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nChrist
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« Reply #15 on: September 30, 2009, 08:23:13 PM »

The Great Gain of Godliness
by Thomas Watson, 1681


Speak one to another of your souls: enquire whether they are in good health.

Speak about death and eternity: can you belong to heaven and not speak of your country?

Thus, you see, here is matter enough, for holy conference. Why then do you not maintain godly discourse? I believe that one main reason for the decay of the power of godliness, is a lack of Christian conference. People when they meet talk of vanities - but God and heaven are left out of their discourse! That I may persuade you in your conversations to put in a word about your souls - let me offer these few things for your consideration.

1. Holy conversation was the practice of the saints of old. Elijah and Elisha went on in godly discourse until the chariot of heaven came to part them (2 Kings 2:11). David's tongue was tuned to the language of Canaan, "My tongue shall talk of your righteousness" (Psalms 71:24). The primitive Christians, into whatever company they came, spoke of a glorious kingdom they expected, so that some thought they were ambitious of worldly honor. But the kingdom they looked for, was not of this world but a kingdom with Christ in heaven. Jerome says that some of the Christian ladies spent much of their time in communing together, and would not let him alone - but continually asked him questions about their souls.

2. We are bidden to redeem the time (Ephesians 5:16). The poets painted time with wings, because it flies so fast! Time lost must be redeemed, and is there any better way to redeem time, than to improve it in trading for heaven, and speaking of God and our souls?

3. Jesus Christ has left us a pattern. His words were perfumed with holiness, "All bore him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth!" (Luke 4:22). Christ had grace poured into his lips (Psalms 45:2.). In all companies, he maintained godly discourse. When he sat on Jacob's well, he falls into an heavenly discourse with the woman of Samaria about the water of life (John 4:14). And so when Levi made him a feast (Luke 5:29), Christ feasts him in return - with heavenly discourse. And no sooner was Christ risen from the grave but he "was speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God" (Acts 1:3). The more spiritual we are in our speeches - the more we resemble Christ! Should not the members he like the Head? Christ will not be our Savior - unless we make him our pattern.

4. Godly discourse would prevent sinful discourse. Much sin passes in ordinary talk - as gravel and mud pass along with water. How many are guilty of tongue-sins! Godly discourse would prevent evil - as labor prevents idleness. If we accustomed our tongues to the heavenly dialect, the devil would not have so much power over us.

5. We may somewhat have a knowledge of men's hearts - by their common discourse. Words are the looking-glass of the mind. As you may judge of a face by the mirror, whether it be fair or foul; so by the words - we may judge of a man's heart. A lascivious tongue shows a lustful heart; an earthly tongue shows a covetous heart; a gracious tongue shows a gracious heart. The Ephraimites were known by their pronunciation, saying "sibboleth" for "shibboleth" (Judges 12:6). So by the manner of our speech - it may be known to whom we belong. The tongue is the index of the heart! If you broach a cask, that which is within, will come out. By that which comes out of the mouth - you may guess what is within, in the heart! "Of the abundance of the heart - the mouth speaks" (Luke 6:45).

6. Godly discourse is beneficial. "The tongue of the wise brings healing." (Proverbs 12:18 ) A word spoken in season may make such a powerful impression upon another's heart, which will do him good all his life. One single coal is apt to die - but many coals put together keep in the heat. Christians by their heavenly talk may "blow up" one another's grace into a flame!

When the daughters of Jerusalem had conversed a while with the spouse, and had heard her describe Christ's admirable beauty, their affections began to be inflamed, and they would seek him with her. "Where is your beloved gone, O fairest among women - that we may seek him with you?" (Song of Solomon 6:1).

A Christian by divine discourse may enlighten another when he is ignorant; warm him when he is frozen; comfort him when he is sad; and confirm him when he is wavering. Latimer was much strengthened by discourse with Thomas Bilney in prison, and hearing his confession of faith. A godly life adorns true religion - a godly tongue propagates it! When the apostle would have us edify one another, what better way could he prescribe than this - to have such holy speeches proceed out of our mouths as might "minister grace unto the hearers" (Ephesians 4:29)?

7. We must be accountable to God for our speech. Words are judged light by men - but they weigh heavy in God's balance. By our words we shall be either saved or damned. "For by your words you shall he justified, and by your words you shall be condemned" (Matthew 12:37). If our words have been seasoned with grace - then the acquitting sentence is likely to go on our side.

8. Godly discourse is a Christian's honor. The tongue is called our glory (Psalms 30:12), because it is the instrument of glorifying God. When our tongues are out of tune in murmuring, then they are not our glory; but when the organs sound in holy discourse, then our tongues are our glory.

9. Godly discourse will be a means to bring Christ into our company. While the two disciples were conferring about the death and sufferings of Christ, Jesus Christ himself came among them: "While they communed together . . . Jesus himself drew near, and went with them" (Luke 24:15). When bad discourse prevails - Satan draws near and makes one of the company; but when godly discourse is promoted - Jesus Christ draws near.

Let all that has been said excite us to godly discourse. Certainly, there is no better way than this to increase our stock of grace. Others by spending grow poor; but the more we spend ourselves in holy discourse, the richer we grow in grace; as the widow's oil, by pouring out, increased (2 Kings 4).
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« Reply #16 on: September 30, 2009, 08:24:42 PM »

The Great Gain of Godliness
by Thomas Watson, 1681


Question: How may godly conference be arrived at?

Answer 1. If you wish to discourse of true religion, get your minds well furnished with knowledge. Hereby, you will have a treasury to fetch from. "I am pent up and full of words" (Job 32:18 ). Some are backward to speak of godly things for lack of matter. The empty vessel cannot run. If you would have your tongues run fluently in piety, they must be fed with a spring of knowledge. "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly" (Colossians 3:16). In one of the miracles which Christ wrought, he first caused the water-pots to he filled with water, and then said, "Now draw some out" (John 2:8 ). So we must first have our heads filled with knowledge, and then we shall be able to draw out to others in godly discourse.

Answer 2. If you would discourse readily in the things of God, make piety your delight. What men delight in - they will be speaking of. The sensualist speaks of his sports; the worldling of his rich purchase. Delight makes the tongue as the pen of a ready writer. The spouse, being delighted and enamored with Christ's beauty, could not conceal herself; she makes an elegant and passionate oration in the commendation of Christ. "My beloved is white and ruddy, the chief among ten thousand! Yes - he is altogether lovely!" (Song of Solomon 5:10, 16).

Answer 3. Pray that God will both gift and grace you for Christian conference. "O Lord, open my lips!" (Psalms 51:15). Satan has locked up men's lips. Pray that God will open them. Perhaps you pray that you may believe in Christ - but do you pray that you may commend him, and not be ashamed to speak of him before others? "I will speak of your testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed" (Psalms 119:46). To end this, let me briefly insert two cautions:

Caution 1. I do not deny that it is lawful to confer of worldly business sometimes; communication requires conference. But with this proviso, that we should show more delight and earnestness in speaking of spiritual things than earthly things, remembering that the soul is far more valuable than the world.

Caution 2. When people speak of true religion, let it not be for any sinister, unworthy end, nor for ostentation - but for edification; and then, having your aim right, speak of the things of God, with life and affection, that others may perceive you feel those truths of which you speak.

A. The Godly Should Meditate on God's Name

The second special characteristic of the godly in the text is, "they thought upon God's name." These saints, when they were together - spoke of God; when they were alone - they thought of God. They "thought upon his name".

Question. What is meant by God's name?

Answer 1. By the name of God is meant his essence; God's name is put for God himself.

Answer 2. By the name of God is meant his glorious attributes, which are, as it were, the several letters of his name.

Answer 3. By the name of God is meant his worship and ordinances, where his name is called upon. "Go to the place at Shiloh where I once put the Tabernacle to honor my name" (Jeremiah 7:12). That is, where I first set up my public worship.

Now this name of God, the saints in the text did contemplate, they thought upon his name. Thoughts are the first-born of the soul, the conceptions of the mind, the immediate fruit and outcome of a rational being. "Thoughts are the representations of things in the imagination." These devout souls in the text were chiefly busying their thoughts about God and heaven.

It is the inseparable sign of a godly man, to employ his chief thoughts about God: "The thoughts of the righteous are right" (Proverbs 12:5); that is, they are set upon the right object. It is natural to think. Thoughts fly out of the mind - as sparks fly out of a furnace. The Hebrew word for a thought signifies the boughs of a tree, because thoughts shoot out from our minds as branches do from a tree. It is, I say, natural to think - but it is not natural to think of God; this is proper to a saint. His thoughts are sublime and seraphic - they fly to heaven.

The mind is a mint-house where thoughts are minted. David minted golden thoughts: "I am still with you" (Psalms 139:18 ), that is, by divine contemplation. Thoughts are the travelers of the soul. David's thoughts kept on heavens road: "I am continually with you" (Psalms 73:23). As the mariners needle turns to the North Pole, so a saint's thoughts are still pointing towards God.

Question. Why is it, that the saints thoughts mount up to God?

Answer 1. There will be this thinking on God - from those intrinsic perfections which are in him. The loveliness of the object, attracts the thoughts. God is the Supreme good. There is nothing but God, which is really worth thinking upon. "You are my portion, O Lord" (Psalms 119:S7). Will not a man's thoughts run upon his portion? A gracious soul has found pleasure in thinking on God (Psalms 63:5-6). He has had those transfigurations on the mount, those incomings of the Spirit, those enterings of God's love, those foretastes of glory - so that he cannot keep his thoughts off from God! To hinder him from thinking on God - is to bar him of all his pleasure.

