The Puritans: All of Life to the Glory of God by C. Matthew McMahon

Every area of the Christian Life was to be Sumbitted to the Kingship of Christ

Today, many Christians are turning back to the puritans to, “walk in the old paths,” of God’s word, and to continue to proclaim old truth that glorifies Jesus Christ. There is no new theology. In our electronic age, more and more people are looking to add electronic books (ePubs, mobi and PDF formats) to their library – books from the Reformers and Puritans – in order to become a “digital puritan” themselves. Take a moment to visit Puritan Publications (click the banner below) to find the biggest selection of rare puritan works updated in modern English in both print form and in multiple electronic forms. There are new books published every month. All proceeds go to support A Puritan’s Mind.

Christians would do well to study the life, theology and practice of the 17th century Puritans.[1] It is, no doubt, a most profitable exercise. The Puritans were biblical precisionists, desiring to love God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength. In fact, the puritans believed that all of life is to be lived to the glory of God and the majesty of Jesus Christ.[2]

It is true that the Puritans have received an unpleasant reputation in pop-culture.[3] But, if one understands even a cursory understanding about the life, theology and practice of the Puritans, they would not be “so amazed” that such receive as many false accusations as they do.[4]

Our culture revels in pornography, drugs, violence, adultery, lying, witchcraft, gossip, and every other damnable sin[5] imaginable.[6] Of course the saints of the Most High God will be reviled for speaking out against worldliness.[7] The Puritans are often the brunt of bad jokes, caricatures and outright slander. The Subaru car company even propagated a commercial which contrasted their car (which is fun to drive) to the Puritans (who were not fun but a boring, doleful group of people.) The Puritans have been labeled with a reputation of epitomizing the “holier than thou” attitude, and those who were zealous for extreme ascetic piety (not simply the biblical understanding of holiness and obedience before Jesus Christ). But, ideas of this nature are an untruthful caricature of Puritanism. As a matter of fact, Puritanism is far the opposite.

It is a tragedy to envisage so many casting away the ideals of Puritanism because they closely associate it with a dreadful life, toilsome spiritual labor, and a hermit-like attitude which shuns society. Interestingly, most Christians, to their own sanctifying demise,[8] typify them in this light without first understanding what they stood for, what they taught, or how they lived. In this, ignorance is in no way bliss.

In this “Christian ignorance” the Puritans are accused of thinking that sex was bad, that they never laughed and were opposed to “fun,” that they wore drab woeful apparel, that they were opposed to sports and recreation, that they were overly emotional and looked down on education, and that they were exceedingly strict and above all things legalistic. Again, such fabricated caricatures, are wholly unsubstantiated and fictitious. They are, in fact, the product of Satan[9] who desires that true spirituality, and those who exemplify it, would be cast down into shame and reproach in order that their holy lifestyles would never be followed and God glorified. For, if the Puritans were truly represented as the caricatures above describe them, then one would have to say the same of Jesus Christ, their Lord, whom they emphatically followed with whole-hearted delight.[10]

The era of the Puritans, and the years which they encompassed, have been often debated. But this time period can be sorted out rather easily. Some scholars restrict the date from 1559 through 1654. Some expand this time to encompass a wider scope, and some scholars restrict it even more. If we say that Puritanism was reserved for the era when the Church of England brutally and relentlessly persecuted non-conformists ministers who would not adhere to legalistic and pharisaic practices of “mother church,” then the date rage above may suffice (1559-1664). That era is what I will label the “ecclesiastical” aspect of Puritanism. But if we are to qualify Puritanism by the core ideas and beliefs they preached and wrote vehemently about, then I would grant a far wider date range – even expanding it through to the 21st century by those who hold their biblical ideals.[11] Simply stated, those who are Puritans by ideals, are those who see the church in need of biblical reform found in the truths housed in Reformation Theology.

