Building Puritan Library

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David Taylor

Puritan Board Freshman
I want to start reading the Puritans more deeply and want to build my library up.

Who does everyone recommend I start with? What are the most influential works in your opinion?

I already have the entire works of John Owen and John Bunyan.
 

Jerrod Hess

Puritan Board Freshman
a Brakel's The Christian's Reasonable Service is without a doubt the most influential work in my library of Calvin, Bavinck, Edwards, and so on.
 

Stephen L Smith

Moderator
Staff member
Banner of Truth "Puritan Paperbacks" and Reformation Heritage Books "Puritan Treasures For Today" are great starting points.

In terms of other Puritan sets, Richard Sibbes is a beloved Puritan. His complete works will nourish and encourage your soul. Thomas Watsons Body of Divinity is a must read. It is 3 volumes in the Banner of Truth ed, 1 volume in SGCB ed. The works of John Newton (4 vols) is a work that will bless and nourish your soul. You will also be blessed by the works of John Flavel and Stephen Charnock.

The Dutch Second Reformation is the Dutch equivalent of Puritanism. The Spiritual Life (Vitringa) and The Path of True Godliness (Teellinck) will help you develop a spiritual and rick godly life. Both these two books go nicely together. Jerrod mentioned Brakel's work above. Brakel is also a fine example of the Dutch Second Reformation.

I believe it is spiritually important to read books on Puritan meditation. Joel Beeke's "How to practice Christian Meditation" is a good starting point. I also love Solitude Improved by Divine Meditation by Nathaniel Ranew. This is a very thorough work. Puritan Publications publishes a great selection of books on Biblical and Puritan meditation. One of the great classics is Thomas Watson's work The Saint’s Spiritual Delight, and a Christian on the Mount

The sister Ministry of the Puritan Board, Puritan Publications, has a great collection of Puritan Books for sale. Go to Shop Book Categories on their website to search for them.

For a modern day Puritan, I love the works of Martyn Lloyd-Jones.
 

TheInquirer

Puritan Board Freshman
The titles that have been most influential to my own soul:

  • The Bruised Reed - Sibbes
  • Keeping the Heart - Flavel
  • The Crook in the Lot - Boston
  • The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment - Burroughs
  • Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices - Brooks
  • A Treatise of Vocations - William Perkins
  • The Religious Tradesman - Steele
I recommend acquiring works you intend to read and will most benefit you in this particular station of life.
 

Ed Walsh

Puritan Board Junior
Don’t buy a single book more until you read what you have.

Really? I think Owen, for example, is a lifetime project. There are parts of Owen that I've read at least three perhaps four times, but I still have yet to read every word and I bought Owen's works probably 5,000 books ago. I get your point but I don't think it should be absolute.
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
“Gospel Worship” by Burroughs
Anything by Samuel Rutherford
“English Popish Ceremonies” by Gillespie
 

Ed Walsh

Puritan Board Junior
I don't know why I didn't think of this sooner, but Joel Beeke's book on the Puritans is a real treasure and will guide you to the study of the Puritans themselves.


Reformation Heritage has it for only $32 bucks (amazon is $45) but if you write to me personally I'll send you a copy myself for free. I think it's that good.

Ed
 
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NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Professional bias; but anything by James Durham (which paraphrases Spurgeon's advice as well). In 2017 RHB published with Naphtali Press the collected sermons in 2 volumes (never collected before in a set and some not in print for hundreds of years), 1 vol. of which is his work on Isaiah 53 (which inside his copy Spurgeon wrote "much prized" if I have that story right).
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Senior
Banner of Truth "Puritan Paperbacks" and Reformation Heritage Books "Puritan Treasures For Today" are great starting points.

In terms of other Puritan sets, Richard Sibbes is a beloved Puritan. His complete works will nourish and encourage your soul. Thomas Watsons Body of Divinity is a must read. It is 3 volumes in the Banner of Truth ed, 1 volume in SGCB ed. The works of John Newton (4 vols) is a work that will bless and nourish your soul. You will also be blessed by the works of John Flavel and Stephen Charnock.

