A Godly Man is a Lover of the Word (Excerpt from A Godly Man's Picture) by Thomas Watson
"O how love I your law!" Psalm 119:97
1. A godly man loves the WRITTEN Word
Chrysostom compares the Scripture to a garden set with nuts and flowers. A godly man delights to walk in this garden and sweetly solace himself. He loves every branch and part of the Word:
1. He loves the COUNSELING part of the Word, as it is a directory and rule of life. The Word is the sole rule of Christian duty. It contains in it things to be believed and practiced. A godly man loves the teachings of the Word.
2. He loves the THREATENING part of the Word. The Scripture is like the Garden of Eden: as it has a tree of life in it, so it has a flaming sword at its gates. This is the threatening of the Word. It flashes to fire in the face of every person who goes on obstinately in wickedness. "Surely God will crush the heads of his enemies, the hairy crowns of those who go on in their sins." (Psalm 68:21). The Word gives no indulgence to evil. It will not let a man halt between God and sin. The true mother would not let the child be divided (1 Kings 3:26), and God will not have the heart divided. The Word thunders out threatenings against the very appearance of evil. It is like that flying roll full of curses (Zech. 5:1).
A godly man loves the imprecations of the Word. He knows there is love in every threat. God would not have us perish; he therefore mercifully threatens us, so that he may scare us from sin. God's threats are like the life-buoy, which shows the rocks in the sea and threatens death to such as come near. The threat is a curbing bit to check us, so that we may not run in full stride to hell. There is mercy in every threat.
3. He loves the CONSOLATORY part of the Word—the promises. He goes feeding on these as Samson went on his way eating the honeycomb (Judges 14:8,9). The promises are all marrow and sweetness. They are our refreshing draught when we are fainting; they are the conduits of the water of life. "In the multitude of my thoughts within me, Your comforts delight my soul" (Psalm 94:19). The promises were David's harp to drive away sad thoughts; they were the breast that gave him the milk of divine consolation.
A godly man shows his love to the Written Word:
(1) By diligently READING it. The noble Bereans "searched the Scriptures daily" (Acts 17:11). Apollos was mighty in the Scriptures (Acts 18:24). The Word is our Magna Charta for heaven; we should be daily reading over this charter. The Word shows what is truth, and what is an error. It is the field where the pearl of great price is hidden. How we should dig for this pearl! A godly man's heart is the library to hold the Word of God; it dwells richly in him (Col. 3:16). It is reported by Melanchthon that when he was young, he always carried the Bible with him and read it greedily. The Word has a double work: to teach us and to judge us. Those who will not be taught by the Word shall be judged by the Word. Oh, let us make ourselves familiar with the Scripture! What if it should be as in the times of Diocletian, who commanded by proclamation that the Bible be burned? Or as in Queen Mary's days, when it spelled death to have a Bible in English? By diligent conversing with Scripture, we may carry a Bible in our heads!
(2) By frequently MEDITATING on it. "It is my meditation all the day" (Psalm 119:97). A pious soul meditates on the truth and holiness of the Word. He not only has a few transient thoughts—but leaves his mind steeping in the Scripture. By meditation, he sucks honey from this sweet flower and ruminates on holy truths in his mind.
(3) By DELIGHTING in it. It is his recreation. "When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart's delight" (Jer. 15:16). Never did a man take such delight in a dish that he loved, as the prophet did in the Word. And indeed, how can a saint choose but take great pleasure in the Word? All of his eternal hopes are contained in it. Does not a son take pleasure in reading his father's will and testament, in which he bequeaths his estate to him?
(4) By HIDING it. "Your word have I hid in my heart" (Psalm 119:11) —as one hides a treasure so that it should not be stolen. The Word is the jewel; the heart is the cabinet where it must be locked up. Many hide the Word in their memory—but not in their heart. And why would David enclose the Word in his heart? "That I might be kept from sinning against you." As a man would carry an antidote about him when he comes near an infected place, so a godly man carries the Word in his heart as a spiritual antidote to preserve him from the infection of sin. Why have so many been poisoned with error, others with moral vice—but because they have not hidden the Word as a holy antidote in their heart?
(5) By DEFENDING it. A wise man will not let his land be taken from him but will defend his title. David looked upon the Word as his land of inheritance: "Your testimonies have I taken as a heritage forever" (Psalm 119:111). And do you think he would let his inheritance be wrested out of his hands? A godly man will not only dispute for the Word but die for it: "I saw under the altar the souls of those who were slain for the word of God" (Rev. 6:9).
(6) By PREFERRING it above most precious things.
(a) Above food. "I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food" (Job 23:12).
(b) Above riches. "The law of your mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver" (Psalm 119:72).
(c) Above worldly honor. Memorable is the story of King Edward the Sixth. On the day of his coronation, when they presented three swords before him, signifying to him that he was monarch of three kingdoms, the king said, "There is still one sword missing." On being asked what that was, he answered, "The Holy Bible, which is the "Sword of the Spirit" and is to be preferred before these ensigns of royalty."
(7) By TALKING about it. "My tongue shall speak of your word" (Psalm 119:172). As a covetous man talks of his rich purchase, so a godly man speaks of the Word. What a treasure it is, how full of beauty and sweetness! Those whose mouths the devil has gagged, who never speak of God's Word, indicate that they never reaped any good from it.
(8) By CONFORMING to it. The Word is his sundial, by which he sets his life, the balance in which he weighs his actions. He copies out the Word in his daily walk: "I have kept the faith" (2 Tim. 4:7). Paul kept the doctrine of faith and lived the life of faith.
Question: Why is a godly man a lover of the Word?
Answer: Because of the excellence of the Word.
1. The Word is our pillar of fire to guide us. It shows us what rocks we are to avoid; it is the map by which we sail to the new Jerusalem.
2. The Word is a spiritual mirror through which we may see our own hearts. The mirror of nature, which the heathen had, revealed spots in their lives—but this mirror reveals spots in the imagination; that mirror revealed the spots of their unrighteousness, this reveals the spots of our righteousness. "When the commandment came, sin revived, and I died" (Romans 7:9). When the Word came like a mirror, all my opinion of self-righteousness died.
3. The Word of God is a sovereign comfort in distress. While we follow this cloud, the rock follows us— "This is my comfort in my affliction: for your word has quickened me" (Psalm 119:50). Christ is the fountain of living water, the Word is the golden pipe through which it runs! What can revive at the hour of death but the word of life (Phil? 2:16)?
