Thursday, February 28, 2019

Rutherford revised (42)

42To my Lady Kenmure            From Kirkcudbright Undated 
Madam, - the reason I did not write to your Ladyship was not forgetfulness of you but the lack of convenient carrier, for I am more than obliged to be kind (on paper at least) to your Ladyship. I bless our Lord, through Christ, who has brought you home again to your own country from Edinburgh, where you have see you with your own eyes that which our Lord's truth taught to you before, namely that worldly glory is nothing but an mist, a shadow, the form on the water or something less than that, even nothing; and that it is not without reason that our Lord has said in His word, 'the present form of this world is passing away.'(1Cor 7:31) - where our Lord compares it to an image in a mirror, for it is the mirror of Adams sons. Some come to the mirror, and see in it the picture of honour, - and only picture, for true honour is to be great in the sight of God; and others see image the shadow of riches, - and only a shadow, for lasting riches are one of the means of wisdom at her left-hand (Pro 3:16); another third  see an  image the face of painted pleasures, and those looking I think the image they see in the mirror is a living man, until the Lord come to and break the mirror in pieces and removes the face, and then, like Pharaoh woken up, they say, 'it was only a dream'. I know your Ladyship does not think like the world about these three painted faces; and blessed be our Lord that it is so. It is good for you, madam; for they are not worthy to be your suitors for marriage to your soul, hereto look for no such match going to be married  to such likenesses. Know therefore, Madam, the place where our Lord Jesus comes to woo a bride, is in the fire: for if you are one of Zion's daughter (yes  which I do not doubt, since ever I first had occasion to see in your Ladyship such  evidences of the grace of God), the Lord who has used fire in the church, and his furnace in Jerusalem (Is 31:9) is purifying you in the furnace. Therefore be content to live in the fire, and every day be decorating your wedding dress, that you may be splendid as a bride for Christ, a bride he has fitted  out, made inwardly beautiful. 'forget your people and your father's house,
11 and the king will desire your beauty. (Ps 45:11).  If your Ladership has not changed (as I hope you have not), I believe you consider yourself to be among those whom God has tested for many years and refined as silver. But Madam ,I will show your Ladyship a privilege which lack that you in this case and have. Those who are prosperous, and fat with earthly joys, and the increased ritua with children and friends; and though all the Word of God is written to such people for their instruction, yet to you, who is in trouble (excuse me, Madam, for saying this), from whom the Lord has taken many children, and who he has tested in many ways, there are some chapters, some particular promises in the Word of God, made in a most special manner, which would never have been yours, as they now are, if your life had been as others. And therefore, all the comfor ists, promises and mercies that God offers to sufferers, they are many love letters written to you. Take them to yourself Madam, and claim your right and not be robbed. It is no little comfort that God has written some scriptures to you, which he has not written to others. In this you should be envied and not pitied; and in this you are indeed, like people of another world, and those who are above the ordinary rank of mankind, whom our King and Lord,  our bridegroom Jesus. in his love letter to you His well-beloved bride,  has named above all the rest.  He has written comforts His hearty recommendation to you in Is  54:4,5 Ps 147: 2,3. Read these and similar, and think your God is like a friend who sends a letter to a whole house and family, that speaks in his letter by name to some that are dearest to Him in the house. You are then Madam, among the dearest friends of the Bridegroom. If it was lawful, I would envy you, that  God honoured you above many of His dear children. Therefore Madam, your part is in this case, seeing God takes nothing from you except that which he is to supply by his own presence; desire your Lord to know His own room and take it, even for Him to come in, in the place of dead children, 'Jehovah know your own place and take it', is all you have to say. 
   Madam, I am persuaded that this world is it to you a rough inn,  and that you are like a traveler who has his load upon his back, and his stick in his hand and his feet upon the threshold. Go forward, honourable and elect lady, in the strength of your Lord (let the world stay at home and keep the house) with your faces towards Him who longs  more for a sight of you more than you can do of Him. Before long He will us. I hope to see you as cheerfully laugh afternoon as you have mourned delete before noon. The hand of the Lord, the hand of the Lord be you in your journey. What have you to do her yese? This is not your mountain of rest. Rise, then and set your foot up on the mountain go up out of the desert, leaning upon shoulder of your Beloved  (Son 8:5). If you knew the welcome that awaits you when you come home, you would hasten on for you will see your Lord raise His own holy hand to your face and wipe away all tears from your eyes and I trust then you will have joy in your heart. 
   Madam, I am short of paper but not of affection for you. Remember the state of the church; pray that Jerusalem may be like Isaiah prophesied 'a heavy stone for all the peoples. '  (Zec 12:3), that whoever bows down to roll this stone out of the way,  may hurt and strain the joints of their back and strain their arms yes and put their shoulders out of joints. Praying God that the stone is still in place and keep joined to the cornerstone. I hope it will be so; He is a skilled Masterbuilder who laid it. 
   I will Madam, though very downcast, be refreshed with a couple of lines from your Ladyship which I leave to your own wisdom. I would show you great plea made by the town of Kirkcubright for them to have my poor labours among them. If the Lord calls and his people cry, who am I to resist? But without His seen calling, and until the flock which I now oversee be planted with one to whom I dare entrust Christ's bride, neither would gold nor silver nor favour of men, would not I hope [oose me. I leave your Ladyship praying more earnestly for grace and mercy to be with you and multiplied on you here and afterwards  more than  my pen can write. The Lord Jesus be with your spirit.
   Your Ladyship's at all obedience in the Lord,    S.R.

