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Bennetts End Reformed Baptist Church in Hemel Hempstead | The Holy Bible and The TV Guide
 

From: The Godly Man's Picture

Index

  1. A Godly Man is a heavenly man
  2. A Reproof to Such as are Only Pretenders to Godliness

 

							
 

The Godly Man

 A GODLY MAN IS A HEAVENLY MAN

From The Godly Man's Picture, published by The Banner of Truth Trust.

These excerpts will hopefully cause many to purchase this fine work for further meditation.

 


Heaven is in him before he is in heaven. The Greek word for saint, hagios, signifies a man taken away from the earth. A person may live in one place, yet belong to another. He may live in Spain yet be a free citizen of England. Pomponius lived in Athens yet was a citizen of Rome. So a godly man is a while in the world, but he belongs to the Jerusalem above. That is the place to which he aspires. Every day is Ascension Day with a believer. The saints are called "stars' for their sublimity; they have gone above into the upper region: "The way of life is above to the wise" (Prov. 15:24). A godly man is heavenly in six ways:

1. In his election.
2. In his disposition.
3. In his communication.
4. In his actions.
5. In his expectation.
6. In his conduct.

1. A godly man is heavenly in his election
He chooses heavenly objects. David chose to be a resident in God's house (Psa. 84:10). A godly person chooses Christ and grace before the most illustrious things under the sun. What a man is, that is his choice; and this choosing of God is best seen in a critical hour. When Christ and the world come into competition, and we part with the world to keep Christ and a good conscience, that is a sign we have chosen "the better part" (Luke 10:42).
2. A godly man is heavenly in his disposition
He sets his affections on things above (Col. 3:2). He sends his heart to heaven before he gets there; he looks upon the world as but a beautiful prison and he cannot be much in love with his fetters, though they are made of gold. A holy person contemplates glory and eternity; his desires have got wings and have fled to heaven. Grace is in the heart like fire, which makes it sparkle upwards in divine desires and ejaculations.

3. A godly man is heavenly in his communication
His words are sprinkled with salt to season others (Col. 4:6). As soon as Christ had risen from the grave, he was "speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God" (Acts 1:3). No sooner has a man risen from the grave of unregeneracy than he is speaking of heaven: "The words of a wise man's mouth are gracious" (Eccles. 10:12). He speaks in such a heavenly manner as if he were already in heaven. The love he has for God will not allow him to be silent. The spouse being sick of love, her tongue was like the pen of a ready writer: "My beloved is white and ruddy, his head is as the most fine gold . . . " (Song 5:10,11). If there is wine in the house, the bush will be hung outside, and where there is a principle of godliness in the heart, it will vent itself at the lips; the bush will be hung up.

How can they be termed godly:
(i) Who are possessed with a dumb devil? They never have any good discourse. They are fluent and discursive enough in secular things: they can speak of their wares and drugs, they can tell what a good crop they have, but in matters of religion they are as if their tongue cleaved to the roof of their mouth. There are many people in whose company you cannot tell what to make of them, whether they are Turks or atheists, for they never speak a word of Christ.

(ii) Whose tongues are set on fire by hell? Their lips do not drop honey but. poison, to the defiling of others. Plutarch says that speech ought to be like gold, which is of most value when it has least dross in it. Oh, the unclean, malicious words that some people utter! What an unsavoury stench comes from these dunghills! Those lips that gallop so fast in sin need David's bridle (Psa. 39:1). Can the body be healthy when the tongue is black? Can the heart be holy when the devil is in the lips? A godly man speaks "the language of Canaan". "They that feared the Lord spake often one to another" (Mal. 3:16).

4. A godly man is heavenly in his actions
The motions of the planets are celestial. A godly man is sublime and sacred in his motions; he works out salvation; he puts forth all his strength, as they did in the Greek Olympics, so that he may obtain the garland made of the flowers of paradise. He prays, fasts, watches, he offers violence to heaven, he is divinely actuated, he carries on God's interest in the world, he does angels" work, he is seraphic in his actions.

5. A godly man is heavenly in his expectation
His hopes are above the world (Psa. 39:7): "In hope of eternal life" (Titus 1:2). A godly man casts anchor within the veil. He hopes to have his fetters of sin filed off; he hopes for such things as eye has not seen; he hopes for a kingdom when he dies, a kingdom promised by the Father, purchased by the Son, assured by the Holy Ghost. As an heir lives in hope of the time when such a great estate shall fall to him, so a child of God, who is a co-heir with Christ, hopes for glory. This hope comforts him in all varieties of condition: "we rejoice in hope of the glory of God" (Rom. 5:2).

(i) This hope comforts a godly man in affliction; hope lightens and sweetens the most severe dispensations. A child of God can laugh with tears in his eyes; the time is shortly coming when the cross shall be taken off his shoulders and a crown set on his head. A saint at present is miserable, with a thousand troubles; in an instant, he will be clothed with robes of immortality, and advanced above seraphim.

(ii) This hope comforts a godly man in death: "the righteous hath hope in his death" (Prov. 14:32). If one should ask a dying saint, when all his earthly comforts have gone, what he had left, he would say, "the helmet of hope". I have read of a woman martyr who, when the persecutors commanded that her breasts should be cut off, said, "Tyrant, do your worst; I have two breasts which you can not touch, the one of faith and the other of hope". A soul that has this blessed hope is above the desire of life or the fear of death. Would anyone be troubled at exchanging a poor lease for an inheritance that will be for him and his heirs? Who would worry about parting with life, which is a lease that will soon run out, to be possessed of a glorious inheritance in light?

6. A godly man is heavenly in his conduct
He casts such a lustre of holiness as adorns his profession. He lives as if he had seen the Lord with his bodily eyes. What zeal, sanctity, humility, shines forth in his life! A godly person emulates not only the angels, but imitates Christ himself (1 John 2:6). The Macedonians celebrate the birthday of Alexander, on which day they wear his picture round their necks, set with pearl and rich jewels. So a godly man carries the lively picture of Christ about him in the heavenliness of his deportment: "our conversation is in heaven" (Phil. 3:20).

Use 1: Those who are eaten up with the world will be rejected, as ungodly, at the bar of judgment. To be godly and earthly is a contradiction: "For many walk, of whom I now tell you even weeping, that they are "the enemies of the cross of Christ, whose god is their belly, who mind earthly things" (Phil. 3:18, 19). We read that the earth swallowed up Korah alive (Numb. 16:32). This judgment is on many - the earth swallows up their time, thoughts and discourse. They are buried twice; their hearts are buried in the earth before their bodies. How sad it is that the soul, that princely thing, which is made for communion with God and angels, should be put to the mill to grind, and made a slave to the earth! How like the prodigal the soul has become, choosing rather to converse with swine and feed upon husks than to aspire after communion with the blessed Deity! Thus does Satan befool men, and keep them from heaven by making them seek a heaven here.

Use 2: As we would prove ourselves to be "born of God", let us be of a sublime, heavenly temper. We shall never go to heaven when we die unless we are in heaven while we live. That we may be more noble and raised in our affections, let us seriously weigh these four considerations:

1. God himself sounds a retreat to us to call us off the world: "Love not the world" (1 John 2: 15). We may use it as a posy of flowers to smell, but it must not lie like a bundle of myrrh between our breasts: "be not conformed to this world" (Rom. 12:2). Do not hunt after its honours and profits. God's providences, like his precepts, are to beat us off the world. Why does he send war and epidemics? What does the heat of this great anger mean? Surely dying times are to make men die to the world.

2. Consider how much below a Christian it is to be earthly-minded. We laugh sometimes at children when we see them busying themselves with toys, blowing bubbles in the air out of a shell, kissing their dolls, etc., when in the meantime we do the same! At death, what will all the world be which we so hug and kiss, but like a rag doll? It will yield us no more comfort then. How far it is below a heaven?born soul to be taken up with these things! No, when such as profess to be ennobled with a principle of piety and to have their hopes above, have their hearts below, how they disparage their heavenly calling and spot their silver wings of grace by beliming them with earth!

3. Consider what a poor, contemptible thing the world is. It is not worth setting the affections on; it cannot fill the heart. If Satan should take a Christian up to the mount of temptation and show him all the kingdoms and glory of the world, what could he show him but a fancy, an apparition? Nothing here can be proportionate to the immense soul of man. "In the fulness of his sufficiency he shall be in straits" (Job 20:22). Here is want in plenty. The creature will no more fill the soul than a drop will fill the bucket, and that little sweet we suck from the creature is intermixed with some bitterness, like that cup which the Jews gave Christ. "They gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh" (Mark 15:23). And this imperfect sweet will not last long: "the world passeth away" (1 John 2:17). The creature merely salutes us, and is soon on the wing. The world rings changes. It is never constant except in its disappointments. How quickly we may remove our lodgings and make our pillow in the dust! The world is but a great inn where we are to stay a night or two and be gone. What madness it is so to set our heart upon our inn as to forget our home!

4. Consider what a glorious place heaven is.
We read of an angel coming down from heaven who "set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth" (Rev. 10:2). Had we only once been in heaven, and viewed its superlative glory, how we might in holy scorn trample with one foot on the earth and with the other foot on the sea! Heaven is called a better country: "But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly" (Heb. 11:16). Heaven is said to be a better country, in opposition to the country where we are now staying. What should we seek but that better country?