A godly man loves the Word, because of the efficacy it has had upon him. This day-star has risen in his heart and ushered in the Sun of righteousness.
2. A godly man loves the PREACHED Word, which is a commentary upon the Written Word. The Scriptures are the sovereign oils and balsams; the preaching of the Word is the pouring of them out. The Scriptures are the precious spices; the preaching of the Word is the beating of these spices, which causes a wonderful fragrance and delight. The Preached Word is "the rod of God's strength" (Psalm 110:2) and "the breath of his lips" (Isaiah 11:4). What was once said of the city of Thebes, that it was built by the sound of Amphius' harp, is much more true of soul conversion—it is built by the sound of the gospel harp. Therefore the preaching of the Word is called "the power of God to salvation" (1 Cor. 1:24). By this, Christ is said now to speak to us from heaven (Heb. 12:25). This ministry of the Word is to be preferred before the ministry of angels.
A godly man loves the preached Word, partly from the good he has found by it—he has felt the dewfall with this manna—and partly because of God's institution. The Lord has appointed this ordinance to save him. The king's image makes the coin current. The stamp of divine authority on the Preached Word makes it an instrument conducive to men's salvation.
Use: Let us test by this characteristic whether we are godly: Are we lovers of the Word?
1. Do we love the written Word? What sums of money the martyrs gave for a few leaves of the Bible! Do we make the Word our bosom friend? As Moses often had "the rod of God" in his hand, so we should have "the Book of God" in our hand. When we need direction, do we consult this sacred oracle? When we find corruptions strong, do we make use of this "sword of the Spirit" to hew them down? When we are disconsolate, do we go to this bottle of the water of life for comfort? Then we are lovers of the Word!
But alas, how can they who are seldom conversant with the Scriptures say they love them? Their eyes begin to be sore when they look at a Bible. The two testaments are hung up like rusty armor, which is seldom or never made use of. The Lord wrote the law with his own finger—but though God took pains to write, men will not take pains to read. They would rather look at a pack of cards, than at a Bible!
2. Do we love the preached Word? Do we prize it in our judgments? Do we receive it into our hearts? Do we fear the loss of the preached Word more than the loss of peace and trade? Is it the removal of the ark, which troubles us?
Again, do we attend to the Word with reverential devotion? When the judge is giving his charge on the bench, all attend. When the Word is preached, the great God is giving us his charge. Do we listen to it as a matter of life and death? This is a good sign that we love the Word.
Again, do we love the holiness of the Word (Psalm 119:140)? The Word is preached to beat down sin and advance holiness. Do we love it for its spirituality and purity? Many love the Preached Word only for its eloquence and notion. They come to a sermon as to a music lecture (Ezek. 33:31,32) or as to a garden to pick flowers—but not to have their lusts subdued or their hearts bettered. These are like a foolish woman who paints her face—but neglects her health!
Again, do we love the convictions of the Word? Do we love the Word when it comes home to our conscience and shoots its arrows of reproof at our sins? It is the minister's duty sometimes to reprove. He who can speak smooth words in the pulpit—but does not know how to reprove, is like a sword with a fine handle, but without an edge! "Rebuke them sharply" (Titus 2:15). Dip the nail in oil—reprove in love—but strike the nail home! Now Christian, when the Word touches on your sin and says, "You are the man!" do you love the reproof? Can you bless God that "the sword of the Spirit" has divided between you and your lusts? This is indeed a sign of grace and shows that you are a lover of the Word.
A corrupt heart loves the comforts of the Word—but not the reproofs: "You hate the one who reproves in court and despises him who tells the truth!" (Amos 5:10). "Their eyes flash with fire!" Like venomous creatures that at the least touch spit poison, "When they heard these things, they were enraged in their hearts and gnashed their teeth at him!" (Acts 7:54). When Stephen touched their sins, they were furious and could not endure it.
Question: How shall we know that we love the reproofs of the Word?
Answer 1: When we desire to sit under a heart-searching ministry. Who cares for medicines that will not work? A godly man does not choose to sit under a ministry that will not work upon his conscience.
Answer 2: When we pray that the Word may meet with our sins. If there is any traitorous lust in our hearts, we would have it found out and executed. We do not want sin covered—but cured! We can open our breast to the sword of the Word and say, "Lord, smite this sin!"
Answer 3: When we are thankful for a reproof: "Let a righteous man strike me--it is a kindness; let him rebuke me--it is oil on my head. My head will not refuse it." (Psalm 141:5). David was glad for a reproof. Suppose a man were in the mouth of a lion, and another should shoot the lion and save the man, would he not be thankful? So, when we are in the mouth of sin, as of a lion, and the minister by a reproof shoots this sin to death, shall we not be thankful?
A gracious soul rejoices when the sharp lance of the Word has pierced his abscess. He wears a reproof like a jewel on his ear: "Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold is a wise man's rebuke to a listening ear." (Proverbs 25:12). To conclude, it is convincing preaching which must do the soul good. A nipping reproof prepares for comfort, as a nipping frost prepares for the sweet flowers of spring.
10. A godly man has the Spirit of God residing in him
"The Holy Spirit which dwells in us" (2 Tim. 1:14; Gal. 4:6). The Holy Spirit is in the godly, in whom he flows in measure. They have his presence and receive his sacred influences. When the sun comes into a room, it is not the body of the sun that is there, but the beams that sparkle from it. Indeed, some divines have thought that the godly have more than the indwelling of the Spirit; though to say how it is more is ineffable—is fitter for a more seraphic pen than mine to describe. The Spirit of God reveals himself in a gracious soul in two ways:
1. By his motions
These are some of that sweet perfume, which the Spirit breathes upon the heart, by which it is raised into a kind of angelic frame.
Question 1: But how may we distinguish the motions of the Spirit from a delusion?
Answer: The motions of the Spirit are always consonant with the Word. The Word is the chariot in which the Spirit of God rides; whichever way the tide of the Word runs—that way the wind of the Spirit blows.
Question 2: How may the motions of the Spirit in the godly be distinguished from the impulses of a natural conscience?
Answer 1: A natural conscience may sometimes provoke the same thing as the Spirit does—but not from the same principle. Natural conscience is a spur to duty—but it drives a man to do his duties for fear of hell—as the galley slave tugs at the oar for fear of being beaten. Whereas the Spirit moves a child of God from a more noble principle—it makes him serve God out of choice, and esteem duty as his privilege.
