Short pithy gems from the Puritan Thomas Watson

(1620 1686)

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Eternity to the godly is a day that has no sunset.
Eternity to the wicked is a night that has no sunrise.

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There is more evil in a drop of sin than in a sea of affliction!

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Knowledge without repentance will be but a torch to light men to Hell.

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The pleasure of sin is soon gone but the sting remains!

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There are millions who would rather go sleeping to Hell than sweating to Heaven!

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Sin has the devil for its father, shame for its companion, and death for its wages!

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A weak faith can lay hold on a strong Christ.

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God takes away the world that the heart may cleave more to Him in sincerity.

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Christ is never sweet until sin is felt to be bitter.

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Whoever brings an affliction it is God who sends it.

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Our murmuring is the devil's music.

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First we practice sin, then defend it, then boast of it.

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What if we have more of the rough file, if we have less rust!
Afflictions carry away nothing but the dross of sin.

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God sweetens outward pain with inward peace.

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Christ went more willingly to the cross than we do to the throne of grace.

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When God calls a man, He does not repent of it. God does not, as many friends do: love one day and hate another; or as princes, who make their subjects favorites, and afterwards throw them into prison. This is the blessedness of a saint his condition admits of no alteration. God's call is founded upon His decree and His decree is immutable. Acts of grace cannot be reversed. God blots out His people's sins but not their names.

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It was wonderful love that Christ should rather die for us than for the angels that fell. They were creatures of a more noble extract, and in all probability might have brought greater revenues of glory to God yet that Christ should pass by those golden vessels, and make us clods of earth into stars of glory Oh, the hyperbole of Christ's love!

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Christ heals with more ease than any other. Christ makes the devil go out with a word (Mark 9:25). Nay, he can cure with a look Christ's look melted Peter into repentance; it was a healing look. If Christ does but cast a look upon the soul he can recover it. Therefore David prays to have a look from God, 'Look upon me, and be merciful unto me' (Psalm 119:132).

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Thus it is in Hell they would die but they cannot. The wicked shall be always dying but never dead; the smoke of the furnace ascends forever and ever. Oh! who can endure thus to be ever upon the rack? This word "FOREVER!" breaks the heart. Wicked men do now think the Sabbaths long, and think a prayer long but oh! how long will it be to lie in Hell forever and ever?

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If a wicked man seems to have peace at death, it is not from the knowledge of his happiness but from the ignorance of his danger.

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Prayer as it comes from the saint is weak and languid; but when the arrow of a saint's prayer is put into the bow of Christ's intercession it pierces the throne of grace!

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Prayer delights God's ear. It melts His heart and opens His hand. God cannot deny a praying soul.

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The torments of Hell abide forever. If all the earth and sea were sand, and every thousandth year a little bird should come, and take away one grain of this sand it would be a long time before that vast heap of sand were emptied. Yet, if after all that time the damned may come out of Hell, there were some hope; but this word FOREVER breaks the heart.

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Affliction may be lasting but it is not everlasting. Affliction has a sting but withal a wing sorrow shall soon fly away.

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Better have men reproach you for being godly than have God damn you for being wicked. Be not laughed out of your religion. If a lame man laughs at you for walking upright, will you therefore limp?

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A spiritual prayer is a humble prayer. Prayer is the asking of an alms, which requires humility. The lower the heart descends the higher the prayer ascends.

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It is absurd to think that anything in us could have the least influence upon our election. Some say that God foresaw that such persons would believe, and therefore chose them; so they would make the business of salvation to depend upon something in us. Whereas God does not choose us for faith but to faith. "He has chosen us, that we should be holy" (Ephesians 1:4), not because we would be holy but that we might be holy. We are elected to holiness, not for it.

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Knowledge is the eye which must direct the foot of obedience.

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Make up your spiritual accounts daily; see how matters stand between God and your souls (Psalm 77:6). Frequent reckonings keep God and conscience friends. Do with your hearts as you do with your watches wind them up every morning by prayer, and at night examine whether your hearts have gone true all that day, whether the wheels of your affections have moved swiftly toward Heaven.

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God will not be behind-hand in love to us. For our drop we shall receive an ocean!

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The right manner of spiritual growth, is to grow less in one's own eyes.

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Praising God is one of the highest and purest acts of religion. In prayer we act like men but in praise we act like angels.

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How many souls have been blown into Hell with the wind of popular applause?

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Let us then ascribe the whole work of grace to the pleasure of God's Will. God did not choose us because we were worthy but by choosing us, He makes us worthy.

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There is justice in Hell but sin is the most unjust thing. It would rob God of His glory, Christ of His purchase, the soul of its happiness.

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To know that nothing hurts the godly, is a matter of comfort. But to be assured that all things which happen shall co-operate for their good, that their crosses shall be turned into blessings, that showers of affliction water the withering root of their grace and make it flourish more this may fill their hearts with joy until they run over!

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God will fill the hungry, because He Himself has stirred up the hunger. As in the case of prayer, when God prepares the heart to pray, He prepares His ear to hear (Psalm 10:17). So in the case of spiritual hunger, when God prepares the heart to hunger, He will prepare His hand to fill.

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Those prayers God likes best, which come seething hot from the heart!

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Prayer is the offering up of our desires to God in the name of Christ, for such things as are agreeable to His will. It is an offering of our desires. Desires are the soul and life of prayer words are but the body. Now as the body without the soul is dead so are prayers unless they are animated with our desires.

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The angel fetched Peter out of prison but it was prayer that fetched the angel.

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The door of Heaven is always open for the prayers of God's people.

