Manchester was certainly blessed with some faithful ministers of the gospel during the years of its growth from a village to a city in the 1800s. If William Gadsby can be pointed out from among nonconformists, yet another William could be named from the established Church: William Parks. He was rector of St Barnabas at Openshaw in Manchester from 1843 until his death in 1867, and noted for his strong, positive preaching and devotion to his people. This book of sermons contains a memoir by David Doudney, editor of the 'Gospel Magazine' at the time of his death.
Here is a book of bland appearance; it could not be more different from the style and substance of Parks' preaching! He was clear and bold because he knew what he believed, and said it. One thing I find striking about these sermons is their conciseness. Granted, they are his written notes, but he clearly crafted them to accommodate the short attention span of the average person among his poor parishioners. This also happens to mean that they suit a modern readership! None are more than 2 - 3 pages long. There is variety here also - 60 sermons to go at, from The New Birth to a series of 9 going through the Epistle of James. If you thought old sermons never make for good reading, think again and try these.
Now this cover goes to the other extreme... But leaving that aside, William Parks preached the sermons in this book during Lent 1856. They were republished in 1915 (by the Sovereign Grace Union I believe), and are still in print. This slim paperback contains a sturdy defence and proper explanation of the '5 Points'. Its continuing usefulness lies in Parks' great ability to fit a lot into a short space. He ably anticipates serious objections to these Calvinistic doctrines and disposes of them one by one. Both these books are now only available new in the paperback editions printed by Gospel Mission Books. We distribute exclusively for them in the UK.
'Sermons by Wm Parks B.A.' costs £6.95, and the '5 Points of Calvinism' is £4.50.
Our virtual reading club 'Reading Together' has arrived at the final chapter of its fourth book 'The Bruised Reed' by Richard Sibbes. There are some cracking sections in these final chapters. How about this for a quote to ponder...
"Nothing is stronger than humility, which goes out of itself, or weaker than pride, which rests on its own foundation"
If you're not already a member, don't miss out on the next book. Drop me an email & I'll sign you up - we would love to have new members & even more discussion.
Things are a little quieter in the shop at this time of the year so we are having a spring clean. Our office and storerooms are getting cramped and untidy with all the extra stock so we are clearing out. Keep an eye on our sale list because it is regularly being updated with all sorts of bargains! Some bargains may have signs of shelf wear but others are in tip top condition (but we just have too many of them). As a hoarder, I struggle with getting rid of stuff so the sooner it's gone the better or I may just sneak it back into the storeroom where it can sit happily for another year or two!
Big apologies for the distinct lack of blogging lately - we haven't been slacking honest! One of our projects has been to get our mobile site up and running so all you folk with smartphones will find it easier to browse our site. It has been designed on similar lines to our desktop site so should feel familiar. Please let us know if you have any problems... www.christianbookshopossett.co.uk
eBooks is another project. As you know we have been selling them from our site for a while, but we are gradually adding publishers and recently added Crossway Books to the list. Please be patient as we increase the titles available - it is laborious work and takes time and concentration (which isn't often to be found in a bookshop with little helpers around!). http://www.christianbookshopossett.co.uk/catalogue.php?&sp=ebooks
Just a note for any ladies who are interested - the online bookclub is coming close to the end of the current book so now would be a good time to join up as we start a new book. Drop me an email if you fancy the idea.
We have had a lot of fun over the past couple of weeks with our Activity Mornings. It is great to see a busy bookshop - over 50 children came in over the 2 mornings - and to encourage crafts about all things books! We did papermaking, bookbinding, paper marbling, treasure quests and lots more. I can't resist sharing this with you which was written by one of the children in response to the question 'At night when the shop is shut, the books...'
"At night when the shop is shut, the books open up for the characters, who are trapped inside, so they can have their freedom. They tiptoe around the shop, not making a single sound, whilst they are dancing and trying to enjoy their short time, before they have to jump back in their book.
Characters from children's books are more energetic than ones from adult books. They love the night-time, because it is their only precious hours when they are released from their prison-like cell inside the book. The adults are much more cautious of stepping out into the outside world, having more knowledge of the dangers which could occur.
All of the characters had gathered in one area (under a table) to keep them safe from us. The great Apostle Paul was at the front reading from his own book of the Bible - Acts. Nobody moved - they were mesmerized at the amazing word of God for maybe the last time - they didn't know what was to happen to them next...
Suddenly the sound of huge footprints could be heard in the distance. All the characters jumped back into their books. Snap! And they were gone for another year..."
If you want to see more pics of the fun we had, check out our album on facebook (you don't need to be on facebook to view them).
This really is a little gem of a book and I'm sure I won't do it justice in reviewing it. Kimm Crandall is brutally honest about the chaotic nature of motherhood, but makes no attempt to give 'top ten tips of being a less chaotic mother' (what a relief!). The essence of it is captured in the subtitle 'How the gospel changes motherhood'. The Gospel! For a true believer, the gospel and the power of it known and felt in the soul is what changes everything (not just motherhood). But because Kimm applies the true message of the Gospel especially to motherhood it really strikes a chord with those mothers who feel that every day they should do better, try harder, be more patient, not shout, remain calm, keep the house clean, the children clean, the husb... etc etc (does that cover every mother??). Actually, what matters is Christ. He knows our failures before we do and in spite of them, He loves us. Kimm presses this point all the way through the book and applies it so practically to the reality of our day to day lives as mothers. Whether it is our desire to be the perfect Mum (and outwardly only showing this mask), our comparisons between our parenting skills and others, our inability to keep calm in aggravating circumstances, our struggles to meet the ever-changing needs of our family, our felt failure to keep the home... and so the list goes on. How often we bind ourselves up in rules and lists of our own making. But what liberty there is in the gospel!
The writing style of the book is very direct and at times Kimm took me by surprise in her language. However, the truths she expresses have been written about throughout the ages and only the day I finished the book I read a piece by J C Philpot (1802-1869) which chimed in beautifully with its essential message.
Highly recommended for all Mums AND Dads (actually, I think this book wouldn't go amiss read by most people who feel they struggle with understanding how the gospel applies to their chaos).
Lorna Christ in the Chaos, by Kim Crandall, published by Cruciform Press, available in paperback or eBook.