All my heart this night rejoices,
As I hear, far and near, sweetest angel voices;
“Christ is born,” their choirs are singing,
Till the air, everywhere, now their joy is ringing.
Forth today the Conqueror goeth,
Who the foe, sin and woe, death and hell, o’erthroweth.
God is man, man to deliver;
His dear Son now is one with our blood forever.
Shall we still dread God’s displeasure,
Who, to save, freely gave His most cherished Treasure?
To redeem us, He hath given
His own Son from the throne of His might in Heaven.
Should He who Himself imparted
Aught withhold from the fold, leave us broken hearted?
Should the Son of God not love us,
Who, to cheer sufferers here, left His throne above us?
If our blessèd Lord and Maker
Hated men, would He then be of flesh partaker?
If He in our woe delighted,
Would He bear all the care of our race benighted?
He becomes the Lamb that taketh
Sin away and for aye full atonement maketh.
For our life His own He tenders
And our race, by His grace, meet for glory renders.
For it dawns, the promised morrow
Of His birth, Who the earth rescues from her sorrow.
God to wear our form descendeth;
Of His grace to our race here His Son He sendeth.
Hark! a voice from yonder manger,
Soft and sweet, doth entreat, “Flee from woe and danger;
Brethren, come; from all that grieves you
You are freed; all you need I will surely give you.”
Come, then, let us hasten yonder;
Here let all, great and small, kneel in awe and wonder,
Love Him Who with love is yearning;
Hail the star that from far bright with hope is burning.
Blessèd Saviour, let me find Thee!
Keep Thou me close to Thee, cast me not behind Thee!
Life of life, my heart Thou stillest,
Calm I rest on Thy breast, all this void Thou fillest.
Thee, dear Lord, with heed I’ll cherish;
Live to Thee and with Thee, dying, shall not perish;
But shall dwell with Thee for ever,
Far on high, in the joy that can alter never.
9. Fairytale of New York by the Pogues featuring Shane McGowan and Kirsty MacColl. This song has been in the news recently because of its questionable lyrics. I have both the original and an instrumental version. Against the odds Tunbridge Wells-born Shane McGowan will be 50 come Christmas Day and the Pogues are back together touring. Kirsty MacColl is sadly no longer with us following a holiday accident in December 2000 when she was 41. This is the only Pogues song I know. Its strength comes from its bitter sweet portrayal of Christmas on the seamier side. It succeeds where Blue Christmas and Lonely this Christmas do not (IMHO) by a good balance of realism and sentimentality plus a good tune and well written words.
RKO Pictures bought the movie rights in 1946 for $10,000.
2. The Greatest Gift
The writer, Philip Van Doren, sent out the original story as a Christmas card titled "The Greatest Gift" to friends in 1943. Frank Capra later changed the name to It's a Wonderful Life.
3. George Bailey
4. In Pop Culture
It's a Wonderful Life has left a lasting impression on our pop culture. Do you remember ZuZu's petals? Well, this was used as the title of a rock band, a character in the movie The Adventures of Ford Fairlane, and in a Far Side comic.
5. In Pop Culture II
In a "Married...with Children" episode, comedian Sam Kinison appeared at Clarence to Al Bundy's George Bailey. Unfortunately, those around Al would have had a better life without him, but he decided he wanted to live to make them miserable anyhow.
Painted cornflakes were usually used in movies for snow at the time It's a Wonderful Life was made, but they were too noisy. Instead, they used a mixture of shaved ice, gypsum, plaster, and a fomite-soap-water mixture.
7. Donna Reed's Arm
Do you remember the scene where Donna Reed throws a rock into the old house on 320 Sycamore to make a wish? The studio had originally hired a crew member to throw for her, but to their surprise, she had a powerful and accurate arm, so she threw the rock herself.
8. The Swimming Pool
The Charleston scene was filmed at the Beverly Hills High School and yes, the gym floor did really move to reveal the swimming pool below.
