Home > The Puritans > March’s Puritan: Thomas Watson

March’s Puritan: Thomas Watson

Thomas Watson This month’s Puritan author is Thomas Watson (c. 1620-1686). The bio and book synopsis provided here is compiled from Meet the Puritans by Joel Beeke and Randall Peterson.

Thomas Watson was a student at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, earning a BA degree in 1639 and an MA in 1642. In 1646, Watson went to St. Stephen’s, Walbrook, London and served as lecturer for ten years and rector for six years. In 1647, he married Abigail Beadle, daughter of Essex minister John Beadle. They had at least seven children, four of which died young.

During the English Civil War, Watson expressed strong Presbyterian views. He was one of the Presbyterian ministers who went to Oliver Cromwell to protest the execution of Charles I. He was imprisoned along with several others in 1651 for his role in a plot to restore the monarchy. He was released after petitioning for mercy and reinstated to his Walbrook pastorate in 1652.

Watson was one of the many Puritan ministers ejected from his pastorate with the passage of the Act of Uniformity in 1662. He continued to preach privately whenver he had the opportunity. After the Great Fire of London in 1666, he prepared a large room for public worship, inviting anyone who wished to attend. With the Declaration of Indulgence in 1672, Watson obtained a license for Crosby Hall and preached there for three years before being joined by Stephen Charnock. After Charnock’s death in 1680, Watson continued until his health failed, at which he retired to Barnston in Esssex, where he died suddenly in 1686 while praying privately.

Watson’s depth of doctrine, clarity of expression, warmth of spirituality, love of application, and gift of illustration enhanced his reputation as a preacher and writer. His books are still widely read today.

Synopsis of The Godly Man’s Picture
The Godly Man's PictureThis month’s Puritan Paperback is The Godly Man’s Picture. You can order it by clicking on the link in the title.

This work is subtitled Drawn with a Scripture Pencil, or, Some Characteristics of a Man who is Going to Heaven. After explaining the nature of godliness, Watson describes twenty-four marks of a godly man, including “moved by faith,” “fired with love,” “prizes Christ,” “loves the Word,” “is humble,” “is patient,” and “loves the saints.” The concluding chapters offer helps to godliness, advice on how to persevere in godliness, counsel, and comfort for the godly, and teaching on the mystical union between Christ and His people.

This wraps up our third biography of 2008. I am now off to work. I pray you will take up the Puritan Reading Challenge 2008! Click on the button in the sidebar to see how to begin!

  1. March 15, 2008 at 9:59 pm

    Neo-Puritan site TheAmericanView.com; please visit, comment.

  2. Jim
    March 15, 2008 at 11:16 pm

    Thank you for sharing this. One of my favorite Puritans theologians is Thomas Watson. I grew up in Duxbury, MA which is part of Plymouth Colony which majority of the Puritans used to live. Other Puritans I enjoy are John Bunyan, Jonathan Edwards, Thomas Goodwin, William Guthrie, Matthew Henry and John Owen.

    There is a good book about the Puritans written by a Theologian named J.I. Packer: “A Quest For Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life” will give people a good perspective on the Puritans’ background.

    I want bring up one part of Puritan’s history, The Puritans set expamples of democratic principles before America was born. The Puritan devotion to democratic principles had an important effect on American life. The Puritans were interested in establishing a degree of separation of church and state because they had been persecuted by the English government and wanted to ensure their own freedom of religion in Massachusetts Bay. The Puritan devotion to democratic principles had an important effect on American life. Puritans have established democratic government system before “America” was born.

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