Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Body of Divinity by Thomas Watson - Introduction, parts 1 and 2

1. A Preliminary Discourse on Catechizing

I. It is the duty of Christians to be settled in the doctrine of faith.
To be unsettled in true religion, argues lack of judgment.
To be unsettled in true religion, argues lightness.
[1] It is the great end of the word preached, to bring us to a settlement in true religion.
[2] To be settled in true religion is both a Christian's excellence and honor.
[3] Such as are not settled in the faith can never suffer for it.
[4] Not to be settled in the faith is provoking to God.
[5] If you are not settled in true religion, you will never grow..
[6] There is great need to be settled, because there are so many things to unsettle us.
• Seducers have silver tongues, which can pawn off bad wares; they have a sleight to deceive.
• Another sleight is a pretense of extraordinary piety, so that people may admire them, and suck in their poisonous doctrine. A third cheat of seducers is—laboring to vilify and nullify sound orthodox teachers.
• The fourth cheat of seducers is—to preach the doctrine of liberty; as though men are freed from the moral law, the rule as well as the curse, and Christ has done all for them, and they need to do nothing.
• Another means is—to unsettle Christians by persecution.

II. The second proposition is, that the way for Christians to be settled—is to be well grounded.
Here let me speak to two things:
[1] That we should be grounded in the knowledge of fundamentals.
(1.) Else we cannot serve God aright.
(2.) Knowledge of the grounds of true religion much enriches the mind.
(3.) It furnishes us with unshakable armor; and weapons to fight against the adversaries of the truth.
(4.) It is the holy seed of which grace is formed.
[2] This grounding is the best way to being settled
• Use one: See the reason why so many people are unsettled, ready to embrace every novel opinion, and dress themselves in as many religions as fashions; it is because they are ungrounded.
• Use two: See what great necessity there is of laying down the main grounds of true religion in a way of catechizing, that the weakest judgement may be instructed in the knowledge of the truth, and strengthened in the love of it.

2. Man's Chief End
Question 1. What is the chief end of man?
Answer: Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.

What are we to understand by God's glory?
There is a twofold glory:
[1] The glory that God has in himself, his INTRINSIC glory.
[2] The glory which is ascribed to God, or which his creatures labor to bring to him.
WHAT is it to glorify God?
[1] Glorifying God consists in APPRECIATION.
[2] Glorifying God consists in ADORATION, or worship.
There is a twofold worship:
(1.) A civil reverence which we give to people of honor.
(2.) A divine worship which we give to God as his royal prerogative.
[3] Glorifying God consists in AFFECTION.
There is a twofold love:
(1.) A love of concupiscence, which is self-love; as when we love another, because he does us a good turn.
(2.) A love of delight, as a man takes delight in a friend.
[4] Glorifying God consists in SUBJECTION.
WHY must we glorify God?
[1] Because he gives us our being.
[2] Because God has made all things for his own glory.
[3] Because the glory of God has intrinsic value and excellence
[4] Creatures below us, and above us, bring glory to God; and do we think to sit rent free?
(1.) Creatures BELOW us glorify God, the inanimate creatures and the heavens glorify God.
(2.) Creatures ABOVE us glorify God.
[5] We must bring glory to God, because all our hopes hang upon him.
In how many WAYS may we glorify God?
[1] It is glorifying God when we AIM purely at his glory.
(1.) When we prefer God's glory above all other things
(2.) We aim at God's glory, when we are content that God's will should take place, though it may cross ours.
(3.) We aim at God's glory when we are content to be outshined by others in gifts and esteem—so that his glory may be increased.
[2] We glorify God by a sincere CONFESSION of sin.
[3] We glorify God by BELIEVING.
[4] We glorify God, by being tender of his glory.
[5] We glorify God by FRUITFULNESS.
[6] We glorify God, by being CONTENTED in that state in which Providence has placed us.
[7] We glorify God by working out our own salvation.
[8] We glorify God by living for God.
[9] We glorify God by walking cheerfully.
[10] We glorify God, by standing up for his truths.
[11] We glorify God, by praising him.
[12] We glorify God, by being zealous for his name.
[13] We glorify God, when we have an eye to God in our natural and in our civil actions.
• In our natural actions; in eating and drinking
• In buying and selling
[14] We glorify God by laboring to draw others to God.
[15] We glorify God in a high degree when we suffer for God, and seal the gospel with our blood.
[16] We glorify God, when we give God the glory of all that we do.
[17] We glorify God by a holy life.
Use one: Admonition.
Use two: Reproof.
(1.) It reproves such as bring no glory to God.
(2.) It reproves such as are so far from bringing glory to God, that they rob God of his glory.
1. If they have gotten an estate, they ascribe all to their own wit and industry, they set the crown upon their own head, not considering that, "You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth."
2. If they do any duty of religion, they look to their own glory. "Be careful not to do your "acts of righteousness" before men, to be seen by them."
(3.) It reproves those who fight against God's glory.
Use three: Exhortation.
Let every one of us, in our place, make it our chief end and design to glorify God.
(1.) Let me speak to magistrates. God has put much glory upon them. "I have said, You are gods;" and will they not glorify him who has put so much glory upon them?
(2.) Ministers should study to promote God's glory. God has entrusted them with two of the most precious things—his truth, and the souls of his people.
(3.) Masters of families must glorify God, must season their children and servants with the knowledge of the Lord; their houses should be little churches.

2. Man's chief end is to ENJOY God forever.
[1] The enjoyment of God in this life.
Use one: Is the enjoyment of God in this life so sweet?
Use two: Let it be our great concern, to enjoy God's sweet presence in his ordinances.
[2] The enjoyment of God in the life to come.
• God is the summum bonum, the chief good; therefore the enjoyment of him is the highest felicity.
• God is a universal good—"a good, in which are all goods."
• God is an unmixed good.
• God is perfect, the quintessence of good.
• God is a satisfying good.
• God is a delicious good.
• God is a superlative good.
• God is an eternal good.
Use one: Let it be the chief end of our living to enjoy this chief good hereafter..
To set out this excellent state of a glorified soul's enjoyment of God:
(1.) It must not be understood in a sensual manner.
(2.) We shall have a lively sense of this glorious estate.
(3.) We shall be made able to bear a sight of that glory.
(4.) This enjoyment of God shall be more than a bare contemplation of him.
(5.) There is no intermission in this state of glory.
Use two: Let this be a spur to duty.
Use three: Let this comfort the godly in all the present miseries they feel.

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