Rutherford revised (41)

41. To Marion M'Naught             From Edinburgh Undated

Well-beloved  sister, - my love in Christ remembered. I hear good news concerning our church, but I am afraid our King will not be resisted, and therefore, let us not to be secure and careless. I wonder if this church does not come through our Lord's fan, since there is so much chaff in it are all; but I persuade myself, the Son of God's wheat will not be blown away. Let us put on God's armour, and be strong in the Lord. If the devil and the church's enemies punch a hole in that armour, let our Lord see to it;- let us put it on, and stand. We have Jesus on our side, and those who would not take a blow behind him, are not worthy of such a Captain. We are in sight of his flag; his banner over us is love; look up to that white banner, and stand, I beg you, in the Lord of victory.
   My brother writes to me about your depression, and of temptations that's sorely press you. I am content it is so, for you bear the mark of the Lord Jesus. So it was with the Lords apostle when he was to come to Macedonia (2Cor 7:5):  his body had no rest; he was troubled on every side, and did not know which way to turn; outside were fightings, and inside fears. In the great work of our redemption, your lovely, beautiful and glorious Friend and well-beloved Jesus, was brought to tears and strong cries,; so that his face was a wet with tears and blood, arising from a holy fear and the weight of the curse. Take a drink from the Son of God's cup, and love it more because he drank from it before you. There is no poison in it. Many times I wonder that a child of God should as  have a sad heart, considering what their Lord is preparing for them.
   Is your mind troubled about that business now happening in Edinburgh?  I trust in my Lord, that in the end he will give you your heart's desire; even though it doesn't go well, the Lord will feed your soul, and all the hungry souls in that town. So I ask you in the Lord, to pray for a submissive will, and pray as our Lord Jesus tells you. 'Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven'. And though your faith, be troubled by temptations, do you think there is one tree in our Lord's garden that is not often shaken by wind from all the four corners? Surely there is none. Rebuke your soul as the Lord's prophet does, 'Why are you cast down, O my soul,and why are you in turmoil within me?. (Ps 42;11). That was the word of a man going over hill and mountain; but God held on to him. Swim through your temptations and troubles to come to that lovely, amiable person, Jesus, to whom your soul is dear. In your temptations run to the promises: they are our Lord's branches hanging on the water, so that our LORD's silly, half- drowned children may take hold them; if you let them go, you will fall to the ground. Are you troubled with the situation in God's church? Our Lord will always have her between sinking and swimming. You will have her going through a thousand doubts, and through hell, like a lame woman, limping and wanting someone to lean on (Mic 4:6-7), that God may be your crutch. That broken ship will come to the land, because Jesus is the pilot. Faint not; you will see the salvation of God, - or say, God never spoke His word through me; and I would rather never have been born, were it so with me. My Lord has sealed me. I dare not deny that I have been down since I left you, fearing that I be deserted because of my unthankfulness. But the Lord will be kind to me, whether I will or not. I rest that much in His rich grace, that He will not change. As you love me, pray for me in particular
   After consulting with Carletoun, I have written to Mr David Dixon concerning Mr Hugh M'Kail, and asked him to write his mind to Carletoun, and Carletoun to Edinburgh, they may particularly remember Mr Hugh to the Lord; and by God is a wonderful providence I happened upon a convenient  and trustworthy bearer.
  No more. I recommend you to the Lord's grace, and your husband and children.  The Lord Jesus be with your spirit.
   Yours in the Lord,   S.R.
P.S.- Mistress, - I had not time did give my advice to your daughter and Grizel; so you will give her my message. Assure her now, that because of her tender age, she is a clean sheet,  ready for writing good or bad; and it is a sweet and glorious thing for her to give herself up to Christ, so he may write upon her His Father's name, and His own new name. Make sure she be the acquainted with the book of God; for in there are the promises that our Lord writes upon his own, and does them in them and for them. I am persuaded, when I think she is in the company of such parents, and  has opportunity to learn Christ, the Christ is wooing her soul; and I pray to God that she may not refuse such husband. And therefore I tell her, and ask her by the mercies of God, by their wounds and blood of him who died for her, by the word of truth which she hears and can read, by the coming of the Son of God can judge the world, that she would complete your joy, and learn Christ, and walk in Christ. In many years time she will know this is the truth of God; and I promise myself, having seen the beginning, she will give herself to Him that gave Himself for her. Let her begin praying; for if she remembers her Creator in the days of her youth, he will be kind to her in her old age. It will be part of my prayers, that this be so in her, by him who is able to do exceeding abundantly, who's Grace again I recommend you, and her, and all yours.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Rutherford revised (40)

