The Doctrine of Repentance

The Doctrine of Repentance (Puritan Paperbacks) The Doctrine of Repentance (Puritan Paperbacks) by Thomas Watson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

With typical Puritan thoroughness, Thomas Watson explored in 1668 what it means to repent. It is still potent today.

Watson considers what repentance isn't, what it is, reasons to repent, and warnings for not repenting. He exhorts us to repent, to repent speedily. He describes repentance, the comfort that comes with it, obstacles to repentance, and ways to repent. Scripture flows freely from Watson's pen, especially at the end of chapters as he comes to his climax.

The title will mislead the modern reader, for this is no abstract textbook about repentance out there on a classroom chalkboard. No, Watson probes the depths of the soul, addressing you directly, exhorting you to practice the repentance he describes.

While thoroughness is typical and expected of Puritans, this work also is typical in an unexpected way to the modern reader. It is filled with colorful metaphor. Several puritans were such, to the surprise of contemporary folk schooled in the assumptions that they wore black and scowled all the time. Nothing could be further from the truth. From the second sentence of the book, Watson tells us that "faith and repentance" are the "two wings by which [the believer] flies to heaven." And he doesn't let off the pedal of picturesque language throughout, like PG Wodehouse in an installment of Jeeves and Bertie Wooster. Sin is not an ornament, but excrement. Sin is a bruise which gangrenes and kills if not cured. Tears of repentance are showers that bring the flower of grace to blossom. And on and on.

Maybe it's just from not having read any puritans for a while, but this gets a rare 5 stars in my book.

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