|Fire and Ice: Puritan and Reformed Writings|
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I found Willard hard to read at first, simply because he was so different from any other author I was familiar with. His economy of words, combined with the funny letters, made it hard for me to understand him at first. What helped me the most was reading him out loud... to my dear wife. I'm not sure how much she appreciated the experience at first (did I mention her charm and discretion?) but it made Willard more clear to me. Now, of course, I'm used to the appearance of the pages and hardly notice the peculiarities.
Willard was valuable to me as a relatively young Christian because of his breadth. How are Christians supposed to act at work? Is it lawful for Christians to invest in mutual funds? Should we watch TV? How should we respond to injustice? These are questions we hear little about today. But Willard, in the context of Puritan New England, addresses these issues. He talks about the nitty-gritty of life, against the backdrop of eternity.
He is also valuable because of his depth. His sermon on the Decrees is simply the very best anywhere. Willard shows himself a first-rate theologian throughout the book, but always practical as well. His "uses" are experiential and helpful.
Therefore I commend the Compleat Body to you. They helped me. I'm sure they helped Edwards. I suppose they even did Ben Franklin some good. I hope they do the same for you.
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