Elizabethan Puritanism was a watershed time in religious history.  The Reformation had birthed a soundness of doctrine[12] that had been unparalleled since the time of the early Fathers, such as Augustine and Irenaeus, and certain men throughout history at scattered times and places, like John Wickliffe or John Hus.  Queen Elizabeth desired a restricted clergy (a prelacy) and a non-thinking religious laity who simply followed her lead as the inaugurator of the Church England.  An educated laity would spell trouble for her reign and cause a number of political problems.  She could not have the people thinking for themselves, but simply wanted them following her dictates through the Church of England.  Protestant Clergy, who were undoubtedly educated and skilled in the Scriptures in the powerhouse schools of Oxford and Cambridge, turned to becoming second and third generation reformers toward this Mother Church of England, and desired its purification.  Thus, though the name “Puritan” was an insulting term used of those beginning with early puritans like John Hooper (1495-1555) and Thomas Cartwright (1535-1603)[13] and it was finally accepted as the slang term for Protestant Calvinistic clergy who desired the purification of the church before God.

These labeled clergy did, at first, find this term derogatory, and desired its termination. However, after time, it began to be used as a positive description of those members of a 16th and 17th century Protestant group in England opposing as unscriptural the ceremonial worship and the prelacy of the Church of England.  A Puritan was regarded as one who practiced or preached a more rigorous or professedly purer moral code than that which prevailed in the day. In this case, any group of devoted Christian people could be regarded as a Puritan in this manner. However, the term is generally exclusive to the historical use, which surrounds the purification of the church of England.[14]

These Puritans were followers of the Bible and the Reformation, especially of the articles of religion penned under the Calvinistic system of John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion, as well as the favorable outcome of the party of Predestinarians during the Synod of Dordt (1618-1619) that condemned the false teaching of Arminianism.  They were also overwhelmingly Presbyterian in their form of government and ridiculed every form of prelacy that was current in its day.  Though the adjective “Puritan” became commonly used, especially by those in opposition to the Reformation party, it was simply a derivation of a more commonly used term by Bishop Laud and his minions as these Protestant clergy began to write vehemently as Doctrinal Puritans.  “Puritan” is a word that is really an afterthought to the instrumental means by which these clergy opposed the state.  Before they were known as “Puritans” formally, they were labeled with a term that has long been forgotten – the Precisionist.

The “Precisionist” is a very important term indeed.  Its etymology derives from a Middle English word which first stems from the Middle French precis, and from Latin praecisus, (the past participle of praecidere means “to cut off” which in turn is a derivation from prae + caedere “to cut”).  In its final form, it means “exactly or sharply defined or stated”.  It retains the idea of being “minutely exact,” and pertains to one who strictly conforms to a pattern, standard, or convention.  Precisionists, then, are men marked by a thorough consideration or minute measurement of small factual details.  Puritans are Precisionists.  It is because they are Precisionists that Puritans were, in fact, Puritans.  Without being a Precisionist, one could never be a true Puritan.  Some of the greater “histories” written about the Puritans use the label doctrinal Puritans for the term “Precisionists”.[15]  However, the phrase “doctrinal puritans” is less descriptive than scholars would like, and it would be more helpful to use the term “precisionist.”

During the 17th century, there were legal actions taken against the Puritans because they did not want to follow the Act of Uniformity, and could not in good conscience. This Act of Uniformity was an “edict” which demanded that preachers would read from the ceremonial prayer book during services, wear Anglican vestments, and support the Anglican ceremonies. The Church of England was also demanding that young preachers who desired a degree from the university of Oxford or Cambridge, were compelled to sign the Act before they could earn any degree at all.[16] The conscious act of rejecting a forced religious view gave them the name “Puritans.” They desired to purify the church. Obviously, those who oppose the status quo of the “people in charge” always take the brunt of persecution, even in the midst of attempting to purify the church towards godliness before Christ.[17] The Puritans, because of this Act, were vehemently persecuted, and they could expect anything from being burned at the stake, to being placed in prison for an indefinite period of time, (one may recall that John Bunyan penned the classic, Pilgrim’s Progress from prison because we would not cease preaching.) The Puritans desired to “purify” the Church of England from its corruption and to precisely follow Scriptures direction for life and godliness. They did not aspire a full separation from the Church of England, but rather a reformation of it, copying the plan of the reformation under John Calvin in Geneva.

Those Puritans who could not tolerate the Church of England and their persecutions, deemed separatists, left England and became “pilgrims.” These pilgrims ultimately settled down in the Massachusetts Bay Colony thinking that religious freedom was the only venue to be untainted from the Anglican tyranny and imposition. As a result, many of the Puritans left to be Pilgrims in the New World, the Netherlands, and various parts of Europe.

