Tag Archives: George Swinnock

The Blessed and Boundless God by George Swinnock

The Blessed and Boundless GodSwinnock, George. The Blessed and Boundless God. Edited by J. Stephen Yuille. Grand Rapids, Reformation Heritage Books, 2014. 119 pp. $10.00. Purchase at Westminster Books or Amazon Kindle for less.

Introduction

George Swinnock was an English Puritan who lived from 1627-1673.   You can get a succinct introduction to this divine by reading Trading and Thriving in Godliness, a book in the Profiles in Reformed Spirituality Series published by Reformation Heritage Books.  Also, I have reviewed The Fading of the Flesh and the Flourishing of the Faith in this same Puritan Treasures for Today series. J. Stephen Yuille edited both of those works as well.

Summary

This work was a meditation on Psalm 89:6, “For who in the heaven can be compared unto the Lord? who among the sons of the mighty can be likened unto the Lord?”

According to Yuille, “In chapters 1-30, he proves his doctrine by demonstrating God’s incomparableness in His being, attributes, works, and words. In chapters 31-45, he applies his doctrine by demonstrating how God’s incomparableness informs, counsels, and comforts us” (p. xiv).

The work is further divided into five parts: God’s incomparable being, God’s incomparable attributes, God’s incomparable works, God’s incomparable Words, and the application.

Review

Most chapters are three to five pages in length and pack a week’s worth of meditative material. On one hand, you can read this as I did…in one sitting. It took maybe an hour and fifteen minutes to read. The problem with this was I felt like I was drinking from a fire hydrant. Swinnock led me, even reading so fast, to a glimpse of God that I will savor for the rest of my life.

One of the quotes I underlined and shared was, “The only thing that can be known of God is that He can never be fully known.” That seems to beg the question of why should we even try to know about God. The answer is, we ought to so fill ourselves with the thoughts of God that we more and more are conformed into His image. Swinnock does his best to aid that conformity.

Recommendation

I said above that I read this in one sitting. While I do recommend this resource to everyone, I would recommend it more as a devotional as it can serve as a 45-day devotional. I believe the publication of this work in 2014 should be to the 21st century what Tozer’s Attributes of God was to the 20th century.

The Fading of the Flesh and the Flourishing of Faith by George Swinnock

Swinnock, George. The Fading of the Flesh and the Flourishing of Faith. Grand Rapids, Reformation Heritage Books, 2009. 178 pp. $10.00. Purchase at Westminster for $7.50.

Introduction

George Swinnock was an English Puritan who lived from 1627-1673.  He is best known today because of his extraordinary gift of giving vivid illustrations of doctrinal truths found in the Scriptures.  You can get a succinct introduction to this divine by reading Trading and Thriving in Godliness, a book in the Profiles in Reformed Spirituality Series published by Reformation Heritage Books.  J. Stephen Yuille edited both works.

Summary

Swinnock originally preached most of what later became this work at the funeral of his cousin, Caleb Swinnock.  In what amounts to a large exegetical sermon, Swinnock looks at Psalm 73 in its proper context.  From there he draws out the two opposing perspectives by the Psalmist.  The first is that of jealousy with the heathen who seems to have it all.  After arriving at the crux of the Psalm, verses 16-17, the Psalmist makes an about face in his perspective and then praises God for His mercy and grace.  Swinnock’s leaping off point for the majority of his message is rooted in vs. 26 where the Psalmist writes, “my flesh and my heart may fail, but God i the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (ESV).

While I do not think that Swinnock originally split his work into 20 chapters (I am not completely sure on this), this book is divided into 20 chapters.  This is a good thing as each chapter requires much thought and contemplation from the reader.  Swinnock builds a foundation of teaching  the reader how to prepare to die.  After that foundation is laid, Swinnock points us to the truth that God is man’s only true happiness and joy.  God is the only one who offers the comfort and joy we desire.

Review

One of my (many) jobs in this season of life is to work at my father-in-law’s funeral home.  I am around death a lot.  That being said, I, as a pastor and believer in Christ, have noticed a great need for a return of a theology of death as our enemy.  George Swinnock, writing in the 17th century, helps us to do that.  His exegesis of Psalm 73 is phenomenal and I dare say unheard of today in most pulpits.  His vivid (that word does not begin to describe the imagery conjured!) depictions of the biblical truths and the reality of death will leave the reader longing for more.  There are 178 pages worth of daily meditations on life and death found in The Fading of the Flesh and the Flourishing of Faith.

This book is one of the first to come out in the new series being produced by Reformation Heritage Books.   The series prefaces states:

Interest in the Puritans continues to grow, but many people find the reading these giants of the faith a bit unnerving. This series seeks to overcome that barrier by presenting Puritan books that are convenient in size and unintimidating in length. Each book is carefully edited with modern readers in mind, smoothing out difficult language of a bygone era while retaining the meaning of the original authors. Books for the series are thoughtfully selected to provide some of the best counsel on important subjects that people continue to wrestle with today.

Recommendation

I am greatly excited about this series and cannot wait for more to be published.  This edition of George Swinnock’s work is profound and would do well to be on your shelf.  There is not as much contemplation of the brevity of life and the ultimate end to all man as there should be.  While it may be a short book, it will certainly take the reader deeper into Psalm 73 that he has ever been.  I highly recommend this resource–especially if you are a believer and you know someone that may die before you.