Gimme That Old Time Piety

Anyone who may be friends with me on Facebook will know that I read a lot (maybe too much).  You would also notice that I mostly read the Puritans and older Presbyterians, especially in that glorious older English font that is acceffible if you learn to differentiate the f’s and the f’s. One of the best resources that I have found for figuring out what to read is a work by Joel Beeke and Randall Peterson called, “Meet the Puritans”. In this book, after the basic biographical introductions of hundreds of Puritan authors, there are short bibliographical listings of works that may be still in print or at least available for purchase. Unfortunately most of the best writings of these many Godly men are not offered for sale in hardback or even print-on-demand. This is where maybe the greatest resource on the internet comes into abundant service to the Church of Christ (high praise I know). A lot of you may be aware of the amenities of Google Books, but the site where I always find myself headed is called “Internet Archive”. As a personal preference the interface is cleaner (especially for reading on a laptop) and the download options are plentiful. I cannot recommend it to you enough for your personal study. You will not find it to be wasted time.

Now when it comes to selecting which Puritans to read I find the guys who are not well known, unlike a John Owen or a Thomas Watson, to often be a gracious blessing of forgotten treasures. As an example, most recently I am reading a work called “Christ All in All” by an early English Presbyterian minister by the name of Ralph Robinson. While at first it may seem like 740 pages are an intimidating proposition there seems to be a devotional cadence to these old authors that really draws you in as you see afresh the great and awesome grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and before you know it, you have read a couple hundred pages. Here is a representative quotation:

“Jesus Christ hath instituted and appointed His ordinances to be the means of carrying His nourishing virtue to the soul. The ordinances are the dishes of gold upon which this heavenly meat is brought. Prayer, reading, preaching, meditation, holy conference, the sacrament; in these Christ presents Himself to the soul. He that forsakes these can expect no feeding from Christ.”

— Ralph Robinson, “Christ All in All”, pg. 47

I recognize that it can be quite daunting when you consider the sheer amount of works to be read as well as the difficulty one may find in gaining an ability to read that older font I mentioned before; though to be fair some of these works are available in our current font. However, I can assure you that like anything it takes a bit of effort, but once you become accuftomed to the older way of spelling you hardly even notice it and your soul will thank you for the nourishment it receives through these men. To close this I want to recommend a few places to start. Some of these men you may have heard of, some maybe not, but Tolle Legge and enjoy!


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