Counsel for the Godly

By Thomas Watson; excerpted with minor editing from The Godly Man’s Picture,—

Drawn with a Scripture Pencil, or Some Characteristic Marks of a Man who is Going to Heaven
(BOT, 1992 [1666]), 220-221 [Chap 10]

Let me, in the next place, direct myself to those who have a real work of godliness in their hearts, and I would speak to them by way of:

1. Caution.

2. Counsel.

3. Comfort.

1. By Way Of Caution

Do not blur these characteristics of grace in your souls. Though God’s children cannot quite deface their graces, yet they may disfigure them. Too much carnal liberty may weaken their evidences, and so dim their lustre that they cannot be read. These characteristics of the godly are precious things. Gold and crystal cannot be compared with them. Oh, keep them well written in your hearts and they will be so many living comforts in a dying hour. It will not frighten a Christian to have all the signs of death in his body, when he can see all the signs of grace in his soul. He will say with Simeon, "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace" (Lk 2:29)

2. By Way Of Counsel

You who are enriched with the treasures of godliness, bless God for it. This flower does not grow in nature’s garden. You had enlisted yourselves under the devil and taken pay on his side, fighting against your own happiness, and then God came with converting grace and put forth a loving and gentle violence, causing you to espouse his quarrel against Satan! You had lain many years soaking in wickedness, as if you had been parboiled for hell, and then God laid you steeping in Christ’s blood and breathed holiness into your heart! Oh, what cause you have to write yourselves as eternal debtors to free grace! He who does not give God the praise for his grace denies that God is its author. Oh, acknowledge the love of God; admire distinguishing mercy; set the crown of your praise on the head of free grace! If we are to be thankful for the fruits of the earth, how much more for the fruits of the Spirit. It is good that there is an eternity coming, when the saints shall triumph in God and make his praise glorious.

3. By Way Of Comfort

You who have only the least dram of godliness in sincerity, let me give you rich consolation: Jesus Christ will not discourage the weakest grace but will cherish and preserve it to eternity. Grace which has only newly budded shall, by the beams of the Sun of righteousness, be prepared and ripened for glory. This I shall speak about more fully in the next chapter. W