THE LOVE OF GOD
Editor JAMES M. HOUSTON
James M Houston is 94 years old at the time of me writing this short review (2016). He was one of the founders of Regent College in Vancouver and still holds the position of Professor of Spiritual Theology at that well known Evangelical Institution. He has both written and acted as editor of many books and the thrust of most of these is to promote a deepening spiritual life in the reader, to extol the beauty and work of the Lord Jesus and he has trawled so many sources in order to accomplish this goal. He has been unafraid to go outside the Evangelical church box and thus this particular out of print book is an example. He edits an abridged version of parts of the commentary on the Song of Solomon written by Bernard of Clairvaux in the 12th century and also adds some of the writings of St William of St Thierry and Aelred of Rievaulx. These three were companions in monastic life. Bernard was famed for his devotion to the Lord Jesus and his contemplative approach. William was regarded in his day as the apostle of love and Aelred is well known for his treatise on friendship. So, here we have readings from all three of these men who still speak today and so relevantly to the human condition unchanged in the 21st century from the 12th. James Houston in his role as editor writes a forty page introduction to these three men; thoroughly helpful. At the end of the book he also adds “A Guide to Devotional Reading”. Again, an excellent and concise few pages of instruction. The editor divides the writings of these men up into helpful sections, the dignity of the soul before God, the nature and the goodness of God’s love, Devotion to Christ and spiritual friendship. Probably not a book to read through, but to walk through slowly and thoughtfully, indeed, contemplatively. Writings like these are intended to slow us down, to help us to dwell deeper, they came from the deep wells of those who walked with God and, although in some ways, very much men of their day, they still speak and speak to the deeps in us. So, if we are looking for mental education in spiritual things, this is probably not for you, but if, to breath the atmosphere of holy love in God and friendship with Him and with others, then you will benefit.