A Classical Analysis of Puritan Preaching

Article by   August 2010
INTRODUCTION

Reformed Christians are indebted to the Puritans for a variety of reasons, not the least of which for their contribution to preaching.  In many ways, Puritan preaching was the very heartbeat of the Puritan movement.  It would be no exaggeration to say that without Puritan preaching there would have been no Puritans.  To quote Irvonwy Morgan, "Puritanism in the last resort must be assessed in terms of the pulpit."[1] 

But what exactly is Puritan preaching?  How may it be properly distinguished from other forms of preaching?  Why has its influence been so palatably felt by succeeding generations?  In answering such questions the author will invoke a somewhat atypical method of inquiry.  To the author's knowledge, no such inquiry has hitherto been attempted.

Most readers will be familiar with the trivium or three-fold classical approach to learning.  As a means of conveying information to the student, the classical method employed three distinct, yet progressive stages: (1) grammar; (2) dialectic; and (3) rhetoric.  According to this classical schematic, the initial phase of learning any subject necessarily involved learning the basic facts about the particular subject, otherwise known as its grammar.  The next phase of learning required the student to master the principles or inter-relatedness among those basic facts, thus arriving at a "whole" picture of the individual, basic parts.  This second phase is known as the dialectic phase.  Lastly, the student was expected to be able to express, either vocally or literarily, the totality of what he had learned in the first two phases.  This final expressive phase is known as the rhetoric phase.  

We may illustrate a contemporary use of the trivium via the following example: Consider how a mother might teach her four-year old son how to read.  Most would agree that she should begin by having the child learn the foundational facts about our language.  This will involve memorizing the alphabet and its corresponding sounds.  Over time the child will eventually learn the identification and usage of verbs, nouns, and adjectives.  In short, the child will learn the grammar of our language.  But grammar alone is not sufficient for knowing how to read and write.  The child must eventually learn the proper relationships between nouns and verbs, between sentences and paragraphs, between words and books.  In short, the child will learn the dialectics of language.  But what good is knowledge of language if one is ill-equipped to convey such knowledge to others?  Not much.  Therefore the child must learn how to express what he has learned.  He must learn how to write and speak for himself.  In short, the child must eventually learn the art of rhetoric.

How may this author best convey the characteristics and importance of Puritan preaching?--perhaps by explaining them in the classical pattern of the trivium.  This paper will therefore chart the foundational facts of Puritan preaching (i.e., its grammar), the principles or inter-relatedness among those facts within Puritan preaching (i.e., its dialectic), as well as the art of expressing the sum total of that knowledge (i.e., its rhetoric).[2]   Ultimately, it is the author's goal that this brief synopsis of Puritan preaching will be useful to the reader (and by extension the church) by engendering better preachers and better listeners of a most lovely gospel.

PART ONE: THE GRAMMAR OF PURITAN PREACHING

~God's Word as Grammar~

"Think in every line you read that God is speaking to you."
--Thomas Watson

Just as essential as phonics is for teaching a child how to read, so too the Bible was the sine qua non of Puritan preaching.  The Puritans were not just Theo-centric, they were Word-centric.  The full-orbed implications of the Reformation maxim sola scriptura were writ large upon the face of Puritan preaching.  The lives of the Puritans were uniformly shaped by the revealed will of the Triune God contained in sixty-six books which they believed were divinely preserved for the good of God's people.  Accordingly, the Puritans "loved, lived, and breathed Scripture, relishing the power of the Spirit that accompanied the Word.  They viewed Scripture as God speaking to them as their Father, giving them the truth they could trust for all eternity." [3] 

The main concern of Puritan preaching was to transmit God's infallible word to His people.  Puritan preaching was marked by an unadulterated concern to search the Scriptures, collate their findings, and apply them to all areas of life. [4]  For the Puritans, all theological language was ultimately God's language (provided it is true).  To that end, how could a preacher possibly endeavor to employ God's Word from the pulpit without making strident and vigorous effort to understand it not just generally, but particularly?  The Puritans aimed simultaneously for telescopic knowledge of the Scriptures as well as for microscopic knowledge; their sermons exhibit appreciation for the texture of both systematic and biblical theology.  Indeed, this is hardly surprising because, "Puritan preachers received the Bible as a coherent unit rather than a random collection of unconnected fragments." [5]  

