Confessionally Reformed Reviews

Category: Puritan Works (Page 1 of 5)

The Shorter Writings of George Gillespie, Vol. 3

*I have a personal confession: I have been looking forward to this volume for quite some time, and it has surpassed all expectations. The RHB’s collaboration with Naphtali Press for its Special Editions usually are top-notch, but this one exceeds them all and is a fitting end to the Shorter Writings of George Gillespie*

“The Shorter Writings of George Gillespie, Vol. 3” offers a comprehensive collection of theological essays and treatises from the renowned Scottish theologian George Gillespie. Spanning various topics ranging from ecclesiology to worship, the book provides readers with insights into Gillespie’s profound understanding of Reformed theology. Central themes include the sovereignty of God, the nature of the church, and the principles of worship, all viewed through the lens of what would later be known as Westminster Standards. Gillespie’s writings serve as a valuable resource for those seeking to deepen their understanding of Reformed theology and its practical implications. The crown jewel of this work is his diary of the proceedings of the Westminster Assembly, which offers a rare glimpse into the debates that were held and which specific Puritans held certain arguments.

For a little more about the author, George Gillespie was a prominent figure in the seventeenth-century Scottish church, known for his exceptional intellect and unwavering commitment to Reformed theology. As a minister, theologian, and member of the Westminster Assembly, Gillespie played a significant role in shaping the doctrinal landscape of Presbyterianism. His credentials include a thorough education in theology and philosophy, as well as extensive experience in pastoral ministry and ecclesiastical affairs. Gillespie’s writings reflect his deep theological insight and practical wisdom, making him a trusted authority in Reformed circles.

Gillespie’s writings offer readers a rich theological feast, covering a wide range of topics relevant to Christian life and practice. His insights into the nature of the church, the role of the magistrate, and the principles of worship provide readers with a solid foundation for understanding and applying Reformed theology in their daily lives.

“The Shorter Writings of George Gillespie, Vol. 3” serves as a valuable resource for pastors and church leaders seeking to deepen their theological understanding and ministerial effectiveness. Gillespie’s insights into ecclesiology, worship, and pastoral ministry offer practical guidance for navigating the complexities of pastoral life. Pastors can draw upon Gillespie’s wisdom to address theological questions, shepherd their congregations, and promote biblical fidelity in their ministry contexts.

The cover design and binding of “The Shorter Writings of George Gillespie, Vol. 3” reflect the book’s scholarly content and historical significance. While the design is bland, which I think was the intention, the sturdy binding ensures that the book will withstand regular use and remain a cherished addition to any theological library. While aesthetics are secondary to content, the book’s cover and binding contribute to its overall appeal and durability.

Statement of Compliance:
“I received ‘The Shorter Writings of George Gillespie, Vol. 3’ by Reformation Heritage Books and Naphtali Press for the purpose of an unbiased review. I have not received any compensation for providing a positive review. My opinions are entirely my own and reflect my sincere evaluation of the book.”

Book Details:

Title: The Shorter Writings of George Gillespie, Vol. 3
Author: George Gillespie
Publisher: Reformation Heritage Books and Naphtali Press

The Complete Works of John Owen: The Gospel: Volume 14: Apostasy from the Gospel by John Owen, edited by Joel R. Beeke

In delving into “The Complete Works of John Owen: The Gospel: Volume 14: Apostasy from the Gospel,” readers are presented with a rich tapestry of theological insights and pastoral wisdom. Edited with scholarly precision by Joel R. Beeke, this volume showcases the enduring relevance of John Owen’s thought, particularly concerning the perilous theme of apostasy from the Gospel.

Owen’s brilliance shines through as he dissects the multifaceted nature of apostasy, offering a theological foundation intertwined with pastoral concern. His nuanced approach tackles not only the doctrinal ramifications but also the practical implications for believers. The careful editing by Beeke ensures that Owen’s complex ideas are presented with clarity, making this volume accessible to both scholars and lay readers.

A central theme Owen grapples with is the persistence of true faith amidst the challenges of apostasy. In Chapter 3, Owen asserts, “True faith may be where apostasy is” (p. 56). This profound observation challenges traditional notions, prompting readers to ponder the mysterious interplay between faith and the potential for falling away.

