Friday, June 18, 2010

Thomas Watson: "As he will make a resurrection of bodies, so of names."

I have been reading Thomas Watson's commentary on The Lord's Prayer (first published in 1692).  In his meditations on the preface to the prayer Watson spends much time reflecting on the Fatherhood of God ("Our Father which art in heaven").  In one section he discusses the ultimate vindication of God's saints at the last day:  "As he will make a resurrection of bodies, so of names."  This seems to have been an especially important concept for the Puritans in particular, many of whom experienced persecution and slander from their opponents and suffered ejection from their pulpits. Matthew Henry makes a similar point in his commentary on Matthew 10:26 ("there will be a resurrection of names as well as bodies").

Here is the Watson quote in context: 

If God be our Father, he will put honour and renown upon us at the last day. [1] He will clear the innocence of his children. His children in this life are strangely misrepresented. They are loaded with invectives — they are called factious, seditious; as Elijah, the troubler of Israel; and Luther, the trumpet of rebellion. Athanasius was accused to the Emperor Constantine as the raiser of tumults; and the primitive Christians were accused as infanticidii, incestus rei, ‘killers of their children, guilty of incest.’ Tertullus reported Paul to be a pestilent person. Acts 24: 5. Famous Wycliffe was called the idol of the heretics, and reported to have died drunk. If Satan cannot defile God’s children, he will disgrace then; if he cannot strike his fiery darts into their consciences he will put a dead fly to their names; but God will one day clear their innocence; he will roll away their reproach. As he will make a resurrection of bodies, so of names. ‘The Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces, and the rebuke of his people shall he take away.’ Isa 25: 8. He will be the saints’ vindicator. ‘He shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light.’ Psa 37: 6. The night casts its dark mantle upon the most beautiful flowers; but the light comes in the morning and dispels the darkness, and every flower appears in its orient brightness. So the wicked may by misreports darken the honour and repute of the saints; but God will dispel this darkness, and cause their names to shine forth. ‘He shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light.’ Thus God stood up for the honour of Moses when Aaron and Miriam sought to eclipse his fame. ‘Wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?’ Numb 12: 8. So God will one day say to the wicked, ‘Wherefore were ye not afraid to defame and traduce my children? Having my image upon them, how durst you abuse my picture?’ At last his children shall come forth out of all their calumnies, as ‘a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold.’ Psa 68: 13. [2] God will make an open and honourable recital of all their good deeds. As the sins of the wicked shall be openly mentioned, to their eternal infamy and confusion; so all the good deeds of the saints shall be openly mentioned, ‘and then shall every man have praise of God.’ 1 Cor 4: 5. Every prayer made with melting eyes, every good service, every work of charity, shall be openly declared before men and angels. ‘I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: thirsty, and ye gave me drink: naked, and ye clothed me.’ Matt 25: 35, 36. Thus God will set a trophy of honour upon all his children at the last day. ‘Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.’ Matt 13: 43.


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