The Dawn of Heaven breaks

Sharon James

Precious Seed

Paperback, 156pp. Published by Evangelical Press, Faverdale North, Darlington, DL3 0PH. Price £8.95 ISBN 978-0-85234-641-9

Sharon James has collected an anthology of hymns, Bible readings and other writings under the sub-title of ‘Anticipating Eternity’. The book is divided into five sections – ‘Anticipating Heaven’; ‘Times of illness and pain’; ‘Aging’; ‘Facing Death’; and ‘And Then Eternity’. As the target readership is those who are enduring trials or are facing death, the passages have been quite deliberately selected to provide comfort to such readers and, therefore, are not demanding reading.

It is helpful to have in one easily manageable volume some well-loved Bible passages and favourite hymns. For the hymns, the author has provided some interesting contextual detail. The writings are taken mainly from the works of well-known preachers of past generations. However, there are one or two notable exceptions. One article deals with loneliness, a state which those of us who are in relatively good health often fail to appreciate and understand. Another article addresses the loss of memory, and yet another explores Alzheimer’s Disease (this is by a Presbyterian minister who was diagnosed with the condition at the comparatively early age of fifty-three). It is inevitable that, if this book is to be used to bring comfort to those who are undergoing severe trial, its value will depend very much on the wisdom and spiritual judgement of those who use it. Given that this book is offered with sincerity and for such a worthy purpose it may seem churlish to make any criticism. However, for this reviewer there was a repeatedly jarring note. In several passages there is the blurring of the distinction between the Lord’s coming to the air and His return to earth. There is also a failure to discriminate between the Bema and the Great White Throne. These points need not obscure the value of the anthology.

[Our thanks to Ed Hotchin, Hucknall, Nottingham, UK, for this review]