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Greetings All!

     This week's "thoughts" come to you from a selection of different Puritans. Yes, Puritans!  I know many are prejudiced against the Puritans from the start (often by exposure to exaggerated and untrue propaganda) but I would ask you (if you are such a person) to let them speak for themselves and not read them through the filter of another person's opinion of them.  Ryken's Book "Worldly Saints" is a wonderful corrective to many of the common myths.
Overall (with a few minor exceptions) they were a very gospel-centered and grace-oriented group of people. Yet you would only know that if you took the time to read the things they actually wrote themselves, instead of things others have written about them (often without ever having taken the time to do what I just suggested)!  After all, wisdom and fairness would say we should never formulate an opinion of someone until we get to know and interact with them personally.
     So, with that said, here are some "Puritan" thoughts! In terms of a time frame, the vast majority lived between the years 1600 - 1690.   Enjoy.

     "The man whose heart is endeared to the woman he loves... dreams of her in the night, has her in his eye and apprehensions when he awakes, muses on her at he sits at table, and walks with her when she travels... She lies in his bosom, and his heart trusts in her, which forces all to confess that the stream of his affection, like a mighty current, runs with full tide and strength." 
Thomas Hooker
     "There is no relationship more near, more entire, more needful, more kindly, more delightful, more comfortable, more constant, more continual, than the relationship of a man and his wife, the main root, source, and origin of all other relationships." 
Thomas Gataker

     "Creatures, like pictures, are most beautiful from a distance.  But it is not so with Christ. The nearer the soul approaches Him, and the longer it lives in the enjoyment of Him, still the sweeter and more desirable He becomes... He is bread to the hungry, water to the thirsty, a garment to the naked, and healing to the wounded. Whatever a soul can desire is found in Him."
John Flavel

     "What is the Gospel itself but a merciful moderation, in which Christ's obedience is esteemed ours, and our sins laid upon Him, wherein God, from being a judge, becomes our Father, pardoning our sins and accepting our obedience, though feeble and blemished."
Richard Sibbes
     "Men would sooner believe that the Gospel is from heaven, if they saw more of its heavenly effects in the hearts and lives of those who profess it."
Richard Baxter

     "One word of seasonable, prudent advice, given by a minister to persons in need, may be of more use than many sermons."
Richard Baxter

     "It is the same impossibility for a thing to be created out of nothing, as to be created by nothing." 
William Law

     "He only that stills the stormy seas, can quiet the distressed and tempestuous soul."
John Flavel
     "A man may easier see without eyes, or speak without a tongue, than truly mortify one sin without the Spirit."
John Owen

     "Humility is a strange flower -- it grows best in winter weather and under storms of affliction."
Samuel Rutherford

     "There are two aspects to love; the one is to give, the other is to forgive." 
John Boys

     "In marriage a husband must choose his love, and then he must love his choice." 
Henry Smith
     "God commands nothing but what is beneficial...  To obey God is not so much our duty as our privilege." 
Thomas Watson

     "If you neglect instructing your children in the way of holiness, will the devil neglect to instruct them in the way of wickedness? No. If you will not teach them to pray, he will teach them to curse, swear, and lie.  If ground remain uncultivated, weeds will spring up on it."
John Flavel

     "Prayer will make a man cease from sin, or sin will entice a man to cease from prayer."
John Bunyan
     "All married persons must above all things, love, respect and cherish grace in one another."
Thomas Taylor

     In the Bonds of Christian Affection, Pastor Jeff