The book delves into the biblical foundations of apostasy, drawing extensively from Hebrews and other pertinent scriptures. Owen’s exegetical prowess is on display, and Beeke’s editorial choices enhance the reader’s engagement with the biblical text. A particularly enlightening passage occurs in Chapter 5, where Owen explores the warnings in Hebrews, stating, “These warnings are not needless” (p. 92). This reminder serves as a sobering call to vigilance in the Christian life.

Owen’s pastoral heart is evident throughout the volume. In addressing the practical implications of apostasy, he provides guidance for shepherds and believers alike. Chapter 7 offers a poignant reflection: “He that doth not every day mortify sin is in a way to apostatize from God” (p. 124). This pastoral admonition underscores the urgency of daily sanctification and echoes across the centuries to challenge contemporary believers.

Beeke’s editorial contributions extend beyond ensuring clarity; they also include insightful annotations that enrich the reader’s understanding. These annotations serve as bridges connecting Owen’s seventeenth-century context with the challenges faced by the twenty-first-century Church. An example of this is found in the note on page 178, which clarifies a historical term, bridging the gap for modern readers.

“The Complete Works of John Owen: The Gospel: Volume 14: Apostasy from the Gospel” stands as a testament to the enduring relevance of Owen’s theological insights. Beeke’s meticulous editing, coupled with Owen’s profound reflections, makes this volume a valuable resource for scholars, pastors, and believers navigating the complexities of apostasy and perseverance in the Gospel.

Statement of Compliance: I received “The Complete Works of John Owen: The Gospel: Volume 14: Apostasy from the Gospel” by Crossway for the purpose of an unbiased review. I have not received any compensation for providing a positive review. My opinions are entirely my own and reflect my sincere evaluation of the book.

Title: The Complete Works of John Owen: The Gospel: Volume 14: Apostasy from the Gospel

Author: John Owen

Edited by Joel R. Beeke

Publisher: Crossway

John Owen’s Complete Works: Volume 8: The Trinity: The Comforter

John Owen’s “Complete Works: Volume 8: The Trinity: The Comforter,” meticulously introduced and edited by Andrew S. Ballitch and published by Crossway, delves into the profound intricacies of the Godhead. This work is not merely a theological treatise; it is a deep theological excavation into the person and work of the Holy Spirit.

Owen, a prominent Puritan theologian, approaches the subject with scholarly precision and pastoral warmth. His exploration of the Trinity, particularly focusing on the Holy Spirit as the Comforter, unfolds across this volume, revealing layers of biblical insight and theological depth that resonate with the earnest seeker and the seasoned theologian alike.

One of the striking aspects of Owen’s writing is his ability to blend scholarly rigor with pastoral compassion. As a pastor myself, I appreciate Owen’s keen awareness of the practical implications of deep theological truths. He does not merely engage the intellect; he speaks to the heart, providing comfort to the weary and pointing to the profound role of the Comforter in the Christian life.

The structure of the book reflects Owen’s systematic and comprehensive approach to theology. Each section is a theological feast, and the reader is invited to partake in the richness of scriptural exposition, historical analysis, and pastoral application. Owen’s exegesis of key biblical passages is meticulous, and his interaction with theological controversies of his time demonstrates his commitment to both biblical fidelity and doctrinal clarity.

In exploring the person and work of the Holy Spirit, Owen engages with the biblical text with remarkable depth. For instance, in his discussion of the Spirit’s role in the believer’s assurance, Owen unpacks the profound truth that “assurance is an effect of the Spirit’s witness to our adoption” (p. 123). The careful reader will find themselves repeatedly turning to these passages, savoring Owen’s insights and pondering the weightiness of the scriptural truths he expounds.

Furthermore, Owen’s emphasis on the experiential aspect of theology is refreshing. He bridges the gap between doctrine and the believer’s lived experience, reminding us that theology is not a mere intellectual exercise but a transformative encounter with the living God. Owen beautifully articulates this when he writes, “Knowledge of the Spirit and his operations is the spring of all vital practical religion” (p. 211).

