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All Things for Good (Puritan Paperbacks) Paperback – June 1, 1986
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From the Publisher
All Things for Good
Thomas Watson’s book All Things For Good provides the biblical answer to the contemporary question; Why do bad things happen to good people?
Thomas Watson, the 17th century minister of St. Stephen’s Walbrook, believed he faced two great difficulties in his pastoral ministry. The first was making the unbeliever sad, in the recognition of his need of God’s grace. The second was making the believer joyful in response to God’s grace. He believed the answer to the second difficulty could be found in Paul’s teaching in Romans 8.28: God works all things together for good for his people.
First published in 1663 (under the title A Divine Cordial), the year after Watson and some two thousand other ministers were ejected from the Church of England and exposed to hardship and suffering, All Things For Good contains the rich exposition of a man who lived when only faith in God’s Word could lead him to such confidence.
|The Godly Man's Picture by Thomas Watson||The Doctrine of Repentance by Thomas Watson||Communion with God by John Owen|
|Topic||Spiritual Growth, Christian Living||Spiritual Growth, Salvation, Repentance||Spiritual Growth, God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit|
|Series||Puritan Paperbacks||Puritan Paperbacks||Puritan Paperbacks|
|Original Pub Date||1666||1668||1657|
Thomas Watson (c. 1620-1686), the Puritan preacher and author, was probably born in Yorkshire, although the exact place and date of his birth are unknown. He studied at Emmanuel College, Cambridge (BA, 1639; MA, 1642), where he was apparently a diligent student. Certainly his intellect is apparent in his writings, which show a profound grasp of the English language, as well as a solid understanding of Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. He quotes from the early church fathers, and his familiarity with the breadth of the scriptural canon is stunning. Cross-references from the entire biblical corpus are sprinkled throughout his sermons, revealing a deep understanding of many texts obscure to most modern day Bible students. A solid understanding of history, botany, medicine, physics, the classics, logic, and various trades are revealed in his sermons.
About the Author
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.
- Item Weight : 4.8 ounces
- Paperback : 128 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0851514782
- ISBN-13 : 978-0851514789
- Product Dimensions : 4.7 x 0.4 x 7.1 inches
- Publisher : Banner of Truth; Reprint Edition (June 1, 1986)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #347,934 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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"All things work together for good" (Romans 8:28).
This expression refers to medicine. Several poisonous ingredients put together, being tempered by the skill of the apothecary, make a sovereign medicine, and work together for the good of the patient. So all God's providences being divinely tempered and sanctified, do work together for the best of the saints. He who loves God and is called according to His purpose, may rest assured that every thing in the world shall be for his good. This is a Christian's cordial which may warm him.
CHAPTER 1: THE BEST THINGS WORK FOR GOOD TO THE GODLY
Are we under the guilt of sin? There is a promise, "The Lord merciful and gracious" (Exodus 34:6), where God as it were puts on His glorious embroidery, and holds out the golden scepter, to encourage poor trembling sinners to come to Him. God is more willing to pardon than to punish. Mercy does more multiply in Him than sin in us. He shows mercy, not because we deserve it, but because He delights in mercy.
Prayer works for good. Prayer is the bellows of the affection; it blows up holy desires and ardors of soul. Prayer has power with God. It is a key that unlocks the treasury of God's mercy. Prayer keeps the heart open to God and shut to sin. It assuages the intemperate hearts and swellings of lust. It was Luther's counsel to a friend, when he perceived a temptation beginning to arise, to betake himself to prayer. Prayer is the Christian's gun which he discharges against his enemies. Prayer is the sovereign medicine of the soul. Prayer sanctifies every mercy (1 Timothy 4:5). It is the dispeller of sorrow. By venting the grief it eases the heart. When Hannah had prayed, "she went away, and was no more sad" (1 Samuel 1:18).
Christ is in heaven. He prays for all believers as well as He did for the apostles. "Neither pray I for these alone but for all of them that shall believe in Me" (John 17:20). He prays three things for Christians. First, that the saints may be kept from sin (John 17:15). "I pray that Thou shouldest keep them from evil." Second, He prays for His people's holiness. "Sanctify them" (John 17:17). Third, He prays for Christians' glorification. "Father, I will that those Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am" (John 17:24).
CHAPTER 2: THE WORST THINGS WORK FOR GOOD TO THE GODLY
Temptations work for good. The devil tempts us, that he may deceive; but God suffers us to be tempted to try us. Temptation is a trial of our sincerity. It argues that our heart is chaste and loyal to Christ, when we can look a temptation in the face, and turn our back on it.
Temptations work for good, as they stir up paternal compassion in God to them who are tempted. When a saint lies under the bruising of temptations, Christ prays, and the Father pities. When Satan puts the soul into a fever, God comes with a cordial; which made Luther say, that temptations are Christ's embraces, because He them most sweetly manifests Himself to the soul.
Temptations work for good, as they make the saints long more for heaven. Heaven is a place of rest with no temptation.
Temptations work for good, as they engage the strength of Christ. He is our Friend, and when we are tempted, He sets all His power working for us. "For in that He Himself hath suffered, being tempted, He is able to succor them that are tempted" (Hebrews 2:18). He gives fresh supplies of grace. "Through Him we are more than conquerors" (Romans 8:37).
