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Puritan Book Reviews – Heaven Taken by Storm
Reviewed by Dr. C. Matthew McMahon
Heaven Taken by Storm
by Thomas Watson
Soli Deo Gloria Publications, Morgan, PA: 1995
129 Pages, Hardback
What violence is offered unto the Kingdom of Heaven by the Christian? That sounds like a wrong statement. But this is wholly otherwise. The Christian is required to take the Kingdom of heaven by force, to take heaven by storm. He is to be a tornado, or a hurricane, in respect to his violence and his disposition in raging or pressing into the Kingdom of God with all his might. Would God require anything less than for the Christian to strive and place forth his best for the power of the Kingdom?
The subtitle to Watson’s book is this: “Showing the Holy Violence A Christian is to Put Forth in the Pursuit After Glory.” It is not a “chasing after the wind”, but rather, it is being a holy wind of violence in a pursuit to take up the things of God and hide them in the heart and mind. Watson vividly explains how the Christian is to be about this practice of holy violence, what it consists in, how to obtain it, and how to improve upon it.
There are 19 chapters and two appendices on the topic. It is well ordered and valuable in its treatment of the subject. He explains “Offering Violence by the Reading of the Word”, “…by the hearing of the Word,” “…by prayer,” “…by Meditation,” and more. Two select appendices cover “The happiness of Drawing Near to God,” and “How we may Read the Scriptures with Most Spiritual Profit.”
This is a favorite in our house. My wife has read it three times and will come back to it in a couple of months to read it again. Watson’s pithy style and lucid illustrations drawing the reader that they desire to know how it is that the Christian may take heaven by violence, and strive after the pursuit of glory.
“When zeal like incense burns, first the lamp of knowledge must be lighted.”
“The reason so many have been tricked into error is because they either did not know, or did not love, the truth.”
“This is the first thing in holy violence: resolution of their will; I will have heaven whatever it costs me and this resolution must be in the strength of Christ.”
“The pampering of the flesh is the quenching of God’s Spirit. The flesh chokes and stifles holy motions; the flesh sides with Satan and is true to its interests.”
“Men throw off all violence and degenerate into apostasy because they never did duties of religion with delight. Paul delighted in the law of God in the inward (Rom. 7:22). It was his heaven to serve God. A man who delights in pleasure will never surrender. But the apostate never had any true delight in the ways f God; he was rather forced with fear than drawn with love; he served a Master whom he never cared for. No wonder then that he leaves His service.”