I did something a bit different for this episode of Ministry Minded, something I hope was beneficial for you. In this show, I read a lengthy passage from one of my favorite books of all time, Horatius Bonar’s The Story of Grace. What’s found in this little book is as real a discussion about the grace of God that can ever be found.
Certainly, there are a myriad of books on “grace” at your local Christian bookstore, indeed, whole sections devoted to works upon works that delve into this “doctrine” from seemingly every angle known to man. However, what many modern texts lack, and where Horatius’s shines, is a level of practical realism and dexterity that is sincere, honest, reverential, and genuine. Whereas some current authors explain “grace” as merely some form of exaggerated freedom, Bonar’s words uphold God’s grace in the highest regard.
Despite being a short book, The Story of Grace is brimming with pure, unadulterated grace. To illustrate the gracious force of this little work, therefore, what follows in today’s show is a brief selection is from chapter 6, which is entitled, “Where the Story of Grace was First Told.” Enjoy!
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Perhaps best known for his contributions in hymnody, Horatius Bonar (1808-1889) was a Scottish Presbyterian minister and writer throughout the 19th century. One of eleven children, Horatius was the elder brother of Andrew Bonar, who, along with his other brother John James, served as ministers of the Free Church of Scotland for many years. Greatly influenced by the life and ministry Thomas Chalmers, Bonar became a great winner of souls, gifted with putting grand doctrines and gospel truths into easily understood language. Notable preacher Charles Spurgeon once commented:
Unlike many writers of the Evangelical school, Dr. Bonar is not content with baling out milk for babes, but gives us real thought and teaching . . . We say to all our friends, read and be refreshed.
Horatius was an extensive and highly popular author, writing numerous books, tracts, and poems throughout the course of his ministry, even serving as the editor for various religious journals. He also wrote several biographies regarding the lives of his contemporaries, including John Milne and Rev. G. T. Dodds. Nevertheless, Bonar received most his acclaim for his hymns, many of which became known all over the English-speaking world, including, “I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say,” “Blessing and Honour and Glory and Power,” “Thy Way, Not Mine, O Lord,” and many, many more unnamed works.
Bonar was an earnest, zealous minister, always giving preeminence to the Lord Jesus. He spent himself to carry the message of the gospel to those who were likewise spent. In book or in song, the legacy of Dr. Bonar will endure as a passionate Scottish churchman, devoted to the proclamation of the truth of gospel.
The Story of Grace, Horatius Bonar
The Grace, the Service, and the Kingdom, Horatius Bonar
How Shall I Go to God? And Other Readings, Horatius Bonar
God’s Way of Peace: A Book for the Anxious, Horatius Bonar
Family Sermons, Horatius Bonar
Glad Tidings to Perishing Sinners, Abraham Booth
Grace: So Much More Than You Know & So Much Better Than You Think, Brad J. Gray