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Sunday, May 20, 2018

The Art of Divine Contentment: An Exposition of Philippians 4:11 by Thomas Watson. Excerpt 28

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

Branch 2. The second branch of the apology that discontent makes, is the impiety of the times; I live and converse among the profane: “O that I had wings like a dove, for then would I fly away and be at rest.” (Ps. 55. 6)

It is indeed sad, to be mixed with the wicked. David beheld “transgressors and was grieved:” and Lot (who was a bright star in a dark night) was vexed, or, as the word in the original may bear, wearied out with the unclean conversation of the wicked; he made the sins of Sodom spears to pierce his own soul. We ought, if there be any spark of divine love in us, to be very sensible of the sins of others, and to have our hearts bleed for them; yet let us not break forth into mourning and discontent, knowing that God in his providence hath permitted it, and surely not without some reasons; for, 1st. The Lord makes the wicked an hedge to defend the godly; the wise God often makes those who are wicked and peaceable, a means to safeguard his people from those who are wicked and cruel. The king of Babylon kept Jeremiah, and gave special order for his looking to, that he did want nothing. (Jer. 39. 11,12)

God sometimes makes brazen sinners to be brazen walls to defend his people.

2d. God doth but interline and mingle the wicked with the godly, that the godly may be a means to save the wicked; such is the beauty of holiness that it hath a magnetical force in it to allure and draw even the wicked. Sometimes God makes a believing husband a means to convert an unbelieving wife, and e contra: “what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife? (1 Cor. 7. 16)

The godly living among the wicked, by their prudent advice and pious example, have won them to the embracing of religion; if there were not some godly among the wicked, how in a probable way, without a miracle, can we imagine that the wicked should be converted? those who are now shining saints in heaven, sometimes served diverse lusts. (Ti. 3. 3) Paul once a persecutor; Augustine once a manichee; Luther once a monk; but by the severe and holy carriage of the godly, were converted to the faith.

Thomas Watson lived from 1620-1686, in England. He wrote several books which survive. This blog, God willing, will post excerpts from hisThe 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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