Category Archives: Puritan CD-Rom
Part 5: Print book searches
We have spoken much about the Puritan literature; today we begin looking at real research. In the next post we will specifically cover e-Puritan searches, but today we are concerned with using printed Puritans.
One of the most important resources available to the Puritan researcher are the printed indexes. This is true in both the works of a single author and in the Puritan index by Robert Martin (A Guide to the Puritans).
There are two reasons why Puritan Thomas Manton is my homeboy. First, his sermons are filled with rich exposition and pastoral warmth. When I really need a quote to convey a deeper truth, Manton is my source. And second, whoever edited his complete works did an incredible job (and an incredible service to preachers today) by including a detailed index. His 22-volume works (available on CD-Rom) conclude with over 300 pages of textual and topical indexes! A dream for the researcher.
But Manton is not alone. The Complete Works of John Bunyan, Thomas Brooks, John Flavel and Richard Sibbes all come with excellent topical indexes.
As an aside, I was speaking with a close friend recently who admitted that keeping a list of quotations was very difficult for him. One of the great difficulties to making an effective index of quotations is an inability to view an individual quote within the big framework. Some will read a quote about the power of the Cross without thinking how it would be properly indexed (ex. Christ > the Cross > effects of > power in believer).
To me, this is why the Puritans are liberating. Once you determine the general content of your sermon, you can go searching for great quotations! Surrounding yourself with quality Puritan literature will lessen the importance of a lengthy quote index.
As another example, I don’t have many quotations indexed on the sobering topic of God’s eternal judgment upon sinners. And I don’t need to. All I need to remember is that Jonathan Edwards preached a few incredible sermons (like Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God) and John Bunyan preached another very quotable sermon on the same subject (A Few Sighs from Hell). Allow a little time to read and soak these sermons in and you will have all the quotes you could imagine on the subject.
This makes the topical Puritan index by Robert Martin, A Guide to the Puritans, especially important. Because while I knew that Edwards and Bunyan preached on the subject of God’s judgment, I was unaware that John Flavel (3:129-153), Thomas Boston (8:347-375) and Thomas Brooks (5:113-145) had also preached important sermons on the subject.
The wealth of Puritan sermons make personal quote indexes unnecessary.
Back to Psalm 16:11
As we began in Part 4, we are researching Psalm 16:11 as an example. And in studying our text we have three avenues of research open to us with these printed volumes.
(i) Primary text as sermon text. Of our 14 top Puritans, none preached sermons where Psalm 16:11 was their primary passage (Why not? I cannot say). If you are searching on a text and you find two or more sermons where your text is the primary text, you may have all the content necissary for your Puritan research. But our problem here is a common one. On Psalm 16:11 we will need to dig deeper.
(ii) Primary text as indexed text. I will use the scripture index from Manton as an example. If you look to the screenshot to the right you will see that Psalm 16:11 was a topic of concern for Manton throughout his ministry. We see this especially in the following works in the following places: (volume: printed page) 9:455; 12:474; 14:469; 15:400; 16:192; 19:236; 20:465; 22:19. And these references come from just one of our 14 Puritan friends.
(iii) Cross-reference text as sermon text. If you need more information from the cross-references, follow the steps for (ii) except with other texts like Ps. 36:8.
You can use these principles on any text or topic study. Just find the biblical passages and track down the references in the scripture index or look up the topic in the topic index. The printed editions of the Puritan works remain important for these indexes.
Now a few references from Manton that I found as a result of my research.
Manton, 9:455 – “What can be found in the creature is but a drop to the ocean in comparison of what a believer findeth in God himself. God is to them an overflowing fountain of all felicity … Here (in this life) it admits of increase and decrease; but there the soul is so filled that it cannot receive any more: Ps. xvii. 15, ‘As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness.’ … In heaven the soul shall be filled with unspeakable joy and delight. What delight is to the sense, that joy is to the mind. Three things are necessary to delight – a faculty, or power of the soul capable of pleasure; and then the thing itself; which being brought to the mind, doth stir up delight. As in bodily things, colors, fruits, tastes, pleasure consists in the near union and conjunction of these things. The more noble the faculty, the more excellent the object; the nearer the conjunction, the greater the delight and pleasure. Now in heaven our faculties are perfected: God is the subject, and there is a near conjunction. Oh! What embraces between him and the soul!”
