Every tree is known by his own fruit.
C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Trees are known by their fruit, and books by their effect upon the mind. It is not the elegance of its diction, but the excellence of its influence by which a book is to be estimated…Study as much as possible sound theological works, especially the Puritanic writers.
A. W. PINK (1886-1952): In the days of the Puritans…the Church was blessed with many men “mighty in the Scriptures,” deeply taught of God, enabled by Him to maintain a well-rounded ministry. Such men as Goodwin, Owen, Charnock, Flavel, Sibbes, though living in troublous times and suffering fierce persecution, taught the Word more helpfully―in our judgment―and were more used of God than any since the days of the apostles to the present hour. The ministry of the Puritans was an exceedingly searching one.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): Those men were preachers—they were practical, experimental preachers, who had great pastoral interest and care for the people. So as you read them you find that they not only give knowledge and information, they at the same time do something for you.
GEORGE WHITEFIELD (1714-1770): Though dead, by their writings they yet speak: a peculiar unction attends them to this very hour.
WILLIAM JAY (1769-1853): In Divinity, for unction, illustration, excitement, and effect, I have much preferred the old authors to most of the moderns.
C. H. SPURGEON: By all means read the Puritans, they are worth more than all the modern stuff put together…The old Puritans have more sense in one line than there is in a page of our new books, and more in a page than there is in a whole volume of our modern divinity.
JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): The writings of the [Puritan] age afford an immense variety.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: You will find, I think, in general, that the Puritans are almost invariably helpful. I must not go into this overmuch, but there are Puritans and Puritans! John Owen on the whole is difficult to read; he was a highly intellectual man. But there were Puritan writers who were warmer and more direct and more experimental. I shall never cease to be grateful to one of them called Richard Sibbes who was balm to my soul at a period in my life when I was overworked and badly overtired, and therefore subject in an unusual manner to the onslaughts of the devil. In that state and condition, to read theology does not help, indeed it may be well-nigh impossible; what you need is some gentle tender treatment of your soul. I found at that time that Richard Sibbes, who was known in London in the early seventeenth century as “the Heavenly Doctor Sibbes,” was an unfailing remedy. His books The Bruised Reed and The Soul’s Conflict quieted, soothed, comforted, encouraged and healed me.
C. H. SPURGEON: Sibbes never wastes the student’s time. He scatters pearls and diamonds with both hands…The men of the Puritanic period, who added to their profound theology and varied learning, a zeal to be understood, and a skill in setting forth truth by the help of every-day occurrences…Certain of them abounded in anecdotes and stories. Thomas Brooks is a signal instance of [their] wise and wealthy use…We always get something out of William Greenhill; he had not, of course, the critical skill of the present day, but his spiritual insight was keen…[and] William Gurnall, the author of The Christian in Complete Armour is as profuse with illustration as either Brooks, Watson, or Swinnock.
JOHN NEWTON: If I might read only one other book beside the Bible, I would choose William Gurnall’s The Christian in Complete Armour.
J. C. RYLE: You will often find in a line and a half some great truth put so concisely, and yet so fully, that you marvel how so much thought could be got into so few words.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Perhaps the one real defect in William Gurnall’s great book, The Christian in Complete Armour [is] his tendency is to over-elaborate the details. It was, perhaps, the common temptation that confronted the Puritans―the tendency to allegorize overmuch, or to turn a parable into an allegory.
E. J. POOLE-CONNOR (1872-1962): There was no finer era of preaching than the Puritan era.
C. H. SPURGEON: The Puritans were abundant in meditation and prayer; and there were giants on the earth in those days…By the way, this Complete Armour is beyond all others a preacher’s book: I should think that more discourses have been suggested by it than by any other uninspired volume. I have often resorted to it when my own fire has been burning low, and I have seldom failed to find a glowing coal upon Gurnall’s hearth.