul Of Man, written for a friend to explain Christianity and provide spiritual counsel. George Whitefield himself said that before reading Scougal’s treatise he never truly comprehended religion!
Henry Scougal succumbed to tuberculosis at age 28.
Achievement and Honors
Henry Scougal was an outstanding theologian, minister, and author. Known for his considerable intellectual talents – an impressive memory, aptitude for languages, and adept reading historical passages – Henry was also an ardent supporter of the Church of Scotland.
Scougal graduated from King’s College Aberdeen in 1665 and was appointed professor of philosophy. Following one year spent pastoring rural parishes, he returned to King’s College as professor of divinity until his death from tuberculosis just prior to reaching 28th birthday in 1678.
Scougal is best-known for his timeless classic, Private Reflections and Occasional Maxims, written as an encouragement and stimulus to one of his friends but that eventually found wide readership and helped facilitate the Methodist Revival across Britain and America.
Henry Scougal had long been an ardent Christian since childhood. His parents gave him a sound religious education and most of his free time was devoted to reading, meditation and praying – particularly studying historical passages from the Bible.
After graduation, he served as a regent at King’s College at Aberdeen University. Later that same year, he was appointed minister at a church 20 miles away before returning to King’s as professor of philosophy and divinity.
His most well-known work was the timeless classic The Life of God in the Soul of Man, written as an encouragement and spiritual advice letter for a friend and eventually published for wider distribution; its publication became one of the key catalysts behind Great Awakening movements across both England and America.