9. Academy Awards Nominations
Although it didn't win any, It's a Wonderful Life was nominated for five Academy Awards: Best Actor (James Stewart), Best Director (Frank Capra), Best Sound Recording (John Aalberg), Best Picture (Frank Capra), and Best Editing (William Hornbeck).
10. Just a Coincidence
I always believe that the Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie must have been named after the characters from this film (Bert was the policeman, Ernie was the taxi driver), but the producers of Sesame Street say there in no connection between the characters.
Three things go by the name of Christmas. One is a religious festival. This is important and obligatory for Christians; but as it can be of no interest to anyone else, I shall naturally say no more about it here. The second (it has complex historical connections with the first, but we needn't go into them) is a popular holiday, an occasion for merry-making and hospitality. If it were my business to have a 'view' on this, I should say that I much approve of merry-making. But what I approve of much more is everybody minding his own business. I see no reason why I should volunteer views as to how other people should spend their own money in their own leisure among their own friends. It ishighly probable that they want my advice on such matters as little as I want theirs. But the third thing called Christmas is unfortunately everyone's business.
I mean of course the commercial racket. The interchange of presents was a very small ingredient in the older English festivity. Mr. Pickwick took a cod with him to Dingley Dell; the reformed Scrooge ordered a turkey for his clerk; lovers sent love gifts; toys and fruit were given to children. But the idea that not only all friends but even all acquaintances should give one another presents, or at least send one another cards, is quite modern and has been forced upon us by the shopkeepers. Neither of these circumstances is in itself a reason for condemning it. I condemn it on the following grounds.
1. It gives on the whole much more pain than pleasure. You have only to stay over Christmas with a family who seriously try to 'keep' it (in its third, or commercial, aspect) in order to see that the thing is a nightmare. Long before December 25th everyone is worn out -- physically worn out by weeks of daily struggle in overcrowded shops, mentally worn out by the effort to remember all the right recipients and to think out suitable gifts for them. They are in no trim for merry-making; much less (if they should want to) to take part in a religious act. They look far more as if there had been a long illness in the house.
2. Most of it is involuntary. The modern rule is that anyone can force you to give him a present by sending you a quite unprovoked present of his own. It is almost a blackmail. Who has not heard the wail of despair, and indeed of resentment, when, at the last moment, just as everyone hoped that the nuisance was over for one more year, the unwanted gift from Mrs. Busy (whom we hardly remember) flops unwelcomed through the letter-box, and back to the dreadful shops one of us has to go?
3. Things are given as presents which no mortal every bought for himself -- gaudy and useless gadgets, 'novelties' because no one was ever fool enough to make their like before. Have we really no better use for materials and for human skill and time than to spend them on all this rubbish?
4. The nuisance. For after all, during the racket we still have all our ordinary and necessary shopping to do, and the racket trebles the labour of it.
We are told that the whole dreary business must go on because it is good for trade. It is in fact merely one annual symptom of that lunatic condition of our country, and indeed of the world, in which everyone lives by persuading everyone else to buy things. I don't know the way out. But can it really be my duty to buy and receive masses of junk every winter just to help the shopkeepers? If the worst comes to the worst I'd sooner give them money for nothing and write if off as a charity. For nothing? Why, better for nothing than for a nuisance.
"The White Witch? Who is she?
"Why, it is she that has got all Narnia under her thumb. It's she that makes
it always winter and never Christmas; think of that!"
"How awful!" said Lucy.
Father Christmas - A huge, bearded man in a bright red robe whose appearance signals the end of the Hundred Years of Winter, during which time "it was always winter but Christmas never came." He is "big and glad and real," not just funny and jolly like the Father Christmas or Santa Clause we know in the modern world. He brings gifts...tools, not toys...In an interesting parallel
to the White Witch, Father Christmas too arrives in a sleigh pulled by reindeer, but he is there to tell them that Aslan is on the move, the spring will come again, just as Christmas is the commemoration of the birth of Christ. Father Christmas is a hieroglyph of the joy that Aslan brings. "On Christmas Day, C. S. Lewis joined the church"http://www.gospelcom.net/chi/ARCHIVEF/09/daily-09-22-2001.shtml
"I feel exactly as you do about the horrid commercial racket they have made out of Christmas. I send no cards and give no presents except to children."