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Prayer is the soul's breathing itself into the bosom of its heavenly Father.

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The prayer that is faithless, is fruitless.

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It is hard to carry a full cup without spilling and a full estate without sinning.

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The godly have some good in them therefore the devil afflicts them;
and some evil in them therefore God afflicts them.

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The more we enjoy of God the more we are ravished with delight.

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A man's greatest care should be for that place where he lives longest therefore eternity should be his scope.

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God's decree is the very pillar and basis on which the saint's perseverance depends. That decree ties the knot of adoption so fast, that neither sin, death, nor Hell, can break it asunder.

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He may look on death with joy who can look on forgiveness with faith.

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We spend our years with sighing it is a valley of tears. Death is the funeral of all our sorrows.

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The world rings changes, it is never constant but in its disappointments. The world is but a great inn, where we are to stay a night or two, and ate gone. What madness is it so to set our heart upon our inn as to forget our home?

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He who loves the world how active is he! He will break his peace and sleep for it. He who loves honor what hazards will he run! He will swim to the throne in blood. Love Heaven and you cannot miss it; love breaks through all opposition it takes Heaven by storm.

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None are so empty of grace as he who thinks he is full.

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How soon are we broken on the soft pillow of ease! Adam in paradise was overcome when Job on the dunghill was a conqueror!

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Though we as Christians are like Christ, having the first fruits of the spirit yet we are unlike him, having the remainders of the flesh.

To know that nothing hurts the godly, is a matter of comfort. But to be assured that all things which happen shall cooperate for their good, that their crosses shall be turned into blessings, that showers of affliction water the withering root of their grace and make it flourish more this may fill their hearts with joy until they run over!

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God takes away the world that the heart may cleave more to Him in sincerity.

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God sweetens outward pain with inward peace.

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God will not be behind-hand in love to us.
For our drop we shall receive an ocean!

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God's decree is the very pillar and basis on which the saint's perseverance depends. That decree ties the knot of adoption so fast that neither sin, death, nor Hell, can break it asunder.

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When God calls a man, He does not repent of it. God does not, as many friends do love one day, and hate another; or as princes, who make their subjects favorites, and afterwards throw them into prison. This is the blessedness of a saint; his condition admits of no alteration. God's call is founded upon His decree, and His decree is immutable. Acts of grace cannot be reversed. God blots out His people's sins but not their names!

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A man's greatest care should be for that place where he lives longest therefore eternity should be his scope.

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Where reason cannot wade there faith may swim.

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The Kingdom of grace leads to the Kingdom of glory.

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The right manner of spiritual growth, is to grow less in one's own eyes.

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Millions would rather go sleeping to Hell than sweating to Heaven!

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In Hell, they desire to die but they cannot. The wicked shall be always dying but never dead; the smoke of the furnace ascends forever and ever. Oh! who can endure thus to be ever upon the rack? This word "forever" breaks the heart! Wicked men do now think the Sabbaths long, and think a prayer long but oh! how long will it be to lie in Hell forever and ever?

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The torments of Hell abide forever. If all the earth and sea were sand, and every thousandth year a little bird should come, and take away one grain of this sand it would be a long time before that vast heap of sand were emptied. Yet, if after all that time the damned may come out of Hell, there would be some hope. But this word FOREVER breaks the heart!

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True faith will trust God's heart where it cannot trace His hand!

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To render evil for evil, is brutish;
to render evil for good, is devilish;
to render good for evil, is Christian.

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Christ will not throw away His pearls, for every speck of dirt!

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The world is a flattering enemy, it kills by embracing. Whom the world kisses, it betrays.
Is Heaven in your eye, and Christ in your heart, and the world under your feet?

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Do not so look upon your troubles as to forget your mercies.

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He who is proud of his knowledge the devil cares not how much he knows!

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Christ shed tears, for those who shed His blood!

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God loves a broken heart not a divided heart.

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'Tis vain to speak of hopes of salvation and yet have the marks of damnation!
It will be so much the worse to go to Hell, with hopes of Heaven.

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An idle person is a fit subject for the devil to work upon.

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Look upon a humble Savior and let your plumes of pride fall off.

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Such sheep as have most wool, are soonest fleeced.

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The higher the lark flies the sweeter the songs.
Did our thoughts dwell above we would live sweeter lives.

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Heaven is a place where sorrow cannot live, and joy cannot die.

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Immorality begins with infidelity.

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Prayer keeps the heart open to God, and shut to sin.

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Prosperity exposes to much evil.
It is hard to carry a full cup without spilling and a full estate without sinning.
Many pray Agur's first prayer, "Give me not poverty."
Few pray his last prayer, "Give me not riches" (Proverbs 30:8).

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At Christ's death "the rocks split." Not to be affected with Christ's dying love, is to have hearts harder than rocks!

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He who believes not in the blood of the Lamb must feel the wrath of the Lamb.

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Sin unrepented of, ends in a tragedy. It has . . .
   the devil for its father,
   shame for its companion,
   and damnation for its wages!

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A sinner's heart is the devil's mansion-house.
"I will return unto my house" (Matthew 12:44).

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A true Christian carries Christ in his heart, and the cross on his shoulders.

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Christ and his cross are never parted, for it is too much for the Christian to have two heavens one here, and one hereafter.

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Those who bear the cross patiently, shall wear the crown triumphantly.

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Christ sweetens all our comforts, and sanctifies all our crosses.

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God's power makes Him mighty,
His mercy makes Him lovely but
His holiness makes Him glorious. "Glorious in holiness."
Holiness is the most sparkling jewel of Jehovah's diadem!