As for me, I am poor and needy,
but the Lord takes thought for me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
do not delay, O my God! Psalm 40:17
The poor in spirit view themselves as destitute of all true spiritual good whatsoever; ‘I am deprived of your image, and have no spiritual life that in any way will work for me to eternal life.’ The poor in spirit are sensible of all the spiritual evils that are upon them, and the corruptions that are in the soul: ‘O the vermin that creeps about me continually! If I could work for myself, I would not be so extremely poor, but I can do nothing for myself to enrich my soul. If I but had a friend that could help me, but there is no one to help me in my poor condition, no angels in heaven or men in the world. If there was some excellence in me, there might be some hope that someone will consider my worth, but I have none. By nature I am worthless. If perhaps, though I cannot do something now, maybe later I might be able to do something. This might give me some hope, but I am so much in debt, that as soon as I earn anything, my creditors take it all away. I am so poor before God, that, though I make some payments for my current bills, I can never pay the debt that is past. Suppose that I receive something to help me for the present, I will need more later. I must live under continual alms.’ This is poverty of spirit. The poor in spirit live upon continual dependence. They have nothing in themselves but that which is given to them. They do not know how to use what they have without help. They are dependent upon new supplies of grace every moment. They are destitute of all spiritual good, they have woeful spiritual miseries upon them; they are not able to work at all, having no friend or worth to commend them to another. O what a poor creature that is in such a condition! Now for a man to see this, and to be made aware of it, here is a man that is poor in spirit.
Over the past fifty years there has been a great resurgence of interest in the writings of the Puritans. The reading of their works has brought great benefit to the people of God in many lands. Christians from many different backgrounds and cultures owe a great debt of gratitude to those faithful pastors and preachers who continue to speak through their writings even though they have long since entered into their heavenly reward. The Puritans really knew how to teach and apply God’s Word in the Spirit’s power!
Richard Rushing has compiled this book of daily devotional readings from his favorite Puritan authors because of the great help he has gained from their works. “How thrilling it has been for me to read the Puritans on the glory and attributes of God, divine providence, fellowship with God, holiness of life and the mortification of indwelling sin, heavenly mindedness, prayer, evangelistic zeal, and trust in the Lord during times of affliction. At every turn these truths are eloquently taught, faithfully applied, and kindly offered as the subject of sweet spiritual meditation.”
This book is sent forth with the prayer that it will open a door to the vast stores of treasure to be found in the writings of the Puritans and that it will stimulate further exploration of this rich spiritual inheritance.