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The "Ask Spurgeon" Book Reviewer » The Kingdom of God. Biblically and Historically Considered. Cunningham Lectures. #2

The Kingdom of God. Biblically and Historically Considered. Cunningham Lectures. #2

Author: James S. Candlish
Publisher: T. and T. Clark
Publish Date: 1886

This book was reviewed in our last number. Since then we have been favored privately with a fraternal remonstrance from the author. Rarely can we afford time or space for so diligent a study of any volume as was bestowed in this instance. First of all we committed it to a friend who assists us in this department. Let it be understood that after making a large reserve for our own personal perusal, we parcel out the manifold, miscellaneous books sent us to specialists, each man an expert, according to our judgment, in his own department of literature. On reading the original proof of our friend's review our interest in the subject induced us to take Dr. Candish's work with us to Mentone, that we might read it as our leisure. We personally read the volume with no prejudice, but with much surprise. The result was that we accepted our reviewer's remarks, and endorsed them by contributing an additional word here and an additional sentence there, confirming the estimate of our critic-a man little disposed to be censorious. Under these circumstances, although we cannot withdraw anything we have written on the subject, we have much pleasure in inserting our author's disavowal of the sentiments which we thought we found in his book.  These are his own words:--

            "I can quite believe that in a book going over so much ground, there may be things that an evangelical reviewer  may think erroneous and perhaps seriously so; but I cannot understand how anyone who has read it with any care could fail to see that I maintain the kingdom of God to be a supernatural divine institution founded on the great facts of the Incarnation and Atonement of Christ, and the regenerating work of the Holy spirit and that my references to philosophical systems are designed to prove that none of them can secure the realization of that perfect state of society which is made possible and certain by the kingdom of God proclaimed and established by Christ. If you think that my book is really injurious to these great truths, or to any other Scriptural doctrine, I shall regret it very much and carefully reconsider what I have written; but anyhow, I would like you to know that I consider its design and meaning to have been represented in your periodical as the very reverse of what they really are."

            Such candor is truly Christian. We do not for a moment doubt Dr. Candlish's statement; but unreservedly accept it, heartily rejoice in it, and regret that we have caused him the least disquietude. In this case we have done our very best with the book submitted to us, and have honestly described the impression produced upon our mind by it; we were not expected to do more or less; but as all mortal men are fallible, we do not wish any one to accept our judgment, which was made without personal knowledge of the author's real views and only upon the book itself as we understood it. The author must know his own meaning better than we do, and his declaration ends our fears.