A Body of Divinity

A Body of DivinityThomas Watson’s A Body of Divinity is one of the most precious of the peerless works of the Puritans; and those best acquainted with it prize it most. Watson was one of the most concise, racy, illustrative, and suggestive of those eminent divines who made the Puritan age the Augustan period of evangelical literature. There is a happy union of sound doctrine, heart-searching experience and practical wisdom throughout all his works, and his Body of Divinity is, beyond all the rest, useful to the student and the minister. ~ C. H. Spurgeon


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Original Sin in the Believer

Original sin, though latent in the soul, and as a spring which runs underground, often breaks forth unexpectedly. Christian, you cannot believe that evil which is in your heart, and which will break forth suddenly, if God should leave you. “Is thy servant a dog that he should do this great thing” (II Kings 8:13)? Hazael could not believe he had such a root of bitterness in his heart, that he should rip up the women with child. Is thy servant a dog? Yes, and worse than a dog, when that original corruption within is stirred up. If one had come to Peter and said, Peter, within a few hours you will deny Christ, he would have said, “Is your servant a dog?” But alas! Peter did not know his own heart, nor how far that corruption within would prevail upon him. The sea may be calm, and look clear; but when the wind blows how it rages and foams! So though now your heart seems good, yet when temptation blows, how may original sin discover itself, making you foam with lust and passion. “A Body of Divinity” pgs. 145-6

The Wicked Resist God’s Will

While the wicked resist the will of God’s precept, they fulfill the will of His permissive decree (Acts 4:28). God commands one thing, they do the contrary; to keep the Sabbath, and they profane it. While they disobey His command, they fulfill His permissive decree. If a man sets up two nets, one of silk, the other of iron, the silken net may be broken, not the iron; so while men break the silken net of God’s command, they are taken in the iron net of His decree; while they sit backward to God’s precepts, they row forward to His decrees; His decrees to permit their sin, and to punish them for their sin permitted. “A Body of Divinity” pg. 71

Sin May be Curbed, and Not Cured

The dog has a mind to the bone, but is afraid of the club; so men have a mind to lust, but conscience stands as the angel, with flaming sword, and affrights: they have a mind to revenge, but the fear of hell is a curb-bit to check them. There is no change of heart; sin is curbed, but not cured. A lion may be in chains, but is a lion still. “A Body of Divinity” pg. 244

God Conquers the Pride of the Heart

God rides forth conquering in the chariot of His gospel; He conquers the pride of the heart, and makes the will, which stood out as a fort-royal, to yield and stoop to His grace; He makes the stony heart bleed. “A Body of Divinity” pg. 223

There is No Harvest when You’ve Sowed No Seed

The servant that has been all day working in the vineyard longs till evening comes, when he shall receive his pay. How can they who have lived, and brought no glory to God, think of dying with comfort? They cannot expect a harvest where they sowed no seed. How can they expect glory from God who never brought any glory to Him? O in what horror will they be at death! The worm of conscience will gnaw their souls, before the worms can gnaw their bodies. “A Body of Divinity” pg. 20

Eternity is a Sea Without Bottom and Banks

Eternity is a sea without bottom and banks. After millions of years, there is not one minute in eternity wasted; and the damned must be ever burning, but never consuming, always dying, but never dead. “They shall seek death, but shall not find it” (Rev. 9:6).

The fire of hell is such, as multitudes of tears will not quench it, length of time will not finish it; the vial of God’s wrath will be always dropping upon a sinner. As long as God is eternal, He lives to be avenged upon the wicked. Oh eternity! eternity! who can fathom it? Mariners have their plummets to measure the depths of the sea; but what line or plummet shall we use to fathom the depth of eternity? The breath of the Lord kindles the infernal lake, (Isa. 30:33), and where shall we have engines or buckets to quench that fire?

Oh eternity! If all the body of earth and sea were turned to sand, and all the air up to the starry heaven were nothing but sand, and a little bird should come every thousand years, and fetch away in her bill but the tenth part of a grain of all that heap of sand, what numberless years would be spent before that vast heap of sand would be fetched away! Yet, if at the end of all that time, the sinner might come out of hell, there would be some hope; but that word ‘Ever’ breaks the heart. “The smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever.”

What a terror is this to the wicked, enough to put them into a cold sweat, to think, as long as God is eternal, He lives for ever to be avenged upon them! “A Body of Divinity” pgs. 62-63

Conviction is the First Step in Conversion

A man is convinced of sin, he sees he is a sinner and nothing but a sinner; the fallow ground of his heart is broken up (Jer. 4:3). As the husbandman breaks the clods, then casts in the seed, so God, by the convincing work of the law, breaks a sinner’s heart, and makes it fit to receive the seeds of grace. Such as were never convinced are never called. “He shall convince the world of sin” (John 16:8). Conviction is the first step in conversion. “A Body of Divinity”pg. 224

Though the Devil Cannot Destroy Us, He Will Disturb Us

Through the fury of temptation, though the devil cannot destroy us, he will disturb us. He disputes against our adoption; he would make us question the work of grace in our hearts, and so disturb the waters of our peace. He is like a subtle cheater, who, if he cannot make a man’s title to his land void, yet will put him to many troublesome suits in law. If Satan cannot make us ungodly, he will make us unquiet. Violent winds make the sea rough and stormy; so the winds of temptation blowing disturb peace of spirit, and put the soul into a commotion. “A Body of Divinity” pgs. 263-4

Meditate Much Upon the Day of Judgment

Meditate much upon the day of judgment. Feathers swim upon the water, but gold sinks into it; so, light, feathery Christians float in vanity; they mind not the day of judgment; but serious spirits sink deep into the thoughts of it. “A Body of Divinity pg. 315

A Magnet Does Not Draw Gold or Pearl

Among the several wonders of the magnet it is not the least, that it will not draw gold or pearl, but despising these, it draws the iron to it, one of the most inferior metals: thus Christ leaves angels, those noble spirits, the gold and pearl, and comes to poor sinful man, and draws Him into His embraces. “A Body of Divinity” pg. 196