Case, Thomas. Edited by Richard Rushing. When Christians Suffer. Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 2009. 128 pp. $6.95. Purchase at Westminster Books for $4.20.
These Pocket Puritans are not new to readers here at Christian Book Notes. Thomas Case, however, might be. Thomas Case (1598-1682) experience suffering first hand during the “dark days of the gospel in England.” He was imprisoned in 1651 for a short time for speaking against the Independents and was ejected in 1662 for Nonconformity. He published two major works during his life, A Treatise of Afflictions from which this short work is extracted and A Prospect of Heaven.
Forged in the midst of persecution, Thomas Case explains the value and importance of suffering for the sake of Christ. He offers twenty lessons learned in affliction in the first part while looking at the nature of divine teaching found in persecution. The final three sections instructs the reader to seek God during these dark times. His exhortation is basically do not avoid affliction for the sake of the Gospel. Rather, embrace it and know that God is worthy of whatever may befall you in this life.
To review the works of an age gone by is a difficult task. Nonetheless, what is perhaps the best feature of any of the Puritans and their writings are that they are not written in an “ivory tower” so to speak. They wrote from a deep knowledge of the divine and even a deeper knowledge of the Scriptures. They sought to apply what they learned in every day living rather than offer a three point sermon and an application with an invitation to respond to the message.
Thomas Case writes of suffering through the lens of having suffered. Not like many think suffering is today. Getting made fun of and laughed at for being “conservative” or a member of a particular denomination is not being persecuted for one’s faith. Case explains that this persecution is serious and real and it is because of the preaching of and believing in the gospel that one is afflicted for the sake of Christ. If that is why you are being persecuted, Case offers a sweet balm to the soul.
Pick up a copy of When Christians Suffer and the rest of the Pocket Puritans to edify and nourish your soul at Westminster Books.