Manton, 22:19 – “The tree of life is gone, when paradise was defaced by the flood; but God hath provided a better life by the death of his Son, that we should live for ever, both in body and soul, eternally in heaven. Nothing else be this deserveth to be called life. The bodily life is short; it is a dying life or a living death. It floweth from us as fast as it cometh to us; but this never fadeth, but endureth for ever. The bodily life is subject to pain and misery, but the heavenly, full of joy and endless glory. The bodily life is supported with meats and drinks, but there God is all in all. The bodily life is consistent with sin, but this life is pure and perfect” (references to 1 John 3:2, Jude 2-4 and Psalm 16:11).
The options of what we now do with the quotations will be the subject of a later post. My point here is to show that it took just five minutes to find these two references from the works of Manton. I have six others references remaining in the works of Manton and another 13 Puritans I have yet to open.
By using these printed scriptural and topical indexes, it should be obvious that Puritan sermons provide the valuable depth we need in our sermon preparation.
Next time … Part 6: Electronic searches.
Part 4: Why our effective use of the Puritans begins with our Bibles
In this installment I will be showing you how the Puritans are made useful by our initial use of the bible. In the next two parts we will be looking more specifically at how to search printed books and then how to search electronic books.
Starting with the bible
The big problem with Puritan sermons is that most of us preach differently than the Puritans. They preached on one verse and often jumped all over scripture. We seek to preach through books of the bible and in 4-8 verses (or more) at a time.
A proper use of the bible is really one of the most important keys to unlocking the wisdom of the Puritans.
King James Version
Whether you use the KJV in your sermons or not, use of the Puritans requires an understanding of the KJV. No exceptions. The wording of this translation permeates all Puritan language.
Here is an example of how important the KJV is in Puritan research.
I personally preach from the ESV. But when I study the Puritan sermons, I keep the KJV close.
For today, and in the following weeks, I selected Psalm 16:11 as the example passage we will be researching.
ESV Psalm 16:11 You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
KJV Psalm 16:11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
When we look at electronic searches, I will break these translation distinctions down a little more. But what is important here is to note the difference in language. First, the Puritans would not say “in your presence” (ESV) but “in thy presence” (KJV). And even the spelling is different (“fullness” vs. “fulness” or “forevermore” vs. “for evermore”). These may seem like small distinctions, but they make a huge difference in electronic searches. Being aware of this will greatly enhance your Puritan research accuracy.
Breaking the passage down
The Puritans often scatter biblical phrases in their works. So while the Puritans only preached on one text, by the time they were done preaching the sermon on that one verse, several dozen other references were been brought in. In other words, a sermon on Psalm 36:8 (“They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures”) will probably reference Psalm 16:11 (“in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore”).
Before we find these cross-references, we need to break our sermon text into its various parts. In Psalm 16:11 I see three principles that are especially interesting to me …
KJV Psalm 16:11 (a) Thou wilt shew me the path of life: (b) in thy presence is fulness of joy; (c) at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
(a) What is the nature of this path of life? Why does God have to show it to me?
(b) What does it mean to be in God’s presence? Can I live in His presence now?
(c) What are these pleasures forever? Can I find an illustration? Can I experience these pleasures now?
You may have many more questions but these are the three questions I will ask my Puritan friends as I study Psalm 16:11.
But we are not yet ready to invite our Puritan friends over.
I don’t use the Puritan sermons for their keen exegetical insights into the text (I let contemporary Hebrew and Greek scholars make those). My main use of the Puritans is for their explanation and application of broad biblical themes. They make concepts come alive in cross-referencing, illustration and application.
It is especially important that we find other biblical texts that say the same thing. The Puritans can make the same conclusion from many different angles using many different texts. Their one-text-at-a-time preaching style is misleading. The Puritans were experts at keeping the big picture in view and bringing in other passages from Genesis to Revelation.
Here are some cross-references that I believe will help me understand Psalm 16:11 better and will open up new paths in my Puritan research. I found them using the Thompson’s Chain Reference Bible and the Treasury of Scripture Knowledge.