Answer 2: The impulses of a natural conscience drive men only to easier duties of religion, in which the heart is less exercised, like perfunctory reading or praying. But the motions of the Spirit in the godly go further, causing them to do the most irksome duties, like self-reflection, self-humbling; yes, perilous duties, like confessing Christ's name in times of danger. Divine motions in the heart are like new wine which seeks vent. When God's Spirit possesses a man, he carries him full sail through all difficulties!
2. By his virtues. These are various:
(1) God's Spirit has a TEACHING virtue. The Spirit teaches convincingly (John 16:8). He so teaches as to persuade.
(2) God's Spirit has a SANCTIFYING virtue. The heart is naturally polluted—but when the Spirit comes into it, he works sin out and graces in. The Spirit of God was represented by the dove, an emblem of purity. The Spirit makes the heart a temple of purity and a paradise for pleasantness. The holy oil of consecration was nothing but a prefiguring of the Spirit (Exod. 30:25). The Spirit sanctifies a man's mind, causing it to mint holy meditations. He sanctifies his will, biasing it to good so that now it shall be as delightful to serve God as before it was to sin against him. Sweet powders perfume the linen. So God's Spirit in a man perfumes him with holiness and makes his heart a picture of holiness.
(3) God's Spirit has a VIVIFYING virtue. "The Spirit gives life" (2 Cor. 3:6). As the blowing in a flute makes it sound, so the breathing of the Spirit causes life and motion. When the prophet Elijah stretched himself upon the dead child, it revived (1 Kings 17:22); so God's Spirit stretching himself upon the soul, infuses life into it.
As our life is from the Spirit's operations, so is our liveliness: "the Spirit lifted me up" (Ezek. 3:14). When the heart is bowed down and is listless to duty, the Spirit of God lifts it up. He puts a sharp edge upon the affections; he makes love ardent, and hope lively. The Spirit removes the weights of the soul and gives it wings: "Before I was aware, my soul became like the chariots of Amminadab" (Song 6:12). The wheels of the soul were pulled off before, and it drove on heavily—but when the Spirit of the Almighty possesses a man, now he runs swiftly in the ways of God, and his soul is like the chariots of Amminadab.
(4) God's Spirit has a REGULATING virtue. He rules and governs. God's Spirit sits paramount in the soul; he gives check to the violence of corruption; he will not allow a man to be vain and loose like others. The Spirit of God will not be put out of office; he exercises his authority over the heart, "bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ" (2 Cor. 10:5).
(5) The Spirit has a MOLLIFYING virtue. Therefore he is compared to fire which softens the wax. The Spirit turns flint into flesh: "I will give you a heart of flesh" (Ezek. 36:26). How shall this be affected? "I will put my Spirit within you" (v.27). While the heart is hard, it lies like a log, and is not wrought upon either by judgments or by mercies—but when God's Spirit comes in, he makes a man's heart as tender as his eye—and now it is made yielding to divine impressions.
(6) The Spirit of God has a FORTIFYING virtue. He infuses strength and assistance for work; he is a Spirit of power (2 Tim. 1:7). God's Spirit carries a man above himself: "strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man" (Eph. 3:16). The Spirit confirms faith and animates courage. He lifts one end of the cross and makes it lighter to bear. The Spirit gives not only a sufficiency of strength—but an abundance.
Question: How shall we know whether we are acting in the strength of God's Spirit, or in the strength of our own abilities?
Answer 1: When we humbly cast ourselves upon God for assistance, as David going out against Goliath cast himself upon God for help: "I come to you in the name of the Lord" (1 Sam. 17:45).
Answer 2: When our duties are divinely qualified, and we do them with pure aims.
Answer 3: When we have found God going along with us, we give him the glory for everything (1 Cor. 15:10). This clearly evinces that the duty was carried on by the strength of God's Spirit more than by any innate abilities of our own.
(7) God's Spirit has a COMFORTING virtue. The sky, though it is a bright and transparent body, still has interposed clouds. Just so, sadness may arise in a gracious heart (Psalm 43:5). This sadness is caused usually through the malice of Satan, who, if he cannot destroy us, will disturb us. But God's Spirit within us sweetly cheers and revives. He is called the parakletos, "the Comforter" (John 14:16). These comforts are real and palpable. Hence it is called "the seal of the Spirit" (Eph. 1:13). When a deed is sealed, it is firm and unquestionable. So when a Christian has the seal of the Spirit, his comforts are confirmed. Every godly man has these revivals of the Spirit in some degree; he has the seeds and beginnings of joy, though the flower is not fully ripe and blown.
Question: How does the Spirit give comfort?
Answer 1: By showing us that we are in a state of grace. A Christian cannot always see his riches. The work of grace may be written in the heart, like shorthand which a Christian cannot read. The Spirit gives him a key to open these dark characters, and spell out his adoption, whereupon he has joy and peace. "We have received the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God" (1 Cor. 2:12).
Answer 2: The Spirit comforts us by giving us some ravishing apprehensions of God's love. "The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit" (Romans 5:5). God's love is a box of precious ointment, and it is only the Spirit who can break this box open, and fill us with its sweet perfume.
Answer 3: The Spirit comforts us by taking us to the blood of Christ. As when a man is weary and ready to faint, we take him to the water, and he is refreshed; so when we are fainting under the burden of sin, the Spirit takes us to the fountain of Christ's blood: "In that day there shall be a fountain opened . . . " (Zech. 13:1). The Spirit enables us to drink the waters of justification that run out of Christ's side. The Spirit applies whatever Christ has purchased; he shows us that our sins are done away in Christ, and though we are spotted and defiled in ourselves—we are undefiled in our Head, Christ.
Answer 4: The Spirit comforts by enabling conscience to comfort. The child must be taught, before it can speak. The Spirit opens the mouth of conscience and helps it to speak and witness to a man that his state is good, whereupon he begins to receive comfort: "conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit" (Romans 9:1). Conscience draws up a certificate for a man, then the Holy Spirit comes and signs the certificate.
Answer 5: The Spirit conveys the oil of joy through two golden pipes:
1. The ORDINANCES. As Christ in prayer had his countenance changed (Luke 9:29) and there was a glorious luster upon his face; so often in the use of holy ordinances, the godly have such raptures of joy and soul transfigurations, that they have been carried above the world, and despised all things below.
