THE PIETY OF JOHN CALVIN, An Anthology Illustrative of the Spirituality of the Reformer; Translated and edited by Ford Lewis Battles with music edited by Stanley Tagg; Baker Book House, 1978; 180 pp., $9.95. (Reviewed by Prof. H. Hanko)
Perhaps the best way to give the reader some idea of the worth and value of this book is briefly to review the contents. In the introduction appears an interesting essay on the whole concept of piety as found in the writings of the Genevan Reformer. Chapter 1, entitled “The Spiritual Pilgrimage of Calvin,” reproduces Calvin’s own account of his conversion which is taken from the preface to his Commentary on the Psalms. Chapter 2, “The Kernel of Calvin’s Faith” is taken from the first chapter of the 1536 edition of the Institutes. Because this edition was later extensively enlarged by Calvin, the material included here was also greatly expanded. Chapter 3, “Calvin on the Christian Life,” is taken from the 1539 edition of the Institutes published in Strasbourg. Chapter 4, “Calvin on Prayer,” is taken from the 1536 edition which also was later expanded. Chapter 5 includes several prayers of Calvin which were used by Calvin in the weekday services and before and after his exegetical lectures. This section includes also some examples of the order of worship used in the worship services. Chapter 6, “Metrical Psalms Translated by Calvin,” includes an important introduction along with several of the Psalms themselves. Chapter 8 is entitled, “Prose-Poems Adapted from Calvin.”
The book concludes with an Epilogue on “Calvin on Christ and the Church.” The book is also filled with copious footnotes which are very interesting and includes a textual reference.
We heartily recommend this book to our readers. The price is very reasonable. It will not only appeal to students of Calvin, but to a much wider reading audience which will find much pleasure in some of Calvin’s finest devotional writings. We are pleased to report the publication of the book to the readers of the Standard Bearer.
THE SCHILDER TRILOGY, Klaas Schilder; translated by Henry Zylstra; Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Michigan. 3 volumes, paper, $24.95. (Reviewed by Prof. H. C. Hoeksema)
This is a reprint of the famous Passion Trilogy of Dr. K. Schilder. The first volume, Christ in His Suffering (468 pp.), takes us through the capture of Christ. The second volume, Christ on Trial (550 pp.), takes the reader through the condemnation of the Savior. The third volume, Christ Crucified (562 pp.), covers the crucifixion and the burial of our Lord. Incidentally, in the information on the back cover of these volumes, Volumes 1 and 2 are reversed in order.
Especially for those unable to reach Dutch—and Dr. Schilder’s Dutch is by no means the easiest—this is a worthwhile reprint of what has become a classic in Lenten literature. The late Henry Zylstra did a masterful job of translation and succeeded in conveying in the translation something of Schilder’s sparkling style.
True, one will not always agree with Schilder’s exegesis. Small wonder! For Schilder did not always agree with himself, as is evident from the fact that he undertook an extensive revision of the Dutch edition of his trilogy before his death, a revision which was interrupted by his death before he completed the third volume. Besides, Schilder was given to poetic flights which sometimes seem to have a rather tenuous exegetical basis, but which nevertheless add to the enjoyment of the reader. But the main point is that Dr. Schilder certainly had a profound grasp of the centrality and the cosmic character of the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ according to the Scriptures. This does not fail to come through in these volumes.
One more remark: do not expect easy reading when you read the Trilogy. Enjoyable? Yes. Instructive? By all means. But you must be prepared to put on your thinking-cap.
This reprint is bound in a durable plasticized paper binding, one of the reasons it can be offered at the attractive price of $24.95 for the set. Highly recommended.