Wednesdays with Watson is a weekly reading taken from my favorite Puritan writer, Thomas Watson. This week’s selection is from The Christian on the Mount.
Grace is precious in itself; 2 Peter 1:1 speaks of precious faith.
Grace is precious in its origin; it comes from above (James 3:17).
Grace is precious in its nature; it is the seed of God (1 John 3:9). Grace is the spiritual embroidery of the soul; it is the very signature and engraving of the Holy Spirit. Grace does not lose its color. It is such a commodity that the longer we keep it, the better it is; it changes into glory!
As grace is precious in itself, so it makes us precious to God, as a rich diamond adorns the one who wears it. Isaiah 43:4: “Since you were precious in My sight.” The saints who are invested with grace are God’s jewels (Malachi 3:17) — though sullied with reproach, though besmeared with blood, yet jewels! All the world besides is but chaff These are the jewels, and heaven is the golden cabinet where they shall be locked up safely! A gracious man is the glory of the age he lives in. So illustrious in God’s eye is a soul bespangled with grace that He does not think the world worthy of him. Hebrews 11:38: “Of whom the world was not worthy.” Therefore God calls His people home so fast because they are too good to live in the world. Proverbs 12:26: “The righteous is more excellent than his neighbor.”
Grace is the best blessing; it has a transcendence above all other things. There are two things that sparkle much in our eyes, but grace infinitely outshines both.
GOLD. The sun does not shine so much in our eyes as gold does; it is the mirror of beauty. “Money answers all things” (Ecclesiastes 10:19). But grace weighs heavier than gold; gold draws the heart from God, and grace draws the heart to God. Gold merely enriches the mortal part, grace the angelic part. Gold perishes (1 Pet. 1:7); grace perseveres. The rose, the fuller it is blown, the sooner it sheds — is an emblem of all things, besides grace.
GIFTS. These are nature’s pride. Gifts and abilities, like Rachel, are fair to look upon, but grace excels. I would rather be holy than eloquent. A heart full of grace is better than an head full of notions. Gifts commend no man to God. It is not the skin of the apple we esteem, though of a Vermilion color, but the fruit. We do not judge a horse better for his trappings and ornaments, unless he has good mettle. What are the most glorious abilities if there is not the metal of grace in the heart? Gifts may be bestowed upon one for the good of others, as the nurse’s breasts are given to her for the child, but grace is bestowed for a man’s own eternal advantage. God may send away reprobates with gifts, as Abraham gave the sons of the concubines some gifts (Genesis 25:6), but he entails the inheritance only upon grace. Oh, often meditate upon the excellence of grace!
Musing on the beauty of grace would make us fall in love with it. He who meditates on the worth of a diamond, grows in love with it. Damascen called the graces of the Spirit the very characters and impressions of the divine nature. Grace is that flower of delight that, like the vine in the parable (Judges 9:13), “cheers the heart of God and man.”
Meditation on the excellence of grace would make us earnest in the pursuit after it. We dig for gold in the mine; we sweat for it in the furnace. If we meditated on the worth of grace we would dig in the mine of ordinances for it. What sweating and wrestling in prayer would we have! We would put on a modest boldness and not take a denial. “What will you give me (says Abraham) seeing I go childless?” (Genesis 15:2). So would the soul say, “Lord, what wilt Thou give me, seeing I go graceless? Who will give me to drink of the water of the well of life?”
Meditation on the excellence of grace would make us endeavor to be instrumental to convey grace to others. Is grace so transcendently precious, and have I a child who lacks grace? Oh, that I might be a means to convey this treasure into his soul! I have read of a rich Florentine who, being about to die, called all his sons together and used these words to them: “It much rejoices me now upon my deathbed that I shall leave you all wealthy.” But a parent’s ambition should be rather to convey sanctity so that he may say, “O my children, it rejoices me that I shall leave you gracious; it comforts me that before I die I shall see Jesus Christ live in you.”