The puritan conviction about the centrality of the Bible in preaching was reinforced by the practice of largely or exclusively limiting the details of the sermon to biblical material. [6]  Puritan preaching was expository in nature, meaning that the entire sermon was to be inextricably tied to the text.  The mere establishment of a connection between the sermon and the text was not sufficient for Puritan preachers.  Quite the contrary, for, according to the Puritans, "The sermon is not just hinged to Scripture; it quite literally exists inside the Word of God; the text is not in the sermon, but the sermon in the text....Put summarily, listening to a sermon is being in the Bible." [7]                

~Christ as Grammar~

"Exhibit as much as you can of a glorious Christ.  Yea, let the motto upon your whole ministry be: Christ is all.  Let others develop the pulpit fads that come and go.  Let us specialize in preaching our Lord Jesus Christ."
--Cotton Mather

To be Word-centered is to be necessarily Christ-centered.  The Puritans understood this architectonic principle and their preaching reflected it.  According to Beeke, Puritan preaching "focuses on God's written Word, the Bible, and His living Word, Jesus Christ." [8]  In accordance with scriptural data such as Luke 24:44-45 [9]  and John 5:39 [10] the Puritans read their Bibles through rose-colored lenses tinted by the blood of a crucified savior and risen Lord.  It was their goal in every text to solidify that the "great theme and controlling contour of experiential preaching is Jesus Christ, for he is the supreme focus, prism, and goal of God's revelation." [11]  Hence William Perkins, the great Puritan homiletician, writes that the heart of all preaching is "to preach one Christ, by Christ, to the praise of Christ." [12]   

This twin focus upon God's Word and the agent of that Word, namely Christ, was the essence of Puritan preaching.  Every nuance and detail of their sermons was a mere reflection and out-working of those twin principles.  Christ and His Word were the most basic facts of Puritan preaching--indeed they were the grammar of Puritan preaching.     


PART TWO: THE DIALECTIC OF PURITAN PREACHING

We have argued that the grammar (most basic and foundational component) of Puritan preaching is the Christo-centric Word of God.  This Christ-centric Word was to Puritan preaching what phonics is to the four-year old boy learning to read--it's everything.  And yet, at the same time it's not everything.  Knowing what God said in a particular text is not alone sufficient for transformative, God-exalting preaching.  If God's word, together with proper exegetical and hermeneutical principles, forms the "parts" of preaching, what may we say about the "whole" of preaching?  How are preachers to bring their exegetical spade-work to bear upon an audience that, according to God's word, is totally depraved and spiritually rent asunder by sin?  It is in response to that question that our concept of dialectic becomes important.  We said earlier that the dialectic addresses the inter-relatedness of foundational facts, and it is precisely within this inter-relatedness that several important dialectics emerge in Puritan preaching.  These dialectics are evidential of specific ways in which the foundational facts of Puritan preaching are crystallized and brought to bear upon the parishioner's mind.     

~Organizational Dialectic~

"The receiving of the word consists of two parts: attention of mind and intention of will."
--William Ames

The very essence of the dialectic in the trivium schematic is the organization it provides for the individual parts.  Organization gives a global perspective to what would otherwise be isolated localities.  Sentences and paragraphs are to the student of reading what sermon outlines are to the preacher.  We might put it this way: just as Greek philosophers were expected to learn the laws of logic, so too Puritan preachers were expected to learn the laws of sermon organization.  Puritan sermons were slaves (in a good sense) to methodology and organization.  Puritan sermons were intentionally logical, they were--to borrow a phrase from Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones--logic on fire.  The Puritans were deeply concerned (perhaps too much) about form and structure within their sermons.  As contemporary preachers of the gospel, we would be wise to mirror their concern.

