This was originally going to be a book review on The Loveliness of Christ, the new soft, red-covered edition pictured to the left. However, as I read this book, I realized that no review would do it justice. After reading the first few pages of this book, I also realized that I already owned two other editions of this book in my personal library. The Loveliness of Christ is simply a pocket-sized edition of choice quotes from The Letters of Samuel Rutherford.
The more I read this book, the more I could see the impact that these letters would have on the lives of every Christian and even more so the impact on the seminarian who is studying the things of God. Therefore, this will not be a book review per se. Rather, I would like to share a few of the choice quotes from The Loveliness of Christ.
Faith liveth and spendeth upon our Captain’s charges, who is able to pay for all.
The weightiest end of the cross of Christ that is laid upon you, lieth upon your strong Saviour.
When we shall come home and enter to the possession of our Brother’s fair kingdom, and when our heads shall find the weight of the eternal crown of glory, and when we shall look back to pains and sufferings; then shall we see life and sorrow to be less than one step or stride from a prison to glory; and that our little inch of time – suffering is not worthy of our first night’s welcome home to heaven.
One of the nice features of The Loveliness of Christ is the inclusion of a dictionary for words like “bairn” (child), “rueth” (regrets) and “empawned” (laid down as a pledge). Perhaps the only negative to this particular book is that Banner does not let you know there is a dictionary in the back of the book. It is simply tucked back there waiting to be discovered. Fortunately, I only had to look up two words before I discovered it.
The nice thing about The Loveliness of Christ is that it merely whets your appetite to learn more about the man Samuel Rutherford. In the introduction to Loveliness, you are made aware that the quotes are extracted from a greater work known as The Letters of Samuel Rutherford. After reading this book, it almost becomes necessary to read the quotes in context of the actual letters.
This abridged version does just that. Here you are introduced to a selection of sixty-nine letters penned by Samuel Rutherford. These present yet a deeper look at how Rutherford wrote and what he believed concerning the joy of knowing Christ.
At the end of this edition, Banner of Truth did us a great service by including brief biographical information about the letters. They also included an outline of the life of Samuel Rutherford. Both of these greatly enable the modern-day reader to become better acquainted with Samuel Rutherford.
Andrew Bonar put together a classic edition of The Letters (I am not sure when this was done) which included 365 letters. What is of value in this edition is Bonar’s sketch of Rutherford along with a list of his works.
The edition I own (I believe it is a 1905 edition) has an appendix that gives information on the 30 different editions to date (in 1905) of the book. It also includes a poem created from The Letters arranged by a Mrs. A. R. Cousin. I am not sure if this is in the edition to the left, but it is in my edition.
Perhaps the best thing that can be done with these three books is to, at the very least, purchase The Loveliness of Christ. I would highly recommend that you purchase the $39.00 edition that contains all 365 letters and use it as a devotional in 2009. I will be writing about this again toward the end of the year in case anyone might be interested and forget. I plan on using mine as a devotional next year and if Loveliness is any indication, I will be blessed beyond measure in so doing.
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