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Review – Truth’s victory over error

March 2008 | by John Keddie

Truth’s victory over error

David Dickson (Ed. John R. De Witt)
Banner of Truth; 272 pages; £15.50;
ISBN: 978-085151-949-4

This is a beautifully produced book – the print and layout are attractive, and the material is well organised. It comprises a commentary on the Westminster Confession of Faith in 33 chapters, set out in a helpful catechetical format. The whole teaching of the confession is set out in contrast to all sorts of contrary opinions and deviations from biblical teaching (as understood by the author).

A special interest in this book is that it was certainly the earliest such commentary on the confession. It therefore provides contemporary insights as to the confession’s teaching.

The author, David Dickson (1583-1663), was an outstanding Scottish divine. The book comprises notes of his lectures to students in 1650, though the first edition was not printed until 1684.

Though delivered to students, the style of the work is ‘popular’. In the introduction, Robert Woodrow rightly says that it ‘breaks the truth of the Confession small, and prepares them for the meanest capacities’.

Although some of the ideas and heresies against which the teaching in the book is set may be little known today, they nonetheless provide useful springboards for wonderfully concise and accurate teaching of biblical doctrines.

This is a useful book which will grow on the reader and be a handy reference tool, despite its antiquity. It is by no means ‘heavy’ in terms of style. While rather dated and ‘antiquarian’, this is a helpful addition to Christian literature for the church – though at £15.50 it is rather on the pricey side.

John W. Keddie
Isle of Skye