Along with the previous thoughts on Lord’s Day meditation, Watson gives us some specific ways to pray each Sunday morning:
The things we should pray for in the morning of the Sabbath. Let us beg a blessing upon the word which is to be preached; that it may be a savour of life to us; that by it our minds may be more illuminated, our corruptions more weakened, and our stock of grace more increased. Let us pray that God’s special presence may be with us, that our hearts may burn within us while God speaks, that we may receive the word into meek and humble hearts, and that we may submit to it, and bring forth fruits. James i 21. Nor should we only pray for ourselves, but for others.
Pray for him who dispenses the word; that his tongue my be touched with a coal from God’s altar; that God would warm his heart who is to help to warm others. Your prayers may be a means to quicken the minister. Some complain they find no benefit by the word preached; perhaps they did not pray for their minister as they should. Prayer is like the whetting and sharpening of an instrument, which makes it cut better. Pray with and for your family. Yea, pray for all the congregations that meet on this day in the fear of the Lord; that the dew of the Spirit may fall with the manna of the word; that some souls may be converted, and others strengthened; that gospel ordinances may be continued, and have no restraint put upon them. These are the things we should pray for. The tree of mercy will not drop it’s fruit, unless it be shaken by the hand of prayer.
Thomas Watson suggests some ways we can direct our thoughts on Sunday mornings in order to obey the fourth commandment (Exod 20:8-11; Deut. 5:12-15; Is. 58:13-14). Take these up this coming Lord’s Day and see if you ride on the heights of the earth…
Let your mind dwell on these four things… Continue reading
What an encouragement is this to hunger after righteousness! Such shall be filled. God charges us to fill the hungry (Isaiah 58:10). He blames those who do not fill the hungry (Isaiah 32:6). And do we think he will be slack in that which he blames us for not doing? Oh come with hungerings after Christ and be assured of satisfaction. God keeps open house for hungry sinners. He invites his guests and bids them come without money (Isaiah 55:1, 2). God’s nature inclines him and his promise obliges him to fill the hungry. Consider, why did Christ receive ‘the Spirit without measure’? (John 3:34). It was not for himself. He was infinitely full before. But he was filled with the holy unction for this end, that he might distil his grace upon the hungry soul. Are you ignorant? Christ was filled with wisdom that he might teach you. Are you polluted? Christ was filled with grace that he might cleanse you. Shall not the soul then come to Christ who was filled on purpose to fill the hungry? We love to knock at a rich man’s door. In our Father’s house there is bread enough. Come with desire and you shall go away with comfort. You shall have the virtues of Christ’s blood, the influences of his Spirit, the communications of his love.
-Thomas Watson, The Beatitudes
Obey all the persons in the blessed Trinity; for all of them are God. Obey God the Father. Christ himself, as man, obeyed God the Father, John 4:44, much more must we. Deut 27:10.
Obey God the Son. ‘Kiss the Son, lest he be angry.’ Psa 2:12. Kiss him with a kiss of obedience. Christ’s commands are not grievous. I John 5:3. Whatever he commands is for our interest and benefit. Oh then kiss the Son! Why do the elders throw down their crowns at the feet of Christ, and fall down before the Lamb? Rev 4:10, 11. To testify their subjection, and to profess their readiness to serve and obey him.
Obey God the Holy Ghost. Our souls are breathed into us by the glorious Spirit. ‘The Spirit of God has made me.’ Job 33:4. Our souls are adorned by the blessed Spirit. Every grace is a divine spark lighted in the soul by the Holy Ghost. Nay, more, the Spirit of God sanctified Christ’s human nature; he united it with the divine, and fitted the man Christ to be our Mediator. Well then does this third person in the Trinity, the Holy Ghost, deserve to be obeyed; for he is God, and this tribute of homage and obedience is due to him from us.
-Thomas Watson, Body of Divinity
Let us bewail the lack of the fear of God in our world. Why is it that so few fear God?