William Perkins' suggested preaching format that appears at the end of his The Art of Prophesying is a cogent example of the logical progression and systematic organization that marked Puritan sermons.  Perkins advocates that preachers ought to:
1. Read the text distinctly out of the canonical scriptures.
2. Give the sense and understanding of it being read, by the scripture itself.
3. Collect a few and profitable points of doctrine out of the natural sense.
4. To apply, if he have the gift, the doctrines rightly collected to the life and manners of men in a simple and plain speech. [13] 

Because of their deep and reverential commitment to the scriptures, the Puritans often belabored certain points of doctrine with seemingly excessive detail and scriptural proofs.  They did this not because they particularly enjoyed prolixity of speech but because they "felt constrained to proceed to buttress each doctrine with the examples and testimonies of Scripture [...] to ensure that the doctrine adduced from a specific text had the whole weight of Scripture behind it." [14]

Ryken provides two very helpful windows into the organizational framework of a puritan sermon:

The Puritan sermon was planned and organized.  It may have been long and detailed, but it did not ramble.  It was controlled by a discernible strategy and it progressed toward a final goal.  The methodology ensured that the content would be tied to Scripture, that the sermon would involve an intellectual grasp of the truth, and that theological doctrine would be applied to everyday living. [15]

The Puritan sermon quotes the text and "opens" it as briefly as possible, expounding circumstances and context, explaining its grammatical meanings, reducing its tropes and schemata to prose, and setting forth its logical implications; the sermon then proclaims in a flat, indicative sentence the "doctrine" contained in the text or logically deduced from it, and proceeds to the first reason or proof.  Reason follows reason, with no other transition than a period and a number; after the last proof is stated there follow the uses or applications, also in numbered sequence, and the sermon ends when there is nothing more to be said. [16]  

The Puritans stressed organization because they believed in the primacy of the intellect.  They believed that grace enters the heart through the mind.  According to Packer, "God does not move men to action by mere physical violence, but addresses their minds by his word, and calls for the response of deliberate consent and intelligent obedience.  It follows that every man's first duty in relation to the word of God is to understand it; and every preacher's first duty is to explain it." [17]  It is the preacher's job to explain the Bible in a clear, organized manner so that the sheep may approach it and feed upon it.

~Applicatory Dialectic~

"It would grieve one to the heart to hear what excellent doctrine some ministers have in hand, while yet they let it die in their hands for want of close and lively application."
--Richard Baxter

Church pews are full of people who "know" the central tenants of the Christian faith and yet sadly remain unchanged by them.  There are also people in the pews that sincerely love the doctrines of the Christian faith but remain perpetually unsure of their practical relation to daily life.  The Puritans were keenly aware of both of these phenomenons.  Consequently, the Puritans labored to bring the text of scripture to bear upon the individual consciences of each and every listener.  Puritan preachers worked hard to be practical, for they realized that "doctrine is lifeless unless a person can 'build bridges' from biblical truth to everyday living." [18]  Thus Thomas Hooker can write, "When we read only of doctrines these may reach the understanding, but when we read or hear of examples, human affection doth as it were represent to us the case as our own."  [19] The puritans achieved practicality in preaching predominantly through the use of application. [20]   

The breadth of Puritan application was anything but narrow.  Ryken summarizes William Perkins' seven categories of application from the Art of Prophesying, depending on the individual conditions of the listeners:

I. Unbelievers who are both ignorant and unteachable....II.  Some are teachable, but yet ignorant....III.  Some have knowledge, but are not as yet humbled....IV.  Some are humbled....V.  Some do believe....VI.  Some are fallen....VII.  There is a mingled people....  [21]

Perkins' application matrix did not stop here for he devised six types of application to all seven types of listeners in any one sermon.  Taken to its full extent, every doctrinal statement of the sermon would require forty-two distinct applications in order to make application to every class of listener.  This was, of course, not possible.  But according to Packer,

[...] anyone making an inventory of puritan sermons will soon find examples of all forty-two specific applications, often developed with very great rhetorical and moral force.  Strength of application was, from one standpoint, the most striking feature of Puritan preaching, and it is arguable that the theory of discriminating application is the most valuable legacy that Puritan preachers have left to those who would preach the Bible and its gospel effectively today. [22]   