Question: In what sense is heaven a better country?

Answer 1: In that country above there are better delights. There is the tree of life, the rivers of pleasure. There is amazing beauty, unsearchable riches; there are the delights of angels; there is the flower of joy fully blown; there is more than we can ask or think (Eph. 3: 20). There is glory in its full dimensions and beyond all hyperbole.

Answer 2: In that country there is a better dwelling house:

(i) It is a house "not made with hands" (2 Cor. 5:1). To denote its excellence, there was never any house but was made with hands, but the house above surpasses the art of man or angel; none besides God could lay a stone in that building.

(ii) It is "eternal in the heavens". It is not a guest house but a mansion house. It is a house that will never be out of repair. "Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars" (Prov. 9:1), which can never moulder.

Answer 3: In that country there are better provisions; in our Father's house there is bread enough. Heaven was typified by Canaan, which flowed with milk and honey. There is the royal feast, the spiced wine; there is angels" food; there they serve up those rare foods and dainties, such as exceed not only our expressions, but our faith.

Answer 4: In that country there is better society. There is God blessed forever. How infinitely sweet and ravishing will a smile of his face be! The king's presence makes the court. There are the glorious cherubim. In this terrestrial country where we now live, we are among wolves and serpents; in that country above, we shall be among angels. There are "the spirits of just men made perfect" (Heb. 12:23). Here the people of God are clouded with infirmities; we see them with spots on their faces; they are full of pride, passion, censoriousness. In that Jerusalem above we shall see them in their royal attire, decked with unparalleled beauty, not having the least tincture or shadow of sin on them.

Answer 5: In that country there is a better air to breathe in. We go into the country for air; the best air is only to be had in that better country: (i) It is a more temperate air; the climate is calm and moderate; we shall neither freeze with the cold nor faint with the heat. (ii) It is a brighter air; there is a better light shining there. The Sun of righteousness enlightens that horizon with his glorious beams: "the Lamb is the light thereof (Rev. 21:23). (iii) It is a purer air. The fens, which are full of black vapours, we count a bad air and unwholesome to live in. This world is a place of bogs and fens, where the noxious vapours of sin arise, which make it pestilential and unwholesome to live in; but in that country above, there are none of these vapours, but a sweet perfume of holiness. There is the smell of the orange?tree and the pomegranate. There is the myrrh and cassia coming from Christ, which send forth a most odoriferous scent.

Answer 6: In that country there is a better soil. The land or soil is better:

(i) For its altitude. The earth, lying low, is of a baser pedigree; the element which is nearest heaven is purer and more excellent, like the fire. That country above is the high country; it is seated far above all the visible orbs (Psa. 24.3).

(ii) For its fertility; it bears a richer crop. The richest harvest on earth is the golden harvest, but the country above yields noble commodities. There are pearls celestial; there is the spiritual vine; there is the honeycomb of God's love dropping; there is the water of life, the hidden manna. There is fruit that does not rot, flowers that never fade. There is a crop which cannot be totally reaped; it will always be reaping time in heaven, and all this the land yields without the labour of ploughing and sowing.

(iii) For its inoffensiveness. There are no briars there. The world is a wilderness where there are wicked men, and the "best of them is a brier" (Micah 7:4). They tear the people of God in their spiritual liberties, but in the country above there is not one briar to be seen; all the briars are burned.

(iv) For the rarity of the prospect; all that a man sees there is his own. I account that the best prospect where a man can see furthest on his own ground.

Answer 7: In that country there is better unity. All the inhabitants are knit together in love. The poisonous weed of malice does not grow there. There is harmony without division, and charity without envy. In that country above, as in Solomon's temple, no noise of hammer is heard.

Answer 8: In that country there is better employment; while we are here, we are complaining of our wants, weeping over our sins, but there we shall be praising God. How the birds of paradise will chirp when they are in that celestial country! There the morning stars will sing together, and all the saints of God will shout for joy.

Oh, what should we aspire after but this country above? Such as have their eyes opened, will see that it infinitely excels. An ignorant man looks at a star and it appears to him like a little silver spot, but the astronomer, who has his instrument to judge the dimension of a star, knows it to be many degrees bigger than the earth. So a natural man hears of the heavenly country that it is very glorious, but it is at a great distance. And because he has not a spirit of discernment, the world looks bigger in his eye. But such as are spiritual artists, who have the instrument of faith to judge heaven, will say it is by far the better country and they will hasten there with the sails of desire.



From The Godly Man's Picture, published by The Banner of Truth Trust.

A Godly Man is a Lover of the Word

by Thomas Watson

 

"O how love I your law." (Psa. 119:97)

 

Part A: Godly Man Loves the Word Written
 
 Chrysostom compares the Scripture to a garden set with ornaments and flowers. A godly man delights to walk in this garden and sweetly solace himself. He loves every branch and part of the Word:
 
 1. He loves the counselling part of the Word, as it is a directory and rule of life. The Word is the direction sign which points us to our duty. It contains in it things to be believed and practiced. A godly man loves the directions of the Word.
 
 2. He loves the threatening part of the Word. The Scripture is like the Garden of Eden: as it has a tree of life in it, so it has a flaming sword at its gates. This is the threatening of the Word. It flashes fire in the face of every person who goes on obstinately in wickedness. "God will wound the head of His enemies, the hairy scalp of the one who still goes on in his trespasses." (Psa. 68:21). The Word gives no indulgence to evil. It will not let a man halt half-way between God and sin. The true mother would not let the child be divided (I Kings 3:26), and God will not have the heart divided. The Word thunders out threats against the very appearance of evil. It is like that flying scroll full of curses (Zech. 5:1).
 
 A godly man loves the menaces of the Word. He knows there is love in every threat. God would not have us perish; he therefore mercifully threatens us, so that he may scare us from sin. God's threats are like the buoy, which shows the rocks in the sea and threatens death to such as come near. The threat is a curbing bit to check us, so that we may not run in full career to hell. There is mercy in every threat.
 
 3. He loves the consolatory part of the Word - the promises. He goes feeding on these as Samson went on his way eating the honeycomb (Judges 14:8,9). The promises are all marrow and sweetness. They are reviving to us when we are fainting; they are the conduits of the water of life. "In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul." (Psa. 94:19). The promises were David's harp to drive away sad thoughts; they were the breast which gave him the milk of divine consolation.
 
 A godly man shows his love to the Word written:
 
 (a) By diligently reading it. The noble Bereans "searched the Scriptures daily" (Acts 17:11). Apollos was mighty in the Scriptures (Acts 18:12). The Word is our Magna Carta for heaven; we should be daily reading over this charter. The Word shows what is truth and what is error. It is the field where the pearl of price is hidden. How we should dig for this pearl! A godly man's heart is the library to hold the Word of God; it dwells richly in him (Col. 3:16). It is reported of Melanchthon that when he was young, he always carried the Bible with him and read it greedily. The Word has a double work: to teach us and to judge us. Those who will not be taught by the Word shall be judged by the Word. Oh, let us make ourselves familiar with the Scripture! What if it should be as in the times of Diocletian, who commanded by proclamation that the Bible be burned? Or as in Queen Mary's days, when it spelled death to have a Bible in English? By diligent conversing with Scripture, we may carry a Bible in our heads.
 
 (b) By frequently meditating on it: "It is my meditation all the day" (Psa. 119:97). A pious soul meditates on the truth and holiness of the Word. He not only has a few transient thoughts, but leaves his mind steeping in the Scripture. By meditation, he sucks from this sweet flower and ruminates on holy truths in his mind.
 
 (c) By delighting in it. It is his recreation: "Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart." (Jer 15:16) Never did a man take such delight in a dish that he loved as the prophet did in the Word. And indeed, how can a saint choose but take great pleasure in the Word? All that he ever hopes to be worth is contained in it. Does not a son take pleasure in reading his father's will and testament, in which he bequeaths his estate to him?
 
 (d) By hiding it: "Your word I have hidden in my heart" (Psa 119:11) - as one hides a treasure so that it should not be stolen. The Word is the jewel; the heart is the cabinet where it must be locked up. Many hide the Word in their memory, but not in their heart. And why would David enclose the Word in his heart? "That I might not sin against you." As a man would carry an antidote about him when he comes near an infected place, so a godly man carries the Word in his heart as a spiritual antidote to preserve him from the infection of sin. Why have so many been poisoned with error, others with moral vice, but because they have not hidden the Word as a holy antidote in their heart?
 
 (e) By defending it. A wise man will not let his land be taken from him but will defend his title. David looked upon the Word as his land of inheritance: "Your testimonies I have taken as a heritage forever, for they are the rejoicing of my heart." (Psa 119:111) And do you think he will let his inheritance be wrested out of his hands? A godly man will not only dispute for the Word but die for it: "I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God." (Rev 6:9)
 
 (f) By preferring it above things most precious: (1) Above food: "I have treasured the words of His mouth More than my necessary food." (Job. 23:12). (2) Above riches: "The law of Your mouth is better to me than thousands of coins of gold and silver." (Psa. 119:72). (3) Above worldly honour. Memorable is the story of King Edward the Sixth. On the day of his coronation, when they presented three swords before him, signifying to him that he was monarch of three kingdoms, the king said, "There is still one sword missing." On being asked what that was, he answered, "The Holy Bible, which is the 'sword of the Spirit' and is to be preferred before these ensigns of royalty."
 
