The opening verses of the best-known of all Christ’s sermons were handled by many of the Puritans, for the Beatitudes gave full scope to the combination of sound doctrine, practical wisdom and heart-searching application which characterized their preaching. In addition to these general Puritan characteristics, Thomas Watson added certain of his own: a 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. More than most of his generation he sought to follow the example of Christ’s teaching by employing all manner of illustrative material from common life, and with simplicity and charm he spoke words not easy to forget. Two hundred years after Thomas Watson’s death William Jay of Bath said that he could go to any one of his books and ‘find it ever fresh, pointed and instructive.’
The Beatitudes, first published in 1660, has been one of the rarest of Watson’s works. In this edition the layout has been entirely revised and editorial notes supplied.
‘What announces itself as an exposition of Matthew 5:1-10 turns out to be a digest of all the central Puritan teaching on the Christian life. The Beatitudes are treated as mineshafts into the whole economy of grace , as indeed they are.’ — J.I. PACKER