Review of Horatius Bonar, God’s Way of Holiness: Finding true holiness through true peace, Fearn: Christian Focus Publications, 1999.

Sometimes we need to be reminded of classic works that have been republished. Purchased at a conference, some years ago, and only recently read, this little book of 175 pages is something to be savoured. Written in the style of the Victorian era, it is nevertheless easy to follow.

I knew the author’s name from hymns like ‘I heard the voice of Jesus say’, ‘Here, O my Lord, I see Thee face to face’, and ‘Go, labour on, spend and be spent’, as well as others, but he was also a prolific author. He is described as ‘a Scottish churchman, an acquaintance of Robert Murray M’cheyne and a poet’. He was known as Horace to his friends.

There are nine chapters, with headings like ‘The New Life’, ‘Christ for Us’, ‘The Spirit in Us’, and ‘The Root and Soil of Holiness’. There is one instructive chapter on ‘The  Saint and the Seventh of Romans’, and a final chapter on ‘Counsels and Warnings’. There is also a helpful appendix along with copious footnotes.

The chapter ‘The Saint and the Law’, along with some comments in the appendix, are a strong corrective to the creeping antinomianism found in many churches today.  Bonar writes strongly against the excessive ‘discontinuity’ attitude currently affecting many shepherds of the church. To him, the people of both Testament eras shared similar beliefs, benefits and expectations before and after the advent of our Lord Jesus.   He does not see a wall between the two.

The subject of ‘holiness’ has long been a personal interest of mine, so I can only commend this book to all serious readers of the Bible, who want to apply its teaching to their lives, today.

– Neville L G Taylor