 (f) By talking about it: "My tongue shall speak of your word." (Psa. 119:172). As a covetous man talks of his rich purchase, so a godly man speaks of the Word. What a treasure it is, how full of beauty and sweetness! Those whose mouths the devil has gagged, who never speak of God's Word, indicate that they never reaped any good from it.
 
 (g) By conforming to it. The Word is his compass, by which he sets his life, the balance in which he weighs his actions. He copies out the Word in his daily walk: "I have kept the faith" (2 Tim. 4:7). St Paul kept the doctrine of faith, and lived the life of faith.
 
 
 Question: Why is a godly man a lover of the Word?
 
 Answer: Because of the excellence of the Word.
 
 1. The Word written is our pillar of fire to guide us. It shows us what rocks we are to avoid; it is the map by which we sail to the new Jerusalem.
 
 2. The Word is a spiritual mirror through which we may see our own hearts. The mirror of nature, which the heathen had, revealed spots in their lives, but this mirror reveals spots in the imagination; that mirror revealed the spots of their unrighteousness, this reveals the spots of our righteousness. "When the commandment came, sin revived, and I died" (Rom. 7:9). When the Word came like a mirror, all my opinion of self-righteousness died.
 
 3. The Word of God is a sovereign comfort in distress. While we follow this cloud, the rock follows us. "This is my comfort in my affliction, For Your word has given me life." (Psa. 119:50). Christ is the fountain of living water, the Word is the golden pipe through which it runs. What can revive at the hour of death but the word of life (Phil. 2:16)?
 
 
 Part B: A Godly Man Loves the Word, Because of the Efficacy it has had upon Him
 
 A godly man loves the Word preached, which is a commentary upon the Word written. This day-star has risen in his heart, and ushered in the Sun of righteousness. The Scriptures are the sovereign oils and balsams; the preaching of the Word is the pouring of them out. The Scriptures are the precious spices; the preaching of the Word is the beating of these spices, which causes a wonderful fragrance and delight. The Word preached is "the rod of God's strength" (Psa. 11O:2) and "the breath of his lips" (Isa. 11:4). What was once said of the city of Thebes, that it was built by the sound of Amphius' harp, is much more true of soul conversion. It is built by the sound of the gospel harp. Therefore the preaching of the Word is called "the power of God to salvation" (Rom 1:16). By this, Christ is said (now) to speak to us from heaven (Heb. 12:25). This ministry of the Word is to be preferred before the ministry of angels.
 
 A godly man loves the Word preached, partly from the good he has found by it - he has felt the dew fall with this manna - and partly because of God's institution. The Lord has appointed this ordinance to save him. The king's image makes the coin current. The stamp of divine authority on the Word preached makes it an instrument conducive to men's salvation.
 
 
 Application: Let us test by this characteristic whether we are godly: Are we lovers of the Word?
 
 1. Do we love the Word written? What sums of money the martyrs gave for a few pages of the Bible! Do we make the Word our bosom friend? As Moses often had 'the rod of God' in his hand, so we should have 'the Book of God' in our hand. When we want direction, do we consult this sacred oracle? When we find corruptions strong, do we make use of this "sword of the Spirit" to hew them down? When we are disconsolate, do we go to this bottle of the water of life for comfort? Then we are lovers of the Word! But alas, how can they who are seldom conversant with the Scriptures say they love them? Their eyes begin to be sore when they look at a Bible. The two testaments are hung up like rusty armour which is seldom or never made use of. The Lord wrote the law with his own finger, but though God took pains to write, men will not take pains to read. They would rather look at a deck of cards than at a Bible.
 
 2. Do we love the Word preached? Do we prize it in our judgments? Do we receive it into our hearts? Do we fear the loss of the Word preached more than the loss of peace and trade? Is it the removal of the ark that troubles us?
 
 Again, do we attend to the Word with reverential devotion? When the judge is giving his charge from the bench, all attend. When the Word is preached, the great God is giving us his charge. Do we listen to it as to a matter of life and death? This is a good sign that we love the Word.
 
 Again, do we love the holiness of the Word (Psa. 119:140)? The Word is preached to beat down sin and advance holiness. Do we love it for its spirituality and purity? Many love the Word preached only for its eloquence and notion. They come to a sermon as to a performance (Ezek. 33:31,32) or as to a garden to pick flowers, but not to have their lusts subdued or their hearts bettered. These are like a foolish woman who paints her face but neglects her health.
 
 Again, do we love the convictions of the Word? Do we love the Word when it comes home to our conscience and shoots its arrows of reproof at our sins? It is the minister's duty sometimes to reprove. He who can speak smooth words in the pulpit, but does not know how to reprove, is like a sword with a fine hilt but without an edge. "Rebuke them sharply" (Titus 2:15). Dip the nail in oil, reprove in love, but strike the nail home. Now Christian, when the Word touches on your sin and says, "You are the man", do you love the reproof? Can you bless God that "the sword of the Spirit" has divided between you and your lusts? This is indeed a sign of grace and shows that you are a lover of the Word.
 
 A corrupt heart loves the comforts of the Word, but not the reproofs: "They hate the one who rebukes in the gate." (Amos 5:1O). "Their eyes flash with fire!" Like venomous creatures that at the least touch spit poison, "When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth." (Acts 7:54). When Stephen touched them to the quick, they were mad and could not endure it.
 
 
 Question: How shall we know that we love the reproofs of the Word?
 
 Answer 1: When we desire to sit under a heart-searching ministry. Who cares for medicines that will not work? A godly man does not choose to sit under a ministry that will not work upon his conscience.
 
 Answer 2: When we pray that the Word may meet with our sins. If there is any traitorous lust in our heart, we would have it found out and executed. We do not want sin covered, but cured. We can open our breast to the bullet of the Word and say, "Lord, smite this sin."
 
 Answer 3: When we are thankful for a reproof: "Let the righteous strike me; It shall be a kindness. And let him rebuke me; It shall be as excellent oil; Let my head not refuse it. For still my prayer is against the deeds of the wicked." (Psa. 141:5). David was glad of a reproof. Suppose a man were in the mouth of a lion, and another should shoot the lion and save the man, would he not be thankful? So, when we are in the mouth of sin, as of a lion, and the minister by a reproof shoots this sin to death, shall we not be thankful? A gracious soul rejoices when the sharp lance of the Word has pierced his abscess. He wears a reproof like a jewel on his ear: "Like an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold is a wise reprover to an obedient ear." (Prov. 25:12).
 
 To conclude, it is convincing preaching which must do the soul good. A nipping reproof prepares for comfort, as a nipping frost prepares for the sweet flowers of spring.
 
 
 [From The Godly Man's Picture by Thomas Watson, a Puritan Paperback edition published by the Banner of Truth.]
 


 

A GODLY MAN IS A PATIENT MAN

'Ye have heard of the patience of Job' (Jas. 5:11).Patience is a star which shines in a dark night. There is a twofold patience:

I. Patience in waiting
If a godly man does not obtain his desire immediately, he will wait till the mercy is ripe: 'My soul waiteth for the Lord' (Psa. 130:6). There is good reason why God should have the timing of our mercies: 'I the Lord will hasten it in his time' (Isa. 60:22). Deliverance may delay beyond our time, but it will not delay beyond God's time.

Why should we not wait patiently for God? We are servants; it becomes servants to be in a waiting posture. We wait for everything else; we wait for the fire till it burns; we wait for the seed till it grows (Jas. 5:7). Why cannot we wait for God? God has waited for us (Isa. 30:18). Did he not wait for our repentance? How often did he come year after year before he found fruit? Did God wait for us, and cannot we wait for him? A godly man is content to await God's leisure; though the vision is delayed, he will wait for it (Hab. 2:3).

2. Patience in bearing trials

This patience is twofold: (a) Either in regard to man, when we bear injuries without revenging, or (b) in regard to God, when we bear his hand without repining. A good man will not only do God's will, but bear his will: 'I will bear the indignation of the Lord' (Mic. 7:9). This patient bearing of God's will is not:

(i) A stoical apathy; patience is not insensitivity under God's hand; we ought to be sensitive.

(ii) Enforced patience, to bear a thing because we cannot help it, which (as Erasmus said) is rather necessity than patience. But patience is a cheerful submission of our will to God: 'The will of the Lord be done' (Acts 21:14). A godly man acquiesces in what God does, as being not only good but best for himself. The great quarrel between God and us is, Whose will shall stand? Now the regenerate will falls in with the will of God. There are four things opposite to this patient frame of soul:

(a) Disquiet of spirit, when the soul is discomposed and pulled off the hinges, insomuch that it is unfit for holy duties. When the strings of a lute are snarled up, the lute is not fit to make music. So when a Christian's spirit is perplexed and disturbed, he cannot make melody in his heart to the Lord.

(b) Discontent, which is a sullen, dogged mood. When a man is not angry at his sins, but at his condition, this is different from patience. Discontent is the daughter of pride.

(c) Prejudice, which is a dislike of God and his ways, and a falling off from religion. Sinners have hard thoughts of God, and if he just touches them on a sore spot, they will at once go away from him and throw off his livery.

(d) Self-vindication, when instead of being humbled under God's hand, a man justifies himself, as if he had not deserved what he suffers. A proud sinner stands upon his own defence, and is ready to accuse God of unrighteousness, which is as if we should tax the sun with darkness. This is far from patience. A godly man subscribes to God's wisdom and submits to his will. He says not only, 'Good is the word of the Lord' (Isa. 39:8), but 'Good is the rod of the Lord'.

