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The Works of William Perkins fills a major gap in Reformed and Puritan theology. Though Perkins is best known today for his writings on predestination, he also wrote prolifically on many subjects. His works filled over two thousand large pages of small print in three folio volumes and were reprinted several times in the decades after his death. However, his complete works have not been in print since the mid-seventeenth century. This edition of the Works includes four volumes of Perkins’s expositions of Scripture, three volumes of his doctrinal and polemical treatises, and three volumes of his practical writings.
“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
“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, Westminster Seminary California
“There was no more important leader in the Puritan movement than William Perkins. To see his works reprinted in a reader-friendly format and with state-of-the-art critical apparatus as a bonus seems too good to be true. This project is a landmark event for both Reformation scholarship and the spiritual edification of Christians.” — Leland Ryken, author of Worldly Saints: The Puritans as They Really Were
“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
“This is a welcome collection of the gospel-saturated writings of William Perkins. A faithful pastor, Puritan leader, prolific author, and lecturer, Perkins defended the doctrines of the Protestant Reformation throughout his life. Giving particular emphasis to solus Christus and sola Scriptura, these Reformed doctrines drove him as a pastor to preach the unsearchable riches of God’s truth with confidence and assurance. Sadly, Perkins is unknown to the modern Christian. However, throughout the centuries, the writings, meditations, and treatises of this Puritan luminary have influenced Christians around the world. It is my hope that many will be introduced and reintroduced to the writings of this Reformed stalwart. May his zeal for gospel advance awaken a new generation of biblical preachers and teachers to herald the glory of our sovereign God in this present day.” — Steven J. Lawson, president, OnePassion Ministries, and professor of preaching at The Master’s Seminary
William Perkins (1558–1602) earned a bachelor’s degree in 1581 and a master’s degree in 1584 from Christ’s College in Cambridge. During those student years he joined up with Laurence Chaderton, who became his personal tutor and lifelong friend. Perkins and Chaderton met with Richard Greenham, Richard Rogers, and others in a spiritual brotherhood at Cambridge that espoused Puritan convictions.
From 1584 until his death, Perkins served as lecturer, or preacher, at Great St. Andrew’s Church, Cambridge, a most influential pulpit across the street from Christ’s College. He also served as a teaching fellow at Christ’s College, catechized students at Corpus Christi College on Thursday afternoons, and worked as a spiritual counselor on Sunday afternoons. In these roles Perkins influenced a generation of young students, including Richard Sibbes, John Cotton, John Preston, and William Ames. Thomas Goodwin wrote that when he entered Cambridge, six of his instructors who had sat under Perkins were still passing on his teaching. Ten years after Perkins’s death, Cambridge was still “filled with the discourse of the power of Mr. William Perkins’ ministry,” Goodwin said.
Perkins’s influence as a theologian continued unabated after his death. This was due in large part to the widespread popularity of his writings. His writings were translated into several European languages and greatly influenced British and American Reformed theology, the Dutch Further Reformation, and European Pietism.