I was absolutely thrilled to receive a copy of James Durham’s A Practical Exposition of the Ten Commandments from Reformation Heritage Books (RHB) to review. The Ten Commandments have been a particular area of focus for me over the last couple of years, and I’ve been plodding through as many books on the subject as possible. I was aware of Durham’s work but had been unable to obtain a copy of it in recent years. It was just republished this past year (2018), and RHB did a tremendous job with the republication.
First, allow me to say that you will read close to 100 pages of content before you actually dive into the book and this alone is worth the price of the book. The preliminary chapters include an introduction from the editor discussing the different editions the book has experienced since its first publication in 1675, a dedication page and note to the reader, some commendations to the reader from John Owen and William Jenkyn, and a preface by Durham to set the stage for the exposition. These prefaces are carefully crafted and theologically rich. I would encourage a careful read through of them. Do not skip or neglect them. Apply your mind to them and grow.
What commences from there is a very thorough and thoughtful exposition of each commandment with special attention given to the fourth commandment. I found Durham’s remarks on our ability to sin in our dreams (in his preface) to be extremely helpful and convicting. I also found his comments on both the second and fourth commandments to be beneficial and devotional (although as a reformed Baptist, I take issue with his assertion that infant baptism is not a violation of the regulative principle).
Overall, I would recommend this book to students who are serious in their thinking and have a moderate reading ability. I told my wife as I read the book that no modern-day writer is as thorough as the Reformers and Puritans were, and Durham’s work is no exception. This is a book I plan to re-visit and utilize often. One read through is not enough to grasp the devotional wealth contained in Durham’s work. Grab a copy and enjoy.