The book was re-issued with subsequent additions, including part two, The Godly Man's Portion and Sanctuary, in 1663; part three, Heaven Opened, The Riches of God's Covenant, in 1666 (published as a separate work in 1665); and part four, The World Conquered by the Faithful Christian, in 1668. Part two was republished by EEBO in 2010. Part three includes two chapters written by Joseph Alleine (Richard's nephew and son-in-law), and was republished by Soli Deo Gloria Publications in 2000, and also by EEBO in 2010. Part four was republished by SDG in 1995. It became an instant Puritan devotional classic that has profoundly affected many.
It is said that Vindiciae Pietatis "did much to mend this bad world." Edmund Calamy the Historian gives an account of the book's history and its impact on one reader.
Edmund Calamy, The Nonconformist' Memorial (Samuel Palmer, ed.), Vol. 3, p. 168:
His books entitled Vindiciae Pietatis, tho' manifestly tending to promote true piety, could not be licensed, but they were greedily bought up and read by sober people and have been very instrumental to reform the world. They were so saleable, that the King's bookseller caused a great part of the impression to be seized, because unlicensed, and sent to the King's kitchen, from whence he bought them for a trifle, bound them up, and sold them in his own shop. This was at length complained of: and he was forced to beg pardon upon his knees at the council-table, and send them back again to the King's kitchen to be bisk'd, i.e. to be rubbed over with an inky brush. § The following remarkable anecdote concerning this work was related by Mr. John Thomas, the late aged and worthy minister at the Pithay meeting in Bristol. He knew a man in Yorkshire who stole this book from a sale near Colne in Lancashire, and was converted by reading it. After which he brought it back to the owner, Mr. T. Sawley, with penitence, and with thankfulness to God, who had over-ruled his theft to the salvation of his soul. Communicated by Dr. Ryland, who received it from Mr. Thomas.
John Wesley, who published extracts from Vindiciae Pietatis in his Christian Library, borrowed from it to institute in 1755 the Methodist practice of Covenant Renewal services. In 1780, he published a pamphlet with directions on how to renew the covenant which included Alleine's words exactly. The covenant renewal liturgy, as it has come to be known, became associated with an annual New Year's Day service rather than the modern weekly covenant renewal liturgy that occurs in some Reformed circles today.
One day, perhaps, the entire work will be republished. It is a treasure that is worth uncovering, and has much to teach us today. Though royal censors tried to destroy Vindiciae Pietatis and the experimental religion it represented, they could kill neither. You can't keep a good man, or a good book, down.