Monday, January 16, 2006

The Godly Man

THE GODLY MAN'S PICTURE Drawn with a Scripture Pencil or Some Characteristics of a Man who is Going to Heaven - Thomas Watson (Banner of Truth Trust) , 252pp, £3.50

This valuable book by the Puritan preacher, Thomas Watson deals with the vital issue of discerning marks of grace. It is a vital issue because we must examine ourselves in case we have the form of godliness without the power.
Beginning with an exposition of Psalm 32:6, For this shall every one that is godly pray unto Thee’, Watson makes the broad outlines of his ‘picture’ inescapable, yet also attends to fine detail. When the book has been read through there is the impression that the author has almost exhausted the subject in terms of ways of looking at it and also in giving a very full sense of what the Scriptures have to say upon the matter. He defines godliness positively yet also in contrast to both pretended godliness and ungodliness.
There are twenty four marks in all. The godly man is (1) a man of knowledge; (2) a man moved by faith; (3) a man fired by love; (4) a man like God; (5) a man careful about the worship of God; (6) a man who serves God not men; (7) a man who prizes Christ; (8) a man who weeps; (9) a man who loves the Word; (10) a man who has the Spirit of God residing in him; (11) a man of humility; (12) a man of prayer; (13) a man of sincerity; (14) a heavenly man; (15) a zealous man; (16) a patient man; (17) a thankful man; (18) a man who loves the saints; (19) a man who does not indulge himself in any sin; (20) a man who is good in his relationships; (21) a man who does spiritual things in a spiritual manner; (22) a man thoroughly trained in religion; (23) a man who walks with God; and (24) a man who strives to be an instrument for making others godly.
Our response must be “who is sufficient for these things?” and “Help, LORD because the godly man doth daily fade away”. Undoubtedly this is a high standard, but surely it is a scriptural standard. In the light of this it is beneficial to find that Watson supports his exhortations by supplying practical helps, pastoral counsel and warm encouragement. A rapturous concluding chapter on the union between Christ and his saints thrills the soul. The entire dependence upon Scripture together with Watson's thorough treatment compulsively recommends this exposition to Christians who are in earnest about true godliness.