Review: The Trees of Pride (Spoilers)

Rating: ★★★★

Author: G. K. Chesterton was a devoutly Catholic journalist, poet and novelist of the early 20th century. His most apt nickname is “The Prince of Paradox.”

Overview: The Trees of Pride is one of Chesterton’s mystery novels, of which he has many. Most are in the Father Brown series; this, however, is a singlet.

The Trees of Pride takes place in Cornwall, in a quaint coastal village in the far southwest reaches of England. Cornwall, though a popular tourist destination, is also associated with occult practices, as well as its history of piracy. This makes it an obvious choice for a murder mystery.

Meat:

For starters, I have to admit, this was the first mystery novel I have ever read, and Chesterton did not disappoint. All of his books are stimulating and thoughtful. Chesterton skillfully speaks through the narrative as well as through the characters as voiceboxes.

Chesterton creates a fictional saint, St. Securis. Trees are moved by his prayers; a myth of Orpheus leading trees by his music is also referenced. These walking trees are also in Chesterton’s Ballad of the White Horse and are a favorite motif of the Inklings (who, readers should remember, were readers of Chesterton and not his personal acquaintances).

Chesterton sets up these trees as a foil: everyone believes the trees kill. Then the doctor sets up an elaborated faked death in order to ensure the trees will be destroyed.

In the end, the popular myth was in fact correct; although, all the educated people in the story had assumed that this was the one explanation to be scorned. Thus, the doctor says in the end:

I had something against me heavier and more hopeless than the hostility of the learned; I had the support of the ignorant. (loc. 927)

And again:

Your rational principle was that a thing must be false because thousands of men had found it true; that because many human eyes had seen something, it could not be there. (loc. 954)

Bones:

This book is a very quick read, and it doesn’t have as wide an appeal as some of his other novels. Some modern readers will definitely feel off-put by the blatant use of certain characters as a voicebox, a practice criticized in postmodern literature. Nonetheless, it was an enjoyable read and will remain one of the better of Chesterton’s fiction works.

Read For Free: LibriVox (audiobook), Project Gutenberg (epub, rtf), Kindle Store (mobi).

You can find links to many Chesterton’s books for free here.

Author Guide: G. K. Chesterton

All of Gilbert Keith Chesterton’s publications are listed here by genre (edited from Wikipedia’s list). You can see the chronological list here.

Biography

  1. (1903), Robert Browning
  2. (1904), G.F. Watts
  3. (1906), Charles Dickens
  4. (1910), William Blake
  5. (1917), Lord Kitchener
  6. (1923), St. Francis of Assisi
  7. (1925), William Cobbett
  8. (1927), Robert Louis Stevenson
  9. (1932), Chaucer
  10. (1933), St. Thomas Aquinas: The Dumb Ox
  11. (1936), Autobiography

Criticism

  1. (1905), Heretics
  2. (1909), George Bernard Shaw
  3. (1911), Appreciations and Criticisms of the Works of Charles Dickens
  4. (1913), The Victorian Age in Literature

Essays and Articles

  1. (1901), The Defendant
  2. (1902), Twelve Types
  3. (1903), Varied Types
  4. (1908), Orthodoxy
  5. (1908), All Things Considered
  6. (1909), Tremendous Trifles
  7. (1910), Five Types [selected from Twelve Types]
  8. (1910), Alarms and Discursions
  9. (1910), What’s Wrong With the World
  10. (1911), The Wit and Wisdom of G. K. Chesterton
  11. (1912), A Miscellany of Men
  12. (1912), Simplicity and Tolstoy [selected from Twelve Types]
  13. (1914), The Barbarism of Berlin
  14. (1914), London
  15. (1915), The Appetite of Tyranny [includes The Barbarism of Berlin]
  16. (1915), The Crimes of England
  17. (1916), Divorce vs. Democracy
  18. (1916), The Book of Job
  19. (1916), A Shilling for My Thoughts
  20. (1916), Temperance and The Great Alliance (pamphlet).
  21. (1917), A Short History of England
  22. (1917), Utopia of Usurers and Other Essays
  23. (1918), How to Help Annexation
  24. (1919), Irish Impressions
  25. (1920), The Superstition of Divorce
  26. (1920), The New Jerusalem
  27. (1920), The Uses of Diversity
  28. (1922), Eugenics and other Evils
  29. (1922), What I Saw in America
  30. (1923), Fancies Versus Fads
  31. (1925), The Superstitions of the Sceptic
  32. (1925), The Everlasting Man
  33. (1926), The Outline of Sanity
  34. (1926), The Catholic Church and Conversion
  35. (1927), Culture and the Coming Peril
  36. (1927), Social Reform vs. Birth Control
  37. (1928), Generally Speaking
  38. (1929), The Thing: Why I am a Catholic
  39. (1929), G.K.C. as M.C. [collected introductions, edited by J. P. de Fonseka]
  40. (1930), Come to Think of It
  41. (1930), The Resurrection of Rome
  42. (1931), All is Grist
  43. (1932), Sidelights of New London and Newer York
  44. (1933), All I Survey
  45. (1934), Avowals and Denials
  46. (1936), As I Was Saying

