Wednesdays with Watson is a weekly reading taken from my favorite Puritan writer, Thomas Watson. This week’s selection is taken from The Christian on the Mount.
When you have sifted out the finest flour that the creature can give, you will find something either to dissatisfy or nauseate. The best wine has its froth, the sweetest rose has its prickles, and the purest comforts have their dregs. The creature cannot be said to be full, unless we say that it is full of vanity, as a sail may be filled with wind. Job 20:22: “In the fullness of his sufficiency he shall be in straits; every hand of the wicked shall come upon him.” Those who think to find happiness here on earth are like Apollo who embraced a tree instead of the lovely Daphne. Meditate on this vanity of the creature. The world is like a broken looking glass that shows a false beauty.
Meditation on worldly vanity would be like the digging about the roots of a tree to loosen it from the earth. It would much loosen our hearts from the world and be an excellent preservative against the love of earthly things. Let a Christian think thus with himself? “Why am I so serious about such a worthless vanity? If the whole earth were changed into a globe of gold, it could not fill my heart!”
Meditation on the creature’s vanity would make us look after more solid comforts — the favor of God, the blood of Christ, the influences of the Spirit. When I see that the life that I fetch from the cistern is vain, I will go the more to the ocean! In Christ there is an inexhaustible treasury! When a man finds the bough begin to break, he lets go of the bough and catches hold on the trunk of the tree. just so, when we find the creature to be but a rotten bough, then by faith we shall catch hold of Christ, the tree of life (Revelation 2:7). The creature is but a shaking reed. God is the immovable rock of ages!