Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Thomas Watson's Art of Divine Contentment

I will be modernizing Chapter 14 of

Art of Divine Contentment: An Exposition of Philippians 4:11

Rule 1. Advance faith. All our disquiets issue immediately from unbelief. It is this that raises the storm of discontent in the heart. O set faith to work! It is the jurisdiction of faith to silence our doubting, to scatter our fears, to still the heart when the passions are roused. Faith moves the heart to a sweet, serene composure; it is not having food and raiment, but having faith, which will make us content. Faith censures passion—when reason begins to sink, let faith swim. How does faith work contentment? 1. Faith shows the soul that whatever its trials are, still it is from the hand of a father. It is indeed a bitter cup, but “shall I not drink the cup which my father hath given me to drink?” It is in love toward my soul: God corrects me with the same love with which he crowns me. God is now training me up for heaven; he carves me, to make me a polished shaft. These sufferings bring forth patience, humility, even the peaceful fruits of righteousness. (Hebrews 12:11) And if God can bring such sweet fruit out of our stock, let him graft me in wherever he pleases. In this way, faith brings the heart to holy contentment. 2. Faith sucks the honey of contentment out of the hive of the promise. Christ is the vine, the promises are the clusters of grapes that grow upon this vine, and faith presses the sweet wine of contentment out of these spiritual clusters of the promises. I will show you merely one cluster, “the Lord will give grace and glory;” (Ps. 84. 11) this is enough for faith to live upon. The promise is the flower out of which faith distills the spirits and “pure essence” of divine contentment. In a word, faith carries the soul up and makes it strive after more generous and noble delights than the earth can afford and to live in the world above the world. Do you desire to live contented lives? Live up to the height of your faith.