40. To my Lady Kenmure            From Anwoth  5 Dec 1634

Madam, -  My humble obedience in the Lord remembered. I write to tell you, it has pleased the Lord, to let me see, by all accounts, my work in God's house here is at an end; and I must now learn to suffer; but I am poor scholar. By a strange providence, some of my writing about the corruptions of the times, have come to the kings possession. I know, that wise and well-connected people will censure me as not  being wise nor careful enough; but that is to be expected as a part of the cross of those who suffer for Him. Yet I love and pardon the one responsible; I would commit my life to him, though through him this has happened to me. But I looked higher than him. I do not question your Ladyship's love and care to do what you can from my help, and am sure that in my troubles, your Ladyship will wish me well. I seek nothing except that my Lord may be honoured by my witness. I was willing to serve him more; but seeing that he would have no more of my work, and this land will drive me out, I pray for grace to learn to get on with sadness, if I may give so rough  a name to such a mark of those who will be crowned with Christ. And though I might possibly prove a faint-hearted, unwise man in this, I do intend otherwise; and I do not want to go on the calm or sunny side of religion, or to put truth between me and a storm: my Saviour did not so for me, who in His suffering took the windy side of the hill. No more; but the Don of God be with you.
   Your Ladyship's in the Lord Jesus,   S.R.