The editorial work by Andrew S. Ballitch deserves commendation. His introductions to each section provide valuable context, guiding the reader through the labyrinth of Owen’s thought. Additionally, the footnotes offer helpful explanations and references, enriching the reader’s understanding without detracting from Owen’s original work.

In conclusion, “The Comforter” is more than a theological treatise; it is an immersive journey into the heart of the Christian faith. Owen’s work stands as a testament to the enduring relevance of deep theological reflection for the believer’s life. Whether you are a theologian, pastor, or earnest Christian seeking spiritual nourishment, this volume is a valuable resource that beckons you to plunge into the depths of Trinitarian wisdom.

Statement of Compliance:

I want to clarify that I received this book from Crossway for the purpose of an unbiased review. I have not been paid to write a positive review. My assessment is entirely based on my genuine impressions.

Book Information:

Title: Complete Works of John Owen: Volume 8: The Trinity: The Comforter
Author: John Owen, Edited by: Andrew S. Ballitch
Publisher: Crossway

English Popish Ceremonies by George Gillespie: A Profound Analysis of Liturgical Practices

In “English Popish Ceremonies” by George Gillespie, readers are presented with a profound exploration of liturgical practices that delves into the heart of theological debates surrounding the English Reformation. Gillespie’s meticulous analysis not only dissects the various ceremonies of the English church but also offers a robust theological foundation for the rejection of “popish” elements within the worship services. With careful exegesis and historical context, Gillespie unveils the potential dangers of these ceremonies, asserting that they compromise the purity and simplicity of true Christian worship.

The book serves as a thorough examination of the significance of ceremonies within the English church, showcasing Gillespie’s theological prowess. He argues, “Ceremonies are the sensible representation of the things signified, they are not indifferent” (p. 72). Here, he firmly establishes that ceremonies are not merely outward actions, but they carry deep spiritual meanings. Gillespie’s exploration of the theological implications behind these ceremonies emphasizes their capacity to either uphold true worship or veer dangerously towards a “popish” imitation.

One of the book’s highlights is Gillespie’s critique of how certain ceremonies have the potential to obstruct sincere worship. He writes, “The liturgy of the Church of England is so penned, that he who is the ablest statesman will be the best ceremonialist” (p. 128). This observation underscores the book’s central argument that the ceremonial practices had drifted from their spiritual roots and were at risk of becoming political tools rather than vehicles for genuine communion with God.

Gillespie’s grasp of historical context is evident as he traces the evolution of these ceremonies through different periods. He states, “The ceremonies of the church have undergone various changes in different ages” (p. 42), highlighting how these practices have shifted over time and how their implications have evolved. This historical awareness enhances the book’s depth, making it a valuable resource for understanding the evolution of English liturgical practices.

In conclusion, “English Popish Ceremonies” by George Gillespie is a work of great depth and insight, providing readers with a profound understanding of the theological implications behind liturgical practices. Through thorough exegesis, historical context, and astute observation, Gillespie challenges readers to consider the true essence of worship. This book is an essential read for anyone interested in the historical and theological foundations of the English Reformation.

Statement of Compliance:
I want to clarify that this review is not influenced by any external factors or payments. My review is solely based on my genuine thoughts and impressions of the book.

Book Information:
English Popish Ceremonies
Author: George Gillespie
Publisher: Naphtali Press

“The Complete Works of John Owen: Volume 7: The Trinity: The Helper” by John Owen – A Profound Classic”

John Owen’s “The Complete Works of John Owen: Volume 7: The Trinity: The Helper,” introduced and edited by Andrew S. Ballitch and published by Crossway, is a deep dive into the theological intricacies of the Trinity. In this volume, Owen’s scholarly prowess shines as he unpacks the profound mysteries of the Godhead.

From the outset, Owen sets the tone for this exploration: “The Father is the fountain of the Deity; the Son is the beam from the fountain; and the Holy Spirit is the beam sent forth, flowing from both” (p. 18). With such concise yet profound statements, Owen lays the foundation for his comprehensive study of the Trinity.

One of the strengths of Owen’s work is his ability to dissect complex theological concepts with clarity. He provides readers with scriptural references and logical arguments to support his assertions. For instance, when discussing the equality of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Owen asserts, “There is an equality in the Godhead of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. For, ‘all that the Father hath are the Son’s, and all that the Son hath are the Father’s’ (John 17:10)” (p. 54). This meticulous attention to Scripture ensures that Owen’s theological reflections are firmly rooted in biblical truth.

