Thursday, December 29, 2016

Book Review: The Art of Divine Contentment

The content of Thomas Watson's The Art of Divine Contentment is biblical and edifying.  On the subject of contentment, I still prefer the in-depth look found in The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs.  Thomas Watson gives a briefer overview: "In a word, a contented Christian, being sweetly captivated under the authority of the Word, desires to be wholly at God's disposal, and cheerfully lives in whatever circumstances that God has placed him in," (~p.57).

Unfortunately, The Art of Divine Contentment (ISBN 1499323344) published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform has not been edited very well.  There are many grammatical errors throughout this short book: misspelling, improper punctuation, missing words, and incomplete sentences.  Also, there are no page numbers and the layout is not appealing.  It would have been useful if the publisher had used the Arabic numbers and Roman numerals within the text to help the reader follow Mr. Watson's arguments.

After the first two pages, it was difficult to continue reading this edition because of the blatant editing errors.  First, the Amazon.com book description does not indicate that this edition is updated with modern language and with modern Bible versions.  The Puritan Thomas Watson lived in the 17th century, so he would be quoting from the King James Bible.  However, the first two pages quote 5 different Bible translations, and two modern Bible verses directly quoted are misquoted because the word 'your' has been changed to 'our'.  A direct quote should use the exact words.  In addition, there's a missing word in the sentence on the first page: "The in the Greek...", and there are two incorrect Bible references on the second page: Ez. 12:1 should be Ez. 12:19 and 1 Cor. 4:4 should be 2 Cor. 4:4.

It should be noted that the editing problems are even noticeable in the publisher's book comments on the website: "This is one of Watson's most treasured works, and shares equal billing with Jeremiah Burrough's [sic] classic The Rare Jewel of Christian Continent [sic]. It was first published in a lithograph of a 19th century edition, but the publishers were compelled to retypest [sic] that work and publish it in an entirely new book so as to give an even broader readership [sic]"  Three spelling errors and one missing punctuation in only two sentences!

Given the obvious errors on just the first two pages, I have no confidence that I'm reading what Thomas Watson actually wrote on the subject of divine contentment.  I recommend reading The Art of Divine Contentment, but I strongly recommend avoiding this edition.


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"Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God," (1 Cor. 10:31).