Archive for May 2011

Silver Drops of the Sanctuary

May 26, 2011

In today’s reading from The Godly Man’s Picture, Thomas Watson writes that holiness is a characteristic of a godly man.

“It is one thing to profess God, another thing to resemble Him.”

“It is the object of the Word preached. The silver drops of the sanctuary are to water the seed of grace, and make a crop of holiness spring up.”

“What are all God’s providential dispensations for, but to promote holiness? As the Lord makes use of all the seasons of the year, frost and heat, to produce the harvest, so all prosperous and adverse providences are for the promoting of the work of holiness in the soul.”

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Thomas Watson wrote The Godly Man’s Picture in 1666. The quotes above are from chapter 4, section 4.

 

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Turtle-Dove Graces

May 25, 2011

In the fourth chapter of The Godly Man’s Picture, Puritan Thomas Watson is writing about and discussing twenty-four marks that characterize a godly man. The first mark was knowledge.

In sections two and three, Thomas writes that a godly man is marked by faith and love.

Here are several quotes from yesterday’s reading that stood out to me.

“As gold is the most precious among the metals, so is faith among the graces.”

“Faith and hope are two turtle-dove graces; take one away, and the other languishes.”

“A godly man lives in Christ, as the beam lives in the sun.”

“Alas, how far from being godly are those who are destitute of faith! Such are altogether drowned in sense.”

“Faith and love are the two poles on which all religion turns.”

“The pious soul loves God and therefore thirsts for him. The more he has of God, the more he desires.”

 “Let us test our godliness by this touch-stone: Do we love God?”

 As I writing this post, I am reminded of two verses that I believe are very applicable here:

“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)

” ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40)

Is your life characterized by the cooing of the turtle-dove graces of faith and love?

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The Godly Man’s Picture can be purchased at Monergism Books and WTS Books.

Inspiration, Not Speculation

May 13, 2011

The first three chapters of Thomas Watson’s Puritan classic, The Godly Man’s Picture, have addressed the subjects of godliness, pardon from sin, and ungodliness. They have laid a foundation for what we read in the fourth chapter, “Showing the Characteristics of a Godly Man.”

Watson begins this chapter, which is the core of the book, with the question, “Who is the godly man?” When asking this question, he is not asking for the names of godly men we may know. Rather, he is asking, “What are the characteristics of a man who is godly?’

He then tells us that he is going to “lay down several specific” marks that characterize a godly man. I had to smile when he said a “several” because in this chapter he expounds on twenty-four such characteristics.

The first fundamental mark, according to Watson, is knowledge and it has eight “ingredients.” These marks, with accompanying quotes are:

I. It is Grounded

It rests upon “the Word and the Spirit. The one is a guide, the other a witness. Saving knowledge is not changeable or doubtful, but has a certainty to it.”

II. It is Appreciative

“To compare other things with God is to debase deity;”

III. It is Enlivening

A godly man “not only shines by illumination, but he burns by affection.”

IV. It is Appropriating

“Oh what joy, when I am drowned in debt, to know that Christ is my surety!”

V. It is Transforming

” … looking at Christ in the mirror of the gospel, we are changed into his similitude.”

VI. It is Self-Emptying

“True knowledge brings a man out of love with himself. The more he knows, the more he blushes at his own ignorance.”

VII. It is Growing

“True knowledge is like the light of the morning, which increases on the horizon till it comes to the full meridian.”

VIII. It is Practical

“It is a reproach to a Christian to live in contradiction to his knowledge, to know he should be strict and holy, yet to live loosely.”

Watson concludes his discussion on the ingredients of knowledge by asking a final question: “But how shall we get this saving knowledge?”

Here are a couple of quotes that stood out to me as I read his answer to his question.

“Saving knowledge is not by speculation, but by inspiration … “

“The Scripture reveals Christ to us, but the Spirit reveals Christ in us (Gal. 1:16). The Spirit makes known that which all the world cannot do, namely, the sense of God’s love.”

As I conclude this post this morning, I would ask if you have a saving knowledge of and personal relationship with Holy God through faith in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Glittering Dross and Comets

May 12, 2011

Reading the third chapter of Thomas Watson’s book, The Godly Man’s Picture, was a little hard to read. Not because of the Old  English in which it was written, but because of its subject.

The chapter, “A Reproof to Such as are Only Pretenders to Godliness,” was written as a

 ” … sharp rebuke to such as are ‘glittering dross’ Christians, who only make a show of godliness …. “

Yes, the subject of the chapter is basically Pharisaism. Jesus spoke often of those who prayed aloud in order to be heard, made a show of giving their offerings, and moped around so that people would know that they were fasting.

Watson points out that Jesus calls such pretenders of godliness “white sepulchres.” (Matthew 23:27) On the “outside they appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.” Watson describes the “beauty” of these as being “all paint!”

