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Devotional Book Reviews - Vital Godliness

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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.

What does it mean to “put” the Christian life into practice? How should Christians think about the Christian walk in general?

Devotional Book Reviews – Vital Godliness
Reviewed by Dr. C. Matthew McMahon

Vital Godliness: a Treatise on Experimental and Practical Piety
by William Plumer
Sprinkle Publications, Harrisburg, VA:1993.
Hardback, 610 Pages.

I have found that in the realm of godly writers, the closer one moves to the contemporary scene the more the books become shallow and irrelevant for true godliness and practical piety. However, sometimes there are diamonds found among the dross. It is the case with a 19th century Presbyterian minister by the name of William Plumer (pronounced Ploo-mer). Sprinkle Publications has done well to publish his books.

One of the books written by Plumer is his work on practical piety. It describes those who would “make their calling and election sure.” His work helps the Christian examine himself in light of essential Gospel truth, or those aspects of vital godliness which show forth the fruit of a regenerate Christian. He covers the elements of true conviction and the fruits which should flow from such convictions before God.

Not only does Plumer cover the truth and fruit of a regenerate life, but he also extricates many of the professors of Christianity from their false security. He shows how men may deceive themselves into believing that they are truly saved, when they are not. The outward working of religious exercises do not always point to a converted heart – and more times than naught they are but the seeds sown on the rocks or shallow ground. They have a form of godliness about them, but deny the power.

Plumer has divided the book into 25 chapters. In them he covers such topics as “A Sense of Wretchedness,” “Conviction-Conversion,” “Faith,” “Repentance,” “The Fear of God,” “Love to God,” “Love to Christ,” “Love to Our Neighbor,” “Patience,” “Joy,” and “Zeal.” The book even has an excellent index in the back for looking up such topics.

This books belongs in the realm of the Puritans. Though Plumer lived some 200 years later, the essence of his work is still very much Puritanical, or Biblical. I would recommend it to anyone desiring to engage in a hearty self-examination of their life and walk. It will help assure the Christian of his salvation, and weed out the Gospel hypocrite from his self-deception.

Some Quotes:

“God’s Word clearly teaches that there is a fear connate with true religion.”

“Humility loves to depend on God, even when His fatherly displeasure is expressed against us.”

“He does not really confess sin who does not forsake it.”

“Repentance belongs exclusively to the religion of sinners.”

“Old Christians speak much of faith, and always love to have the truth concerning it clearly explained.”

“All serious declensions in religion begins in negligence of closet duties.”

“In practical religion there is no greater mistake than the persuasion that if we are pleased with ourselves, God is also pleased with us.”

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