Written in 1661, this book contains all the hallmarks of what made the puritans great. It represents a clarion call to the church to recognize her failings and repent, turning to the Almighty God and casting herself on His mercy. Here we gain some insight to the virtue of a puritan preacher of the gospel, speaking plainly to the ills of society and in particular to the church, that according to the scripture is "a city set on a hill". It revealed Thomas Watson's deep concern for the state of the Church and the prosperity of godliness and vital Christianity in a period of testing and decline. Watson did not merely write a religious polemic, but offered the fruits of many years of a successful preaching ministry, expounding issues such as when the Christian may rejoice, how to act in a godly manner when tested to the limit, and showing how glorious is Christ's Church when proven in the fires of affliction. It is a work that is aimed at helping the believer in a practical manner to live a life that glorifies God and places Christ at the centre of the Church both doctrinally and in practical everyday living. He challenges the reader at every turn to seek to prove these things according to the authority of the Scriptures, and to act upon it. The text is simplified for the modern reader, with a biographical introduction added to the original work. It will, through time, come to be regarded as Watson at his most readable and best.