Rutherford revised (39)

39.To my Lady Kenmure              From Anwoth  29 Nov 1634

Madam madam, - all dutiful obedience in our Lord remembered. I know that you are now near one of those difficulties in which you have been before. But because your outside comforts are fewer, I pray to him whose you are, to supply what you want another way. For though we cannot get to the bottom of his wise providence, who rules all; yet it is certain this is not only good, which is the Almighty has done, but it is best. He has counted all your steps to heaven; and if your Ladyship was through this water,, then there are fewer steps behind; and is this was the last, I hope your Ladyship has learned by waiting to make your acquaintance with  death, which is tl the Lord, the woman's seed, Jesus, only a bloody heel and not a broken head (Gen 3:15). Christ cannot it be bad to ?his friends, who get far less of death than He did. Therefore, Madam, seeing you do not know if the journey is ended, and you have come to the waters edge, in God's wisdom,  look at all your papers and accounts, and see whether you are ready to receive the kingdom of heaven as a little child, in whom there is little arrogance and much humility. I would not want to discourage your Ladyship, but there is an absolute need that, near eternity, we look before we leap. I am sure your Ladyship thinks about it  often, and that your old Guide will go before you and take your hand. His is love to you will never gets sour, nor wear out of date, like the love of men, which often grows old and grey-haired before themselves. You have so much more reason to love a better life than this one, because this world has been a cold fire to you, with  little heat for the body, and little light, and much smoke to hurt the eyes. But Madam, your Lord would have you think it is only dry breasts, full of wind and empty of food. In this recent trouble that has happened to your Ladyship, you have seen God's love and care, in such a way that I thought our Lord broke off the sharp point of the cross. And made us and your Ladyship see Christ take possession on the earth, from him who is now reigning and triumphing with the hundred and forty four thousand who stand with the Lamb on Mount Zion. I know the sweetest of it is bitter for you; but your Lord will not give you painted crosses. He doesn't not take all the bitterness from the cross, nor does he quite take the sharp edge from it; then it would be of your choosing and not His, which would have as little reason to it as it would have  little profit for us. Only Madam, God now commands you to believe and put down your anchor in the dark night, and climb up the mountain. May he who has called you, establish and confirm you to the end.
   I had wanted to visit your Ladyship, but when I thought more about it, the truth is, I cannot see any benefit my company would give you; and this is the only reason that has changed my plan, I know that many honourable friends and worthy Christians will see your Ladyship, and that the Son of God is with you, to whose  love and mercy, from my soul, I recommend your Ladyship, and remain.
   Your Ladyship's at all dutiful obedience, in his sweet Lord Jesus,  S.R..


Rutherford revised (38)

38   To Marion M'Naught             From Anwoth  25 Sep 1634

Mistress, - my dearest love in Christ remembered. I ask you to tell your soul to return to rest, and to glorify your dearest Lord in believing; and know that for the good-will of Him who lives in the bush, the burning church will not be burnt to ashes; but blessing will 'rest on the head of Joseph,
on the pate of him who is prince among his brothers ' (Deu 33:16). And are not the saints separated from their brothers and sold and hated? The archers bitterly attacked himshot at himand harassed him severelyyet his bow remained unmovedhis arms were made agileby the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob. (from there is the Shepherdthe Stone of Israel),  (Gen 49:23,24). The Stone of Israel will not be broken in pieces; it is hammered upon by the children of this world, and we shall live and not die. Our Lord has done all this, to see if we will believe, and not give over; and I am sure you need to keep your work. The eye of Christ has been upon all this busyness; and he pays good attention to who is for Him, and who is against Him. Let us do our part for we want Christ's approval. The Son of God is close to His enemies. If they were not deaf, they might hear the sound of his feet; and he will come suddenly upon His weeping children, and take them on His knee, and lay their head on his breast, and dry their watering eyes. And this date is fast coming. For still the vision awaits its appointed timeit hastens to the endit will not lieIf it seems slowwait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay. (Hab 2:3). These questions between us and our opponents, will all be decided in that day, when the Son of God will come, and settle all cases; and it will be seen whether we or they have been for Christ, and who has been arguing for Baal. It is not known what we are now; but when our life will appear in glory, and we will see who laughs the fastest on that day. Therefore we must keep our souls in patience, and go into our room and rest until this trouble is over. We will not weep for long when our Lord shall take us up, on the day that he gathers jewels ' Then those who feared the LORD spoke with one another. The LORD paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the LORD and esteemed his name. (Mal 3:16). I shall never believe otherwise, but that our Lord is heating a fire for the enemies of his church in Scotland. It is true that the bride of Christ has played the prostitute, and she has left her first Husband, and the enemies do not think that they have offended, for we have sinned against the Lord, but they will get their thanks from the devil. The rod will be thrown into the fire, so that we may sing as in our youth. Therefore, my dear friend, lay down your head upon Christ's breast. Do not weep; the Lion of the tribe of Judah will arise. The sun has gone down on the prophets, and our gold is dim, and the Lord feeds his people with bitter waters; yet Christ only stands behind the wall, His heart yearns for Scotland. He waits, as Isaiah says, so He show mercy. If we could go home, and take our brothers with us, weeping facing Zion, asking the way there, he would bring us back from captivity. We may not think that God does not care about his honour, while men trample it under foot; He will clothe Himself with vengeance, like a cloak, and appear against our enemies for our deliverance. We were never deceived, and God will not now begin with you. Keep on fighting with the angel of the covenant, and you will get the blessing. Fight! He is happy to be overcome by wrestling.
   C      Commend you me to Grizel. Train her to learn to know the enemies of the Lord, and to take them as her enemies, and to learn to know the right door into the Son of God, to say, 'My Well-beloved is mine, and I am His.' is a sweet and glorious way of life, that none know except those who are sealed  and marked on the forehead with Christ's mark, and the new name, that Christ writes on His own. Grace, grace and Mercy be with you.   
               Yours  in Christ,  S.R.