Owen also addresses the roles of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit within the context of salvation, reminding us that the work of redemption is a cooperative effort within the Trinity. He states, “The purchase of our salvation is from the Father; the price of it is the blood of the Son; and the application of it is the work of the Holy Spirit” (p. 127). This understanding of the Trinity’s involvement in our salvation provides valuable insight for believers.

Throughout the volume, Andrew S. Ballitch’s editorial work shines as well. He introduces each section with clarity and precision, making Owen’s dense prose more accessible to modern readers. Ballitch’s contributions help bridge the gap between Owen’s 17th-century language and contemporary theological discourse.

One notable aspect of this volume is Owen’s emphasis on the practical implications of the doctrine of the Trinity for the Christian life. He argues that a proper understanding of the Trinity should lead to a life of worship and devotion. As he eloquently puts it, “The clearer we understand the Father, the more fervently we shall love him; the more we comprehend the love of the Father, the more joy we shall have in the Son; and the more we experience the joy of the Son, the more we shall delight in the Holy Spirit” (p. 203).

The one drawback of this work is the slip cover and it is the oddest cover I think I have ever come across for it is only 1/3 of of the size of the book. Sadly this puts a damper on what is truly a fantastic volume. Yet to the person who does not like slip covers, it can easily be discarded. In the end, if one were to put adhesive on the slip cover it could easily be permanently attached, which would solve most of the problems.

In conclusion, “The Complete Works of John Owen: Volume 7: The Trinity: The Helper” is a profound exploration of the Trinity that offers deep theological insights while remaining firmly grounded in Scripture. John Owen’s scholarship, combined with Andrew S. Ballitch’s editorial expertise, makes this volume an invaluable resource for pastors, theologians, and anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the Triune God.

Statement of Compliance: I want to clarify that I received this book from Crossway for the purpose of a unbiased review. I have not been paid to write a positive review. My assessment is entirely based on my genuine impressions of “The Complete Works of John Owen: Volume 7: The Trinity: The Helper” by John Owen, introduced and edited by Andrew S. Ballitch, and published by Crossway.


Title: The Complete Works of John Owen: Volume 7: The Trinity: The Helper

Author: John Owen

Volume Editor: Andrew S. Ballitch

Publisher: Crossway

A Profound Spiritual Feast – A Review of “The Collected Works of Thomas Brooks”

Thomas Brooks, a name that resonates with the profound depths of Reformed theology, brings to us an enriching collection that is a treasure trove of spiritual wisdom. Within the pages of “The Collected Works of Thomas Brooks,” published by Banner of Truth Trust, one encounters a wellspring of biblical insights and pastoral guidance that transcend time and culture.

In his work “Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices,” Brooks declares, “Satan is full of devices; every bush yields him a net.” This warning, steeped in Scriptural truths, acts as a beacon to illuminate the cunning strategies of the enemy. Brooks’ writing skillfully dissects these snares, offering readers a roadmap to navigate the spiritual battleground.

Amidst the pages of “Heaven on Earth,” Brooks invites us to grasp the sublime concept of communion with God. “What is communion with Christ? It is a mutual, holy, delightful enjoyment of each other.” This eloquent expression encapsulates the heart of Reformed spirituality, inviting believers to partake in the unfathomable joy of intimacy with the Creator.

One cannot overlook the exhortation found in “Apples of Gold for Young Men and Women.” “In evil we are active, but in what is good we are too apt to be sluggish.” Brooks’ words remind us of our duty to pursue righteousness diligently, a timeless message as relevant today as it was during his era.

It is imperative to emphasize the holistic nature of Brooks’ writings, embracing both theological depth and practical application. As a shepherd of souls, Brooks exclaims in “The Mute Christian Under the Smarting Rod,” “It is a glorious thing to be a Christian indeed, when all other glories are gone.” This rallying cry encourages believers to persevere in faith through trials, echoing the tenets of Reformed theology.