Novels

  1. (1904), The Napoleon of Notting Hill
  2. (1908), The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare
  3. (1909), The Ball and the Cross
  4. (1912), Manalive
  5. (1914), The Flying Inn
  6. (1914), Trial of John Jasper, Lay Precentor of Cloisterham Cathedral in the County of Kent, for the Murder of Edwin Drood
  7. (1924), The End of the Roman Road
  8. (1927), The Return of Don Quixote
  9. (1931), The Floating Admiral [collaborative detective story]
  10. (1932), Christendom in Dublin
  11. (1934), GK’s: A Miscellany of the First 500 Issues of G. K.’s Weekly.
  12. (1935), The Well and the Shallows.

Plays

  1. (1913), Magic: A Fantastic Comedy
  2. (1927), The Judgment of Dr. Johnson
  3. (1930), The Turkey and the Turk
  4. (1952), The Surprise [published posthumously]

Poetry

  1. (1900), Greybeards at Play
  2. (1900), The Wild Knight and Other Poems
  3. (1911), The Ballad of the White Horse
  4. (1915), Poems
  5. (1915), Wine, Water and Song
  6. (1922), The Ballad of St. Barbara and Other Poems
  7. (1923), Poems [reprinted from 1915 edition?]
  8. (1926), The Queen of Seven Swords
  9. (1927), Gloria in Profundis
  10. (1929), Ubi Ecclesia
  11. (1929), Christmas Poems
  12. (1929), New and Collected Poems
  13. (1930), The Grave of Arthur
  14. (1932), New Poems

Short Stories

  1. (1905), The Club of Queer Trades
  2. (1911), The Innocence of Father Brown
  3. (1914), The Wisdom of Father Brown
  4. (1922), The Man Who Knew Too Much
  5. (1925), Tales of The Long Bow
  6. (1926), The Incredulity of Father Brown
  7. (1927), The Secret of Father Brown
  8. (1928), The Sword of Wood
  9. (1929), Father Brown Omnibus [collected stories]
  10. (1929), The Poet and the Lunatics
  11. (1930), Four Faultless Felons, separately in US as The Ecstatic Thief; The Honest Quack; The Loyal Traitor; The Moderate Murderer
  12. (1935), The Scandal of Father Brown
  13. (1937), The Paradoxes of Mr. Pond [published posthumously]

Multiple-Author Works

  1. Williams, J.E. Hodder (1902), Thomas Carlyle
  2. Kitton, F.G. (1903), Charles Dickens: with Numerous Illustrations
  3. Garnett, Richard (1903), Tennyson
  4. Melville, Lewis (1903), Thackeray
  5. Perris, G.H.; Garnett, Edward (1903), Leo Tolstoy
  6. Shaw, George Bernard (1928), Do We Agree? [debate]