     It is clear that Puritan preachers were not content with the bare relaying of facts and information.  Instead, their preaching was oriented toward specific goals and the best way to accomplish this, in their mind, was to strike at the center of the listener's conscience.  What better way to accomplish this than through personal application of the text?  According to Beeke, "Applicatory preaching is the process of riveting truth so powerfully in people that they cannot help but see how they must change and how they can be empowered to do so." [23]  This type of preaching, as one might expect, was inherently confrontational without being cruel.  Applicatory preaching is not "safe" preaching, for it involves meddling with the minds and wills of men.  Beeke illustrates it well,

[...] applicatory preaching is often costly preaching.  As has often been said, when John the Baptist preached generally, Herod heard him gladly.  But when John applied his preaching particularly, he lost his head.  Both internally in a preacher's own conscience, as well as in the consciences of his people, a fearless application of God's truth will cost a price. [24]

God, we suspect, would have it no other way.     

~Discriminatory Dialectic~

"There is not a sermon which is heard, but it sets us nearer heaven or hell."
--John Preston

When children are learning to spell errors are legion.  One soon discovers that the discriminatory use of a dictionary is quite necessary.  The discriminatory function of the gospel is similar to the discriminatory use of a dictionary--they both divide truth from error.  Once all the data of scripture has been assembled for a particular text, the Puritan preacher was aware that the conclusion of that data would necessarily provoke distinctions among his audience.  Truth by definition is exclusive and therefore any pulpit proclamation of the truth would divide the hearers in some way.  This division in the Puritan mind was both unavoidable and absolutely necessary.       

The purpose of Puritan preaching was never peripheral.  Rather, it was preeminently bent toward the producing and sustaining of the new birth.  Such a purpose obviously presupposed that some men were yet spiritually dead.  A common theme in Puritan preaching, therefore, was the elucidation of a dividing line between the saved and the lost.  If what the Bible says is true (and the Puritans believed it was) then preachers were under necessary compulsion to draw such a line in nearly every sermon. [25]  And not just draw the line, but know how to influence those on either side of the line.  The Puritan Joseph Hall put it this way, "The minister must discern between his sheep and wolves; in his sheep, between the sound and the unsound; in the unsound, between the weak and the tainted; in the tainted, between the nature, qualities, and degrees of the disease and infection; and to all these he must know to administer a word in season." [26]  

Discriminatory preaching, says Beeke, "clearly defines the difference between a Christian and a non-Christian, opening the kingdom of heaven to one and closing it against the other." [27] 

The Puritan preachers did not follow this discriminatory model of preaching because it was faddish to do so.  They followed it because they saw it in the Bible.  In the Puritan mind, Jesus was the greatest of the discriminatory preachers.  His sermon on the mount was the magnum opus of pulpit discrimination.  Puritan preachers understood well that granting a false security to spiritual hypocrites was the most destructive of spiritual medicines.           


PART THREE: THE RHETORIC OF PURITAN PREACHING

We have discussed at length both the foundational facts of Puritan preaching, namely its reliance of the Christo-centric Word of God, as well as various dialectical devices that the Puritans employed to bring those foundational facts of Scripture to bear upon the minds of men.  We are now prepared to discuss various factors that shaped the actual delivery of Puritan sermons.  It is not our goal to investigate the technical components of such delivery (i.e., its length, volume, syntax, etc.) as much as it is the man behind the delivery.  Puritan preachers did not ascend their pulpits as mere voice boxes.  They went instead as whole men, bearing the full integration of flesh, personality, and spirit.  They did in fact bear a common allegiance in the science of rhetoric, but their rhetoric was not a naked science.  Their proclamation of the Word of God--as heralds of Christ--gives evidence of spiritual vitality in fullest measure. 

~Sanctified Rhetoricians~

"If a man teach uprightly and walk crookedly, 
more will fall down in the night of his life than he built in the day of his doctrine."
--John Owen

Puritan preachers understood well the danger of pulpit hypocrisy.  Since preaching was an inherently spiritual activity, it was therefore impossible to proclaim the importance of spiritual life via a life that was itself spiritually malnourished.  Both Puritan preachers and their congregations placed a high premium upon the importance of having "godly" ministers of the gospel.  The Puritans understood that the relationship between the pastor and his congregation was symbiotic.  If the pastor was spiritually stagnant how could the congregation expect a living flow from his mouth?  William Perkins stated it well, "He [the pastor] must first be godly affected himself who would stir up godly affections in other men." [28]  The record of Perkins' life confirms this for he was greatly loved by his congregation for his purity of life.  It is said of Perkins, "He lived sermons, and as his preaching was a comment on his text, so his practice was a comment on his preaching."  [29]  

