Book Review: The Sum of Saving Knowledge, Keene

The Sum of Saving Knowledge

David Dickson and James Durham

Reformation Press, 2019 (first published 1650, ISBN: 978-1912042128, 106pp, £6.10)

From its distant outpost on the Isle of Lewis, Reformation Press continues to pump out modern reprints of Scottish classics. A copious introduction to this edition by Matthew Vogan of the Reformation Scotland Trust emphasises the central position enjoyed by The Sum in Scottish religious history. For numerous influential Christians this tract has occupied the first rank of non-scriptural texts and it was often accordingly recognised by publishers who bound it with the Westminster Catechism. Thus The Sum is almost a Scottish formulary and is certainly honoured as a local expression of the universal truths recognised by the assembly of divines at Westminster.

The Sum bears the unmistakable mark of high puritanism with its diligent division and application of the gospel. Occasionally this diligence is at risk of veering into neuroticism, with some parts of this text featuring no fewer than five levels of enumerated subdivisions. On the whole however The Sum is a valuable short statement of the gospel. It is much to be hoped that this volume will rekindle many spiritual flames north of the border and to serve and inform a wider audience elsewhere also. 

Edward Keene, Little Shelford