CHAPTER 3: WHY ALL THINGS WORK FOR GOOD
The grand reason why all things work for good, is the near and dear interest which God has in His people. The Lord has made a covenant with them. "They shall be My people, and I will be their God" (Jeremiah 32:38). By virtue of this compact, all things do, and must work, for good to them. "I am God, even thy God" (Psalm 50:7). This word, "thy God," is the sweetest word in the Bible, it implies the best relations; and it is impossible there should be relations between God and His people, and everything not work out for good. "Thy God" implies the relation of a Father. A father loves a child; therefore whether it be a smile or a stroke, it is for the good of the child. I am thy God, thy Father, therefore all I do is for thy good. "Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him" (Psalms 103:13).
If all things work for good, the things do not work of themselves, but God sets them working. God is the great Disposer of all events and issues. "His kingdom rules over all" (Psalm 103:19). Things in the world are not governed by second causes, by the counsels of men, by the stars and planets, but by divine providence. There are three things in providence: God's foreknowing, God's determining, and God's directing all things to their working. Providence has an influence upon all things here below.
We glorify God when we have done our best, and then transfer all the glory to Him. The apostle Paul said, "I labored more abundantly than they all [the apostles], yet not I, but the grace of God with me" (1 Corinthians 15:10).
CHAPTER 4: OF LOVE TO GOD
Our love to God must be with the whole heart. "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart" (Mark 12:30). In the old law, the priest was not to marry with a widow, because he had not her first love, and not to marry a harlot, because he had not all her love. God will have our whole heart.
It must be a sincere love. "Grace be will all them that love our Lord Jesus in sincerity" (Ephesians 6:24). Our love to God is sincere when it is pure and without self-interest. We must love Christ, as Augustine says, for Himself. God's beauty and love must be the two loadstones to draw our love to Him. We must love God more for what He is, than for what He bestows.
We must love God above all other objects. "There is nothing on earth that I desire beside Thee" (Psalm 73:25). God is the quintessence of all good things. He is superlatively good. The soul seeing a super eminence in God, and admiring in Him that constellation of all excellencies, is carried out in love to Him in the highest degree. The measure of our love to God, says Bernard, must be to love God without measure. God, who is the chief of our happiness, must have the chief of our affections. The creature may have the milk of our love, but God must have the cream.
CHAPTER 5: THE TESTS OF LOVE TO GOD
The fourteen signs of our love for God:
1. We think of God. (Psalm 63:6) "When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches."
2. We desire communion with Him (Psalm 84:2) "My soul longed and even yearned for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God."
3. We grieve over our sins (Matthew 26:75) "And Peter went out and wept bitterly" after denying Jesus three times.
4. We tell others about Him. (Acts 4:20) "We [Peter and John] cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.
5. We ache when God is dishonored (2 Peter 2:7). "Lot" was "oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men."
6. We hate sin. (Hosea 14:8) "O Ephraim, what more have I to do with idols?"
7. We crucify ourselves to the world. (Galatians 6:14) "May it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world."
(1 John 2:15) "Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him."
8. We fear displeasing Him. (Genesis 39:9) Joseph said, "How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?" Joseph resisted the advances of Potiphar's wife.
We are jealous for God. (1 Samuel 4:13) Eli's "heart was trembling for the ark of God."
9. We love His Word. (Psalm 119:103) "How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" We love His day. (Isaiah 58:13) "If you call the sabbath a delight, the holy day of the Lord honorable." We love His laws. (Psalm 119:97) "Oh how I love Your law! It is my mediation all the day." We love other Christians. (1 John 5:1) "Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him."
10. We have good thoughts of God. (1 Corinthians 13:5) "Love thinks no evil."
11. We obey God. (John 14:2) "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments."
We forgive (Ephesians 4:32) "Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you." We suffer for Him. (Acts 21:14) Paul said, "I am ready not only to be bound, but even to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus." (1 Corinthians 13:7) "Love bears all things."
12. We make God appear glorious in the eyes of others.
13. We long for Christ's appearing. (2 Timothy 4:8) Paul said, "there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing."
14. We serve Christ in the humblest ways. (Galatians 3:32,24) "Whatever you do, do your work heartily as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.
CHAPTER 6: AN EXHORTATION TO LOVE GOD
Let me earnestly persuade all who bear the name of Christians to become lovers of God. "Oh love the Lord, all you His saints" (Psalms 31:23). Men are by nature haters of God (Romans 1:30). All the strength in men or angels cannot make the heart love God. Ordinances will not do it of themselves, nor judgments. It is only the almighty and invincible power of the Spirit of God that can infuse love into the soul. This being so hard a work, it calls upon us for the more earnest prayer and endeavor after this angelic grace of love. Why are the angels so swift and winged in God's service? It is because they love Him. He that loves God is never weary of serving Him.