We find, at least from the outset, that the name “Puritan” is not essentially bad, even though it was a derogatory term used by those opposed to the Puritan cause. In fact, the term is really a compliment. Should the Christian Church and its ministers aspire to pure doctrine? Should we, as Christians, despise the lack of a pure life before God, or are we to embrace it? Are we not to be conformed to the purity of Christ? Being holy and becoming more “pure” is the present action and future hope of every true Christian believer; it is the work of the Spirit in our sanctification. The Puritans simply desired a holy church which hungered after the truth of the Word of God and did not follow after traditions made by men. As with Martin Luther, the Puritans did not have desires of immediately breaking off all relations with the Church of England. Rather, their goal embodied turning the church back to the Bible.[18]

What made the Puritans so special? Why should we care about them today? The reasoning is simple. Any man or woman who desires a life of true godliness before Christ should seek and search out those who exemplify a holy life. Part of the walk of the Christian life is to mimic those who are a “great cloud of witnesses” and a godly heritage. The Puritans exemplified this in its extreme. But “extremity” in doctrinal soundness and practical faithfulness before Jesus Christ is not a bad thing. It should be a desired life.

There was a two-fold ideology about them, 1) their ministers knew their Bible well (precisely) and consequently preached, taught and wrote deeply and passionately about it for the good of their congregations,[19] and 2) they put their knowledge about Christ into action.[20] Compared to the 21st century church, they were biblically intellectual and spiritual giants. They longed so intensely for the holiness of saintly living that they strove for the quality of that life through Jesus Christ constantly.[21] This yearning and desire for pure spiritual experience, or an experimental Christian walk, was so overwhelming that they were religiously zealous for the Kingdom of God and for purity of doctrine and life in every area of life: all of life to the glory of God![22] Nothing held them back in attempting to attain this. All of life was to be arrested by Jesus Christ and the Gospel.

How did the Puritans express a religious outlook in a pagan world with such ardor? There are a variety of factors. Religious and secular education was a key element in the home, in the church and in the university. The Puritans were an educated group. Many if not all of the Puritans, at one time or another earned degrees at either Oxford or Cambridge. Their ministers did their homework, to say the least. Religious education was emphasized even more so. Puritan ministers knew the Word of God intimately. They did not just study it, rather, it became part of them. William Perkins states it nicely when he says, “He [the preacher] must be godly affected himself who would stir up godly affection in other men.”[23] This was in total opposition to those Anglican ministers who merely viewed their positions in the church as jobs and where many of them were “in it for prestige and money.” Puritan preachers desired godliness, and to glorify Christ. They looked to bring their whole congregations to heaven.[24] The Puritans were unanimous in voicing that the primary duty of the Preacher was preaching.[25] Hours of study and preparation were the most important of tasks. For what could be more important than bringing the Word of God to the people? This mindset was a direct result of the reformation doctrine of Sola Scriptura [Scripture Alone]– this was the Puritan’s high view of Scripture.[26]

Whether one was a puritan minister, or a puritan layman, their whole life was based on and around the Bible, and the teachings of Jesus Christ as the eternal Logos of God.[27] As John Preston stated, “there is not a sermon which is heard that should bring us closer to heaven or hell.”[28] And it was not only that the Puritans wanted to hear preaching, they wanted to hear sound Biblical study arise from balanced preaching.[29] Today’s preaching cannot compare with what was said over oak pulpits 400 years ago. Preaching back then was critically important to the welfare of every soul in their eyes. Case in point: today the Pastor’s area is called the “office.” The Puritans referred to their space as the “Study,” as in 2 Timothy 2:15. Balanced preaching would not have mimicked the homily given in the Anglican Church. Rather, the non-conformist minister (who would not conform to the Act of Uniformity to disparage Christ’s word) would have preached anywhere from an hour and a half (which was normal) to three hours, which was often invited by the people who sat listening and were hungry for sound doctrine.[30]

As the story goes: one small English church had borne the burden of a mediocre pastor, where one day a non-conformist minister was asked to preach. After two hours of preaching, he checked his pocket watch of the time and excused himself for the length he had taken, knowing the people were not used to such long sermons. But one of the parishioners shouted, “Go on sir, Go on!” and the others agreed in like sentiment. Would such be the case today? Probably not. Rather, our 21st century church would much rather listen to the Anglican Homily lasting 15 minutes, than powerful, God-centered, Christ glorifying, non-discriminatory preaching lasting hours.

