In his 350 page treatise, A Way to the Tree of Life, John White explores both the why’s and how’s for profitably reading the scriptures. The work is a practical guide, as illustrated by an appended calendar to completely read the bible in one year. An added bonus is White’s 90 page Digression concerning the Morality of the fourth Commandement which is strategically inserted between “directions for raising observations out of Scripture”.
The WAP’s transcription of this work begins with the first two chapters, where the reader is introduced to the need for preparation before reading the scriptures and the way in which the scriptures abundantly display God as their author. Each month additional chapters will be added.
John White (1575-1648) completed his education at Oxford in 1601 and accepted a call to the parish of St. Peter’s, Dorchester, in 1605, where he remained for over forty years. White was highly regarded in Dorchester, due in part to his leadership in rebuilding the town following a tragic fire in 1613 and in initiating a series of important social reforms. He also guided the town in ecclesiastical reform, especially as he fought the changes imposed by Archbishop William Laud. He was named to the Westminster Assembly in 1643, where he served as co-assessor to the prolocutor. During the Civil War, Dorchester suffered under the occupation of royalist forces, having earlier declared for Parliament. When White returned home in 1646, on account of ill health, he found his influence in Dorchester challenged by growing sectarian influences. In an effort to curb the doctrinal error that often fueled this sectarianism, White wrote The Way to the Tree of Life, which was printed in 1647, to ground the people in the one true source for ecclesiastical unity and the godly life: the Scriptures.