January 11th, 2009
Banner of Truth (BoT) has once again served up some thick Puritan theology in bite-sized morsels. I previously reviewed Heaven by Jonathan Edwards, Anger Management by Richard Baxter, Living Faith by Samuel Ward, and Impure Lust by John Flavel. Now, BoT has blessed us with Repent and Believe by Thomas Brooks and Binge Drinking by John Flavel. Also in the series is The Loveliness of Christ by Samuel Rutherford (reviewed here) and Truth for All Time by John Calvin (review forthcoming).
As I did with the previous review of the Pocket Puritans, I would like to quote Sinclair Ferguson as to why these little books are worth your attention.
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.
Repent and Believe by Thomas Brooks
This little 94 page book is a great asset to the pastor. There are days in the ministry when you wonder why people do not repent and believe. It is hard for us believers sometimes to understand why people do not turn to Christ.
Taken from the larger work, Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices, Brooks lays it all on the line for his readers. He offers six devices as to how Satan keeps the sinner from repentance and the various remedies to each device. Written in the 1600’s, Brooks’ remedies are still effective today. Every Christian will want to read this particular Pocket Puritan so that they may better understand why their family member or friend will not come to Christ.
You can read the entire book in a .pdf file here.
Binge Drinking by John Flavel
Adapted from A Caution to Seamen: A Dissuasive Against Several Horrid and Detestable Sins, one might think that this book is not needed as much today in Christendom. Perhaps the use of the word “binge” in the title may be off a bit, but after reading this short book, I believe it is more needed today than ever.
Flavel does not set out to argue a Christian cannot partake of alcohol as some would hope. Rather, he concedes, as is proper, that the Bible does not prohibit all use of alcohol, but instead prohibits drunkenness. He lists 10 reasons as to why one should not be drunkard or seek to become drunk while drinking. This little book, in my opinion, is one of the most cogent writings on what the Bible says about alcohol and why one should not become drunk with it. Also, since the book was also originally written in the 1600’s, it predates any political arguments found within Christianity today.
An added bonus in this particular Pocket Puritan is the short essay written by Charles H. Spurgeon entitled, He has a Hole in His Nose and His Money Runs Through it. It is short, but it is to the point and it furthers the arguments brought forth by Flavel.
I would once again highly recommend these books. For many, they say the Puritans are too difficult to read. That problem is solved with this series. The Pocket Puritans are definitely worth your time and money and make for an excellent introduction to the Puritans.