Acute knowledge of the cause-and-effect relationship between the preacher's personal character and his fruitfulness as a pastor led the Puritans in the constant pursuit of a sanctified life.  They knew that their ministries depended upon it.  Indeed,

A minister's work is usually blessed in proportion to the sanctification of his heart before God.  Ministers must therefore seek grace to build the house of God with sound experiential preaching and doctrine as well as with a sanctified life.  Our preaching must shape our life, and our life must adorn our preaching. [30]

The Puritan David Dickson is famous for charging a minister at his ordination to study two books together: the Bible, and his own heart. [31]  Packer notes, "Their strenuous exercise in meditation and prayer, their sensitiveness to sin, their utter humility, their passion for holiness, and their glowing devotion to Christ equipped them to be master-physicians of the soul.  And deep called to deep when they preached, for they spoke of the black depths and high peaks of Christian experience first-hand." [32]  The Puritan John Boys summarized it timelessly, "He doth preach most who doth live best."  [33] 

~Spiritual Rhetoric~

"Ministers knock at the door of men's hearts, the Spirit comes with a key and opens the door."
--Thomas Watson

The Puritan preachers were men of robust intellect and disciplined study.  History shows us that they prepared their sermons carefully with painstaking and meticulous detail. [34]  Their appreciation for sound logic and intellectually stimulating argument is largely lacking for parallels in the history of humanity.  The Puritans were not, however, foolish enough to depend upon their intellect and study for the gathering of souls and the perfecting of the church.  They knew fundamentally that preaching, though highly dependent upon the intellect, was reaching for a goal that the intellect could not definitively move, namely a dead soul.

They prayed.  In fervent prayer they sought the Spirit to accompany their work in the pulpit.  Anyone who envisions Puritan preaching as devoid of spirituality and anchored in a logical quagmire has yet to understand it.  Baxter writes, "Prayer must carry on our work as well as preaching; he preacheth not heartily to his people, that prayeth not earnestly for them.  If we prevail not with God to give them faith and repentance, we shall never prevail with them to believe and repent." [35]  John Bunyan picks up the refrain, "You can do more than pray after you have prayed, but you cannot do more than pray until you have prayed....Pray often, for prayer is a shield to the soul, a sacrifice to God, and a scourge to Satan."  [36]

In short, the Puritans believed in the sovereignty of the Holy Spirit when it came to conversion.  They understood that the ultimate success of gospel preaching was not left to the man in the pulpit.  Packer speaks for the Puritans when he says, "Man's task is simply to be faithful in teaching the word; it is God's work to convince of its truth and write it in the heart.  The Puritans would have criticized the modern evangelistic appeal, with its wheeling for 'decisions,' as an unfortunate attempt by man to intrude into the Holy Spirit's province.  It is for God, not man, to fix the time of conversion."  [37]   

~Simple Rhetoric~

"It is a by-word among us: It was a very plain sermon: And I say again, the plainer, the better."
--William Perkins

Despite the proclivity of words that dominated the speech patterns of their day, Puritan preaching was aimed endlessly at simplicity.  "Plain speech" was their consummate goal.  It bears saying that our present culture's love for verbal paucity and childish grammatical construction may make us the least qualified to evaluate the actual impact of such an aim.  Our present culture seems ignorant of the fact that one can speak long and yet be simple. 