7. Ring out, solstice bells is by Jethro Tull and was a 1976 single. This is a straight pagan take on the season but very attractive for all that, with that flute and bells, etc. The above is a rare promo animation from the time found on youtube. There is a whole album of Christmas fare from JT, which I might get round to one day.
These are busy days. Between the end of the Westminster Conference I nipped over to Harlesden to join the family for the younger kids' Christmas Concert. No real dressing up this time just a historical presentation celebrating the 50 year anniversary of the school.
Mr Harrison then spoke on his anti-Calvinism and his views on perfectionism and assurance as it comes out in his hymns. A tendentiousness against Calvinism seems to come in around 1740, about two years after his earliest sinner focused hymns. He can be quite belligerent, caustic and persistent in this. So we have eg
See, sinners, in the gospel glass,
The friend and Saviour of mankind!
Not one of all the apostate race
But may in him salvation find!
His thoughts, and words, and actions prove,
His life and death, - that God is love!
Behold the Lamb of God, who bears
The sins of all the world away!
The individual phrases are not so bad but the way it is done is often tendentious and sarcasm and similar devices creep in. Cf
God is unchangeable, and therefore so are you:
And therefore, they can never fail who once His goodness knew.
In part perhaps you may, You cannot wholly fall
Cannot become a castaway like non elected Paul.
He would deliberately and unfairly refer to the decretum horibile as the horrible decree (The horrible decree confound, Enlarge thy people’s heart!).
Some of CWs hymns we just can't sing some need to be edited, some we need to read differently.
More briefly we then looked negatively at his perfectionism, later moderated, and positively at his insistence on the inward witness of the Spirit. Cf
Where is the earnest of my heaven?
Where the Indubitable Seal
That ascertains the kingdom mine?
The powerful stamp I long to feel,
The signature of love Divine:
O, shed it in my heart abroad,
Fullness of love, of heaven, of God!
In conclusion we were told that the slave trade was ended by Christians or those imbued with the Christian ethos, by evangelicals in particular and ultimately by God himself in his providence.
On Feb[rua]ry the first MDCCL
The above Epitaph was written by the Deceafed
Getting on for 200 were in attendance last night for an evening with John Newton, organised by The Banner of Truth. It was held in St Mary Woolnoth in the City of London where Newton latterly ministered. Mark Johnston chaired and Brian Edwards spoke first in his usually succinct style giving an overview of Newton's life and saying a little about his slavery and anti-slavery connections. He closed with two fair questions about slavery and worker exploitation and about abortion today.
A physically striking figure, Wilson impressed some with, 'his spiritual egotism and … eminently technical view of religion' and others by his ‘pure simplicity of mind and artlessness of demeanour’. The pattern of his last years in India was apparently little changed. Occasionally he demonstrated an unexpected sensitivity to Indian culture, troubling to learn Hindi and acknowledging the importance of varying biblical terminology to suit the customary usages of different ethnic groups. His wide interest in missionary work brought personal contact with figures such as William Carey, Alexander Duff, Adoniram Judson and Elijah Bridgman. The mutiny of 1857 he interpreted as a devastating judgement on Britain's record in India. It prompted his final sermon in the cathedral at Calcutta, entitled ‘Humiliation in national troubles’. There followed a few months of steady deterioration, and he died at Calcutta on 2 January 1858. After an official funeral he was buried in his cathedral.
Bateman lists some 15 characteristics of Wilson. We will close by highlighting these. Here 1-10:
1. Energy. Even in our short survey I think this comes out. 'He wearied others: but was never weary himself'. What an example he is for us here.