God has deserved our love. How He has loved us! What a miracle of love is it, that God should love us, when there was nothing lovely in us. What love, passing understanding, was it to give Christ to us! That Christ should die for sinners! God has set all the angels in heaven wondering at this love. Oh the living love of a dying Savior! I think I see Christ upon the cross bleeding all over! I think I hear Him say to us, "Reach hither your hands. Put them into My sides. Feel My bleeding heart. See if I do not love you. And will you not bestow your love upon Me? Will you love the world more than Me? Did the world appease the wrath of God for you? Have I not done all this?"
(1 John 4:19) "We love Him, because He first loved us." Oh, says the soul, if I knew God loved me, I could rejoice! Do you love God? Then you may be sure of God's love to you. Our love is nothing but the reflection of God's love. If you do not love God, then you will love something else, either the world or sin. Are those worthy of your love? If you set your love on worldly things, they will not satisfy. "In the fullness of his plenty he will be cramped" (Job 20:22).
How do we love God? Study Him. The more we study Him, the more we love Him. Take a view of His superlative excellencies, His holiness, His incomprehensible goodness.
(Psalms 63:1) "Oh God, Thou art my God." That pronoun "my" is a sweet lodestone to love. A man loves that which is his own. Increase your love to God. (Philippians 1:9) "And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more."
CHAPTER 7: EFFECTUAL CALLING
There is an inward call, when God wonderfully overpowers the heart, and draws the will to embrace Christ. It is a holy calling. (2 Timothy 1:9) "who has saved us and called us with a holy calling." A Christian's heart is to be the chamber of the blessed Trinity. Believers are children of God the Father, members of God the Son, and temples of God the Holy Spirit. Holiness is a badge of God's people. (1 Thessalonians 4:7) "For God has not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness."
(Philippians 3:14) "I press toward the mark, for the prize of the high calling of God." It is a high calling because we are called to high exercises of religion -- to die to sin, to be crucified to the world, to live by faith, to have fellowship with the Father (1 John 1:3).
It is a glorious call. (1 Peter 5:10) "The God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ." We are called to the enjoyment of the ever blessed God, as if a man was called out of prison to sit upon a throne. God calls us to virtue first, and then to glory (2 Peter 1:3). He has no design upon us, but to make us happy. He calls us to salvation. He calls us to a kingdom. Oh, how should we then, with blind Bartimeus, throw off our ragged coat of sin, and follow Christ when He calls!
It is a rare call. Few are savingly called. (Matthew 22:14) "Many are called, but few are chosen."
(Revelation 3:4) "You have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy."
It is an effectual calling. There is a change wrought in one's understanding. (John 9:25) "Whereas I was blind, now I see." (Romans 12:2) "Be transformed by the renewing of your mind." There is a change in one's will. The will, which before opposes Christ, now embraces Him. (Acts 9:6) Paul asked, "Lord, what would You have me do?" There is a change in the conduct. (Ephesians 5:8) "For you were formerly in darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord, walk as children of the Light."
We are called to be not of this world. (Hebrews 3:1) "partakers of a heavenly calling." We are to be IN the world, but not OF the world. (John 17:14,15) Jesus prayed, "They [His apostles] are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I do not ask you to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one."
CHAPTER 8: EXHORTATIONS TO THOSE WHO ARE CALLED
(1 Corinthians 1:26-28) "For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God."
Admire and adore God's free grace in calling you! That God should pass over so many, that He should pass by the wise and noble, and that the lot of free grace should fall upon you! That He should take you out of a state of vassalage, from grinding the devil's mill, and should set you above the princes of the earth, and call you to inherit the throne of glory! Fall upon your knees, break forth into a triumph of praise. Let your heart be ten-stringed instruments to sound forth the memorial of God's mercy. None so deep in debt to free grace as you, and none should be so high mounted on the pinnacle of thanksgiving. (Psalms 145:1,2) "I will extol Thee, O God my King, every day I will bless Thee, and I will praise Thy name forever."
We pray for unbelievers, that God would "open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me [Christ]" (Acts 26:18).
Christians should honor their high calling. (Ephesians 4:1) "Walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called." How do we walk in a worthy manner? The Christian follows Scripture. (Matthew 4:4) Jesus said, "Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God." The Christian walks cheerfully. (Philippians 4:4) "Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I say, rejoice!" The Christian walks carefully. (Ecclesiastes 2:14) "The wise man's eyes are in his head, but the fool walks in darkness." The Christian walks with courtesy (1 Peter 3:8). The Christian walks influentially, to do good to others, and to be rich in acts of mercy (Hebrews 13:16). Good works, though they are not causes of salvation, yet they are evidences of saving faith.
CHAPTER 9: CONCERNING GOD'S PURPOSE
(Ephesians 1:11) "according to His purpose." This purpose, or decree of God, is the highest link in the golden chain of salvation. What is the reason that one person is called, and not another? It is from the eternal purpose of God. Let us then ascribe the whole work of grace to the pleasure of God's will. God did not choose us because we were worthy, but by choosing us He makes us worthy. Proud men are apt to assume and arrogate too much to themselves. They rob God of His glory, while they set the crown of salvation upon their own head. The signs of salvation are in the saints, but the cause of salvation is in God. The cause is not free will. (Romans 9:16) "So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy." (2 Timothy 1:9) "God has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity.
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!
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