“Puritan portraits”, J.I. Packer, Christian Focus Publications

I have long been convinced that the Puritans have an important message for us. Yet, I must admit that I lack the motivation to read them more regularly. When I had the opportunity to review Packer’s book “Puritan Portraits”, I took it gladly. I was provided with a review copy, and was not required to write a positive review.

Puritan Portraits
Puritan Portraits, J. I. Packer

[amazon_link id=”B009SA2O16″ target=”_parent” container=”” container_class=”” ][/amazon_link]The book is a collection of essays, most of which have been published previously. They were first written to introduce some classical Puritan works published by Christian Focus Publications in their Christian Heritage collection. These introductions were brought together in that book, with an introduction, two useful chapters on the value of reading Perkins and Baxter, and a conclusion on the usefulness of the Puritans for today.

These are not biographical essays, although there is always a brief biographical sketch of the author. But they provide the historical and theological background needed by 20th century believers to make the most of the works introduced.

Reading “Puritan Portraits” made me want to read more Puritan works this year, and their works will definitely be part of my reading diet. It also made me realise that the preachers who have been most influential in my spiritual life have all been readers of the Puritans.

If you do not want to read the whole book, I would consider getting the Puritan works that Packer introduces and read the essay at the same time. The works introduced are:

  • Henry Scougal: The Life of God in the Soul of Man
  • Stephen Charnock: Christ Crucified
  • John Bunyan: The Heavenly Footman
  • Matthew Henry: The Pleasantness of a Religious Life
  • John Owen: The Mortification of Sin
  • John Flavel: Keeping the Heart
  • Thomas Boston: The Art of Man Fishing
  • Thomas Boston: The crook in the Lot
  • Thomas Boston: Repentance.