It has been said that the Puritans were “physicians of the soul” and when you read them you quickly realize that they understood the frailties of human nature. Perhaps no Puritan writer is as well known as John Owen and it could be argued that of all his works that have been gathered into a 23 volume series by Banner of Truth, it is his work titled Temptation and Sin that is most often cited. Owen makes the point that we live in a daily battle against sin. He writes,
Sin doth not only still abide in us, but is still acting, still laboring to bring forth the deeds of the flesh. When sin lets us alone we may let sin alone; but as sin is never less quiet than when it seems to be the most quiet, and its waters are for the most part deep when they are still, so ought our contrivances against it to be vigorous as all times and in all conditions, even where there is the least suspicion (11).
We pastors are sinners and we care for sinners. We need to fully understand the nature and characteristic of sin if we are help those entrusted to our care. The Puritans have not always been understood or appreciated, but they were excellent pastors and we shepherds do well to read and appreciate them for the pastoral care they can teach us.