At first sight Heroes may appear to be only a collection of mini-biographies of well-known and not-so-well-known Christians. However, in his foreword, Iain Murray tells us that his aim is deeper, to highlight certain aspects of these Christians’ thought.
The chapters on Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, John Newton and C. H. Spurgeon become a ‘window into their souls’ as the author deals with misunderstood aspects of their lives bringing conflict and difficulty.
From the not-so-well known we have fascinating insights into pioneering missionary work, in how the ‘wolf from Scotland’ Robert Reid Kalley and gospel partner William Hewitson established much blessed medical, schooling and preaching ministries in Madeira. Another dealt with is Thomas Charles and the 1790s revival in Bala.
The greatest delight, however, and taking up a third of this book, is found in the account of Charles and Mary Colcock Jones. This traces the life of a plantation and slave owner in Liberty County, Georgia, USA, during the decades around 1850.
It is about a man with a burning desire to bring the gospel message to the people in his care. He seeks to persuade other plantation owners to treat their servants well, provide them with education and draw them away from immorality.
Colcock Jones’ work was based on biblical teaching and supported with the catechisms and tracts he wrote. His relationship with his wife was a fine outworking of Christianity, truly elevating womanhood and displaying the proper relationships between sexes — a revelation then and now!
Charles Colcock Jones’ death came before the ravages of the American civil war and it was Mary who experienced the break-up of all that they had worked for. It was not the loss of prosperity that was most painful, though they were prosperous, but the break-up of their spiritual ‘family’ – black servants who were true brothers and sisters in Christ.
It was written of Colcock Jones that ‘no man has ever done more for the coloured race of this country than he. No man was ever more beloved and appreciated by that people, his name being mentioned with reverence to this day (1899)’.
This book is well worth reading, which brings me to Iain Murray’s second aim — ‘to give young Christians a relish for old authors, and encourage younger ministers of the gospel that the Saviour of yesterday is the same today and tomorrow’. I encourage you to buy it, read it and pass it on to others, to accomplish this aim.