by Thomas Watson, 1681
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” (Psalm 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. (more…)
by Thomas Watson, 1681
The Godly Should SPEAK of God
Having done with the character of the godly in general terms, I proceed next to their special characteristics: “Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other“. When the wicked said, “It is vain to serve God”, then “Then those who feared the Lord talked often with each other“. The meaning of this word, they “talked often”, is they discoursed piously together; their tongues were divinely tuned by the Holy Spirit.
Christians, when they meet together, should be much in “holy conference”. This is not only an advice—but a charge: “You must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are away on a journey, when you are lying down and when you are getting up again.” (Deut. 6:6). Indeed, where there is grace poured in—it will effuse out! Grace changes the language—and makes it spiritual. When the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles, they “spoke with other tongues” (Acts 2:4). Grace makes Christian speak with other tongues. A godly Christian not only has the law of God in his heart (Psalm 37:31)—but in his tongue! (verse 30). The body is the temple of God (1 Cor. 6:19). The tongue is the organ in this temple, which sounds in holy discourse! “The tongue of the just is as choice silver” (Prov. 10:20). He drops silver sentences, enriching others with spiritual knowledge! “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him; and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matt. 12:35-37). In the godly man’s heart, there is a treasury of goodness, and this is not like a bag of hidden money—but he brings something out of the treasury within—to the enriching of others.
by Thomas Watson, 1681
“Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.” Ecclesiastes 12:12. Books are the “children of the brain”. In this writing age, when they are brought forth ad nauseam, I intended that my pen should have been silent—but the variety and weightiness of this subject, as also the desire of some friends, did prevail with me to publish it. The main design of this excellent Scripture, is to encourage solid piety, and confute the atheists of the world, who imagine there is no gain in godliness. It was the speech of King Saul to his servants, “Will the son of Jesse give every one of you fields and vineyards?” (1 Samuel 22:7). Will the world or men’s lusts give them such noble recompenses of reward—as God bestows upon his followers! Surely, it is holiness which carries away the garland!
As for this treatise, it comes abroad in a plain dress: truth like a diamond—shines brightest in its native luster! Paul did not come to the Corinthians with excellency of speech, or the pride of oratory—his study was not to court—but convert. It is an unhappiness that, in these luxuriant times, religion should for the most part run either into notion or ceremony; the spirits of true religion are evaporated. When knowledge is turned into soul food, and digested into practice—then it is saving. That God would accompany these few imperfect lines with the operation and benediction of his Holy Spirit, and make them edifying—is the prayer of him who is