2. The PROMISES. The promises are comforting:
(1) For their sureness (Romans 4:16). God in the promises has put his truth in pawn.
(2) For their suitableness, being calculated for the Christian's every condition. The promises are like an herb garden. There is no disease but some herb may be found there to cure it. The promises of themselves cannot comfort--but only as the Spirit enables us to suck consolation from these honeycombs. The promises are like a still full of herbs—but this still will not drop unless the fire is put under it. So when the Spirit of God (who is compared to fire) is put to the still of the promises, then they distill consolation into the soul. Thus we see how the Spirit is godly by his virtues.
Objection: But is being filled with the Spirit the sign of a godly man? Are not the wicked said to partake of the Holy Spirit (Heb. 6:4)?
Answer: Wicked men may partake of the Spirit's working—but not of his indwelling. They may have God's Spirit move upon them, but the godly have him enter into them (Ezek. 3:24).
Objection: But the unregenerate taste the heavenly gift (Heb. 6:4).
Answer: It is with them as it is with cooks who may have a smack and taste of the meat they are dressing—but they are not nourished by it. Tasting there is opposed to eating. The godly have not only a drop or taste of the Spirit—but he is in them like a river of living water (John 7:38).
Use 1: It brands those as ungodly who do not have God's Spirit. "If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ" (Romans 8:9). And if he does not belong to Christ—then whose is he? To what regiment does he belong? It is the misery of a sinner—that he does not have God's Spirit. I think it is very offensive to hear men who never had God's Spirit say, "Take not your holy spirit from us" (Psalm 51:11). Will those who are drunkards and swearers say they have God's Spirit in them? Do those who are malicious and unclean have God's Spirit? It would be blasphemy to say these have the Spirit. Will the blessed Spirit leave his celestial palace to come and live in a foul prison? A sinner's heart is a jail, both for darkness and obnoxiousness, and will God's free Spirit be confined to a prison (Psalm 51:12)? A sinner's heart is the emblem of hell. What would God's Spirit do there? Wicked hearts are not a temple—but a pigsty, where the unclean spirit makes his abode—"the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the children of disobedience" (Eph. 2:2).
We would be loath to live in a house haunted by evil spirits; a sinner's heart is haunted. "After the sop, Satan entered" (John 13:27). Satan abuses the godly—but enters into the wicked. When the devils went into the herd of swine, "the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and perished in the water" (Matt. 8:32). Why is it that men rush so greedily to the commission of sin—but because the devil has entered into these swine!
Secondly, this cuts off from godliness those who not only lack the Spirit—but deride him—like those Jews who said, "These men are full of new wine" (Acts 2:13). And indeed, so the apostles were—they were full of the wine of the Spirit. How God's Spirit is scoffed at by the sons of Belial! O wretches, to make those tongues which should be organs of God's praise, into instruments to blaspheme! Have you none to throw your jests at but the Spirit? Deriding the Spirit comes very near to despising him. How can men be sanctified but by the Spirit? Therefore to reproach, he is to make merry with their own damnation.
Use 2: As you would be listed in the number of the godly, strive for the blessed indwelling of the Spirit. Pray with Melanchthon, "Lord, inflame my soul with your Holy Spirit"; and with the spouse, "Awake, O north wind; and come O south wind, and blow upon my garden" (Song 4:16). As a mariner would desire a wind to drive him to sea, so beg for the prosperous gales of the Spirit and the promise may add wings to prayer. "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?" (Luke 11:13). God's Spirit is a rich jewel. Go to God for him: "Lord, give me your Spirit. Where is the jewel you promised me? When shall my soul be like Gideon's fleece, wet with the dew of heaven?"
Consider how necessary the Spirit is. Without him we can do nothing acceptable to God:
1. We cannot PRAY without him. He is a Spirit of supplication (Zech. 12:10). He helps both the inventiveness and the affection: "The Spirit helps us with sighs and groans" (Romans 8:26).
2. We cannot resist TEMPTATION without him. "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you" (Acts 1:8). He who has the tide of corrupt nature, and the wind of temptation, must of necessity be carried down the stream of sin—if the contrary wind of the Spirit does not blow.
3. We cannot be FRUITFUL without the Spirit. "The golden rain from heaven waters the thirsty hearts." Why is the Spirit compared to dew and rain—but to show us how unable we are to bring forth a crop of grace unless the dew of God falls upon us?
4. Without the Spirit, no ORDINANCE is effective to us. Ordinances are the conduit pipes of grace—but the Spirit is the spring. Some are content that they have a "Levite for their priest" (Judges 17:13)—but never look any further. As if a merchant should be content that his ship has good tackling and is well manned, though it never has a gale of wind. The ship of ordinances will not carry us to heaven, though an angel is a pilot unless the wind of God's Spirit blows. The Spirit is the soul of the Word, without which it is but a dead letter. Ministers may prescribe medicine—but it is God's Spirit who must make it work! Our hearts are like David's body when it grew old: "they covered him with clothes—but he got no heat" (1 Kings 1:1). So though the ministers of God ply us with prayers and counsel as with hot clothes—yet we are cold and chilly until God's Spirit comes; and then we say, like the disciples, "Did not our heart burn within us!" (Luke 24:32). Oh, therefore, what need we have of the Spirit!
Thirdly, you who have the blessed Spirit manifested by his energy and vital operations:
1. Acknowledge God's distinguishing love. The Spirit is an earmark of election (1 John 3:24). Christ gave the bag to Judas but not his Spirit. The Spirit is a love token. Where God gives his Spirit as a pawn, he gives himself as a portion. The Spirit is a comprehensive blessing; he is put for all good things (Matt. 7:11). What would you be without the Spirit but like so many carcasses? Without this, Christ would not profit you. The blood of God is not enough without the breath of God. Oh then, be thankful for the Spirit. This lodestone will never stop drawing you until it has drawn you up to heaven.
2. If you have this Spirit, do not grieve him (Eph. 4:30). Shall we grieve our Comforter?
Question: How do we grieve the Spirit?
Answer 1: When we unkindly repel his motions. The Spirit sometimes whispers in our ears and calls to us as God did to Jacob, "Arise, go up to Bethel" (Gen. 35:1). So the Spirit says, "Arise, go to prayer, retire to meet your God." Now when we stifle these motions and entertain temptations to vanity, this is grieving the Spirit. If we check the motions of the Spirit, we shall lose the comforts of the Spirit.
