Can you name a book that was on Charles Spurgeon’s wish list? The Great Gain of Godliness, by Thomas Watson was one of them. Spurgeon said, “This [volume] would be a great find if we could come at it…we have tried to obtain it, and tried in vain”
Fortunately for us Banner of Truth has served us by making Watson’s writing available.
The Great Gain of Godliness is a devotional commentary on Malachi 3.16-18. The book breaks into two parts. In the first section, the Character of the Godly, he deals with the responsibility of the believer to be fearing God, speaking of God, and meditating on God. In the second section Watson outlines the practical effects of these practices.
The book is a quote machine. Watson has a way of delivering pithy statements with theological precision. His observations and exhortations are consistently engaging and convicting.
“The Turkish sultan, when he intends the death of any of his pashas, invites them to sumptuous feast, and then causes them to be taken away from the table and strangled: so Satan gluts men with sinful pastimes and delights, and then strangles them. Foolish gallants are like the fish that swim pleasantly through the silver streams of Jordan, till at last they fall into the Dead Sea (1 Tim. 6.9).”
In his section on what the godly should speak of Watson highlights several areas that would practically benefit the souls of both the speaker and the hearer:
Speak of the preciousness of Christ
Speak one to another of sin
Speak of the beauty of holiness
Speak one to another of your souls
Speak about death and eternity
Speak one to another of the times
This book is consistent with what we have come to love and admire from the Puritans, a high view of God, his word and the need to humble man. The only negative that I could note would be in the area of hermeneutics. And unfortunately this is also common with many of the Puritans. Watson frequently lapses into allegorization and spiritualization of passages. This, however, does not diminish from the overall value of the book; I heartily recommend it to all who want to cultivate a healthy fear of God through humility.
Publisher: Banner of Truth ISBN#: 0851519385 Binding: Paperback Page Count: 176