Books read in March 2019

1, The Scottish Church, 1688-1843: The Age of the Moderates by Andrew L. Drummond (Author), James Bulloch  (Author)

Hard going at first as the results of the Glorious Revolution and then the Act of Union affected the church in Scotland. Episcopacy was still very much alive and in the Highlands it was the majority way. Then we have a small secession with the majority divided between Evangelicals and Moderates. Seceders invite Whitfield than reject him and the ensuing revival as he will not sign up to the Presbyterian church order. Here we have more than the title as the historical development of Scotland in thought and industry is described. The authors seem to show their sympathies are with the moderates when substitutionary atonement was questioned and the extent of the atonement. Chalmers is seen as an amazing force, Irvine an eccentric one. Patronage looms large throughout after the lairds' rights were established under Queen Anne. eventually it leads to the Disruption. A fascinating and informative history of Scotland. But I perceive one error. On p 150 it says Calvin applied a credal test to believers and wished to penalise failure by loss of citizenship. If this is so it was only a wish for Calvin, a mere French refugee, was not a citizen of Geneva until his latter years and even then he had no civic power.

2. Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God by Timothy Keller  (Author)

My original review said, 'A very helpful book which I intend to read again slowly and seek to follow its advice. Keller is always first rate. Here he shows himself to be spiritual, learned and erudite. One of the best books on prayer and it references works by Bennett and Matthew Henry which I have found practically useful in prayer. The practical theology of post reformation prayer is most informative. Two things missing - an index and a treatment of the imprecatory prayers as in the Psalms.  I believe there is a mistake on p.24. Surely prayer was eight times a day not seven?'
That was 2018. Now I have reread devotionally, more slowly and have been blessed by Keller again. I would now promote this one of my three favourites on prayer together with Bennett and Matthew Henry volumes, and now Gibson's work on Reformed Liturgy also.

3. The Church in Victorian Scotland, 1843-1874 by Andrew L. Drummond (Author), James Bulloch  (Author)

Like its predecessor volume, this is more than church history for it relates much of the social history of Victorian Scotland. This is post-disruption history by authors from the Church of Scotland. They seem to give as objective history as possible from liberal theologians. They help those who are Calvinists and sympathisers with the free Church, to see ourselves as others see us. Fascinating to learn of liturgical and worship evolution, missions, the impact of science and Biblical criticism. How culture and churches moved from Calvinism is related and moves towards unity.

4. Personal Reminiscences Of Charles Haddon Spurgeon. by W. Williams (Author)

Williams was a student at Spurgeon's College, a baptist minister nearby and a close personal friend. He wrote soon after the death of his friend. Here are anecdotes, aphorisms and sermon notes. Human biographical first hand insights.