Answer 2: We grieve the Spirit when we deny the work of the Spirit in our hearts. If someone gives another person a gift, and he should deny it and say he never received it, this would be to abuse the love of his friend. So, Christian, when God has given you his Spirit, witnessed by those meltings of heart and passionate desires for heaven—yet you deny that you ever had any renewing work of the Spirit in you, this is base ingratitude and grieves the good Spirit. Renounce the sinful works of the flesh—but do not deny the gracious work of the Spirit.
11. A godly man is a HUMBLE man
Augustine calls humility "the mother of the grace." But before I show you who the humble man is, I shall lay down three distinctions:
1. I distinguish between being humbled and humble
A man may be humbled and not humble. A sinner may be humbled by affliction. His condition is low, but not his disposition. A godly man is not only humbled but humble. His heart is as low as his condition.
2. I distinguish between outward and inward humility
There is a great deal of difference between humble behavior and a humble spirit.
(1) A person may behave humbly towards others—yet be proud. Who more humble than Absalom in his outward behavior? "When people tried to bow before him, Absalom wouldn't let them. Instead, he took them by the hand and embraced them." (2 Sam. 15:5). But though he acted humbly, he aspired to the crown (v. 10). Here was pride dressed in humility's mantle!
(2) A person may behave humbly towards God—yet be proud. "Ahab put on sackcloth and fasted and went softly" (1 Kings 21:27)—but his heart was not humble. A man may bow his head like a bulrush—yet lift up the ensigns of pride in his heart.
3. I distinguish between humility and policy
Many make a show of humility to achieve their own ends. The Papists seem to be the most humble, mortified saints—but it is rather a subtlety than humility. By this means, they get the revenues of the earth into their possession. All this they may do, and yet have no godliness.
Question: How may a Christian know that he is humble—and consequently godly?
Answer 1: A humble soul is emptied of all swelling thoughts of himself. Bernard calls humility self-annihilation. "You will save the humble" (Job 22:29). In Hebrew, it is "him that is of low eyes". A humble man has lower thoughts of himself than others can have of him. David, though a king, still looked upon himself as a worm: "I am a worm, and no man" (Psalm 22:6). Bradford, a martyr, still subscribes to himself as a sinner. "If I am righteous—yet will I not lift up my head" (Job 10:15)—like the violet which is a sweet flower—but hangs down the head.
Answer 2: A humble soul thinks better of others than of himself. "Let each esteem others better than themselves" (Phil. 2:3). A humble man values others at a higher rate than himself, and the reason is that he can see his own heart better than he can another's. He sees his own corruption and thinks surely it is not so with others; their graces are not so weak as his; their corruptions are not so strong. "Surely", he thinks, "they have better hearts than I." A humble Christian studies his own infirmities, and another's excellences and that makes him put a higher value upon others than himself. "Surely I am more brutish than any man" (Proverbs 30:2). And Paul, though he was the chief of the apostles, still calls himself "less than the least of all saints" (Eph. 3:8).
Answer 3: A humble soul has a low esteem of his duties. Pride is apt to breed in our holy things, as the worm breeds in the sweetest fruit, and froth comes from the tastiest wine. A humble person bemoans not only his sins—but also his duties. When he has prayed and wept, "Alas," he says, "how little I have done! God might damn me for all this!" He says, like good Nehemiah, "Remember me, O my God, concerning this also, and spare me" (Neh. 13:22). "Remember, Lord, how I have poured out my soul—but spare me and pardon me." He sees that his best duties weigh too light; therefore he desires that Christ's merits may be put into the scales. The humble saint blushes when he looks at his copy. He sees he cannot write evenly, nor without blotting. This humbles him to think that his best duties run to seed. He drops poison upon his sacrifice. "Oh," he says, "I dare not say I have prayed or wept; those which I write down as duties, God might write down as sins!"
Answer 4: A humble man is always giving bills of indictment against himself. He complains, not of his poor circumstances—but of his poor heart! "Oh, this evil heart of unbelief!" "Lord," says Hooper, "I am hell—but you are heaven." A hypocrite is forever telling how good he is. A humble soul is forever saying how bad he is. Paul, that high-flown saint, was caught up into the third heaven—but how this bird of paradise bemoans his corruptions! "O wretched man that I am!" (Romans 7:24). Holy Bradford subscribes himself, "the hard-hearted sinner". The more knowledge a humble Christian has, the more he complains of ignorance; the more faith a humble Christian has, the more he bewails his unbelief.
Answer 5: A humble man will justify God in an afflicted condition. "You are just in all that is brought upon us" (Neh. 9:33). If men oppress and calumniate, the humble soul acknowledges God's righteousness in the midst of severity: "Lo, I have sinned" (2 Sam. 24:17). "Lord, my pride, my barrenness, my worldliness have been the procuring cause of all these judgments." When clouds are around about God—yet "righteousness is the habitation of his throne" (Psalm 97:2).
Answer 6: A humble soul is a Christ-magnifier (Phil. 1:20). He gives the glory of all his actions to Christ and free grace. King Canute took the crown off his own head and set it upon a crucifix. So a humble saint takes the crown of honor from his own head and sets it upon Christ's. And the reason is the love that he bears to Christ. Love can part with anything to the object loved. Isaac loved Rebekah and he gave away his jewels to her (Gen. 24:53). The humble saint loves Christ entirely, therefore can part with anything to him. He gives away to Christ the honor and praise of all he does. "Let Christ wear those jewels!"
Answer 7: A humble soul is willing to take a reproof for sin. A wicked man is too high to stoop to a reproof. The prophet Micaiah told King Ahab of his sin, and the King said, "I hate him!" (1 Kings 22:8). Reproof to a proud man is like pouring water on lime, which grows the hotter. A gracious soul loves the one who reproves: "rebuke a wise man, and he will love you" (Proverbs 9:8). The humble-spirited Christian can bear the reproach of an enemy, and the reproof of a friend.
Answer 8: A humble man is willing to have his name and gifts eclipsed, so that God's glory may be increased. He is content to be outshone by others in gifts and esteem, so that the crown of Christ may shine the brighter. This is the humble man's motto: "Let me decrease; let Christ increase." It is his desire that Christ should be exalted, and if this is effected, whoever is the instrument, he rejoices. "some preach Christ of envy" (Phil. 1:15). They preached to take away some of Paul's hearers. "Well," says he, "Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice" (v.18). A humble Christian is content to be laid aside if God has any other tools to work with which may bring him more glory.
