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HEAVEN UPON EARTH: Jesus, The Best Friend in the Worst Times
James Janeway

James Janeway (1636-1674) was born in Hertfordshire, the son of a minister, at the end of 1636. He was educated at Christ's College, Oxford, and spent time as a private tutor in a home, as is true of many of the Puritans. He is listed as one of the ejected ministers of 1662. In 1672 his admirers built a large meeting house for him near London, where it is said that "he had a very numerous auditory, and a great reformation was wrought amongst many." But Janeway's popularity so enraged the Church of England that several times they threatened to shoot him, which was actually attempted on at least two occasions. On one of these occasions, Janeway was shot at, and the bullet pierced his hat, but did not harm his body. Soldiers destroyed the building in which he preached, but his congregation simply built another, larger one to accomodate all those who came to hear him preach.

"Heaven upon Earth is as precious as the finest gold. Its author, James Janeway, stirs the hearts of his readers, not to rest in a cold, speculative knowledge of God, but to seek that experimental knowledge of Him which enflames hearts, transforms lives, and affords unspeakable happiness throughout eternity. There is no friend in all the world Like Jesus Christ, our blessed Savior! So take this book, read it prayerfully, and discover for yourselves the intimacy of His blessed presence and company." -Malcolm H. Watts

As was true of many Puritan ministers, Janeway was afflicted with melancholy (depression), contracted tuberculosis, and died in his 38th year. The book for which he is most known is A Token for Children, in which he collected personal accounts of the conversions of a number of children in his parish, and published it. It became an effective evangelistic tool, and was the most widely read book in nurseries in England next to the Bible and Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan. The New England preacher Cotton Mather regarded that book so highly that he wrote his own version of it and called it A Token for the Children of New England.

The cover image is the painting of The Great Fire of London from 1666 which took place at the very time Janeway was delivering these addresses. The complete sub-title of this Puritan masterpiece is: Jesus, the Best Friend in the Worst Times, being an earnest exhortation to get acquainted with God, as the only way to real good and blessedness.

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