TASTY MORSELS FROM THE ENGLISH PURITANS
Practically everyone has heard the name Puritan. In the turmoil and cultural change of the 1960’s in
PURITANS AND THE BIBLE
“An English Puritan preacher once exhorted his people about their neglect of the Bible. One hearer reported how the preacher "personates God to the people, telling them, 'Well, I have trusted you so long with my Bible; you have slighted it, it lies … covered with dust and cobwebs; you care not to listen to it. Do you use my Bible so? Well, you shall have my Bible no longer.'
"And he takes up the Bible from his cushion, and seemed as if he were going away with it and carrying it from them; but immediately turns again and personates the people to God, falls down on his knees, cries and pleads most earnestly, 'Lord, whatever thou dost to us, take not thy Bible from us; kill our children, burn our houses, destroy our goods; only spare us thy Bible, only take not away thy Bible.'
"And then he personates God again to the people: 'Say you so? Well, I will try you a while longer; and here is my Bible for you. I will see how you will use it, whether you will love it more … observe it more … practice it more, and live more according to it.' "
In response, the people broke down and were "deluged with their own tears."
This anecdote takes us to the very heart of Puritanism—a passionate movement, and above all else, a Bible movement. (J.I. Packer from Theology On Fire, Copyright © 1994 by the author or Christianity Today International./Christian History magazine).
THOUGHTS ON THE MEDITATION OF GOD’S WORD
“Quest. How is meditation to be defined, as it is taken in the former sense?
Answ. Meditation is a serious, earnest and purposed musing upon some point of Christian instruction, tending to lead us forward toward the
Quest. How do prayer and meditation differ?
Answ. They are often confounded in name, but inseparably linked in nature going hand and hand together; and can no more be severed, than two twins, who live and die together; only in prayer we confer and commune more directly with God by petition and thanksgiving; in meditation we talk and confer more directly and properly with ourselves and our own souls.”
A Treatise of Divine Meditation by
“Meditation is a pure and rational converse with God. It is the flower and height of consecrated reason” (Thomas Manton, 1620-1677).
THOUGHTS ON PRAYER
"The reason why our souls are so empty of joy, is because our mouths are empty of prayer" (Robert Traill,1642-1716).
“Not the people only, but those who are themselves ministers, should pray for the increase of ministers. Though self-interest makes those that seek their own things desirous to be placed alone (the fewer ministers the more preferments), yet those that seek the things of Christ, desire more workmen, that more work may be done, though they be eclipsed by it “ (Matthew Henry on
THOUGHTS ON HOLINESS
(From The Church Instituted; Dr.William Ames, 1576-1633).
“A reputation once broken may possibly be repaired, but the world will always keep their eyes on the spot where the crack was” (Joseph Hall,1574-1656).
“The way to preserve the peace of the church is to preserve its purity” (Matthew Henry, 1662-1714).
THOUGHTS ON SALVATION
“For the explication: ‘by our Lord Jesus Christ.’ The first title is ‘Lord’, and this is a name of dominion and sovereignty, and implies a power and strength in Christ to carry on the work of our salvation. If Christ were a Jesus and not a Lord, He could not save us.
He is the ‘Lord Jesus’. As ‘Lord’ is a title of dominion, so ‘Jesus’ is a title of mercy and bounty, and signifies a Savior. He is not only a Lord, and so has power to do us good, but He is also a Jesus, and so He has a will to do us good. The dialect of the Old Testament is the ‘Lord our God’, but never ‘the Lord Jesus’ till in the New Testament.
He is the ‘Lord Jesus Christ,’ that is, He is God's anointed. He was set apart and appointed by God to carry on the great work of man's salvation. ‘Christ’ is a name of office and function” (From Wrath and Mercy, Sermon #4; By Christopher Love, 1618-1651).
“What they shall pray in the time of their extremity, who now spit at all praying and religion! They shall be religious in their kind, when they shall cry , ‘Mountains and rocks fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb’ (Revelation ). You cannot believe that a Lamb shall chase the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich man, and every bondman, and every free man, into the dens and rocks of the mountains, to hide themselves. But the Lord acteth wrath and judgment before your eyes. Men will not suppose the real story of hell. Say but with thyself, Oh! shall I weep, and gnaw my tongue for pain, in a sea of fire and brimstone? Do but forefancy, I pray you, how you shall look on it, what thoughts you will have, what you shall do, when you ‘shall be punished with everlasting destruction, from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power‘( II Thessalonians 1:9)”. (From Christ Dying and Drawing Sinners to Himself by Samuel Rutherford, 1600-1661).
THOUGHTS ON ELECTION
“This decree is that book of life wherein are written the names of the elect. ‘And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works’(Revelation. 20:12). ‘Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity’ (2 Timothy )”.
“The execution of this decree, is an action, by which God, even as He purposed with Himself, worketh all those things effectually, which He decreed for the salvation of the Elect. For they whom God elected to this end, that they should inherit eternal life, were also elected to those subordinate means, whereby, as by steps, they might attain this end: and without which, it were impossible to attain it. ‘For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified’(Romans -30)”.(From The Order of Salvation and Damnation by William Perkins, 1558-1602).
William Perkins is said to have encountered a young condemned prisoner who was terrified not so much of death as of the impending judgment of God. The Puritan preacher knelt beside him to "show what the grace of God can do to strengthen thee." He showed him that Christ is the means of salvation by the grace of God and urged him with tears to believe in Him and experience the remission of sins. The youth did so and was able to face his execution with composure, a glorious display of God's sovereign grace. This incident should be kept in mind while studying Perkins' chart of election and reprobation. It shows his theology did not make him cold and heartless when dealing with sinners in need of a Savior. (From A Puritan’s Mind website)
THOUGHTS ON HOPE IN CHRIST