All great paintings have been copied at one time or another. So it is with this great painting that our author is discussing. The godly man can also be counterfeit. Exposing this forgery is Watson's aim in this chapter.
He begins by considering why people would even bother to content themselves with a show of godliness. His answer is that men love credit. They want the credit of being religious, and being marked down as such, yet lack the desire to actually be godly. This of course is a double iniquity and Watson will give 6 reasons why it is wrong, dangerous, and deadly:
- To have only a show of godliness is a God-enraging sin
- To make only a show of godliness is self-delusion
- To have only a name, and make a show of godliness, is odious to God and man
- To be only comets and make a show of piety is a vain thing
- To have only a pretence of godliness will yield no comfort at death
- You who have nothing but a specious pretext and mask of piety expose yourself to Satan's scorn
If this is damnable condition of those that are such posers, then how can we know whether or not we are hypocrites? Watson gives two signs. 1) When one serves God for sinister ends. 2) When there is some sin dear to a man, which he cannot part with.
What do I do if I find myself to be a hypocrite? His answer is simple. Go to Christ. And he closes by reminding us that "Two hearts will exclude from one heaven".
This is more by way of information than discussion. On page 17 Watson uses the term mountebank. It may be unfamiliar to many. It basically is a reference to a charlatan or a quack. It came from phonies selling bogus medicine.
On page 18, Watson says, "What, then, will it be to have the devil triumph over a man at the last day!" Do you think it is appropriate to refer to the devil as "triumphing" over a man?
Also, I am a little confused in what Watson is saying here. When he says at the bottom of page 18 that a mark of a hypocrite is "when there is some sin dear to a man, which he cannot part with", am I wrong in thinking that this is the lot of us all? Am I wrong in thinking that we are all in some way and in some areas all hypocritical? Then, surprisingly he says at the top of page 19, "Christian, if you mourn for hypocrisy, yet find this sin so potent that you cannot get the mastery of it, go to Christ", it appears that here he is agreeing with what I just said. Yet, he closes with this statement, "Two hearts will exclude from one heaven". It sounds as if he is saying the hypocrite will be damned. Which is it? Thoughts?
Strokes of Genius:
"What good will it do a man when he is in hell that others think he has gone to heaven" (p16)
"The wicked hate the hypocrite because he is almost a Christian, and God hates him because he is only almost one." (p16)
"He who has only a painted holiness shall have a painted happiness" (p17)