The Letters & Papers of Lady Powerscourt, published by Chapter Two; price £9.95. Available from John Ritchie Ltd.
Theodosia Anne Powerscourt is a name known to most who are familiar with the times of J N Darby, GV Wigram and others among those who left the established churches in the nineteenth century. Powerscourt House, her home in Enniskerry, Ireland was the location of several meetings between 1830 and 1841 that allowed a number of important questions in respect of prophecy and church order to be considered by exercised brethren.
The Letters & Papers of Lady Powerscourt provides fewer details of those meetings and of Lady Powerscourt herself; which omissions are regrettable. Indeed in the understanding of a number of the issues raised in her fascinating letters it is essential to be able to place them against a background of her own life and the wider background in which godly Robert Daly, the Anglican clergyman of Powerscourt, Darby, and others played a part. Even the key dates in her remarkably short life are not given. We do learn that she died at 36 years of age, having lost her husband 13 years earlier after just one year of marriage and apparently their only daughter in infancy. The reviewer would have valued a more detailed account of the life and times of that godly woman.
The letters are anonymised for understandable reasons, but still the deep piety of this young lady is evident. There are letters comforting others with the comfort with which she herself had been comforted (2 Cor 1.4). There are letters that point to changes in her own personal situation after the death of her husband. There are many with references to Scripture. (Despite her deep interest in prophecy, not all of the prophetic Scriptures are accurately interpreted.) There are really no letters that offer much light about the Powerscourt meetings or her involvement with the great men who assembled there.
The Letters & Papers of Lady Powerscourt provides an insight into the heart of a godly young woman. She may have lived in another age, but her example lives on in her letters.
The Minor Prophets, by H A Ironside, published by Kregel; price £14.95. Available from John Ritchie Ltd.
This commentary was first published in 1904 when the author was about 28 years old. Like many of his other works, it displays clear evidence of a young mans diligent and detailed study of the Scriptures, first used as the basis for a consecutive teaching ministry, and still available for the benefit of others even 100 years later. Kregel is to be commended for the reprint of this informative and lucid commentary on what is often a little studied portion of Scripture.
Each of the twelve "minor" prophetic books is analysed chapter by chapter, rather than verse by verse. The overall setting of each book and the main thrust of its message is described, then the exposition is clearly given with a short (3-4 page) chapter of commentary to a chapter of each book. Very challenging practical applications are frequently given along with consistently accurate dispensational and prophetic analysis. Just a few details in some of the applications are dated, given that over a century has passed since they were written, but the main points are timeless, just as the original prophets challenges were to Gods people over 2,500 years ago. For example, from Zephaniah 2: "Pride is always a danger that threatens to destroy such a testimony. The true remnant will not be preoccupied with their remnant character but with Him to whom they are separated" (p.210).
From Hosea to Malachi, from the "depths" of Jonah to the "watchtower" of Habakkuk, from the dark forecasts of great tribulation to the bright splendour of the risen Sun of Righteousness, this section of Gods Word is full of interest to those who will study it. This commentary is a great help to get into it, to find that Christ Himself is the subject and the goal of all prophesy, that all Gods ways with all His people, earthly or heavenly, are for the glory of His Son, and that His people are always required to walk the path of trust and humble obedience to Him (Mic 6.8).
The book is handsomely produced in hardback format, well laid out, and there are some helpful endnotes, although no index. Several typescript errors have crept through the editing process to arrest the readers attention for the wrong reason. Nevertheless it is a book to be recommended.