“By all means read the Puritans, they are worth more than all the modern stuff put together.” —Charles Spurgeon
One of my reading resolutions last year was to read more of the Puritans rich and biblical treatises on the Christian life. I’ve since read three or four of the classic Puritan works with great fruit.
Thanks to many faithful brothers, organizations, publishers, and web ministries*, Puritan resources are available more readily than ever. I thought I would be helpful to curate ten of the best free Puritan books that you can download free in several digital editions: Kindle, ePub, and PDF. If you prefer to purchase a physical book, I provided links** for your convenience.
1. Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan
Pilgrim’s Progress is the most-read book outside the Bible in history. (Source)
Written in the 17th century from a prison, John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress is a classic allegory telling the journey of Christian from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City. This story continues to challenge and inspire millions of readers to walk by faith and think Scripturally.
- You might also consider Bunyan’s autobiography Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners.
- Related Post: 10 Things to Know About John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress
Description: First published in the aftermath of the Great Plague of London and entitled Sin, The Plague of Plagues, this book gives a crystal-clear explanation of what sin is, why it is so serious, and what we need to do about it. Here is reliable medicine for a fatal epidemic.
3. Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs
Description: Burrough’s writings, some published before and others after his death, were numerous, but The Rare-Jewel of Christian Contentment is one of the most valuable of them all. Its author was much concerned to promote (1) peace among believers of various ‘persuasions’ (2) peace and contentment in the hearts of individual believers during what he describes as ‘sad and sinking times’. The Rare Jewel concentrates upon this second aim. It is marked by sanity, clarity, aptness of illustration, and warmth of appeal to the heart. ‘There is an ark that you may come into, and no men in the world may live such comfortable, cheerful and contented lives as the saints of God’. Burroughs presses his lesson home with all the fervour and cogency of a true and faithful minister of God.
4. Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices by Thomas Brooks
Description: “Brooks treated the seductive influence and terrible power of Satan in a way greatly more full and suggestive than in the literature of the present day. Brooks lists seven reasons for writing this book. The first reason is enough…Brooks says, “Satan hath a greater influence upon men, and higher advantages over them than they think he hath, and the knowledge of his high advantage is the highway to disappoint him, and to render the soul strong in resisting, and happy in conquering.”
5. The Doctrine of Repentance by Thomas Watson
Description: Knowing what repentance is, and actually repenting are essential to true Christianity. Jesus Christ himself said that if we do not repent, we will perish! It is vital, therefore, to read and study what Scripture has to say about this theme.
Few better guides have existed in this or any other area of spiritual experience than Thomas Watson. He was a master of both Scripture and the human heart, and wrote with a simplicity and directness that keeps his work fresh and powerful for the twenty-first century.
Also from Thomas Watson: All Things for Good
6. The Mortification of Sin in Believers by John Owen
John Owen’s classic work on personal holiness warns readers to “be killing sin, or sin will be killing you.” This book made an immediate impact on me and my pursuit of holiness. The only personal holiness book to rival The Mortification of Sin‘s impact on me was The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges—itself drawing from the deep wells of Owen’s theology. Bridges had this to say about Owen: “John Owen’s treatises on Indwelling Sin in Believers and The Mortification of Sin are, in my opinion, the most helpful writings on personal holiness ever written.”
7. The Bruised Reed by Richard Sibbes
Description: Since its first publication in 1630, The Bruised Reed has been remarkably fruitful as a source of spiritual help and comfort. Richard Baxter records: `A poor peddler came to the door . . . and my father bought of him Sibbes’ Bruised Reed . . . It suited my state . . . and gave me a livelier apprehension of the mystery of redemption and how much I was beholden to Jesus Christ . . . Without any means but books was God pleased to resolve me to himself.’ Such testimonies could be multiplied.
8. The Mystery of Providence by John Flavel
Description: First published in 1678, this little work is based on the words ‘God that performeth all things for me’ (Psalm 57:2). It shows us how providence works for us in every stage and experience of our lives. The book is richly illustrated from the lives of believers and from the author s wide reading in church history. There are avenues of spiritual knowledge and experience opened to the Christian in this work which he probably never knew existed.
9. The Religious Affections by Jonathan Edwards
Description: The author’s object in this book is to distinguish between true and false religion by showing the marks of a saving work of the Holy Spirit in men. In his Preface, Edwards stresses the importance of using ‘our utmost endeavours clearly to discern…wherein true religion does consist’. For ’till this be done, it may be expected that great revivings of religion will be but of short continuance’.
Description:Puritan divine Charnock constructs an awe-inspiring portrait of God’s attributes from theology and painstaking study of Scripture.
(This is also a book John MacArthur would take with him on a desert island.)
Other Free Resources to Consider:
- Read The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotionals Free Online
- Charles Spurgeon’s 9 Tips for Christian Readers
- 25+ Free John Piper Kindle Books
- 22 Free R.C. Sproul Kindle Books
* Special thanks to Monergism for their work in making digital Puritan works free and accessible.
** Links to Amazon and Westminster Books are affiliate links that share a small percentage of each sale with me at no extra cost to the buyer to help cover blogging expenses.