As many of you have noted, I have been away from my blog for a few weeks. What you may not know is why. We are currently facing a life-threatening disease in our extended family which has necessitated about 7200 miles of driving in the last month or so in two trips. Your prayers are needed and appreciated. But now that we have settled into a more “normal” routine again, I did want to take a moment to acknowledge the efforts of so many in bringing one volume of a larger project to print. I have been working on that volume since August of 2007 and it has now been made available for purchase as of two and a half weeks ago.
After quite a bit of work from quite a few hard-working and wonderful people, the first volume of the Classic Reformed Theology Series is out. For help with procuring original source material, I would like to thank Paul Fields, Lugene Schemper, and the generous staff for the use of the rare book collections at the Meeter Center and the Hekman Library at Calvin Seminary & College. I am also indebted to Dr. Sprunger for generously affording Jay Collier and I the use of his personal microfilm for this project. I am also indebted to the University of Michigan rare book collection for the use of the 1607 Tremellius-Junius-Beza edition of the Bible. For advice on the period as well as suggestions on the finer points of Reformed, scholastic methodology and exegesis, Dr. R. A. Muller has been a voluminous teacher, guide, and friend. I would like to thank the series editor, Dr. R. Scott Clark, and the copy editor, Martha Fisher, for their invaluable suggestions and advice in bringing this translation to print. I would also like to thank Jay Collier, the director of publishing at Reformation Heritage Books, for his dream of translating and printing this work in the first place, a keen eye, and faithful encouragement throughout this work. It was also a distinct joy to collaborate truly on the introduction with Dr. Joel Beeke. There are also a host of others – most importantly my wife especially, but also family, friends, and colleagues – that steadily and consistently encouraged me in this endeavor. This project has been a rich experience for me both academically and personally. It is a different kind of work than I have ever engaged in – most of one’s days as a translator on a project like this are spent in an academic cloister of sorts in order to bring this about – long days (and nights!) in a windowless office in a library in deep intellectual conversation with the past. The fruits of the labor though are a close examination of not only an author’s thought but also his quirks of expression and, as it were, riches of his theological dialect.
It is my hope that this work would prove useful for not only the academic world of 17th century Puritan studies but also for the Church. In the “learned William Ames” we see all the rigors of his own academic training and scriptural erudition focused on the life well lived before God. It is no wonder then that we find in his exposition of the very first Lord’s Day a unified discussion of the summum bonum and the only sure comfort and consolation in life and death. Just one piece of many evidences that the goal of Ames’ theology is a seamless integration of the life of the mind and of the will, of theory and practice. And after continued exposure to Ames’ thought, writings, and sources, I must say I am the better for it. My hope is that this little work will be studied for its historical significance as a test case of a clear union of learned, Reformed exegesis, Ramist/modified-Aristotelian scholastic method, and a vibrant confessionalism. Beyond the academic studying of it, I hope that it will be reflected upon personally regarding one’s own faith and life.
FYI: The best (and least expensive) place to purchase this volume is from Reformation Heritage Books here.