A Golden Chain
OR The Description of Theology, Containing the Order of the Causes of Salvation and Damnation, according to God’s Word
“You will profit greatly as you read.” – James M. Renihan
Written by William Perkins (1558-1602), A Golden Chain is one of the best treatments of the doctrines of election and reprobation ever written. Due to its controversial nature, it is one of the few significant and influential works written by a Puritan which has not been widely republished as a standalone version. In this version of A Golden Chain, transcribed from the 1597 edition of Perkins’ work, it has been lightly abridged and modernised with simplified language and new structural diagrams. This release also includes a brief introduction to both Perkins’ life and work written by Perkins scholar, Matthew Payne.
“Few books may truly be called seminal in the primary sense of that term, but William Perkins’ A Golden Chain certainly deserves that adjective. Reflecting the best thinking of the 16th century English reformation, it is an abundant deposit of the most valuable theology mined from holy scripture. It does not simply contain the occasional nugget, nor is it merely gilded around the edges. This cart is full of rich ore, a treasure central to the development of the riches of English puritan theology. Joined with a judicious introduction, this reprint provides the reader with an accessible introduction to the works of a leading and justly famous Church of England Puritan. You will profit greatly as you read.”
– Dr. James M. Renihan | President of IRBS Theological Seminary, Mansfield, Texas
“Perkins’s Golden Chain takes its character from the Apostle Paul’s ‘chain’ in Romans 8:28-30. Perkins intended the Golden Chain as an ‘ocular catechism’. The table readily connects with scripture. The diagram does not express fatalism, as some have supposed. It is a portrayal of divine free grace, the great acts of God and their consequences, using Paul as the inspiration. If we survey the context, we find that the chain has other stages, beginning with adoption (v.29f.) and ending with a splendidly-worded account of perseverance (verse 37 to the end of the chapter), when the power of divine grace is such that neither ‘height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus or Lord’. From eternity to eternity the triune God is fully engaged.
The editors clearly have similar gifts to Perkins, providing other supplementary charts which mark a person’s state in grace. They give their readers a context of Perkins, of his era and his various gifts. They are to be congratulated on the production of this significant book on Puritanism and the Reformed faith, one that remains relevant today.”
– Dr. Paul Helm | Emeritus Professor of the History and Philosophy of Religion, King’s College, London