The Dutch Second Reformation is the Dutch equivalent of Puritanism. The Spiritual Life (Vitringa) and The Path of True Godliness (Teellinck) will help you develop a spiritual and rick godly life. Both these two books go nicely together. Jerrod mentioned Brakel's work above. Brakel is also a fine example of the Dutch Second Reformation.

I believe it is spiritually important to read books on Puritan meditation. Joel Beeke's "How to practice Christian Meditation" is a good starting point. I also love Solitude Improved by Divine Meditation by Nathaniel Ranew. This is a very thorough work. Puritan Publications publishes a great selection of books on Biblical and Puritan meditation. One of the great classics is Thomas Watson's work The Saint’s Spiritual Delight, and a Christian on the Mount

The sister Ministry of the Puritan Board, Puritan Publications, has a great collection of Puritan Books for sale. Go to Shop Book Categories on their website to search for them.

For a modern day Puritan, I love the works of Martyn Lloyd-Jones.

I am absolutely serious when I say this. As I was about half-way through your post, I was thinking, "I'm going to reply and say, 'What about that Puritan, Martyn Lloyd-Jones?' with a winking face."

Then I got to your last sentence...

You and I are on some kind of wavelength, brother. :)
 

JimmyH

Puritan Board Senior
Professional bias; but anything by James Durham (which paraphrases Spurgeon's advice as well). In 2017 RHB published with Naphtali Press the collected sermons in 2 volumes (never collected before in a set and some not in print for hundreds of years), 1 vol. of which is his work on Isaiah 53 (which inside his copy Spurgeon wrote "much prized" if I have that story right).
Any progress on your newly edited edition of Durham's Revelation Vol 1 ? If I remember correctly RHB was projecting bringing it out in February ?
 

Jerrod Hess

Puritan Board Freshman
Don’t buy a single book more until you read what you have.

Yeah I can't agree with that. Personal libraries are like toolsheds, there are some tools we use more than others. Some works I read cover to cover, some I moreso reference. Especially if one were pursuing the ministry, they would need a variety of resources, even things that are heresy that they may know what is being taught falsely in Christendom. Your library should be an arsenal, and you shouldn't have to worry about reading everything cover to cover until you acquire more resources.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
Don’t buy a single book more until you read what you have.

Perhaps that advice is okay if you already have a substantial library (and even in that case it is probably a stretch), but the author of the OP is seeking to build a library. A minister cannot reasonably be expected to read everything that he owns, as he needs many books simply as works of reference.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
Who does everyone recommend I start with?

Start reading through shorter works published in the Puritan Paperback series or published by Soli Deo Gloria. Once you get a few years of substantial reading under your belt, you can move on to reading through full sets of works. In relation to the sets that you already own, I would begin by reading the practical treatises in volumes 6 and 7 of John Owen's works, or else the sermons in volumes 8 and 9. Some of the shorter doctrinal and practical writings of John Bunyan may also be worth reading as tasters. There are also quite a number of sermons and shorter works available on EEBO-TCP, which I frequently cite on my blog.
 

joebonni63

Puritan Board Freshman
I think also if you really read and study the Bible it will show you the reformed theology unfold in front of you. This is how I learned I was a long time Calvary Chapel Pastor and a reformed friend challenged me to just read the Bible and I did the bad was is that it killed all of the Calvary Chapel doctrine and he mad. After that I went right to John Calvin and then here at Puritan Press for the books that I would read.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Any progress on your newly edited edition of Durham's Revelation Vol 1 ? If I remember correctly RHB was projecting bringing it out in February ?
I hope we can go to print this month, but a RHB proofing needs finishing. Meantime I'm proofing the Dickson on Jeremiah and Jus Divinum Regiminis Ecclesiastici, the other 2 of the first 3 volumes in the NPSE series, to roll out as fast as I can make RHB do them.
 

JimmyH

Puritan Board Senior
I started putting together a Reformed library 9 years ago. I've always been a bibliophile, so it wasn't surprising that I built up a large library. @ 71 I'll have to live to be 100 to read all that I now have, yet I still add the occasional volume.