Answer 2. There will be thinking on God - from the powerful operations of the Holy Spirit. We cannot of ourselves think a godly thought (2 Corinthians 3:5) - but the Spirit elevates and fixes the heart on God: "The Spirit lifted me up" (Ezekiel 3:14). When you see the iron move upward - you know there has been some magnet drawing it. Just so, when the thoughts move upwards towards God, the Spirit has, as a divine magnet, drawn them!

First Use: REPROOF.

Out of the quiver of this text I may draw several arrows of reproof:

1. It reproves those who do not think upon God's name. It is the brand-mark of a reprobate: "God is not in all his thoughts" (Psalms 10:4). He endeavors to expunge and blot God out of his mind. Though he draws his breath from God - yet he does not think of him. His thoughts all shoot into the earth (Philippians 3:19). Had not sinners by their fall lost their head-piece, they would reason thus with themselves: "Certainly God is best worth thinking on. Is there any excellency in the world? Then what excellency there is in God - who has made it! He gives the star its beauty, the flower its fragrance, food its pleasantness! If there is such deliciousness in the creature, what must there be in God! He must needs be better than all. O my soul, shall I admire the drop - and not the ocean? Shall I think of the workmanship, and not of him who made it?"
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« Reply #17 on: September 30, 2009, 08:26:10 PM »

The Great Gain of Godliness
by Thomas Watson, 1681


This forgetfulness of God, is the fruit of original sin - which has warped the soul, and taken it off from the right object.

2. It reproves such as indeed think of God - but who do not have RIGHT thoughts of him. As the Lord said to Eliphaz, "You have not spoken of me what is right" (Job 42:7); so some think of God - but they do not think of him rightly.

1. They have low unworthy thoughts of God. They imagine God to be like themselves (Psalms 50:21). Men think that God is as short-sighted as they, and that he cannot see them through the thick canopy of the clouds. (He who makes a watch knows all the wheels and pins in it, and the spring which causes the motion.) God who is the inspector of the heart (Acts 1:24; 15:8 ) sees all the intrigues and private plots in the thoughts (Job 42:2; Amos 4:13). God knows the true motion of a false heart! "I know, and am a witness - says the Lord" (Jeremiah 29:23).

2. Men have injurious thoughts of God.

First, they think that his ways are unjust. "Yet you say - The way of the Lord is not just. Hear, O house of Israel - Is my way unjust? Is it not your ways that are unjust?" (Ezekiel 18:25). Some call God's providence to the bar of reason, and judge his proceedings to be unjust. But God says, "I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the plumb line" (Isaiah 28:17). His ways are secret - but never unjust. God is most just in his way - when we think he is out of his way.

Secondly, they think that his ways are unprofitable. "You have said - It is useless to serve God. What have we gained by keeping His requirements?" (Malachi 3:14). We cannot show our earnings. These are not right thoughts of God. Men think him to be a hard master; but God will be in no man's debt, he gives double pay: "Neither do you kindle a fire on my altar for nothing" (Malachi 1:10).

3. It reproves such as, instead of thinking on God, have their minds wholly taken up with VAIN thoughts. Vain thoughts are the froth of the brain. "How long shall your vain thoughts lodge within you?" (Jeremiah 4:14). I do not deny that vain thoughts may sometimes come into the best hearts - but they have a care to turn them out before night, that they do not lodge there. This denominates a wicked man. His thoughts dwell upon vanity; and well may his thoughts be said to be vain, because they do not turn to any profit! "Vanity, and things wherein there is no profit" (Jeremiah 16:19). They are vain thoughts, which are about foolish things, and run all into straw. They are vain thoughts which do not better the heart, nor will give one drop of comfort at death, "In that very day his thoughts perish" (Psalms 146:4). Vain thoughts are corrupt; they taint the heart and leave an evil tincture behind.

4. It reproves such as have, not only vain thoughts, but VILE thoughts.

Firstly, proud thoughts: while they view themselves in the mirror of self-love, they begin to take up venerable thoughts of themselves, and so pride fumes up into their head and makes them giddy! (Acts 5:36).

Secondly, impure thoughts. They think how to gratify their lusts - they "make provision," or as the word signifies, become "caterers" for the flesh (Romans 13:14).

Sin begins in the thoughts. First men devise sin - then they act it (Micah 2:1-2). For instance, if one seeks preferment, he thinks to himself by what ladder he may climb to honor. He will cringe and comply, and lay aside conscience, because he thinks that this is the way to rise. If a man would grow rich, he sets his thoughts to work how to obtain an estate. He will pull down his soul - to build up an estate. Would he wreak his malice on another? He frames a plan in his thoughts to harm him. As Jezebel (that painted harlot) when she would ruin Naboth, presently feigns a sham-plot and subtly thinks of a way how to dispatch him: "She commanded: Call the citizens together for fasting and prayer and give Naboth a place of honor. Find two scoundrels who will accuse him of cursing God and the king. Then take him out and stone him to death!" (1 Kings 21:9-10).

Oh, the mischief of thoughts! A man may deny God in his thoughts: "The fool has said in his heart - there is no God" (Psalms 14:1). He may commit adultery in his thoughts: "Whoever looks on a woman to lust after her, has committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:28 ). A man may murder another in his thoughts: "Whoever hates his brother is a murderer" (1 John 3:15 ). O how much contemplative wickedness is in the world! Tremble at sinful thoughts. We startle at gross sin - but we are not troubled so much for sinful thoughts. Know firstly, that sin may be committed in the thoughts, though it never blossoms into outward act: "The thought of foolishness is sin!" (Proverbs 24:9). See this illustrated in two things:

Envy - the Jews envied Christ, for the fame of his miracles: "Pilate knew that for envy they had delivered him" (Matthew 27:18 ). Here was sin committed in the thoughts. The Jews sinned by envying Christ, though they had never crucified him.

Discontentment -- "The Lord accepted Abel and his offering, but he did not accept Cain and his offering. This made Cain very angry and dejected." (Genesis 4:4-5). He maligned his brother, and his thoughts boiled up to discontentment. Here was sin committed in the thoughts. Cain sinned in being discontented, even if he had never murdered his brother.

Know that God will punish sinful thoughts. We say thoughts are free - and so they are in man's court; but God will punish for thoughts! It was set upon Herod's score, that he thought to destroy Christ under a pretense of worshiping him (Matthew 2:8 ).

Let us be humbled for the sins of our thoughts. "If you have thought evil, lay your hand upon your mouth" (Proverbs 30:32); that is, humble and abase yourself before the Lord. The holiest people alive, need to be humbled for their thoughts:

First, for the instability of their thoughts. How do your thoughts dance up and down in prayer. It is hard to tie two godly thoughts together.

Secondly, for the impiety of their thoughts. In the fairest fruit, may be a worm - and in the best heart, evil thoughts may arise. Did men's hearts stand where their faces do, they would blush to look one upon another! Let us be deeply humbled for our thoughts. Let us look up to Christ, that he would stand between us and God justice, and that he would intercede for us, that the thoughts of our hearts may be forgiven.
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« Reply #18 on: September 30, 2009, 08:29:03 PM »

The Great Gain of Godliness
by Thomas Watson, 1681


Second use: EXHORTATION.

Let us think on God's Name; let us lock up ourselves with God every day; let our thoughts get wings and, with the birds of paradise, fly up towards heaven. Christians, look upon that day to be lost, in which you have not conversed with God in your thoughts; think of God in your closet, in your shop; trade above the moon. "Isaac went out to meditate in the field" (Genesis 24:63). He walked in heaven by holy utterances. Our minds should be steeped in holy thoughts.

It is not enough to have a few transient thoughts of God - but there must be a fixing of our minds on God, until our hearts are warmed in love to him, and we can say, like those in Luke 24:32, "Did not our heart burn within us!"

But what should the matter of our holy meditations be?

1. Think of God's immense being.

Adore his illustrious ATTRIBUTES, which are the beams by which the divine nature shines forth. Think of God's omniscience. He particularly and critically assesses all our actions, and notes them down in his book. Think of God's holiness, which is the most sparkling jewel of his crown (Exodus 15:11). Think of God's mercy: this makes all his other attributes sweet. Holiness without mercy, and justice without mercy, would be dreadful. Think of God's veracity: "Abundant in truth" (Exodus 34:6); that is, God will be so far from coming short of his word, that he does more than he has said. He shoots beyond the promise, never short of it.

Think of the WORKS of God: "I will meditate also on all your works" (Psalms 77:12). God's works are bound up in three great volumes: Creation, Providence, Redemption. Here is sweet matter for our thoughts to expatiate upon.

To enforce the exhortation, let me propose some arguments and inducements to be frequent in the thoughts of God.

1. The reason why God has given us a thinking faculty, is that we may think on his Name. When our thoughts run out in vain things, we should think with ourselves thus: Did God give us this talent to misemploy? Did he give us thoughts that we should think of everything but him?

2. It we do not accustom ourselves to godly thoughts, we cannot be godly Christians. Thinking seriously on heavenly things - makes them stick in our minds, causes delight in them, and makes them nourish us. Musing on holy objects, is like digesting food, which turns it into nourishment. Without holy thoughts, there is no true religion. Can a man be pious and scarcely ever think of it?

