The Heart in Pilgrimage: A Treasury of Classic Devotionals on the Christian Life – Leland Ryken

The Heart in Pilgrimage Leland Ryken
The Heart in Pilgrimage: A Treasury of Classic Devotionals on the Christian Life by Leland Ryken
Also by this author: Recovering the Lost Art of Reading: A Quest for the True, the Good, and the Beautiful, 40 Favorite Hymns of the Christian Faith: A Closer Look at Their Spiritual and Poetic Meaning, Journey to Bethlehem: A Treasury of Classic Christmas Devotionals
Published by Crossway on November 8, 2022
Genres: Non-Fiction, Christian Life, Devotional, Theology
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A Beautiful Collection of 50 Classic Devotionals

Christians throughout the ages have written devotionals as a way to bend their souls toward God and teach about him, communicating rich truths and encouraging readers to grow in grace and godliness. In this collection of 50 devotionals and creeds by figures such as Augustine, John Calvin, and Nathaniel Hawthorne, literary expert Leland Ryken introduces readers to insightful selections of their classic writings. Each entry contains a devotional passage from a historical figure, analysis by Ryken, and a concluding Bible passage to help readers understand and appreciate the literary beauty and spiritual truths they contain. Literary-inclined readers and first-time devotional readers alike will relish this one-of-a-kind anthology carefully compiled to help them encounter God in fresh ways.

Written by Leland Ryken: A literary expert with over 50 years of teaching experience
Perfect for Daily Devotions: With a ribbon marker to keep your place in the book, each entry includes a historical devotional passage, analysis by Ryken, and a concluding Bible passage
Features 50 Devotionals and Creeds from Church History: Features writers such as John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, George MacDonald, Thomas à Kempis, Jane Austen, and J. I. Packer

This beautiful devotional book features Leland Ryken’s selections of fifty historic devotional readings, along with his explanations of them. The readings are usually less than two pages long, and Ryken’s explanations are often equal in length. He shares historical context for each writing, and provides literary and spiritual analysis. His goal for this book is for people to read the devotional, read his writing, and then read the devotional again to more fully appreciate its literary quality and depth of meaning. This book will appeal to people who enjoy historical writings and literary reflection. The selections cover a broad range of time periods and spiritual topics, and the authors represented here include both household names and obscure writers.

As Ryken explains in the introduction, many devotionals become repetitive and stale, so he tried to keep his selections engaging, avoiding constant repetition and including some surprising, unexpected choices, like a faith testimony from William Shakespeare’s last will and testament. Ryken prioritized using writings that have aged out of copyright, so these are mostly very old writings, but they come from a wide range of times, places, and locations. My one significant critique is that this book almost exclusively draws from the spiritual heritage of European and American writers, without including writings from the rest of the global Christian world.

The Heart in Pilgrimage: A Treasury of Classic Devotionals on the Christian Life will appeal to people who enjoy powerful historical writings, and who prefer devotional books that don’t require a particular schedule. People can dip in and out of this book at any time, and because the table of contents includes titles for each reading, someone can read the book straight through or choose writings that seem topically appropriate for them at the moment. This book is also very aesthetically pleasing, and would make a nice gift. The book has a burgundy cover with gold trim, a ribbon bookmark, and high-quality cream paper, and the typesetting has good margins. Overall, this is a unique, beautiful, and well-crafted collection of devotional readings.