by Thomas Watson
HT: Modernized and annotated by Bill Gross
Thomas Watson’s The Saint’s Spiritual Delight in .. includes his classic trilogy on meditation: The Saint’s Spiritual Delight, A Christian on the Mount, with A Christian on Earth Still in Heaven.
"But his delight is in the Law of the Lord." - Psalm 1:2
Psalm one may fitly be entitled, "the Psalm of Psalms", for it contains in it the very pith and quintessence of Christianity. What Hierom says of Paul's epistles, the same may I of this Psalm; it is short for the composure—but full of length and strength for the matter. This Psalm carries blessedness in the frontispiece; it begins where we all hope to end. It may well be called A Christian's Guide, for it discovers the quicksands where the wicked sink down in perdition, verse 1; and the firm ground on which the saints tread to glory, verse 2. The text is an epitome and breviary.
HE DELIGHTS IN GOD'S LAW. A man may work in his trade and not delight in it, but a godly man serves God with delight. What is meant by the Law? Take the word more strictly and it means the Decalogue, or Ten Commandments. Take it more largely, it is the whole written Word of God; those truths deducted from the Word; the whole business of religion. The word is a setting forth, and religion a showing forth, of God and Law. What is meant by delight in the law? Hebrews and Sept. render, "his will is in the law of the Lord," and that which is voluntary is delightful. A child of God, though he cannot serve the Lord perfectly, yet serves Him willingly. He is not a pressed soldier, but a volunteer. The saints' delight in the law of the Lord proceeds from —
1. Soundness of judgment. The mind apprehends a beauty in God's law, now the judgment draws the affections, like so many orbs, after it.
2. From the predominancy of grace. When grace comes with authority and majesty upon the heart it fills it with delight. Grace puts a new bias into the will, it works a spontaneity and cheerfulness in God's service.
3. From the sweetness of the end. Well may we with cheerfulness let down the net of our endeavour when we have so excellent a draught. Heaven at the end of duty causeth delight in the way of duty.Two cases to be put.
1. Whether a regenerate person may not serve God with weariness. Yes; but this lassitude may arise from the inbeing of corruption (Romans 7:24). It is not, however, habitual, and it is involuntary. He is troubled by it. He is weary of his weariness.
2. Whether a hypocrite may not serve God with delight? He may, but his delight is carnal. How may this. spiritual delight be known? He that delights in God's law is often thinking of it. If we delight in religion there is nothing can keep us from it, but we will be conversant in Word, prayer, sacraments. He that loves gold will trade for it. Those that delight in religion are often speaking of it. He that delights in God will give Him the best in every service. And he doth not much delight in anything else but God. True delight is constant. Hypocrites have their pangs of desire, and flashes of joy which are soon over. Delight in religion crowns all our services, evidenceth grace, will make the business of religion more facile to us. All the duties of religion are for our good. Delight in God's service makes us resemble the angels in heaven. Delight in God's law will not breed surfeit. Carnal objects do oft cause a loathing and nauseating. We soon grow weary of our delights. For the attaining of this delight set a high estimate upon the Word. Pray for a spiritual heart. Purge out the delight of sin.
THE EPISTLE DEDICATORY.
THE EPISTLE TO THE READER
THE SAINT’S SPIRITUAL DELIGHT.
Chapter 1. Showing that Negative Goodness is but a broken Title to Heaven.
Chapter 2. What is meant by the Law of God, by Delight in the Law, and the Proposition resulting.
Chapter 3. Where the Saint’s Spiritual Delight springs from.
Chapter 4. Showing a characteristic Difference between a Child of God and a Hypocrite
Chapter 5. Two Cases of Conscience resolved
Chapter 6. Trial of a Christian’s Delight in God.
Chapter 7. A Persuasive to this holy Delight in Religion.
Chapter 8. Showing how Christian may arrive at this Delight in God’s Law
Chapter 9. Holy Delight should cause Thankfulness
CHRISTIAN ON THE MOUNT;
Chapter 1. The opening of the words and the Proposition asserted
Chapter 2. Showing the Nature of Meditation
1. Meditation is the soul’s retiring by itself.
2. Meditation is a serious and solemn thinking upon God.
3. Meditation is the raising of the heart to holy affections.
Chapter 3. Proving Meditation is a Duty
1. Meditation is a duty imposed.
2. Meditation is a duty opposed.
Chapter 4. Showing how Meditation differs from Memory
Chapter 5. Showing how Meditation differs from Study
Chapter 6. Showing the Subject of Meditation
First. Meditate upon God’s attributes.
Second. Meditate upon the promises of God.
Third. Meditate upon the love of Christ.
Fourth. Meditate upon sin.
Fifth. Meditate upon the vanity of the creature.
Sixth. Meditate upon the excellence of grace.
Seventh. Meditate upon your spiritual estate.
Eighth. Meditate upon the small number of those who will be saved.
Ninth. Meditate upon final apostacy.
Tenth. Meditate upon death.
Eleventh. Meditate upon the Day of Judgment.
Twelfth. Meditate upon hell.
Thirteenth. Meditate upon heaven.
Fourteenth. Meditate upon eternity.
Fifteenth. Meditate upon your experiences.
Chapter 7. Showing the necessity of Meditation
I. It makes us Fruitful
II. It helps us retain God’s Word
III. It values God’s Word.
Chapter 8. Showing the reason why there are so few good Christians
Chapter 9. A Reproof to those who do not meditate in God’s law
Chapter 10. A holy persuasive to Meditation
Chapter 11. Answering Objections
Chapter 12. Concerning occasional Meditations
Chapter 13. For the right timing of Meditations
Chapter 14. How long Christians should be conversant with this Duty
Chapter 15. Concerning the usefulness of Meditation
Chapter 16. Setting forth the Excellence of Meditation
Chapter 17. Containing seven divine motives to Meditation
Chapter 18. Prescribing Six Rules about Meditation
APPENDIX TO THE FORMER DISCOURSE.
A CHRISTIAN ON EARTH STILL IN HEAVEN.
The usefulness of the Psalms.
The Portrait of a Godly Man
I. What it means to be still with God.
II. In what sense is the soul said to be still with God?
III. Why a gracious heart is still with God.