Pocket Puritan Series
Various authors, Banner of Truth; £3.75 each
These are four books in the new Pocket Puritan series published by the Banner of Truth Trust. Every Christian should profit by reading these small books and hopefully many will be encouraged to read more of the Puritans’ writings.
(Richard Baxter; 58 pages; ISBN 978-085151-9791)
Positively, Baxter wrote, ‘Anger has been given to us by God for our good, it stirs us up to vigorous resistance against anything that opposes God’s glory, our salvation and our or our neighbour’s real good’.
However men need to recognise sinful anger and avoid it, especially because it unfits us for holy duties and communion with God. We will be helped to manage anger by recalling God’s mercy to us and the love he expects of us, and by the exemplary meekness and patience of Jesus Christ.
(John Flavel; 80 pages; ISBN 978-085151-9814)
Flavel emphasises the sinfulness of fornication and adultery, and among his ten arguments is that God has prohibited and condemned it; it defiles and destroys the body (1 Corinthians 6:18); and it is a pit out of which few have been delivered.
He concludes with seven directions to keep men from this sin, including walking in the fear of God, avoiding lewd company, choosing a suitable partner in marriage and delighting in her.
(Samuel Ward; 96 pages; ISBN 978-085151-9807)
Ward taught that ‘Faith is the doorway to the power of God, first to save us and then to strengthen us’, and relates this to young Christians. Next he exposes the folly of neglecting faith and advises, ‘Rejoice through faith in the Lord’, and so overcome fears, grief and melancholy.
He counsels, ‘Place all your trust in the grace of Christ’ as this exercise enables sanctification and mortification, and gives abundant life. By faith in God we are upheld in affliction, for God not only restrains our crosses but brings great benefits by them. The reading of God’s Word, and prayerful meditation on it, will put strength and life into our faith.
Heaven, a world of love
(Jonathan Edwards; 117 pages; ISBN 978-085151-9784)
Edwards teaches that when the canon of Scripture was complete, the purpose of miraculous gifts had been fulfilled but the Holy Spirit continues to pour out love. This will be consummated in the church in heaven where the God of love dwells, and through Edwards’ description of all that it involves, we are encouraged to look forward to it. However, all unbelievers are excluded and will endure God’s wrath in hell.
W. John Cook