2. Simplicity of his aim. 'Men said he was ambitious, and loved power. But, if so, it was only as a means to an end. The great end and object of life with him, was to save the souls of men; and to this, time, talents, influence, and property, were all devoted.' Again he is an example to us.
3. His deep piety. Despite the failures we have noted it is true to say 'religion was never laid aside, never forgotten. It was his comfort, his solace, his delight, his joy. It was entwined about his heart, and wrought into the very fabric of his nature. It constituted his strength.'
4. Spirit of prayer. He was always praying. In later life it occupied almost half his day.
5. Study of Scripture. "The more we read it," he used to say, "the more we may. It is certain that we shall never exhaust it."
6. Moral courage. In this respect the mind controlled and commanded the body. When, halting on his first visitation between Bombay and the Himalayas, he received from Bishop Corne a letter warning him of danger, and entreating him to return, — he paused, reflected, took counsel, saw no real cause for alarm, — and then calmly and courageously persevered in his journey. Who but he, or one like-minded, would have linked his little pilot-brig to a great steamer, and faced the monsoon in the China Seas, in order to carry out his purpose in reaching Borneo? Who but he would have ventured to grapple with the caste question in the way (he did)? The evil was admitted; the moral courage was exhibited in applying the remedy. Compare his handling of tractarianism with the modified and timid disapprobation it met with at the hands of others. He gave utterance to his own deep convictions, and openly denounced it as "another gospel." To stand in the gap thus fearlessly, as a rallying-point for others, demands and manifests high moral courage.
7. Untiring industry. It served him instead of originality and genius. It made him learned, powerful, useful, influential. No labour daunted him when some important work was in hand. When he had a major sermon to deliver he would work over it again and again.
In Ceylon he reached on "The Pearl of Great Price ". He was 78 when he gave it. Bateman describes him preparing with a desk full of sermons; any one might have been preached without labour to himself, and with profit to the hearers. But he is in the neighbourhood of the pearl fishery; the subject will be interesting; attention may be arrested, and good done. Hence, on the Saturday his table is covered with books, and on the Sunday every description is lively, every allusion correct. His industry never failed. When action did not so much require it, study had it. No man in India read half so much as he did; and his comments and criticisms prove how well the reading was digested. Even on the very last day of his life, he was looking at "Livingstone," and learning something about " Africa."
8. Consistency. Early in life he had grasped the primary truths of the gospel, and he held them firmly to the end. Many secondary truths were added, but they were kept secondary. He never rode a hobby in divinity. His sermons were always good to hear, his books always safe to read. In a charge delivered in 1851, he could say: "I retain the sentiments I publicly expressed in 1817." This inspired confidence ; and the idea of instability and changeableness was never attached to his character. He had no opinion of those who, in order to give the public the benefits of their own thoughts, neglected what had been previously thought and said by others. He laid aside a recent commentary, unread, because the author professed to have written it without consulting previous commentators.
9. Deep self-abasement. It ran through life, and found expression everywhere. The " bitter things " he wrote against himself would make unobservant men deem him a sinner above others. But he only had a deeper insight into his own heart, and a higher sense of the holiness of God. The extent of the sorrow is the point of difference amongst God's people, and not the extent of the sin.
Speaking once of having been in the ministry 56 years he said, "Ah, yes; but it is a long time to have to answer for. None can answer for me but ONE, and that one CHRIST JESUS. I cannot answer for myself."
10. Fidelity to Christ. He never ceased to teach and preach Jesus CHRIST; and when he quarrelled with any scheme of doctrine, it was chiefly because it took from Christ the honour due unto His name. The savour of His name was in every sermon ; the pleadings of His merits marked every prayer. To add to His dominion, to extol His grace, and to extend His church, was the very joy of his heart. Every doctrine of the gospel had its niche, but Christ was on the pedestal. Nothing was put before Him - nothing suffered to obscure His glory.
