Throwback Thursday: Book Review – Mortification of Sin

This was originally posted on September 28th, 2017.

‘There is no death of sin without the death of Christ.’ – John Owen in Mortification of Sin


John Owen was a beloved English theologian. So beloved that when King Charles II returned to power and Puritans were once more persecuted, John Owen’s was not jailed. He was even bold enough, being close friends with John Bunyan, tried to no avail to get him released from prison. To say Owens was intelligent is putting it lightly, having studied at Oxford. You can see just how adroit his mind was in Mortification of Sin, published in 1656.

Mortification of Sin is not just an exhaustive explanation of sin, reasons for sin, and ways to mortify sin, but also how to tell if your salvation is true based on sin. Owen’s also weaves rebuttals throughout the book for different false doctrines regarding sin. These include the beginnings of the social gospel, the papacy, and any type of works salvation. He does a dutiful job of using scripture, in context, to refute any misconceptions on sin and how to mortify it.

I recommend this book to anyone struggling to understand sin or salvation. Anyone who is learning about Puritans will enjoy this book, as it gives an excellent look into the viewpoint of the time, however, it does not include any historical landmarks that might help you better understand the times. Considering that when this was published his brethren were all being persecuted, jailed, or run out of town, it’s impressive that he managed to focus solely on the topic he was addressing. That is, on its own, a testament to how important it was for Owen’s to clarify the mortification of sins.

I hope this book will be a blessing to you all beloved. It’s in the public domain, like many others I’ve reviewed, which means you can access a PDFfreely online. You can also access an audio version through youtube or purchase a Kindle version for a dollar or two. As always, beloved, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Read With Me – Through David Brainerd’s Life and Diary

Hello, all, I hope this finds you doing well! Currently, on social media, I’m reading through David Brainards Life and Diary by Jonathan Edwards. It’s been such a blessing to hear from others how much this book is encouraging them. In particular, I was overjoyed to share his testimony yet again. We’ve moved to the first point of illness for him, now. I’m going to include links below to all the posts so far, and here is today’s portion.

In Jan. 1740, the measles spread much in college; and I having taken the distemper, went home to Haddam. But some days before I was taken sick, I seemed to be greatly deserted, and my soul mourned the absence of the Comforter exceedingly. It seemed to me all comfort was for ever gone; I prayed and cried to God for help, yet found no present comfort or relief. But through divine goodness, a night or two before I was taken ill, while I was walking alone in a very retired place, and engaged in meditation and prayer, I enjoyed a sweet refreshing visit, as I trust, from above; so that my soul was raised far above the fears of death. Indeed I rather longed for death, than feared it. O how much more refreshing this one season was, than all the pleasures and delights that earth can afford! After a day or two I was taken with the measles, and was very ill indeed, so that I almost despaired of life; but had no distressing fears of death at all. However, through divine goodness I soon recovered; yet, by reason of hard and close studies, and being much exposed on account of my freshmanship, I had but little time for spiritual duties: my soul often mourned for want of more time and opportunity to be alone with God. In the spring and summer following, I had better advantages for retirement, and enjoyed more comfort in religion. Though indeed my ambition in my studies greatly wronged the activity and vigour of my spiritual life; yet this was usually the case with me, that “in the multitude of my thoughts within me, God’s comforts principally delighted my soul;” these were my greatest consolations day by day.

“One day I remember, in particular, (I think it was in June, 1740,) I walked to a considerable distance from the college, in the fields alone at noon, and in prayer found such unspeakable sweetness and delight in God, that I thought, if I must continue still in this evil world, I wanted always to be there, to behold God’s glory. My soul dearly loved all mankind, and longed exceedingly that they should enjoy what I enjoyed. It seemed to be a little resemblance of heaven. On Lord’s day, July 6, being sacrament-day, I found some divine life and spiritual refreshment in that holy ordinance. When I came from the Lord’s table, I wondered how my fellow-students could live as I was sensible most did. — Next Lord’s day, July 13, I had some special sweetness in religion. — Again, Lord’s day, July 20, my soul was in a sweet and precious frame.

“Some time in August following, I became so weakly and disordered, by too close application to my studies, that I was advised by my tutor to go home, and disengage my mind from study, as much as I could; for I was grown so weak, that I began to spit blood. I took his advice, and endeavoured to lay aside my studies. But being brought very low, I looked death in the face more stedfastly; and the Lord was pleased to give me renewedly a sweet sense and relish of divine things; and particularly, October 13, I found divine help and consolation in the precious duties of secret prayer and self-examination, and my soul took delight in the blessed God: — so likewise on the 17th of October.

