Much of Goodwin’s ninth volume is devoted to election. He begins by connecting election to grace—using his discussion of grace and faith in Volume Eight as a springboard—and argues that a theology which does not acknowledge election thereby improperly understands grace. In this way, Goodwin’s entire discourse on election is firmly rooted in the covenant of grace—a connection he makes explicit in the final part of the volume.
He speaks the intimacies of things from an inward sense and feeling of them in his own heart, to the particular cases and experiences of others.
Thomas Goodwin (1600-1680) was born in Norfolk in England as the oldest son of Richard and Catherine Goodwin. At the age of six, Goodwin, in his own words, “began to have some slighter workings of the Holy Spirit.” He attended Christ’s College in Cambridge, and was ordained as a preacher in 1625 and as a lecturer at Trinity Church in 1633.
In 1634, he resigned and in 1639 was forced to flee to the Netherlands to escape persecution.
After Goodwin returned to England, he became a member of the Westminster Assembly, and frequently preached in Parliament. In 1656, he also became chaplain to Oliver Cromwell. Along with John Owen, Thomas Goodwin was instrumental in writing the Westminster Confession of 1658.
In 1660, Goodwin returned to London and served as pastor of Fetter Lane Independent Church, where he remained until his death.