1. Men do not fear God—because they have not the knowledge of God. “They hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord” (Proverbs 1:29). Every sin is founded in ignorance of God. If only men knew God in his immense glory, they would be swallowed up with divine amazement. When the prophet Isaiah had a glimpse of God’s glory, he was struck with holy consternation: “Woe to me! I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty!” (Isaiah 6:6). Ignorance of God, banishes the fear of God.
2. Men do not fear God—because they presume on his mercy. God is merciful, and they do not doubt of the virtue of this sovereign balm. But who is God’s mercy for? “His mercy extends to those who fear him” (Luke 1:50). Such as do not fear God’s justice—shall not taste his mercy.
Let this be “for a lamentation”, that the fear of God is so vanished from our world. Why is it almost nowhere to be found? Some fear shame, others fear danger—but where is he who fears God?
And not only among the generality of people—but even among professing Christians, how few fear God in truth! Profession is often made a cloak to cover sin. Absalom palliated his treason with a religious vow (2 Samuel 15:7). The Pharisees made long prayer a cloak for oppression (Matt. 23:14). This is sordid—to carry on wicked designs—under a mask of piety. The snow covers many a dunghill. A snowy white profession covers many a foul heart! The sins of professors are more odious. Thistles are bad in a field—but worse in a garden. The sins of the wicked anger God—but the sins of professing Christians grieve him.
Thomas Watson, The Great Gain of Godliness, 1681
Repenting tears are delicious.
They may be compared to myrrh, which though it is bitter in taste, has a sweet smell and refreshes the spirits. So repentance, though it is bitter in itself—yet it is sweet in the effects. It brings inward peace. The soul is never more enlarged and inwardly delighted—than when it can kindly melt. How oft do the saints fall aweeping for joy! The Hebrew word for “repent” signifies “to take comfort”. None so joyful as the penitent!
They say that tears have four qualities: they are hot, moist, salty, and bitter. It is true of repenting tears. They are hot, to warm a frozen conscience; moist, to soften a hard heart; salty, to season a soul putrefying in sin; bitter, to wean us from the love of the world. And I will add a fifth. They are sweet, in that they make the heart inwardly rejoice “Your sorrow shall be turned into joy!” (John 16:20). “Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing.” (2 Corinthians 6:10)
“Let a man,” said Augustine, “grieve for his sin and rejoice for his grief.” Tears are the best sweetmeats. David, who was the great weeper in Israel, was the sweet singer of Israel. The sorrows of the penitent are like the sorrows of a woman giving birth: “A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world” (John 16:21). So the sorrows of humbled sinners bring forth grace, and what joy there is when this child is born!
-Thomas Watson, The Doctrine of Repentance
The two great graces essential to a saint in this life, are faith and repentance. These are the two wings by which he flies to heaven. Faith and repentance preserve the spiritual life—as heat and water preserve the physical life.
-Thomas Watson in The Doctrine of Repentance
1. It is the glory and crown of a Christian to be grey-headed in godliness
‘Mnason of Cyprus, an old disciple’ (Acts 21:16). What an honour it is to see a Christian’s garments red with blood, yet his conscience pure white and his graces green and flourishing!
-Thomas Watson, The Godly Man’s Picture
But will God be a Father to me, who has profaned His name, and been a great sinner?
If you will at last seek God by prayer, and break of your sins, He has the heart of a Father for you, and will in nowise cast you out. When the prodigal arose and went to his father, ‘his father had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck, and kissed him.’ Luke 15:20. Though you have been a prodigal, and almost spent all upon your lusts, yet if you will give a bill of divorce to your sins, and flee to God by repentance, know that He has the heart of a Father; He will embrace you in the arms of His mercy, and seal your pardon with a kiss. What though your sins have been heinous? The wound is not so broad as the plaster of Christ’s blood. The sea covers great rocks; the sea of God’s compassion can drown your great sins; therefore be not discouraged, go to God, resolve to cast yourself upon His Fatherly compassion. He may be entreated of you, as He was of Manasseh. 2 Chron. 33:13.
-Thomas Watson, The Lord’s Prayer
A corrupt heart loves the comforts of the Word, but not the reproofs.
Thomas Watson, The Godly Man’s Picture