On Horatius Bonar’s “The Story of Grace.”
There’s just something about old books. The way they smell, the way they feel, the way they were written, the language used to impress upon the reader a particular point, even in the manner in which they were printed and bound. Antique works have a sense of nostalgia and authenticity that can’t easily be duplicated via 21st century printing. What you’ll find in Horatius Bonar’s The Story of Grace is as real a discussion about the grace of God that can ever be found. To be certain, there are a plethora of volumes on “grace” at your local Christian bookstore, whole sections devoted to works upon works that delve into this “doctrine” from seemingly every angle known to man. But what many modern texts lack, and where Horatius’s shines, is a level of practical realism and dexterity that is sincere and genuine. There’s a reverence for God throughout the words, not just exaggerated freedom being expounded upon for page upon page.
What Horatius endeavors to disclose to the reader is God’s beautiful “story of grace,” which, as he says, is “the story of God’s doings in grace with this world of ours.”1 Elsewhere adding, “It is this story of grace that has brought back something like sunshine into this world of ours.”2 From creation to the cross — from the Fall to “It is finished” — all of it is God’s story. God is the Author and his ink is grace, grace alone. This is what we must see. This is what we must know. This is what we must believe.
The incredible thing about this story, the one we’re living and are apart of right this very minute, is that it is not just a story that’s been written down or “told in words, but embodied in a person.” Dr. Bonar goes on to say:
God meant the Gospel to be not so much a profession of love as a visible exhibition of it; not so much a declaration of feeling as a history of facts. His object is not so much to address us in words that may be heard, as in deeds which may be seen and felt.3
This is perhaps my favorite book that discusses God’s grace and chronicles his unmerited favor from the beginning of creation. This book opened my eyes and gave me a comfort and solace that not many others can provide. The Story of Grace gives you pure, unadulterated gospel-grace. I’ve read through this phenomenal work three times since I stumbled upon it a while ago, and each time I’ve become more impressed with the authorship of it. You will not be disappointed in reading this book.
Horatius Bonar, The Story of Grace (New York: Robert Carter & Bros., 1857), vii.