Bolton’s aim in this book was that we might grow more fruitful: in every good work (Col 1.10), in fervency of spirit or zeal (Rom 12.11), in purity (1Jn 3.3), in heavenly mindedness (Phil 3.20; Col 3.2), and in precise walking (Eph 5.15), with singular watchfulness upon ourselves and the more punctual and frequent search and perusal of our spiritual state, 2Pet 1.10.He wrote: “my prayer shall be, that you may shine every day, more and more gloriously in all personal sanctify and in a holy zeal for setting forward the affairs of God, when and wheresoever you have any power or calling. That when the last period of your mortal abode in this vale of tears shall present itself, you may look death in the face without dread, into the grave without fear, upon Jesus with comfort, and upon Jehovah with everlasting joy.”––Let me debunk the criticism that the Puritans were legalistic or too precise. We only think them to be legalistic or overly precise in their exhortations to piety because we’re so worldly that we think worldliness is normal for a Christian. A Puritan was someone who tried to bring his entire life under the Word of God & live a godly life; which he did, not out of a spirit of legalism, but out of love for his Saviour. Out of deep love for and gratitude to Christ & out of an overwhelming sense of his indebtedness to God for His grace & mercy, he strove to live a life that was shaped entirely by Scripture, faithful in duty, and Christ centered. Who would dare fault him for that & which one of us is prepared to say that God expects less from us or any of His children? Let us, then, be men & women of singular piety.


Dr. James La Belle

Pastor La Belle was born in Florida, raised in Alabama until he was 15 years old, and then lived in Washington until he was 30, when he and his family left for Seminary in Philadelphia. He and his wife Chantry have been married for 24 years and have 7 children from ages 19 to 9: River, Schylie, Forrest, Terra, Sandy, Rocky, and Chantry. Pastor La Belle has published two books with Joel Beeke (Living by God's Promises and Living Zealously), with a third forthcoming (Living for God's Glory in Marriage) and is currently working on a Doctorate in Puritan Studies.

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