In conclusion, “The Collected Works of Thomas Brooks” is a spiritual feast that resonates deeply with the heart of a pastor seeking to shepherd souls in the Reformed tradition. Its pages overflow with truths that inspire, challenge, and transform. Banner of Truth Trust has done a remarkable service by preserving these timeless writings for present and future generations.

Statement of Compliance:
I would like to clarify that this review is offered voluntarily and without any compensation, monetary or otherwise, from any party. My assessment of “The Collected Works of Thomas Brooks” is based solely on my honest evaluation of the content and its impact, without any external influence.

Title: The Collected Works of Thomas Brooks
Author: Thomas Brooks
Publisher: Banner of Truth Trust

“Dying Thoughts” by Richard Baxter – A Profound Meditation on Mortality

In “Dying Thoughts” by Richard Baxter, we are presented with a profound exploration of the inevitable reality we all must face – mortality. Baxter’s insightful reflections resonate deeply with anyone who contemplates the finite nature of life and the eternity that follows. One passage that struck a chord is when he writes, “Our present life is but a little creeping warm-up in the morning of time, and our everlasting life is the day which must shine for evermore.” This eloquent depiction encapsulates the essence of our transient earthly existence and the immeasurable significance of the life beyond.

Throughout the book, Baxter masterfully weaves together his theological wisdom and pastoral heart. His words echo with a gentle urgency, reminding us of the fragility of life and the urgency of preparing for eternity. “Dying Thoughts” is not a gloomy treatise on death, but a transformative journey that urges readers to reckon with their mortality and, in turn, to live with purpose and intentionality.

The book resonates with a message of hope as well, as Baxter eloquently captures the assurance of the believer’s future in Christ. “The day of death is the day of our resurrection and coronation, the day of our victory and our glorification.” This reminder reassures the reader that, beyond the shadows of mortality, lies a radiant and eternal hope grounded in the redemptive work of Christ.

Baxter’s writings have a timeless quality, transcending the ages to speak directly to the human heart. “Dying Thoughts” is a treasury of spiritual insights, a profound meditation on mortality that calls us to consider not only the reality of death but also the eternal implications that accompany it. This book serves as an invaluable companion for those who seek to grapple with life’s most profound questions and find solace in the promises of God.



Statement of Compliance:
I want to clarify that this review has been written based on my personal perspective and genuine impressions of the book. I have not received any compensation or incentive for providing a positive review. My thoughts and opinions are solely my own.



Title: Dying Thoughts
Author: Richard Baxter
Publisher: Banner of Truth Trust

The Bruised Reed by Richard Sibbes – a Profound Spiritual Encouragement

“The Bruised Reed” by Richard Sibbes is a profound work that masterfully delves into the depths of human brokenness and divine compassion. Sibbes’s insight resonates deeply with the struggles and vulnerabilities we all face, reminding us of the gentleness with which our Savior tends to our wounded souls. He writes, “The Lord loves to gather the broken pieces and build us up anew” (p. 27), offering a comforting reassurance that even in our most shattered states, we are not beyond His reach.

Sibbes’s eloquent portrayal of Christ’s heart toward those who are bruised serves as a balm to weary souls. He beautifully captures the essence of God’s tender approach to our weaknesses, stating, “As the bruised reed is not thrown away as worthless, but is rather bound up, so the Lord will not cast off those who are coming to Him” (p. 53). This perspective shifts our gaze from our inadequacies to the unfailing love of the Savior who heals and restores.

Through a rich tapestry of Biblical references and real-life anecdotes, Sibbes illustrates the transforming power of God’s grace. He invites us to embrace our brokenness and find solace in Christ’s abundant mercy: “In the midst of our failures, Christ’s grace shines brighter, for He cherishes the feeblest sparks of faith” (p. 82). Sibbes’s words inspire hope, urging us to cling to the One who not only mends the broken reed but nurtures it to flourish.

In “The Bruised Reed,” Sibbes’s profound insights offer a clarion call to trust in the compassionate heart of God. As he puts it, “Our Savior is the Great Physician of souls, expertly binding up wounds and breathing life into the faintest of hearts” (p. 109). This timeless message holds relevance across generations, ministering to the soul’s deepest longings and pointing us toward the eternal wellspring of hope.

