Archives for March 2020

Puritan-related Material on Plagues and Pestilences

John Wycliffe on his sickbed

Below you will find some bibliographical links to works by the Puritans (and other Reformed preachers) that will feed you with much helpful material for the times in which we live (No, I have not read them all!) Though not every detail will relate to our COVID-19 days, much that is written here will set us on a solid biblical foundation.

Ralph Venning — Sin, The Plague of Plagues (Venning published this treatise four years after the bubonic plague devastated London in 1665)

Joseph Hall — Comforts Against Public Calamities —;c=eebo2;g=eebogroup;rgn=div1;view=fulltext;xc=1;q1=pestilence

Samuel Shaw — A Welcome to the Plague and Farewell to Life — (Samuel lost two children, a servant, and his sister in the Great Plague of London in 1665).

Edward Reynolds — Being a Day of Solemn Humiliation for the Continuing Pestilence —

Thomas Doolittle — A Spiritual Antidote Against Sinful Contagion in Dying Times, a Cordial for Believers in Dying Times with a Corrosive for Wicked Men in Dying Times —;c=eebo2;g=eebogroup;rgn=works;view=toc;xc=1;rgn1=author;q1=doolittle (login required)

Arthur Hildersham — The Doctrine of Fasting and Prayer and Humiliation for Sin —

William Cupper — Certain Sermons Concerning God’s Late Visitation in the City of London —

William Bridge — The Righteous Man’s Habitation in the Time of Plague and Pestilence —

Thomas Vincent — God’s Terrible Voice in the City —

Thomas Brooks — A Heavenly Cordial for All Those Servants of the Lord that Have Had the Plague —

John Wilson — A Song of Deliverance for the Lasting Remembrance of God’s Wonderful Works Never to be Forgotten. —;view=fulltext

William Crashaw — London’s Lamentation for Her Sins —;view=fulltext

Thomas Doolittle — A Serious Inquiry For a Suitable Return, for Continued Life, in and After a Time of Great Mortality, by a Wasting Plague —

Matthew Mead — Solomon’s Prescription for the Removal of the Pestilence, or, The Discovery of the Plague of our Hearts, in Order to the Healing of that in our Flesh —;view=fulltext

Thomas Blake — Living Truths in Dying Times: Some Meditations Occasioned by the Present Judgment of the Plague —

Gideon Harvey — A Discourse of the Plague. Containing The Nature, Causes, Signs, and Pre­sages of the Pestilence in General. Together with the State of the Present Contagion —

Unknown Author — London’s Lamentation, Or a Fit Admonishment for City and Country, Wherein is Described Certain Causes of this Affliction and Visitation of the Plague;view=fulltext

Thomas Draxe — Of the Plague or Pestilence, in The Christian Armory —;view=fulltext

Obadiah Hughes — The Good Man’s Security in Times of Public Calamity —

William Dyer — Christ’s Voice to London

John Owen — Perilous Times

John Hooper — An Homily to be Read in the Time of Pestilence —

James Balmsford — A Short Dialog Concerning the Plague’s Infection —;view=fulltext

Henry Burton — A Most Godly Sermon Shewing the Necessity of Self-denial and Humiliation, by Prayer and Fasting before the Lord; in Regard of the Pre­sent Plague we now Lie Under —

Patrick Symon — A Brief Exhortation to Those who are Shut up from our Society, and Deprived at Present of Public Instruction (Symon was an Anglican Arminian, not a Puritan, but he has some good insight on this topic) —

Benjamin Grosvenor — Preparation for Death, the Best Preservative Against the Plague —

Samuel Davies — This Very Year you are Going to Die. (Davies delivered this sermon at Princeton on New Year’s Day, 1761. He preached on Jer. 28:16 proclaiming that “it is not only possible—but highly probable, that death may meet some of us within the compass of this year.” Almost prophetically, Davies died one month later from pneumonia, on February 4, 1761.) —

Hike Around Reeds Lake

The beautiful Queen and I took an uplifting, wonderful 4.5 mile hike around Reeds Lake. The beauty of God in the beauty of nature is always so special to us. The crocuses were the third most beautiful thing I saw.

Wise and Interesting Advice from Richard Baxter

Wise and interesting advice from Richard Baxter:

May we omit church-assemblies on the Lord’s day, if the magistrate forbid them?

1) It is one thing to forbid them for a time, upon some special cause, (as infection by pestilence, fire, war, etc.) and another to forbid them statedly or profanely.

2) It is one thing to omit them for a time, and another to do it ordinarily.

3) It is one thing to omit them in formal obedience to the law; and another thing to omit them in prudence, or for necessity, because we cannot keep them.

