A Body of Divinity
Conveying God’s truth in the most original, concise, illustrative and pithy style, Watson is rightly regarded as the most readable of all Puritans. A Body of Divinity is a majestic work is based on the Westminster Shorter Catechism, taking the reader on a journey through all main principles of Christian doctrine. Probably the best first systematic theology one could introduce a family to.
One of the very first Reformed books published in the entire 20th century, Watson’s work is a treasure-chest in regard to:
- The subject of the book. It deals with the foremost doctrinal and experimental truths of the Christian Faith.
- The means of instruction used. It is based on the Westminster Assembly’s Shorter Catechism, in which the main principles of Christianity that lie scattered in the Scriptures are brought together and set forth in the form of question and answer. This Catechism is unsurpassed for its ‘terse exactitude of definition’ and ‘logical elaboration’ of the fundamentals.
- The style of the author. Watson conveys his thorough doctrinal and experimental knowledge of the truth in such an original, concise, pithy, pungent, racy, rich and illustrative style that he is rightly regarded as the most readable of the Puritans.
About Puritan author and minister Thomas Watson:
Thomas Watson (1620-1686) was rejected from his pastorate with the Act of Uniformity in 1662. He continued to preach in private whenever he had the opportunity. In 1666, after the Great Fire of London, Watson prepared a large room for public worship, welcoming anyone who wished to attend. After the Declaration of Indulgence took effect in 1672, Watson obtained a license for Crosby Hall, Bishopsgate, which belonged to Sir John Langham, a patron of nonconformists. Watson preached there for three years before Stephen Charnock joined him. They ministered together until Charnock’s death in 1680.
Watson kept working until his health failed. He then retired to Barnston, in Essex, where he died suddenly in 1686 while engaged in private prayer. He is buried in the same grave as his father-in-law who served as a minister at Barnston. Watson’s writings constitute a legacy that have continued to be a blessing to those who love sound, heart-searching exposition of the Scriptures. Among those books are his expositions of The Lord’s Prayer; The Ten Commandments; The Beatitudes; and other writings entitled The Godly Man’s Picture; All Things for Good; The Doctrine of Repentance; The Great Gain of Godliness; Jerusalem’s Glory. And, in addition to these, a collection of his sermons entitled The Duty of Self-Denial and other sermons.