Answer 9: A humble saint is content with that condition which God sees is best for him. A proud man complains that he has no more; a humble man wonders that he has so much: "I am not worthy of the least of all your mercies!" (Gen. 32:10). When the heart lies low, it can stoop to a low condition. A Christian looking at his sins wonders that things are no worse with him. He says that his mercies are greater than he deserves. He knows that the worst piece which God carves for him, is better than he deserves; therefore he takes it thankfully upon his knees.
Answer 10: A humble Christian will stoop to the lowest person and the lowest office; he will visit the poorest member of Christ. Lazarus' sores are more precious to him than Dives' royal robes. He does not say, "Stand aside, come not near to me, for I am holier than you" (Isaiah 65:5)—but "condescends to men of low estate" (Romans 12:16).
Use 1: If humility is the inseparable character of a godly man, let us test our hearts by this touchstone. Are we humble? Alas, where does their godliness appear—who are swollen with pride and ready to burst? But though men are proud, they will not confess it. This bastard of pride is born—but none are willing to father it. Therefore let me ask a few questions and let conscience answer:
1. Are not those proud, who are given to boasting? "Your boasting is not good." (1 Corinthians 5:6).
(1) Many are proud of their riches. Their hearts swell with their estates. Bernard calls pride the rich man's cousin. "Your heart has become proud because of your wealth." (Ezek. 28:5).
(2) Many are proud of their apparel. They dress in such fashions as to make the devil fall in love with them. Painted faces, gaudy attire, naked breasts, what are these, but the banners which sinful pride displays?
(3) Many are proud of their beauty. The body is but dust and blood kneaded together. Solomon says, "Beauty is vain" (Proverbs 31:30). Yet some are so vain as to be proud of vanity!
(4) Many are proud of their gifts and abilities. These trappings and ornaments do not approve of them in God's eyes. An angel is a creature of great abilities, but take away humility from an angel—and he is a devil!
2. Are not those who have a high opinion of their own excellences proud? Those who look at themselves in the magnifying mirror of self-love, appear in their own eyes better than they are. Simon Magus boasted that he was some great one (Acts 8:9). Alexander felt the need to be the son of Jupiter and of the race of the gods. Sapor, king of Persia, styles himself "Brother of the Sun and Moon". I have read of a pope who trod upon the neck of Frederick the Emperor and as a cloak for his pride cited that text, "You shall tread upon the lion, and the dragon shall you trample under feet" (Psalm. 91:13). There is no idol like self; the proud man bows down to this idol.
3. Are not those who despise others proudly? "The Pharisees trusted in themselves, that they were righteous, and despised others" (Luke 18:9). The Chinese people say that Europe has one eye and they have two, and all the rest of the world is blind. A proud man looks upon others with such an eye of scorn, as Goliath did upon David: "when the Philistine looked about and saw David, he disdained him" (1 Sam. 17:42). Those who stand upon the pinnacle of pride, look upon other men as no bigger than crows.
4. Are not those who trumpet their own praise proud? "Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody" (Acts 5:36). A proud man is the herald of his own good deeds; he blazes his own fame, and therein lies his vice, to paint his own virtue.
5. Are not those proud, who take the glory due to God, to themselves? "Is not this great Babylon, which I have built?" (Dan. 4:30). So says the proud man, "Are not these the prayers I have made? Are not these the works of charity I have done?" When Herod had made an oration and the people cried him up for a god (Acts 12:22), he was well content to have that honor done to him. Pride is the greatest sacrilege; it robs God of his glory!
6. Are not those who are never pleased with their condition proud? They speak harshly of God, charging his care and wisdom as if he had dealt badly with them. God himself cannot please a proud man. He is forever finding fault and flying in the face of heaven.
Oh, let us search if there is any of this leaven of pride in us. Man is naturally a proud piece of flesh. This sin of pride runs in the blood. Our first parents fell by their pride. They aspired to the deity. There are the seeds of this sin of pride in the best—but the godly do not allow themselves in it. They strive to kill this weed, by mortification. But certainly, where this sin reigns and prevails, it cannot stand with grace. You may as well call him who lacks wisdom, a prudent man; as for him who lacks humility, a godly man.
Use 2: Strive for this characteristic: be humble. It is an apostolic exhortation, "Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." (1 Pet. 5:5). Put humility on as an embroidered robe. It is better to lack anything, rather than humility. It is better to lack gifts rather than humility. No, it is better to lack "the comforts of the Spirit" rather than lack humility. "What does the Lord require of you—but to walk humbly with your God?" (Mic. 6:8).
1. The more value any man has, the more humble he is. Feathers fly up—but gold descends! The golden saint descends in humility. Some of the ancients have compared humility to the Celidonian stone, which is little for substance—but of rare virtue.
2. God loves a humble soul. It is not our high birth—but our humble hearts, which God delights in. A humble spirit is in God's view: "to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit" (Isaiah 66:2). A humble heart is God's palace! "For this is what the high and lofty One says—he who lives forever, whose name is holy—I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite." (Isaiah 57:15). Great personages, besides their houses of state, have lesser houses which upon occasion they retreat to. Besides God's house of state in heaven, he has the humble soul for his retiring house, where he takes up his rest, and solaces himself. Let Italy boast that it is, for pleasure, the garden of the world. A humble heart glories in this, that it is the presence-chamber of the great and glorious King!
3. The times we live in are humbling. The Lord seems to say to us now, as he did to Israel, "Remove your jewelry and ornaments until I decide what to do with you." (Exod. 33:5). "My displeasure is breaking forth—I have eclipsed the light of the sanctuary, I have stained the waters with blood, I have shot the arrow of pestilence—therefore lay down your pride—"Remove your jewelry and ornaments!" Woe to those who lift themselves up, when God is casting them down. When should people be humble—if not when under the rod? "Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God" (1 Pet. 5:6). When God afflicts his people and cuts them short in their privileges, it is time than to "sit in sackcloth—and sit in the dust" (Job 16:15).
