The fourteenth characteristic of the godly man is that he is a heavenly man; that is "heaven is in him before he is in heaven." How is a godly man heavenly? Watson gives us six ways:
- In his election (He chooses the heavenly over the earthly)
- In his disposition (His affections are set above)
- In his communication (His speech is heavenly--not mute nor defiled)
- In his actions (He is sublime and sacred in his motions)
- In his expectation (He is hopeful--even in affliction and death)
- In his conduct (He imitates Christ)
We are then exhorted by two principles. The first is that "to be godly and earthly is a contradiction". If we are "eaten up by the world" then how can we be godly? This, says Watson is Satan's ploy, "to keep [men] from heaven by making them seek a heaven here" (107).
The second principle is that we ought to be raised in our affections. To assist in this endeavor Watson gives four considerations. If we are to raise our affections then we must first consider that God himself sounds a retreat to us to call us off the world. This ought to be enough to encourage us to cast off all worldly restraint, yet Watson will continue. Not only does God command us to cast off the world, but to not do so is quite foolish: consider how much below a Christian it is to be earthly-minded. We see this by the contrast Watson makes in points 3 and 4: consider what a poor, contemptible thing the world is and consider what a glorious place heaven is. Watson then closes the chapter by expounding on the ways that heaven is a better place. Example: In that country there are better delights.
On page 107 Watson says this, "We shall never go to heaven when we die unless we are in heaven while we live." Do you agree?
Does Watson's maxim--to be godly and earthly is a contradiction--apply to the recent discussions on contextualization? When Watson speaks of men being buried twice because "the earth swallows up their time, thoughts, and discourse, could this be a danger to those overly concerned with being "relevant" and "contextualizing the gospel"?
Strokes of Genius:
"...hope lightens and sweetens the most severe dispensations." (106)
"...the earth swallows up their time, thoughts, and discourse. They are buried twice; their hearts are buried in the earth before their bodies." (107)
"Surely dying times are to make men die to the world." (108)