Friday, January 09, 2009

An excellent Christmas gift

A new year for many Christians means a new daily devotional. For the last year I have used Spurgeon's Morning and Evening. This year, however, I have taken up a volume that my mother gave me as a Christmas present, namely the Sabbath Scripture Readings of Thomas Chalmers. Anyone who has read this blog for any length of time knows that I am quite an admirer of Chalmers. From my first encounter with him though the four small volumes of his Lectures on Romans, I have found Thomas Chalmers stimulating, thought-provoking and informative. My greatest complaint was that his books were out of print and difficult to find.

Of late, though, we have seen something of a revival of interest in Thomas Chalmers, beginning with the republication of his Letters by the Banner of Truth Trust in 2007. Sadly the authoritative biography by William Hanna has not seen a new edition, although Kessinger Publishing do offer a reprint of the 4-volume edition of this excellent book. The Michigan historical reprints series covers some of Chalmers' writings, and between them and Kessinger, more of Chalmers is in print than has been the case for many decades.

Which brings me back to the Christmas present. Both volumes of Chalmers' Sabbath Scripture Readings. It is my practice to read two chapters of the Scriptures devotionally, morning and evening (that's two in the morning and two in the evening, or just one if it's Psalm 119). These Sabbath Scripture Readings are short (usually about a page and a bit) meditations on each chapter, in which Chalmers takes up the themes of the chapter and considers them, often in the form of a prayer. The first volume covers the whole of the New Testament, while the second covers the Old Testament through to 2 Kings 11, its completion having been prevented by Chalmers' death. These are two precious volumes that are well worth every Christian's time. Chalmers was a man who had come from the wastes of Moderatism to the fruitful pastures of the Gospel, and the Bible was his guide and comfort. In these pages we can share his devotions. This is one Christmas gift that will still be in use long after Christmas.

The two volumes of Sabbath Scripture Readings are published by Solid Ground Christian Books, Volume 1 and Volume 2.

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