Anthologies

  1. (1911), A Chesterton Calendar. Compiled from the Writings of G.K.C. [calendar]
  2. (1926), Collected Works. Nine volumes.
  3. (1926), Collected Poems
  4. (1927), The Collected Poems of G.K. Chesterton
  5. (1935), Stories, Essays And Poems
  6. (1937), The Man Who Was Chesterton [anthology]
  7. (1938), The Coloured Lands.
  8. (1940), Sheed, Frank (ed.), The End of the Armistice
  9. (1943), The Pocket Book of Father Brown [reprint collection]
  10. (1950), The Common Man
  11. (1953), A Handful of Authors
  12. (1954), Collected Poems
  13. (1955), Collins, Dorothy (ed.), The Glass Walking-Stick
  14. (1958), Collins, Dorothy (ed.), Lunacy and Letters
  15. (1959), The Second Father Brown [reprint collection]
  16. (1961), Ten Adventures of Father Brown [reprint collection]
  17. (1961), Where All Roads Lead
  18. (1965), Collins, Dorothy (ed.), The Spice of Life
  19. (1970), Auden, W.H. (ed.), G. K. Chesterton. A selection from his non-fictional prose, Faber & Faber.
  20. (1972), Collins, Dorothy (ed.), Chesterton on Shakespeare.
  21. (1975), Collins, Dorothy (ed.), The Apostle and the Wild Ducks.
  22. (1978), The Hound of Heaven and Other Poems.
  23. (1981), The Penguin Complete Father Brown [reprint collection]
  24. (1983), The Father Brown Omnibus [reprint collection]
  25. (1984), Smith, Marie (ed.), The Spirit of Christmas.
  26. (1984), Basic Chesterton.
  27. (1985), Kavanagh, P.J. (ed.), The Bodley Head G.K. Chesterton.
  28. (1986), Smith, Marie (ed.), Daylight and Nightmare [uncollected short fiction]
  29. (1986), GK’s Weekly: A Sampler.
  30. (1986), The Collected Works of G. K. Chesterton, Ignatius Press.
  31. (1986), Illustrated London News, 1905–1907.
  32. (1987), Illustrated London News, 1908–1910.
  33. (1987), The Best of Father Brown [reprint collection]
  34. (1988), Illustrated London News, 1911–1913
  35. (1988), Illustrated London News, 1914–1916
  36. (1989), Illustrated London News, 1917–1919
  37. (1989), Illustrated London News, 1920–1922
  38. (1989), Smith, Marie (ed.), Thirteen Detectives
  39. (1989), Collected Works of G.K. Chesterton: Plays
  40. (1989), The Annotated Innocence of Father Brown [reprint collection]
  41. (1990), Father Brown Crime Stories [reprint collection]
  42. (1990), Smith, Marie (ed.), Seven Suspects
  43. (1990), de Silva, Alvaro (ed.), Brave New Family
  44. (1990), Illustrated London News, 1923–1925
  45. (1991), Illustrated London News, 1926–1928
  46. (1991), Illustrated London News, 1929–1931
  47. (1991), The Mask of Midas
  48. (1994), Collected Works of G. K. Chesterton: Collected Poetry: Part 1
  49. (1996), Father Brown of the Church of Rome [reprint collection]
  50. (1997), Platitudes Undone (annotations), Platitudes in the Making by Holbrook Jackson.
  51. (1997), Sparkes, Russel (ed.), Prophet of Orthodoxy: The Wisdom of G. K. Chesterton.
  52. (2000), On Lying in Bed and Other Essays
  53. (2001), Criticisms and Appreciations of the Works of Charles Dickens
  54. (2001), The G.K. Chesterton Papers: Additional Manuscripts
  55. (2002), Chesterton Day by Day: The Wit and Wisdom of G. K. Chesterton
  56. (2003), Essential Writings
  57. (2004), G. K. Chesterton’s Early Poetry: Greybeards at Play, The White Knight and Other Poems, The Ballad of the White Horse
  58. (2011), Illustrated London News, 1932–1934
  59. (2011), Stapleton, Julia (ed.), G. K. Chesterton at the Daily News: Literature, Liberalism, and Revolution, Part 1, volumes 1–4
  60. (2012), Stapleton, Julia (ed.), G. K. Chesterton at the Daily News: Literature, Liberalism, and Revolution, Part 2, volumes 5–8

Review: The Knowledge of the Holy

Rating: ★★★★★

Author: A. W. Tozer was an American pastor with the Christian and Missionary Alliance. In addition to the books that he wrote during his lifetime—of which the most famous are The Pursuit of God and The Knowledge of the Holy—hundreds of his sermons have been preserved for us and published in various forms. He also wrote many short articles as editor of the Alliance Weekly, seen for instance in Of God and Men and Born After Midnight. He is Arminian in theology, but mystical in outlook.

Genre: Devotional, theology proper.

Overview:

Tozer makes a statement in the introduction of this book that encapsulates the meaning and importance of theology proper for every believer:

What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us. (p. 1)

After this challenge, he handles attributes of God one by one in 23 chapters, each of which has been carefully distilled.

Theology proper was the task of a lifetime for Tozer. In addition to The Knowledge of the Holy, he has numerous sermons and sermon series on God’s attributes, some of which have also been published in book form. His Attributes of God series goes into more detail on specific theological questions. Of them all, however, The Knowledge of the Holy is the clearest and the best.

Tozer sees theology as leading us first and foremost to worship. As such, his book only takes on controversial topics as they tend to the kindling of renewed faith. He is the consummate devotional writer: which is to say, his goal in his writings and sermons is always to lead his listeners and readers to worship.

Meat:

The first chapter, “Why We Must Think Rightly about God,” is an obvious high point.

