Voices from the past is a book of devotionals for each day of the year (including one for 29 February!).
Richard Rushing has carefully edited writings from 33 puritan authors, including John Bunyan, Samuel Rutherford and Jonathan Edwards. His objective is to make the important writings of these puritans accessible to a wide range of modern readers.
In order to do this, he has taken out most of the antiquated language, and condensed and adapted the readings into manageable, page-long devotions. Each day begins with Scripture, which is then expounded.
This is a simple but incredibly inspiring book. There are many wonderful nuggets of truth to be found in these meditations. These writers had heaven as their aim, whilst aspiring to holiness on earth.
Rushing writes: ‘The devotions may on occasions seem a little abrupt in their flow of thought … due to the abridgement of multiple pages into a convenient extract’ (p. vii). I believe he is being a little harsh on himself, as I did not find them abrupt. However, it is clear that he must have edited out much of the authors’ writings and it is difficult to know exactly how true he stayed to their original intentions.
There is no continuity of readings from day to day, which I would have liked, as the readings seem to be based on random extracts from the Bible. But this is not a major problem, since meditation on Scripture is vital for a Christian’s daily growth; and this book would be beneficial for any Christian, in addition to the regular reading of God’s Word.
The book shows us how to come closer to Christ and could whet the reader’s appetite to read more of the puritans. I wholeheartedly recommend it and am thankful that the ‘voices from the past’ have been made voices of the present!