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Tales of the Covenanters by Robert Pollok; published 2012 by and available from John Ritchie Ltd; 318 pages. Price £9.99. (9781907731693)

The noble lives of the Covenanters have been succinctly summarised by the poet William Cowper in his memorable lines:

They lived unknown
Till persecution dragged them into fame,
And chased them up to heaven.

The author of this book, Robert Pollok, was born at North Moorhouse, Eaglesham, Renfrewshire in 1798. His ancestors had personally suffered in the persecutions that ravaged this area of Scotland between 1660 and 1688. One suffered banishment, another was driven into slavery, and a third was shot by a troop of dragoons. A monument in memory of Robert Pollok stands at the junction of the A77 with the Newton Mearns road.

The first main section of Tales of the Covenanters is entitled "Helen of the Glen". She and her brother were regularly taken up to eight miles walking distance into moorland by their mother to hear the gospel. The meetings were often dispersed by "insolent and merciless soldiers". Many of the believers were apprehended and sent "some to the gibbet, some to dungeons, and many to the British plantations abroad". The choices Helen made and the subsequent consequences are considered.

The second part focuses on Ralph Gemmell who was born in 1669 on a fertile estate at Craigfoot on the banks of the River Irvine. His mother’s advice was, "Put your trust in God, and He will never leave nor forsake you. He will make you strong to resist all evil".

The final section, "The Persecuted Family" follows the lives of James Bruce and his family. They were evicted from their home through faithfulness to the Word of God and began a life of wandering, their home then being a cave on the banks of the river Ayr.

Various illustrations are included such as "The cross, Kilmarnock, where James Nisbet was executed on 14th April, 1683". Such was the ultimate price paid by these believers that still challenge us today.

A Cameron

Tell me more about the Holy Spirit by Jack Hay; edited by Bert Cargill; published by and available from John Ritchie Ltd; 44 pages. Price £4.99. (9781907731594)

This is the fifth book in the series Tell me more about prepared for young believers who are seeking to learn the fundamentals of "the faith … once delivered unto the saints" (Jude v.3). Recognising needs among young believers and those whose native language is not English, the writer is conscious of his readership, so "complicated sentences and difficult words" are noticeably absent, as the editor’s brief required.

This Tell me more about book comprises four chapters – The Holy Spirit and His Work; The Holy Spirit and the Believer, The Holy Spirit and the Church, and The Gifts of the Holy Spirit – Tongues and other Miraculous Signs. These are important aspects of truth relating to the Holy Spirit that believers, young or old, must grasp if they are to make progress in their understanding of the Bible, and are to appreciate the great blessings into which they have come. Each of the chapters concludes with a very helpful summary of key points and guidance as to further study.

The author begins Chapter 1 with a consideration of the word "trinity" that Unitarian writers oppose so vehemently. He notes the singular "name" at Matthew 28.19 – "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost"; the plural Hebrew noun rightly translated "God" at Genesis 1.1 used with the singular verb "created"; and other proof verses. He emphasises that that "there is one God" (1 Tim 2.5) and the Scriptural revelation of three Persons without reverting to ancient creeds with which few readers would be familiar.

Tell me more about the Holy Spirit also includes clear statements about other areas of controversy such as the sign gifts of the Holy Spirit. Their place and their passing are two headings developed to address teaching that is still prevalent in some ecclesiastical circles. In so doing the author distinguishes Biblical terms that are often confused – the baptism in the Spirit, the filling of the Spirit and speaking with tongues. Clarity is a marked feature of this helpful publication.

T Wilson


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