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Book Notes

Written by F. Pronk
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Reprints for Study and Reflection
Old Paths Publications, 223 Princeton Rd., Augubon, New Jersey 08106 continues to publish reprints of classics long out of print. Ernie Springer, the publisher, is to be commended for making long-out-of-print literature available and accessible in readable English format. The following were received recently and brought to your attention.

Sermons on Psalm 119 by John Calvin; 454pp.; $41.95 U.S. John Calvin is best known for his influential work, ÒInstitutes of the Christian Religion,Ó but in the Foreword by Dr. James M. Boice, well-known pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia, PA, it is stated that Calvin Òsaw his most important work to be preaching.Ó Like popular fourth and fifth centuries preachers, Calvin used Òsequential expositionÓ to revive preaching which had become obscured during the Middle Ages. Painstaking care was made by the publisher to make this 1580 English translation of CalvinÕs sermons readable and it is presented in an attractive format.

Sermons on Election and Reprobation by John Calvin; 317pp.; $36.95 U.S. Originally these series of sermons were part of a series on Genesis which Calvin began preaching in September 1559. ÒAt once the thirteen sermons on election and reprobation were lifted from the series on Genesis and published as a separate volumeÓ writes Rev. David J. Engelsma, Professor of the Theological School of the Protestant Churches, in the Foreword. The full title of this book, as it originally appeared in 1579, was ÒThirteen Sermons of Master John Calvin, ÒEntreating of the Free Election of God in Jacob, and of Reprobation in Esau. A treatise wherein every Christian may see the excellent benefits of God towards his children, and his marvelous judgements towards the reprobate, first published in the French tongue, and now translated into English by John Fields, for the comfort of all ChristiansÓ (spelling updated, FP). The sermons are based on Romans 11:33, ÒO the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgements, and his ways past finding out!Ó

Pastoral Theology by Thomas Murphy; 500 pp.; $29.95 U.S. In case anyone should think that the ministerÕs task is preaching only, the publishers draw attention to the other duties of ministers with this volume sub-titled, ÒThe Pastor in the Various Duties of His Office.Ó Thomas Murphy (1823-1900) was a graduate from Princeton and under the influence of Archibald Alexander, Samuel Miller and Charles Hodge. The book is divided into several parts, dealing with the ÒNature and Importance of Pastoral Theology,Ó and chapters on the pastor in his closet, in his study, in the pulpit, in his personal parochial work, in the activities of the church and in the progress of the church. The chapters dealing with the Sabbath-School, benevolent work of the church, in the session, in the higher courts of the church and his relations to other denominations are coloured by Presbyterian church government and somewhat dated, yet contain important and useful principles which are still very relevant for today.

ChildrenÕs Books
The following books were received for review from Inheritance Publications, Box 154, Neerlandia, Alberta T0G 1R0 (U.S. Retail orders only: Box 366, Pella, Iowa, 50219, U.S.A.)Toll free order number: Tel.&Fax 1-800-563-3594. They are recommended reading for children ages about 7 and up.

The Carpenter of Zerbst by P. de Zeeuw; 79 pp., paperback; Can.$7.95, US $6.95. This is a translation of a story from the time of the Reformation, written by a popular Dutch author. Young Otto is forbidden by his father to walk in the procession honouring Tetzel, the indulgence peddler. Because of the fatherÕs stand for the truth of the Gospel, the family passes through a time of struggle. In the end there is joy when God works conversion in the heart of a prominent enemy of the church and its Lord. The book teaches history in an exciting and interesting way to children.

Tekko the Fugitive by Alie Vogelaar; 93 pp., paperback; Can.$7.95; US $6.75. A missionary story in a series (Tekko Series:2), this book is the sequel to ÒTekko and the White Man.Ó When a young boy renounces the heathen practices of his tribe and believes in the Lord Jesus, life becomes very difficult for him. The witch doctor becomes his arch enemy and he has to flee for his life. The Lord takes care of Tekko and after many adventures his tribe welcomes the white missionary to teach the Gospel. The author has written many stories for children in Dutch and is the wife of Rev. C. Vogelaar (NRC). The story is very interesting, well told, and teaches children about missions. One question: the title page describes the book as fiction set in Indonesia while the illustrations, names and setting of the story leave the impression that it is an African tribal setting.

JessicaÕs Prayer & JessicaÕs Mother by Hesba Stretton; 123 pp., paperback; Can.$8.95, US $7.60. ÒJessicaÕs First PrayerÓ is a childrenÕs Christian classic and keeps on being reprinted. Not so well-known is ÒJessicaÕs Mother.Ó They are now combined into one book. The touching account of a poor and neglected little street girl who lived in nineteenth century London does not lose its appeal for young and old. The story has a happy ending when Jessica is ÒadoptedÓ by her protector. The sequel, ÒJessicaÕs MotherÓ is not as well known and relates JessicaÕs dilemma when her derelict mother turns up and wants to take her away from her Christian home. These are ÒDickensianÓ stories where ÒgoodÓ church people are taught the real meaning of the Gospel in a society where there were few or no laws to regulate social conditions and the poor were exploited by the rich. The author uses a pen name. Her real name was Sarah Smith and she was the co-founder of the London Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.

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