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Classic Christian Literature in Contemporary English

 

The editor welcomes corrections and suggestions regarding all of his works. See About This Project.

 

Translated Works Available On This Site

 

Readers new to the Christian faith or classic Reformed theology will do well to study these first four works in the order listed.

 

Westminster Shorter Catechism - Easy Explanation

 

 

Westminster Shorter Catechism

 

 

Westminster Confession of Faith

 

 

Westminster Larger Catechism

 

 

Vindiciae Pietatis [A Vindication of Piety] or A Vindication of Godliness

 

 

In Progress:

Bartholomew Ashwood, The Heavenly Trade, or the Best Merchandising: The Only to Live Well in Impoverishing Times ...

Anthony Burgess, Spiritual Refining, Part 2, or a Treatise of Sin with its Causes, Differences, Mitigations, and Aggravations, Particularly of the Desperate Deceitfulness of Man’s Heart ...

 

 

Westminster Shorter Catechism - Easy Explanation, by John Wallis

 

Most recent edition: March 13, 2018

 

John Wallis, the author of the Explanation, was one of the scribes of the Westminster Assembly and is more broadly known as a pioneer in mathematics. The Explanation met with great approval by the Assembly and was printed in 1648. Wallis’s Explanation contains the original text of the Shorter Catechism, including questions, answers, and Bible proof texts. For each Catechism question and answer, Wallis inserted a series of additional questions, each of which has a “Yes” or “No” answer. In the spirit of Wallis’s original work, this present translation of Wallis’s Explanation uses the main questions and answers from the editor’s translation of the Westminster Shorter Catechism (links below) and simply inserts translations of Wallis’s new questions and answers into the modern Catechism text between the question and the long answer of the Catechism. As such, all footnotes, introductory material, appendices, and so on that appear in the translation are preserved as well. Finally, in contrast to the formal prose of the Catechism, Wallis’s questions are in an informal conversational style, and often in incomplete sentences; the editor has endeavored to preserve this aspect as well.

 

The Westminster Shorter Catechism (WSC) has been perhaps the most widely used of all catechisms. Many derivatives of it exist under other names. The Westminster Divines, who authored this valuable classic, intended it for new and recent converts as well as those interested in Christianity. As such, theological terms are explained in the notes and little or no prior knowledge of Christianity is needed to enjoy this treasure from the past.

 

The translation is of the original WSC with the original Scripture proof texts as given by the Westminster Divines. This is in keeping with the goal of providing a faithful translation of the original WSC. Most editions of the WSC use different sets of proof texts than the original; the editor makes no judgment concerning these other sets, recognizing that others may have different goals. So far as the editor knows, there is no other translation of the WSC which also includes the original Scripture proofs.

 

Most of these documents include hyperlinks to the actual Scripture proof texts embedded in the document. Please be sure to read the Notes to the Reader to best take advantage of this feature.

 

Westminster Shorter Catechism - Easy Explanation - Downloadable PDF (3.86MB)

 

 

Westminster Shorter Catechism - Easy Explanation - Downloadable PDF Without Hyperlinks, for Printing (2.61MB)

 

 

Westminster Shorter Catechism - Easy Explanation - Web Version

 

 

Westminster Shorter Catechism - Easy Explanation - Downloadable Web Version to Store On Your Computer or Device (507KB)

 

 

Westminster Shorter Catechism

 

Most recent edition: March 13, 2018

 

The Westminster Shorter Catechism (WSC) has been perhaps the most widely used of all catechisms. Many derivatives of it exist under other names. The Westminster Divines, who authored this valuable classic, intended it for new and recent converts as well as those interested in Christianity. As such, theological terms are explained in the notes and little or no prior knowledge of Christianity is needed to enjoy this treasure from the past.

