February 3rd, 2010
Watson, Thomas. All Things for Good. Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1986. 127 pp. $8.00. Purchase at Westminster. Was titled A Divine Cordial when originally published in 1663.
Thomas Watson (c.1620-1686) was educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. In 1646 he was commenced a sixteen year pastorate at St. Stephen’s Walbrook. In 1651 he was imprisoned briefly with some other ministers for his share in Christopher Love’s plot to recall Charles II. He was released on 30 June 1652, and was formally reinstated vicar of St. Stephen’s Walbrook. Upon the Declaration of Indulgence in 1672 he obtained a license for the great hall in Crosby House. After preaching there for several years, his health gave way, and he retired to Barnston in Essex, where he died suddenly while praying in secret. He was buried on 28 July 1686.
All Things for Good is Thomas Watson’s treatise on Romans 8:28,
We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Chapter one details how the best things work for the good of the godly. Watson looks at the attributes, promises, and mercies of God. He also discusses the intercession of Christ (a doctrine I fear is not discussed often enough today) and the prayers of the saints.
The second chapter next looks at how the worst things work for the good of the godly. Here, Watson shows how the evils of affliction, desertion, sin, and temptation actually work for the benefit of the saint. Again, something that is not thought much of today.
In what could be described as the second part of the book, we read of God’s love. Chapter four looks at the nature, ground, properties, and degrees of God’s love while the fifth chapter looks at the tests of God’s love. Chapter six concludes with the author’s exhortation to love God more than anything.
The final section, again my description, is a discussion on God’s effectual calling. In chapter seven Watson lays before the reader the sinner’s condition before being called and the means by which God calls the sinner unto repentance. The eight chapter consists of more exhortations to the saint who has been called by God while chapter nine is a short, three-page treatise on the meaning of God’s purpose–our assurance of salvation.
To read a 127 page book on one verse in the Bible is like taking honey as medicine and its having the desired healing effects on the body. The book is a bit dated as evidenced by the talk of using leeches to suck out “the bad blood” in the body, but the eternal truths are still the same. Truth be told, every Christian would do well to read this book. I read this book at a time in my life when I really needed these truths expounded to my heart and soul.
Yes, he talks of the doctrines of Grace. Yes, that will make some upset. No, he is not argumentative. What Watson does do is point the reader to the Bible as our basis of understanding what is going on in our lives. The wonderful truth that all things work for the good of those who are called and love God is, in the words of Thomas Watson, “A sovereign elixir of unspeakable comfort.” I would highly recommend you purchase this book for yourself. Purchase some for giveaway. You certainly know someone who could use this book.