A high point in this book for me was Tozer’s Arminian explanation of “The Sovereignty of God.” He writes that we may know with certainty that a steamer is bound for Boston without knowing who will be on the steamer; in the same way, we know that the “elect” are going to heaven, but who is included in the “elect” is a matter subject to change over time. This explanation should be lucid and helpful to most Arminians.

Bones:

After the introductory chapters (1-4), Tozer spends five chapters introducing theology proper in a kind of Classical framework, which is obviously influenced by Greek philosophical thought. Although there is very little that I take issue with in chapters 5 through 10, the framework is based on systematic philosophical concerns. I think it could have been a more biblically grounded, rather than systematically grounded.

Probably the hardest thought of all for our natural egotism to entertain is that God does not need our help. . . . The God who worketh all things surely needs no help and no helpers. Too many missionary appeals are based upon this fancied frustration of Almighty God.

While this is clear enough in systematic theology, it is not so clear in biblical theology. One of the misconceptions of Job’s friends (42:8) was that they believed that God puts no trust in his servants (4:18-19, 15:15-16). On the contrary, the theatrical frame for the Book of Job leads us to believe that God puts too much trust in his servants. God isn’t flippant concerning our spiritual outcomes; both Testaments lead us to the conclusion that he is truly invested—if anything, more invested than we ourselves are.

Quotes:

What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us. (p. 1)

The greatness of God rouses fear within us, but His goodness encourages us not to be afraid of Him. To fear and not be afraid—that is the paradox of faith.

God sovereignly decreed that man should be free to exercise moral choice, and man from the beginning has fulfilled that decree by making his choice between good and evil. When he chooses to do evil, he does not thereby countervail the sovereign will of God but fulfills it, inasmuch as the eternal decree decided not which choice the man should make but that he should be free to make it. If in His absolute freedom God has willed to give man limited freedom, who is there to stay His hand or say, ‘What doest thou?’ Man’s will is free because God is sovereign. A God less than sovereign could not bestow moral freedom upon His creatures. He would be afraid to do so.

The Armor of God (VIII): The Sword of the Spirit

This is the eighth and final part in an eight-part series on “the armor of God” in Ephesians 6. It starts here.


. . . and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Eph. 6:17)

I mentioned at the beginning of this series that the entire panoply is defensive, with the sole exception of “the sword of the Spirit.” Now we arrive at a discussion of the meaning of this weapon.

The sword is a metaphor throughout Scripture for the Word of God, and not just in Ephesians or Hebrews. There are three elements that the word of God is compared to (whether in simile or metaphor):

  1. Light
    lamp [Ps. 119:105]
    fire [Jer. 23:29, technically a simile]
    mirror [James 1:23, simile]
  2. Food
    milk [1 Pet. 2:2, Heb. 5:12, 1 Cor. 3:2]
    meat [Heb. 5:12, 1 Cor. 3:2]
  3. Weapon
    sword [Eph. 6:17, Heb. 4:12-13, Rev. 1:16; see also Isa. 49:2, Hos. 6:5, Rev. 2:12, 19:15, 19:21]
    hammer [Jer. 23:29, simile]
    fire [Jer. 5:14, see also Jer. 20:9, 23:29]

There may be a few similes not mentioned here. For instance, the Word is like a seed that brings life (1 Pet. 1:23), and the Word is like water that cleanses (Eph. 5:26-27).

Overall, though, the most common metaphor used of God’s Word is a weapon. And out of the weapon metaphors, a sword appears to be the most repeated throughout both Testaments.

The Word Reveals, Nourishes, and Hurts

These metaphors that are repeated throughout Scripture enable us to see the Word as accomplishing at least three functions in our lives: It reveals, it nourishes, and it hurts. Needless to say, the third of these is the most surprising, especially since it is the most repeated!

The Word reveals. As a lamp, the Word reveals the way to live; as a fire, the Word brings safety at night, but in that passage in Jeremiah, it is also, yet again, a weapon. And as a mirror, the Word reveals to us ourselves.

The Word also nourishes. Both Peter and Paul compare God’s Word to “spiritual milk” that brings us to maturity. There is also a word from God that is like “meat”—it strengthens us and energizes us. The Word also takes time to digest! We need to take it pieces, not all at once, lest we miss the maturity that comes with each morsel of revelation.

The Word hurts. Take a look at Jeremiah’s word:

12 They have lied about the Lord,
And said, “It is not He.
Neither will evil come upon us,
Nor shall we see sword or famine. . . .”

14 Therefore thus says the Lord God of hosts:

“Because you speak this word,
Behold, I will make My words in your mouth fire,
And this people wood,
And it shall devour them.”