 

The translation is of the original WSC with the original Scripture proof texts as given by the Westminster Divines. This is in keeping with the goal of providing a faithful translation of the original WSC. Most editions of the WSC use different sets of proof texts than the original; the editor makes no judgment concerning these other sets, recognizing that others may have different goals. So far as the editor knows, there is no other translation of the WSC which also includes the original Scripture proofs.

 

Most of these documents include hyperlinks to the actual Scripture proof texts embedded in the document. Please be sure to read the Notes to the Reader to best take advantage of this feature.

 

Westminster Shorter Catechism - Downloadable PDF (1.6MB)

 

 

Westminster Shorter Catechism - Downloadable PDF Without Hyperlinks, for Printing (256KB)

 

 

Westminster Shorter Catechism - Web Version

 

 

Westminster Shorter Catechism - Downloadable Web Version to Store On Your Computer or Device (463KB)

 

 

Westminster Confession of Faith of 1647

 

Most recent edition: March 13, 2018

 

The original Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF) is one of the most widely known, loved, and used creeds in history. It has many derivatives such as The Baptist Confession of Faith (1689) and the Puritan Confession of Faith. Since 1647, many denominations have either produced revisions of the WCF or declared exceptions to parts of the original WCF prior to incorporating the WCF into their denominational standards. Although some of these later editions of the WCF have been translated into twentieth-century English, the editor is aware of only one other edition of the original 1647 WCF in contemporary American English.

 

The WCF was written for those with some considerable knowledge of the Bible. As such, readers new to Christianity are strongly encouraged to read the Westminster Shorter Catechism (above) before reading the WCF. Nonetheless, the editor has attempted to define and explain theological terms and concepts when they first appear in the WCF.

 

Most of these documents include hyperlinks to the actual Scripture proof texts embedded in the document. Please be sure to read the Helpful Notes to the Reader to best take advantage of this feature.

 

Westminster Confession of Faith - Downloadable PDF (6.2MB)

 

 

Westminster Confession of Faith - Downloadable PDF Without Hyperlinks, for Printing (450KB)

 

 

Westminster Confession of Faith - Web Version

 

 

Westminster Confession of Faith - Downloadable Web Version to Store On Your Computer or Device (1.8MB)

 

 

Westminster Larger Catechism

 

Most recent edition: March 13, 2018

 

The Westminster Larger Catechism (WLC) is a rich, but largely neglected classic treasure. The WLC was the last work produced by the Westminster Divines, and as such, represents their most mature thought. Holy men from diverse backgrounds, led by God, had discussed and struggled with eternal truths for years, sharpening one another as “iron sharpens iron,” yet coming to a consensus.

 

The WLC has about twice as many questions and answers as the Westminster Shorter Catechism, and its answers are much more detailed. The WLC was written for those who already have a good grounding in the Christian faith. As such, readers who have not already read the Westminster Shorter Catechism and the Westminster Confession of Faith are strongly encouraged to do so prior to reading the WLC. Also, the editor has not troubled to define and explain theological terms and concepts in the WLC on the assumption that the reader has, indeed, read the WSC and WCF.

 

Most of these documents include hyperlinks to the actual Scripture proof texts embedded in the document. Please be sure to read the Helpful Notes to the Reader to best take advantage of this feature.

 

Westminster Larger Catechism - Downloadable PDF (7.45MB)

 

 

Westminster Larger Catechism - Downloadable PDF Without Hyperlinks, for Printing (421KB)

 

 

Westminster Larger Catechism - Web Version

 

 

Westminster Larger Catechism - Downloadable Web Version to Store On Your Computer or Device (2.17MB)

 

 

Vindiciae Pietatis [A Vindication of Piety] or A Vindication of Godliness by Richard Alleine

 

Most recent edition: December 20, 2018

 

Whatever your stage of spiritual life, you will find this book to be a seriously heart-searching epistle. Whether you are now of some non-Christian religion, a seeker in religion, a believer in Jesus Christ, or even a hypocrite, you are certain to benefit from this book, published here for the first time in contemporary American English. As king's printer Roger Norton observed, Vindiciae Pietatis is a holy book indeed. It is filled with God-honoring and God-glorifying theology, encouragement, wisdom, and practical advice for holy living and the battle against personal sin. All people, whether non-Christians, new Christians, or seasoned believers, stand to benefit from this seventeenth-century treasure.