By the time Wilson was 54 then he had lived a full and useful life as an Anglican churchman and a doughty supporter of the evangelical movement in England. On this basis alone he may have merited our attention. However, in 1832 he became the fifth Anglican Bishop of Calcutta (then a vast diocese reaching as far as Australia). There in Calcutta, with only one break to return to England, in 1845-6, when recovering from illness, he went on to serve the Lord for another 25 years. It was during this visit home that he made a severe attack on the policies of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in India and received an unprecedented invitation to preach a second anniversary sermon for the CMS.
Wilson had always shown an interest in missionary work and references to this can be found as far back as his conversion. In 1829 John Turner, consecrated Bishop of Calcutta in 1829, visited Islington before leaving England and there considered the needs of the diocese with Wilson. When Turner died in 1831, the third bishop to do so in five years, Wilson, while sharing the general anxiety about the succession, was not an obvious candidate. However, when several others refused the offer and Wilson, in some desperation, indicated his willingness to be considered, the influence of evangelical friends, including Lord Glenelg, secured his appointment. He therefore resigned his post at Islington, received his DD by diploma, and was consecrated at Lambeth Palace in April, 1832.
In the manner of the day his eldest son, Daniel (b 1805), who had been appointed to Worton in 1828, succeeded him at Islington, and his nephew Josiah Bateman (subsequently his son-in-law and biographer), went with him to India as his chaplain. They left Portsmouth June 19, 1832 and arrived in Calcutta on November 5.
Wilson's predecessors had made only limited headway in establishing the extent of episcopal authority, defining the nature of the ecclesiastical establishment and standardising liturgical practice. Bishop Wilson's years in India were to be devoted to these fundamental tasks. He re-established the physical and social presence of the bishop in Calcutta, brought order to episcopal administration and revived or set in motion many of the activities familiar to him from his London parishes - clerical meetings, lecture series, infant schools, writing for the Christian Intelligencer and church building. Between 1839 and 1847 he masterminded construction of Calcutta's cathedral.
To make his leadership felt outside Calcutta he exploited the practice of episcopal visitation to the full. In five major journeys between 1834 and 1857, each lasting between two and three years, his episcopal cavalcade, often with more than 250 soldiers, elephant attendants, bearers and camp-followers, traversed the huge diocese from Simla to Colombo and from Delhi and Bombay to Singapore.
His task was slightly eased by the erection of new dioceses for Madras (1835), Bombay (1837), New South Wales (1836) and Colombo (1845) and his own appointment as metropolitan.
With his forceful personality and struggling, in his own words, to maintain ‘firm churchmanship … in the face of high-church principles and no-church principles’, Wilson often appeared to others as the embodiment of episcopal pretension. His contempt for Tractarianism, ‘this egregious drivelling fatuity’ and his sustained attacks on it, notably in his second charge in 1838 and subsequent sermons, did not save him from perhaps the greatest irony of his career - serious conflict with the CMS and its lay supporters in India over the licensing and superintendence of missionaries. To one who had done so much for the cause of missions at home, the suspicion with which missionaries on the ground viewed his plans to make Bishop's College the great training centre for ministers in India, their frequent neglect of ecclesiastical order partly under the influence of the society's Lutheran employees and, above all in southern India, compromises with caste, came as a great disappointment.
Wilson tackled these issues with characteristic vigour and displayed sufficient flexibility to reach generally acceptable agreements with both the CMS and the civil authorities on many church–state questions. He called the Indian caste system a 'cancer' and in his famous essay, On the Distinction of Castes in India (1834), he abandoned Reginald Heber's temporising for the demand that in the church it ‘must be abandoned, decidedly, immediately, finally’. Reinforcing the requirement with personal visitations, Wilson carried the missionaries with him but lost the allegiance of many local church members.
Loane sums up this final period as proving him to be a great man and a first-class bishop, a time when he did a noble work for India.
My comrades through the wilderness,
Who still your bodies feel;
Awhile forget your griefs and fears,
And look beyond the vale of tears,
To that celestial hill.
