Review: “Looking Unto Jesus”
Looking Unto Jesus: The Christ-Centered Piety of Seventeenth-Century Baptists
J. Stephen Yuille
Pickwick Publications, 2013, 120pp., paperback, $15/£10
The substance of this wonderfully rich little book consists of a pithy introduction offering four reasons why the author keeps returning to the Puritans, then two treatises by early Particular Baptists of Puritanic stamp (Thomas Wilcox and Vavasor Powell), each followed by an essay in which Yuille chews over the substance of the treatise. For me, the high point of the book was Wilcox’s Guide to Eternal Glory (also known as Honey from the Rock and Christ is All), a sustained panegyric to the sufficiency and sweetness of Christ. Yuille’s treatment cannot add to its tone and substance, but demonstrates the consistency of Wilcox’s work with the best of Puritanism as a whole. Powell’s short piece consists of three ‘re-imagined’ conversations between Christ and a publican, a Pharisee and a troubled saint (in Yuille’s assessment, the troubled penitent, the moral hypocrite, and the anxious disciple). Yuille demonstrates how, in response to the specific circumstances of each, Christ is presented as Shepherd, Judge and Husband, so answering each case. Whether as simple servings of sweet spiritual sustenance or cookery lessons for pastors and preachers learning to dish up the same, this excellent volume presents ‘Puritan’ and Baptist experimental piety at its purest and best. Sit and eat!