(Jer. 5:12, 14, NKJV)

God’s Word is amazingly powerful. The same Word that said in the beginning, “let there be light”—and there was light—still has power to build and destroy, to create and to undo. In a sense, some Creation processes have freedom to run “in the background” with or without divine maintenance—although truly “in him all things hold together.” (Col. 1:17) But when he wants to tear down entire nations, he does it, not with lightning and thunder, with his arm and his power, but with his word.

Out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. (Rev. 19:15, NKJV)

The same sword that, in the end, defeats Satan’s armies, is the sword that we as believers wield against him. His Word is that powerful. Amazingly, this “sword” is the only weapon mentioned.

Finally, the Word hurts to heal. When the author of Hebrews calls the Word “sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit” (4:12 NKJV), we should take notice that he’s talking about believers. The author of Hebrews speaks of warning believers, to “be diligent to enter that rest” (4:11):

Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. (4:1 NKJV)

The sword of the Spirit may pierce us now as a way of helping us to know if our efforts are from the soul or from the spirit. As we close our discussion of God’s suit of armor, let us make every effort to find ourselves among those that are pierced here and now by the Word of God—for everyone who is not pierced by it now, will assuredly be pierced by it hereafter.

A Bibliography of G. K. Chesterton

All of Gilbert Keith Chesterton’s publications are listed here chronologically (edited from Wikipedia’s list).

Single-Author Works

  1. (1900), Greybeards at Play (poetry), London: R. Brimley Johnson.
  2. (1900), The Wild Knight and Other Poems (poetry).
  3. (1901), The Defendant, London: R. Brimley Johnson.
  4. (1902), Twelve Types, London: Arthur L. Humphreys.
  5. (1903), Robert Browning, London: Macmillan & Co., Ltd..
  6. (1903), Varied Types, New York: Dodd, Mead, and Company.
  7. (1904), The Napoleon of Notting Hill (novel), London & New York: John Lane: The Bodley Head.
  8. (1904), G.F. Watts, London: Duckworth & Co..
  9. (1905), The Club of Queer Trades (stories), New York & London: Harper & Brothers.
  10. (1905), Heretics, London: John Lane: The Bodley Head.
  11. (1906), Charles Dickens.
  12. (1908), The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare (novel), New York: Dodd, Mead and Company.
  13. (1908), Orthodoxy, London: Bodley Head.
  14. (1908), All Things Considered, London: Methuen & Co.
  15. (1909), George Bernard Shaw, New York: John Lane Company.
  16. (1909), Tremendous Trifles, London: Methuen & Co..
  17. (1909), The Ball and the Cross (novel), London: Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., Ltd.
  18. (1910), Five Types (essays), selected from Twelve Types.
  19. (1910), William Blake.
  20. (1910), Alarms and Discursions.
  21. (1910), What’s Wrong With the World.
  22. (1911), Appreciations and Criticisms of the Works of Charles Dickens.
  23. (1911), The Ballad of the White Horse (poetry).
  24. (1911), The Wit and Wisdom of GK Chesterton.
  25. (1911), The Innocence of Father Brown (stories).
  26. (1911), A Chesterton Calendar. Compiled from the Writings of G.K.C. (Calendar).
  27. (1912), Manalive (novel).
  28. (1912), A Miscellany of Men.
  29. (1912), Simplicity and Tolstoy.
  30. (1913), Magic (play).
