Emily Gosse, A Life of Faith and Works by Robert Boyd; published by Olivet Books; price £8.95. Available from John Ritchie Ltd.
The fly-leaf of Emily Gosse, A Life of Faith and Works describes her as "a truly remarkable Christian lady". Like many a godly sister she is best known among subsequent generations as the wife of a prominent man or the mother of a well-known son. She was both. Her husband was a renowned scientist and earnest Christian. Her son sadly appears to have turned his back on his mother and fathers faith. He too was an accomplished scholar and for some ten years librarian of the House of Lords. Emily Gosse however was a woman of worth as the day will declare.
Emily Gosse did not marry until she was 42 and died at only 50 years of age. Yet in that short life and amid social restrictions, she shone brightly and worked assiduously in writing Gospel tracts and devotional poetry, and in tract distribution and personal witness. The author notes her tracts emphasised "sin, guilt, death and eternity". He notes too how fruitful she was in witness, and writes of a period when within a few weeks she led three young persons to Christ, and of how her tracts were used.
In common with many of that day she was interested in prophecy. The author portrays her as easily influenced in that she had initially followed the teaching of Elliot that "the major part of Revelation had already been fulfilled", then swayed by Newton, then Darby but eventually turning back to Elliots teaching.
Only 65 of the 252 pages of Emily Gosse, A Life of Faith and Works relate the biography of Emily Gosse. The remainder is given to excerpts from her writings, mostly from her poetry. The fly-leaf notes that all her published poetry is included in this volume. As indicated above most of the poetry is devotional and offers some further insights into the yearnings of an effective witness to One whom she was not ashamed to call her Saviour.
The biography of Emily Gosse is worthy of a wide readership. Many will also value her poetry.
The Preacher and His Preaching, by A P Gibbs; published by Walterick Publishers; price £11.95. Available from John Ritchie Ltd.
The Preacher and His Preaching was first published in 1939 and by the time of the authors homecall had run to five editions. This present edition updates helpfully the Fifth Edition, carefully acknowledging where changes made are not those of the author. This 416 page publication contains 17 pages indexing both Scriptures cited and Subjects. The Scripture index is very helpful, more helpful than the Subject index which is devoted in the main to writers cited.
A P Gibbs was clearly a man of immense energy. That energy was not dissipated through lack of systematic organization. His portrayal of a preacher would appear to reflect himself to a large extent. He "never married, considering himself a eunuch of the kingdom of God", the flyleaf observes. His portrayal of the personal features of the preacher reflects that degree of commitment. He sees the personal and moral qualities of the preacher as a necessary qualification for preaching. He also stresses the importance of the preacher organizing his resources systematically, whether these be notes or books. Writing before computers were found in most households, he outlines how to catalogue and retrieve resources.
The author devotes 120 pages of The Preacher and His Preaching to sermon construction. He offers a variety of approaches, illustrating richly from his own experience and that of others. What is evident in reading the book is that Gibbs himself was a pawky preacher. He illustrates from the farmer chasing the rat the results of the preacher chasing distracting themes and so ruining his teaching as much as farmer and horse did the young corn. Other asides will remain with the reader. He will recall that every believer should be a DD, not a doctor of divinity but a "distinguisher of differences" (Phil 1.10, margin) a point he makes in the context of dispensational truth.
The Preacher and His Preaching does not range over the doctrines the preacher should preach, but does place great demands on those who aspire to teach. All preachers would find much to consider in The Preacher and His Preaching.