5. Spurgeon: A New Biography by Arnold Dallimore (Author)

Probably the best modern one volume biography. But the author while dealing fairly with Spurgeon on smoking and drinking, does betray his own prejudices, those of modern Baptists. He and Spurgeon were children go their age. In Spurgeon's day smoking was not seen as unhealthy and teetotalism became the norm. If CHS had lived today he might have had a different attitude after the folly of Prohibition. I learned that teetotalism comes from Wesley's detestation of tea but not alcohol.

6. Lectures to My Students: a Selection from Addresses Delivered to the Students of the Pastor's College : by C. H Spurgeon (Author)

Mine is dated 1893 and the printing shows 37,000 which is a good indication of the popularity of the Prince of Preachers though this was for those going into Christian ministry Spiritual, practical, humorous - all characteristics of this great man and his work.

7. THE NEW PARK STREET PULPIT, containing sermons preached during the year, volume vi, 1860 by C H Spurgeon

My prize Spurgeon possession is this 1861 original. The Victorians must have been blessed with good eyesight for the print is small. One sermon published weekly. Some are Sunday sermons, some midweek.

8.Commenting and Commentaries: Two Lectures Addressed to the Students of the Pastors' College, Metropolitan Tabernacle, Together With a Catalogue of Biblical Commentaries and Expositions by C H. 1834-1892 Spurgeon (Author)

Mine is a Banner of Truth reprint of the 1876 original but now with the added lectures plus a textual index to CHS's sermons which is very useful if you want to know how he expounded a given text. 

9. Pictorial Biography of C. H. Spurgeon by Bob L. Ross (Author)

Mine is hardback. A helpful collection of photographs and also cartoons on Spurgeon. Some biography. Pictures of CHS at various ages, family an d friends. Quite a comprehensive collection.

10. The Gospel of the Kingdom. A Popular Exposition of the Gospel According to Matthew by C H. 1834-1892 Spurgeon (Author)

This was the author's last work. He produced it during his final illness, dying before completion. Completed by others from CHS's spoken and written words according to Mys Spurgeon's foreword. It is an exposition rather than a commentary. Biblical blessed thoughts. An appendix of 175 sermons etc by CHS which expound this gospel. Mine is dated 1893 so a Passmore and Alabaster first hardback edition.

11. The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit : sermons preached and revised by C H Spurgeon during the year 1869 by C H Spurgeon (Author)

52 sermons preached in 1869. Mine is a half leather hardback, a private binding of the penny sermons. The first six volumes were New Park Street Pulpit and has minuscule print. In these later years the print is larger and readable. 

12. The Works Of William Cowper, With A Life Of The Author, By The Editor R. Southey by William Cowper  (Author)

I have this in 15 volumes published in 1835 when Southey was poet laureate. Up to volume three is biography and then the letters start. 8 to 14 are the poems, 15 is letters.

13. Commentary on the Book of the prophet Isaiah by Jean Calvin and William Pringle 

I have the hardback 22 volume set by Baker in 1979 reprinting the Calvin Translation Society edition published after 1843. Pringle was the translator. When I reduced by library disposing of most of my commentaries, Calvin had to stay with me. The first commentator to whom one turns.

14. Titus: The Good Life (Good Book Guide) by Tim Chester  (Author)

Not a commentary but gives the context and time of Titus. Very helpful for group Bible study and I found it very good in giving questions for group discussion. The questions are open, not closed.

15. Titus For You: For Reading, For Feeding, For Leading by Tim Chester  (Author)

A practical commentary or the ordinary Christian. Simple, practical and profound. Has some practical open questions suitable for group discussion.

16. The Second Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, the Epistles to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon (Calvin's New Testament Commentaries) by John Calvin (Author), David W. Torrance (Author), Thomas Forsyth Torrance (Editor)

Always my first choice of commentator. This translation by T A Small published in 1964 is an improvement on that of the previous century. It uses the Revised Version. 

