A warm welcome is extended to further reprints by the Banner of Truth Trust of the writings of two of the more popular Puritan writers. The Works of Thomas Brooks was republished as a six-volume set in 1980, a reproduction of the nineteenth-century edition to which C H Spurgeon gives high praise: “The mere marginal notes of Brooks are more valuable than pages of ordinary writers. . . . Of all the Puritans he is the most readable, if we except John Bunyan. And if he cannot display the depth of Owen or the raciness of Adams, he leaves them far behind in excessive sweetness and sparkling beauty of metaphor. There is a clear, silvery, refreshing sound in the name Brooks, and as is the name such is the man. Every reader who can afford the money should purchase this incorrupt, unmutilated, unchanged, well-printed, and perfectly-edited copy of Brooks.”
The first of the seven volumes of The Works of Richard Sibbes was republished in 1973 and the other volumes followed later. Now the whole set is available again, also a reproduction of the nineteenth-century edition. His fellow-Puritan, William Gouge, tells how “his judicious hearers always expected some rare and excellent notions from him”. And Benjamin Brooks, in his Lives of the Puritans, states that Sibbes “was remarkable for his humility, always undervaluing his own performances. This he did though others judged them to breathe the very spirit and life of God, to savour much of the upper world, and to come with authority and power to men’s consciences. His great care, through the whole of his ministry, was to lay a good foundation in the heads and hearts of his hearers. . . . He was a zealous and faithful steward of the manifold grace of God and one of the most celebrated preachers of his time.”
Both these sets may be purchased in individual volumes of approximately 550 pages at £14.95 each. They are available from the Free Presbyterian Bookroom, which is making a special offer on complete sets: £72 for the Brooks set and £84 for the Sibbes set.
A third set which has recently been republished is Joseph Caryl’s 12-volume Exposition of the Book of Job, produced jointly in the United States by Dust & Ashes Publications and Reformation Heritage Books. It is a pity that these beautifully produced-volumes retain the original seventeenth-century typeface, leaving them more difficult to read. One recognises that it was a great undertaking to produce this set in its current form, but it would have been a truly massive task to reset this whole work of 8000 pages.
Caryl (1602-1672) was minister of an Independent church in London and a member of the Westminster Assembly. He preached on Job over a period of 24 years – once or twice a month on average – and these volumes are the result. John Brown of Haddington describes Caryl as one of the best commentators on the Bible. Spurgeon agrees: “It would be a mistake to suppose that he is at all prolix or redundant; he is only full. In the course of his expounding, he has illustrated a very large portion of the Bible with great clearness and power. He is deeply devotional and spiritual. He gives us much, but none too much. His work can scarcely be superceded or surpassed.”
This set too is available from the Free Presbyterian Bookroom, at £227 (the recommended retail price is £335).
Free Presbyterian Publications
Memoir and Remains of Rev Donald Macdonald of Shieldaig by Rev Donald Macfarlane is now available in hardback at £10.95. As one of the first two ministers of the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland, he should have a special place in our affections. He was renowned for his godliness, and his preaching was highly valued. His biographer comments: “In preaching on the sufferings of Christ, few ministers could excel him”. This volume brings out these qualities.
Readers are also reminded of the republication, for the first time in well over 100 years, of the three-volume set of The Works of Ebenezer Erskine (£55). Volume 4 of The Free Presbyterian Magazine (£16.50) is also now on sale. It is hoped that volume 5 will become available within the next few months. Thomas Watson’s paperback, The Art of Divine Contentment, was reprinted last year (the price remains at £3.75) and we expect to have the much-appreciated Mother’s Catechism available again before long in a new and more attractive edition, DV