Makers of Puritan history
A profitable pleasure
MAKERS OF PURITAN HISTORY
By Marcus L. Loane
Banner of Truth. 235 pages. £14.50
History can be read to be informed, to be inspired — or just for pure pleasure. Marcus Loane’s Makers of Puritan History is a fine example of all three.
It tells, in turn, the stories of four Puritans: Alexander Henderson and Samuel Rutherford in Scotland; John Bunyan and Richard Baxter in England.
These four men lived through difficult times, when religious freedom was under threat. Indeed, in the dust jacket notes the publishers state that this as a reason for re-publishing the book at this time (it was originally published in the UK in 1960 as Makers of Religious Freedom).
The author, who died in April 2009, was a fine writer of biography and history, and those qualities are evident in this book, as he brings each character to life. There is Henderson (probably the least well known of the four), plucked from small parish obscurity to take a political lead when in his 50s; there is Rutherford, the brilliant mind — but also the passionate pastor and letter writer; there is the visionary Bunyan (Loane’s ten-page account of Bunyan’s conversion is a real highlight); and then the complicated bookworm Baxter, who suffered much in later life.
There are one or two typographical errors (my copy even came with a slip of paper inside detailing two errata), but the book is a joy to read and a joy to hold (hurrah for hardbacks!).
But beware! Good biographical writing like this can provoke a desire to read more! I may now have to invest in Andrew Bonar’s collection of Rutherford’s letters (unless the publishers want to send me a complimentary copy!).