Great Quotes from ‘The Godly Man’s Picture’ by Thomas Watson


Thomas Watson, The Godly Man’s Picture (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 2013).

Thomas Watson was a beloved Puritan pastor and writer who ministered in England over the course of his sixty-six year life. Born in the early seventeenth century, Watson is a favorite among the Puritans due to his “clarity of expression, warmth of spirituality, love of application, and gift of illustration.”1 Here are some of my favorite quotes from his book, The Godly Man’s Picture.

A Corrupt Heart: “A corrupt heart loves the comforts of the Word, but not the reproofs” (66).

The Word and the Spirit: “The motions of the Spirit are always consonant with the Word.” The Word is the chariot in which the Spirit of God rides; whichever way the tide of the Word runs, that way the wind of the Spirit blows” (68).

Natural vs. Spiritual Faith: “The impulses of a natural conscience drive men only to easier duties in religion, in which the heart is less exercised, like perfunctory reading or prayer. But the motions of the Spirit in the godly go further, causing them to do the most irksome duties, like self-reflection, self-humbling, yes, perilous duties like confessing Christ name in times of danger” (69).

Grieving the Spirit: “Now when we stifle these motions and entertain temptations to vanity, this is grieving the Spirit. If we check the motions of the Spirit, we shall lose the comforts of the Spirit” (77).

Humility and Judging Others: “A humble man values others at a higher rate than himself, and the reason is because he can see his own heart better than he can another’s. He sees his own corruption and thinks surely it is now so with others; their graces are not so weak as his; their corruptions are not so strong. ‘Surely,’ he things,’ they have better hearts than I.’ A humble Christian studies his own infirmities and another’s excellencies and that makes him put a higher value upon others than himself” (79).

Humility and Reputation: “A humble man is willing to have his name and gifts eclipsed, so that God’s glory may be increased” (81).

Humility and Service: “A humble Christian is content to be laid aside if God has any other tools to work with which may bring him more glory” (81).

Spiritual Prayers: “A spiritual prayer is that which leaves a spiritual mood behind upon the heart” (93).

Christ vs. the World: “When Christ and the world come into competition, and we part with the world to keep Christ and a good conscience, that is a sign we have chosen ‘the better part’ (Luke 10:42)” (104).

The Necessity of Godly Zeal: “God will be zealous against those who are not zealous; he provides the fire of hell for those who lack the fire of zeal” (117).

Doing God’s Will: “A godly man will not only do God’s will, but bear God’s will” (119).

Faith and Patience: “Get faith; all our impatience proceeds from unbelief. Faith is the breeder of patience” (127).

Making Use of God’s Mercies: “We are rightly thankful when we put God’s mercy to good use. We repay God’s blessings with service. the Lord gives us health, and we spend and are spent for Christ (2 Cor 12:15). He gives us an estate, and we honor the Lord with our substance (Prov 3:9). He givers us children, and we dedicate them to God and educate them for God. We do not bury our talents, but trade them. This is to put our mercies to good use” (133).

Quality over Quantity: “Let us show ourselves godly by being more spiritual in duty. It is not the quantity but the quality; it is now how much we do but how well” (165).

A Heart Steeped in Sin: “Wood that is full of sap will not easily burn, and a heart steeped in sin is not fit to burn in holy devotion” (165).

The Hypocrite is Selective in His Obedience: “The hypocrite picks and chooses in religion. He will perform some duties which are easier and gratify his pride or interest, but other duties he takes no notice of” (167).

Be Gracious in How You Assess other Christians: “Not all have these characteristics of godliness written in capital letters. If they are only faintly stamped on their souls, God can read the work of his Spirit there” (190).

The Kindness of Jesus: “Jesus Christ will not discourage the weakest grace but will cherish and preserve it to eternity” (221).

Our Tendency to Maximize Other People’s Sin and Minimize their Grace: “This is our nature, to aggravate a little fault and diminish a great deal of virtue; to see the infirmities and darken the excellencies of others—as we take more notice of the tinkling of a star than the shining of a star. We censure others for their passion, but do not admire them for their piety. Thus, because of a little smoke that we see in others, we quench much light” (232).

Send Satan to Jesus: “Satan will never go to Christ—he knows that justice is satisfied and the debt book cancelled—but he comes to us for the debt so that he may perplex us/ We should send him to Christ and then all the lawsuits would cease. This is the believer’s triumph. When he is guilty in himself, he is worthy in Christ” (249).

1Joel R. Beeke and Randall J. Pederson, Meet the Puritans (Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2006), 606.

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