Vindiciae Pietatis, is composed of sermons that Richard Alleine preached to a mixed audience: those entirely outside the Christian faith; those who called themselves Christians, but who were not inwardly Christians, not having been born again from above by the Holy Spirit; and truly born-again believers in Jesus Christ. Alleine, in a manner similar to the Old Testament prophets, rapidly switches from addressing one of these groups to addressing a different group. The result is a book that, no matter who you are, will not leave you unchanged. Those seeking greater holiness of heart and life and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ will find Vindiciae especially edifying.

According to the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica:

Richard Alleine (1611–1681), English Puritan divine, was born at Ditcheat, Somerset, where his father was rector. On being ordained he became assistant to his father, and immediately stirred the entire county by his burning eloquence. In March 1641 he became rector of Batcomb (Somerset). He declared himself on the side of the Puritans by subscribing to the The Testimony of the Ministers in Somerset Shire to the Truth of Jesus Christ and The Solemn League and Covenant, and assisted the commissioners of the parliament in their work of ejecting unsatisfactory ministers. Alleine continued for twenty years rector of Batcomb and was one of the two thousand ministers ejected in 1662. The Five Mile Act drove him to Frome Selwood, and in that neighborhood he preached until his death on the 22nd of December 1681. His works are all of a deeply spiritual character. [This book,] Vindiciae Pietatis (which first appeared in 1660), was refused license by Archbishop Sheldon, and was published, in common with other nonconformist books, without it. It was rapidly bought up and “did much to mend this bad world.” Roger Norton, the king's printer, caused a large part of the first impression to be seized on the ground of its not being licensed and to be sent to the royal kitchen. Glancing over its pages, however, it seemed to him a sin that a book so holy—and so salable—should be destroyed. He therefore bought back the sheets, bound them and sold them in his own shop. This in turn was complained of, and he had to beg pardon on his knees before the council-table; and the remaining copies were sentenced to be bisked, or rubbed over with an inky brush, and sent back to the kitchen for lighting fires. Such bisked copies occasionally occur still. The book was not killed. It was often reissued with additions, The Godly Man's Portion in 1663, Heaven Opened in 1666, The World Conquered in 1668. He also published a book of sermons, Godly Fear, in 1664, and other less noticeable devotional compilations.

Please do not let the Latin in the title scare you; all the Greek, Hebrew, and Latin is translated, and these languages appear only (with definitions) in the footnotes.

Download Options:


Vindiciae Pietatis [Vindication of Piety] or A Vindication of Godliness - Downloadable PDF (2 MiB)

 

 

Vindiciae Pietatis [Vindication of Piety] or A Vindication of Godliness - Web Version

 

 

Vindiciae Pietatis [Vindication of Piety] or A Vindication of Godliness - Downloadable Web Version to Store On Your Computer or Device (723 KiB)

 

 

 

Translation Wish List

Contributions to this list and suggestions from readers are most welcome!

 

This is a Tab Delimited text file which all spreadsheet programs will read. You will have to set the column widths as you please. To save column widths, save as full-featured spreadsheet file (e.g., .XLS, .XLSX, .ODS, etc.) In Microsoft Excel, if you are asked about the format of the file on loading, simply accept all settings by clicking “Finish.”

 

List of Works Known to be in Contemporary English

 

Contributions to this list and suggestions from readers are most  welcome!

Please be so kind as to use this form.

 

See above about Tab Delimited files.

