Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Reformation and Revival
Volume: RAR 04:2 (Spring 1995)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

A Plea for The Godly, Thomas Watson. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Soli Deo Gloria (1994). 480 pages, cloth, $32.95.

This scarce collection of sermons by one of the most beloved and well read of the English Puritans is a welcome addition to the already growing list of works published by Soli Deo Gloria. The book bears the name of the first of eighteen sermons by Watson which have not been reprinted since the seventeenth century. In selecting this title for the compilation of sermons, the publisher has crystallized the theme of these magnificent messages. While covering a wide range of topics, these precious jewels of instruction are really a plea for godliness on the part of God’s people, the church. Upon the completion of the digestion of these eighteen morsels of edification, I personally experienced a sense of humble confidence in who God says we are, and what He has done to position us to live as His holy nation.

In addition to the value of the individual messages themselves, this work provides an excellent study in the art of sermon preparation perfected by the Puritans, who were often profound and penetrating. Watson employs the standard Puritan technique of basing his message on a single verse of Scripture. He then presents the doctrine associated with the passage followed by answering logical objections to the stated doctrine and concludes with uses or applications, often in the form of questions. In the opening sermon of the book, Watson bases his “A Plea for The Godly” on Proverbs 12:26 (“The righteous is more excellent than his neighbor”) and proceeds to explain in fifty-four pages that “He who is truly righteous is far more excellent than any wicked person in the world whatsoever” (p. 3). With compelling conviction, Watson shows how a righteous man is more excellent than another by

giving twelve descriptions of “what he (the righteous) is,” eight insights into “what he has,” and concludes his first point with a summary statement of “what he shall have” .... “he shall have a better reward. Both righteous and wicked are rewarded, but there is a vast difference” (p. 27). He then proceeds to examine his second point in the explanation of the doctrine: Why a righteous man is more excellent than another? The reason, states Watson, “is consanguinity; he is brother to Christ” (p. 28). He then shows with great pastoral affection that God bestows eleven more excellent titles on the righteous than on others and concludes with a series of practical uses (applications) highlighted by the eight marks of a righteous person. Of course, in typical Puritan style, there are numerous sub-headings under each of the main ...

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