Quotes from The Works of William Perkins, Vol. 1 – Pt. 1

This post is in the series of Book Quotes, where various quotes are posted to give the reader an idea of what the book and author are like.

William Perkins (1558-1602) is often called a father of Puritanism, being one of the early, well-known (in the 17th century) Puritan preachers. J. I. Packer writes, “No Puritan author save Richard Baxter ever sold [books] better than Perkins, and no Puritan thinker ever did more to shape and solidify historic Puritanism itself”. It’s strange that he’s not as well-known now. He may be my favorite Puritan and one of my favorite authors in any period of history.

Here are some preliminary quotes. The first few quotes are from the introduction and offer some insight into the Puritans in general.

he devised a very simple structure in preaching and writing: exposition, doctrines, reasons, and uses.

Perkins, along with many Reformers and later Puritans used this method of preaching. They would often preach through a book of the Bible, expositing a passage or verse each day. They would also explain doctrine (teaching) that goes along with it. ‘Reasons’ are why–often using question and answer format. ‘Use’ would be what we call application. I like the word use a lot better.

“The form of justification, is, as it were, a kind of translation of the believer’s sins unto Christ, and again Christ’s righteousness unto the believer, by a reciprocal or mutual imputation.” This concept of “mutual imputation” flowed directly from Perkins’s covenant theology.

Perkins was a Puritan in terms of his piety. “For the pure heart is so little regarded,” says he, “that the seeking after it is turned to a by-word, and a matter of reproach. Who are so much branded with vile terms of Puritans and Precisians, as those that most endeavor to get and keep the purity of heart in a good conscience?” Again, “The due obedience to the moral law is nick-named and termed preciseness, and the professors thereof called Puritans and Precisians, for this cause only, that they make conscience of walking in obedience to God’s law.”

The Puritans weren’t the killjoys that the sterotype would portray. They did preach and write extensively about obedience, purity of heart, and having a good conscience. They were as much maligned for that back then as some are now.

Definitions:
‘The term experimental comes from the Latin verb experior—“to know by experience.”’
Many use the word experiential, which is more understandable to people unfamiliar with the terminology.

hurliburlies – noisy confusion – I’m not making that up. He only used it once.

mammonists – those who are greedy, among other things – I think this term should be resurrected.

sanctification or renewed holiness, whereby we are enabled to walk before God in new obedience, bringing forth the fruits of righteousness.” He uses this term more often for initial renewal than continued growth. I would look further into this.

I have some interesting quotes on affliction and the Sermon on the Mount coming up. This is one of the best books I’ve read in quite a while. The hardcover is expensive, but a lot of work went into editing it which is a big help. I bought the Kindle version at a reduced price. I plan on getting Volume 2 which is an exposition of Galatians. Thankfully the Kindle version is the standard $9.99.

The Works of William Perkins Volume 1

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