Thomas Watson

1620-1686

Thomas Watson was an English, non-conformist, Puritan preacher and author.

He was educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where he was noted for remarkably intense study. In 1646 he commenced a sixteen year pastorate at St. Stephen’s, Walbrook. He showed strong Presbyterian views during the civil war, with, however, an attachment to the king, and in 1651 he was imprisoned briefly with some other ministers for his share in Christopher Love’s plot to recall Charles II of England.

He was released on 30 June 1652, and was formally reinstated as vicar of St. Stephen’s Walbrook. He obtained great fame and popularity as a preacher until the Restoration, when he was ejected for nonconformity. Not withstanding the rigor of the acts against dissenters, Watson continued to exercise his ministry privately as he found opportunity. Upon the Declaration of Indulgence in 1672 he obtained a license to preach at the great hall in Crosby House. After preaching there for several years, his health gave way, and he retired to Barnston, Essex, where he died suddenly while praying in secret. He was buried on 28 July 1686.

The mercies of God make a sinner proud, but a saint humble.

— Thomas Watson

God is more willing to pardon than to punish. Mercy does more multiply in Him than sin in us. Mercy is His nature.

— Thomas Watson

People are usually better in adversity, than prosperity. A prosperous condition is not always so safe. True, it is more pleasing to the flesh – but it is not always best. In a prosperous state, there is more burden. Many look at the shining and glittering of prosperity – but not at the burdens of prosperity.

— Thomas Watson

What if we have more of the rough file, if we have less rust! Afflictions carry away nothing but the dross of sin.

— Thomas Watson

What if we have more of the rough file, if we have less rust! Afflictions carry away nothing but the dross of sin.

— Thomas Watson

God intermixeth mercy with affliction: he steeps his sword of justice in the oil of mercy; there was no night so dark, but Israel had a pillar of fire in it; there is no condition so dismal, but we may see a pillar of fire to give light. If the body be in pain, conscience is in peace, –there is mercy: affliction is for the prevention of sin, –there is mercy. In the ark there was a rod and a pot of manna, the emblem of a Christian’s condition, mercy interlined with judgment.

— Thomas Watson

When a man has judged himself, Satan is put out of office. When he lays anything to a saint’s charge, he is able to retort and say, “It is true, Satan, I am guilty of these sins, but I have judged myself already for them; and having condemned myself in the lower court of conscience, God will acquit me in the upper court of heaven.

— Thomas Watson

Love is the only thing in which we can retaliate with God. If God be angry with us, we must not be angry again; if He chide us, we must not chide Him again; but if God loves us, we must love Him again. There is nothing in which we can answer God again, but love. We must not give Him word for word, but we must give Him love for love.

— Thomas Watson