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Sunday, April 29, 2018

The Art of Divine Contentment: An Exposition of Philippians 4:11 by Thomas Watson. Excerpt 25

Watson has been writing about excuses for not being contented. He continues:

The sixth apology that discontent makes is disrespect in the world. 

I have not that esteem from men as is suitable to my quality and grace.

And doth this trouble? Consider, 

1. The world is an unequal judge; as it is full of change so of partiality. The world gives her respects, as she doth her places of preferment; more by favour often, than desert. Hast thou the ground of real worth in thee; that is best worth that is in him that hath it; honour is in him that gives it; better deserve respect, and not have it, than have it and not deserve it.
2. Hast thou grace? God respects thee, and his judgment is best worth prizing. A believer is a person of honour, being born of God: since thou wast precious in mine eyes, “thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee.” (Is. 43. 4) Let the world think what they will of you; perhaps in their eyes your are a cast-away, in God’s eyes, a dove, (Ca. 2. 14) a spouse, (Ca. 5. 1) a jewel. (Mal. 3. 17) Others account you the dregs of offscouring of the world, (1 Cor. 4. 14) but God will give whole kingdoms for your ransom. (Is. 43. 3) Let this content: no matter with what oblique eyes I am looked upon in the world, if God thinks well of me. It is better that God approve, than man applaud. The world may put us in their rubric and God put us in his black book. What is a man the better that his fellow-prisoners commend him, if his judge condemn him? O labour to keep in with God; prize his love! Let my fellow-subjects frown, I am contented, being a favourite of the king of heaven.
3. If you are a child of God, you must look for disrespect. A believer is in the world, but not of the world; we are here in a pilgrim condition, out of our own country, therefore must not look for the respects and acclamations of the world; it is sufficient that we shall have honour in our own country. (He. 13. 14) It is dangerous to be the world’s favourite.
4. Discontent arising from disrespect, savours too much of pride; an humble Christian hath a lower opinion of himself than others can have of him. He that is taken up about the thoughts of his sins, and how he hath provoked God, cries out, as Agur, “I am more brutish than any man,” (Pr. 30. 2) and therefore is contented, though he be set among “the dogs of my flock.” (Job 30. 1) Though he be low in the thoughts of others, yet he is thankful that he is not laid in “the lowest hell.” (Ps. 86. 13) A proud man sets an high value upon himself; and is angry with others, because they will not come up to his price: take heed  of pride! O had others a window to look into their breast, as Crates once expressed it, or did thy heart stand where thy face doth, thou wouldst wonder to have so much respect.

Thomas Watson lived from 1620-1686, in England. He wrote several books which survive. This blog, God willing, will post excerpts from his The Art of Divine Contentment: An Exposition of Philippians 4:11, over a number of weeks, on Sundays.
My source for the text is here, and I thank the Christian Classics Ethereal Library for making this text (and many others) available. The previous excerpt is here.
Philippians 4:11 Not that I speak because of lack, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content in it. (World English Bible, public domain.)   

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