Many readers of this Blog and visitors to the CVBBS.COM website already know some or much about the Puritans and buy their Puritan books from here.
Others , perhaps like me in the mid-70's (not my age but the time four decades ago!), sniffed around them but were a bit cautious. I had heard so much about the Puritans, good and bad, in college and in my early religious training. I had heard that the Puritans were legalists and curmudgeons (Baltimore newspaper columnist and social wit H. L. Mencken once maligned the Puritans as people who feared that "somewhere someone somehow was having a good time"). That's the image I had.
But as I continued to grow as a Christian, I realized that more and more of the men and movements of God I respected loved the Puritans and were blessed mightily by the Puritans. James Packer called the Puritans "the Redwoods of Christianity", overtopping all the trees in God's forest of the Church. The great evangelist George Whitefield read the Puritan Bible commentator Matthew Henry on his knees each morning along with his English Bible and his Greek New Testament. The great 19th century tract writer and author, pastor and later bishop. J. C. Ryle, was
a Puritan to his fingertips. Charles Spurgeon was a Puritan born out of due time and had read them since childhood, even before his conversion. The great Martyn Lloyd-Jones was a lover of the Puritans and profited greatly from reading them. He encouraged young Iain Murray in the beginning of the Banner of Truth to reprint the Puritan greats from the past. Hence the modern birth of the Puritan reprints.
As I decided to delve into the Puritans for myself, I found a body of Christian work which was profoundly biblical and spiritual, deeply thoughtful and affective, thorough and fulsome. To read them refreshing, convicting and challenging. You found yourself read by them and moved to do something about the truth, not simply skimming over the truth bug engaging with it. I have kept on reading the Puritans and from that time in the 1970's I have not not looked back.
HOW TO GET AN OVERVIEW OF THE PURITANS:
A BOOKLET !
Don Kistler, WHY READ THE PURITANS ?; Soli
Deo Gloria--a fine booklet to motivate you and
help you get started plunging into the Redwood
A SHORT PAPERBACK !
Erroll Hulse, WHO ARE THE PURITANS ? (and
what do they teach?); Evangelical Press--a great
introduction to the Puritans, their times, their
beliefs and practices; where to begin and how
to read them.
MORE SUBSTANTIAL HELPS FOR PASTORS/LAYMEN
Leland Ryken; WORLDLY SAINTS (The Puritans
As They Really Were); Crossway--perhaps the
best introduction to the Puritans. It is hard to
fully appreciate a man or movement apart from
the times in which they flourished. Gives their
strengths and weaknesses. Cleans off much of
the mud cast upon them by their enemies.
James Packer, A QUEST FOR GODLINESS (The
Puritan Vision of the Christian Life); Crossway--
Packer at his best with the theologians and vision
of the Christian life he knows best. One of this
past generations best theologians, writers, and
teachers shows us the richness and depth of
Kelly Kapic and Randall Gleason, eds.; THE
DEVOTED LIFE (An Invitation to the Puritan
Classics); IVP--a wonderful smorgasboard of
the best of the Puritans by a galaxy of lovers
of the Puritans. Contributors are men like
Sinclair, James Packer, Leland Ryken, Mark Noll,
Ligon Duncan, Joel Beeke and many others.
Shows you the best of the Puritans with an
expert helping you to know why you should
treasure this Puritan and their contribution.
SAMPLING THE PURITANS FOR YOURSELF:
Mark Deckard, HELPFUL TRUTHS IN PAST
PLACES; Christian Focus/Mentor--what if
someone put the best of the Puritans on display,
showed you their strengths and how they could
help you live a more faithful and biblical Christian
life? That's what pastor and biblical counselor
Mark Deckard has done is this goldmine of
goodness from Puritan authors. Here's a sampling
based upon the chapter titles and contents:
1. NEW IS NOT NECESSARILY BETTER--our need
of the Puritans and their biblical wisdom
2. WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME?--John Flavel
on THE MYSTERY OF PROVIDENCE
3. ANXIOUS AND DISSATISFIED--Jeremiah
Burroughs, THE RARE JEWEL OF CHRISTIAN
4. WHAT DOES SIN HAVE TO DO WITH MY
PROBLEM ?--John Owen, THE MORTIFICATION
OF SIN IN BELIEVERS
5. NO ONE UNDERSTANDS MY PROBLEMS--John
Bunyan's PILGRIM'S PROGRESS
6. I MUST NEED TO STOP FEELING, CORRECT ?--
Jonathan Edwards, RELIGIOUS AFFECTIONS
7. HOW CAN I FIND JOY AGAIN?--William Bridge,
A LIFTING UP FOR THE DOWNCAST
8. THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT--Thomas Brooks,
PRECIOUS REMEDIES AGAINST SATAN'S
PURITANS TO SAMPLE OR BEGIN WITH:
Thomas Watson, THE LORD'S PRAYER
, THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
, A BODY OF DIVINITY
, ALL THINGS FOR GOOD
Richard Sibbes, THE BRUISED REED
, A TENDER HEART
John Flavel, FACING GRIEF
, SINFUL SPEECH
Thomas Case, WHEN CHRISTIANS SUFFER
John Owen, INDWELLING SIN IN BELIEVERS
Richard Rushing, VOICES FROM THE PAST (Puritan
Devotional Writings); Banner of Truth
Richard Bennett, THE VALLEY OF VISION (A
Collection of Puritan Prayers); Banner of Truth
I imagine that if you read all of the above books, you would embark on a lifetime trip of reading the Puritans. I hope you do. They will do your soul well. And when we meet in heaven, you shall thank me profusely!
Your Book Servant,
Pastor Steve Martin