by Thomas Watson
This is an extremely practical exposition of Philippians 4:11, I have learned, in whatever state I am therewith to be content, Watson spends the entire book on this one verse. He considers the great dishonor done to almighty God by the sin of discontent. The doctrine of Christian contentment is clearly illustrated and profitably applied. The special cases where, through changes in providences, discontentment most commonly arises are examined and preservatives are applied to the soul.
“Man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward;” therefore we all need to learn the same lesson as Paul. “I have learned,” he said “in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content,” Philippians 4. 11. Believers, especially, wish to attain to a holy equanimity in their tribulations and under the stresses caused by our increasingly secular society.
In this volume we have a full exposition, by the Puritan, Thomas Watson, of the above verse of Scripture, originally preached during his ministry as rector of St Stephen’s, Wallbrook, London. “Although Thomas Watson issued several most valuable books,” said C. H. Spurgeon, “comparatively little is known of him — even the dates of his birth and death are unknown. His writings are his best memorial; perhaps he needed no other, and therefore providence forbade the superfluity.”
Puritan preachers, having an eye to the practice of their hearers, built their heart-searching application of the truth upon sound biblical doctrine. This characteristic is evident in The Art of Divine Contentment; as is also the fact that Watson was the “master of a terse, vigorous style and of a beauty of expression. He could speak not only to win men’s understanding but also to secure a place for the truth in their memories.”
Thomas Watson graduated from Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where he was known for being a hard student. He was a man of considerable learning, a popular but judicious preacher, and eminent in the gift of prayer. He is one of the most popular of all English Puritans and, certainly, one of the most readable. Watson pastored at St. Stephen's Walbrook in London. The building in which he pastored was destroyed by fire in 1666. After being ejected in 1662, he continued ministering in London for many years. He retired to Essex, where he died suddenly while at prayer.