Reading from the Long 18th Century

By Evan D. Burns
I echo the sentiments of Martyn Lloyd-Jones when he said he was an 18th century man.  The "long century" (1680-1837) is a deep mine of precious evangelical jewels worth searching out.  Here are some reasons (in no particular order) why reading evangelical writers from the 18th century is so profitable:
  1. They took the Great Commission seriously and sought to obey it no matter the sacrifice; they viewed the church on mission for the extension of Christ's kingdom.
  2. Like the choice of Moses, they fled the fleeting pleasures of this world and considered the reproach of Christ as greater reward.
  3. They were men of the Book; they desired the Book of God at all costs; they meditated and studied it assiduously.
  4. They loved the gospel system, and the cross of Christ was all their theme.
  5. They courageously engaged in theological controversy for the sake of gospel purity and missions advance.
  6. They spoke with holy love and religious affections for their Sovereign God.
  7. They prayed with earnest desperation for the Spirit's empowerment and sanctifying work.
  8. They preached with evangelical fervor for the conversion of souls and for the revival of the church.
  9. They promoted the Lord's Table and Baptism as a significant part of the life and piety of the church.


Evan D. Burns (Ph.D. Candidate, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is on faculty at Asia Biblical Theological Seminary, and he lives in Southeast Asia with his wife and twin sons.  They are missionaries with Training Leaders International.