The seventh aspect of the picture that Watson (or rather Scripture) paints of the godly man is a prizing of Jesus Christ. Watson will illustrate this by showing that Christ himself is precious, and the godly man esteems him as so. He does this first by showing that Christ is compared to a "bundle of myrrh" and to a "pearl". The myrrh shows that Christ "perfumes" us as well as "comforts and refreshes" us. Jesus Christ is the pearl of great price. We see his preciousness not only in his person, but also in his offices. We see that Christ is precious in his prophetic office, his priestly office, and his kingly office. But he is also precious in his benefits. As Watson says, "by Christ all dangers are removed; through Christ all mercies are conveyed". Christ is indeed precious. Yet, do we esteem him as such?
If you are a godly man then as Watson says that you cannot "choose but set a high valuation upon Christ". The godly man sees the fulness of Christ in regards to his variety (Colossians 2:3), in regards to degree (Colossians 2:9) and in regards to duration (he is inexhuastible).
There are three uses of this doctrine. The first is to consider those that do not prize Christ. Can they be godly? [Under this point we notice a few of the debates raging in Watson's day]. The first group of people that do not prize Christ, Watson says, are the Jews. Therefore, without prizing Christ the Jew cannot be godly. Also, the Socinians, who acknowledge only Christ's humanity, are rejecters of Christ. The third group of people, that Watson labels proud nominal Christians, are probably better termed legalist. They "mingle their dross with his gold, their duties with his merits". Thus, they despise him as a perfect Savior. Watson's fourth labeling reveals the battle with Humanism in his day. He refers us to the "Airy theorists" that study the arts and sciences above Christ. Our author is not dismissing other studies, but is rejecting a study of things to the neglect of studying Christ.
The second use of this doctrine, and more practical, is to consider our level of godliness based upon our estimation of Christ. How do you know if you esteem Him highly or not? We are given eight answers:
- Prizers of Christ, prefer Him in our judgments before other things
- Prizers of Christ, cannot live without Him
- Prizers of Christ, do not complain of the pains it takes to get Him
- Prizers of Christ, take great pleasure in Christ
- Prizers of Christ, part with our dearest pleasures for Him
- Prizers of Christ, cannot have him at too dear a rate
- Prizers of Christ, will help other to get a part in him
- Prizers of Christ, prize Him in health as well as in sickness
For our third use, Watson will urge us to have "Christ-admiring thoughts". We must consider the fact that we cannot consider Christ at too high of a rate. Prizing other things too highly is sin. We can never prize Christ too highly. We also ought to consider the fact that Christ has highly prized us. Shall we not in return prize Him? In fact to not do so is extremely unwise. To not prize Christ is the same as slighting a guide in a foreign land, or rejecting the counsel of our physician. Nonetheless, some do just that, they consider Christ as not precious. Watson closes this section with a powerful warning: "Christ will slight at the day of judgment those who have slighted him in the day of grace."
Why is Watson upset about the Jews "despising the virgin Mary"? Has he not thrown off all the surplus of Romanism? Or is it possible that we have thrown off too much? Should we be offended at those that "despise the virgin Mary"?
Do you believe that one can be a Christian without prizing Christ? Can one be a godly person without prizing Christ? Can one be a Christian without being a godly person?
Isn't it strange hearing men like Watson refer to "pains to get [Christ]"? In our day we believe that become a Christian is "simple". Simply pray a prayer, walk an aisle, believe the right things, study this, go through this class, etc. There is very little laboring with God and crying out to Him for salvation. No wonder our roots often do not run deep enough.
Strokes of Genius:
On to Part 6...
He has a treasure adequate for all our wants. (p48)
[Mingling dross] with his gold, [our] duties with his merits...is to steal a jewel from Christ's crown and implicitly to deny him to be a perfect Savior. (p49)
He in whose eye Christ is precious never rests till he has gained him. (p.51)
Godless persons never look for Christ except at death, when they are in danger of hell. (p.53)