 

About This Project

There exists a great storehouse of treasure in the form of writings by godly men, largely pastors, written in the 16th through 19th centuries. God refined, hardened and tempered many of these writers in the fires of persecution and hardship; their writings are not merely academic or speculative theology, but practical, hard-hitting, edifying, God-honoring works infused and inflamed with an awe of God’s majesty and holiness on the one hand, and the horror and devastation of human sin on the other hand. These two opposites lead directly to Christ crucified and risen, and thus to the authors’ pleas and insistence on the reader’s personal closure with Jesus Christ.

 

While older English literature remains readable by scholars and experienced readers of such works, many people in America and the English-speaking West have not been exposed to classic literature in any meaningful way due to both low standards of education and a decline in religion. More and more people reach adulthood without ever having set foot in a church, much less having read the King James Bible, the Westminster Catechisms or The Pilgrim’s Progress. As a result, classic works are simply inaccessible to many people. For others, the mental burden of translation distracts the reader and detracts from the author’s message and potential spiritual benefits.

 

In response to this problem, there are multiple writers and editors laboring to translate classic Christian literature to contemporary English, yours truly being among them. A difficult issue arises because there are often multiple publishers of classic works and it can be difficult for the would-be purchaser to quickly select an edition that is in contemporary English. For example, a search on Amazon.com for Thomas Brooks’ work, Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices returns 135 entries (116 with quotes). No information is given in the first few listings examined about whether the particular product / edition is in contemporary English or not. A general Internet search was equally fruitless.

 

It is for this reason that the editor is compiling the two lists presented on this site. The first list is of works that readers desire would be translated into contemporary English, and the second list is of works found by readers to have been well translated into contemporary English. Both lists contain the opinions of other people and have not been verified by the editor. The editor welcomes additions and corrections from readers.

 

Finally, the editor welcomes corrections, comments, and suggestions from readers of his own translations. The editor promises to give all submissions due consideration, but readers are asked to remember that no work can satisfy all readers. The editor does expect to release new editions from time to time that incorporate reader input or new scholarly findings.

 

You may email the editor at:

(To foil spammers, this is a graphic, not text.) The editor promises to respect the privacy of all contributors and will not publish or reveal the names of contributors of information. To God Alone Be Glory.             

                                                                                                Tom Sullivan

 

Copyright information

 

In general, works published on this web site may be freely copied and distributed, but published only with limitations. Please see the copyright notice included within each work for details.

 

Some works published on this web site contain extensive text from one or more translations of the Holy Bible by permission of its publisher. Prior to publishing such text, please review the copyright information in the work itself. In particular, one or more of the following permissions may apply. Note that these permissions apply only to the editor, and only to BeForgiven.INFO. Those wishing to publish covered Bible text must obtain their own permissions from the appropriate Bible publishers.

 

            (NASB) or (NASB95)

            Used by permission.

New American Standard Bible Copyright _ 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995

by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, Calif. All rights reserved. For Permission to Quote Information visit http://www.lockman.org.

 

(ESV)

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001

by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

For permission to publish, please visit http://www.crossway.org/rights-permissions/esv/

 

            (KJ3)

KJ3—Literal Translation Bible - 2005 Edition

Used by permission.

Copyright © 2005 — By Jay P. Green, Sr. — All Rights Reserved

For permission to publish, http://www.sgpbooks.com/cubecart/contact-us/info_2.html

            http://www.sgpbooks.com/cubecart/read-kj3-here.html

 

            (NKJV)

            Used under general permission to all authors.

            The New King James Bible, New Testament

Copyright © 1979 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

The New King James Bible, Old Testament

Copyright © 1980 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

 

            (WEB)

            WEB - World English Bible.

The World English Bible is a current work in the public domain.

See http://ebible.org for more information.

 

Privacy Policy

 

This site does not collect or store any information from or about you. This site is privately supported and does not sell anything or solicit or accept donations. Your privacy is completely respected. (External sites will have their own privacy policies and the editor is not responsible for external sites or their content. The server on which this site is hosted will typically collect some simple information such as your internet address, but no personally identifying information, and then only for a short time. In any event these are outside of the control of the editor.)