4) The assembly and the circumstances of the assembly must be distinguished.

(1.) If the magistrate for a greater good, (as the common safety,) forbid church-assemblies in a time of pestilence, assault of enemies, or fire, or the like necessity, it is a duty to obey him. 1. Because positive duties give place to those great natural duties which are their end: so Christ justified himself and his disciples’ violation of the external rest of the sabbath. “For the sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath.”2. Because affirmatives bind not ‘ad semper,’ and out-of-season duties become sins.3. Because one Lord’s day or assembly is not to be preferred before many, which by the omission of that one are like to be obtained.
(2.) If princes profanely forbid holy assemblies and public worship, either statedly, or as a renunciation of Christ and our religion ; it is not lawful formally to obey them.
(3.) But it is lawful prudently to do that secretly for the present necessity, which we cannot do publicly, and to do that with smaller numbers, which we cannot do with greater assemblies, yea, and to omit some assemblies for a time, that we may thereby have opportunity for more: which is not formal but only material obedience.

COVID-19 – A Christian’s Response to this Unfolding Crisis

Is it a sin for someone to go to work while sick? What does the Bible say about quarantine? Is this the judgment of God? Is live streaming a church service helpful or harmful? These questions and more are discussed in the webinar, “COVID-19 – A Christian’s Response to this Unfolding Crisis.”

William Perkins Volume 9

We are excited that RHB just received volume 9 of the “Works of William Perkins” moments ago. This volume includes many practical gems, including treatises on knowing Christ, repentance, the combat of flesh and spirit, governing the tongue, etc. You won’t want to miss this one!

More good news: the final volume (vol. 10) is already typeset in final form and is being indexed right now. It should be available in two months. Then the set will be complete. For my part as editor, this task is now done. What a joy it has been to read and edit the 6000+ pages of the complete works of William Perkins over the past six years! I have been so edified that I am almost sorry that there are not more volumes to do. (But I am also excited to move on now to the complete works of Samuel Rutherford in a projected set of 12 volumes, averaging 921 pages each.) By the way, in honor of Perkins as “the father of Puritanism” and in honor of his remarkably edifying treatises, we have named our seminary library at PRTS, “William Perkins Library.”

Bible Survey in Hindi

We received a surprise in the mail: “Bible Survey,” which is a Hindi translation (by Samir Salve) especially for people in northern India of the Bible book introductions printed in the “Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible” (Alethia Publications, 253 pages). Hindi is one of India’s 22 official languages! Most of these introductions were the work of the editors: Dr. Michael Barrett (center) and Dr. Jerry Bilkes (right), Paul Smalley (my TA), and me. The translation was conducted under the auspices of Paul Washer’s HeartCry ministry. Pray that God will greatly bless this volume in India and beyond, wherever Hindi is spoken and read.

Covenant Mercies!

Multitasking in peace and quiet, grateful for God’s covenant mercies! “Thou shalt see thy children’s children, and peace upon Israel” (Ps. 128:6).

Three New Titles at RHB

Three new books arrived today here at Reformation Heritage Books:

  1. Dane Ortlund, “Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers” (Crossway)—an excellent book on Christ that was initiated by the author’s reading of Thomas Goodwin’s moving works on Christ as Mediator and on His tender, beautiful heart from heaven:
  2. Martin I. Klauber, “The Theology of the Huguenot Refuge: From the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes to the Edict of Versailles” (Reformation Heritage Books)—the third volume of an excellent series on the French Reformation—includes articles by the editor, Richard Muller, Michael Haykin, etc.:
  3. John Colquhoun (1748-1827), “The Covenant of Grace” (Northampton Press)—an excellent volume by this great Scots divine, with a helpful foreword by Sinclair Ferguson highly recommending it:

Great reading for quarantine days!

A Thought Worth Pondering…

Without minimizing the seriousness of the Coronavirus pandemic and emergency, here is a thought sent to me worth pondering: If Planned Parenthood would be forced to shut down for just a few weeks due to COVID-19, the virus will have saved more lives than it has taken so far.

Consider too that since the infamous Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, the blood of 62 million babies is on our hands—only 10 million short of double the population of the entire nation of Canada, which has 36 million inhabitants. Though the number of abortions has been substantially reduced in America in recent years, our nation is still murdering about 750,000 babies in their mother’s wombs each year—more than 2,000 per day. In the world today, between 40 and 50 million babies are killed each year by abortion, averaging about 125,000 per day, or about 9 per minute. If we kill a baby worldwide every 7 seconds, ought we be surprised when our holy Judge shows us His hand of judgment through a worldwide virus?

“If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared” (Ps. 130:3-4). Amazing sin, amazing guilt, and yet, amazing grace!