For years, William Gouge’s Domestical Duties has stood as the foremost Puritan treatment of Christian family life. Yet due to its size and antiquated expression, it has become almost unknown among current generations of believers. To help revive the usefulness of this classic book, Scott Brown and Joel R. Beeke divided Gouge’s work into manageable volumes, updated the language to modern standards, and retitled it Building a Godly Home. Gouge show us that when the Word is the rule of our duty, duty becomes delight, so that we can truly enjoy family life in the fear of God.
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Few issues spell countercultural Christianity as does a biblical view of the home and its various relationships and responsibilities. Those like the seventeenth-century Presbyterian William Gouge, who provided a lengthy exposition of domestic life as outlined in Scripture, got themselves into trouble with those who viewed biblical teaching burdensome (Gouge was vilified by wealthy city women, for example). But domestic reform is essential if we are to reflect godliness in the home, and Gouge’s once enormously popular Of Domestical Duties is without equal in describing what it looks like. A masterful guide, Gouge is pastoral, clear-headed, thoughtful, and eminently Bible-focused as he writes about the tasks, ideals, and problems of Christian family life. Once as popular as Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress and Matthew Henry’s Commentary, Gouge’s Of Domestical Duties deserves a central place in the modern Christian home.
—Derek W.H. Thomas, senior minister, First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, South Carolina
William Gouge (1575–1653) was a Puritan minster who served for 45 years at St. Ann Blackfriars in London and was a member of the Westminster Assembly. He and his wife, Elizabeth, had thirteen children.
Scott Brown is the director of the National Center for Family-Integrated Churches and an elder at Hope Baptist Church in Wake Forest, North Carolina. He earned his MDiv from Talbot School of Theology.
Joel R. Beeke is president and professor of systematic theology and homiletics at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, pastor of the Heritage Netherlands Reformed Congregation in Grand Rapids, Michigan, editorial director of Reformation Heritage Books, and editor of the Banner of Sovereign Grace Truth. He has written, coauthored, or edited 70 books.