17.The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara  (Author)

Probably the best historical novel I have read and I have read plenty. My compliment carries extra weight as my prejudice is for things British. I have been to Gettysburg and seen the film too. By 0mparison the film is rubbish for it shows Jackson being there when he was already dead in battle. The author gives both sides reasons for the war and in such a way I had to find out if his origins were from North or South as his writing does not betray his origins. Described as an anti-was novel I think it is only anti-war by virtue of its graphic accounts of destruction, drath and suffering. A conflict between brothers, some from the same families, many who had trained and served the Union together. Some were concerned to have sworn loyalty then rebelled. The problem of intelligence is to the fore. What is the enemy doing? How goes the battle? Commanders were often in the dark.Huge mistakes were made as we see with hindsight. Amazing that  the best loved general should be the loser whose bad judgement lost the war. His Christian faith is well related and the dilemmas of command. If only the English civil war was so well related by a like novel

18. Covenants for Evangelicals: Understanding Biblical Covenants for 21st Century (Covenant Books) by David Legg (Author)

A fresh approach to covenant theology with, it seems to me some original thinking e.g. the controlling covenant concept. I found this challenging. It is a long read and deserves careful study and reflection. The author departs from the traditional reformed understanding of two covenants of salvation, works and grace, contrasting and comparing other Biblical covenants. I thought his dismissal of the covenant of redemption as rather cavalier. But here the author touches on many more related subjects like the sacraments, child rearing, Sunday School and Sabbath as well as the meaning of testament. There is much to learn , ponder and discuss. I was sent a review prior to publication but I trust the author's generosity has not influenced my judgement.

19.Grace in Winter: Rutherford in Verse Lby Faith Cook (Author)

Faith Cook is a gifted Christian author and I have enjoyed and reviewed several of her books. But this one shows her talent is not really for poetry. I love Rutherford's letters but give me them, the originals, not this. The book is though valuable for the biographies given and for some beautiful photographs associated with Rutherford and his correspondents. For Rutherford in verse, read and sing, The Sands of Time are Sinking. That is poetry.

20. Help! I need to know about the problems of adoption by James Taylor  (Author)

The pseudonymous author seems to write from the experience of an adoptive parent of an older child, not a new born baby or a very young child. Some of the problems described are not those of parents adopting the very young. I was taken aback by 'I do not believe that adoption was part of God's original plan for humanity.' Was not Adam God's adopted son? Adoption is a fundamental Biblical concept describing the relationship God makes with us when we sinners are adopted as His son's at our new birth. The author does not trace the Biblical history of adoption in the culture of ancient times. Then a son was adopted for the sake of the father, to give a human heir. Now we adopt for the sake of the child. The author gives four good reasons for adoption but does not mention that in an age of widespread abortion, part of being pro-life is to see that adoption is readily offered to help needy mothers. This reviewer is not an adopted child nor an adoptive parent but I have through pastoral experience seen something of the process of a neglected child being taken into care and happily adopted. I have heard of the struggles of good adoptive parents and also a case where a child was adopted, not for the child's sake but for the parents to have an insurance policy when they became older. Hopefully local authorities now weed out such bad motivation. The booklet is brief and could I think give more on the difficult process of local authority assessment. It does not deal with fostering. Perhaps this series  of helps will produce such a pamphlet in the future. I would definitely recommend this to prospective adoptive parents despite my criticisms of the booklet's shortcomings. They like me may be surprised to learn that there is such a thing as statutory support for adoption including possible financial help.

21. The incomparable Christ: Exploring the wonders of Jesus (Reflections) by Timothy Cross (Author)

Good on who Christ is and what he has done. Heart warming for the Christian to meditate on. Seems to be aimed at ordinary Christians, perhaps those young in the faith. Impeccability seems a strange choice of chapter instead of sinlessness. Two important aspects of Christ's work are omitted, his baptism and sending the Holy Spirit.