Beyond the bounds of time and space,
Look forward to that happy place,
The saints’ secure abode;
On faith’s strong eagle pinions rise,
And force your passage to the skies,
And scale the mount of God.
See where the Lamb in glory stands,
Encircled with His radiant bands,
And join the angelic powers.
For all that height of glorious bliss,
Our everlasting portion is,
And all that Heaven is ours.
Who suffer with our Master here,
We shall before His face appear
And by His side sit down;
To patient faith the prize is sure,
And all that to the end endure
The cross, shall wear the crown.
Thrice blessèd, bliss-inspiring hope!
It lifts the fainting spirits up,
It brings to life the dead;
Our conflicts here shall soon be past,
And you and I ascend at last,
Triumphant with our Head.
That great mysterious Deity
We soon with open face shall see;
The beatific sight
Shall fill the heavenly courts with praise,
And wide diffuse the golden blaze
Of everlasting light.
The Father shining on His throne,
The glorious co-eternal Son,
The Spirit one and seven,
Conspire our rapture to complete;
And lo! we fall before His feet,
And silence heightens Heaven.
In hope of that ecstatic pause,
Jesus, we now sustain Thy cross,
And at Thy footstool fall,
’Till Thou our hidden life reveal,
’Till Thou our ravished spirits fill,
And God is all in all.
It's been a busy weekend. Eleri went away (a very rare thing) with friends Friday and Saturday on the Eurostar to Cologne and so I was left in charge. First duty was lunch boxes and taking the two youngest to school. In the afternoon I was in Covent Garden for a Grace Publications Committee. Someone else kindly picked them up. I took a few minutes to look round a second hand bookshop in Charing Cross Road. Anne Fadiman had me thinking about them with one of her essays. Back home I prepared an haute cuisine tea - pizza! - before heading off to our children's meetings.
Saturday the two youngest were at a party in Gulliver's Kingdom, Milton Keynes, all day, so duties were minimal. They were home in time for Robin Hood after a really good day. In the evening Rhodri had organised a quiz night for 15 and overs. That was a fun time. I spoke on the ultimate questions, using John Blanchard's book as a basis. Eleri was back pretty late and had really enjoyed the time. On Sunday I preached from Mark 10:13 and 14 (am) and Matthew 4:10 (pm). It was the Korean pastor's last Sunday so we marked that briefly. He's off to Pusan. We're always saying goodbye here.
Monday I thought I was dying from a cold but I wasn't. We had a committee meeting for the London Inreach Project down at the London City Mission HQ in Tower Bridge Road. I got there early and had a wander and a cafe at a very nice Caffe Nero they have there. I'm rarely in that part of town.
Wilson also embraced a wide range of evangelical causes, including foreign missions, anti-slavery, church building and education. On alternate Mondays his vestry was home to the well known Eclectic Society for ministers (founded 1783). In 1816 he founded the London Clerical Education Society for helping young men prepare for the ministry. He was a member of the Church Missionary Society (CMS) committee from 1810 and in 1817 he preached their annual sermon (he was later uniquely invited to preach a second annual sermon). A frequent contributor to the Christian Observer, he also published various sermons and pamphlets. He also toured the country most summers for the CMS or for the British and Foreign Bible Society. Not one year passed from 1813-1822 in which he did not take undertake extensive tours speaking on behalf of these societies in various places. He was often accompanied by William Marsh who remarked on how the last thing at night and the first thing in the morning he would see would be Wilson on his knees in prayer.
While researching this subject I found myself on the pleasant Channel Island of Guernsey. I was very interested to read a brief account, therefore, of Wilson's one and only visit there – on behalf of the CMS. It sounds typical of the man in many ways.
I left London on Monday, August 5th, and reached Exeter on the Friday, where our friends the Cornishes received us most hospitably. I preached there twice on the Sunday, and was present at the missionary meeting.
