My main use of the Puritans is for their explanation and application of broad biblical themes. They make concepts come alive in cross-referencing, illustration and application.
It is especially important that we find other biblical texts that say the same thing. The Puritans can make the same conclusion from many different angles using many different texts. Their one-text-at-a-time preaching style is misleading. The Puritans were experts at keeping the big picture in view and bringing in other passages from Genesis to Revelation. Here are some cross-references that I believe will help me understand Psalm better and will open up new paths in my Puritan research.
Now we are ready to search the Puritan sermons. From our observations of the biblical text we have four research options.
Beginning with the most important to the least, here are the four research options in order. Example: A full sermon on Psalm Example: A sermon on Ps. Example: A full sermon on Ps. Example: A sermon on Jude 24 that references Ps. Printed volumes are most helpful for my research in levels i , ii and iii. I can comfortably read a full sermon on a text i and iii. And the text index at the end of a printed volume helps a lot in the search ii. Electronic searches are helpful in all four, but especially in search iv when I want to search several resources quickly.
There are two types of searches … We can search printed works or those. Depending upon your library, you may have more printed works or more electronic books ideally we want both electronic files and the printed books together. We have spoken much about the Puritan literature; today we begin looking at real research.
In the next post we will specifically cover e-Puritan searches, but today we are concerned with using printed Puritans. One of the most important resources available to the Puritan researcher are the printed indexes. There are two reasons why Puritan Thomas Manton is my homeboy. First, his sermons are filled with rich exposition and pastoral warmth.
In most of these outlines Rev. Dr. Penney has selected a verse or two from each of the Psalms with a view to helping students and Pastors and, indeed, all who preach the Word. They are primarily intended for the preacher but can be used for. Gems from the Psalms: Notes for Sermons, Study, Reading and Meditation. Front Cover. Robert A. Penney. iUniverse, Feb 1, - Religion - pages.
When I really need a quote to convey a deeper truth, Manton is my source. And second, whoever edited his complete works did an incredible job and an incredible service to preachers today by including a detailed index. His volume works available on CD-Rom conclude with over pages of textual and topical indexes! A dream for the researcher. But Manton is not alone. As an aside, I was speaking with a close friend recently who admitted that keeping a list of quotations was very difficult for him. One of the great difficulties to making an effective index of quotations is an inability to view an individual quote within the big framework.
Some will read a quote about the power of the Cross without thinking how it would be properly indexed ex. To me, this is why the Puritans are liberating. Once you determine the general content of your sermon, you can go searching for great quotations!
Surrounding yourself with quality Puritan literature will lessen the importance of a lengthy quote index. Allow a little time to read and soak these sermons in and you will have all the quotes you could imagine on the subject. As we began in Part 4 , we are researching Psalm as an example. And in studying our text we have three avenues of research open to us with these printed volumes.
Of our 14 top Puritans, none preached sermons where Psalm was their primary passage Why not? I cannot say. If you are searching on a text and you find two or more sermons where your text is the primary text, you may have all the content necissary for your Puritan research. But our problem here is a common one. On Psalm we will need to dig deeper. I will use the scripture index from Manton as an example. If you look to the screenshot to the right you will see that Psalm was a topic of concern for Manton throughout his ministry.
We see this especially in the following works in the following places: volume: printed page ; ; ; ; ; ; ; And these references come from just one of our 14 Puritan friends. If you need more information from the cross-references, follow the steps for ii except with other texts like Ps. You can use these principles on any text or topic study. Just find the biblical passages and track down the references in the scripture index or look up the topic in the topic index.
The printed editions of the Puritan works remain important for these indexes. God is to them an overflowing fountain of all felicity … Here in this life it admits of increase and decrease; but there the soul is so filled that it cannot receive any more: Ps. What delight is to the sense, that joy is to the mind.
Three things are necessary to delight — a faculty, or power of the soul capable of pleasure; and then the thing itself; which being brought to the mind, doth stir up delight. As in bodily things, colors, fruits, tastes, pleasure consists in the near union and conjunction of these things. The more noble the faculty, the more excellent the object; the nearer the conjunction, the greater the delight and pleasure. Now in heaven our faculties are perfected: God is the subject, and there is a near conjunction. What embraces between him and the soul! Nothing else be this deserveth to be called life.
The bodily life is short; it is a dying life or a living death. It floweth from us as fast as it cometh to us; but this never fadeth, but endureth for ever. The bodily life is subject to pain and misery, but the heavenly, full of joy and endless glory. The bodily life is supported with meats and drinks, but there God is all in all. The options of what we now do with the quotations will be the subject of a later post. My point here is to show that it took just five minutes to find these two references from the works of Manton. I have six others references remaining in the works of Manton and another 13 Puritans I have yet to open.
By using these printed scriptural and topical indexes, it should be obvious that Puritan sermons provide the valuable depth we need in our sermon preparation. We know the Puritans were innovative. They broke new ground, always seeking to refo rm the church and re-think ministry. It is fitting that at least one Puritan scholar warns preachers today from lazily copying the style and language of Puritans who lived years ago.
To be Puritanically minded today is to re-think how we can best communicate the message of the Cross to our generation rather than resting on the language and methods of a previous generation. We can presume, therefore, that the Puritans would be enthusiastic in the ways their works can be condensed into digital numbers and stored in a tiny little part of a hard drive. Without question, the digital age has made the Puritans more accessible today than during any other generation. These digital files are essential to any efficient library of Puritan literature.
Electronic text searches are precise.
This precision also means we can find information very quickly. This speed and precision are great, but they pose challenges when we try to search old language like the Puritans. Precision is critical. In an earlier post, we talked briefly about the awareness required when performing a text search.
The Puritans used Roman numerals for biblical chapters ex. They also used the language and spelling of the King James Version. These points are very important when running a text search of the Puritans. Knowing exactly what you are looking for is the first key in conducting a text search of the Puritans. In our printed book searches, we were concerned with finding scriptural references in sermons and then looking into topical indexes. When we search the Puritan e-books, we are also looking for scriptural references but also a new option — phrase searches.
Like I said earlier, the Puritans used Roman numerals.
There are programmers who are going through these old works and tagging the files so they can be searched without needing to use the Roman numerals. But this helpful technology has not hit most Puritan works yet, so precision is the key. The Puritans are filled with biblical phrases and language of the KJV. We can find these biblical phrases littered throughout their sermons. It is essential that we become familiar with the language of the KJV and pick out specific phrases we seek to research the shorter the phrase, the easier to find. For our purposes in this post we will search for three phrases in Psalm Again, technology will make all of this searching more helpful and useful in the coming years.
For now, I must open up specific works on my computer. To navigate these works we must search the text files free from the CCEL here.
Compare the notes at Psalm , on the word "imagine," Margin, meditate, - the verb from which this is derived. For he sets the bounds of man's life thus: "The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. But as you cut it, great beauty emerges. The two of them went out to the river, and there, in the white sands, they found a larger diamond, then another, and many more diamonds, large and small. Andrew Griffin , in " Stems and Twigs ," In fact, I would argue that e-books and print books make a better matrimonial match than a boxing match. This work is a continuation of Volume I, in style and substance and the work
He only mentions Psalm by name one time in the entire 2-volumes! It would be easy to think Edwards placed little emphasis on this passage when, in fact, he did. We know this because Edwards actually references the passage 17 times!