Posted by: William | February 6, 2008

The Great Gain of Godliness

Just yesterday I finished Thomas Watson’s The Great Gain of Godliness. Banner of Truth (a publishing company that I’m falling more and more in love with) re-releases a whole slew of classic text from Puritans and makes it available to us for shockingly reasonable prices (right now five books for $34, plus 25% off, plus free shipping; it’s a pretty sweet deal. I bought twelve of them.)

This book took me longer to finish than it probably should have because I’ve been sick. But besides that, it was a pretty easy book to track with, at least compared to many of the other authors in the puritan arena.

Godliness as with most Puritan literature is laced all throughout with scripture. The book itself is actually “Practical Notes on Malachi 3:16-18.” I was about four or five chapters into the book before I realized this. I was thinking to myself that it seemed like there was slightly less references to scripture in this as compared to other puritan stuff, so I flipped to the beginning of the book and found why—that’s all it is; discussion about scripture. And good discussion at that.

Malachi 3:16-18:

“Then those who feared the LORD spoke with one another. The LORD paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the LORD and esteemed his name. “They shall be mine, says the LORD of hosts, in the day when I make up my treasured possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him. Then once more you shall see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him.”


Through the book’s two parts and sixteen chapters, Watson takes this scripture and helps to apply it practically. Some themes of this scripture, such as fear of the Lord or the idea of some being ‘spared,’ are foreign to Western Christianity. I found those parts especially compelling.

I would recommend this book to anyone who’d like to explore some Puritan literature. Because it was among the easier of Puritan stuff to read, I would definitely recommend this book over almost anything published recently. There’s just more punch packed in. However, being that the topic of the book is a little vague, I’m not sure yet under what circumstances I’d recommend it yet.



  1. Thanks for letting us know about this. I haven’t read any of Puritan literature yet and this sounds like a good place to start.

  2. re-releases a whole slew of classic text from Puritans and makes it available to us for shockingly reasonable prices

    So Zondervan publications will be reasonably priced in 3 or 4 hundred years? That is good news.

    Thanks, I’ll have to check it out this publisher.

  3. I guess I need a compelling reason to want to pursue the study of Puritan literature. Puritans don’t exactly have a good reputation in the annals of history.

    So what compelled you to read up on Puritans?


  4. It’s not so much reading up on Puritans as it is their theology which I mostly agree with.

  5. I discovered the Puritan writings about 10 years ago. They woke up taste buds in me that I never knew possible. I have read “The Great Gain Of Godliness” I loved it.


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