J. I. Packer, a well known theologian, named by Time magazine as one of the 25 most influential evangelicals alive, and one of the leading authorities on the Puritans has written a new book Puritan Portraits.
The first part of the book discusses the historical context from which the Puritans ministered. Much of the book was initially published as introductions to the Christian Heritage series of paperbacks published by Christian Focus, looking at John Flavel, Thomas Boston, John Bunyan, Matthew Henry, Henry Scougal, John Owen and Stephen Charnock and two closer portraits of William Perkins and Richard Baxter.
Instead of writing a detailed biography about each man, Packer instead focuses on a specific essay or book that each had written:
- 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.
At times it felt weird that the book that was so heavily written about wasn’t then included in the book, but equally I found this book great at whetting my appetite to read more of the Puritans. The book then concludes with a chapter that looks at the ideals of the Puritan theology.
This isn’t a light read or an easy read but it certainly encourages you to dig deeper into their writings, to understand more fully what they were writing about.