Use: As we would demonstrate ourselves to be godly, let us be eminent in this grace of patience: 'the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit'(Eccles. 7:8). There are some graces which we shall have no need of in heaven. We shall have no need of faith when we have full vision, nor patience when we have perfect joy, but in a dark sorrowful night there is need of these stars to shine (Heb. 10:36). Let us show our patience in bearing God's will. Patience in bearing God's will is twofold:

1. When God removes any comfort from us.
2. When God imposes any evil on us.

I. We must be patient when God removes any comfort from us. If God takes away any of our relations -'I take away the desire of thine eyes with a stroke'(Ezek. 24:16) - it is still our duty patiently to acquiesce in the will of God. The loss of a dear relation is like pulling away a limb from the body. 'A man dies every time he loses his own kith and kin.' But grace will make our hearts calm and quiet, and produce holy patience in us under such a severe dispensation. I shall lay down eight considerations which may act like spiritual medicine to kill the worm of impatience under the loss of relations:

(i) The Lord never takes away any comfort from his people without giving them something better. The disciples parted with Christ's corporal presence and he sent them the Holy Ghost. God eclipses one joy and augments another. He simply makes an exchange; he takes away a flower and gives a diamond.

(ii) When godly friends die, they are in a better condition; they are taken away 'from the evil to come' (Isa. 57:1). They are out of the storm and have gone to the haven: 'Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord' (Rev. 14:13).The godly have a portion promised them upon their marriage to Christ, but the portion is not paid till the day of their death. The saints are promoted at death to communion with God; they have what they so long hoped for, and prayed for. Why, then, should we be impatient at our friends' promotion?

(iii) You who are a saint have a friend in heaven whom you cannot lose. The Jews have a saying at their funerals, 'Let your consolation be in heaven'. Are you mourning somebody close to you? Look up to heaven and draw comfort from there; your best kindred are above. 'When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up' (Psa. 27:10).God will be with you in the hour of death: 'though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, thou art with me' (Psa. 23:4). Other friends you cannot keep. God is a friend you cannot lose. He will be your guide in life; your hope in death; your reward after death.

(iv) Perhaps God is correcting you for a fault, and if so, it becomes you to be patient. It may be your friend had more of your love than God and therefore God took away such a relation, so that the stream of your love might run back to him again. A gracious woman had been deprived, first of her children, then of her husband. She said, 'Lord, thou hast a plot against me; thou intendest to have all my love'. God does not like to have any creature set upon the throne of our affections; he will take away that comfort, and then he shall lie nearest our heart. If a husband bestows a jewel on his wife, and she so falls in love with that jewel as to forget her husband, he will take away the jewel so that her love may return to him again. A dear relation is this jewel. If we begin to idolize it, God will take away the jewel so that our love may return to him again.

(v) A godly relation is parted with, but not lost. That is lost which we have no hope ever of seeing again. Religious friends have only gone a little ahead of us. A time will shortly come when there shall be a meeting without parting (1 Thess. 5:10). How glad one is to see a long-absent friend! Oh, what glorious applause there will be, when old relations meet together in heaven, and are in each other's embraces! When a great prince lands at the shore, the guns go off in token of joy; when godly friends have all landed at the heavenly shore and congratulate one another on their happiness, what stupendous joy there will be! What music in the choir of angels! How heaven will ring with their praises! And that which is the crown of all, those who were joined in the flesh here shall be joined nearer than ever in the mystic body, and shall lie together in Christ's bosom, that bed of perfume (1 Thess. 4:17).

(vi) We have deserved worse at God's hand. Has he taken away a child, a wife, a parent? He might have taken away his Spirit. Has he deprived us of a relation? He might have deprived us of salvation. Does he put wormwood in the cup? We have deserved poison. 'Thou hast punished us less than our iniquities deserve' (Ezra 9:13).We have a sea of sin, and only a drop of suffering.

(vii) The patient soul enjoys itself most sweetly. An impatient man is like a troubled sea that cannot rest (Isa. 57:20). He tortures himself upon the rack of his own griefs and passions, whereas patience calms the heart, as Christ did the sea, when it was rough. Now there is a sabbath in the heart, yes, a heaven. 'In your patience possess ye your souls' (Luke 21:19). By faith a man possesses God and by patience he possesses himself.

(viii) How patient many of the saints have been, when the Lord has broken the very staff of their comfort in bereaving them of relations. The Lord took away job's children and he was so far from murmuring that he fen to blessing: 'the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord' (Job 1:21). God foretold the death of Eli's sons: 'in one day they shall die, both of them' (1 Sam. 2:34). But how patiently he took this sad news: 'It is the Lord: let him do what seemeth him good' (1 Sam. 3:18). See the difference between Eli and Pharaoh! Pharaoh said, 'Who is the Lord?' (Exod. 5:2). Eli said, 'It is the Lord.' When God struck two of Aaron's sons dead, 'Aaron held his peace' (Lev. 10:2,3). Patience opens the ear but shuts the mouth. It opens the ear to hear the rod but shuts the mouth so that it has not a word to say against God. See here the patterns of patience; and shall we not copy them? These are heart-quietening considerations when God sets a death's-head upon our comforts and removes dear relations from us.

2 We must be patient when God inflicts any evil on us. 'Patient in tribulation' (Rom. 12:12).

(i) God sometimes lays heavy affliction on his people: 'thy hand lies sore upon me' (Psa. 38.2). The Hebrew word for 'afflicted' signifies 'to be melted'. God seems to melt his people in a furnace.

(ii) God sometimes lays various afflictions on the saints: 'he multiplieth my wounds' (Job 9:17). As we have various ways of sinning, so the Lord has various ways of afflicting. Some he deprives of their estates; others he chains to a sick bed; others he confines to a prison. God has various arrows in his quiver which he shoots.

(iii) Sometimes God lets the affliction lie for a long time: 'there is no more any prophet; neither is there among us any that knoweth how long' (Psa. 74:9). As it is with diseases - some are chronic and linger and hang about the body several years on end - so it is with afflictions. The Lord is pleased to exercise many of his precious ones with chronic afflictions, which they suffer for a long time. Now in all these cases, it becomes the saints to rest patiently in the will of God. The Greek word for 'patient' is a metaphor and alludes to one who stands invincibly under a burden. This is the right notion of patience, when we bear affliction invincibly without fainting or fretting.

The test of a pilot is seen in a storm; so the test of a Christian is seen in affliction. That man has the right art of navigation who, when the boisterous winds blow from heaven, steers the ship of his soul wisely, and does not dash upon the rock of impatience. A Christian should always maintain decorum, not behaving himself in an unseemly manner or disguising himself with intemperate passion when the hand of God lies upon him. Patience adorns suffering. Affliction in Scripture is compared to a net: 'Thou broughtest us into the net' (Psa. 66:11). Some have escaped the devil's net, yet the Lord allows them to be taken in the net of affliction. But they must not be 'as a wild bull in a net' (Isa. 51:20), kicking and flinging against their Maker, but lie patiently till God breaks the net and makes a way for their escape. I shall propound four cogent arguments to encourage patience under those evils which God inflicts on us:

(a) Afflictions are for our profit, for our benefit: 'he for our profit' (Heb. 12:10). We pray that God would take such a course with us as may do our souls good. When God is afflicting us, he is hearing our prayers; he does it 'for our profit'. Not that afflictions in themselves profit us, but as God's Spirit works with them. For as the waters of Bethesda could not give health of themselves unless the angel descended and stirred them (John 5:4), so the waters of affliction are not in themselves healing till God's Spirit co-operates and sanctifies them to us. Afflictions are profitable in many ways:

(i) They make men sober and wise. Physicians have mental patients bound in chains and put on a frugal diet to bring them to the use of reason. Many run stark mad in prosperity; they know neither God nor themselves. The Lord therefore binds them with cords of affliction, so that he may bring them to their right minds. 'If they be held in cords of affliction, then he sheweth them their transgressions. He openeth also their ear to discipline' (Job 36:8-10).

(ii) Afflictions are a friend to grace:


(1) They beget grace. Beza acknowledged that God laid the foundation of his conversion during a violent sickness in Paris.

(2) They augment grace. The people of God are beholden to their troubles; they would never have had so much grace, if they had not met with such severe trials. Now the waters run and the spices flow forth. The saints thrive by affliction as the Lacedemonians grew rich by war. God makes grace flourish most in the fall of the leaf.

(iii) Afflictions quicken our pace on the way to heaven. It is with us as with children sent on an errand. If they meet with apples or flowers by the way, they linger and are in no great hurry to get home, but if anything frightens them, then they run with all the speed they can to their father's house. So in prosperity, we gather the apples and flowers and do not give much thought to heaven, but if troubles begin to arise and the times grow frightful, then we make more haste to heaven and with David 'run the way of God's commandments' (Psa. 119:32).

(b) God intermixes mercy with affliction. He steeps his sword of justice in the oil of mercy. There was no night so dark but Israel had a pillar of fire in it. There is no condition so dismal but we may see a pillar of fire to give us light. If the body is in pain and conscience is at peace, there is mercy. Affliction is for the prevention of sin; there is mercy. In the ark there was 'a rod and a pot of manna', the emblem of a Christian's condition: 'mercy interlined with judgment (Psa. 101:1). Here is the rod and manna.

