Guest Blogger: Jason Helopoulos

The Puritans are worth reading. Many shy from reading these saints of the 16th and 17th centuries, because they assume that their writing will be too rigid, formal, and opaque. I know that it seems counterintuitive, but some of the most accessible works I have ever read are by Puritans (at least books worth reading). When directing people to the Puritans for the first time, I encourage them to read Thomas Watson. He is the “door to the Puritans” in my limited opinion. His ability to turn a phrase and paint pictures in the mind is second to none. As you enjoy Watson, he may just encourage you to pick up another Puritan work and read. And then a whole new world of writings is open to you for the betterment of your soul.

Banner of Truth’s Puritan Paperbacks provide an inexpensive option for reading broadly in the Puritans. Here are just a few quotes from one of Watson’s works, The Godly Man’s Picture, to whet your appetite:

  • Godliness consists in an exact harmony between holy principles and practices. (p.7)
  • Godliness is a spiritual queen, and whoever marries her is sure of a large dowry with her. (p.7)
  • When the Lord pardons a sinner, he does not pay a debt, but gives a legacy. (p.9)
  • When there is nothing in the soul but clouds of sorrow, and now God brings a pardon—which is a setting up of a rainbow in the cloud, to tell the sinner that the flood of wrath shall not overflow him—oh, what joy there is at the sight of this rainbow! The soul before was steeped in tears now melts in love to God (Luke 7:38, 47). (p. 10)
  • Guilt clips the wings of prayer so that it cannot fly to the throne of grace, but forgiveness breeds confidence. He who has his pardon may look his prince in the face with comfort. (P.11)
  • The moralist’s religion is all in the leaf; it consists only in externals, but godliness is a holy sap which is rooted in the soul. (p.12)
  • As a jewel to the ring, so is piety to the soul. (p.13)
  • The Scripture reveals Christ to us, but the Spirit reveals Christ in us (Galatians 1:16). (p.27)
  • A godly man’s heart is the library to hold the Word of God. (P.61)
  • The Word is the jewel; the heart is the cabinet where it must be locked up. Many hide the Word in their memory, but not in their heart. (p.62)
  • Christ is the fountain of living water, the Word is the golden pipe through which it runs. (p.64)
  • “Many love the Word preached only for its eloquence and notion. They come to a sermon as to a music lecture (Ezekiel 33:31,32) or as to a garden to pick flowers, but not to have their lusts subdued or their hearts bettered. They are like a foolish woman who paints her face but neglects her health.” (p.66)
  • “God’s love is a box of precious ointment, and it is only the Spirit who can break this box open, and fill us with its sweet perfume.” (P.72)
  • “For as the body without the soul is dead, so is the soul without Christ.” (p.192)
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Kevin DeYoung


Kevin DeYoung is senior pastor of University Reformed Church (RCA) in East Lansing, Michigan, near Michigan State University. He and his wife Trisha have six young children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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