In this episode of The Greater Heritage podcast we review Night of Weeping and Morning of Joy by Horatius Bonar. The book is published by Reformation Heritage Books.
About Horatius Bonar
Horatius Bonar (1808 to 1889) was a 19th century Scottish Presbyterian minister. In his time he was well known, and people still regard him today.
He studied under Thomas Chalmers (who was the first moderator of the Free Church of Scotland) while learning divinity at Edinburgh University.
Bonar also surrounded himself with a cadre of Godly friends who influenced him immensely. In fact, Robert Murray M’Cheyne was one of his friends.
He was a productive writer. Included among his vast literary output are multiple collections of hymns. “Horatius Bonar is a second-tier theologian and preacher of the 19th century who certainly deserves the attention of modern readers.”
The book of Revelation affected him greatly. As such, he helped promote premillennialism. In his time this was a branch of eschatology that was only beginning to gain widespread acceptance and popularity.
Overall, while not of the rank and file of a Charles Spurgeon or a D.L. Moody, Horatius Bonar is a second-tier theologian and preacher of the 19th century who certainly deserves the attention of modern readers.
A Doctrinal Approach
Night of Weeping was published originally in 1845 as a standalone book, while in 1849 Morning of Joy was published as its sequel. This newer printing brings both together in one volume.
In both of them Horatius adopts a macro level view of the doctrines of suffering and the believer’s future comfort.
He does this by explaining how each topic applies to all Christians (God’s church).“Where more modern books are often concerned about individual Christian experience, Bonar is content to look at what the Bible says first.”
His approach is a welcomed relief from contemporary Christian books which tend towards minimizing doctrine in an attempt to elevate self-focused experiential aspects of Christianity.
Where more modern books are often concerned about individual Christian experience, Bonar is content to look at what the Bible says first.
From there he then applies what the Bible says to all Christians. This serves to show how God’s plans work and how we are to operate within them.
I really enjoyed this appraoch because as believers we need to understand what is really going on behind different doctrines of Christianity. We need to know the full measure of what it means to be a Christian from God’s Word.
That can only be done by starting from what God says and applying that to our lives, not by starting with our own experiences and trying to get them to fit into God’s Word.
As a result of Bonar’s approach, readers walk away from both books with a greater understanding of different aspects of suffering and joy, including the roles they play in thier lives.
Night of Weeping
In Night of Weeping Bonar expounds on how God uses suffering in multifaceted ways to make us more like Him.
He talks about how suffering is meant to make us sensitive towards sin and how God uses it to make us more solemn.
Other highlights include teachings about how adversity is often the only thing that can help us, and how God can withhold things from us for our protection.
Also, it includes lessons about how God uses trials to stir up old sins within us in order for us to better understand ourselves.
Many of the topics in Night of Weeping are hard-hitting but they’re much needed.
He also keeps an eternal perspective in full view at all times. Specifially, he mentions how through suffering we are always marching towards heaven.
Morning of Joy
Morning of Joy focuses on the results of suffering and on what happens to believers after they have passed on to heaven.
Its subjects are the “morning” and the “morning-glory.” The book is a unplifting turn from its predecessor.“Ultimately, Bonar shows that there is nothing healthier than the anticipations of the morning and of the morning-glory.”
It teaches about the meaning of grace and glory in the Christian life, and there are also detailed chapters about what God’s kingdom will be like.
Others examine what it will be like to be in God’s presence and what reuniting with believers will feel like.
Ultimately, Bonar shows that there is nothing healthier than the anticipations of the morning and of the morning-glory. They keep us balanced and help us maintain a proper perspective.
In the end, both books are exceptional, and this single volume that contains them comes highly recommend.
Intro and outro music provided by Five Minute Plan. Be sure to check them out!
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this review are solely those of the reviewer. They do not represent any endorsement from the publisher.