One of the things that I like about reading Puritan works is that these men lived out what they wrote. They weren’t pastors trying to be accomplished authors. The books that were written by the Puritans were written as a result of pastoral ministry.You can tell this by the way they write. They carefully crafted their sentences in order that the reader would understand. They were excellent at taking a big theological thought and being able to relate it to something from everyday life, such as their references to nature, which allows the reader to understand but also easily apply it to their lives. Thomas Watson does this all throughout The Godly Man’s Picture. An example of this is when he explains how Godliness is a supernatural thing he writes, “Weeds grow of themselves; flowers are planted.” He is using this analogy of weeds and flowers to allow us to see that due to our sinful nature all we can produce ourselves is weeds. We cannot alter our state and change ourselves into a flower, God is the one who actually changes us.
Here are the top four takeaways I got from this book the first time around.
Godliness is a work of God.
- A godly man is taught by God.
- Man has no power to change himself
- Godliness is wisdom from above
A Godly Man prizes Christ
- Benefits of Christ (Justification, Purgation, Pacification, Adoption, Perseverance, and Glorification)
- Like Paul to know nothing among you other than Christ (1 Cor. 2:2)
- Worst things of Christ (meaning suffering and persecution) is better than the best things in this world taken from the life of Moses (Heb. 11:26)
- That which we esteem excellent, we are delirious our friend should have a share in.
- Christ’s worth can never be fully known
Dealing with sin
- Even though sin is in the godly man, he is troubled with and would gladly get rid of it.
- Sin in a wicked man is delightful, but sin in a child of God is burdensome.
- Those who have bad eyes think the sun is dim. In other words, the wicked man does not see how bright the sun is since his eyes are dim. God sees in secret.
- The godly man maintains a war with the king sin in his life. This sin can be discovered as it is the sin which men use arguments to defend.
- Use anything that promotes godliness
- Beware of the world
- Take time to think about your soul and eternity
- Be watchful over your own heart
- Godliness is the purpose of our creation
- Be often among the godly
This book would be a great recommendation to anyone, but specifically to someone who wants to start reading some Puritan works. Watson reads a lot easier than others such as John Owen and Edwards (even though technically he is not really considered a Puritan).