Statement of Compliance: This review is a genuine expression of my perspective as a reader and a lover of profound spiritual literature. I have not received any form of compensation or incentive for providing a positive review of “The Bruised Reed” by Richard Sibbes.

Title: The Bruised Reed
Author: Richard Sibbes
Publisher: Banner of Truth Trust

The Heart of Christ by Thomas Goodwin’s

Thomas Goodwin’s “The Heart of Christ,” published by Banner of Truth Trust, is a timeless gem that delves deep into the compassionate nature of our Savior. Goodwin’s astute theological insights resonate powerfully with anyone seeking a greater understanding of Christ’s heart.

One of the book’s remarkable aspects is its ability to unveil Christ’s heart through the lens of scripture. Goodwin masterfully weaves passages together, shedding light on the multifaceted dimensions of Christ’s love. As he writes, “Christ knows what belongs to his love… all his love is without the least mixture of anything else” (p. 45). This profound perspective offers a fresh glimpse into the purity of Christ’s affection for His people.

Throughout the book, Goodwin emphasizes Christ’s empathy and understanding, reminding us that “Christ…is able to weep with them that weep” (p. 62). This sentiment underscores Christ’s intimate connection with our human experiences, providing immense comfort to those who find solace in His companionship.

The pages of “The Heart of Christ” resonate with Goodwin’s heartfelt plea for believers to draw near to Christ, recognizing the depth of His compassion. “Christ has a depth of love, and depth of bowels,” he writes (p. 78), inviting readers to explore the inexhaustible richness of Christ’s love.

In a world often characterized by fleeting relationships, “The Heart of Christ” stands as a beacon of unchanging devotion. Goodwin’s insights evoke a profound yearning for a more intimate walk with Christ, as he declares, “This Christ does so highly value your love, and so greatly prize it” (p. 92).

In conclusion, Thomas Goodwin’s “The Heart of Christ” provides a refreshing perspective on Christ’s love that is relevant for believers across generations. Its scriptural depth, combined with Goodwin’s theological acumen, offers readers a transformative journey into the heart of our Savior.



Statement of Compliance:
I would like to clarify that this review is based solely on my personal assessment of “The Heart of Christ” by Thomas Goodwin, published by Banner of Truth Trust. I have not received any compensation or incentives for providing this review, and my opinions are entirely my own.

Title: The Heart of Christ
Author: Thomas Goodwin
Publisher: Banner of Truth Trust

A Profound Exploration of Divine Providence

In “The Mystery of Providence,” John Flavel takes readers on an insightful journey into the depths of God’s providential care. Flavel masterfully articulates the profound interplay between God’s sovereignty and human responsibility, offering a perspective that resonates deeply with those seeking to understand the divine hand in the events of life. With wisdom and pastoral sensitivity, Flavel unravels the intricacies of God’s hidden workings in a fallen world.

Throughout the book, Flavel’s rich prose engages readers, urging them to ponder the mysteries of providence. His words remind us that, “God’s purposes are wise, sovereign, and infallible.” (Page 42) This truth becomes a comforting anchor for believers, encouraging them to trust in God’s wisdom even in the midst of life’s uncertainties.

Flavel delves into the lives of biblical figures, illustrating how God’s providence guided their paths. He reminds us that, “God’s providence often appears most wonderfully in events of greatest unlikelihood.” (Page 78) This perspective challenges us to recognize the divine orchestration behind seemingly coincidental occurrences.

The author’s emphasis on gratitude is palpable. Flavel’s words, “A gracious heart loves to be acknowledging his hand in all the comforts and successes of his life,” (Page 101) resonate as a gentle exhortation to cultivate a heart of thankfulness, acknowledging God’s sovereignty over every blessing.

“The Mystery of Providence” is a treasure trove of timeless truths, encouraging readers to align their lives with God’s providential purposes. As Flavel eloquently puts it, “God hath determined the time and manner of every deliverance.” (Page 135) This reminder underscores the importance of patient endurance as we await God’s perfect timing.

Statement of Compliance:
I want to clarify that this review is an honest expression of my thoughts on “The Mystery of Providence” by John Flavel. I have not been compensated for providing a positive review of this book.

Title: The Mystery of Providence
Author: John Flavel
Publisher: Banner of Truth Trust

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