4. What a horrid sin pride is! Chrysostom calls it "the mother of hell". Pride is a complicated evil, as Aristotle said. Justice encompasses all virtue in itself; so pride encompasses all vice. Pride is spiritual drunkenness; it flies up like wine into the brain and intoxicates it. Pride is idolatry; a proud man is a self-worshiper. Pride is revenge; Haman plotted Mordecai's death because he would not bow the knee. How odious is this sin to God! "Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord!" (Proverbs 16:5). "I hate pride and arrogance!" (Proverbs 8:13)
5. The mischief of pride. It is the breakneck of souls! "As surely as I live," says the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, "Moab and Ammon will be destroyed as completely as Sodom and Gomorrah. Their land will become a place of stinging nettles, salt pits, and eternal desolation. They will receive the wages of their pride!" (Zeph. 2:9,10). "Doves", says Pliny, "take a pride in their feathers, and in their flying high; at last they fly so high that they are a prey to the hawk." Men fly so high in pride that at last, they are prey to the devil, the prince of the air.
6. Humility raises one's esteem in the eyes of others. All give respect to the humble: "Before honor is humility" (Proverbs 15:33).
Question: What means may we use to be humble?
Answer 1: Let us set before us the golden pattern of Christ. His degree is 'doctorate in humility. "But made himself of no reputation, and was made in the likeness of men" (Phil. 2:7). O what abasement it was for the Son of God to take our flesh! No, that Christ should take our nature when it was in disgrace, being stained with sin—this was the wonder of humility. Look at a humble Savior—and let the plumes of pride fall off!
Answer 2: Study God's immensity and purity; a sight of glory humbles. Elijah wrapped his face in a mantle when God's glory passed before him (1 Kings 19:13). The stars vanish when the sun appears.
Answer 3: Let us study ourselves.
First, our dark side. By looking at our faces in the mirror of the Word, we see our spots. What a world of sin swarms in us! We may say with Bernard, "Lord, I am nothing but sin or sterility, either sinfulness or barrenness."
Secondly, our light side. Is there any good in us?
1. How disproportionate is our good—compared to the means of grace we have enjoyed! There is still something lacking in our faith (1 Thess. 3:10). O Christian, do not be proud of what you have—but be humble for what you lack.
2. The grace we have is not of our own growth. We are indebted to Christ and free grace for it. As he said of that ax which fell in the water, "Alas, master, for it was borrowed" (2 Kings 6:5), so I may say of all the good and excellence in us, "It is borrowed". Would it not be folly to be proud of a ring that is loaned to us? "For who makes you differ from another? And what have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7). The moon has no cause to be proud of her light—as she borrows it from the sun.
3. How far short we come of others! Perhaps other Christians are giants in grace; they are in Christ not only before us—but above us. We are but like the foot in Christ's body; they are like the eye.
4. Our beauty is spotted. The church is said to be "fair as the moon" (Song 6:10), which when it shines brightest, has a dark spot in it. Faith is mixed with unbelief. A Christian has that in his very grace, which may humble him.
5. If we would be humble, let us contemplate our mortality. Shall dust exalt itself? The thoughts of the grave should bury our pride. They say that when there is a swelling in the body, the hand of a dead man stroking that part cures the swelling. The serious meditation of death is enough to cure the swelling of pride.
12. A godly man is a PRAYING man.
"Let everyone who is godly pray to You." Psalm 32:6
As soon as grace is poured in—prayer is poured out! "But I give myself unto prayer" (Psalm 109:4). In Hebrew, it is, "but I prayer". Prayer and I are all one. Prayer is the soul's communion with heaven. God comes down to us by his Spirit—and we go up to him by prayer. Caligula placed his idols—as whispering in Jupiter's ear. Prayer is whispering in God's ear! A godly man cannot live without prayer. A man cannot live unless he takes his breath, nor can the soul unless it breathes forth its desires to God. As soon as the babe of grace is born, it cries. No sooner was Paul converted than "behold, he prays!" (Acts 9:11). No doubt he prayed before, being a Pharisee—but it was either superficially or superstitiously. But when the work of grace had been done in his soul, behold, now he prays!
A godly man is on the mount of prayer every day. He begins the day with prayer. Before he opens his shop—he opens his heart to God! We burn sweet incense in our houses; a godly man's house is "a house of incense"; he airs it with the incense of prayer. He engages in no business without seeking God. A godly man consults God in everything; he asks God's permission and his blessing. The Greeks asked counsel at their oracles; just so, a godly man enquires at the divine oracle (Gen. 24:12; 1 Sam. 23:3,4). A true saint continually shoots up his heart to heaven, by sacred prayers.
Question: Is prayer a sign of a godly man? May, not a hypocrite pray eloquently and with seeming devotion?
Answer: He may: "they seek me daily" (Isaiah 58:2). But a hypocrite does not pray "in the Spirit" (Eph. 6:18). A man may have the gift of prayer, and not have the spirit of prayer.
Question: How shall we know that we have the spirit of prayer?
Answer: When the prayer which we make is spiritual.
Question: What is it to make a SPIRITUAL PRAYER?
Answer 1: When we pray with KNOWLEDGE. Under the law, Aaron was to "light the lamps" when he burned the incense on the altar (Exod. 30:7). Incense typified prayer, and the lighting of the lamps typified knowledge. When the incense of prayer burns, the lamp of knowledge must be lit: "I will pray with the understanding" (1 Cor. 14:15). We must know the majesty and holiness of God, so that we may be deeply affected with reverence when we come before him. We must put up such petitions as are exactly adequate and agreeable to God's will. "Be not rash with your mouth, to utter anything before God" (Eccles. 5:2). The Lord would not have the blind offered to him (Mal. 1:8). How can we pray with affection when we do not pray with judgment? The Papists pray in an unknown tongue. Christ may reply to them as he did to the mother of Zebedee's children, "You know not what you ask" (Matt. 20:22). He who prays he knows not how shall be heard he knows not when.
Answer 2: A spiritual prayer is when the HEART and spirit pray. There are not only words but desires. It is excellent when a man can say, "Lord, my heart prays." Hannah "prayed in her heart" (1 Sam. 1:13). The sound of a trumpet comes from within—and the excellent music of prayer comes from within the heart. If the heart does not accompany duty—it is speaking, not praying.