The question is then asked, “But why do persons content themselves with a show of godliness?” when Christ condemns those for their pretense? Watson’s answer is “to keep up their fame” among men.  He goes on to say,

“Men are ambitious for credit, and wish to gain repute in the world, therefore they will dress themselves in garb and mode of religion so that others may write them down for saints. But alas, … What good will it do a man when he is in hell that others think that he has gone to heaven. Oh, beware of this! Counterfeit piety is a double iniquity.”

Watson then writes a six point warning about the danger and results of the show and pretense of godliness.

I. To have only a show of godliness is a God-enraging sin.

II. To make only a show of godliness is self-delusion.

III. To have only a name, and make a show of godliness, is odious to God and man.

IV. To be only comets and make a show piety is a vain thing.

V. To have only a pretense of godliness will yield no comfort at death.

VI. You who have nothing but a specious pretext and mask of piety expose yourself to Satan’s scorn.

I am encouraged to “take heed of this kind of pageantry or devout stage play,” knowing that “there are the seeds of this sin in the best” of us. This warning  compels me to ask the Holy Spirit to search my heart and reveal any wicked, ungodly, self-deluding ways that may be within me so that I might be right with Him in all things and a positive witness for my Lord among men.

Thomas Watson concludes this chapter with this exhortation.

“Christian, if you mourn for hypocrisy, yet find this sin so potent that you cannot get the mastery of it, go to Christ. Beg of Him that he would exercise his kingly office in your soul, that he would subdue this sin, and put it under the yoke. Beg of Christ to exercise his spiritual surgery upon you. Desire him to lance your heart and cut out the rotten flesh, and that he would apply the medicine of his blood to heal you of your hypocrisy.”

“Your Name” – Monday Morning Worship

May 9, 2011

Last week, I wrote and posted an article on a sermon that was preached by the Scots “worthie,” Thomas Boston (1676-1732). The title of the sermon is “Christ’s Name Beautiful.” In it, Boston speaks of the excellencies of Christ that are communicated in His name.

Several days later I came upon a video of a worship song entitled “Your Name.” When I listened to the song I was immediately reminded of and thought about Thomas Boston’s sermon on the Name of Jesus.

I share the video with you and pray that it will be used of the Lord to draw your thoughts and heart to Christ this morning and that you will worship Him, for He is worthy.

“And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

” … that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:10,11)

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Read the sermon, “Christ’s Name Beautiful,” by Thomas Boston here.

Sacred Leaven

May 6, 2011

In today’s reading from The Godly Man’s PictureThomas Watson expounds on the nature of godliness and answers the question, “What is godliness?”

He says that godliness is:

I. A Real Thing

“Godliness is a ray and beam that shines from God. If God is true, then godliness is true.”

II. An Intrinsic Thing

“It lies chiefly in the heart.”

III. A Supernatural Thing

“A man has no more power to change himself than to create himself.”

IV. An Extensive Thing

“It is a sacred leaven that spreads itself into the whole soul … There is light in the understanding, order in the affections, pliableness in the will, exemplariness in the life.”

V. An Intensive Thing

“It does not lie in a dead formality and indifference, but is vigorous and flaming …. “

VI. A Glorious Thing

“Godliness is glory in the seed, and glory is godliness in the flower.”

VII. A Permanent Thing

“A blush of goldliness is not enough to distinguish a Christian, but godliness must be the temper and compexion of the soul.”

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Today’s reading was from the chapter, “Expounding the Nature of Godliness,” pages 12-14.

The Godly Man’s Picture

May 6, 2011

I have recently started reading the book, The Godly Man’s Picture. The book was written by Thomas Watson (1620-1686), an English pastor, theologian, and “nonconformist” to the Church of England. The book was originally published in 1666 and is considered by many to be a Puritan classic.

There are two reasons I have begun reading The Godly Man’s Picture. The first is that I want to become better acquainted with the Puritan age, Puritan pastors and theologians, and Puritan sermons and writings. I believe that reading Thomas Watson is a good place to begin. After all, Charles H. Spurgeon thought very highly of Watson.

The second reason that I am reading the book is because I believe the Lord will use it in my life as I seek to be a more godly man, husband, and father.

I intend to read a portion of Watson’s book each morning as a part of my daily devotion. As I read I will post quotes that strike my attention and stir my heart. Posts may or may not include commentary and reflection.

I read Watson’s introduction to the book and the first chapter this morning. Following are several quotes that the Lord drew my attention to and that I thought about throughout the day.

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“What a rare thing godliness is.” (p.7)

“Christian, aspire after piety; it is a lawful ambition. Look at the saints’ characteristics here, and never leave off till you have got them stamped upon your own soul.” (p.9)

 ” … true happiness consists; not in beauty, honour, riches (the world’s trinity), but in the forgiveness of sin.” (p.9)

” … pardon does not arise from anything inherent in us, but is the pure result of free grace (charis).” (p.9)

“Pardon of sin is a fine thread, spun out of the heart of free grace.” (p.9)

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To read a short biographical sketch of Thomas Watson and Charles H Spurgeon’s “Brief Memoir of Thomas Watson,” read here.

(Note: The characteristics that Watson refers to in the second quote are those that he writes about in his book.)

You can view The Godly Man’s Picture here.