I know way too many fellas who think reading the Puritans puts them on a higher shelf theologically. How arrogant, narrow-minded, and just plain stupid is that? Yes, the Puritans are great to read and soak in, but they also thought that in coming to America, they were ushering in God's millennial kingdom. Many of them also believed that the gifts of the Holy Spirit no longer exist. Some would even use sharp objects to nudge men awake if they fell asleep in church. The Puritans had dozens of things that should never be emulated.
The Puritans must be beheld for their persistent piety and their dependence on God that flavored everything they wrote. It is said that Puritan New England had the highest literacy rate of any society in history. Why you might ask? Simply because they wanted their kids to be able to read the Bible.
One of my favorites is "The Doctrine of Repentance" by Thomas Watson. His whole book defines what he calls "gospel repentance." He says that "repentance is a spiritual medicine made up of six special ingredients." They are:
- sight of sin
- sorrow for sin
- confession of sin
- shame for sin
- hatred for sin
- turning from sin
In his section on sorrow for sin, Watson says that part of this sorrow comes corporately - in partaking of the Lord's Table with contrition. He says that
A repentant frame is a sacramental frame. A broken heart and a broken Christ do well agree. The more bitterness we taste in sin, the more sweetness we shall taste in Christ.