(c) Patience proves that there is much of God in the heart. Patience is one of God's titles: 'the God of patience' (Rom. 15:5). If you have your heart cast in this blessed mould, it is a sign that God has imported much of his own nature to you; you shine with some of his beams.

Impatience proves that there is much unsoundness of heart. If the body is of such a type that every little scratch of a pin makes the flesh fester, you say, 'Surely this man's flesh is very unsound.' So impatience with every petty annoyance and quarrelling with providence is the sign of a disturbed Christian. If there is any grace in such a heart, they who can see it must have good eyes. But he who is of a patient spirit is a graduate in religion and participates in much of the divine nature.

(d) The end of affliction is glorious. The Jews were captive in Babylon but what was the end? They departed from Babylon with vessels of silver, gold and precious things (Ezra 1:6). So, what is the end of affliction? It ends in endless glory (Actsr4:.2.2;.2 Cor. 4:17). How this may rock our inpatient hearts quiet! Who would not willingly travel along a little dirty path and ploughed lands, at the end of which is a fair meadow and in that meadow a goldmine?

Question: How shall I get my heart tuned to a patient mood?

Answer: Get faith; all our impatience proceeds from unbelief. Faith is the breeder of patience. When a storm of passion begins to arise, faith says to the heart, as Christ did to the sea, 'Peace, be still', and there is at once a calm.

Question: How does faith work patience? Answer: Faith argues the soul into patience. Faith is like that town clerk in Ephesus who allayed the contention of the multitude and argued them soberly into peace (Acts 19:35,36). So when impatience begins to clamour and make a hubbub in the soul, faith appeases the tumult and argues the soul into holy patience. Faith says, 'Why art thou disquieted, 0 my soul?' (Psa. 42:5). 'Are you afflicted ? Is it not your Father who has done it? He is carving and polishing you and making you fit for glory. He smites that he may save. What is your trial? Is it sickness? God shakes the tree of your body so that some fruit may fall, even "the peaceable fruit of righteousness" (Heb. i2:.ri). Are you driven from your home? God has prepared a city for you (Heb. 12:11). Do you suffer reproach for Christ's sake? "The spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you" (I Pet. 4:14).' Thus faith argues and disputes the soul into patience.

Pray to God for patience. Patience is a flower of God's planting. Pray that it may grow in your heart, and send forth its sweet perfume. Prayer is a holy charm, to charm down the evil spirit. Prayer composes the heart and puts it in tune, when impatience has broken the strings and put everything into confusion. Oh, go to God. Prayer delights God's ear; it melts his heart; it opens his hand. God cannot deny a praying soul. Seek him with importunity and either he will remove the affliction or, which is better, he will remove your impatience.

 

 Expounding the Nature of Godliness

'EVERY ONE THAT IS GODLY'

It will first be enquired, 'What is godliness?' I answer in general, 'Godliness is the sacred impression and workmanship of God in a man, whereby from being carnal he is made spiritual.' When godliness is wrought in a person, he does not receive a new soul, but he has 'another spirit' Numb. 14:24). The faculties are not new, but the qualities are; the strings are the same, but the tune is corrected. Concerning godliness, I shall lay down these seven maxims or propositions:

I. Godliness is a real thing

It is not a fantasy but a fact. Godliness is not the feverish conceit of a sick brain; a Christian is no enthusiast whose religion is all made up of fancy. Godliness has truth for its foundation; it is called 'the way of truth (Psa. 119:30). Godliness is a ray and beam that shines from God. If God is true, then godliness is true.

2. Godliness is an intrinsic thing

It lies chiefly in the heart: 'circumcision is that of the heart (Rom. 2:29). The dew lies on the leaf, the sap is the root. The moralist's religion is all in the leaf; it consists only in externals, but godliness is a holy sap which is rooted in the soul: 'in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom' (Psa. 51:6). The Chaldean expounds it, 'in the close place of the heart'.

3. Godliness is a supernatural thing

By nature we inherit nothing but evil. 'When we were in the flesh, the motions of sins did work in our members' (Rom. 7:5). We sucked in sin as naturally as our mother's milk, but godliness is the 'wisdom from above' (Jas. 3:17). It is breathed in from heaven. God must light up the lamp of grace in the heart. Weeds grow of themselves; flowers are planted. Godliness is a celestial plant that comes from the New Jerusalem. Therefore it is called a 'fruit of the Spirit' (Gal. 5:22). A man has no more power to change himself than to create himself

4. Godliness is an extensive thing

It is a sacred leaven that spreads itself into the whole soul: 'the very God of peace sanctify you wholly' (I Thess. 5:23). There is light in the understanding, order in the affections, pliableness in the will, exemplariness in the life. We do not call a black man white because he has white teeth. He who is good only in some part is not godly. Grace is called 'the new man' (Col. 3:10), not a new eye, or tongue, but a new man. He who is godly is good all over; though he is regenerate only in part, yet it is in every part.

5. Godliness is an intense thing

It does not lie in a dead formality and indifference, but is vigorous and flaming: 'fervent in spirit' (Rom. 12:11). We call water hot when it is so in the third or fourth degree. He whose devotion is inflamed is godly and his heart boils over in holy affections.

6. Godliness is a glorious thing

As the jewel to the ring, so is piety to the soul, bespangling it in God's eyes. Reason makes us men; godliness makes us earthly angels; by it we 'partake of the divine nature' (2 Pet. 1:4). Godliness is near akin to glory; 'glory and virtue' (2 Pet. 1:3). Godliness is glory in the seed, and glory is godliness in the flower.

7. Godliness is a permanent thing

Aristotle says, 'Names are given from the habit'. We do not call the one who blushes sanguine, but the one who is of a ruddy complexion (I Sam. 17:42). A blush of godliness is not enough to distinguish a Christian, but godliness must be the temper and complexion of the soul. Godliness is a fixed thing. There is a great deal of difference between a stake in the hedge and a tree in the garden. A stake rots and moulders, but a tree, having life in it, abides and flourishes. When godliness has taken root in the soul, it abides to eternity: 'his seed remaineth in him' (I John 3:9). Godliness being engraved in the heart by the Holy Ghost, as with the point of a diamond, can never be erased.

D. THE EXCELLENCE OF GODLINESS

'What is better than gold? Jasper. And what is better than jasper? Virtue.'

The excellence of godliness appears in several ways:

I. Godliness is our spiritual beauty

'The beauties of holiness' (Psa. 110:3).Godliness is to the soul what the light is to the world: to illustrate and adorn it. It is not greatness which sets us off in God's eye but goodness. What is the beauty of the angels but their sanctity? Godliness is the intricate embroidery and workmanship of the Holy Ghost. A soul furnished with godliness is damasked with beauty, it is enamelled with purity. This is the clothing of wrought gold which makes the King of heaven fall in love with us. Were there no excellence in holiness, the hypocrite would never try to paint it. Godliness sheds a glory and lustre on the saints. What are the graces but the golden feathers in which Christ's dove shines (Psa. 68:13)?

2. Godliness is our defence

Grace is called 'the armour of light' (Rom. 13:12).It is light for beauty and armour for defence. A Christian has armour of God's making which cannot be shot through. He has the shield of faith, the helmet of hope, the breastplate of righteousness. This is proof armour, which defends against the assaults of temptation and the terror of hell.

3. Godliness breeds solid peace

'Great peace have they which love thy law' (Psa. 119:165).Godliness composes the heart, making it quiet and calm like the upper region, where there are no winds and tempests. How can that heart be unquiet where the Prince of Peace dwells? 'Christ in you' (Col. 1:27).A holy heart may be compared to the doors of Solomon's temple, which were made of olive tree, carved with open flowers (I Kings 6:32).The olive of peace and the open flowers of joy are in that heart. Godliness does not destroy a Christian's mirth, but refines it. His rose is without prickles, his wine without froth. He who is a favourite of heaven must of necessity be full of joy and peace. He may truly sing a requiem to his soul and say, 'Soul, take thine ease' (Luke 12:19). King Ptolemy asked someone how he might be at rest when he dreamed. He replied, 'Let piety be the scope of all your actions.' If anyone should ask me how he should be at rest when he is awake, I would return a similar answer: 'Let his soul be inlaid with godliness.'

4. Godliness is the best trade we can engage in: it brings profit Wicked men say, 'It is vain to serve God; and what profit is it?' (Mal. 3:14). To be sure, there is no profit in sin:

'Treasures of wickedness profit nothing' (Prov. 10:2). But godliness is profitable (1 Tim. 4:8). It is like digging in a gold mine, where there is gain as well as toil. Godliness makes God himself our portion: 'The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance' (Psa. 16:5). If God is our portion, all our estate lies in jewels. Where God gives himself, he gives everything else. Whoever has the manor has all the royalties belonging to it. God is a portion that can be neither spent nor lost (Psa. 73:26). Thus we see that godliness is a thriving trade.

And as godliness brings profit with it, so it is profitable 'for all things' (1 Tim. 4:8). What else is, besides godliness? Food will not give a man wisdom; gold will not give him health; honour will not give him beauty. But godliness is useful for all things: it fences off all troubles; it supplies all wants; it makes soul and body completely happy.