In light of their high estimation of the Word of God one can imagine that the religious education of the minister was of extreme importance. He was the teacher, pastor, under-shepherd, leader, and example of the multitudes. Not only did he receive an education at home from godly parents, but his ministerial training would have been rigorous. After this, time would be spent under the tutelage of a godly minister. Then, this religious education and tutelage would be dispensed to the people through preaching, teaching and writing. Without a good education in the home or in the university, there would be no educating the people of God in the church.

Puritan preaching has often been shunned because modern day preachers think the Puritan sermon approach would not sit well with contemporary hearers. They say that Puritan Preaching is too high and lofty and difficult for contemporary hearers to focus on. This, in my estimation, is a poor excuse to water down godly preaching.

The Puritans were not interested in entertaining listeners, as “church speakers” are today. They focused on 3 main ingredients, 1) To read the text from the Bible and then expound on the plain meaning from the text; 2) To note and discuss a few key points of doctrine from the text; and 3) to apply those doctrines to the life of the believer. Is this too difficult for today’s hearer? I think not. The Puritans loved the Word of God so much, and cared for the souls of their listeners, that they preached just the Word. They were not interested in telling the congregation about their vacation last week, or their trip to the grocery store. An excellent example of this kind of preaching is seen in William Perkins’ small book The Art of Faithful Preaching which outlines the classical Puritan style of preaching which would become most popular among the non-conformist ministers. Though this is not the only viable form of preaching, it is certainly, in my estimation, the most helpful and orderly. Peter van Mastricht’s work, “The Best Method of Preaching” is called that because it follows that outline, and he argues, “I will claim that it is the best method until I might be convinced to the contrary by arguments, to which, just as I am sincerely prepared to yield, so also I am ready to uphold that it is the best method against anything to the contrary.”[31] I am not stating that topical preaching, or exhortation, was not used. The Puritans were precisionists in all kinds of preaching. But the overall consensus of the Puritan minister was to preach an exegetical and expository message outlined in those three points. They preached one Christ, by Christ to the praise of Christ.

A second key point that all of life was for the glory of God in the Puritan’s walk was that which surrounded church life and the worship of God.[32] One of the most important doctrines of the church was exegetically drawn from the Bible clearly in the Puritan era and expounded relentlessly.[33] It was their doctrine of the church. They saw the church, not as a building or edifice, but as the body of the redeemed-elect gathering together to reflect back to Christ the glory due His name. The church is the people in the church, not the stone of the walls or the wood of the building. And they deemed a church strong and planted in Christ when it obtained 5 marks, 1) the true preaching of the Word by sound doctrine, 2) the right administration of the sacraments, 3) the activity of church discipline, 4) strong leadership and 5) biblical worship.[34] In worship, they were reverent and clearly organized during the service.[35] And its structure was clearly opposed to the ceremonial worship and liturgy of the Anglican Church. Leland Ryken in his book, Worldly Saints points out that a common puritan worship service would be characterized as such: Prayer, scripture reading, the sermon, baptisms, a long prayer accompanied by the Lord’s Prayer, the Apostle’s creed cited by the minister, a Psalm sung, and the benediction read. They did not go to church simply out of duty, but rather duty coupled with desire. Their simple worship was intended to bring the participant, which would regularly include the participation of the laity, to experience God through the Word in its variety of forms.

Not only did they worship on Sunday in the service, but also, worship continued through the whole of the Sabbath, or Lord’s Day.[36] It was not a time of idleness or a time of play. They were wholly dedicated to making that specific day, Sunday, a true Sabbath. Richard Baxter stated that after 7 years of labor in the church he ministered at in Kidderminster, England, that one could not walk down the streets there on a given Sunday without hearing the houses of families filled with spiritual songs and readings from the Scriptures. They utilized all of their day to worship. Worship was so important to them that they began to prepare their hearts for it the night before. They would retire after supper for family devotions, and then read for some time, and finally go off to sleep. If worship to God on earth now was of chief import (the reason men were created)[37], it could not be considered a light matter in the Christian’s eyes. Thus, the one day in seven given to men by God as a day of rest was to be viewed as a special day of sacred piety, not as a day to watch football games.

