Don't judge a book by its title!

April 1st, 2016, 1pm

It was 12°C with clouds and visibility OK. The breeze was gentle.

It was over two years ago now that I wrote a post about my Dad’s library of very old books. As I mentioned in my post the other day, my Dad passed into glory on 10 March, so I was down at his house earlier this week helping to box up some of the books.

The photo at the top is of one of many that caught my eye, initially because I could tell from the cover that it was very old. This was confirmed once I opened it to look at the title page - 1648 - but it was the title itself that was then the more striking feature!

Why would someone choose a title like Bowels Opened?! I suppose it was encouraging to note that it wasn’t the author himself - Dr Richard Sibbes - but the later compilers of this collection of sermons from chapters 4, 5 and 6 of the Canticles (usually called Song of Solomon or Song of Songs in more modern Bibles).

But perhaps Sibbes would have chosen the title himself, had he been given the opportunity. We need to remember that bowels was very commonly used in Sibbes’ day to refer to the seat of pity, love, kindness, tenderness etc, and the sub-title of this book confirms that this is, of course, the intended meaning here: A Discovery of the Near and Dear Love, Union and Communion Betwixt Christ and the Church, and Consequently betwixt Him and every Beleeving [sic] Soul. This book was first published in 1639, 4 years after Sibbes’ death, but this is the 3rd edition, presumably indicating its popularity.

I have certainly discovered that with many of my Dad’s oldest books the proverbial warning not to judge a book by its cover is very true (as many have no title on the cover, or just one word on the spine), but I now know not to judge these old books by the title either!

Here’s the full title page:

Bowels Opened

Arushi, Christine and David Wade said thanks.

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Adrian Tribe

A follower of Jesus Christ, a husband and father, a Kentish Man (not a Man of Kent), a commuter to London

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