This puppy (pictured left) is a thing of postal glory if ever there was one! The sheer number and splendidly free arrangement of stamps, together with that superb little pink departure along the top, almost overwhelmed me.
However, I was more delighted with the contents. The first and greatest treasure – and the one personal, ‘vanity’ purchase in the whole order – was a first edition of John Ryland Jr’s The Work of Faith, the Labour of Love, and the Patience of Hope illustrated in the Life and Death of the Reverend Andrew Fuller. One always hopes when making such an order (not least knowing that the gentleman from whom I ordered is usually besieged when he sends out his list) that the book will be available and that it will be in good nick. This is a truly splendid volume, with a few light pencil markings, but tight and clean in a fine half-leather binding. A genuine delight, especially when my only copy for the last ten years or so has been a fairly dog-eared photocopy.
Also in the package were a substantial number of volumes worthy of earnest recommendation. Readers might have heard of William M. Taylor (1829-1895), a pastor and author who began his ministry in Scotland before transferring to the Broadway Tabernacle, New York City (where he served from 1872 to 1892). He was twice a Lyman Beecher Lecturer, and one of those series became the outstanding volume of pastoral theology, The Ministry of the Word. Although Taylor also wrote excellent treatments of the miracles and the parables of our Lord, the package that arrived this morning almost completed my collection of his ‘Bible Biographies.’ These are treatments of Bible characters – David, Moses, Elijah, Paul, Ruth, Esther, Daniel – which are models of their kind, giving profound insights into the faith and life of these men and women of God. At the risk of increasing competition for available volumes (I am aware of only one or two that have recently been republished), I would suggest that, if you can get your hands on any of these volumes, you do so as a means of doing much good to your souls.