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Doctrine of Repentance (Puritan Paperbacks) Paperback – January 1, 1988
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'In our 'tolerant' world, the one thing we can not bear to tolerate is the mention of sin. When someone out of such a culture comes to understand the gospel such words as repentance can still be difficult to swallow. We are often tempted to confuse feeling sorry or confession with repentance. Watson makes clear what repentance really is: 'True leaving of sin is when the acts of sin cease from the infusion of a principle of grace, as the air ceases to be dark from the infusion of light'. Watson writes in a clear, practical, and yet penetrating manner.' --Mike Leake
About the Author
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.
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Top Customer Reviews
The meat of this book is the nature of repentance that consists of sight, sorrow, confession, shame, hatred and turning from sin. Something that I thought interesting is when it is pointed out that though confession is directed primarily to God, there are occasions where it should be done to "some prudent, pious friends, who may advise him and speak a word in due season (James 5:16)." Then Watson adds, "It is a sinful modesty in Christians that they are not more free with their ministers and other spiritual friends in unburdening themselves and opening the sores and troubles of their souls to them. If there is a thorn sticking in the conscience, it is good to make use of those who may help to pluck it out" (p.37).
Sight, Sorrow, Shame, Hatred and Turning from sin are certainly some things we always need in an increasing degree everyday. Not only when discussing these, but also throughout the text, Watson uses some graphic and vulgar words that are both necessary and true. Something that should strike our conscience is when he points out that the sin committed by Christians is worse that that by unbelievers because Christians sin against clearer conviction. Not only are we worse than the unbelievers when we sin, but we are also worse than the devils, where Watson points out, "The lapsed angels never sinned against Christ's blood. But we have affronted and disparaged His blood by unbelief" (p.42).
While hammering relentlessly on the danger of sin, the assumption that there is no need of repentance, or that repentance is easy or it can be put-off to a later time, and hypocritical repentance, the hardening of heart which is the most dreadful state one can ever fall into, as well as an all-out commitment and action (Watson calls it endeavor) against sin, he balances it out with the hope of the gospel. What is done here is to prevent one to fall into either extreme of presumptuous cavalier antinomianism or despair. The former is cured and guarded against with the warnings of the hardening of heart and the threats of apostasy, while the latter is conquered by the hope and grace of the Gospel. Just as there is a grave danger in antinominanism, so there is also a mortal danger in despair in the sense that it "rejects mercy. It throws the cordial of Christ's blood on the ground. Judas was not damned only for his treason and murder, but it was his distrust of God's mercy [through Christ] that destroyed him." Therefore, it is critical to remember that God "has bowels of love to repenting sinners (Joel 2:13). Mercy rejoices over justice. God counts his mercy his glory (Ex 33:18-19). He is the God of tenderness and compassion No sooner do we mourn than God's heart melts. No sooner do our tears fall than God's repentings kindle (Hos 11:8). Do not say then that there is no hope" (p.103).
What I suggest is this. Get the book and after reading it, write a summary similar to what Prof. JI Packer suggested after or when reading John Owen's texts. Why? First, it is because there are indeed similarities between Watson and Owen. Both understand both theology and human heart and the corruption thereof at a depth only few ministers and theologians have. Second, though Watson is much more organized than Owen, throughout their texts, they teach so many incredibly striking truths that it is necessary to write them down on a separate note that we may be able recollect later without having to re-read the text and start all over again. Though Watson sometimes uses Scriptural references that are out of context and plenty of Latin words which the Banner of Truth thankfully translates to English, his study on repentance is a beautiful tasty bitter sweet cordial that I pray for myself and every reader, that by the grace of God, He may use to drive us into a genuine sense of bitterness and sincere forsaking of sin and the sweetness of Christ.
His illustration of Paul grasping at the planks of his wrecked ship in the water is how we try to be good, grasping at the wreck of Adam's shipwreck.
There are so many illustrations like that worthy of pondering and mediating on.
I agree he wrote better, but he even said that this one was one he was holding on to, then decided to publish. I'm glad he did.