I recently fell in love with my wife all over again.
As she bemoaned the scarcity of good Christian books, I handed her a copy of the puritan Thomas Watson’s (1620–1686) The Doctrine of Repentance. She read a few pages during her morning devotions the next two days. When I asked what she thought about the book, she replied, “The puritans are better than anything I’ve read. No one writes like this anymore.”
When she finished her comments, I told her, “I just fell in love with you all over again. Tell me more about how you love the Puritans.” (Yes, please pray for my wife. She has to live with me.)
I plead guilty to loving the Puritans. And after several years of reading a fair amount of Puritan authors, I’m pleased to announce that Thomas Watson is my favorite author. Not only is The Doctrine of Repentance filled with wonderful insights, but his A Body of Divinity is superb.
As of late, I have been working through his book All Things for Good—an extended meditation on Romans 8:28: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
In chapter 4 he covers those all-important words “for those who love God.” While the chapter is fairly extensive, I’d like to share with you the three kinds of love to God that Watson sets forth. The following is taken directly from his book:
- There is a love of appreciation. When we set a high value upon God as being the most sublime and infinite good, we so esteem God, as that if we have him, we do not care though we want all things else. The stars vanish when the sun appears. All creatures vanish in our thoughts when the Sun of righteousness shine in His full splendor.
- A love of complacency [rest] and delight – as a man takes delight in a friend whom he loves. The soul that loves God rejoices in Him as in his treasure, and rests in Him as in his center. The heart is so set upon God that it desires no more. “Shew us the Father, and it sufficeth” (John 14:8).
- A love of benevolence – which is a wishing well to the cause of God. He that is endeared in affection to his friend, wishes all happiness to him. This is love to God when we are well-wishers. We desire that His interest may prevail. Our vote and prayer is that His name may be had in honor; that His gospel, which is the rod of His strength, may, like Aaron’s rod, blossom and bring forth fruit.
May we love God in these three ways, and may it please him to draw out our hearts to him in ceaseless praise and sacrificial love.