  31. (1913), The Victorian Age in Literature.
  32. (1914), The Flying Inn (novel).
  33. (1914), The Wisdom of Father Brown (stories).
  34. (1914), Trial of John Jasper, Lay Precentor of Cloisterham Cathedral in the County of Kent, for the Murder of Edwin Drood.
  35. (1914), London.
  36. (1914), The Barbarism of Berlin.
  37. (1915), Poems.
  38. (1915), Wine, Water and Song (poetry) – via Project Gutenberg.
  39. (1915), The Appetite of Tyranny.
  40. (1915), The Crimes of England.
  41. (1916), Divorce vs. Democracy.
  42. (1916), The Book of Job.
  43. (1916), A Shilling for My Thoughts.
  44. (1916), Temperance and The Great Alliance (pamphlet).
  45. (1917), Utopia of Usurers.
  46. (1917), Lord Kitchener.
  47. (1917), A Short History of England.
  48. (1918), How to Help Annexation.
  49. (1919), Irish Impressions.
  50. (1920), The Superstition of Divorce.
  51. (1920), The Uses of Diversity.
  52. (1920), The New Jerusalem.
  53. (1922), The Ballad of St. Barbara and Other Poems (poetry).
  54. (1922), The Man Who Knew Too Much (stories).
  55. (1922), Eugenics and other Evils.
  56. (1922), What I Saw in America.
  57. (1923), St. Francis of Assisi.
  58. (1923), Poems.
  59. (1923), Fancies Versus Fads (essays).
  60. (1924), The End of the Roman Road.
  61. (1925), Tales of The Long Bow (stories).
  62. (1925), The Superstitions of the Sceptic.
  63. (1925), The Everlasting Man.
  64. (1925), William Cobbett.
  65. (1926), The Queen of Seven Swords (poetry).
  66. (1926), The Outline of Sanity.
  67. (1926), The Incredulity of Father Brown (stories).
  68. (1926), The Catholic Church and Conversion.
  69. (1926), Collected Works. Nine volumes.
  70. (1926), Collected Poems.
  71. (1927), Robert Louis Stevenson.
  72. (1927), The Secret of Father Brown (stories).
  73. (1927), The Return of Don Quixote (novel).
  74. (1927), The Judgment of Dr. Johnson (play).
  75. (1927), The Collected Poems of G.K. Chesterton.
  76. (1927), Gloria in Profundis (poetry).
  77. (1927), Culture and the Coming Peril.
  78. (1927), Social Reform vs. Birth Control
  79. (1928), Generally Speaking
  80. (1928), The Sword of Wood (stories).
  81. (1929), The Thing: Why I am a Catholic.
  82. (1929), de Fonseka, J.P. (ed.), G.K.C. as M.C (collected introductions).
  83. (1929), Father Brown Omnibus (collected stories).
  84. (1929), The Poet and the Lunatics (stories).
  85. (1929), Ubi Ecclesia (poetry).
  86. (1929), Christmas Poems.
  87. (1929), New and Collected Poems.
  88. (1930), Four Faultless Felons (stories), separately in US as The Ecstatic Thief; The Honest Quack; The Loyal Traitor; The Moderate Murderer.
  89. (1930), The Turkey and the Turk (play for mummers).
  90. (1930), The Grave of Arthur.
  91. (1930), Come to Think of It.
  92. (1930), The Resurrection of Rome.
  93. (1931), All is Grist.
  94. (1931), The Floating Admiral (collaborative detective story).
  95. (1932), Chaucer.
  96. (1932), New Poems.
  97. (1932), Christendom in Dublin.
  98. (1932), Sidelights of New London and Newer York.
  99. (1933), All I Survey.
  100. (1933), St. Thomas Aquinas: The Dumb Ox.
  101. (1934), Avowals and Denials.
  102. (1934), GK’s: A Miscellany of the First 500 Issues of G. K.’s Weekly.
  103. (1935), The Well and the Shallows.
  104. (1935), The Scandal of Father Brown (stories).
  105. (1935), Stories, Essays And Poems.
  106. (1936), Autobiography.
  107. (1936), As I Was Saying.

