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Smooth Stones taken from Ancient Brooks

By Thomas Brooks
October 2011 | Review by Stephen Holland


"As a writer, Brooks scatters stars with both his hands: he hath dust of gold; in his storehouse are all manner of precious stones." So wrote C.H. Spurgeon in his Preface to this book. He counted Thomas Brooks among his favourite Puritan authors, and it is not hard to see why. Brooks' popularity lies both in his subjects - practical truths, central to the Christian life - and in the manner of his presentation. He is ever direct, urgent, fervent, full of Scripture, and able to choose words which make his sentences stick in one's mind. This book is a collection of sentences, illustrations, and quaint sayings from this renowned Puritan. Gathered by Spurgeon out of the 6 volume set of Brooks' Works, it remains an excellent introduction to both the man and his writings. Spurgeon continues, "Reader, thou hast here presented to thee, in a cheap and readable form, the choice sayings of one of the King's mighties. The great divine who wrote these precious sentences was of the race of the giants. He was head and shoulders above all the people, not in his stature (like Saul), but in mind, and soul, and grace. Treasure these gems, and adorn thyself with them, by putting them into the golden setting of holy practice, which is the end the writer always aimed at. Use these 'smooth stones' as David of old, and may the Lord direct them to the very forehead of thy sins, for this is the author's main design! One of these pithy extracts may assist our meditations for a whole day, and may open up some sweet passage of Scripture to our understandings, and perhaps some brief sentence may stick in the sinner's conscience, like an arrow from the bow of God. So prays the servant of Christ and his church. C.H. Spurgeon".

  • Publisher: Banner of Truth Trust
  • ISBN: 978-1-84871-113-6
  • Pages: 204
  • Price: 6.00
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Book Review

One of the great advances for the Christian faith made over the last fifty years was the recovery of the writings of 17th century preachers known as the PuritansIn spite of the somewhat negative and sour image of these men, a reading of their sermons and writings shows a completely different picture. These were a people set on fire for the God they worshipped and served. Their writings rank amongst some of the most prized and precious within Christian literature.

Many of their works have been republished over recent years, ranging from complete sets spanning many volumes containing thousands of pages, to smaller paperbacks (often taken from these larger works) of just a few hundred pages. This little work is really a sampler of one of these mighty preachers- Thomas Brooks. A brief memoir of Brooks is provided. Yet unlike many of the other works reprinted in the Puritan Paperback series this is not a complete reading of sermons but is rather merely a ‘collection of sentences, illustrations, and quaint sayings.’

As such it is not really a book that lends itself to being read straight through as one would with any other. It is something though to be dipped into and reflected upon. There are no chapter divisions and no grouping together of these sayings into themes and headings which would have been of great help. Even so, given the calibre and spiritual standing of such men, one cannot but benefit from browsing through and meditating upon such spiritual thoughts. A great taster, and one hopes an introduction and deeper journey, into the rich world of Puritan thought. We cannot do better than end with a commendation from one often himself described as the last of the puritans – C H Spurgeon: ‘As a writer, Brooks scatters stars with both hands: he hath dust of gold; in his storehouse are all manner of precious stones.’


Stephen Holland


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