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All Things for Good (Puritan Paperbacks) Paperback – June 1, 1986
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'This book merits unhurried and attentive reading; I did not turn a page without stopping to reflect. Watson is rightly regarded as one of the most vivid and engaging Puritan writers, as you will discover. While the style of 'All Things For Good is impressive', the argument is sublime. Watson exhaustively examines each section of this verse.' --Joey Cochran
About the Author
Thomas Watson (1620 1686) was an English, Nonconformist, Puritan preacher and author. He was educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where he was noted for remarkably intense study. In 1646 he commenced a sixteen-year pastorate at St. Stephen's, Walbrook. He showed strong Presbyterian views during the civil war, with, however, an attachment to the king, and in 1651 he was imprisoned briefly with some other ministers for his share in Christopher Love's plot to recall Charles II of England. He was released on 30 June 1652, and was formally reinstated as vicar of St. Stephen's Walbrook.
He obtained great fame and popularity as a preacher until the Restoration, when he was ejected for Nonconformity. Notwithstanding the rigor of the acts against dissenters, Watson continued to exercise his ministry privately as he found opportunity. Upon the Declaration of Indulgence in 1672 he obtained a license to preach at the great hall in Crosby House.
After preaching there for several years, his health gave way, and he retired to Barnston, Essex, where he died suddenly while praying in secret. He was buried on 28 July 1686.
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An elderly pastor friend mentioned Thomas Watson's book in a passing conversation. I had never heard of Thomas Watson, but downloaded the Kindle version. What I found was a GREAT book I have enjoyed very much. Thomas Watson lived 1620-1686 and was an English, Non-Conformist, Puritan preacher and author. He published "All Things For Good" around 1660. The Kindle version uses "modern day language" for the most part (although there are some "interesting" archaic words retained you will probably chuckle over). There are nine chapters that do a superb job of "fleshing out" HOW all things work together for good...for those who love God, etc. Chapter One takes on how the BEST things work for good to the Godly. Chapter Two takes on the opposite - how the WORST things work for good to the Godly.
Chapter two and how the worst things work for good is what has been very helpful to myself and others. Watson lays out, in simple language, how afflictions work for good. It is not a shallow treatment of this sensitive subject but examines afflictions from many angles. There are many good books on "why things happen to good people" but this is the original. Watson provides many helpful insights and solid thinking about how the worst things work for good, with absolutely NO sugar-coating or covering up the fact the worst things ARE, in fact, the worst. In this chapter Watson also writes how "the evil of temptation works for good" - just one of his insights being that "temptation works for good, as it is a touch-stone to try what is in the heart." Just this one sentence can facilitate a great conversation among men who fight temptation on a daily basis. In the next paragraph, Watson writes a great thought completely useful today..."Temptations work for good, as God makes those who are tempted, fit to comfort others in the same distress...A man that has ridden over a place where there are bogs and quick sands, is the fittest to guide others through that dangerous way..." Have you ever thought how temptations work for good as they make us "long more for heaven?" Watson did and writes it down here. Have you thought much about how "the evil of sin works for good to the godly?" Watson did and lays out several pages of thought on how both OUR sin and the sins of others work for good. What he wrote in 1660-something could have been written yesterday - "...the people of God pray against the iniquity of the times, that God will give a check to sin, that He will put sin to the blush. If they cannot pray down sin, they pray against it; and this God takes kindly. These prayers shall both be recorded and rewarded. Though we do not prevail in prayer, we shall not lose our prayers. "MY PRAYER RETURNED INTO MINE OWN BOSOM" (Psalm 35:13).
Watson includes many reference verses - as above - throughout his book, so there is plenty to back up what he wrote. I am on my second and third readings of several sub-chapters of his book and am enjoying his work very much. Highly recommended!
How can the Lord work trials ,both great and small,to bless and help His people? In this masterful treatise Watson shows us how this can be. In the first section of the first chapter we see that it is God's attributes, that being His power,His wisdom and His goodness that are operative in His children's behalf.
The Puritans were master physicians of the soul. One cannot help but think that the depth of their understanding on how God uses affiction and trials in the lives of believers was not just in theory but in large part experiential as well. Just a brief sketch of many of their lives would reveal that to be the case.
They also realized that whatever brings Christians nearer to God was to be seen as an evidence of His love and a desire to abundantly bless them.
A couple of brief quotes will hopefully give a small glimpse of the great depth that is so abundant in the written legacy that the Puritans have left us: p.31"How do afflictions make us happy,we reply that,being sanctified,they bring us nearer to God." p.52" God does not deal alike with all ,He has trials for the strong and cordials for the weak... if God does not give you that which you like,he will give you that which you need."
In Christ's school of learning ,(how the Lord providentially uses affliction,temptation and sin)for the believers good ,the Puritans are masterful teachers,and books such as 'All things for Good' should not be neglected to help instruct us in these important matters.
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Highly recommended for the sure and unsure alike
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