Multiple-Author Works

  1. Williams, J.E. Hodder (1902), Thomas Carlyle, London: Hodder and Stoughton.
  2. Kitton, F.G. (1903), Charles Dickens: with Numerous Illustrations, London: Hodder and Stoughton.
  3. Garnett, Richard (1903), Tennyson, London: Hodder and Stoughton.
  4. Melville, Lewis (1903), Thackeray, London: Hodder and Stoughton.
  5. Perris, G.H.; Garnett, Edward (1903), Leo Tolstoy, London: Hodder and Stoughton.
  6. Shaw, George Bernard (1928), Do We Agree? (debate).

Posthumous Works and Compilations

  1. (1937), The Paradoxes of Mr. Pond.
  2. (1937), The Man Who Was Chesterton (anthology)
  3. (1938), The Coloured Lands.
  4. (1940), Sheed, Frank (ed.), The End of the Armistice.
  5. (1943), The Pocket Book of Father Brown, and many other reprint collections, including:
  6. (1959), The Second Father Brown,
  7. (1961), Ten Adventures of Father Brown,
  8. (1981), The Penguin Complete Father Brown,
  9. (1983), The Father Brown Omnibus,
  10. (1987), The Best of Father Brown,
  11. (1989), The Annotated Innocence of Father Brown,
  12. (1990), Father Brown Crime Stories,
  13. (1996), Father Brown of the Church of Rome.
  14. (1950), The Common Man.
  15. (1952), The Surprise (play).
  16. (1953), A Handful of Authors.
  17. (1954), Collected Poems.
  18. (1955), Collins, Dorothy (ed.), The Glass Walking-Stick.
  19. (1958), Collins, Dorothy (ed.), Lunacy and Letters.
  20. (1961), Where All Roads Lead.
  21. (1965), Collins, Dorothy (ed.), The Spice of Life.
  22. (1970), Auden, W.H. (ed.), G. K. Chesterton. A selection from his non-fictional prose, Faber & Faber.
  23. (1972), Collins, Dorothy (ed.), Chesterton on Shakespeare.
  24. (1975), Collins, Dorothy (ed.), The Apostle and the Wild Ducks.
  25. (1978), The Hound of Heaven and Other Poems.
  26. (1984), Smith, Marie (ed.), The Spirit of Christmas.
  27. (1984), Basic Chesterton.
  28. (1985), Kavanagh, P.J. (ed.), The Bodley Head G.K. Chesterton.
  29. (1986), Smith, Marie (ed.), Daylight and Nightmare (uncollected short fiction).
  30. (1986), GK’s Weekly: A Sampler.
  31. (1986), The Collected Works of G. K. Chesterton, Ignatius Press.
  32. (1986), Illustrated London News, 1905–1907.
  33. (1987), Illustrated London News, 1908–1910.
  34. (1988), Illustrated London News, 1911–1913.
  35. (1988), Illustrated London News, 1914–1916.
  36. (1989), Illustrated London News, 1917–1919.
  37. (1989), Illustrated London News, 1920–1922.
  38. (1989), Smith, Marie (ed.), Thirteen Detectives.
  39. (1989), Collected Works of G.K. Chesterton: Plays.
  40. (1990), Smith, Marie (ed.), Seven Suspects.
  41. (1990), de Silva, Alvaro (ed.), Brave New Family.
  42. (1990), Illustrated London News, 1923–1925.
  43. (1991), Illustrated London News, 1926–1928.
  44. (1991), Illustrated London News, 1929–1931.
  45. (1991), The Mask of Midas.
  46. (1994), Collected Works of G. K. Chesterton: Collected Poetry: Part 1.
  47. (1997), Platitudes Undone (annotations), Platitudes in the Making by Holbrook Jackson.
  48. (1997), Sparkes, Russel (ed.), Prophet of Orthodoxy: The Wisdom of G. K. Chesterton.
  49. (2000), Eugenics and Other Evils.
  50. (2000), On Lying in Bed and Other Essays.
  51. (2001), Criticisms and Appreciations of the works of Charles Dickens.
  52. (2001), The G.K. Chesterton Papers: Additional Manuscripts.
  53. (2002), Chesterton Day by Day: The Wit and Wisdom of G. K. Chesterton.
  54. (2003), Essential Writings.
  55. (2004), G. K. Chesterton’s Early Poetry: Greybeards at Play, The White Knight and Other Poems, The Ballad of the White Horse.
  56. (2011), Illustrated London News, 1932–1934.
  57. (2011), Stapleton, Julia (ed.), G. K. Chesterton at the Daily News: Literature, Liberalism, and Revolution, Part 1, volumes 1–4, Pickering & Chatto.
  58. (2012), Stapleton, Julia (ed.), G. K. Chesterton at the Daily News: Literature, Liberalism, and Revolution, Part 2, volumes 5–8, Pickering & Chatto.

Review: The Appetite of Tyranny

Rating: ★★

Author: G. K. Chesterton was a devoutly Catholic journalist, poet and novelist of the early 20th century. His most apt nickname is “The Prince of Paradox.”

Full Title:  The Appetite of Tyranny: Including Letters to an Old Garibaldian

Alternate Titles: The Appetite of Tyranny combines two previous books, both of which were very short: The Barbarism of Berlin (1914), which was a response to the July Crisis, and Letters to an Old Garibaldian (March 1915).

Genre: Non-fiction, journalism, wartime essays.

Overview:

The Appetite of Tyranny is a brief, thoughtful book, but not always measured in its tone. This little book addresses what Chesterton sees as the roots of German aggression that resulted in World War I. Although at the outset it is supposed to be reasoning against German ideology and policy, the book devolves into criticisms of the German people themselves.

The essay was published in 1914—directly in the wake of the July Crisis that led into World War I—so it is understandably polemic in tone. Chesterton sees the crisis as resulting from lack of faithfulness among German leadership on two points: keeping their word (they had promised not to invade Belgium), and maintaining reciprocity. Of course, the war itself would probably not be described so unilaterally in most history books.

Based on Project Gutenberg downloads, this appears to be the least popular of Chesterton’s fifty-odd books (the most popular being Orthodoxy and The Man Who Was Thursday).

This book is not really what we would call “classic” Chesterton, so I don’t recommend it for devotional or leisurely reading, unless you are highly interested in World War I. I consider World War I to be an understandably weak period in Chesterton’s writing.

