Trivium Pursuit

Soul Care

What do you think of when you hear the word “Puritan”? Straight-laced, stern, legalistic, harsh. But did you know that the Puritans were the first, and some of the best biblical counselors? They wrote lots of practical books designed to bring comfort, hope, and help to the troubled lives of fellow believers. They called what they did soul care.

People in the 1600s had just as many problems as we do now – actually, life was harder than it is today. We stress out about our credit card payment – they worried about finding enough food for even the next meal. The Puritans were experts at taking the sometimes dry theological truths of Scripture and applying them to the very heart of your deep, dark problem. Reading the Puritans, you’re going to wonder how they seemed to know 400 years ago the very things which trouble your own soul. There are no conditions – no, not even yours – which aren’t addressed in the Scriptures and which the Puritans expertly apply like a healing salve to your troubled heart.

The central theme for many of these soul care books is how God works all things in the world for His own glory and His people’s good. They liked to call it Providence. The Puritans urge us to love Providence.

Here are some titles: The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs (my favorite); All Things for Good by Thomas Watson (my second favorite); The Christian in Complete Armour by William Gurnall; Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices by Thomas Brooks; Personal Declension and Revival by Octavius Winslow; The Religious Affections by Jonathan Edwards; Heaven on Earth by Thomas Brooks; A Lifting Up for the Downcast by William Bridge; The Bruised Reed by Richard Sibbes; The Christian’s Great Interest by William Guthrie.

The Puritans show us that the Scriptures give no out, they cover all the bases and leave us only one option – trust God in your very own life, dear reader, that there are no accidents, no mistakes, and everything is still on schedule.

Laurie Bluedorn

3 Responses to “Soul Care”

  1. Katie Says:

    Laurie,

    thank you for posting this. It is so true that the Puritans have much to teach us about accepting and thanking God for his providences. Thomas Brooks’ Precious Remedies is, I think, particularly helpful and simple to read for those who have not read any Puritan literature before. I look forward to reading the other books you suggested. Thank you again for reminding us to trust God and seek His comfort in the Word.

  2. sonja Says:

    Laurie, i was introduced to some Puritan writers only last year & managed to read The Mystery of Providence, The Bruised Reed & The Godly Man’s Picture. The Mortification of Sin, Come & Welcome to Jesus Christ & Precious Remedies are standing on my shelf for this year – thanks for the other titles! Sonja (one of your first customers from South Africa waayyyy back)

  3. Jules Says:

    I knew it I knew it!!!! Laurie, I am on a Puritan kick! I posted on my blog last year’s Puritan Book Challenge that I’d like to try and keep up with. On top of that, I am reading Watson’s “A Body of Divinity” for our Puritan Book Club at church. So, we not only like Pink we also both love the wisdom and God-loving / fearing Puritans. You are so right about them being unlike their stern stereotype. Their high view of God and their proper view of self instilled a deep love and appreciation for their Savior. I read the Puritans with amazement and a desire for even a fraction of their faith. Would God grant that to us! Thanks for sharing your list of favorites. I’ve only just started reading the Puritans and am looking forward to many many pages of choice gleanings.

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