22. The Poetical Works of Wordsworth With Photographic Illustrations by Payne Jennings Leather Bound – 1850 by William Wordsworth (Author)

A beautiful volume with almost all his poems but there is but one portrait of the poet by way of photographic illustrations.  There is sadly no index, only a short memoir then a list of contents. Even there it is hard to find a given poem. I searched hard for the two I memorised at primary school, Daffodils and Westminster Bridge.  I found the Ecclesiastical Sketches to be a treasure of Christian history and doctrine from an admirer of the Church of England, admirer of reformers and liberty and also the Covenanters but no fan of the Puritan revolution. One to treasure but the gems are not easy to find.

23. Harmony of the Gospels Matthew, Mark and Luke: v. 1 (Calvin's New Testament Commentaries S.) by Jean Calvin  (Author), A.W. Morrison (Translator)

Mine was published in 1972 and reprinted in 1980. It is helpful to be able to contrast and compare the synoptic accounts. This is from the only set of commentaries I kept when I downsized my library. Calvin is the first resource for this preacher.

24.The Collected Poems of Wilfred Owen by C Day Lewis (Author)

Amazon shows a cover identical to mine but mine is a 1969 reprint of the 1963 edition. For me Owen is the greatest of war poets. What might he have become if his life had not been snuffed out aged 25 a week before the end of the war that changed the modern world. His subject is 'War, and the pity of War'.  Enough to make one weep. My favourite modern great poet. The greatest anti-war work ever. 

25.Wordsworth and the Lake District: A Guide to the Poems and Their Places by David McCracken  (Author)

A wonderful guide. It makes me want to book a holiday in the Lakes right away. Maps, illustration, poems, biography, places and poems. All there to delight this lover of poetry, history and The Lakes.


26.Masterpieces of Religious Verse by James Dalton Morrison (Author)
Mine is paperback with the pictured Amazon cover, 1978 reprint of 1977 edition by Baker Book House.

2020 masterpieces very well indexed as to subject, first line, title and author. How refreshing to find several indices and not be complaining as to the lack of even one. Speaking on Christ's temptation I found help under that in the subject index and also help under Lent and under temptation. The poems that came up were from well known poets, unknown ones and hymn writers. Most helpful.

27.The Oxford Library of English Poetry - 3 Volume Box Set by John (ed). Wain (Author)

Wain is editor. Beautifully produced set , mine published by Book Club Associates in 1987. Volume one goes from 16th to 17th centuries. Volume two is 18th to 19th and includes a verse of Watts, When I survey, unknown in any hymnbook I have seen. But Burns as English poetry? He wrote in Scots. The last volume bring us up to date. A great set to dip into time after time.

28.Samuel Rutherford by Andrew Thomson  (Author)

I am assuming that this on Amazon is a reprint of the 1889 original by Hodder and Stoughton in my possession. Eight chapters on Rutherford and then fourteen selections form Rutherford's letters and finally all twenty verses of 'The sands of time".Puts Rutherford in his historic context so you learn about the most turbulent period in British history.

29.The Definitive Edition of Rudyard Kipling's Verse by Rudyard Kipling (Author)

Mine is a 1943 edition by Doubleday.Doran and Co, It came from my father in law who bought it in Baltimore Dev 30th 1944 when he was ducked there as a WW2 merchant seaman who had joined our Merchant navy on the day of Pearl harbour. He survived the war never sunk.It has an index of first lines. There is no attempt at a chronology of the poems. I love the poems The Raj as sen by the British Tommy especially. Empire is denigrated today. But Kipling is its poet par excellence. I love him. 

30.The Fireside Book of Humorous Poetry. Edited by William Cole. With the original illustrations by Tenniel and others.

Authors, titles and first links indexed which is a help. Chapters arranged with humorous titles too. For many a smile and laugh. The parodies are great fun.

31. Margaret Thatcher the Downing Street Years


This is one of my most prized possessions. The first edition signed by the great lady herself with her dedication written to me with her best wishes when I was Councillor Graham Weeks. I never met her. My MP asked her to sign it for me. Her own account of her premiership. This was published before the chronologically first volume so there is nothing here of her life before her premiership.