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Book Review

Lays of Life and Hope by William Blane; published by and available from John Ritchie Ltd; 96 pages; price £5.99.

This book of poems is one of the volumes in the Classic Reprint Series.

In the preface, William Blane’s brother, Robert, states that this collection is the result of the "matured poetical judgment" of his brother. It was the expressed hope of William that these poems would inspire readers "to nobler living".

William Blane was originally in the assembly at Galston, Ayrshire, in the late 1800s. As a young man he showed great promise and before he was twenty-five years old he had penned some of his finest inspirational poems that have stood the test of time.

Many of these poems were written when he was employed as an engine-keeper at Burnbank Pit. Prior to leaving for South Africa in 1883, there came from his pen one of the longest of his poems entitled "The Atonement". This epic poem runs for a total of nine pages.

His "Thirty Pieces of Silver" is quoted all over the world, while his hymn "Kept, Safely Kept" is in the Believer’s Hymn Book.

There are over forty poems in Lays of Life and Hope. The subject matter is varied but always spiritual, and the chief aim of the poet is to honour the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.

This single-minded purpose of William Blane is seen in the initial lines of "The Atonement", where the focus is upon the value of the Saviour’s death and God’s rich, redeeming love.

The power of God Creation shows,
His wisdom Nature doth disclose,
But by th’ Atonement He has shown
His love, which else had been unknown.

Lays of Life and Hope will also inspire the Christian to live closer to the Lord Jesus in daily living, and bring comfort in times of trial. Poems such as "Back to Gilgal", "Be not afraid, ’tis I", and "Hereafter Thou Shalt Know" all testify to the lasting value of this delightful book.


The Tabernacle, the Priesthood and the Offerings by Henry W Soltau; published by and available from John Ritchie Ltd; 504 pages; price £10.99.

The Tabernacle, the Priesthood and the Offerings, a further addition to John Ritchie’s Classic Reprint Series, will be welcome by many who would be aware of Soltau’s classic work on the Tabernacle but who have not been able to source a second-hand copy of this work. As the Memoir that serves as a Preface to this volume shows, Soltau was saved from a life of affluence and worldliness to become a fruitful evangelist and teacher.

In his Reminiscences of the Plymouth Meeting of Brethren, W H Cole described listening to him. "Mr. Soltau was the first, I think, who taught the meaning of the types and sacrifices of the Old Testament, and as he unfolded the teaching of those symbols concerning the manifold perfection of the person and work of the Son of God, a peculiar awe brooded over the assembly, impelling to the silent worship of Him of whom he discoursed. The strain was solemn, calm and clear; his voice a deep tone, yet melodious, as it seemed almost to sing of salvation and the glories of the Saviour." Soltau may not have been the first to teach from the Tabernacle, its priesthood and offerings among the assemblies in the 19th century, but even until late in the 20th century there were many Christians who first gloried in the Spirit’s parable "for the present time" (Heb 9.9).

This paperback covers comprehensively all that its title promises. In dealing with the offerings, for example, Soltau also deals with the Day of Atonement, the scapegoat, the sprinkling of blood upon the mercy seat, and the sprinkling of the golden altar - important matters so often omitted by other writings. Instructive though these matters are, the great value to the reader in The Tabernacle, the Priesthood and the Offerings is "the presentation of Christ in whose sacrifice, God’s perfect rest, satisfaction and delight . . . were expressed by its all ascending as a sweet savour."



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