Points of Entry for Reading the Puritans

Photo credit: Jean BeaufortFor beginners looking to ease into Puritan literature, here are some simpler works by Puritan authors that are accessible and provide a good starting point:

  1. “The Bruised Reed” by Richard Sibbes – A gentle and encouraging treatise on finding comfort and hope in Christ.
  2. “The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment” by Jeremiah Burroughs – Offers practical guidance on cultivating contentment in all circumstances.
  3. “A Lifting Up for the Downcast” by William Bridge – Addresses the spiritual struggles of a discouraged soul and offers biblical remedies.
  4. “The Pilgrim’s Progress” by John Bunyan – While longer, its allegorical style makes it relatively approachable, and it remains one of the most well-known and loved works.
  5. “All Things for Good” (original title: A Divine Cordial) by Thomas Watson – Explores the doctrine of God’s providence and how even trials can work for the good of believers.
  6. “The Godly Man’s Picture” by Thomas Watson – Describes the characteristics of a truly godly person, providing insights into Christian character.
  7. “The Art of Divine Contentment” by Thomas Watson – Similar to “The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment,” this work delves into finding contentment in God.
  8. “The Mystery of Providence” by John Flavel – Examines the ways in which God’s providence is at work in the lives of believers.
  9. “A Sure Guide to Heaven” (original title: An Alarm to the Unconverted) by Joseph Alleine – A call to genuine conversion and seeking God, with clear guidance for those seeking salvation.
  10. “The Mortification of Sin” by John Owen – focusing on the practical aspects of overcoming sin.

These works provide a solid foundation for exploring Puritan thought and spirituality without overwhelming newcomers with complex theological discussions. As you become more comfortable with their style and content, you can gradually delve into more comprehensive writings by Puritan authors.

For those of us who have been reading the Puritans for years, what works do you suggest to those expressing an interest in drawing from abundant treasury?

The Mortification of the Flesh – Now Available!

Readers will be interested to know that an entirely new edition of Christopher Love’s work The Mortification of the Flesh is now available in paperback and e-book formats. In this book, Love shows believers who are raised to new life in Christ how to remove the residue of sin which once reigned over us. With keen insight, Love teaches us to discern the genuine marks of true mortification from self-serving and counterfeit motives that lie camouflaged as grace. He then provides a wide array of practical helps for cooperating with the Holy Spirit’s work of subduing the vitality and vigor of our worldly corruptions. Pastor Love concludes with additional counsel for rooting out the troublesome sins of lust, pride, and anger.

Christopher Love (1618–1651) was a Presbyterian pastor in London during the time of the English Civil Wars. A popular and beloved preacher who did not shy away from speaking out against tyranny, Love was beheaded for his involvement in a plot to restore King Charles II to his throne.

Originally published in 1654, this classic work has been meticulously edited to benefit a new generation of Christian readers. Archaic language has been gently modernized, and helpful footnotes have been added to aid the reader. This edition includes a biographical preface, Scripture index, and review questions designed to facilitate group discussion or personal reflection.

Paperback (Amazon) $12.99
eBook (Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google Play, Lulu) $4.99

The Great Concern – Now Available!

Edward Pearse (c.1633–1674) was a Puritan pastor in London during a period of immense political and social upheaval in England. He died at forty of tuberculosis, but during his final months, he wrote this book as a guide to his congregation, in order to direct them to life’s one ‘great concern,’ namely, “to have all things set right, well-ordered, and composed in the matters of the soul before leaving this world.” With wonderful clarity, the author shows how putting the spiritual concerns of the soul into the best posture possible for the hour of death is in actuality the key to living an abundant, God-honoring life. Or as Pearse explains:

“It is to fill up our time with duty, and our duties with grace; to use the time which is given to us in the pursuit of these ends—not to eat, drink, and please ourselves with creature comforts—but to serve and honor the Creator, to work out our salvation, to become acquainted with God and Christ, and to ensure ourselves of heaven and a blessed eternity.”

This edition includes a biographical preface and review questions designed to facilitate group discussion or personal reflection.

Paperback (Amazon) $14.99
eBook (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, AppleGoogle Play, Kobo, Lulu) $4.99

The Heavenward Way – Now Available!

Now reprinted for your enjoyment is The Heavenward Way, a collection of four treatises that helpfully outline the life of faith in a believer. Here Christopher Blackwood (c.1605–1669) brings into sharp focus the essential priorities of the life of faith: first, learning to recognize and treasure the precious worth of Jesus Christ (and by contrast, the dangers associated with not having true love for him); next, honoring God by loving our neighbor as ourselves; and finally, living our lives in such a way that we are well-prepared for death.

It includes a biographical preface, helpful footnotes, and review questions designed to help facilitate group discussion or personal reflection. Scripture references are embedded in the text as well.

Available in e-book format: KindleNookiBooksGoogle PlayKoboLulu (ISBN 9781678017347, MSRP $2.99).

The True Christian’s Love of the Unseen Christ – Thomas Vincent

“Faith without love to Christ is a dead faith.” So states Thomas Vincent in The True Christian’s Love of the Unseen Christ—a book whose sole stated purpose is to help the reader obtain love for Christ in truth and strength. Christian, if your love for Christ has gone cold, if you have lost your passion for serving Christ, this book will be a spark for rekindling that love again, and a bellows for fanning it into flame.

Thomas Vincent (1634–1678) was a Puritan pastor who was deprived of his pulpit when the Act of Uniformity was decreed in 1662. He continued to minister to young people alongside Thomas Doolittle at a boarding school in Bunhill Fields. When the Great Plague ravaged London in 1665 and everyone who could afford to leave the city was fleeing, Vincent instead chose to remain, so that he could minister to the sick and suffering.

Available through the following sources:

∙ e-Book (ISBN 9780359565603) for KindleNook, Apple, Google PlayKoboLulu (MSRP $4.99).
∙ Trade paperback (ISBN 9781548998479, 162 pp.) at Amazon (MSRP $12.99).