3. We are deeply obliged to think on God. For, First, God is our Maker. "It is he who has made us, and not we ourselves" (Psalms 100:3). Our bodies are God's fine needlework (Psalms 139:15). And as God has wrought the cabinet, so he has put a jewel in it - the precious soul. Has God made us - and shall not we think of him?

Secondly, God has sweetened our lives with various mercies. A city in Sicily is so finely situated, that the sun was never out of sight. Just so, God has so placed us by his providence, that the sunshine of his mercy is never out of sight. We are miraculously attended with his mercy! His mercy feeds us with the finest of the wheat - the bread of life; mercy guards us with a guard of angels; it makes the rock pour forth rivers of oil. Shall not the stream lead us to the fountain? Shall not we think of the God of our mercies? This is high ingratitude.

4. To have frequent and devout thoughts of God - evidences SINCERITY. No truer touchstone of sanctity exists, than the spirituality of the thoughts. What a man's thoughts are - that is the man! "For as he thinks in his heart - so is he" (Proverbs 23:7). Thoughts are freer from hypocrisy, than words. One may speak well for applause, or to stand right in the opinion of others; but when we are alone and think of God's Name, and admire his excellencies, this shows the heart to be right. Thoughts are freer from hypocrisy, than a man's external behavior. A man may be lovely in his outward behavior - yet have a covetous, revengeful mind! The acts of sin may be concealed, when the heart sits brooding upon sin. But to have the thoughts spiritualized and set upon God is a truer sign of sincerity - than a life free from vice.

What do your thoughts run upon? Where do they make their most frequent visits? Can you say, "Lord, our hearts are still mounting up to heaven, our thoughts are lodged in paradise; though we do not see your face - yet we think on your Name!" This is a good evidence of sincerity. We judge men by their actions; God judges them by their thoughts!

5. Thinking much on God - would cure the love of the WORLD. Great things seem little - to him who stands high. To such as stand upon the top of the Alps, the great cities of Italy seem like little villages. For those who are mounted high in the contemplation of Christ and glory - how do the things of the world disappear, and even shrink into nothing! A soul elevated by faith above the visible planets, has the earth under his feet. A true saint intermeddles with secular affairs, more out of necessity than choice. Paul's thoughts are heavenly and sublime - he lived in the altitudes - and how he scorned the world! "The world is crucified unto me!" (Galatians 6:14).

6. Thinking on God - would be expulsive of SIN. From whence is impiety - but from thoughtlessness? If only men carefully considered God's holiness and justice - would they dare sin at the rate they do! That which kept Joseph in check, was the thought of a sin-revenging God. When the delights of sin tickle us - let the thoughts of God come into men's minds, that he is both Spectator and Judge - and that after the golden crowns and women's hair - comes the lions teeth! (Revelation 9:8 ). This would put them into a cold sweat - and be as the angel's drawn sword! (Numbers 22:31). It would scare them from sin!

7. Thinking on God, is an admirable means to increase our LOVE to God. As it was with David's meditations, "As I was musing the fire burned" (Psalms 39:3); so it is with our musing on the Deity. While we are thinking on God - our hearts will kindle in love to him.
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« Reply #19 on: September 30, 2009, 08:30:38 PM »

The Great Gain of Godliness
by Thomas Watson, 1681


The reason our affections are so chilled and cold in religion - is that we do not warm them with thoughts of God. Hold a magnifying glass to the sun, and the glass burns that which is near to it. So when our thoughts are lifted up to Christ, the Sun of righteousness, our affections are set on fire. No sooner had the spouse been thinking upon her Savior's beauty - but she fell into love-sickness. (Song of Solomon 5:8 ). O saints, do but let your thoughts dwell upon the love of Christ, who passed by angels and thought of you; who was wounded that, out of his wounds, the balm of Gilead might come to heal you; who leaped into the sea of his Father's wrath, to save you from drowning in the lake of fire! Think of this unparalleled love, which sets the angels wondering - and see if it will not affect your hearts and cause tears to flow forth!

8. Thinking on God, will by degrees transform us into his image. As Jacob's flock looking on the rods which had white streaks conceived and brought forth like them (Genesis 30:39), so by contemplating God's holiness, we are in some measure changed into his likeness! "Beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord - we are changed into the same image" (2 Corinthians 3:18 ). The contemplative sight of God was transforming; they had some print of God's holiness upon them; as Moses when he had been on the mount with God, his face shone! (Exodus 34:35). What is godliness, but God-likeness? And who are so like him - as those that think on his name?

9. Thinking on God is sweet. It ushers in a secret delight to the soul! "My meditation of him shall be sweet" (Psalms 104:34). He whose head gets above the clouds - has his thoughts lifted high, has God in his eye, is full of divine raptures, and cries out as Peter in the transfiguration, "Lord, it is good for us to be here!" Holy thoughts are the dove we send out of the ark of our souls - and they return with an olive branch of peace. Some complain that they have no joy in their lives. It is no wonder, when they are such strangers to heavenly contemplation! Would you have God give you joy and comfort - and never think of him? Indeed Israel had manna dropped into their tents, and they never thought of it; but God will not drop down this manna of heavenly joy on that soul which seldom or never thinks of him.

Would you have your spirits cheerful? Let your thoughts be heavenly! The higher the lark flies - the sweeter it sings. Just so, the higher a soul ascends in the thoughts of God - the sweeter joy it has!

10. Thoughts of God will turn to the best account. Thoughts spent on the world are often in vain. Some spend thoughts about laying up a portion for a child; and perhaps either it dies, or lives to be a severe trial to them. Others beat their brains how to rise in politics - when royal favor has shone upon them, all of a sudden an eclipse comes about, the king's smile is turned into a frown, and then their thoughts are frustrated!

How oft do men build castles in the air! But the thoughts of God will turn to a good account, they augment sanctification, and bring satisfaction: "You satisfy me more than the richest of foods. I will praise you with songs of joy. I lie awake thinking of you, meditating on you through the night" (Psalms 63:5-6). The thoughts we have of God in the time of health, will be a comfort to us in the time of sickness.

11. God thinks of us - and shall not we think of him? "The Lord thinks upon me!" (Psalms 40:17). God thinks on us every morning; his mercies are "new every morning" (Lamentations 3:23). He gives us night-mercies, he rocks us asleep every night: "So he gives his beloved sleep" (Psalms 127:2). And if we awaken, he gives "songs in the night" (Job 35:10). If God is thinking of us day and night, shall not we think of his Name? How can we forget a friend - who is ever mindful of us? "I know the thoughts that I think toward you, with the Lord are thoughts of peace" (Jeremiah 29:11). Though God is out of our sight - we are not out of his thoughts!

12. God will one day reckon with us, for our thoughts. He will say, "I gave you a mental faculty. What have you done with it?" If God asks a covetous man, "What have your thoughts been? Which way have your thoughts run?" He will answer, "To heap up riches!" If God asks princes and emperors, "How have you employed your thoughts?" They will say, "By our scepter - to beat down the power of godliness." What a dreadful account will these people have to give at last! Not only men's actions - but their thoughts will accuse them! "Their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them!" (Romans 2:15).

13. Our thoughts of God shall not be lost. God accepts the thought - for the deed. David had a good thought come into his mind to build God a house, and God took it as kindly as if he had done it! "Forasmuch as it was in your heart to build an house for my name, you did well in that it was in your heart" (2 Chronicles 6:8 ). When Christians have thoughts of promoting God's glory - that they would do such good acts if it were in their power - the Lord looks upon it as if they had done it. So that our thoughts of God are not lost.

Let us think of God in a right MANNER. A good medicine may be spoiled in the making. So may a good duty be spoiled in the doing. Thoughts may be good for the matter of them - yet may be faulty in the manner. I shall show you, first, how thoughts of God may fail in their manner. There is a right manner of thinking upon God.

1. How thoughts of God may fail in their manner.

First, a man may think good thoughts of God - yet not intend his glory. Jehu had good thoughts come into his mind, to destroy the Baal worshipers - but his intent was to advance himself unto the throne! Bad aims spoil good actions!
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« Reply #20 on: September 30, 2009, 08:32:00 PM »

The Great Gain of Godliness
by Thomas Watson, 1681


Secondly, a man may have good thoughts of God - but they are forced. When one bleeds under God's afflicting hand, he may think of God - yet have no love to him. "When he slew them - then they remembered that God was their rock, and the most high God their Redeemer: nevertheless they only flattered him with their mouth" (Psalms 78:34-36). These were good thoughts - but it was to pay God a compliment in order to get rid of the affliction.

Thirdly, a man may have thoughts of God - out of a design to stop the mouth of conscience. Conscience lashes the profane sinner: "What! Are you so wicked as never to think of God, who indulges you with so many favors!" Hereupon, he may have a few good thoughts; but they are irksome to him - this is not from a principle of conscience - but to quiet conscience.

Fourthly, a man may think of God with horror! He thinks of God's sovereignty, and dreads the thoughts of God. You see - one may think of God, yet the thoughts may become sinful.

2. The right manner of thinking on God.

First, our thoughts of God must be serious. Feathers float on the surface - but gold sinks into the water. Feathery spirits have some floating thoughts; but godly hearts sink deep in the thoughts of God!

Secondly, our thoughts of God must he spiritual. Take heed of framing any gross conceits of God in your minds, representing him by the likeness of the creature: "You saw no form of any kind the day the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the fire" (Deuteronomy 4:15). Conceive of God in Christ. We cannot see him any other way, as we cannot see the sun in the circle - but in the beams. The Godhead dwells in Christ's human nature (Colossians 2:9). Think of God as a Spirit full of immense glory, propitious to us through a Mediator.

Thirdly, our thoughts of God must be delightful. With what delight does a child think of his father! A gracious soul counts them the sweetest hours, which are spent with God.

Fourthly, our thoughts of God must be operative and efficacious, leaving our hearts in a better tune. The thoughts of God's faithfulness must make us confide in him. The thoughts of God's holiness must make us conform to him. This is the right thinking on God - when it is influential, leaving us in a more heavenly frame.

Third use: DIRECTION.

The text shows us how to have our thoughts frequently fixed upon God.

1. Begin the day with holy thoughts. "When I awake, I am still with you" (Psalms 139:18 ). God should have the first buddings of our thoughts. In the law, the Lord would have the first fruits offered him. Give God your virgin thoughts in the morning. What the vessel is first seasoned with, it keeps the relish of, a long time after. The mind seasoned with godly thoughts in the morning, will keep the heart in a better state all the day long.

2. If you would think of God - take heed of hindrances.

1. Turn away your eyes from beholding vanity (Psalms 119:37). Vain objects poison the imagination; lascivious pictures and wanton talk leave bad impressions in the mind.

2. As far as you are able, call your thoughts off from the world. If worldly thoughts come crowding into our mind - godly thoughts will be lost in the crowd!

3. Gel a love for God and his ways. One cannot but think - of that which he loves. "Does a young woman forget her jewelry?" (Jeremiah 2:32). When she has not her jewel on her ear - she will have it in her thoughts. A person deeply in love, cannot keep his thoughts off from the object he loves. The reason we think on God no more - is because we love him no more! Let there be but one spark of love to God - and it will fly upward in heavenly thoughts and prayers. By nature our hearts cannot be made to fix on God - but by love.

4. If you would think often on God, get a saving interest in him. "This God is our God!" (Psalms 48:14). We think most - upon that which is our own. If a man rides by beautiful houses and gardens, he casts his eyes slightly upon them. But let him have a house of his own - and his thoughts dwell in it. Why do men think no more of God - but because they and God are strangers? Let a man's interest in God be cleared - and he will not be able to keep his thoughts off from God.


Part II. THE GREAT GAIN OF GODLINESS

"Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord hearkened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored his name. "They will be mine," says the Lord Almighty, "in the day when I make up my jewels. I will spare them, just as in compassion a man spares his son who serves him. And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not." Malachi 3:16-18

A. The first of the good effects of the saints piety - is that God REGARDED it. "The Lord hearkened and heard." These blessed ones in the text were speaking and thinking of God - and he did not turn away his ear from them, as if he had not minded them. But he hearkened and heard; which expression denotes both diligence and delight.

1. It notes the diligent heed God gave to these saints - he "hearkened". Here was attention of ear, and intentness of mind. Hearkening is the gesture of one who intently listens to what another says.

2. God's hearkening shows the delight he took in the holy dialogs of these saints. He was pleased with them; they were to him as a sweet melody.
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« Reply #21 on: September 30, 2009, 08:33:46 PM »

The Great Gain of Godliness
by Thomas Watson, 1681


God takes special notice of the good which he sees in his people. The children of God may perhaps think that God does not regard them: "I cry unto you - and you do not hear me" (Job 30:20). The church complains that God shuts out her prayer (Lamentations 3:8 ) - but though God is some times silent - he is not deaf! He takes notice of all the good services of his people: "The Lord hearkened and heard."

Question:  Why is it that God takes such notice of his people's services?

First, not from any merit in them - but the impulsive cause is his free grace! The best duties of the righteous, could not endure God's scales of justice - but God will display the trophies of his mercy. Free grace accepts - what stern justice would condemn!

Secondly, God's taking notice of the good in his people, is through Christ! "He has made us accepted - in the beloved" (Ephesians 1:6). Or, as Chrysostom renders it, he has made us "favorites". Through a red glass everything appears of a red color. Just so, through Christ's blood, both our persons and duties appear ruddy and beautiful in God's eyes!

Thirdly, God takes notice of the services of his people - because they flow from the principle of grace. God regards the voice of faith: "O my dove ... let me hear your voice; for sweet is your voice" (Song of Solomon 2:14). The services of the wicked are harsh and sour - but the godly give God the first-ripe cluster (Micah 7:1), which grows from the sweet and pleasant root of grace.

First use: INFORMATION.

1. If God hearkens and hears, I infer from hence - God's OMNISCIENCE. How could he, being in heaven, hear what the saints speak and think - were he not omniscient? Through the bright mirror of his own essence he has a full knowledge of all things. He knows the intrigues of nations, and the stratagems of his enemies (Exodus 14:24). Future contingencies fall within his cognizance.

God's knowledge is foundational. He is the original, pattern, and prototype of all knowledge. God's knowledge is instantaneous. He knows all at once! Our knowledge is successive, we know one thing after another, and argue from the effect to the cause; but all things are in God's view - in one entire prospect. God's knowledge is infallible and not subject to mistake. Such is the infinity of his knowledge, that the apostle cries out in admiration, "O the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!" (Romans 11:33). The world is to God as a beehive of glass, where you see the working of the bees and the framing of their honey-combs. All things are unveiled to the eye of Jehovah! "Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account!" Hebrews 4:13

2. See God's GOODNESS, who often passes by the failings of his people (Numbers 23:21), and takes notice of the good in them.

"Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him Lord" (1 Peter 3:6). The Holy Spirit passes by Sarah's unbelief and laughing at the promise - and takes notice of her reverence to her husband; she called him Lord.

"You have heard of the patience of Job" (James 5:11). We have heard of his impatience, cursing his birthday - but the Lord does not upbraid him with that - but observes the good that was in him: "You have heard of the patience of Job". The painter who drew Alexander's picture, drew him with his finger upon his scar. Just so, God puts a finger of mercy upon the scars of his children! He sees their faith - and turns a blind eye to their failings!

3. See God's differing dealings towards the godly and the wicked. If the godly think on his name, he hearkens and hears; but if the wicked meddle with religious duties, he turns away his ear. "He did not accept Cain and his offering" (Genesis 4:5). Suppose a man had a sweet breath - yet if he had the plague, nobody would come near him! Just so, though a sinner may give God many a sweet, elegant expression in prayer - yet, having the plague in his heart, God will not receive any offering from him! If God shuts men's prayers out of heaven, it is a sad prognostic that he will shut their persons out of heaven.

4. See the privilege of the godly - they have God's ear! "The Lord hearkened and heard!" "His ears are open unto their cry!" (Psalms 34:15). It would be counted a great happiness to have the king's ear. How astonishing is it to have God's ear! Believers have the Spirit of God breathing in them - and God cannot but hear the voice of his own Spirit.

5. See what an encouragement is here to be conversant in the duties of God's worship. God takes notice of the services of his people - he hearkens to them as to sweet music. Who would not come with their humble addresses to God - when he is so pleased with them (Proverbs 15:8 )

Objection 1 - But I deserve nothing.

Answer - God does not bestow his favors according to our desert - but according to his promise and grace.

Objection 2 - But I have prayed a long time and have no answer.

Answer - God may hear prayer when he does not answer. He may lend us his ear - when he does not show us his face! The text says, "the Lord hearkened and heard." It is not said he gave an answer - but he "hearkened". It befits suitors to wait. Faith waits upon God, patience waits for God. "Like a servant's eyes on his master's hand - so our eyes are on the Lord our God until He shows us favor." (Psalms 123:2).

6. See the difference between God and men. God takes notice of the good in his people; the wicked pass by the good in the godly - and take notice only of their failings. If they can spy any impropriety or blemish in them, they upbraid them with it; like those children who reproached Elisha for his baldness - but took no notice of the prophet's miracles (2 Kings 2:23).

7. From the words, "the Lord hearkened and heard", take note of the folly of idolaters. They worship a God who can neither hearken nor hear! The Cretans pictured Jupiter without ears. Idol gods have ears - but hear not (Psalms 115:6). A lifeless god is good enough for a lifeless worship.
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« Reply #22 on: September 30, 2009, 08:35:22 PM »

The Great Gain of Godliness
by Thomas Watson, 1681


Second use: EXHORTATION.

1. Let the people of God stand and wonder:

a. Stand and wonder at God's CONDESCENSION, that he who is so high in the praises and acclamations of the angels - should stoop so low as to listen to the lispings of his children. "The Lord hearkened and heard!" Alas, God has no need of our services; he is infinitely blessed in reflecting upon the splendor of his own infinite being! We cannot add the least cubit to his essential glory: "If you are righteous, what do you give Him, or what does He receive from your hand?" (Job 35:7). Yet such is his sweet condescension, that he does as it were, stoop below himself, and take notice of his peoples poor offerings.

b. Stand and wonder at God's LOVE, that he should regard those services of his people, which are so mixed with corruption! "Our righteousnesses are as filthy rags!" (Isaiah 64:6). The sacrifice of thanksgiving, which was the highest sacrifice, had some leaven mixed with it (Leviticus 7:13). Our best duties have some leaven of imperfection mixed in them; yet such is God's love, that he receives and accepts them: "I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey" (Song of Solomon 5:1). Honey is sweet - but the honeycomb is harsh and bitter, and can hardly be eaten; yet such was Christ's love to his spouse, that he ate of her honeycomb, her services mixed with imperfection, and was pleased and delighted with them! Oh, the love of God, that he should have respect to our offerings, which are interlaced with sin! Our best duties, are sweet wine coming out of a sour cask.

2. If God hearkens to us when we speak - let us hearken to him when be speaks. In the Word, God speaks to us. He is said now to speak to us from heaven (Hebrews 12:25), that is, by the Word. Does God hearken to us, and shall not we hearken to him? Be not like the deaf adder which stops her ear. This the Lord complains of: "God does speak - now one way, now another - though man may not perceive it" (Job 33:14) . If God's Word does not prevail with us - our prayers will not prevail with him.


Part 3


B. The second good effect of the saints piety - was that God RECORDED it. "A book of remembrance was written before him"; the word in the original for "book of remembrance" signifies "a book of memorials" or "monuments". The words immediately foregoing recite God's hearkening and hearing; but lest any should say, though God does at the present hear the holy speech and thoughts of his children - yet may they not in time slip out of his mind? Therefore these words are added, "a book of remembrance was written before him." The Lord did not only hear the godly speeches of the saints - but recorded them, and wrote them down! "A book of remembrance was written."

This is spoken after the manner of men - not that God has any book of records by him. He does not need to write down anything for the help of his memory. He is not subject to forgetfulness. Things done a thousand years ago are as fresh to him - as if they were done but yesterday: "A thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past" (Psalms 90:4).

This "book of remembrance", therefore, is a borrowed form of speech, taken from kings, who have their chronicles wherein they note memorable things. King Ahasuerus had his book of records, wherein were written the worthy deeds of Mordecai (Esther 6:1-2). Just so, God bears in mind, all the godly speeches and pious actions of his children. God's particular and critical assessment is a book of records, where nothing can be lost or torn out.

Doctrine: God eternally remembers all the good designs and pious endeavors of his people. "God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him, as you have helped his people and continue to help them." (Hebrews 6:10). There are eight things which God writes down in his book of remembrance:

1. The Lord writes down the NAMES of his people. "Whose names are written in the Book of Life" (Philippians 4:3). This book has no errata, "I will never erase their names from the Book of Life!" (Revelation 3:5).

2. The Lord writes down the godly SPEECH of his people. When Christians speak together of the mysteries of heaven (which is like music in concert), God is much delighted with it. When their tongues are going on earth - God's pen is going in heaven! "Those who feared the Lord spoke often one to another, and a book of remembrance was written!"

3. The Lord writes down the TEARS of his people. Tears drop down to the earth - but they reach heaven! God has his bottle and his book: "You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book!" (Psalms 56:8 ). Tears drop from the saints - as water from the roses - they are fragrant to God - and he puts them in his bottle. And besides this, he has his book of remembrance, where he writes them down, "You have recorded each one in your book!" Especially God writes down such tears as are shed for the sins of the times. "There was another man among them, clothed in linen, with writing equipment at his side" (Ezekiel 9:2). This was to write down the tears of the mourners, and to "put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations committed in the city" (verse 4).

4. God writes down the THOUGHTS of his people. We can write down men's words - but we cannot write down their thoughts. It would perplex the angels - to write men's thoughts! But be assured, never a holy thought comes into our mind - but God writes it down! So in the text - a book of remembrance was written for those who thought upon his name. Two things are silent - yet have a voice:

1. Tears: "the Lord has heard the voice of my weeping" (Psalms 6:8 ).

2. Thoughts: "I know what they are thinking" (Isaiah 66:18 ).

5. God writes down the DESIRES of his people. "Lord, my every desire is known to You!" (Psalms 38:9); that is, "It is set down in your book!" Desire is the spiritual appetite, or the soul's panting and breathing after God (Psalms 84:2). In this life we do rather desire God - than enjoy him. Can we say that we take our souls out of the quiver of our bodies, and shoot them into heaven? Do our affections sally forth towards Christ? Do we desire him superlatively and incessantly? Every such desire is put down in God's register book! Lord, my every desire is known to You!"
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« Reply #23 on: September 30, 2009, 08:37:25 PM »

The Great Gain of Godliness
by Thomas Watson, 1681


6. The Lord writes down the PRAYERS of his people. (Jonah 2:7). Prayer, though it be not vocal, only mental, is recorded. "Hannah spoke in her heart" (1 Samuel 1:13). That prayer, God wrote down and answered. God was better to her than her prayer; she prayed for a son - and God gave her a prophet! At times the heart is so full of grief, that it can only groan in prayer; yet a groan is sometimes the best part of a prayer, and God writes it down: "My groaning is not hidden from You!" (Psalms 38:9). If we cannot speak with elegance in prayer; if it is only lisping and chattering, God puts it in his book of remembrance: "I chattered like a swallow, and then I moaned like a mourning dove. I am in trouble, Lord. Help me!" (Isaiah 38:14); yet that prayer was heard and registered, "I have heard your prayer - I have seen your tears!" (verse 5).

7. God writes down the WORKS of his people. Works of mercy must be done out of love to God. As Mary out of love brought her ointments and sweet spices, and anointed Christ's dead body - so out of pure love we must bring our ointments of charity to anoint the saints, which are Christ's living body. Such alms are not lost. With such sacrifices God is well pleased (Hebrews 13:16). And that we should see how well the Lord is pleased with them, he writes them down thus: "Your gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God." (Acts 10:4).

8. God has a book of remembrance for the SUFFERINGS of his people. The saints purgatory is in this life. But there are two things which may bear up their spirits:

First, every groan of theirs goes to God's heart: "I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel" (Exodus 6:5). In music when one string is touched - all the rest sound. When the saints are stricken - God's heart reverberates.

Secondly, God has a book of records, to write down his people's injuries. The wicked make wounds in the backs of the righteous, and then pour in vinegar. God writes down their cruelty: "I remember what Amalek did to Israel" (1 Samuel 15:2). Amalek was Esau's grandchild (Genesis 36:12), a bitter enemy of Israel. The Amalekites showed their spite to Israel in two ways:

First, "Remember what the Amalekites did to you along the way when you came out of Egypt. When you were weary and worn out, they met you on your journey and cut off all who were lagging behind; they had no fear of God." (Deuteronomy 25:17-18 )

Secondly, they openly gave battle to them, and would have hindered them from going into Canaan (Exodus 17:8 ). Now God took notice of Israel's sufferings by Amalek: "I remember what Amalek did to Israel, and I have my book of remembrance; I write it down." "This is what the Lord Almighty says - I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys." (1 Samuel 15:2-3).

First use of the doctrine: INFORMATION.

I. This shows us that it is not in vain to serve God. The wicked who do not know God, think him to be a hard Master, and say, like those Job speaks of, "What would we gain by praying to him?" (Job 21:15). But the text shows us that God records all the services of his people, "a book of remembrance was written before him." God's writing in his book is:

A. An HONOR to the saints. The Romans wrote the names of their senators in a book, and in token of honor they were called the "chosen fathers" of the people. So God's book of remembrance shows his high esteem of his people and their services. He writes them down.

B. A mark of the SPECIAL FAVOR God bears to his people. He registers them and their services - with an intent to crown them! Tamerlane, wrote down all the memorable deeds of his soldiers, whom he afterwards advanced to places of dignity. God's service is most desirable; let us make Joshua's choice: "As for me and my house - we will serve the Lord!" (Joshua 24:15).

If we should desert God's service, where shall we go? When Christ asked his disciples, Will you also go away? Peter said, "Lord, to whom shall we go?" (John 6:68 ); as if to say, "If we leave you, we do not know where to get help for ourselves." Let us adhere to God; he has his book of memorials to record our allegiance. We may be losers for him - but we shall not be losers by him.

2. As God registers the good works of his people - so he has a book of remembrance to write down the sins of the wicked! "Go now, write it on a tablet for them, inscribe it on a scroll, that for the days to come it may be an everlasting witness. These are rebellious people, deceitful children, children unwilling to listen to the Lord's instruction!" (Isaiah 30:8-9).

Men's sins are written in the book of conscience - and the book of God's omniscience. They think that because God does not speak to them by his loud judgments, therefore God does not know their sins. But though God does not speak - he writes: "The sin of Judah is written with an iron stylus. With a diamond point it is engraved." (Jeremiah 17:1). God writes down every act of oppression, bribery, and immorality. "They never consider that I remember all their evil. Now their sins are all around them; they are right in front of My face!" (Hosea 7:2). King Belshazzar was carousing and drinking wine in bowls, and praising his gods of gold and silver; but while he was sinning - God was writing! "At that very moment they saw the fingers of a human hand writing on the plaster wall of the king's palace. The king himself saw the hand as it wrote, and his face turned pale with fear. Such terror gripped him that his knees knocked together and his legs gave way beneath him!" (Daniel 5:5-6).
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« Reply #24 on: September 30, 2009, 08:42:48 PM »

The Great Gain of Godliness
by Thomas Watson, 1681


We read of God's book: "The books were opened" (Revelation 20:12); and we also read of his bag: "My transgression is sealed up in a bag" (Job 14:17). This seems to allude to law courts, where indictments against malefactors are sealed up in a bag, and produced at the trials. When God shall open his black book in which men's names are written, and his bag in which their sins are written - then their hearts will tremble, and their knees will knock together in terror! Every lie a sinner tells, every oath he swears, every drunken bout - God writes it down in his book of remembrance! And woe to him - if the book is not crossed out with the blood of Christ!

3. See the mercifulness of God to his children - who blots their sins out of his book of remembrance, and writes their good deeds in his book of remembrance. "I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions" (Isaiah 43:25). This is a metaphor borrowed from the case of a creditor who takes his pen and blots out the debt owing to him; so says God, I will "blot out your transgressions". Or as the Hebrew has it, "I am blotting them out."