On Friday, August 14th, I embarked at Weymouth for the Channel Islands. Twenty-four hours of calm, and then of contrary winds and tempest (throughout which I felt as if I should die from sea-sickness) brought me to Guernsey. It is a delightful island – 30,000 souls, Normandy customs, beautiful scenery, soft, mild climate, delicious fruits; - the novelty of everything charmed and fascinated me. I was never more struck. In addition to all this, I was greatly touched by the kindness and friendship of Mr Brock. I preached in French, for the first time in my life. Imagine my embarrassment on mounting the pulpit, and seeing before me a vast array of a thousand listeners, understanding nothing but French. I managed to be understood. I believe the warmth of my heart opened my way, for it seemed to me that the more interested they were in the subject, the more they listened. There is one universal language which religion purifies and strengthens - the love of Christ, contrition of heart, faith in the redemption of the Cross - this attracts the soul of man, and is conveyed better by feeling than by words.
During much of 1822–4 he suffered a breakdown, probably due to overwork. He travelled with his family to the continent to recuperate but it did not solve the problem. Loane comments too that he 'found that in London no less than at Oxford, the iron would eat into his soul'. A later journal entry says
My course in London was strangely intermingled with great mercies from God, and great miseries from my own evil heart. My Saviour knows all. I can neither record nor realize all the temptations, the backslidings, the corruptions of heart, which have defiled me. It is terrible to think of.
Having inherited the rights to St Mary's, Islington, London, from his uncle, in 1821, he decided on the death of the incumbent in May 1824 to take up the parish, to the initial dismay of a congregation not known for its evangelicalism. He was instituted as vicar on 4 June and by the end of that year had recovered his former energy. He returned to the tasks of church extension and school building, established the Islington Clerical Conference, formed the Islington Association for the CMS (which rapidly became one of the society's most substantial sources of funds), and continued to write. Once gain he was successful in reaching out in an area of great need.
In 1827 he built a new and imposing library that contained some 10,000 volumes and was a great delight to him. Bateman says
His love for books was well known, and he seldom returned home from his morning drive without finding a little bazaar established at his gates. Thither the various books purchased at book-sales, so frequent in Calcutta, were brought and spread before him. He could not pass without examining the contents of the stalls; and if an old copy of "Scott" appeared, it was at once bought and given away. ...
Whilst he had any work in preparation for the press, everything having any bearing on the subject was purchased without stint, and then retained. He was careful of his books; said that he looked upon them as his children, and could not bear to see them ill-used. No turning down of the leaves was tolerated, and even a "mark" was deemed unmanly. "If you cannot tell where you leave off, you arc not worthy to read a book," he would say. He needed quiet for study, but not solitude. "Go or stay, as you please; but if you stay, be quiet;" and then he would turn, and in a moment enter the world of books. He kept no late hours; his last reading (as his first) was always devotional and scriptural; and he generally retired about eleven o'clock. In working hours, all his reading had reference to the sermon, or the controversy, or the publication which might be in hand. But in the hour of repose, after dinner, or in the country, the current literature of the day had its turn, and one member of the family generally read aloud to all the rest.
Perhaps this would be a good point at which to mention his literary output. Apart from various sermons and pamphlets, works for children and young people and his descriptions of his travels on the continent, we can mention among his more important works his substantial Foreword to a new edition of Wilberforce's A Practical View (1826). He praises Wilberforce who was still living. It is said that the latter protested that 'such things ought never to be published till a man is dead'. He also wrote prefaces in the same series for Thomas Adams' Private Thoughts, Butler's Analogy and Baxter's Reformed Pastor. Other works include Thoughts on British colonial slavery (1827) The Divine Authority and Perpetual Obligation of the Lord's Day (1831) The Evidences of Christianity (2 vols, 1828, 1830), 'a work as traditional as it was lengthy'. He later wrote On the distinction of castes in India (1834) and Expository lectures on St Paul's Epistle to the Colossians (1853).