Reading the Puritans

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jtlaurence

Puritan Board Freshman
Hello everyone!

I see a lot of threads on “Where to start with the Puritans” and “Why you should read the puritans”, but I am trying to learn HOW to read the puritans. Maybe not all of them, but some of them I try and read and I have no idea what the author is talking about. I catch things occasionally, but it is very difficult. Is there a book that may help in this problem or am I just not smart enough? LOL

Thanks!
 

Jake

Puritan Board Senior
Following God Fully: An Introduction to the Puritans by Joel Beeke and Michael Reeves is a good simple introduction to the Puritans which also has many suggestions of easier works to start with.

Which Puritan are you reading? I wouldn't recommend jumping in right away with a more dense or technical author like John Owen. I think a classic work like Pilgrim's Progress is a great start, which is fictional and approachable, yet rich. Another classic is Foxe's Book of Martyrs. Some may quibble Foxe was right before the Puritans, but he was widely read and appreciated by the Puritans and this is another classic that I think every Christian should read.
 

jtlaurence

Puritan Board Freshman
Well, I am reading Stephen Chamrock. I tried to read “The Existence of God” and really struggled. I jumped over to “A Discourse upon the Eternity of God” and I seem to be having a much easier time. Maybe the former is more difficult because its a much deeper topic?
 

alexanderjames

Puritan Board Freshman
Out loud, and there’s no shame in reading something a few times over. It can also take quite a while to get used to the style of language so be persistent. It will most likely always pay dividends.
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Doctor
Start with Thomas Watson. He's easy to read, so your mind can get accustomed to the style of that period more gradually.
 

danekristjan

Puritan Board Freshman
Hello everyone!

I see a lot of threads on “Where to start with the Puritans” and “Why you should read the puritans”, but I am trying to learn HOW to read the puritans. Maybe not all of them, but some of them I try and read and I have no idea what the author is talking about. I catch things occasionally, but it is very difficult. Is there a book that may help in this problem or am I just not smart enough? LOL

Thanks!
Start with men like Watson, Brooks, Sibbes, and Flavel. These are the most accessible of the puritans. Also Rutherford, but not his polemical or theological works, begin with his practical works (his letters, communion sermons etc). Especially if you lack a good grounding in technical systematic theological works, I wouldn't recommend jumping in the deep end of the systematic theology or polemics of the puritans. While their works on those topics are arguably just as rich, the strength of the puritans exists in their practical, warm, and Christ centered application. So start there.
 

danekristjan

Puritan Board Freshman
Is there a book that may help in this problem or am I just not smart enough?
You are certainly smart enough, but you may not be experienced enough. The way that comes is through practice and exposure. Choose an easier author and just keep reading even when you don't understand everything. I recommend William Gurnall's "The Christian in Complete Armour" as well.

It's not a book, but I made this video explaining the how, why, and what, of reading the puritans. It may be of some use.

 

Regi Addictissimus

Completely sold out to the King
These are short lightly editAttach filesed Puritan works that are perfect for dipping your toes into the rich ocean of Puritanism:


They have helpful introductions to each work. These are easier to read than the Banner Puritan paperbacks.
 
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