5. Godliness is an enduring substance; it knows no fall of the leaf

All worldly delights have a death's-head set on them. They are only shadows and they are fleeting. Earthly comforts are like Paul's friends, who took him to the ship and left him

there (Acts 20:38). So these will bring a man to his grave and then take their farewell. But godliness is a possession cannot be robbed of. It runs parallel with eternity. For cannot weaken it; age cannot wither it. It outbraves sufferings; it outlives death (Prov. 10:2). Death may pluck the stalk of the body but the flower of grace is not hurt.

6. Godliness is so excellent that the worst men would like have it when they are going hence

Though at present godliness is despised and under a cloud yet at death all would like to be godly. A philosopher asked a young man whether he would like to be rich Croesus virtuous Socrates. He answered that he would like to live with Croesus and die with Socrates. So men would like live with the wicked in pleasure but die with the godly: 'Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his!' (Numb. 23:10). If, then, godliness is so at desirable death, why should we not pursue it now? Godliness is needful now and would be more feasible.

E. THERE ARE ONLY A FEW GODLY

They are like the gleanings after vintage. Most receive the mark of the beast (Rev. 13:17). The devil keeps open house for all comers, and he is never without guests. This may prevail with us to be godly. If the number of the saints is so small, how we should strive to be found among these pearls! 'But a remnant shall be saved' (Rom. 9:27). It is better to go to heaven with a few than to hell in the crowd.

F. CONSIDER HOW VAIN AND CONTEMPTIBLE OTHER THINGS ARE, ABOUT WHICH PERSONS VOID OF GODLINESS BUSY THEMSELVES

Men are taken up with the things of this life, and 'what profit hath he that hath laboured for the wind?' (Eccles. 5:16). Can the wind fill? What is gold but dust (Amos 2:7), which will sooner choke than satisfy? Pull off the mask of the most beautiful thing under the sun and look what is inside. There is care and vexation. And the greatest care is still to come - and that is to give account to God. The things of the world are just like a bubble in the water or a meteor in the air.

But godliness has real worth in it. If you speak of true honour, it is to be born of God; if of true valour, it is to fight the good fight of faith; if of true delight, it is to have joy in the Holy Ghost. Oh, then, espouse godliness! Here reality is to be had. Of other things we may say, 'They comfort in vain' (Zech. 10:2).

Excerpted from The Godly Man's Picture, published by The Banner of Truth Trust.

 

A Reproof to Such as are Only Pretenders to Godliness

Here is a sharp rebuke to such as are 'glittering dross' Christians, who only make a show of godliness, like Michal, who put 'an image in the bed', and so deceived Saul's messengers (I Sam. 19:16). These our Saviour calls 'whited sepulchres (Matt 23:27) - their beauty is all paint! In ancient times a third part of the inhabitants of this island were called Picts, which signifies 'painted'. It is to be feared that they still retain their old name. How many are painted only with the vermilion of a profession, whose seeming lustre dazzles the eyes of beholders, but within there is nothing but putrefaction! Hypocrites are like the swan, which has white feathers, but a black skin; or like the lily, which has a fair colour, but a bad scent. 'Thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead' (Rev. 3:1). These the apostle Jude compares to 'clouds without water' (Jude 12). They claim to be full of the Spirit, but they are empty clouds; their goodness is but a religious cheat.

Question: But why do persons content themselves with a show of godliness?

Answer: This helps to keep up their fame: 'honour me now before the people' (I Sam. 15:36). Men are ambitious of credit, and wish to gain repute in the world, therefore they will dress themselves in the garb and mode of religion, so that others may write them down for saints. But alas, what is one the better for having others commend him, and his conscience condemn him? What good will it do a man when he is in hell that others think he has gone to heaven? Oh, beware of this! Counterfeit piety is double iniquity.

1. To have only a show of godliness is a God-enraging sin
The man who is a pretender to saintship, but whose heart tells him he has nothing but the name, carries Christ in his Bible but not in his heart. Some politic design spurs him on in the ways of God; he makes religion a lackey to his carnal interest. What is this but to abuse God to his face, and to serve the devil in Christ's livery? Hypocrisy makes the fury rise up in God's face; therefore he calls such persons 'the generation of his wrath' (Isa. 10: 6). God will send them to hell to do penance for their hypocrisy.

2. To make only a show of godliness is self-delusion
Ajax in his frenzy took sheep for men, but it is a worse mistake to take a show of grace for grace. This is to cheat yourself: 'deceiving your own souls' (Jas. 1:22). He who has counterfeit gold instead of true, wrongs himself most. The hypocrite deceives others while he lives, but deceives himself when he dies.

3. To have only a name, and make a show of godliness, is odious to God and man
The hypocrite is born under a sad planet; he is abhorred by all. Wicked men hate him because he makes a show, and God hates him because he only makes a show. The wicked hate him because he has so much as a mask of godliness, and God hates him because he has no more. 'Thou hast almost persuaded me to be a Christian' (Acts 26.28). The wicked hate the hypocrite because he is almost a Christian, and God hates him because he is only almost one.

4. To be only comets and make a show of piety is a vain thing
Hypocrites lose all they have done. Their dissembling tears drop beside God's bottle; their prayers and fasts prove abortive. 'When ye fasted and mourned, did ye at all fast unto me, even to me?' (Zech. 7:5). As God will not recompense a slothful servant, neither will he recompense a treacherous one. All the hypocrites' reward is in this life: 'They have their reward' (Matt. 6:5). A poor reward, the empty breath of men. The hypocrite may make his receipt and write, 'Received in full payment'. Augustus Caesar had great triumphs granted him, but the senate would not allow him to be consul, or sit in the senate house. Hypocrites may have the praise of men, but though these triumphs are granted them, they shall never have the privilege of sitting in the senate house of heaven. What acceptance can he look for from God, whose heart tells him he is no better than a mountebank in divinity?

5. To have only a pretence of godliness will yield no comfort at death
Will painted gold enrich a man? Will painted wine refresh him who is thirsty? Will the paint of godliness stand you in any stead? How were the foolish virgins better for their 'blazing lamps', when they had no oil? What is the lamp of profession without the oil of grace? He who has only a painted holiness shall have a painted happiness.

6. You who have nothing but a specious pretext and mask of piety expose yourself to Satan's scorn
You shall be brought forth at the last day, as was Samson, to make the devil sport (Judges 16:25). He will say, 'What has become of your vows, tears, confessions? Has all your religion come to this? Did you so often defy the devil, and have you now come to dwell with me? Could you meet with no weapon to kill you, but what was made of gospel metal? Could you not suck poison anywhere but out of ordinances? Could you find no way to hell, but by seeming godly?' What a vexation this will be, to have the devil thus reproach a man! It is sad to be crowed over in this fife. Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt, when she saw she was reserved by the enemy for a triumph, put asps to her breasts, and died, so that she might avoid the infamy. What, then, will it be to have the devil triumph over a man at the last day!

Let us therefore take heed of this kind of pageantry or devout stage play. That which may make us fear our hearts the more is when we see tall cedars in the church worm-eaten with hypocrisy. Balaam a prophet, Jehu a king, Judas an apostle - all of them stand to this day on record as hypocrites.

It is true that there are the seeds of this sin in the best; but as it was with leprosy under the law, all who had swellings or spots in the skin of the flesh were not reputed unclean and put out of the camp (Lev. 13:6); so all who have the swellings of hypocrisy in them are not to be judged hypocrites, for these may be the spots of God's children (Deut. 32:5). But that which distinguishes a hypocrite is when hypocrisy is predominant and is like a spreading fluid in the body.

Question: When is a man under the dominion and power of hypocrisy?

Answer: There are two signs of its predominance: (i) A squint eye, when one serves God for sinister ends. (ii) A good eye, when there is some sin dear to a man, which he cannot part with. These two are as clear signs of a hypocrite as any I know.

Oh, let us take David's candle and lantern, and search for this leaven, and burn it before the Lord.

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. Say that prayer of David often: 'Let my heart be sound in thy statutes' (Psa.119:80). 'Lord, let me be anything rather than a hypocrite.' Two hearts will exclude from one heaven.

 

From The Godly Man's Picture, published by The Banner of Truth Trust.

These excerpts will hopefully cause many to purchase this fine work for further meditation.

Mystic Union between Christ and the Saints

by Thomas Watson

"My beloved is mine, and I am his." (Song 2:16)

In this Song of Songs we see the love of Christ and his church running towards each other in a full torrent.

The text contains three general parts:

1. A symbol of affection: "My beloved."

2. A term of appropriation: "is mine."

3. A holy resignation: "I am his."

Doctrine: That there is a conjugal union between Christ and believers. The apostle, having treated at large of marriage, winds up the whole chapter thus: "This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church" (Eph. 5:32). What is closer than union? What sweeter? There is a twofold union with Christ:

1. A natural union. This all men have, Christ having taken their nature on him and not that of the angels (Heb. 2:16). But if there is no more than this natural union, it will give little comfort. Thousands are damned though Christ is united to their nature.

2. A sacred union. By this we are mystically united to Christ. The union with Christ is not personal. If Christ's essence were transfused into the person of a believer, then it would follow that all that a believer does should be meritorious.

But the union between Christ and a saint is:

(a) Federal: "My beloved is mine." God the Father gives the bride; God the Son receives the bride; God the Holy Ghost ties the knot in marriage - he knits our wills to Christ and Christ's love to us.

