1. Longing for Truth
Puritans teach us to mould our mind according to the Bible. They loved the Bible, they lived the Bible, they sang the Bible, they preached the Bible, they read the Bible and they memorized the Bible. They were thinking about the Bible every day. They are Bible-shaped theologians and Bible-shaped preachers.
They just loved to preach Christ. In every sermon, it’s like they took a flashlight inside the text and tried to find Jesus, pulled him out, set him as a placard in front of the people and talked about His glory and His beauty until one longed for him. This was the centre of everything for puritans.
3. Emphasis on the Doctrine of Sin
We learn from the Puritans how to convict people of sin. The Puritans wanted to convict people. Like God did when he came to Adam, found him behind the bush, and called him out. Puritans wanted to call sinners out from behind the bushes where they were hiding and have them stand naked before God. That’s what we want to do so sinners recognize the great need of the Saviour, Lord Jesus Christ. We learn a lot about nature and conviction of sin from puritanical preaching.
4. Importance to Family and family devotions
The Puritan ethic of marriage was to look not for a partner whom you do love passionately at this moment, but rather for one whom you can love steadily as your best friend for life, and then to proceed with God’s help to do just that. Their ethic on nurturing the children was to train them up in the way they should go, to care for their bodies and souls together, and to educate them for sober, godly, socially useful adult living. Their ethic of home life was based on maintaining order, courtesy, and family worship. Goodwill, patience, consistency, and an encouraging attitude were seen as the essential domestic virtues. At home the Puritans showed themselves to be mature, accepting hardships and disappointments realistically as from God and refusing to be doubting God by any of them. Also, it was at home in the first instance that the Puritan layman practised evangelism and ministry.
5. Hope in midst of adversity
We also learn a lot from the Puritans about how to cope with affliction. The average Puritan family had nine children. The average family lost four or five of them before they reached adulthood. They were well-acquainted with affliction, and even the afflictions sanctified them. They wrote about it, they preached about it. They knew what it was to handle life’s deep troubles.
The next important thing we learn from the Puritans is how to rebuke our own pride. They hated their own pride. They walked with genuine humility. We need more of that, as well. We need to beat back our pride and serve the Lord humbly and simply, not looking for credit for ourselves, but serving him faithfully with big servant hearts.
7. Loving the neighbor as yourself
We also learn from the Puritans how to love people. In times of the plague or the big fire through London, it was often non-Puritan ministers that left the city because they were afraid of catching the plague, but the Puritans risked their lives. They went right into the bedrooms of their people, ministered to them, stayed until the end, and were faithful to them.
8. High view on Sabbath
The Puritans highlighted the importance of keeping the Sabbath, they believed that, by God’s grace, most blessings in life ultimately come from Zion and Jerusalem. The Lord’s Day, which they called the market day of the soul, was at the heart of their joyous life. In God’s courts, they heard and experienced afresh from Lord’s Day to Lord’s Day that their sins were washed away in the precious blood of Immanuel. This filled them with joy unspeakable—often tears of joy—and made them yearn to live wholly and solely for God’s glory.
9. Followed strict Church Discipline
In common with the Reformers, the Puritans believed in the centrality of the church. And they believed that “the acceptable way of worshiping the true God is instituted by himself.” Puritans embraced the regulative principle of worship, believing that nothing should be added to or subtracted from the Word except that which is displayed in New Testament worship.
Again and again we hear of Puritans happily traveling hours to hear a good sermon, and of how they thought that listening to sermons was far more fulfilling and joyous than an evening of worldly reveling. Sermons were usually an hour or longer. The Puritan Laurence Chaderton from Emmanuel College, Cambridge, once apologized to his congregation for preaching to them for two hours straight. Their response was, “For God’s sake, sir, go on, go on!”
10. Focus on Eternity
Finally, the Puritans really teach us how to live for eternity, keeping one eye on eternity all the time, as Richard Baxter said, and the other eye on time. The more we focus on eternity, the more sanctified we will really be in time. The more heavenly you are, the more earthly good you’ll do because the more you’re like Jesus, the more you’ll love people, the more you’ll be an evangelist, the more you’ll spread the gospel, the more you’ll go out of your way to live wholly and solely for your precious Redeemer.
George Whitefield, the evangelist, wrote of them as follows: “Ministers never write or preach so well as when under the cross; the Spirit of Christ and of glory then rests upon them. It was this, no doubt, that made the Puritans … such burning and shining lights. When cast out by the black Bartholomew-act [the 1662 Act of Uniformity] and driven from their respective charges to preach in barns and fields, in the highways and hedges, they in an especial manner wrote and preached as men having authority. Though dead, by their writings they yet speak; a peculiar connection attends to them even to this very hour …”