What Puritan books should I read? Dr. Ligon Duncan recommends a practical devotional work from the Puritan era and explains how believers can benefit from the Puritans today.
I’m often asked, “What Puritan books should I read?” And that’s a really hard question to answer because there are so many good and edifying books written by the Puritans. The Puritans were mostly English Christians that lived from about 1562 to 1662. That’s really the Puritan era in the Church of England, and that era was remarkably spiritually productive—especially, works that were practical for the devotional Christian life, were produced in large numbers by those Puritans.
You need to know how Satan is trying to draw you away from God if you’re going to live the Christian life in a successful way.One of my very favorite books out of that time is a book by a man named Thomas Brooks, and it’s called Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices. And it’s a book where a pastor is talking to Christians about how they can resist temptation, how they can keep from being discouraged by Satan, really, how to engage in real spiritual warfare is what that book is about. He begins the book by saying to Christians, “Christian, Christ, the Scriptures, your own sin, and Satan’s devices need to be studied by every Christian, or you’re not safe in this world.” And what he’s saying is, you need to know the Bible. You need to look to Christ. You need to understand your own temptations. And you need to know how Satan is trying to draw you away from God if you’re going to live the Christian life in a successful way. And then the rest of the book is his good, specific spiritual counsel, with amazing illustrations on how you can do that. I love that book, but it’s typical of so many good Puritan books.
So here would be my recommendation. Start with Thomas Brooks, Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices, but then go to the Banner of Truth Trust Catalog or go to the Reformation Heritage Book Catalog, or go to the Northampton Press catalog, and look at the Puritan books that have been reprinted by these excellent publishers in the last 40, 50, 60 years, and just start reading your way through them.