If you’d like to follow along through social media, I’m posting these portions on Facebook and Instagram. The links below are all from Facebook, I believe it’s easier to see than Instagram posts. What are you reading currently? I’d love to hear any suggestions for future Read With Me posts. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Part 1 – https://www.facebook.com/lauren.hereford.904/posts/146639186769719

Part 2 – https://www.facebook.com/lauren.hereford.904/posts/147345860032385

Part 4 – https://www.facebook.com/lauren.hereford.904/posts/148014696632168

Part 5 – https://www.facebook.com/lauren.hereford.904/posts/148459803254324

Part 6 – https://www.facebook.com/lauren.hereford.904/posts/148815963218708

Lord, it Belongs Not to my Care – by Richard Baxter

Hello, dear ones, I hope you’re fellowship today is sweet. The hymn I want to share with you this morning was written by Richard Baxter. The Puritans hold a special place in our hearts and bookshelves. The way they wrote is convicting, and yet beautifully designed to glorify God. I’m reading David Brainerd’s Life and Journal again this week. I saw a quote from him the other day and it gave me the strangest feeling! I missed the writing of him and Jonathan Edwards as if I had been away from dear friends for too long. God’s children are a body of believers, connected throughout history by our adoption. I’m very thankful that Edwards stopped David from burning his journal. I’m very thankful that in God’s providence Baxter wrote such wonderful hymns. I’m thankful for the historical Church that Christ has built, that the gates of hell will not prevail against.  


Lord, it belongs not to my care
whether I die or live:
to love and serve thee is my share,
and this thy grace must give.

Christ leads me through no darker rooms
than he went through before;
he that into God’s kingdom comes
must enter by this door.

Come, Lord, when grace hath made me meet
thy blessed face to see;
for if thy work on earth be sweet,
what will thy glory be!

Then shall I end my sad complaints
and weary, sinful days,
and join with the triumphant saints
that sing my Saviour’s praise.

My knowledge of that life is small,
the eye of faith is dim;
but ’tis enough that Christ knows all,
and I shall be with him.


Wow, where is the writing like this today? Has anyone else had to completely shut off the modern Christian radio channels? Man centered music can never be considered worship music, even if those who push it label it as such. Worship music must be glorifying to God, or else we are worshipping something else. What is your favorite hymn, dear ones, and did you grow up hearing them? As always, beloved brethren, be good Bereans and study to show yourselves approved.

Hymns of the Past – Lord, it Belongs Not to my Care

What a beautiful hope we have, dear ones! This hymn depicts it well, although we have very small insights into what will be on the other side waiting for us, we know one thing for sure. Our Lord is there. Where He is, our hearts long to be.

Lord, it belongs not to my care
whether I die or live:
to love and serve thee is my share,
and this thy grace must give.

Christ leads me through no darker rooms
than he went through before;
he that into God’s kingdom comes
must enter by this door.

Come, Lord, when grace hath made me meet
thy blessed face to see;
for if thy work on earth be sweet,
what will thy glory be!

Then shall I end my sad complaints
and weary, sinful days,
and join with the triumphant saints
that sing my Saviour’s praise.

My knowledge of that life is small,
the eye of faith is dim;
but ’tis enough that Christ knows all,
and I shall be with him.

Richard Baxter

Hymns of the Past – Lord, It Belongs not to My Care

Today we had communion and the thought once again occurred to me that eternity is hard to wait for. As soon as the thought hits me, I think of how sorrowful my husband and daughter would be if I passed into eternity this soon. Yet still that Celestial City is such a promise as holds my heart. If not for my family, both the body of Christ and flesh, there would be little appeal to this world. I’ll continue to live into the glory of God, with these thoughts in mind, our future awaits and it is eternal, beloved. I hope this hymnal blesses you, it certainly does a better job explaining what I mean then I have. As always dear ones, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Lord, it belongs not to my care

whether I die or live:

to love and serve thee is my share,

and this thy grace must give.

Christ leads me through no darker rooms

than he went through before;

he that into God’s kingdom comes

must enter by this door.

Come, Lord, when grace hath made me meet

thy blessed face to see;

for if thy work on earth be sweet,

what will thy glory be!

Then shall I end my sad complaints

and weary, sinful days,

and join with the triumphant saints

that sing my Saviour’s praise.

