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 Puritans. In 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.’