A Habitual Sight Of Him
The Christ-Centered Piety of Thomas Goodwin
Thomas Goodwin (1600-1680) was a faithful pastor, Westminster divine, advisor to Oliver Cromwell, and president of Magdalen College, Oxford. In A Habitual Sight of Him, Joel R. Beeke and Mark Jones acquaint the reader with Goodwin through an informative biographical introduction.
The remainder of the book, 35 selections from across the works of Goodwin, displays Goodwin’s constant attention to Christ in his various theological engagements. You will learn much about the life and works of this influential Puritan, and perhaps, be strengthened with a more habitual sight of the Lord Jesus Christ yourself.
“In the long line of distinguished Puritans known as the ‘Spiritual Brotherhood,’ Thomas Goodwin had a formative impact on a host of contemporaries, including John Owen. On many a day while writing my doctoral dissertation on Goodwin, I found myself overwhelmed with emotion as well as penetrating insight as this servant of God set Christ forth in His saving office. Thomas Goodwin’s work defies any tidy division between doctrine and doxology.” – Michael Horton, Professor of Theology and Apologetics at Westminster Theological Seminary, California
About Thomas Goodwin
Thomas Goodwin was born in 1600 in the small village of Rollesby in Norfolk. In 1620 he heard a funeral sermon that gripped him, making him deeply concerned for his spiritual state. It started seven grim years of moody introspection for signs of grace. In time, with helpful counsel, he was set free by looking to Christ alone.
Soon afterwards he took on the preaching duties at Holy Trinity Church, where Richard Sibbes had served. Sibbes told him ‘Young man, if ever you would do good, you must preach the gospel and the free grace of God in Christ Jesus.’ That is precisely what Goodwin now did. Reading his sermons, it is as if he grasps your shoulder and walks with you like a brother.
By 1634, Goodwin resigned his post and left Cambridge to become a Separatist preacher. By the end of the decade he was with other Nonconformist exiles in Holland. Then, in 1641, Parliament invited all such Nonconformists to return, and soon Goodwin was leading the ‘dissenting brethren’ at the Westminster Assembly. During the 1650s he shared a Sunday afternoon pulpit with John Owen. Both were chaplains to Cromwell and together they would co-author the Savoy Declaration.
The last twenty years of his life he spent pastoring, writing treatises, and studying in London. Those studies were sadly made more difficult in 1666, when the Great Fire burned over half of his voluminous library. Then, at eighty years of age, he was gripped by a fatal fever. With his dying words he captured what had always been his chief concerns: ‘I am going’, he said,
to the three Persons, with whom I have had communion . . . My bow abides in strength. Is Christ divided? No, I have the whole of his righteousness; I am found in him, not having my own righteousness, which is of the law, but the righteousness which is of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Christ cannot love me better than he doth. I think I cannot love Christ better than I do; I am swallowed up in God . . . Now I shall be ever with the Lord.