Watson, the 17th century minister of St. Stephens of Walbrook, believe 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.
So is written on the back cover of this wonderful little treasure, a small Puritan work in the Puritan Paperback’s collection, published by Banner of Truth. In revised and updated English, this small tome brings to light a fantastic exposition from one of the favorite authors of the Puritan era—Thomas Watson.
Having faced persecution as he, and about two thousand other ministers were ejected from the Church of England in 1662, Thomas Watson set his mind and his heart to understanding one of the most beautiful and least understood promises of God: that all things will work for the good of God’s children. Through the lens of suffering and hardship, he took to understand Paul’s teaching, and plumbed the richest and fullest depths of it.
Beginning with a general consideration of what “all things” are, he expounds how the good things work for the good of the elect, and how the bad work for their good. It is after addressing this wide range of subjects, he goes into the why, and it proves to be one of the richest chapters in the book.
But Watson realized this promise was not without conditions—it is only to them who love God, therefore we must be sure we are lovers of God. The following chapters are filled with exhortations to love God, evidences of love toward God, and tests of it.
The other condition is effectual calling, which is given one of the most gracious and God-exalting treatments in so few pages that I have read. The book ends with the verse of Romans, on God’s purpose. One thing Watson clung to in his persecution was the reality of God’s promise and purpose, and that he knew whatever would come to pass, all had a purpose—and it all worked for good.
For those who are unfamiliar with the Puritans, this may be a good place to direct them. Even though many are unfamiliar with these writers, and their times—we are all familiar with suffering and persecution. Such is the result of living in a fallen world; and we could all use a reminder of the goodness and blessed purpose of God in all things. Though this book is short, it is rich, and will sure to be profitable to anyone who cares to take the time to peruse it’s pages.
I give my hearty recommendation to this book, and hope you’ll find yourself a copy soon.
Published on 23 May, 2013. Last updated on