Meat:

Chesterton is never concerned solely with the surface of the issue; he is always hunting for some principle behind the circumstances at play, so that he can better understand the motives and outcomes. For the most part, that is the case in The Appetite of Tyranny (though probably less so in The Crimes of England or Lord Kitchener).

He begins by seeking to demonstrate that “civilization,” in terms of technological advancement, has made the Germans no less “barbarous.” He argues that intellect and technology may only increase their evil:

If their cities soared higher than their flying ships, if their trains travelled faster than their bullets, we should still call them barbarians.

This is the kind of argument used, for instance, in his novel The Trees of Pride. But Chesterton’s argument weakens as he resorts to less logical attacks on the German people.

The most interesting points in this little book, I thought, were those that presaged the development of the Nazi movement. From the beginning of World War I, Chesterton openly mocked German “race theorists” and the superiority complex that he saw as fueling—or, at least, excusing—German aggression. He quotes a Professor Ostwald of Berlin University as saying:

Science combined with organisation makes us terrible to our opponents and ensures a German future for Europe. (p. 48)

Chesterton goes on to recount an argument by a German writer that Leonardo da Vinci was German! These examples are interesting in retrospect as exemplifying the kind of ideology that preceded Nazism. Chesterton was relatively consistent in this area as an outspoken critic of eugenics and related ideologies.

Bones:

As the essay continues, he slips into equating German politics with the German people as a whole, and commits several slurs which are difficult to excuse over a century later. Surely, when they were written, the English would not have thought twice about his generalizations, reeling as Europe was in the shock of the Great War. To my mind, he somewhat repeats the error of the Germans by insulting them as Germans.

I should add, even if he weren’t English, Chesterton’s sympathies would almost necessarily on the French side, the French being predominantly Catholic. He often speaks fondly of his travels in France; I am not sure if he ever visited Germany, and he had little regard for Luther.

This and several of his other books of the time period are mainly responses to the needs of the time, and haven’t aged nearly as well as most of his works. Although it contains a few interesting historical notes and aphorisms here and there (several given below), The Appetite of Tyranny definitely should not be the first (or even third) Chesterton book you pick up.

Related Works: Lord Kitchener, The Crimes of England.

Quotes:

“Others besides German soldiers have slain the defenceless, for loot or lust or private malice, like any other murderer. The point is that nowhere else but in Prussian Germany is any theory of honour mixed up with such things.”

“The collapse of German philosophy always occurs at the beginning, rather than the end of an argument.”

“The danger of the Pruss is that he is prepared to fight for old errors as if they were new truths.”

“The definition of the true savage is that he laughs when he hurts you; and howls when you hurt him.”

“The promise, like the wheel, is unknown in Nature: and is the first mark of man. Referring only to human civilisation, it may be said with seriousness that in the beginning was the Word. The vow is to the man what the song is to the bird, or the bark to the dog; his voice, whereby he is known.” (in an argument about German faithlessness)

“He cannot get outside the idea that he, because he is he and not you, is free to break the law; and also to appeal to the law.”

 

 

The Armor of God (VII): The Helmet of Salvation

This is the seventh part in an eight-part series on “the armor of God” in Ephesians 6. It starts here.


And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Eph. 6:17)

Like the “breastplate of righteousness,” the “helmet of salvation” is first mentioned by Isaiah:

For He put on righteousness as a breastplate,
And a helmet of salvation on His head;
He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing,
And was clad with zeal as a cloak.
(Isa. 59:17)

Some have said that connecting “salvation” to our “heads” implies that salvation is related to our theology or thought processes about God. That is true, in a sense. It is not our right ways of thinking that bring us salvation; it is our salvation that directs our thoughts to God. When we repent and turn to him, he enables us to become his children (John 1:1-14), and this amounts to a total reorientation of our life.

I am not sure whether a reader in Paul’s day or Isaiah’s day would have readily connected their “brain” or “head” with their thoughts. Regardless, I think it’s nearer to the heart of the metaphor to seek to understand the Jewish concept of salvation, and to see it as something that protects the most important part of us.

It is a very American problem to be preoccupied with “where someone is spending eternity” to the exclusion of the consideration of righteousness or even life. An interesting corrective to this has been noticed by better Bible scholars than myself:

  • He “saved” us in Titus 3:5;
  • We are “being saved” in 1 Corinthians 1:18, Acts 2:47, and elsewhere; and,
  • We “will be saved” in Mark 16:16 and Acts 16:31.

“Salvation” as used in the Bible definitely includes a future state; but it also involves a state of wholeness on earth and in this present life. We should think of salvation as God’s protecting influence that begins with forgiveness and culminates in eternal communion.