The Puritans were not only active in church polity, but in social action as well. At the time, these two arenas (the church and social reform) were intrinsically linked together. Here the Puritans were rigorously opposed to the state interfering with churchly affairs, and that, in and of itself, was one of the sparks to begin the fire of Puritanism.[38] They yearned for reforms not only in the church of England but throughout the country of England as well. And since, in their estimation, that the church of England was not up to such a task because of unorthodox and unbiblical views, the true church of Christ, those bonded together in a spirit of Biblical unity, should take up the challenge. They believed that genuine piety and true spiritually would procure exactly what the Apostles stated in, “good works.”[39] Faith, when it did not work, was considered dead. James utilizes this word “dead” as to say, “you have no faith, no real faith, if you show no works.” The Puritans viewed godly fruit as the immediate result of godly people who had the living God present within them. If the power of the Holy Spirit truly possessed by a believer, then this motion and action by the Spirit should procure fruitful works so that Christians and non-Christians alike could see the outward working of an inward faith and godliness. It was a constant practice of piety in this respect that the Puritans did not believe was present with the clergy and people of the Church of England.

The Puritans vehemently encouraged the Biblical Christian life and walk. The written exegetical work on this subject, and the classic devotional work they pressed on their congregations, abounds to more volumes than one could possibly read in a lifetime (almost). Every helpful Biblical topic from the Law of God, to the Righteousness of Christ, to the coming judgment, to the impending doom of Satan was written on, preached and taught. It sometimes causes one to wonder, if collectively, they did not exhaust the topics of the Bible! But their understanding of the doctrine of Scripture would never allow them to exhaust the infinite Word of God.

Puritan writing should be a common resource for every Christian in their home library. They are essential Christian reading, and their works ought to be vigorously studied. The 21st century church is in desperate need of their educational and theological prowess on worship, on education, on the Bible and especially on preaching for many ministers. We need to recapture what we have lost in the last 400 years. We have become spiritual “grasshoppers” compared to the spiritual giants of Puritanism. Only a few prominent theologians and preachers in these past years have endeavored to regain the ground: Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, Charles Spurgeon, B.B. Warfield, Charles Hodge and the like. Why did they become prominent? Because they understood the Reformation and the Puritans, who in turn understood the Bible. Who in the 21st century is as prominent as these men or as knowledgeable as the Puritan Divines? Men with such theological and godly caliber are far and few between. The Puritan’s deep Biblical wisdom overflows from a disciplined study of the Bible and their keen ability to adapt that theology in application to the life of the believer. Thy knew how to screw truth into men’s minds. The scope of their work is extensively staggering, to say the least, because of their rational capabilities and grasp of Ramean Logic.[40] The great pain to parse out and systematize all the biblical data, or at least what they were able to accomplish in their lifetime, is astounding. But alas, we must endeavor to imitate them.[41]

The theology and practice of Puritanism is not a perfect. There is no theological system which sinful men have gained a perfect insight into the Bible. While men live upon earth coupled with the remnants of remaining sin, they will never have a mind free of error, and thus, never have a theological system free from error. However, this does not mean that the theologians and preachers of Christ’s church should surrender being as theologically precise as possible. Rather, in assessing the theological systems which exist they should choose the one which hits closest to the mark of the Gospel on the Biblical target of doctrine.[42] In my estimation, the theology of Puritanism is as close as fallible human beings may come to understanding the Scriptures systematically and governing one’s life to glorify Christ in all aspects. I am quite aware that the Scriptures continue to illuminate our minds by varied angles and insights seen in some of the same passages which we read over and over.[43] But a consensus on the overall understanding of Biblical and systematic theology for clarity, preciseness of doctrine, and application in preaching must be awarded to the Reformers and Puritans.[44] They have come closest to teaching men the mind of Christ contained in the Bible.[45] This Puritanism, even for the 21st century church, is not dead – though many would like it to be dead. However, it is in a restless slumber awaiting the next generation of men who shall be raised up by God to preach the truth of His Word in righteousness and conviction. We earnestly await to see those whom God shall raise up as “neo-Puritans” for a “brave new world” in order that, like the puritans, all of life is to the glory of God.