I was in a used book store 25 or so years ago. Down in West Palm Beach. The shop had a set of Sir Richard Burton's The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night, popularly known as The Arabian Nights. It was a multi volume set published in the 1920s or so, by the Richard Burton society and the proprietor was asking $250.

I told him I wanted to purchase it but I'd probably never come close to reading the whole thing. He said, "It is like the beach, we may never go there, but it is nice to have it where it is in case we want to." I did buy the set. Read some, sold it on ebay a few years later, and actually got my money out of it.

But the point of my little parable is the availability of the book/books if we want to delve into them. I gave up watching TV, movies, secular literature, to enable me to study the Bible, and books about the BIble. Beats buying a motorcycle, a boat ... in my humble opinion anyway. :)
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
Building Puritan Library

Given that there is no indefinite article in the title, allow me to suggest that bricks and mortar might be a good start when building Puritan Library. ;)
 

JimmyH

Puritan Board Senior
Joel Beeke, and Randall Pederson, 'Meet The Puritans' helped me discern who, and what to read early on. Capsule biographies of the most noted Puritan divines, as well as reviews of their major works, and which of those is available in reprinted editions. There is also a section on the Dutch Reformers with their bios, and works reviewed. Currently on sale at Reformation Heritage Books.

The 'combo' is also on sale, Meet The Puritans, and A Puritan Theology bundled together for less than I paid for the Theology by itself. Highly recommended.
 

Stephen L Smith

Moderator
Staff member
Then I got to your last sentence...

You and I are on some kind of wavelength, brother. :)
Great to be on the same wavelength :) The historical purists would argue that the Puritans lived from about 1550 to 1700 (approx). Therefore Lloyd-Jones does not fit this. But Lloyd-Jones was very helpful here too in his book on the Puritans He says it is more helpful to define the Puritans theologically than historically (Richard Baxter may have been a Puritan historically, but theologically Lloyd-Jones is more sound). Therefore I tended to list the solid historical Puritans but certainly listed Lloyd-Jones too.

Actually when travelling in my car today, I was listening to Lloyd-Jones preach gripping sermons on Psalm 107. I was greatly blessed. Lloyd-Jones is a fine example of a modern day Puritan.

By the way David, I highly recommend Iain Murray's biography of Martyn Lloyd-Jones. It changed my life.
 

Regi Addictissimus

Completely sold out to the King
Building Puritan Library

Given that there is no indefinite article in the title, allow me to suggest that bricks and mortar might be a good start when building Puritan Library. ;)

We beat him to the punch, although we named ours after Perkins. I can assure you brick is the way to go when building Puritan Library.
In all seriousness, there have been some solid suggestions. I plan on responding later when I have some more time. My advice will go a bit of a different direction than the others.
 

DamienEdwards1689

Puritan Board Freshman
I would add on that list my alltime best (book)-friend: Thomas Watson "The Doctrine of Repentance" from Puritan Paperbacks. Great book!!
 

Don Kistler

Puritan Board Sophomore
I recommend that you start with shorter works so as not to get discouraged or overwhelmed, which happens if you take on a multi-volume set or deep theological tome. Start with books on grace or salvation. Sermons are good since they are relatively short and have a single focus. Anything by the following authors (though not just the following authors) would be worthwhile: Thomas Watson, Thomas Brooks, Christopher Love, Jeremiah Burroughs, Jonathan Edwards (sermons first, treatises later), and Thomas Vincent.
 

David Taylor

Puritan Board Freshman
I recommend that you start with shorter works so as not to get discouraged or overwhelmed, which happens if you take on a multi-volume set or deep theological tome. Start with books on grace or salvation. Sermons are good since they are relatively short and have a single focus. Anything by the following authors (though not just the following authors) would be worthwhile: Thomas Watson, Thomas Brooks, Christopher Love, Jeremiah Burroughs, Jonathan Edwards (sermons first, treatises later), and Thomas Vincent.
Not really worried about length or theological depth. I've read Calvin's Institutes and a good bulk of Luther's works.
 
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