It was specifically William Perkins' The Art of Prophesying that forever changed the homiletical landscape of Puritan England.  Perkins was primarily responsible for the universal adoption of the new Reformed method by the seventeenth-century Puritans, a method which was characterized by a plain style of preaching that delivered sermons in an easy to grasp progression of exegesis, doctrines, proofs, and uses. [38]  Unfortunately, to be sure, this "plain" preaching was not always quite so plain.  Nevertheless, Puritan preaching must be judged less by its supposed "plainness" and more by its results.  According to Pipa, "In our day Puritan preaching is considered prolix and scholastic, yet in its time, Puritan preaching revolutionized England and paved the way for the Long Parliament and the Westminster Assembly."  [39] 

It is the author's conviction that current students of Puritan preaching often equate mistakenly the Puritan concept of "plainness" with lack of complexity.  Puritan preachers like Perkins were aiming for simplicity of speech and unadorned logic, not necessarily brevity and anti-complexity.  Their style may have been difficult as times, but its theological and practical fruit are undeniable even up to our present hour.  At the end of the day we can only say that the proof is in the pudding.  The plain style of preaching advocated by Perkins did not return void in Puritan England and left an indelible mark on the face of Christianity for enduring centuries.    

According to Ryken, "Plain preaching was defined by what it lacked as well as by what it contained [...].  What the Puritans did not want was a pastiche of quotations or an embellished style that called great attention to its own ostentatiousness." [40]  The Puritans understood the tendency for men in the pulpit to make preaching into a mere exercise of ego.   Instead of rendering praise unto the Triune God, the congregations of such men would be tempted to render praise unto the medium and not the source.  William Perkins was a staunch critic of such ego-centric preaching.

Contra Rome, Puritan preachers wanted the Word of God living in the minds of men and that meant communicating it in such a way so as to insure its lodging.  Richard Sibbes claimed that "truth feareth nothing so much as concealment, and desireth nothing so much as clearly to be laid open to the view of all: when it is most naked, it is most lovely and powerful." [41]  Puritan preachers endeavored to reach all men with the gospel, both the learned and the unlearned.  This meant writing sermons that common folk could imbibe and learned men could appreciate.  William Perkins obviously understood this for it was said of his preaching, "His sermons were not so plain but that the piously learned did admire them, nor so learned but that the plain did understand them."  [42]     

~Sincere Rhetoric~

"I preached, as never sure to preach again, and as a dying man to dying men."
--Richard Baxter

All of the aforementioned culminated in what scholars often refer to as experiential or affective preaching.  Beeke defines it as such, 

preaching that seeks to explain in terms of biblical, Calvinistic truth how matters ought to go, how they do go, and the end goal of the Christian life [...] it addresses the entire range of Christian living, focusing heavily on a believer's well-being and maturity.  With the Spirit's blessing, the mission of such preaching is to transform the believer in all that he is and does to become more and more like the savior. [43]  

All in all, experiential preaching characterized the Puritan preacher's sincere desire to measure the experienced knowledge of himself and his congregation against the touchstone of Scripture.   Experiential preaching was more than anything else an appeal to both the heart and minds of men, women, and children.  It aimed to change them, not just land on them.  Richard Baxter carries the meaning well when he says,
 
As man is not so prone to live according to the truth he knows except it do deeply affect him, so neither doth his soul enjoy its sweetness, except speculation do pass to affection.  The understanding is not the whole soul, and therefore cannot do the whole work....The understanding must take in truths, and prepare them for the will, and it must receive them and commend them to the affections;...the affections are, as it were, the bottom of the soul.  [45] 

Puritan preaching was not lecturing; it was a desperate calling unto souls.  It was a sincere plea to be right with God at the expense of all else.  Because of its magisterial content, preaching ought to be a serious and sober engagement.  According to Richard Baxter, "Of all the preaching in the world, I hate that preaching which tends to make the hearers laugh, or to move their minds with tickling levity and affect them as stage plays used to, instead of affecting them with a holy reverence for the name of God."  [46]      


CONCLUSION

This paper has charted the foundational facts of Puritan preaching (i.e., its grammar), by which we refer to the Puritan's extreme reverence for and submission to the Christo-centric Word of the Living God.  We also observed three main principles of interrelation (i.e., its dialectic) which Puritan preaching used as a means of conveying the truth of that Christo-centric Word, namely organization, application, and discrimination.  Lastly, we explored the Puritan art of expressing the sum total of its homiletical knowledge (i.e., its rhetoric) as seen in the spiritual character of the preachers themselves and the simple and sincere style of their preaching.  