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Footnotes:

[1] See the book Select Memoirs of the English and Scottish Divines by Thomas Smith, and The Westminster Assembly: Its History and Standards by Alexander F. Mitchell. Also, consider the Scottish Covenanters in the book Sketches of the Covenanters by J.C. McFeeters.

[2] “Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world,” (Titus 2:12).

[3] “O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things?” (Matt. 12:34).

[4] “But these speak evil of those things which they know not,” (Jude 1:10). “But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption,” (2 Peter 2:12). “…that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ,” (1 Peter 3:16).

[5] “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil,” (John 3:19).

[6] ” that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God,” (Gal. 5:21).

[7] “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them,” (Eph. 5:11).

[8] ” Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels.

13 Now for a recompence in the same, (I speak as unto my children,) be ye also enlarged,” (2 Cor. 6:12-13).

[9] “your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour,” (1 Peter 5:8).

[10] “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand,” (Joh. 10:27-28).

[11] ” But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine,” (Titus 2:1).

[12] Historical Theology was first prominent during the Reformation and the need to go back to the original sources of the Bible (ad fontes means back to the sources). The systematician should remember, critically, that it is nearly impossible to “do theology” as if it has never been done before. Historical Theology, then, is used both as a pedagogic tool (for systematic theology) and as a critical tool (highlighting various important topics through history as key elements of the Christian faith). Back to the sources meant back to the original text of Scripture.

[13] See the various Puritan Biographies here at A Puritan’s Mind.

[14] See my article, Where Oh Where has the Precisionist Gone? – by Dr. C. Matthew McMahon concerning the Era of the Puritans (1559-1662, or thereabouts).

[15] See Daniel Neal’s History of the Puritans.

[16] See George Gillespie’s biblical Uniformity of Religion for a discussion of the difference between true and false uniformity.

[17] “And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison,” (Acts 5:18).

[18] Ad fontes or back to the sources.

[19] “If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to shew unto man his uprightness: Then he is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom,” (Job. 33:23-24). See William Perkin’s work The Calling of the Ministry for a full explanation of this verse.

[20] See these valuable books on the Christian Walk written by the puritans.

[21] “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren,” (Rom. 8:29).

[22] “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God,” (1 Cor. 10:31).

[23] See William Perkin’s work The Calling of the Ministry.

[24] “And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh,” (Jude 1:23). “…that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus,” (Col. 1:28).

[25] “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine,” (2 Tim. 4:2).

[26] “But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God,” (2 Cor. 4:2).

[27] “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God,” (John 1:1).

[28] See two of John Preston’s works here in lightly updated form.

[29] See the following works on preaching: Homiletics or the Theory of Preaching by Alexander Vinet (1797-1847), The Worthy Churchman, or the Faithful Minister of Jesus Christ by John Jackson (1600-1648), The Necessity, Dignity and Duty of Gospel Ministers by Thomas Hodges (1600-1672), The Preacher’s Charge and People’s Duty by John Brinsley (1600-1665), The Art of Faithful Preaching by William Perkins (1558-1602).

[30] “And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead,” (Acts 20:9).

[31] Van Mastricht, Peter, The Best Method of Preaching, (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2013) 27.

[32] See these fantastic puritan books on worship.

[33] This does not mean the principle of worship was not discussed previously. It certainly was, even back to the early church.

[34] See my work 5 Marks of a Biblical Church at Puritan Publications.

[35] “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints,” (1 Cor. 14:33).

[36] See a Declaration of the Christian Sabbath, by puritan Robert Cleaver.

[37] See question 1 of the 1647 Westminster Shorter Catechism.

[38] See section 23 on the Civil Magistrate in the 1647 Westminster Confession of Faith.

[39] “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works,” (Heb. 10:24). “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them,” (Eph. 2:10).

[40] See the work, “Peter Ramus and the Educational Reformation of the Sixteenth Century.

[41] “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ,” (1Co. 11:1).

[42] “Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers,” (Titus 1:9).

[43] “But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions,” (Heb. 10:32). “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law,” (Psa. 119:18).

[44] Interestingly, these reformers and Puritans agreed with church father like St. Augustine who lived in the 4th-5th century.

[45] See the best confession of the church in the 1647 Westminster Confession of Faith here.

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