Tag Archives: J. Stephen Yuille

The Works of William Perkins Volume 1 Edited by J. Stephen Yuille

Works of Perkins 1The Works of William Perkins, Volume 1. Edited by J. Stephen Yuille. General Editors: Joel R. Beeke and Derek W.H. Thomas. Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2014. 832 pp. $50.00. Purchase at Westminster Books for less. Also for Kindle for $9.99.

Introduction

I have reviewed The Art of Prophesying by William Perkins a couple years back and found it to be much needed food for thought as I was merely six months into my pastorate at the time.

To underscore the importance of this first volume of the forthcoming ten-volume series, watch this quick video:

Summary

This first volume consists of three major sections. The first is a harmony of the Old and New Testaments. The second looks at Matthew 4:1-11 when the Devil tempted Jesus in the desert after our Lord’s 40-days of fasting and trial.

The third section, and roughly 5/8 of the entire volume, is a study of the Sermon on the Mount. I do believe this is longer than Martyn Lloyd-Jones’s treatment on the same text in his classic work Studies in the Sermon on the Mount.

Review

Wow! This first volume is rich beyond comprehension. When I first saw that thirty-one different men endorsed this series, I was a bit concerned. Were they simply over zealous to sell a book or were they genuinely excited at the republication of these Works. It must be noted that Perkins’s complete works have not been reprinted in their entirety since the middle of the 1600’s.

In his harmony of the Old and New Testaments, Perkins offers dates based on his study of Genesis and the Flood the narrative. He goes into detail such that the Hebrew year was “36 days, five hours, and 59 minutes.” From that, he dates the crucifixion of Christ to be 4,000 years after the creation of the world. Further, he shows where in the historical narratives of Scripture these events take place as well as in what year (after creation).

His writings on the temptation of Christ in Matthew 4 are rich with insight and is commended to all.

The main thrust of this first volume is his dealings with the greatest sermon ever…the Sermon on the Mount. With the precision of a surgeon and the care of a mother nursing her newborn, William Perkins exposits, explores, exhorts, and encourages his readers with great skill and practice.

One will not be able to read his work on the Sermon on the Mount only once. What is more, I believe this treatment of Matthew 5-7 will rival that of Lloyd-Jones in popularity.

Finally, Yuille did a masterful job of typesetting and offering subheadings (I do not know if these were in the original though I doubt they were) for the modern reader. They are extremely helpful and provide sufficient pause for the reader to be able to put the book down with a bookmark (extremely difficult to do!) at various points in his deep treatments of the Word of God.

Recommendation

The Christian church is indebted to Reformation Heritage Books for the republication of The Works of William Perkins. The bar has been set high by none other than Perkins himself. This first volume of this ten volume set is pure gold. You owe it to yourself to purchase a copy and drink from a deep well of Christian knowledge and practice.

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.