Answer 3: A spiritual prayer is a FERVENT prayer. "The effectual fervent prayer . . . avails much" (Jas. 5:16). The heart, like the mainspring, should carry the affections in a most zealous and rapid manner. Fervency is the wing of prayer by which it ascends to heaven. Prayer is expressed by sighs and groans (Romans 8:26). It is not so much the gifts of the Spirit—as the groans of the Spirit, which God likes. Prayer is called "wrestling" (Gen. 32:24) and a "pouring out of the soul" (1 Sam. 1:15). Prayer is compared to incense (Psalm 141:2). Incense without fire makes no sweet smell. Prayer without fervency is like incense without fire. Christ prayed with "Strong crying and tears" (Heb. 5:7); crying prayer prevails. When the heart is inflamed in prayer, a Christian is carried as it were in a fiery chariot up to heaven.
Answer 4: A spiritual prayer is such as comes from a BROKEN heart. "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit" (Psalm 51:17). The incense was to be beaten, to typify the breaking of the heart in prayer. It is not the eloquent tongue—but the melting heart—which God accepts.
Moses said to the Lord, "I am not eloquent." "Oh," says a Christian, "I cannot pray like others." But can you weep and sigh? Does your soul melt out at your eyes? God accepts broken expressions when they come from broken hearts. I have read of a plant which bears no fruit—but it weeps forth a kind of gum which is very costly. So, though you do not flourish with those gifts and expressions like others—yet if you can weep forth tears from a contrite heart, these are exceedingly precious to God, and he will put them in his bottle. Jacob wept in prayer and had "power over the angel" (Hos. 12:4).
Answer 5: A spiritual prayer is a BELIEVING prayer. "Whatever you shall ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive" (Matt. 21:22). The reason why so many prayers suffer shipwrecks is that they split against the rock of unbelief. Praying without faith is like shooting without bullets. When faith takes prayer by the hand, then we draw near to God. We should come to God in prayer like the leper: "Lord, if you will, you can make me clean" (Matt. 8:2). It is a disparagement to deities to have such a whisper in the heart, that "God's ear is heavy and cannot hear" (Isaiah 59:1). What is said of the people of Israel may be applied to prayer—"They could not enter in, because of unbelief" (Heb. 3:19).
Answer 6: A spiritual prayer is a HOLY prayer. "Lift up holy hands in prayer" (1 Tim. 2:8). Prayer must be offered on the altar of a pure heart. Sin lived in—makes the heart hard, and God's ear deaf. Sin stops the mouth of prayer. Sin does what the thief does to the traveler—puts a gag in his mouth so that he cannot speak. Sin poisons and infests prayer. A wicked man's prayer carries the plague, and will God come near him? The loadstone loses its virtue when it is spread with garlic; so does prayer when it is polluted with sin. "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me" (Psalm 66:18). It is foolish to pray against sin and then to sin against prayer. A spiritual prayer, like the spirits of wine, must be refined and taken off the lees and dregs of sin: "that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness" (Mal. 3:3). If the heart is holy—this altar will sanctify the gift.
Answer 7: A spiritual prayer is a HUMBLE prayer. "Lord, you have heard the desire of the humble" (Psalm 10:17). Prayer is the asking of alms, which requires humility. "The publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven—but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner" (Luke 18:13). God's incomprehensible glory may even amaze us and strike holy consternation into us when we approach near to him: "O my God, I blush to lift up my face to you" (Ezra 9:6). It is lovely to see a poor nothing lie prostrate at the feet of its Maker. "Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord—who am but dust and ashes" (Gen. 18:27). The lower the heart descends—the higher the prayer ascends.
Answer 8: A spiritual prayer is when we pray in the NAME OF CHRIST. To pray in the name of Christ is not only to name Christ in prayer—but to pray in the hope and confidence of Christ's mediation. As a child claims his estate in the right of his father who purchased it, so we come for mercy in the name of Christ, who has purchased it for us in his blood. Unless we pray thus, we do not pray at all; no, we rather provoke God. As it was with Uzziah, when he wanted to offer incense without a priest, God was angry and struck him with leprosy (2 Chron. 26:16-19). So when we do not come in Christ's name in prayer, we offer up incense without a priest, and what can we expect but meet with wrath?
Answer 9: A spiritual prayer is when we pray out of LOVE to prayer. A wicked man may pray—but he does not love prayer. "Will he delight himself in the Almighty?" (Job 27:10). A godly man is carried on the wings of delight. He is never so well, as when he is praying. He is not forced with fear—but fired with love. "I will make them joyful in my house of prayer" (Isaiah 56:7).
Answer 10: A spiritual prayer is when we have SPIRITUAL GOALS in prayer. There is a vast difference between a spiritual prayer and a carnal desire. The goals of a hypocrite are selfish and carnal. He looks asquint in prayer. It is not the sense of his spiritual needs which moves him—but rather his lusts. "You ask amiss, that you may consume it upon your lusts" (Jas. 4:3). The sinner prays more for food than for grace. This, God, does not interpret as praying—but as howling: "They do not cry out to me from their hearts but howl upon their beds. They gather together for grain and new wine but turn away from me. " (Hos. 7:14).
Prayers that lack a good aim—lack a good answer. A godly man has spiritual goals in prayer. He sends out his prayer as a merchant sends out his ship, so that he may have large returns of spiritual blessings. His design in prayer is that his heart may be more holy and that he may have more communion with God. A godly man engages in the trade of prayer—so that he may increase the stock of grace.
Answer 11: A spiritual prayer is accompanied by the use of MEANS. There must be works—as well as prayer. When Hezekiah was sick he did not only pray for recovery—but he "prepared a poultice of figs and applies it to the boil" (Isaiah 38:21). Thus it is in the case of the soul when we pray against sin and avoid temptations. When we pray for grace and use opportunities to the full, this is laying a fig on the boil which will make us recover. To pray for holiness and neglect the means—is like winding up the clock and taking off the weights.
Answer 12: A spiritual prayer is that which leaves a SPIRITUAL MOOD behind upon the heart. A Christian is better after prayer. He has gained more strength over sin, as a man by exercise gets strength. The heart after prayer keeps a tincture of holiness, as the vessel favors and relishes of the wine which is put into it. Having been with God on the mount—Moses' face shone. So, having been on the mount of prayer—our graces shine and our lives shine. This is the sign of a godly man—he prays in the Spirit. This is the right kind of praying. The gift of prayer is ordinary—like culinary fire. But spiritual prayer is more rare and excellent—like elemental fire which comes from heaven.
FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CLICK HERE FOR The CHARACTERISTICS of A Godly Man