Hopefully the reader has gained a renewed appreciation for the significance of Puritan Preaching for the ultimate sake of preserving that which the modern church is far too prone to forget.  If we are to avoid the eclipse of affective gospel preaching in our own day we must become students of the Puritans for they--perhaps more so than any other epoch of redemptive history since the Apostolic age--embodied the essence of biblical preaching.  History has indeed validated the truthfulness of that statement because (to the author's knowledge) preaching modeled after the Puritan method has never failed to benefit the church and thus give pleasure to Him who gave himself up for the church.   

Husband to Elizabeth and father of four. Joe is a a student at Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, MS.  Joe served as an active duty officer in the Marine Corps for eleven years and is currently serving as an instructor pilot in the Marine Corps Reserves.  An aspiring pastor, Joe travels to Europe this summer to investigate Reformed church planting amidst American military communities stationed abroad. 

Notes
1 Quoted in Joseph A. Pipa's, "William Perkins and the Development of Puritan Preaching," (Doctoral Thesis Submitted to Westminster Theological Seminary, 1985), 216-217.
 2 Obviously, the analogy between Puritan preaching and the trivium model of education is not presumed to be watertight.  It is only hoped that such an angle of approach might give rise to fresh insight into the timeless nature of Puritan preaching.  After all, the trivium existed long before the Puritans.    
3 Joel R. Beeke and Randall J. Pederson, Meet the Puritans: With a Guide to Modern Reprints (Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2006), xix.
4 Beeke and Pederson, xvii.
5 David H. Jussely, The Puritan use of the Lectio Continua in Sermon Invention (1640-1700) (Ann Arbor: UMI Dissertation Services, 2007) 130.
6 Leland Ryken, Wordly Saints: The Puritans as They Really Were (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1986) 99.
7 Millar Maclure, The Paul's Cross Sermons, 1534-1642 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1958), p. 165.
8 Joel Beeke, Living for God's Glory: An Introduction to Calvinism (Orlando: Reformation Trust Publishing, 2008), p. 257.
9 Jesus said, "These are the words which I spoke unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the Law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me."
10 Jesus himself said, "Search the scriptures; for in them you think you have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me."
11 Beeke, Living for God's Glory, p. 258.
12 Ibid, p. 258.
13 Cited in Ryken, 100.
14 Ryken, 100.
15 Ryken, 101.
16 Quote from Percy Miller in Ryken, 100.
17 J. I. Packer, A Quest for Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 1990), 281.
18 Ryken, 101.
19 Quoted in Ryken, 101.
20 Reference Beeke, Living for God's Glory, 261 for an expanded discussion of the six types of application, according to the Westminster Divines: (1) Instruction--doctrinal instruction; (2) Confutation--refuting error; (3) Exhortation--pressing obedience; (4) Dehortation--rebuking sin; (5) Comfort--encouraging perseverance; and (6) Trial--proper responses to suffering.  
21 Ryken, 102.
22 Packer, 288.
23 Beeke, 259.
24 Beeke, 261-262.
25 See Mariano Di Gangi's, Great Themes in Puritan Preaching (Ontario: Joshua Press, 2007) for a compelling sermon on the importance and implication of the new birth, pp. 55-60.
26 Quoted in Beeke, Living for God's Glory, 265.
27 Beeke, Living for God's Glory, 262.
28 Quoted in Ryken, 93.
29 Everett H. Emerson, English Puritanism from John Hooper to John Milton (Durham: Duke University Press, 1968) 159.
30 Joel R. Beeke, Puritan Reformed Spirituality (Webster: Evangelical Press USA, 2006) 436. 
31 Packer, 286.
32 Packer, 286.
33 Beeke, 436.
34 Ryken, 98.
35 Quoted in Beeke, Living for God's Glory, 271.
36 Quoted in Beeke, Puritan Reformed Spirituality, 438. 
37 Packer, 283-284.
38 Pipa, 216-217.
39 Ibid., 2.
40 Ryken, 105.
41 Quoted in Ryken, 105.
42 Quoted in Ryken, 105.
43 Beeke, Living for God's Glory, 256.
44 Ibid, 256.
45 Quoted in Ryken, 102-103.
46 Richard Baxter, The Reformed Pastor (Grand Rapids: Banner of Truth, 1996) 119-120.



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