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The present volume contains three of Perkins’s treatises. The first is A Digest or Harmony of the Books of the Old and New Testament, which offers a synopsis of the Bible that relates sacred history to the chronology of the world. Dating God’s creation of the universe in 3967 BC, Perkins develops his overview of redemptive history that culminates in the final judgment. The second treatise is The Combat between Christ and the Devil Displayed. Expounding Matthew 4:1–11, Perkins shows how Christ’s temptation in the wilderness (1) set Jesus up to serve as the second Adam, overcoming Satan’s temptation in a way the first Adam did not; (2) reveals how the devil assaults the church so that we might be better prepared to resist his temptations; and (3) equipped Christ to be a sympathetic high priest to those who are tempted. The third and most significant treatise is A Godly and Learned Exposition upon Christ’s Sermon in the Mount. “Hereof I have chosen to entreat,” says Perkins, “because it is a most divine and learned sermon, and may not unfitly be called the ‘Key to the whole Bible’; for here Christ opens the sum of the Old and New Testaments.” The fact that Perkins saw the Sermon on the Mount as unlocking the meaning of Scripture in its entirety suggests that his understanding of what Christ declares in Matthew 5–7 was pivotal to the development of his theology and piety.
“On the broad shoulders of William Perkins, epoch-making pioneer, stood the entire school of seventeenth-century Puritan pastors and divines, yet the Puritan reprint industry has steadily bypassed him. Now, however, he begins to reappear, admirably edited, and at last this yawning gap is being filled. Profound thanks to the publisher and heartfelt praise to God have become due.”
—J. I. Packer, Board of Governors’ Professor of Theology, Regent College, Vancouver, British Columbia
“Without a doubt, the Puritans were theological titans. The Puritan theological tradition did not emerge out of a vacuum. It was shaped by leaders and theologians who set the trajectory of the movement and shaped its commitments. William Perkins was one of those men. Perkins’s contribution to Puritan theology is inestimable, and this new reprint of his collected works is a much-awaited addition to all who are still shaped and influenced by the Puritans and their commitment to the centrality of the grace of God found only in Jesus Christ. Even now, every true gospel minister stands in debt to Perkins, and in his shadow.”
—R. Albert Mohler Jr., president, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
“The list of those influenced by the ministry of William Perkins reads like a veritable Who's Who of the Puritan Brotherhood and far beyond. This reprinting of his works, so long unobtainable except by a few, is therefore a publishing event of the first magnitude.”
—Sinclair B. Ferguson, professor of systematic theology, Redeemer Theological Seminary, Dallas
“The father of Elizabethan Puritanism, Perkins presided over a dynasty of faith. The scope of his work is wide, yet on every topic he treats one discovers erudition and deep reflection. He was the first in an amazing line of ministers at Cambridge University’s main church. A pastor to pastors, he wrote a bestseller on counseling, was a formative figure in the development of Reformed orthodoxy, and a judicious reformer within the Church of England. I am delighted to see Perkins’s works made available again for a wide audience.”
—Michael Horton, J. Gresham Machen Professor of Theology and Apologetics, Westminster Seminary California
“William Perkins was a most remarkable Christian. In his relatively short life he was a great preacher, pastor, and theologian. His prolific writings were foundational to the whole English Puritan enterprise and a profound influence beyond his own time and borders. His works have become rare, and their republication must be a source of real joy and blessing to all serious Christians. Perkins is the first Puritan we should read.”
—W. Robert Godfrey, president emeritus, Westminster Seminary
The Works of William Perkins, Volume 1 is in the following collections:
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