The Puritans are frequently maligned but seldom understood. Far from the dour malcontents they are often portrayed to be, most Puritans were wholesomely engaged in life. This book is designed to introduce you to a wide range of influential Puritan writers and a representative work for each that pushes through stereotypes to the heart and soul of these Christian pastors and theologians. With a clear grasp of the historical contexts in which these Puritan works were written, these twenty essays presented by editors Kelly M. Kapic and Randall C. Gleason illuminate the vibrant spirituality of the Puritans that transcend their sometimes surprising political, ecclesiastical and religious differences.
In these pages notable scholars, such as J. I. Packer, John Coffey, Mark Noll, Leland Ryken, Richard Lovelace and Sinclair Ferguson, invite you to sit at the feet of Puritan writers, ranging from William Ames, William Perkins and Richard Sibbes to Thomas Goodwin, John Milton, Richard Baxter, John Bunyan and Jonathan Edwards. What comes through is a living, three-dimensional portrait of the devoted life that emphasizes the Christian experience of communion with God, corporate revival, biblical preaching and the sanctifying working of God's Holy Spirit.
"This is a grand achievement. Kapic and Gleason have managed to present an impressive collection of essays that explore some of the more important Puritan texts. The Devoted Life: An Invitation to the Puritan Classics expands on traditional conceptions and points out that Puritanism is a very difficult movement to define, especially with all the theological, ecclesiological and political diversity which attend that complex world, and yet the editors and their contributors also remind us that there was something that linked the idea across three centuries and several continents. I very much appreciate their approach to portray Puritanism as a kind of spirituality and general outlook on the Christian life. I commend the editors and the contributors for a job well done. As I always say to my students, good scholarship is not complete until it has been effectively communicated. Kapic, Gleason and their colleagues have succeeded superbly in capturing the complex dynamic of current scholarship while ensuring that it has been clearly communicated. This book will be welcomed and enjoyed in colleges, universities and seminaries alike. As Augustine might say, 'tolle lege' [take up and read]."
"Despite the Puritans' profound contributions to the doctrine and disciplines of the Christian life, we have few reliable introductions to their works. These insightful, accessible and critically appreciative essays enlarge our hearts and nurture us in living coram deo."
"Just what we need--a user-friendly guide to the spiritual classics of seventeenth-century Puritanism which will bring long-forgotten works back to life and encourage a new generation to move on to the meat of evangelical spirituality. From the familiar John Bunyan to the virtually unknown John Howe, this collection takes in a range of writers who bear witness to the enormous riches of our Protestant heritage which continue to shape and sustain the modern church. This anthology will open people's eyes to behold wonders of which few have ever dreamed, and it is sure to become a standard reference work wherever the English Reformation heritage is held in honor."
"It is an excellent idea to celebrate the theology of the Puritan movement by introducing its representative figures--from William Ames to Thomas Watson, from John Bunyan to Richard Sibbes-- through their classic writings. A first-rate team of evangelical scholars does the honors. Here is doctrinal exactness, faithfulness to Scripture and pastoral insight. Here also is learning and wit, allegory and poetry. Take up and read!"
Key Events in Puritan History
Puritan Publications Discussed in This Volume
1. Who Were the Puritans? - Randall C. Gleason and Kelly M. Kapic
2. The Arte of Prophesying by William Perkins (1558-1602) - Paul R. Schaefer
3. The Marrow of Theology by William Ames (1576-1633) - Joel R. Beeke and Jan van Vliet
4. Christ the Fountain of Life by John Cotton (1584-1652) - Charles E. Hambrick-Stowe
5. The Bruised Reed by Richard Sibbes (1577-1635) - Ronald N. Frost
6. Letters by Samuel Rutherford (1600-1661) - John Coffey
7. Of the Object and Acts of Justifying Faith by Thomas Goodwin (1600-1680) - Michael S. Horton
8. The Parable of the Ten Virgins by Thomas Shepard (1605-1649) - Randall C. Gleason
9. Paradise Lost by John Milton (1608-1674) - Leland Ryken
10. The Reformed Pastor by Richard Baxter (1615-1691) - Paul Chang-Ha Lim
11. Communion with God by John Owen (1616-1683) - Kelly M. Kapic
12. Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan (1628-1688) - J. I. Packer
13. A Body of Divinity by Thomas Watson (d. 1686) - William S. Barker
14. The Mystery of Providence by John Flavel (1628-1691) - Sinclair B. Ferguson
15. Treatise of Delighting in God by John Howe (1630-1705) - Martin Sutherland
16. A Method for Prayer by Matthew Henry (1662-1714) - J. Ligon Duncan III
17. The Poetry of Anne Bradstreet (1612-1672) and Edward Taylor (1642-1729) - Mark Noll
18. Human Nature in Its Fourfold State by Thomas Boston (1676-1732) - Philip G. Ryken
19. Religious Affections by Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) - Stephen R. Holmes
20. Afterword: The Puritans and Spiritual Renewal - Richard E. Lovelace