(b) Effectual. Christ unites himself to his spouse by his graces and influences: "of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace" (John 1:16). Christ makes himself one with the spouse by conveying his image and stamping the impress of his own holiness upon her.

This union with Christ may well be called mystic. It is hard to describe the manner of it. It is hard to show how the soul is united to the body, and how Christ is united to the soul. But though this union is spiritual, it is real. Things in nature often work insensibly, yet really (Eccles. 11:5). We do not see the hand move on the dial, yet it moves. The sun exhales and draws up the vapours of the earth insensibly yet really. So the union between Christ and the soul, though it is imperceptible to the eye of reason, is still real (I Cor. 6:17).

Before this union with Christ there must be a separation. The heart must be separated from all other lovers, as in marriage there is a leaving of father and mother: "Forget your own people, and your father's house." (Psa. 45:10). So there must be a leaving of our former sins, a breaking off the old league with hell before we can be united to Christ. "Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more with idols?" (Hos. 14:8), or as it is in the Hebrew, "with sorrows." Those sins which were looked on before as lovers, are now sorrows. There must be a divorce before a union.

The purpose of our conjugal union with Christ is twofold:

1. Co-habitation. This is one purpose of marriage, to live together: "that Christ may dwell in your hearts" (Eph. 2:17). It is not enough to pay Christ a few complimentary visits in his ordinances - hypocrites may do so - but there must be a mutual associating. We must dwell upon the thoughts of Christ: "he that abides in God" (cf. I John 3:24). Married persons should not live apart.

2. Fruit bearing: "That you may be married to another; to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God." (Rom. 7:4). The spouse bears the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness (Gal. 5:22). Barrenness is a shame in Christ's spouse.

This marriage union with Christ is the most noble and excellent union:

(a) Christ unites himself to many. In other marriages only one person is taken, but here millions are taken. Otherwise, poor souls might cry out, "Alas! Christ has married So-and-so, but what is that to me? I am left out." No, Christ marries thousands. It is a holy and chaste polygamy. Multitudes of people do not defile this marriage bed. Any poor sinner who brings a humble, believing heart may be married to Christ.

(b) There is a closer union in this holy marriage than there can be in any other. In other marriages, two make one flesh, but Christ and the believer make one spirit: "But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him." (I Cor. 6:17). Now as the soul is more excellent than the body, and admits of far greater joy, so this spiritual union brings in more astonishing delights and ravishments than any other marriage relationship is capable of. The joy that flows from the mystic union is unspeakable and full of glory (I Peter 1:8).

(c) This union with Christ never ceases. "Thrice happy they whom an unbroken bond unites" (Horace). Other marriages are soon at an end. Death cuts asunder the marriage knot, but this conjugal union is eternal. You who are once Christ's spouse shall never again be a widow: "I will betroth you to me forever" (Hosea 2:19). To speak properly, our marriage with Christ begins where other marriages end, at death.

In this life there is only the contract. The Jews had a time set between their engagement and marriage, sometimes a year or more. In this life there is only the engagement and contract; promises are made on both sides, and love passes secretly between Christ and the soul. He gives some smiles of his face, and the soul sends up her sighs and drops tears of love. But all this is only a preliminary work, and something leading up to the marriage. The glorious completing and solemnizing of the marriage is reserved for heaven. There is the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19:9) and the bed of glory perfumed with love where the souls of the elect shall be perpetually consoling themselves. "Then shall we ever be with the Lord" (I Thess. 4:17). So death merely begins our marriage with Christ.

Application 1: If Christ is the head of the mystic body (Eph. 1:22), then this doctrine beheads the Pope, that man of sin who usurps this prerogative of being the head of the church, and so would defile Christ's marriage bed. What blasphemy this is! Two heads are monstrous. Christ is Head, as he is Husband. There is no vice-husband, no deputy in his place. The Pope is the beast in Revelation (Rev. 13:11). To make him head of the church, what would this be but to set the head of a beast upon the body of a man?

Application 2: If there is such a conjugal union, let us test whether we are united to Christ:

1. Have we chosen Christ to set our love upon, and is this choice founded on knowledge?

2. Have we consented to the match? It is not enough that Christ is willing to have us, but are we willing to have him? God does not so force salvation upon us that we shall have Christ whether we want to or not. We must consent to have him. Many approve of Christ, but do not give their consent. And this consent must be:

(a) Pure and genuine. We consent to have him for his own worth and excellence: "You are fairer than the sons of men" (Psa. 45:2).

(b) A present consent: "now is the acceptable time" (2 Cor. 6:2). If we put Christ off with delays and excuses, perhaps he will stop coming. He will leave off wooing. "His spirit shall no longer strive," and then, poor sinner, what will you do? When God's wooing ends, your woes begin.

3. Have we taken Christ? Faith is the bond of the union. Christ is joined to us by his Spirit, and we are joined to him by faith. Faith ties the marriage knot.

4. Have we given ourselves up to Christ? Thus the spouse in the text says, "I am his," as if she had said, "All I have is for the use and service of Christ." Have we made a surrender? Have we given up our name and will to Christ? When the devil solicits by a temptation, do we say, "We are not our own, we are Christ's; our tongues are his, we must not defile them with oaths; our bodies are his temple, we must not pollute them with sin?" If it is so, it is a sign that the Holy Ghost has produced this blessed union between Christ and us.

Application 3: Is there this mystic union? Then from that we may draw many inferences:

1. See the dignity of all true believers. They are joined in marriage with Christ. There is not only assimilation but union; they are not only like Christ but one with Christ. All the saints have this honour. When a king marries a beggar, by virtue of the union she is ennobled and made of the blood royal. As wicked men are united to the prince of darkness, and he settles hell upon them as their inheritance, so the godly are divinely united to Christ, who is King of kings, and Lord of Lords (Rev. 19:16). By virtue of this sacred union the saints are dignified above the angels. Christ is the Lord of the angels, but not their husband.

2. See how happily all the saints are married. They are united to Christ, who is the best Husband, "the Chiefest among ten thousand" (Song 5:10). Christ is a Husband that cannot be paralleled:

(a) For tender care. The spouse cannot be as considerate of her own soul and credit as Christ is considerate of her: "He cares for you" (I Pet. 5:7). Christ has a debate with himself, consulting and projecting how to carry on the work of our salvation. He transacts all our affairs, he attends to our business as his own. Indeed, he himself is concerned in it. He brings fresh supplies to his spouse. If she wanders out of the way, he guides her. If she stumbles, he holds her by the hand. If she falls, he raises her. If she is dull, he quickens her by his Spirit. If she is perverse, he draws her with cords of love. If she is sad, he comforts her with promises.

(b) For ardent affection. No husband loves like Christ. The Lord says to the people, "I have loved you," and they say, "In what way have you loved us?" (Mal. 1:2). But we cannot say to Christ, "In what way have you loved us?" Christ has given real demonstrations of his love to his spouse. He has sent her his Word, which is a love-letter, and he has given her his Spirit, which is a love-token. Christ loves more than any other husband:

Christ puts a richer robe on his bride: "For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels." (Isa. 61:10). In this robe, God looks on us as if we had not sinned. This robe is as truly ours to justify us, as it is Christ's to bestow on us. This robe not only covers but adorns. Having on this robe, we are reputed righteous, not only as righteous as angels, but as righteous as Christ: "that we might be made the righteousness of God in him" (2 Cor. 5:21).

Christ gives his bride not only his golden garments but his image. He loves her into his own likeness. A husband may have a dear affection for his wife, but he cannot stamp his own image on her. If she is deformed, he may give her a veil to hide it, but he cannot put his beauty on her. But Christ imparts "the beauty of holiness" to his spouse: "Your fame went out among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through My splendor which I had bestowed on you," (Ezek. 16:14). When Christ marries a soul, he makes it fair: "You are all fair, my love" (Song 4:7). Christ never thinks he has loved his spouse enough till he can see his own face in her.

Christ discharges those debts which no other husband can. Our sins are the worst debts we owe. If all the angels should contribute money, they could not pay one of these debts, but Christ frees us from these. He is both a Husband and a Surety. He says to justice what Paul said concerning Onesimus, "But if he has wronged you or owes anything, put that on my account." (Philem. 1:18).

Christ has suffered more for his spouse than ever any husband did for a wife. He suffered poverty and ignominy. He who crowned the heavens with stars was himself crowned with thorns. He was called a companion of sinners, so that we might be made companions of angels. He was regardless of his life; he leaped into the sea of his Father's wrath to save his spouse from drowning.

Christ's love does not end with his life. He loves his spouse for ever: "I will betroth you to me forever" (Hos. 2:19). Well may the apostle call it "a love which passes knowledge" (Eph. 3:19).

3. See how rich believers are. They have married into the crown of heaven, and by virtue of the conjugal union all Christ's riches go to believers: "communion is founded in union." Christ communicates his graces (John 1:16 ). As long as Christ has them, believers shall not be in want. And he communicates his privileges - justification, glorification. He settles a kingdom on his spouse as her inheritance (Heb. 12:28). This is a key to the apostle's riddle, "as having nothing, and yet possessing all things" (2 Cor. 6:10). By virtue of the marriage union, the saints have an interest in all Christ's riches.

