Review | The Works of Thomas Goodwin

I am very fond of reading the works of the Puritans. Their passion and zeal for God and His words are clearly manifested in their writings—though written hundreds of years ago, still benefit us today like no other. As Dr. Joel R. Beeke puts it, Puritan writings address the mind, confront the conscience, and engage the heart by marrying doctrine and practice. Thomas Watson, Matthew Henry, John Bunyan are just some of my favorite Puritans whose works and writings have greatly impacted my life. Thomas Goodwin, a Westminster Divine, is a recent addition to the list, thanks to his profound work The Heart of Christ.

Thomas Goodwin was a prolific author and editor. During the 1630s, he and John Ball edited the works of John Preston and Richard Sibbes. Goodwin began to publish his own sermons in 1636. By the time he died, he published at least twelve devotional works, most of which were collections of sermons. They were reissued forty-seven times, indicating a great demand for his publications.[1]

The Works of Thomas Goodwin were originally published as five folio volumes in London from 1681 to 1704 and were later abridged and printed in four volumes in 1847. Since then, these works were republished several times as a 12-volume edition.

This newly-released hardback set from Reformation Heritage Books has a beautiful finish and superior quality. Each volume is bound in a very sturdy gray cloth-over-board cover with gold over maroon inscriptions on the spine showing the content of the volumes. But unlike the popular thing on books today, these volumes do not contain dust jackets. Nevertheless, I like just the way they are, and they look great sitting on the shelf. The pages of each book are sewn and glued together so you can be confident that they will last for years and can be passed on to the next generations.

The only thing that I like the least about these books is the font. Since these books are a reprint of the original 12-volume edition published by James Nichol in 1861-66, they have the same font and typesetting as the original volumes. The font is a bit outdated, the text looks compressed, and the thickness/boldness of the letters varies from page to page. I know it is a ton of work to do, but it would have been much better if these works were re-typeset for a better reading experience. On the other hand, I commend RHB for their fantastic work on scanning the pages of the original volumes. The text is very readable all throughout and does not contain fades or scanning errors.

Out of the 12 volumes, my favorite is the fourth. Aside from the fact that it contains Goodwin’s most popular works which were published as separate books in recent years, it includes The Heart of Christ in Heaven which introduced me to the Puritan preacher. This volume alone will feed your soul in an extraordinary way. Other titles in this volume include Christ Set Forth (available as a Puritan Paperback from Banner of Truth), Aggravation of Sin, Encouragements of Faith, Glory of the Gospel, Knowledge of God the Father and His Son.

The Works of Thomas Goodwin include an exposition of the Book of Revelation, expositions of various portions of Ephesians, treatises on justification and Christology, and much more. You may read the full list of works included in these 12 volumes on Reformation Heritage Books’ website. The whole set retails for $480 but is currently on sale on https://www.heritagebooks.org/ for $300.


[1] Beeke and Pederson, Meet the Puritans (2007), page 274

Disclosure: A review copy of The Works of Thomas Goodwin (ISBN 9781601788481) was provided for review by Reformation Heritage Books, from whom you may purchase a copy.

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