(a) The path of life… Prov. 2:19; Prov. 5:6; Prov. 12:28; Matt. 7:14; Acts 2:28
(b) To be in God’s presence… Ps. 17:15; Ps. 21:6; Matt. 5:8; Eph. 3:19; Jude 24; Rev. 7:15-17
(c) The pleasures forever… Ps. 36:8
Now we are ready to search the Puritan sermons. From our observations of the biblical text we have four research options. Beginning with the most important to the least, here are the four research options in order.
(i) Primary text as sermon text. Example: A full sermon on Psalm 16:11.
(ii) Primary text as indexed text. Example: A sermon on Ps. 38:6 that references Ps. 16:11.
(iii) Cross-reference text as sermon text. Example: A full sermon on Ps. 38:6.
(iv) Cross-reference text as indexed text. Example: A sermon on Jude 24 that references Ps. 38:6.
Printed volumes are most helpful for my research in levels (i), (ii) and (iii). I can comfortably read a full sermon on a text (i and iii). And the text index at the end of a printed volume helps a lot in the search (ii). Electronic searches are helpful in all four, but especially in search (iv) when I want to search several resources quickly.
[Note: Often I have enough research material from searches (i) and (ii) that I don’t need to proceed into levels (iii) and (iv).]
There are two types of searches … We can search printed works (or those .pdf picture files) and we can also perform electronic text searches. Depending upon your library, you may have more printed works or more electronic books (ideally we want both electronic files and the printed books together).
In the next two posts we will discuss the specifics of the print and electronic searches.
Next time … Part 5: Print book searches.
Part 3: The People of a Puritan Library
So far we’ve talked vaguely about some group of people named ‘The Puritans.’ Today we name names.
Like I said, this list does not include Puritan commentaries. You should consider getting Matthew Henry’s commentary on the bible. It is very useful and mature in its biblical application. And of course (Reformer) John Calvin’s commentaries are likewise valuable. Both are available in print for a reasonable price and online for free.
I have used the following 14 Puritans in a number of situations but mostly in expositions. These men are faithful and trustworthy friends. I have been pushed deeper into scripture as these men faithfully expound and apply the bible. Many of their sermon illustrations have been reworded for my hearers. I have shared hundreds of quaint and beautiful quotations from these men. And I have personally been fed and refreshed as each of these men exalt in the glory of Jesus Christ, teach me to conquer (mortify) sin, and steer my affections away from the temporary and towards the eternal.
The Shepherd’s Scrapbook is proud to offer this list of Puritans (ordered by each author’s usefulness and availability. See pictures of these sets). …
1. Charles Haddon Spurgeon (63 sermon vols.; CD-Rom). Not a Puritan (obviously) but he is the great synthesizer of the best of the Puritan literature (see the Treasury of David for example).
2. Jonathan Edwards (2 vol. works; printed)
3. John Bunyan (3 vol. works; printed)
4. Thomas Boston (12 vol. works; printed)
5. Thomas Manton (22 vol. works; printed)
6. John Owen (16 vol. works; but especially vols. 1,2 and 6; printed)
7. John Flavel (6 vol. works; printed)
8. Richard Sibbes (7 vol. works; printed)
9. Jeremiah Burroughs (misc. books; printed)
10. Thomas Brooks (6 vol. works; printed)
11. Thomas Goodwin (12 vol. works; printed)
12. John Newton (6 vol. works; printed)
13. David Clarkson (3 vol. works; printed)
14. Edward Reynolds (vols. 1,4,5,6 of 6 vol. works; printed)
(Note: Spurgeon’s sermons work better in electronic format because of their sheer size and cost in print format.)
At the close of this series on building a Puritan Library, I will be reviewing each set in order to highlight the strengths. Plus, I will share a few tricks necessary to exhaust each of these incredible resources.
The following Puritans are very helpful. However, these men are either poorly indexed or hard to find (or both). These include the works of William Ames, William Bates, Stephen Charnock, William Perkins, Samuel Rutherford and Thomas Watson.
The bottom line
The bottom line is this: God’s grace is magnificent. He alone allows the funding for these Puritans to be reprinted. He gives publishers the burden to print them today (although these efforts bring very little, if any, profit). He gives men like Robert Martin the generosity to share his Puritan index so we can all benefit from his work.
Before we consider the costs of such a library and the tricks to using one effectively, we should take time this weekend to thank God. His Spirit makes these ancient resources available so the Word can go out into the world today with the earnestness worthy of the Gospel.
Next time … Part 4: Why our effective use of the Puritans begins in the bible