August 31st, 2008
Banner of Truth has done us a great service by publishing what they are calling the Pocket Puritans. On the back of every book they include this quote from Sinclair Ferguson that best introduces the series:
To read the work of a Puritan doctor of the soul is to enter a rich world of spiritual theology to feed the mind, heart-searching analysis to probe the conscience, Christ-centered grace to transform the heart, and wise counsel to direct the life. This series of Pocket Puritans provides all this in miniature, but also in abundance.
There are four books thus far in the series. I am told by Banner of Truth that there will be more to come next year. The four books are Heaven by Jonathan Edwards, Anger Management by Richard Baxter, Living Faith by Samuel Ward, and Impure Lust by John Flavel. Each book is an adaptation of a greater work by each author. In some instances (Baxter) the editors used a paraphrase. Each book can and should be read in one sitting.
At the end of each book is a brief introduction to the writer and writings of each pocket puritan book. These are written by men like J.C. Ryle. Each book would serve well as an introduction to the way the Puritans thought about the things of God collectively as well as who each of them were as individuals. Each book retails for $6.00.
Anger Management by Richard Baxter (58pp)
This little booklet would serve well in a counseling situation. Baxter lays out clearly why anger is sin and why we should strive to control our outbursts of anger. He offers timeless advice on the controlling of one’s anger as well as a list of eleven ways in which anger is sinful.
Living Faith by Samuel Ward (96pp)
Ward does an excellent job of showing the reader how living a life of faith is essential to living a life pleasing to God. He offers reasons why neglecting your faith can only do you harm and why faith gives one abundant life. This book is a great gift for a new believer or one who has been struggling with their faith.
A World of Love: Heaven by Jonathan Edwards (117pp)
What more can be said about Jonathan Edwards that has not been said already? This little book on heaven is a must read for its clear and concise description of the love that will be found in heaven. In a world where the word “love” is thrown about like it is an every day word, Edwards brings to mind the true beauty of love that can only be found in the Bible and truly experienced in heaven. I found that reading short sections of this book daily have greatly helped my heaven-ward gaze. I have become more heavenly minded through daily snippets of this book than what I have any other book save the Bible.
Impure Lust by John Flavel (80pp)
Alright, I think most people would agree that a subject like pornography is almost too taboo to discuss. Yet, almost everyone would agree that this is perhaps the largest problem in the church today-especially for men. Writing in the mid-1600′s, John Flavel attacks this problem head-on. He pulls no punches in showing just how dangerous this sin really is for the soul. After leading you almost to the brink of despair, he offers seven ways in which you can protect yourself from the sin of impure lust.
This book, above the other three, belongs in every pastoral office, in every Christian’s library, and on every church book table in America. If you have never struggled with impure lusts, then I can say without hesitation that you know someone who has. This book shows the seriousness of the sin and offers the advice on how to live in victory over this sin.
All four of these books are excellent additions to any one’s library. They can be read in as little as 20 minutes or as long as weeks depending on how much you want to digest at one time. One thing is for sure, these will not be the kind of book you read once and place back on your shelf. They will stay close at hand to read or loan out or refer to when dealing with any of the issues found in their pages.