In this link, Justin Taylor reports on an excellent gift that has been given to us: many previously unavailable Puritan works which have been digitized from the library of J.I. Packer and posted to the web through the The John Richard Allison Library in Vancouver (Regent College, Carey Theological College). Eighty authors in all. Though for now the texts can only be read online, the reader is a pleasure to use. In time we will integrate these texts into our catalog and indices. (The link directly to the texts is here.)
- The Authority and Utility of the Scriptures – Hugh Binning. The necessity of learning and practising what the Bible teaches is shown from 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
- The Duty of Searching the Scriptures – George Whitefield. In which Whitefield illustrates the two great messages of the Scripture (our fallen nature and the grace of God) and gives directions on how to make time spent in Scripture most profitable. Based on John 5:39.
- The Great Worth of Scripture Knowledge – Francis Roberts. Roberts gives seven helpful directions on how to better read and understand the Word of God.
- How the Word is to be Read and Heard – Thomas Boston. From Luke 8:18 (“Take heed therefore how ye hear”), Boston teaches how to prepare our hearts for receiving the Word, and how to apply it to our daily lives.
- How We May Read the Scriptures with Most Spiritual Profit – Thomas Watson. Watson’s own collection of twenty-four directions on how to read the Scripture for greatest benefit.
- The Puritan Practice of Meditation – Drs. Joel R. Beeke and Mark Jones. To read the Scripture is not enough; it must permeate the mind and affect the heart. The authors show how the Puritans used meditation to this effect.
For those of you who were unaware, earlier this year Early English Books Online (EEBO) released thousands of documents in its Text Creation Partnership, Phase I (TCP-1). This makes hundreds of new Puritan documents available online, for free. A tremendous treasure chest of Puritan teaching indeed (Matthew 13:52)!
The problem is, the original scans have not been made available, and as you know, the texts are in rough shape. Our solution has been to link to the original texts, but we do not feel that making ePub and MOBI files of such hard-to-read texts is worthwhile. Thus, we are in the process of training a computer program to search for and replace common words with their modern equivalents. For example, the following text (from William Fenner’s “Riches of Grace”):
Fourthly, hunger is humble, it is not choyce in its meate, if it cannot have pleasants and dainties, it will be con∣tent with Farmers food, yea any thing, Pigeons dung will be good food; so hee that truely desires grace, is of an humble heart, he can be content to welcome childrens crummes, and account it prefermentPage 11to sit with Christ his dogges: though with Pauls Widdow they wash the Saints feete; though with David they be doore-keepers in Gods house, yet so they may have grace, they care not though the whole world tram∣ple upon them, though they bee accounted the off-scowring of all things.
after applying the software, becomes:
Fourthly, hunger is humble, it is not choice in its meat, if it cannot have pleasants and dainties, it will be content with Farmers food, yea anything, Pigeons dung will be good food; so he that truly desires grace, is of an humble heart, he can be content to welcome childrens crumbs, and account it preferment to sit with Christ his dogs: though with Paul’s Widow they wash the Saints feet; though with David they be door-keepers in God’s house, yet so they may have grace, they care not though the whole world trample upon them, though they be accounted the off-scouring of all things.
The result is obviously not perfect, but I believe it is much more readable. The process of converting these texts is time-consuming, yet worthwhile. Look for texts to be added continually and gradually to the Digital Puritan library in the coming months (and years).
The spring/summer 2015 edition of The Digital Puritan is now available through various e-tailers. This edition contains the following titles, which have been gently modernised, and which have hundreds of embedded scripture references and explanatory footnotes:
- Profiting from the Puritans for Devotional Reading – Joel Beeke
- Dead Preaching is Often the Cause of a People’s Deadness – William Fenner
- A Discourse on Thankfulness – Thomas Goodwin
- Perilous Times in the Last Days – Thomas Boston
- A Wedding Sermon – Thomas Taylor
The winter 2014-2015 edition of The Digital Puritan is now available through various e-tailers. This edition contains the following titles, which have been gently modernised, and which have hundreds of embedded scripture references and explanatory footnotes:
- Anger Not to Be Sinfully Indulged – Thomas Boston
- Hope and Comfort Usually Follow Genuine Humiliation and Repentance – Jonathan Edwards
- The Brevity of Life—A Call to Improve It – Andrew Gray
- The Character of a Complete Evangelical Pastor, Drawn by Christ – John Flavel
- To Be Light in a Dark Place is Commendable – Christopher Love.