The most oft used brush in the masterpiece of a godly man is the brush of faith. Watson goes on a passionate, almost Pauline, discourse about the preciousness of faith. Faith, says Watson, "cuts us off from the wild olive of nature, and grafts us into Christ." It also, "is the vital artery of the soul...the mother of hope...the ground of patience." It "excites to repentance" and "enlivens graces". He sums this section up well when he says, "the life of a saint is nothing but a life of faith".
As Watson encourages us to "test ourselves by this characteristic" he paints a rather bleak picture of the condition of faith in England during his time. If we have not faith we are not godly. The question, then, that Watson is asking in this section is simple; do you have faith?
Our author makes a beautiful choice placing the "fire" of love for God after faith. Can you really separate the two? As Watson says, "faith and love are the two poles on which all religion turns". And again, "As faith enlivens, so love sweetens every duty". This section is Watson's confession that he is a Christian Hedonist, and that John Piper did not invent it (wink wink). He asks such pointed questions as, "is he our treasure and centre"? "Do we love him for his beauty more than his jewels?" Then he says something that pricks my heart..."Many court him, but few love him". Watson's main contention in this section is that if we are devoid of love for God, then we cannot truly be said to be godly.
Perhaps this question is inappropriate and will lead to endless abuse of Jesus' bride...with trepidation I ask it. What would you consider the state of "faith" in our nation? What about our churches? What about your church? What about your own soul?
After reading Richard Sibbes and remembering some of his quotes about "pitching matters too high", do you feel that Watson may sometimes do this? I am curious to hear a response to this from others that have read both books.
When Watson says "many court him, but few love him", how might we be guilty of "courting him" instead of loving him?
Strokes of Genius:
On to Part 3...
"A life of a saint is nothing but a life of faith" (p29)
"As faith enlivens, so love sweetens every duty" (p30)
"A godly man loves God and therefore delights to be in his presence; he loves God and therefore takes comfort in nothing without him." (p30)
"Many court him, but few love him." (p31)