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

Chapter 2: Crown of Thieves

‘Crown of Thieves’ opens well enough for Agnes and her friend Janet. They have freedom to enjoy, but too soon the 2nd chapter continues the narrative of despair and forced labor that petty thieves were required to fulfill as payment for their crimes. First in Glasgow and then in Kilmarnock, where their hopes for a better life were cut short as a consequence of their short careers in petty crime. In such a setting, in such a time, there was little for street kids to do in order to survive and so to petty thieving they often returned. It was their undoing in a society that knew little of compassion and nothing of social welfare.

From Kilmarnock, via the trial in Ayr, the lives of Agnes McMillan and Janet Houston were propelled in an entirely unexpected direction – transportation to Van Diemen’s Land for a period of seven years. In reality there would be no return. They were convicts headed for Tasmania, Australia, as it is now known. The chapter ends with their arrival in London and Newgate Prison.

The Tin Ticket brings to life the harsh realities of life for the homeless and poor of Britain. They were products of a harsh system that punished those that could do little to help themselves and seldom was help offered to enable them to lift themselves out of their predicament. Certainly deserved criminals were transported to the penal colonies, but far too often it was those who fell through the cracks of an unsympathetic society that were punished for what they had become in order to survive. The recorded history of transportation takes on a human face through the stories of Agnes McMillan and Janet Houston. It is a reminder that convicts were real people and often not all that criminal at all.

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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.