My knowledge of that life is small,

the eye of faith is dim;

but ’tis enough that Christ knows all,

and I shall be with him.

Richard Baxter

Thursday Book Review – The Art of Divine Contentment

Beloved brethren after getting such joy, edification, and enlargement from Puritan Thomas Watson’s The Ten Commandments I quickly devoured another of his works, The Art of Divine Contentment. This wonderful book, though much shorter than the Ten Commandments, is chalk full of Scripture. Essentially this is a wonderfully extended exegesis of Philippians 4:11.

This book follows a similar pattern as the previous one I reviewed, lending itself to note taking. Again, for someone with a horrible memory such as myself, this is very helpful. It hasn’t touched the top ten list, but I would still recommend this book to any believers who struggle in the area of contentment. This is a very convicting topic that Watson addresses so well, using the full counsel of Gods Word. One thing I’ve noticed repeatedly when reading Puritan writings is that they were able to pierce the reader through with truth, without great offense being caused. It’s as if the love they had for the brethren so weighs on their writing that the conviction is all the more of a blessing.

The paperback version can be purchased here, a free audio book can be read here, pdf here, and the kindle version here.

Thursday Book Review – The Ten Commandments by Thomas Watson

I’m so excited to review this book for you today, beloved brethren! This book has officially made it into my top ten list. I actually didn’t expect that, friends, after all it’s a book about the Law. Could anything come close to the magnificent way God’s Word writes the Law? That’s a high bar, one that no other book could reach. However, The Ten Commandments by Thomas Watson reached as close as any book I’ve read so far. I’m getting ahead of myself though, bare with my dear ones, this book was so good that my excitements getting the better of me.

Thomas Watson was an English Puritan preacher who is thought to have been born around 1620 in Yorkshire, although records are scarce. He died in 1686 during a time of private prayer, what a way to go! This book seems to have been published after his death, in 1692, as a part of a larger collection of works. It’s fantastic, did I mention that yet? I said it made my top ten books of all time, where does it rank? Third! Directly under Pilgrims Progress and pushing out of the way Up From Slavery. I can honestly say that I can’t wait to read this book a second, and third time.

What about this book has be so enthralled with it? There are several reasons why I want to recommend this book to every believer. Firstly, Watson uses the full counsel of Gods Word, backing up every point he makes thoroughly with Scripture. Secondly, the style of writing in this book lends itself to study. He makes his points in such a way that taking notes, cross references verses, and retaining the information was easier for me. That’s unusual for a Puritan writer, just simply because their English is different than ours is today. Ordinarily reading the Puritans is an exercise for my mind in a sense that I’m having to interpret their words into current meanings, frequently researching phrases from that time period. It wasn’t so with this book, as Watson leaned for heavily of Scripture. My mind had an exercise in Bible study, instead of terminology!

The last reason I want to give to recommend this book is the conviction reading it brings. The way Watson pin points the human mind, in all its wretchedness, is truly a thing of beauty. I was brought to repentance and tears on many a page. I think, due to his use of Gods Word, it shines more light on the depravity of man, and my own heart. All the while it explains points of Scripture in a way that’s easy to understand and apply. I pray you’ll read this book friends, and that it will be as edifying for you as it was for me. You can read it in pdf form here, kindle here, or the old fashion way here. As always, beloved brothers and sisters, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Hymns of the Past – No Change of Time

Dear ones, I pray this hymn will be an added blessing to an already pleasant Lord’s day. I couldn’t find a video of anyone singing this one, but it was such a beautiful sentiment I had to pick it. Until tomorrow, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

No change of time shall ever shock

My firm affection, Lord, to Thee;

For Thou hast always been a Rock,

A Fortress and Defence to me.

Thou my Deliverer art, my God;

My trust is in Thy mighty power:

Thou art my Shield from foes abroad;

At home, my Safeguard and my Tower.

To Thee I will address my prayer,

To whom all praise we justly owe;

So shall I, by Thy watchful care,

Be guarded safe from every foe.

Let the eternal Lord be praised,

The Rock on whose defence I rest:

O’er highest heavens His name be raised,

Who me with His salvation blest.

Nahum Tate

Thursday Book Review – The Life and Diary of David Brainerd

#davidbrainerd #puritans #jonathanedwards

Beloved the day is finally here, I get to review one of the most impactful books I’ve read since becoming a believer. The Life and Diary of David Brainerd (published in 1749 by Jonathan Edwards) is one of those books that stays with you. After reading it myself I’m now reading it with Kayliegh, and have ordered copies as gifts for Christmas.

