Puritan Treasures for Today

  I recently purchased three books from Reformation Heritage’s series called “Puritan Treasures for Today.”  I’m familiar with these authors (Greenhill, Swinnock, and Flavel), so I was interested to see if these books are advertised correctly: are they readable for today’s average Christian?  In a word, and having read two of the three, yes, they are readable.  The language is modernized though not to the extent of watering the text down.  They still read like Puritan literature – proper grammar, striking illustrations, clear biblical allusions, and penetrating application.  Each book is small and relatively short (73, 170, and 124 pages).  In case you’re interested, here’s a sample from Greenhill’s Stop Loving the World.  Here he’s answering the question: “What does it mean to love the world?”

“We are said to love the world when we employ most of our strength in, on, and about the things of the world.  When our chief strength is employed toward something, we commit our time and energy to it.”

“We are said to love the world when we watch all opportunities and occasions to get the things of the world: to buy cheap and sell high; to get great estates, houses, lands, and things of that nature.”

“We love the world when we endure great hardships for it…When men endure great difficulties, run through great dangers, and venture upon anything to get the world, they can be said to love it. … Men can endure any difficulty and danger to get estates, but they will hardly endure anything to get heaven, grace, or an interest in Christ.”

My only critiques of this set are these: 1) I wish the books had a topical and scripture index to use for future reference,  2) An extended outline would be helpful to see the flow of the argument, and 3) The KJV is awkward in an updated text; the ESV would have been much better and would have made the books even more readable.  Please note these critiques are minor; if you saw these books and were thinking about purchasing them – go for it!   I would not hesitate to give these to Christians who enjoy reading and would benefit from topics like worldliness, fear, the brevity of life, and the endurance of faith.  These are perfect for a church library, individual devotional reading, or as an introduction to the Puritans.  The books in this series (“Puritan Treasures for Today“) are an excellent stepping stone to the Puritan Paperbacks, which bring Christian readers to a gold mine of solid and edifying literature. 

shane lems