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Meet the Puritans: With a Guide to Modern Reprints Hardcover – February 1, 2007
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The resurgent appetite for Puritan literature has produced long book lists and heavy bookshelves. Intimidated students and busy pastors ask, Where do I start? Regular readers of the Puritans ask, Where do I go from here? The obvious answer to both questions now is, Meet the Puritans. I am confident that God will mightily use this mind-enriching, heart-warming, and soul-satisfying publication to arouse new interest in the Puritans, to stimulate demand for their books, and so to multiply among us the Christ-centered lives they so passionately promoted. --Dr. David Murray
As furnaces burn with ancient coal and not with the leaves that fall from today s trees, so my heart is kindled with the fiery substance I find in the old Scripture-steeped sermons of Puritan pastors. A warm thanks to the authors of Meet the Puritans for all the labor to make them known. --DR. JOHN PIPER, Pastor, Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota
The Puritans English, Scottish, American, and Dutch are being read again! In an era of superficial discipleship and erratic, impotent, ailing, and dying churches, this is indeed a hopeful sign. And this wide-ranging handbook of backup information about the writers themselves, their special strengths, and modern reprints of their books, is another hopeful sign. Meet the Puritans is a fascinating compendium, scholarly yet popular and accessible, that Puritan-lovers will value very highly and justly so. --DR. JAMES I. PACKER, author of Knowing God and A Quest for Godliness
About the Author
Joel R. Beeke (Ph.D. Westminster Theological Seminary) is president and professor of systematic theology and homiletics at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, pastor of the Heritage Netherlands Reformed Congregation in Grand Rapids, Michigan, editor of The Banner of Sovereign Grace Truth, and author of numerous books.
Randall J. Pederson (M.T.S. Calvin Theological Seminary) is a member of the Heritage Netherlands Reformed Congregation in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and the author of several publications relating to Puritanism.
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This book is basically a summary of the work of many of the Puritans. The chapters run from 2 to 10 pages on each Puritan. It starts with a brief biography and then progresses to a description of their writings, sermons, and books. The book is loaded with good devotional material that will help stimulate your heart and mind from sermon preparation and Bible study. This book has become a highly treasured volume in my personal library.
If you have a high regard for Scripture and for the preaching of that Scripture, this book will certainly give you some motivation in that area. This is especially true when you begin to read some of the sermon titles associated with their study of Scripture. It is also a book that will put you on the trail of more books by the Puritans who spent much focus on gearing men toward prayer, holiness, worship, and the power of Scripture.
Just as a few examples that you will find are:
Thomas Brooks preached 58 sermons from Hebrews 12:14 and they are introduced in his book, “The Crown and Glory of Christianity.” He also wrote a book “Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices.” In this book he describes twelve of Satan’s devices and their remedies. He then focuses on eight devices that Satan keeps believers from using the means of grace. He writes of ten helps against the devices: walk by the rule of the Word of God, don’t grieve the Spirit, strive for heavenly wisdom, resist Satan’s first motions, labor to be filled with the Spirit, remain humble, pursue watchfulness, retain communion with God, fight Satan by drawing strength from the Lord Jesus, and be much in prayer.
Thomas Watson has become one of my favorites among the Puritans. He wrote “The Mischief of Sin” which is a written about the danger of sin. It is divided into four parts: (1) The Mischief of Sin; (2) An Alarm to Sinners; (3) The Desperateness of Sinners; and (4) Hell’s Furnace Heated Hotter. This book has some of the most incredible word pictures that you will ever read.
Benjamin Keach is described in this book also. From “Exposition of the Parables” it is noted that 147 messages are gathered from the parables which Keach preached. In “The Travels of True Godliness” he introduces the reader to over two dozen enemies of godliness. Some of them are apostasy, hypocrisy, legalism, antinominianism, worldliness, and the devil.
In the opening section, Joel Beeke and Randall Pederson give the following reasons that one will profit from reading the Puritans.
They shape life by Scripture.
They focus on Christ.
They make Scripture guide the life by addressing the mind, confronting the conscience, and engaging the heart.
They show how to handle trials. Some of the titles they mention in this point: Thomas Brooks “A Mute Christian Under the Rod”; Richard Sibbes “A Bruised Reed” and Jeremiah Burroughs “The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment.”
They show how to live in two worlds.
They show the power of a true spiritual life.
You will be blessed by this book!
