Book Review: The Tin Ticket – The Heroic Journey of Australia’s Convict Women, by Deborah J. Swiss

Chapter 1: The Grey-Eyed Girl

Well I lasted one day before reading some more of this book – but I did finish one of the other books I was reading first and posted a book review of it, so that wasn’t too bad. I’ve convinced myself anyway, so I can now continue reading this book as well.

The first chapter begins the story of Agnes McMillan Roberts, a convict sent to Van Diemen’s Land (now known as Tasmania) from Glasgow in Scotland.

This first chapter paints a terrible picture of conditions for the poorer families of Glasgow in the 1820s. The early years were tough years for Agnes and her childhood was cut short by the abandonment of her parents – first her father, then her mother (who basically stopped being one). In the place of family, Agnes aged 12 found support in a ‘street gang’ of young girls and this led ultimately to her arrest for burglary. Her partner in crime and life was 13-year-old Janet Houston, who took the younger Agnes under her wing.

Fighting to survive the elements in a filthy city, petty crime was one of very few options open to Agnes and she took it. She was to pay the penalty for being a survivor, a penalty that she was required to pay because society failed to care for the less fortunate of her day. Her small gang of young girls were arrested at the scene of their crime and quickly sentenced.

Agnes and Janet were sentenced to 18 months forced labor at a woolen mill, working 15 hour days, 7 days a week. They were basically slaves, child slaves and poorly treated ones at that. Life at the mill was 18 months of torture, a slave labor that no child should have to endure. Yet this was the life that beckoned for thousands of children across Britain during the so-called Industrial Revolution. Child exploitation and exploitation of the poor were signs of the times.

Reading this chapter you can’t but feel for Agnes and her friend Janet. Abandoned by society, with no hope for survival except by embracing a world of what you could call the underbelly of 1820s Glasgow. To survive they turned to a life of petty crime. Sure they were by definition criminals, but it is difficult to feel anything but pity and compassion toward these young girls given the circumstances in which they lived. From out of the frying pan and into the fire though was the result, in what is just a terribly sad childhood for these young girls.

This first chapter leaves you asking yourself just who were the real criminals in all of this? Are the parents the real criminals? Are the upper class to blame for this? Is it the government’s fault? Is it society as a whole? 1820s Glasgow certainly makes me glad to be living in 21st century Australia.

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Book Review: A God Entranced Vision of All Things – The Legacy of Jonathan Edwards

I have started reading ‘A God Entranced Vision of All Things – The Legacy of Jonathan Edwards,’ with John Piper and Justin Taylor as the general editors of the book. It was published in 2004 by Crossway Books and has 275 pages.

This book is a collection of studies on Jonathan Edwards – his life, ministry and legacy. Each chapter investigates some facet of Edwards and each chapter is penned by a different author. The authors of these studies include John Piper, J. I. Packer, Paul Helm and Sam Storms, names widely recognized in reformed circles. The studies are expansions of messages delivered at a Desiring God Ministries conference in October 2003, celebrating 300 years since the birth of Jonathan Edwards.

In my journey through this book, I have thus far reached the end of chapter 2. What I can say is that this book is very easy to read, but difficult to put down. It has the readability that many books associated with Desiring God Ministries have, yet the weightiness of the subject matter does not allow one to just move through the book without serious reflection.

The book doesn’t leave you contemplating the past and Jonathan Edwards in particular, but the God of Jonathan Edwards and leads the reader to a serious contemplation of the glorious God who is all. Edwards life was about God and his enjoyment of Him, and this is the subject of chapter 1, ‘A God-Entranced Vision of All Things: Why We Need Jonathan Edwards 300 Years Later,’ by John Piper. Chapter 2 gives an overview of the life and legacy of Jonathan Edwards in ‘Jonathan Edwards: His Life and Legacy,’ by Stephen J. Nichols. With chapter 3, ‘Sarah Edwards: Jonathan’s Home and Haven,’ by Noel Piper, the subject matters of the first section of the book is dealt with brilliantly, ‘Part 1 – The Life and Legacy of Edards.’ Certainly I can speak to the first two chapters as having achieved that and I have little doubt the third will compliment the first 2.

The treatment of the guiding principles of Edwards’ life and the brief overview of it, leads the reader to the God of Jonathan Edwards and this would surely be the legacy that Edwards would have hoped for.

Post War – A History of Europe Since 1945, by Tony Judt

I have now started to read ‘Post War,’ by Tony Judt. The edition I have was published in 2005 by The Penguin Press. It is a massive work of over 900 pages, that includes both photographs and maps.

The period of history being dealt with is post war Europe from the end of World War II to 2005. It includes the immediate aftermath of World War II, right through the Cold War period and the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Though I have only just started (yesterday) I have completed about 100 pages thus far, which has taken me through the preface, introduction and the first chapter, ‘The Legacy of War.’ The first chapter deals with the immediate aftermath of the war and its consequences for the people of Europe. It is an horrific picture of post war Europe and the devastation it had on the entirety of Europe – nations, cities and towns, peoples and families. It is the legacy of total war.


The History of the English Baptists – Update

from the Reformation to the Beginning of the Reign of King George I, by Thomas Crosby

Preface_Image001 As noted in a previous post, I have been reading ‘The History of the English Baptists from the Reformation to the Beginning of the Reign of King George I,’ by Thomas Crosby. I have also been adding this work to my website (a link to this book appears at the end of this post).

I have now completed reading and adding the preface, table of contents and part of the first chapter.

The preface covers the period from the early church through to the first Baptists in England, tracing the origins of the Baptists and disproving their rise to that of the Anabaptists at Munster and the disaster that occurred in that city as a result of the Anabaptist rebellion.

Though a lengthy preface, it briefly touches on such as the Albigenses, the Waldenses, Wickcliff, Donatists, etc. Crosby goes back through history, from the reformation to the first century finding evidence of Baptistic beliefs and practices. It is a very interesting study, even though it is brief. Another interesting aspect of this study is the evidence for early Baptistic existence, even in the writings of Paedobaptist authors and the evidence against the early practice of infant-baptism in the early church.

To read the preface and further, please follow the link below: