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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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WATSON ON THE POOR IN SPIRIT

Thomas WatsonThomas Watson:

He that is poor in spirit is lowly in heart. Rich men are commonly proud and scornful, but the poor are submissive. The poor in spirit roll themselves in the dust in the sense of their unworthiness. ‘I abhor myself in dust’ (Job 42:6). He that is poor in spirit looks at another’s excellence and his own infirmities. He denies not only his sins but his duties. The more grace he has, the more humble he is, because he now sees himself a greater debtor to God. If he can do any duty, he acknowledges it is Christ’s strength more than his own. As the ship gets to the haven more by the benefit of the wind than the sail, so when a Christian makes swift progress, it is more by wind of God’s Spirit than the sail of his own endeavor. The poor in spirit, when he acts most like a saint, confesses himself to be ‘the chief of sinners’. He blushes more at the defect of his graces than others do at the excess of their sins. He dares not say he has prayed or wept. He lives, yet not he, but Christ lives in him. He labors, yet not he, but the grace of God. (The Beatitudes)

YOUR EXCEEDING GREAT REWARD

Thomas WatsonThomas Watson:

I am your exceeding great reward.” (Genesis 15:1)

God is a satisfying reward. God is a whole ocean of blessedness, so that the soul, while it is bathing in it, cries out in a divine ecstasy, “I have enough!” Here is fullness—but no excess. Psalm 17:15, “I shall be satisfied when I awake with Your likeness.” That is—when I awake out of the sleep of death, having my soul embellished with the illustrious beams of Your glory—I shall be satisfied. In God there is not only sufficiency—but redundancy; not only the fullness of the vessel—but the fullness of the fountain! In God, this Ark of blessedness, are all good things to be found. Therefore Jacob, having God for his reward, could say, “I have enough!” or, as it is in the original, “I have all!” Genesis 33:11. God is all marrow and fatness. He is such a plenteous reward as exceeds our very faith. If the Queen of Sheba’s heart fainted when she saw all King Solomon’s glory—what would it have done to have beheld the astonishing and magnificent reward which God bestows upon His favorites! (“God is His Peoples Great Reward”)

CONCERNING THE WORD PREACHED

Thomas WatsonThomas Watson:

“Do we prize it (the Word preached) 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 the charge on 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.”

POOR IN SPIRIT

Thomas WatsonThomas Watson:

He that is poor in spirit is lowly in heart. Rich men are commonly proud and scornful, but the poor are submissive. The poor in spirit roll themselves in the dust in the sense of their unworthiness. ‘I abhor myself in dust’ (Job 42:6). He that is poor in spirit looks at another’s excellences and his own infirmities. The more grace he has, the more humble he is, because he now sees himself a greater debtor to God. If he can do any duty, he acknowledges it is Christ’s strength more than his own. As the ship gets to the haven more by the benefit of the wind than the sail, so when a Christian makes swift progress, it is more by wind of God’s Spirit than the sail of his own endeavor. The poor in spirit, when he acts most like a saint, confesses himself to be ‘the chief of sinners’. He blushes more at the defect of his graces than others do at the excess of their sins. He dares not say he has prayed or wept. He lives, yet not he, but Christ lives in him. He labors, yet not he, but the grace of God. (The Beatitudes)

SHALL WE KNOW ONE ANOTHER IN HEAVEN?

Thomas WatsonThomas Watson:

Some have asked whether we shall know one another in heaven. Surely, our knowledge will not be diminished, but increased. The judgment of Luther and Anselm, and many other divines is, that we shall know one another; yea, the saints of all ages, whose faces we never saw; and, when we shall see the saints in glory without their infirmities of pride end passion, it will be a glorious sight.

 

 

WHEN GOD CALLS

Thomas WatsonThomas Watson:

When God calls a man, He does not repent of it. God does not, as many friends do, love one day, and hate another; or as princes, who make their subjects favorites, and afterwards throw them into prison. This is the blessedness of a saint; his condition admits of no alteration. God’s call is founded upon His decree, and His decree is immutable. Acts of grace cannot be reversed. God blots out His people’s sins, but not their names.

 

 

GOD’S POWER

Thomas WatsonThomas Watson:

God’s power works for good, in supporting us in trouble. “Underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deut. xxxiii. 27). What upheld Daniel in the lion’s den? Jonah in the whale’s belly? The three Hebrews in the furnace? Only the power of God. Is it not strange to see a bruised reed grow and flourish? How is a weak Christian able, not only to endure affliction, but to rejoice in it? He is upheld by the arms of the Almighty. “My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. xii. 9).

The power of God works for us by supplying our wants. God creates comforts when means fail. He that brought food to the prophet Elijah by ravens, will bring sustenance to His people. God can preserve the “oil in the cruse” (I Kings xvii. 14). The Lord made the sun on Ahaz’s dial go ten degrees backward: so when our outward comforts are declining, and the sun is almost setting, God often causes a revival, and brings the sun many degrees backward.

The power of God subdues our corruptions. “He will subdue our iniquities” (Micah vii. 19). Is your sin strong? God is powerful, He will break the head of this leviathan. Is your heart hard? God will dissolve that stone in Christ’s blood. “The Almighty makes my heart soft” (Job xxiii. 16). When we say as Jehoshaphat, “We have no might against this great army”; the Lord goes up with us, and helps us to fight our battles. He strikes off the heads of those goliath lusts which are too strong for us.

The power of God conquers our enemies. He stains the pride, and breaks the confidence of adversaries. “Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron” (Psalm ii. 9). There is rage in the enemy, malice in the devil, but power in God. How easily can He rout all the forces of the wicked! “It is nothing for thee, Lord, to help” (2 Chr. xiv. 11). God’s power is on the side of His church. “Happy art thou, O Israel, O people saved by the Lord, who is the shield of thy help, and the sword of thy excellency” (Deut. xxxiii. 29). (A Divine Cordial)

“Work Together”

Thomas WatsonThomas Watson:

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 ESV)

This is as Jacob’s staff in the hand of faith, with which we may walk cheerfully to the mount of God. What will satisfy or make us content, if this will not? All things work together for good. This expression “work together” refers to medicine. Several poisonous ingredients put together, being tempered by the skill of the apothecary, make a sovereign medicine, and work together for the good of the patient. So all God’s providences being divinely tempered and sanctified, do work together for the best to the saints. He who loves God and is called according to His purpose, may rest assured that every thing in the world shall be for his good. This is a Christian’s cordial, which may warm him — make him like Jonathan who, when he had tasted the honey at the end of the rod, “his eyes were enlightened” (I Sam. xiv. 27). Why should a Christian destroy himself? Why should he kill himself with care, when all things shall sweetly concur, yea, conspire for his good? The result of the text is this. All the various dealings of God with His children, do by a special providence turn to their good. “All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant” (Psalm xxv. 10). If every path has mercy in it, then it works for good. (A Divine Cordial)

The Torments of Hell

Thomas WatsonThomas Watson:

The torments of hell abide for ever…. If all the earth and sea were sand, and every thousandth year a bird should come, and take away one grain of this sand, it would be a long time ere that vast heap of sand were emptied; yet, if after all that time the damned may come out of hell, there were some hope; but this word EVER breaks the heart.

Concern for Souls

James Montgomery BoiceQuoting James Montgomery Boice:

[T]he greatest periods of faithful expository preaching were inevitably accompanied by the highest levels of sensitivity to the presence of God in worship and the greatest measure of concern for the cure of souls.

The Puritans are a great example, though one could cite the Reformation period or the age of the evangelical awakening in England as well. The Puritans abounded in the production of expository material. We think of the monumental productions of men like Richard Sibbes (1577-1635), Richard Baxter (1615-l691), John Owen (1616-1683), Thomas Watson (d. l686), John Flavel (1627-1691), Jonathan Edwards (1702-1758), and that later Puritan Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892). These men produced material so serious in its nature and so weighty in its content that few contemporary pastors are even up to reading it. Yet common people followed these addresses in former times and were moved by them. Worship services were characterized by a powerful sense of God’s presence, and those who did such preaching and led such services were no less concerned with the individual problems, temptations, and growth of those under their care. Who in recent years has produced a work on pastoral counseling to equal Baxter’s The Reformed Pastor (1656)? Who has analyzed the movement of God in individual lives as well as did Jonathan Edwards in A Narrative of Surprising Conversions (1737) and Religious Affections (1746) or Archibald Alexander in his Thoughts on Religious Experience (1844)? Questions like these should shake us out of self-satisfied complacency and show that we are actually conducting our pastoral care, worship, and preaching at a seriously lower level. (The Foundation of Biblical Authority, London & Glasgow: Pickering & Inglis, 1979, pp.123-143)

Temptation

Thomas WatsonThomas Watson:

Satan’s time of tempting is usually after an ordinance; and the reason is, because then he thinks he shall find us most secure. When we have been at solemn duties, we are apt to think all is done, and we grow remiss, and leave off that zeal and strictness as before; just as a soldier, who after a battle leaves off his armor, not once dreaming, of an enemy. Satan watches his time, and when we least suspect, then he throws in a temptation.

We Know!

Thomas WatsonThomas Watson:

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 ESV)

“We know,” says the apostle. Though a Christian has not a perfect knowledge of the mysteries of the gospel, yet he has a certain knowledge. “We see through a glass darkly” (I Cor. xiii. 12), therefore we have not perfection of knowledge; but “we behold with open face” (2 Cor. iii. 18), therefore we have certainty.

The Spirit of God imprints heavenly truths upon the heart, as with the point of a diamond. A Christian may know infallibly that there is an evil in sin, and a beauty in holiness. He may know that he is in the state of grace. “We know that we have passed from death to life” (I John iii. 14). He may know that he Continue reading

Shall We Know One Another in Heaven?

Thomas WatsonThomas Watson:

Some have asked whether we shall know one another in heaven? Surely, our knowledge will not be diminished, but increased. The judgement of Luther and Anselm, and many other divines is, that we shall know one another; yea, the saints of all ages, whose faces we never saw; and, when we shall see the saints in glory without their infirmities of pride and passion, it will be a glorious sight.

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