Brainerd (1718-1747) was a Puritan missionary to the Native Americans. He kept a daily journal of his spiritual progress. Many of his entries are heart wrenching, as he describes the struggles we have day to day in our walk with Christ. Brainerd often expresses his desire to be with the Lord. A beautiful prayer God answered, as he went home at the young age of 29.

His writing is very honest, and he is upfront with his struggles in prayer. I’m often tempted to be more enthusiastic in my description of my walk for the encouragement of others. It actually can just heap burdens on brothers and sisters, when we are dishonest about our own trials. It gives them the idea that perfect is possible, just not for them. Often times the most encouraging thing we can do is be truthful. I found Brainerd’s truthfulness very encouraging, as I read his words that reflected my own thoughts I wouldn’t dare voice. Some days my prayer is dull and lifeless, and it does feel like God has left me. Other days my prayer can be filled with sweetness.

I heard Puritans once described as the Redwood trees of the Christian forest. I think that’s a fair assessment, as they often stand tall in their love, obedience and devotion to God. Brainerd is most certainly one of those Redwood trees. We have visited the Redwood forest in our travels, as we walked through a trail of trees so tall you couldn’t see the tops, everything was silent and still. That was one place where Gods creation doesn’t whisper, it sings of His majesty. In the same way, Brainerd’s diary and all he accomplished in his life doesn’t whisper of Gods power to change mans cold heart of stone, it sings of a new creature in Christ, glory to God!

The Life and Diary of David Brainerd is a book I would recommend to every believer, young and old, particularly those who have a love for Puritan writings. I would also suggest this as a gift this Christmas for anyone you know who is considering going into the missions field, is already in the missions field, is an elder, or a pastor. This book is in the public domain, although there does not seem to be a free audio version just yet, you can download the free pdf. Or you can get a Kindle version for less than a dollar. And of course the paperback or hardback copies are available.

I pray this book will bless you, friends. There are so many books that have short daily encouragements or commentaries, however I think an entry or two of this book would be far more helpful. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Wednesday Testimony- Jonathan Edwards in Love

Proverbs-18:22

Ok, this is not really the same kind of testimony I usually write about on Wednesday. I just couldn’t let this go, it’s too unique. With the series on The Saddest Wedding ending yesterday, I felt like a beautiful love story would lighten the mood. This is the very thing Jonathan Edwards wrote about his future wife, after meeting her. Prepare yourselves for better writing then Shakespear ever dreamed of…

“They say there is a young lady in [New Haven] who is beloved of that Great Being, who made and rules the world, and that there are certain seasons in which this Great Being, in some way other or invisible, comes to her and fills her mind with exceeding sweet delight, and that she hardly cares for anything, except to meditate on him – that she expects after a while to be received up where he is, to be raised up out of the world and caught up into heaven; being assured that he loves her too well to let her remain at a distance from him always. There she is to dwell with him, and to be ravished with his love and delight forever. Therefore, if you present all the world before her, with the richest of its treasures, she disregards it and cares not for it, and is unmindful of any pain or affliction. She has a strange sweetness in her mind, and singular purity in her affections; is most just and conscientious in all her conduct; and you could not persuade her to do anything wrong or sinful, if you would give her all the world, lest she should offend this Great Being. She is of a wonderful sweetness, calmness and universal benevolence of mind; especially after this Great God has manifested himself to her mind. She will sometimes go about from place to place, singing sweetly; and seems to be always full of joy and pleasure; and no one knows for what. She loves to be alone, walking in the fields and groves, and seems to have some one invisible always conversing with her.”

This is a testimony to Gods great love, and kindness, in that He saw it was not good for man to be alone. So He created a helpmeet for man, I can think of only one example more beautiful of that union than the one we see here, between Jonathan and Sarah Edwards. That’s the love between Christ and His church, which is consistently compared to marriage throughout the Bible. How much did Christ love His church? He died for her. What is usually called Gods ‘common grace’ becomes decidedly uncommon when looked at in the light of salvation. 

Ephesians-5:31-32

What is this great grace God has shown, this unimaginable love, that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us? Irresistible grace! Beloved, this God that we serve is deserving of all our hearts, soul, mind, and strength. So, be good Berean’s, and study to show yourselves approved.