4. See how fearful a sin it is to abuse the saints. It is an injury done to Christ, for believers are mystically one with him: "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" (Acts 9:4). When the body was wounded, the Head, being in heaven, cried out. In this sense, men crucify Christ afresh (Heb. 6:6), because what is done to his members is done to him. If Gideon was avenged upon those who slew his brethren, will not Christ much more be avenged on those that wrong his spouse (Judges 8:21)? Will a king tolerate having his treasure rifled, his crown thrown in the dust, his queen beheaded? Will Christ bear with the affronts and injuries done to his bride? The saints are the apple of Christ's eye (Zech. 2:8), and let those who strike at his eye answer for it. Isa 49:26 "I will feed those who oppress you with their own flesh, and they shall be drunk with their own blood as with sweet wine" (Isa. 49:26).

5. See the reason why the saints so rejoice in the Word and sacrament, because here they meet with their Husband, Christ. The wife desires to be in the presence of her husband. The ordinances are the chariot in which Christ rides, the lattice through which he looks forth and shows his smiling face. Here Christ displays the banner of love (Song 2:4). The Lord's Supper is nothing other than a pledge and earnest of that eternal communion which the saints shall have with Christ in heaven. Then he will take the spouse into his bosom. If Christ is so sweet in an ordinance, when we have only short glances and dark glimpses of him by faith, oh then, how delightful and ravishing will his presence be in heaven when we see him face to face and are for ever in his loving embraces!

Application 4: This mystic union affords much comfort to believers in several cases:

1. In the case of the disrespect and unkindness of the world: "in wrath they hate me" (Psa. 55:3). But though we live in an unkind world, we have a kind Husband: "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you" (John 15:9). What angel can tell how God the Father loves Christ? Yet the Father's love to Christ is made the copy and pattern of Christ's love to his spouse. This love of Christ as far exceeds all created love as the sun outshines the light of a torch. And is not this a matter of comfort? Though the world hates me, Christ still loves me.

2. In the case of weakness of grace. The believer cannot lay hold on Christ, except with a trembling hand. There is a "spirit of infirmity" on him, but oh, weak Christian, here is strong consolation: there is a conjugal union. You are the spouse of Christ, and he will bear with you as the weaker vessel. Will a husband divorce his wife because she is weak and sickly? No, he will be the more tender with her. Christ hates treachery, but he will pity infirmity. When the spouse is faint and ready to be discouraged, Christ puts his left hand under her head (Song 2:6). This is the spouse's comfort when she is weak. Her Husband can infuse strength into her: "My God shall be my strength" (Isa. 49:5).

3. In the case of death. When believers die, they go to their Husband. Who would not be willing to cross the gulf of death that they might meet with their Husband, Christ? "I desire to loosen anchor" (Phil. 1:23), and be with Christ. What though the way is dirty? We are going to our friend. When a woman is engaged, she longs for the day of marriage. After the saints' funeral, their marriage begins. The body is a prison to the soul. Who would not desire to exchange a prison for a marriage bed? How glad Joseph was to go out of prison to the king's court! God is wise; he lets us meet with changes and troubles here, so that he may wean us from the world and make us long for death. When the soul is divorced from the body, it is married to Christ.

4. In the case of passing sentence at the day of judgment. There is a marriage union and, oh Christian, your Husband shall be your judge. A wife would not fear appearing at the bar if her husband was sitting as judge. What though the devil should bring in many indictments against you? Christ will expunge your sins in his blood. Could he possibly say, "I shall condemn my spouse?" Oh, what a comfort this is! The Husband is judge. Christ cannot pass sentence against his spouse without passing it against himself. For Christ and believers are one.

5. In the case of the saints' suffering. The church of God is exposed in this life to many injuries, but she has a Husband in heaven who is mindful of her and will "turn water into wine" for her. Now it is a time of mourning with the spouse because the Bridegroom is absent (Matt. 9:15). But shortly she shall put off her mourning. Christ will wipe the tears of blood off the cheeks of his spouse: "He will swallow up death forever, and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces" (Isa. 25:8). Christ will comfort his spouse for as much time as she has been afflicted. He will solace her with his love; he will take away the cup of trembling and give her the cup of consolation. And now she shall forget all her sorrows, being called into the banqueting house of heaven and having the banner of Christ's love displayed over her.

Application 5: Let me press several duties upon those who have this marriage union with Christ:

1. Make use of this relationship in two cases:

(a) When the law brings in its indictments against you. The law says, "Here there are so many debts to be paid," and it demands satisfaction. Acknowledge the debt, but turn it all over to your Husband, Christ. It is a maxim in law that the suit must not go against the wife, as long as the husband is living. Tell Satan when he accuses you, "It is true that the debt is mine, but go to my Husband, Christ; he will discharge it." If we took this course, we might relieve ourselves of much trouble. By faith we turn over the debt to our Husband. Believers are not in a state of widowhood but of marriage. Satan will never go to Christ - he knows that justice is satisfied and the debt book cancelled - but he comes to us for the debt so that he may perplex us. We should send him to Christ and then all lawsuits would cease. This is a believer's triumph. When he is guilty in himself, he is worthy in Christ. When he is spotted in himself, he is pure in his Head.

(b) In the case of desertion. Christ may (for reasons best known to himself) step aside for a time: "my beloved had withdrawn himself" (Song 5:6). Do not say, therefore, that Christ has gone for good. It is a fruit of jealousy in a wife, when her husband has left her a while, to think that he has gone from her for good. Every time Christ removes himself out of sight, it is wrong for us to say (like Zion), "The Lord has forsaken me" (Isa. 49:14). This is jealousy, and it is a wrong done to the love of Christ and the sweetness of this marriage relationship. Christ may forsake his spouse in regard of comfort, but he will not forsake her in regard of union. A husband may be a thousand miles distant from his wife, but he is still a husband. Christ may leave his spouse, but the marriage knot still holds.

2. Rejoice in your Husband, Christ. Has Christ honoured you by taking you into the marriage relationship and making you one with himself? This calls for joy. By virtue of the union, believers are sharers with Christ in his riches. It was a custom among the Romans, when the wife was brought home, for her to receive the keys of her husband's house, intimating that the treasure and custody of the house was now committed to her. When Christ brings his bride home to those glorious mansions which he has gone ahead to prepare for her (John 14:2), he will hand over the keys of his treasure to her, and she shall be as rich as heaven can make her. And shall not the spouse rejoice and sing aloud upon her bed (Psa. 149:5)? Christians, let the times be ever so sad, you may rejoice in your spiritual espousals (Hab. 3:17,18). Let me tell you, it is a sin not to rejoice. You disparage your Husband, Christ. When a wife is always sighing and weeping, what will others say? "This woman has a bad husband." Is this the fruit of Christ's love to you, to reflect dishonour upon him? A melancholy spouse saddens Christ's heart. I do not deny that Christians should grieve for sins of daily occurrence, but to be always weeping (as if they mourned without hope) is dishonourable to the marriage relationship. "Rejoice in the Lord always" (Phil. 4:4). Rejoicing brings credit to your husband. Christ loves a cheerful bride, and indeed the very purpose of God's making us sad is to make us rejoice. We sow in tears, so that we may reap in joy. The excessive sadness and contrition of the godly will make others afraid to embrace Christ. They will begin to question whether there is that satisfactory joy in religion which is claimed. Oh, you saints of God, do not forget consolation; let others see that you do not repent of your choice. It is joy that puts liveliness and activity into a Christian: "the joy of the Lord is your strength" (Neh. 8:10). The soul is swiftest in duty when it is carried on the wings of joy.

3. Adorn this marriage relationship, so that you may be a crown to your husband.

(a) Wear a veil. We read of the spouse's veil (Song 5:7). This veil is humility.

(b) Put on your jewels. These are the graces which for their lustre are compared to rows of pearl and chains of gold (Song 1:1O). These precious jewels distinguish Christ's bride from strangers.

(c) Behave as becomes Christ's spouse:

In chastity. Be chaste in your judgments; do not defile yourselves with error. Error adulterates the mind (1 Tim. 6:5). It is one of Satan's artifices first to defile the judgment, then the conscience.

In sanctity. It is not for Christ's spouse to behave like harlots. A naked breast and a wanton tongue do not become a saint. Christ's bride must shine forth in gospel purity, so that she may make her husband fall in love with her. A woman was asked what dowry she brought her husband. She answered that she had no dowry, but she promised to keep herself chaste. So though we can bring Christ no dowry, yet he expects us to keep ourselves pure, not spotting the breasts of our virginity by contagious and scandalous sins.

4. Love your Husband, Christ (Song 2:5). Love him though he is reproached and persecuted. A wife loves her husband when in prison. To inflame your love towards Christ, consider:

(a) Nothing else is fit for you to love. If Christ is your Husband, it is not fit to have other lovers who would make Christ grow jealous.

(b) He is worthy of your love. He is of unparalleled beauty: "altogether lovely" (Song 5:16).

(c) How fervent is Christ's love towards you! He loves you in your worst condition, he loves you in affliction. The goldsmith loves his gold in the furnace. He loves you notwithstanding your fears and blemishes. The saints' infirmities cannot wholly remove Christ's love from them (Jer. 3:1). Oh then, how the spouse should be endeared in her love to Christ! This will be the excellence of heaven. Our love will then be like the sun in its full strength.

[From The Godly Man's Picture by Thomas Watson, a Puritan Paperback edition published by the Banner of Truth.]

 
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