God in forgiving sin, passes an act of oblivion or amnesty: "I will remember their sin no more!" (Jeremiah 31:34). God will not upbraid his people with their former offences. We never read that when Peter repented, that Christ upbraided him for his denial of his Lord. Oh, the heavenly indulgence and kindness of God to his people! He remembers everything about them - but their sins! He writes down their good thoughts and speeches in a merciful book of remembrance; but their sins are as if they had never been - they are carried into the land of oblivion!

Second Use: EXHORTATION.

If God records our services - then let us record his mercies. Let us have our book of remembrance. A Christian should keep two books always beside him; one to write his sins in - that he may be humble; the other to write his mercies in - that he may be thankful. David had his book of remembrance: "David appointed some of the Levites to be ministers before the ark of the Lord, to give thanks and praise to Him." (1 Chronicles 16:4). We should keep a book to record God's mercies - though I think it will be hard to get a book big enough to hold them! At such and such a time we were in straitened circumstances - and God supplied us; at another time under sadness of spirit - and God dropped in the oil of gladness; at another near death - and God miraculously restored us. If God is mindful of what we do for him - shall not we be mindful of what he does for us! God's mercies, like jewels, are too good to be lost! Get a book of remembrance!

Third Use: COMFORT.

1. It is comfort to the godly - in the case of friends forgetting them. Joseph did Pharaoh's cupbearer a kindness - "Yet the cupbearer did not remember Joseph; he forgot him." (Genesis 40:23). It is only too usual to remember injuries - and forget kindnesses; but God has a book of remembrance where he writes down all his old friends. Near relations may sometimes be forgetful. The tender mother may forget her infant: "Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!" (Isaiah 49:15). A mother may sooner forget her child - than God be forgetful. Christ our high priest, has the names of the saints written upon his breastplate, and all their good deeds written in his book of memorials! Let this be a remedy to revive the hearts of God's people; though friends may blot you out of their mind - yet God will not blot you out of his book!

2. This is consolation to the godly - the Lord keeps a book of remembrance for this end - that he may at the last day make a public and solemn mention of all the good which his saints have done. God will open his book of records and say, "Then the King will say to those on His right - Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you took care of Me; I was in prison and you visited Me." (Matthew 25:34-36).

God will make known all the memorable and pious actions of his people before men and angels! He will say, "Here are those who have prayed and wept for sin; here are those who have been advocates for my truth; here are those who have laid to heart my dishonors, and have mourned for what they could not reform. These are my renowned ones, my Hephzibahs - in whom my soul delights!" (Isaiah 62:4).

What a glorious thing will this be - to have God express the high praise of his saints! When Alexander saw the sepulcher of Achilles, he cried out "O happy Achilles, who had Homer to set forth your praise!" What an honor will it be to have the names and worthy deeds of the saints mentioned, and God himself to be the herald to proclaim their praises! (2 Corinthians 4:5).


C. The third good effect of the saints piety - was that God REWARDED it. "And they shall be mine, says the Lord Almighty, in that day when I make up my jewels!" (Malachi 3:17). The reward is threefold.

1. God's owning them: "They shall he mine, says the Lord Almighty."

2. God's honoring them: "In that day when I make up my jewels."

3. God's sparing them: "I will spare them, as a man spares his own son that serves him."

Note first, the Person speaking, "the Lord Almighty". This is too great a word to he passed by in silence. God is often in Scripture styled, "the Lord Almighty" (Psalms 46:11; Isaiah 1:24); that is, he is the Supreme General, and Commander of all armies and forces, and gives victory to whom he will.

Question: Why is this name, "the Lord Almighty", given to God?

Answer: Not because God needs any others to protect himself, or suppress his enemies. Earthly princes have armies to defend them from danger - but God needs none to help him: he can fight without an army. God puts strength into all armies. Other captains may give their soldiers armor; they cannot give them strength; but God does: "You have girded me with strength for the battle" (Psalms 18:39). Why then is God said to have armies - if he needs them not?

Firstly, it is to set forth his sovereign power and grandeur; all armies and regiments are under his command.

Secondly, it is to show us that though God can effect all things by himself; yet in his wisdom he often uses the agency of the creature to bring to pass his will and purpose.
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« Reply #25 on: September 30, 2009, 08:44:52 PM »

The Great Gain of Godliness
by Thomas Watson, 1681


Question: What are these hosts or armies, of which God is the sovereign Lord?

Answer 1: God has an army in heaven - angels and archangels: "I saw the Lord sitting on his throne with all the armies of heaven around him" (1 Kings 22:19). By the armies of heaven, is meant the angels; they, being spirits, are a powerful army: "You his angels, which excel in strength" (Psalms 103:20). We read of one angel who destroyed in one night "a hundred and eighty-five thousand men" (2 Kings 19:35). If one angel destroyed such a vast army, what can a whole legion of angels do? A legion consisted of six thousand, six hundred and sixty six. How many of these legions go to make up the heavenly host! (Daniel 7:10).

The stars are God's army too (Deuteronomy 4:19). These were set in battalions and fought against God's enemies: "The stars in their courses fought against Sisera" (Judges 5:20). That is, the stars charged like an army, raising storms and tempests by their influences, and so destroying the whole army of Sisera.

Answer 2: God has armies upon earth, both rational and irrational. The rational are armies of men. These are under God's command and conduct. They do not stir without his warrant. The Lord has the managing of all military affairs. Not a stroke is struck - but God orders it! Not a bullet flies - but God directs it! As for the irrational armies, God can raise an army of flies, as he did against King Pharaoh (Exodus 8:24); an army of worms, as he did against King Herod (Acts 12:23). Oh, what a Lord is here - who has so many armies under his authority!

First use of the doctrine: EXHORTATION.

1. Let us dread this Lord Almighty! We fear men who are in power, and is not that God to be adored and feared, who does all thing at his good pleasure? "All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him - What have you done?" (Daniel 4:35).

His power is as large as his will. "What his soul desires - that he does" (Job 23:13). God is a sovereign power over all. "He pours contempt upon princes" (Job 12:21). He threw the proud angels to hell. God can with a word, unpin the wheels and break the axle of the creation. God's power is a glorious power (Colossians 1:11). And in this it appears glorious - it is never consumed or exhausted. Men, while they exercise their strength, weaken it. "Have you never heard or understood? Don't you know that the Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth? He never grows faint or weary." (Isaiah 40:28 ). "I will use up My arrows against them." (Deuteronomy 32:23) Though God "uses up his arrows" upon his enemies - yet he never exhausts his strength.

Oh, then tremble before this Lord Almighty! Remember, O hard-hearted sinner, how many ways God can be revenged on you! He can raise an army of diseases against you in your body. He can arm every creature against you, the dog, the boar, the elephant. He can arm conscience against you, as he did against Spira - making him a terror to himself. Oh, dread this Lord Almighty.

2. If God is the Lord Almighty - let us take heed of hardening our hearts against God. It was the saying of Pompey that with one stamp of his foot - he could raise all Italy up in arms. God can with a word - raise all the militia of heaven and earth against us, and shall we dare affront him! "Who has hardened himself against him, and has prospered?" (Job 9:4). Such as live in the open breach of God's commandments, harden their hearts against God; they raise a war against heaven! "He has stretched out his hand against God and has arrogantly opposed the Almighty!" (Job 15:25). Like warriors who muster up all the forces they can, to fight with their antagonists, so the sinner hardens and strengthens himself against Jehovah: "He runs upon him, even on his neck, upon the thick bosses of his bucklers" (verse 26). Bucklers anciently had one great boss in the middle with a sharp spike in it to wound the adversary. The grossly wicked sinner encounters the God of heaven - and runs upon the thick bosses of his fury, which will wound mortally. Who ever hardened himself against God - and prospered! Will men go to measure arms with God! Do you have an arm like God's?" (Job 40:9).

God is almighty - and therefore can hurt his enemies; and he is invisible - therefore they cannot hurt him. Who can fight with a spirit? God will be too hard for his enemies in the long run: "God will smash the heads of his enemies, crushing the skulls of those who love their guilty ways!" (Psalms 68:21).

How easily can God chastise rebels! "The Lord looked down on the Egyptian forces from the pillar of fire and cloud, and threw them into confusion" (Exodus 14:24). It need cost God no more to destroy his proudest adversaries than a look - a cast of the eye! It is better to be prostrate at God's feet, and to meet him with tears in our eyes - rather than weapons in our hands! We overcome God, not by resistance - but by repentance!

3. If God is the Lord Almighty - let us be so wise as to engage him on our side. "The Lord Almighty is with us!" (Psalms 46:11). Great is the privilege of having the Lord Almighty for us!

1. If the Lord Almighty is on our side, he can discover the subtle plots of enemies. Thus he detected the counsel of Ahithophel (2 Samuel 17:14). And did not the Lord discover the Popish conspirators of late, when they would have subverted true religion and, like Italian butchers, turned England into an Aceldama - a field of blood?