Personal Thoughts: I love this book. I have flipped through its pages so many times. This book really helped me to learn who the Puritans were and what exactly I wanted to read based on my own interests and reading levels. Don't get intimidated by the size of this book. Remember that it is primarily a reference tool. I think very much of the Puritans --they've helped me grow in my faith so very much with the help of the Holy Spirit. I truly hope that you would read a Puritan author one day. Start with Thomas Brooks or Richard Sibbes. Things will progress on their own from there...especially if you have the help of this book.
Within this text of almost 900 pages one reads about Puritans like theologian John Owen (Owen, 1616-1683, was one of the finest Reformed theologians in history; pastor and chaplain to Oliver Cromwell; Dean of Christ Church, Oxford): "To preach the word . . . and not to follow it with constant and fervent prayer for its success, is to disbelieve its use, neglect its end, and to cast away the seed of the gospel at random."
This significant book furnishes numerous biographical sketches of important and less known Puritan authors and a review of their works.
Thomas Watson wrote: "To know that nothing hurts the godly, is a matter of comfort; but to be assured that all things which fall out shall co-operate for their good, that their crosses shall be turned into blessings, that showers of affliction water the withering root of their grace and make it flourish more; this may fill their hearts with joy till they run over."
This work is aimed to assist those interested in Puritan books as a key reference work. Thanks be to God for the work of the Puritans and the labor of the modern publishers of their outstanding writings.
Owen adds: "The whole creation is as a garment, wherein the Lord shows his power clothed unto men; whence in particular his said to clothe himself with light as with a garment (Psa. 104:2). And in it is the hiding of his power. Hid it is, as a man is hid with a garment; not that he should not be seen at all, but that he should not be seen perfectly and as his is. It shows the man, and he is known by it; but also it hides him, that he is not perfectly or fully seen. So are the works of creation unto God, he so far makes them his garment or clothing as in them to give out some instances of his power and wisdom; but he is also hid in them, in that by them no creature can come to the full knowledge of him. Now, when this work shall cease, and God shall unclothe or unveil all his glory to his saints, and they shall know him perfectly, see him as he is, so far as a created nature is capable of that comprehension, then will he lay them aside and fold them up, at least as to that use, as easily as a man lays aside a garment that he will wear or use no more."
Thomas Manton (Manton, the king of preachers, gave spiritual counsel to Christopher Love before Love was executed in 1652, he was with Love when he was beheaded and preached his funeral sermon) declared "Works before conversion cannot engage God, and works after conversion can not satisfy God - all the endeavor and labor of the creature will never procure it"
And C. Love said: "Blessed be God that Thou hast filled the soul of Thy servant with joy and peace in believing."
Love added: "Most Glorious and eternal Majesty, Thou art righteous and holy in all thou dost to the sons of men, though thou hast suffered men to condemn Thy servant, Thy servant will not condemn Thee."
Richard Sibbes observed: "When we grow careless of keeping our souls, then God recovers our taste of good things again by sharp crosses."
The one and only John Bunyan proclaimed: "Do not even such things as are most bitter to the flesh, tend to awaken Christians to faith and prayer, to a sight of the emptiness of this world, and the fadingness of the best it yield? Doth not God by these things (ofttimes) call our sins to remembrance, and provoke us to amendment of life? How then can we be offended at things by which we reap so much good?.... Therefore if mine enemy hunger, let me feed him; if he thirst, let me give him drink. Now in order to do this, (1) We must see good in that, in which other men can see none. (2) We must pass by those injuries that other men would revenge. (2) We must show we have grace, and that we are made to bear what other men are not acquainted with. (4) Many of our graces are kept alive, by those very things that are the death of other men's souls.... The devil, (they say) is good when he is pleased; but Christ and His saints, when displeased."
I love this quote from John Mason: "We need not be ashamed of that now, which we are sure we shall not repent of when we come to die."
John Flavel famously said: "A hot iron, though blunt, will pierce sooner than a cold one, though sharper."
S. Charnock noted: "Let us not satisfy ourselves with a knowledge of God in the mass; a glance upon a picture never directs you to the discerning the worth and art of it."
James Durham rightly admonished: "Neither place, parts, nay, nor graces, will exempt any man from falling. O believers, what need is there to be watchful and humble!"
This excellent resource is an outstanding way to begin one's study of the Puritans and their works. This book is also a fine fit for those who desire a more comprehensive and deeper pursuit of Puritan thought.
See the New Book that contends for the existence of God using moral absolutes by Mike Robinson:
There Are Moral Absolutes: How to Be Absolutely Sure That Christianity Alone Supplies
or additionally see the dynamic new book on apologetics that draws from Puritan thought:
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This is a collection of biographies of the 17th century Reformed Theologians.Read more