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Book Review

Cannibalism Conquered John G. Paton & Alexander MacKay; published 2010 by Crimond House Publications and available from John Ritchie Ltd; 130 pages; price £7.99.(9780954992248)

This book combines the inspiring stories of two intrepid missionaries.

The first part concentrates on Alexander MacKay (1849-1890) and is subtitled "The hero of Uganda". His zeal can be clearly seen in the words he penned in his diary: "My heart burns for the deliverance of Africa".

Alexander MacKay did not draw back in his desire to reach Africa. On his twenty-fifth birthday he wrote, "Twenty-five years old on this day. ‘Bless the Lord, O my soul,’ for all his goodness. Man is immortal till his work is done. Use me in Thy service alone, blessed Saviour". Alexander eventually reached Africa and came face to face with Mtesa, the powerful king of Uganda. Part of his complex capital forms the front cover of the book. The king made a profession of faith, but this proved to be false and he later engaged in human sacrifice which greatly grieved the godly missionary.

It is interesting to note that, near the end of Alexander’s life, Robert Moffat met him and asked what was the chief qualification for a missionary in Africa, to which MacKay replied, "Patience, patience, patience". Alexander MacKay exemplified this in his own life and is described as "a bold, honourable, Christian gentleman".

The second section of Cannibalism Conquered focuses on the life of John G Paton (1824-1907) and his work among the cannibals of the New Hebrides in the South Pacific.

John faced fierce opposition, being in constant danger and often threatened with death. Despite it all, the power of the gospel prevailed and the devoted missionary had the joy of seeing many people "forsake their detestable and cruel practices" and remember their Lord in the Breaking of Bread.

The inclusion of relevant photographs throughout the book helps transport the reader back in time to these pioneering days of missionary endeavour.


Genesis in the light of the New Testament by F W Grant; published by Crimond House Publications and available from John Ritchie Ltd; 175 pages; price £8.99. (9780954992231)

Frederick William Grant is best known for The Numerical Bible, still much used by many believers. Grant died in 1902 (aged 68 years, not 86 years as the Publishers suggest), leaving other valuable works, among them Genesis in the light of the New Testament, one of his books with which the reviewer had not been familiar. Its reissue as a paperback is to be welcomed. It is not a commentary but is a series of chapters dealing with creation and the six principal characters of Genesis.

The author’s purpose in dealing with creation is not to expound the events of the seven days set out in Genesis 1 and 2. His first ten pages deal with the application of the historical record of creation to the believer’s experience from the first moment when the entrance of the Word brought light. His next chapter looks at the dealings of God in the dispensations from before the Flood until God "puts the seal of His perfect delight upon the whole new creation".

The chapters dealing with Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph are also dealt with from the same two standpoints – an individual and a dispensational application. Most readers will find the individual applications pertinent as persecution and distress, crookedness and deceit, "the dark and the shameful" are traced in the changing circumstances of the great patriarch. In each dispensational application, Grant identifies features in the life of the patriarch. He stresses Isaac’s sonship, at which point he notes that certain popular commentaries in his day were "infected with" doctrine that does not own Christ’s eternal sonship. He also comments on Isaac’s "devoted self-surrender" falling short of the reality of the experience of One who "looked and there was none to help".

Genesis in the light of the New Testament is commended to a mature readership. The early chapters may be slightly less accessible to those younger in the faith, who nonetheless would benefit from its pages.



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