2. If the Lord Almighty is on our side, he can bridle his enemies and lay such a restraint upon their spirits that they shall not do the harm they intend. "It is in the power of my hand to do you hurt (said Laban to Jacob) but the God of your father spoke unto me saying, Take heed that you speak not to Jacob either good or bad" (Genesis 31:29). Laban had power to do hurt - but no heart. When Balak called upon Balaam to curse Israel, God so dispirited Balaam that he could not discharge his thunderbolt: "How shall I curse, those whom God has not cursed?" (Numbers 23:8 ). He had a good mind to curse - but God held him back.
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« Reply #26 on: September 30, 2009, 08:48:24 PM »

The Great Gain of Godliness
by Thomas Watson, 1681


3. If the Lord Almighty is for us - he can help us, though means fail, and things seem to he given up for lost. When Gideon's army was small, and rendered despicable, then God crowned them with victory (Judges 7:2, 22). When the arm of flesh shrinks, then is the time for the arm of omnipotence to be put forth: "The Lord will indeed vindicate His people and have compassion on His servants when He sees that their strength is gone" (Deuteronomy 32:36). The less seen of man - the more of God.

4. If the Lord Almighty is on our side - he can save us in that very way, in which we think he will destroy us. Would not all have thought that the great fish's belly would have been Jonah's grave? But God made a fish to be a ship, in which he sailed safely to shore. Paul got to land by the breaking of the ship (Acts 27:44). God can make the adverse party do his work; he can cause divisions among the enemies, and turn their own weapons against themselves: "I will set the Egyptians against the Egyptians" (Isaiah 19:22; Judges 7:22).

5. If the Lord Almighty is on our side - he can make the church's affliction - a means of her augmentation: "The more they afflicted them - the more they multiplied" (Exodus 1:12). The church of God is like that plant, which grows by cutting. Persecution propagates the church: the scattering of the apostles up and down was like scattering seed - it tended much to the spreading of the
gospel (Acts 8:1, 4).

6. If the Lord Almighty is on our side - he can alter the scene and turn the balance of affairs whenever he pleases. "He changes the times and the seasons" (Daniel 2:21). God can remove mountains which lie in the way, or leap over them. His power is without limit; he can bring harmony out of discord. He who brought Isaac out of a dead womb, and the Messiah out of a virgin's womb - what can he not do? The Lord Almighty can in an instant, alter the face of things. There are no impossibilities with God. If means fail, he can create. It is therefore, high prudence to get this Lord Almighty on our side. "If God is for us - who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31).

And if we would engage God to be on our side:

First, let us be earnest suitors to him - exercise eyes of faith, and knees of prayer (Jeremiah 14:9). And in prayer, let us use Joshua's argument, "What will You do about Your great name?" (Josh. 7:9). Lord, if the cause of true religion loses ground, how will your name suffer!

Secondly, let us put away iniquity. (Job 11:14). Sin is not worth keeping. Who would keep a plague sore? Let us discard and abjure our sins (Jeremiah 7:3); and then the Lord Almighty will be on our side and, as a pledge of his favorable presence, he will entail the gospel, that crowning blessing, upon us and our posterity.

So much for the Person speaking, "the Lord Almighty".

A. God Rewards His People by OWNING Them

I now come to the REWARD itself, the first part of which is - God's owning them, "They shall be mine." I take the sense of it to be, "They shall be mine in covenant." "I entered into a covenant with you - and you became mine!" (Ezekiel 16:8; Isaiah 43:1). This is no small blessing - to be in covenant with God. Therefore, when God told Abraham that he would enter into covenant with him, Abraham fell on his face (Genesis 17:3), as being amazed that the great God should bestow such a signal favor upon him. God never entered into covenant with the angels when they fell - but he proclaims himself God in covenant with believers, "They shall be mine." This covenant enriched with free grace, is a better covenant than that which was made with Adam in innocence, for:

1. The least failing would have made the first covenant null and void - but many failings do not invalidate the covenant of grace. I grant the least sin makes a trespass upon the covenant - but it does not cancel it. Every failing in the marital relation, does not break the marriage bond.

2. If the first covenant was violated, the sinner had no remedy; all doors of hope were shut. But the new covenant allows of a remedy. It provides a Surety, "Jesus the mediator of the new covenant" (Hebrews 12:24).

First use: INFORMATION.

See the amazing goodness of God to his people, to enter into covenant with them and say, "You are mine!" "He has made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure!" (2 Samuel 23:5). The first covenant stood upon the delicate foundation of works. Adam had no sooner a stock of original righteousness to trade with, than he broke the covenant. But this covenant of grace is confirmed with God's decree, and rests upon two mighty pillars - the oath of God, and the blood of God. That you may see how great a privilege it is to be owned by the Lord federally, consider:

1. If we are in covenant with God, and he says to us "You are mine" - then all that is in God is ours! A person falling on hard times and then marrying a king, has a share in all the crown revenues. God having entered into a near relation with us and saying, "You are mine" - we have a share in his rich revenues! The Lord says to every believer, as the King of Israel said to the King of Syria, "I am yours, and all that I have is yours!" (1 Kings 20:4). My wisdom shall be yours to teach you, my holiness shall be yours to sanctify you, my mercy shall be yours to save you! What richer dowry - than Deity! God is a whole ocean of blessedness. If there is enough in him to fill the angels - then surely, he has enough to fill us!
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« Reply #27 on: September 30, 2009, 08:51:40 PM »

The Great Gain of Godliness
by Thomas Watson, 1681


2. If God says to us, "You are mine" - then he will have a tender care for us. "Cast all your care upon Him, because He cares for you!" (1 Peter 5:7). God, to show his tender solicitude towards Israel, bore them "on eagles wings" (Exodus 19:4). The eagle carries her young ones upon her wing to defend them; the arrow must first shoot through the old eagle, before it can touch her young ones. A mother's care is seen in leading a child, so that it may not fall. Such is God's care: "It was I who taught Israel how to walk, leading him along by the hand." (Hosea 11:3). We may argue from the lesser to the greater, that if God takes care of the lowest insects and animals which creep upon the earth, much more will he take care of his covenant saints. He is still contriving and planning for their good. If they wander out of the way - he guides them; if they stumble - he holds them by the hand; if they fall - he raises them; if they become dull - he quickens them by his Spirit; if they are obstinate - he draws them with cords of love; if they are sad - he comforts them with his promises.

3. If God says to us, "You are mine" - then he will entirely love us! "I have loved you with an everlasting love" (Jeremiah 31:3). The Lord may give a man riches - and not love him; his prosperity may be as Israel's quails - sauced with God's wrath (Numbers 11:32-33). But when God says, "You are mine" - he cannot but love. Everyone loves his own. If God has any love better than another - his covenant people shall have it; he will extract the essence of his love for them; he loves them as he loves Christ! (John 17:23).

4. If God says to us, "You are mine" - then he will not allow us to be in need. Believers are not only of God's family - but of Christ's body; and will the Head let the body starve? "Truly you shall be fed" (Psalms 37:3). God has not promised dainties; he will not satisfy his people's lusts - but he will supply their needs. If the bill of fare should be restricted, what they lack in worldly comforts, they shall have in spiritual blessing: "He shall bless your bread, and your water" (Exodus 23:25). God will rather work a miracle than that any of his children shall famish. The raven is so unnatural that she will hardly feed her young - yet she became a caterer and brought food to the prophet Elijah.

5. If God says to us, "You are mine" - then we have great freedoms!

1. We are freed from the revenging wrath of God! We are not free from God's anger as a Father - but as a Judge. God will not pour his vindictive justice upon us. Christ has drunk the red wine of God's wrath upon the cross - that believers may not taste a drop of it!

2. We are freed from the predominant reign of sin. "Sin shall not have dominion over you" (Romans 6:14). Though believers are not freed from the indwelling of sin, nor from combat with it - yet they are freed from its imperious command. As it it said of those beasts in Daniel, "They had their dominion taken away - yet their lives were prolonged for a season" (Daniel 7:12), so sin lives in the regenerate, but its domination is taken away. And to be thus freed from the jurisdiction, power, and tyranny of sin - is no small blessing! A wicked man is at the command of sin, as the donkey at the command of the driver. The curse of Ham is upon him, "a servant of servants shall he be" (Genesis 9:25). He is a slave to his lusts, and a slave to Satan! Oh, what a privilege it is - to have one's neck out of the devil's yoke!

3. We are freed from the accusations of conscience. The worm of conscience is part of the torment of hell. But, God being our God, we are freed from the clamors of this hellish fury. Conscience sprinkled with Christ's blood speaks peace! A good conscience, like the bee, gives honey. It is like the golden pot which had manna in it (2 Corinthians 1:12).

6. If God says to us, "You are mine" - then we shall he his forever! "This God is our God, forever and ever" (Psalms 48:14). You cannot say that you have health - and you shall have it forever. You cannot say that you have a child - and you shall have it forever. But if God is your God - you shall have him forever! The covenant of grace is a royal charter, and this is the happiness of it - it is made for eternity! Justification is never rescinded. The covenant between God and his people shall never be broken off. How false therefore is the opinion of falling from grace! Shall any whom God makes his own by federal union fall finally? Indeed if salvation has no better pillar to rest upon than man's will (as the Arminians hold) no wonder if there is falling away; but a Christian's stability in grace, is built upon a surer basis, namely, God's "everlasting (or inviolable) covenant" (Isaiah 55:3). Once in Christ - forever in Christ. A star may sooner fall out of its place - than a true believer be plucked away from God! "None of them is lost" (John 17:12). "I give them eternal life, and they will never perish - ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand." (John 10:28 )

7. If God says to us, "You are mine" - then he will take us up to himself at death! Death breaks the union between the body and the soul - but perfects the union between God and the soul. This is the emphasis of heaven's glory - to be forever with God. What is the joy of the blessed - but to have a clear, transparent sight of God, and to be in the sweet and soft embraces of his love forever! This has made the saints desire death, as the bride her wedding day! "I have the desire to depart and be with Christ - which is far better!" (Philippians 1:23). "Lead me, Lord, to that glory", said a holy man, "a glimpse whereof I have seen as in a glass darkly."
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« Reply #28 on: September 30, 2009, 08:53:08 PM »

The Great Gain of Godliness
by Thomas Watson, 1681


Second Use: COMFORT.

Let this be for the consolation of the saints. There is a covenant union between God and them. God is theirs - and they are his! "They shall be mine, says the Lord." Here is a standing cordial for the godly. God looks upon them as having a propriety in them, "They shall be mine!"

1. This is comfort, in respect of Satan's accusations. He accuses the saints first to God - then to themselves. But if God says, "You are mine", this answers all of Satan's accusations. Christ will show the debt book, crossed out in his blood. It was a saying of Bucer, "I am Christ's, and the devil has nothing to do with me."

2. This is comfort, in respect of poverty. Believers are married to the King of heaven - and all that is in God is theirs! A philosopher comforted himself with this, that though he had no music or vine trees - yet he had the household gods with him. So we, though we have not the vine or fig tree - yet if God is ours and we are his - this creates joy in the most impoverished condition! And that which may raise the comfort of the godly higher, and cause a jubilation of spirit, is that shortly God will own his people before all the world, and say, "These are mine!" At present the elect are not known: "It does not yet appear what we shall be" (1 John 3:2). The saints are like kings in disguise; but how will their hearts leap for joy - when God shall pronounce that word, "These are mine! The lot of free grace has fallen upon them! These shall lie forever in the bosom of my love!"

Third use: EXHORTATION.

To all who are yet strangers to God: labor to get into covenant with him, that he may say, "You are mine!" Why does God woo and beseech you by his ambassadors, if he is not willing to be in covenant with you?

Question: What shall a poor forlorn creature do, to get into covenant with God?

Answer 1: If you would be in covenant with God--break off the covenant with sin! (1 Samuel 7:3). What king will be in league with a person who serves his enemy?

Answer 2: Labor for faith.

1. Faith in the mercy of God: "I am merciful. I will not be angry with you forever" (Jeremiah 3:12). As the sea covers great rocks as well as little sands - so Gods mercy covers great sins! Manasseh, a bloody sinner, is held forth as a pattern of mercy. Some of the Jews who had a hand in crucifying Christ - yet had their sins forgiven!

2. Faith in the merit of Christ. Christ's blood is not only an atoning sacrifice to appease God - but a sacrifice to ingratiate us into God's favor, and make him look upon us with a smiling aspect (1 John 2:2).


B. God Rewards His People by HONORING Them

The second part of the saints reward - is God's honoring them: "In that day when I make up my jewels". Here are three propositions:

1. God greatly honors his people.

2. God's people are his jewels.

3. There is a day when God will make up his jewels.

1. God greatly honors his people. He speaks of them here with honor: "In that day when I make up my jewels". "Since you were precious in my sight - you have been honorable" (Isaiah 43:4). Honor attends holiness. That the Lord highly honors those who fear him, is evident by four demonstrations.

1. In that he prefers them before others. He choose, them, and passes by the rest: "Was not Esau Jacob's brother? Yet I have loved Jacob, but Esau I have hated!" (Malachi 1:2-3).

2. In that God gives them frequent love visits. It is counted an honor for a subject to have his prince visit him. "Our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ" (1 John 1:3). The Rabbis say that Moses had one hundred and fifty conferences with God, and died with a kiss from God's mouth. What greater honor for a person - than to have God keep him company! (Exodus 33:11)?

3. In that God makes them rich heirs. We are "joint-heirs with Christ" (Romans 8:17). For a man to adopt another and make him heir to his estate - is no small honor done to him. The youngest believer is an heir, yes, and an heir of the crown! (1 Peter 5:4). This crown he has in the promise (Revelation 2:10), and in the first fruits (Romans 8:23).

4. In that God sends his angels to be their servants. Such as are God's servants, have angels to be theirs: "Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?" (Hebrews 1:14).

First use: Who would not be fearers of God! This makes God have an honorable esteem of them. "All men", says Chrysostom, "are ambitious for honor." True honor comes from God! (John 5:44).

Second use: If God so honors his people, let them honor him: "Where is my honor?" (Malachi 1:6). Let the saints be God-exalters; let them lift up his name in the world, and make his praise glorious (Psalms 66:2). But I only glance at this.
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« Reply #29 on: September 30, 2009, 08:54:53 PM »

The Great Gain of Godliness
by Thomas Watson, 1681


2. God's people are his jewels. "In that day when I make up my jewels!" Jewels are precious things; the Hebrew word for jewels signifies a treasure. A treasure is made up of costly things: gold, and diamonds, and rubies. Such a precious treasure, are the saints to God.

Question: In what sense are the saints, God's jewels?

Answer 1: They are jewels for their sparkling quality. Their holiness shines and sparkles in God's eyes! (Song of Solomon 4:9), "You have ravished my heart, with one of your eyes!" That is, with one of your graces.

Answer 2: The godly are jewels for their scarcity. Diamonds are not common. Just so, the godly are scarce and rare. There are but few of these to be found. There are many false professors (as there are paste diamonds) but few Israelites indeed. "Few are chosen" (Matthew 20:16). Among the millions in Rome, there were but few senators. Just so, among the swarms of people in the world - there are but few true believers.

Answer 3: The godly are jewels for their price. Queen Cleopatra had two jewels which contained half the price of a kingdom. Thus the saints are jewels, for their value. God esteems them at a high rate; he parted with his best jewel for them. Christ's precious blood was shed to ransom these jewels!

Answer 4: The saints are jewels for their adorning quality. Jewels adorn those who wear them. The saints are jewels which adorn the world. Their piety mixed with prudence honors the gospel. Hypocrites eclipse true religion and make it badly spoken of. The saints as jewels render it illustrious, by their sanctity.

First use: INFORMATION.

1. See the worth of the godly - they are God's jewels - "a royal diadem in the hand of your God" (Isaiah 62:3). That is, they are eminent above others, as a crown hung with jewels is a sign of the highest state and honor. The saints are God's glory (Isaiah 46:13), as if God's glory did lie in them.

2. See then that which may bring holiness into repute, and make us desire to be godly. It casts a splendor upon us, and makes God number us among his jewels! Some are loath to embrace godliness, for fear it will be a stain on their reputation, and bring them out of favor with great men. But you see how it raises a person's renown; it makes him precious in God's sight - he is a jewel! Believers, on account of their mystical union with Christ, have a preciousness above the angels! The angels are morning stars (Job 38:7). Believers are clothed with the sun of righteousness (Revelation 12:1).

3. See the different opinion which God has - of the godly and the wicked. The one he esteems precious, the other vile. "You are vile" (Nahum 1:14). This is spoken of King Sennacherib; though he was by birth noble - yet he was by sin vile. The Hebrew word for vile signifies of base esteem. Though the wicked are high in dignity and worldly grandeur, yet God slights them. A dunghill may be higher than other ground - but it sends forth foul vapors: "They have all together become filthy" (Psalms 14:3). In the original it is, "They have become stinking."

The wicked are compared to dogs and swine (2 Peter 2:22) and to dross (Ezekiel 22:19). Dross is the filth of the metal. Sinners are compared to chaff (Psalms 1:4). When a wicked man dies - there is only a little chaff blown away! A sinner is the most contemptible thing in the world; there is no worth in him while he lives - and no loss of him when he dies! A sinner is worse than a toad or serpent; a toad has nothing but what God has put into it - but a wicked man has that which the devil has put into him: "Why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit?" (Acts 5:3).

4. See what a high estimate we should set upon the godly; they are jewels, they are the glory of the creation. They are compared to stars for their beauty (Revelation 1:20), to spice trees for their perfume (Song of Solomon 4:14). They are the excellent of the earth (Psalms 16:3). The Lord would soon destroy the earth - but that he has some of his jewels in it.

Prize the saints - though they are humbled with poverty. We esteem a diamond, though it lies in the dust. "John's clothes were made of camel's hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey" - yet he was a jewel (Matthew 11:9). He was the morning star to usher in the Sun of righteousness into the world. The saints are precious - for they are God's lesser heaven! (Isaiah 57:15).

5. See the saints safety: they are God's jewels, and he will take great care to preserve them. A man is careful that he does not lose his jewels. God often gives his people a temporal salvation. If a storm comes he knows how to hide his jewels. He hid a hundred prophets in a cave (1 Kings 18:4). The angel is commanded, before he poured his vial of curses on the earth, to seal the saints of God on their foreheads (Revelation 7:3), which was a mark of safety. God will ensure the spiritual safety of his jewels: "None of them is lost!" (John 17:12). "I give them eternal life, and they will never perish - ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand." (John 10:28 )

6. It the saints are God's jewels - then how incensed and enraged will God be, against those who have abused his jewels! Theodosius, counted them traitors who abused his statue. What will become of those who persecute God's saints, and tread upon his jewels! It goes near to God's heart - to see his jewels sprinkled with blood! What is done to them - the Lord takes as done to himself: "Why do you persecute me!" (Acts 9:4). When the foot was trod on - the head cried out! The saints are God's royal diadem (Isaiah 62:3). Will a king endure to have his robes spat upon, or his crown-royal thrown in the dust! "He reproved kings for their sakes!" (Psalms 105:14).
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