Piety Quotations

The Present Advantage of Godliness

But what advantage have godly men by these temporal promises?
Answer. This is not their advantage, to be always abounding in these outward things; that is, neither so de facto and eventually, nor were it meet it should be so. But 1. They have a promise of what is needful and useful simply, even of temporal things, which no wicked man has. They shall (Psa. 84) want no good thing; yea, though lions suffer hunger (Psa. 34:10), yet they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing.
2. They may pray for these things so far as they are needful, and may confidently expect them, and go to God for them, by virtue of that right, ere they get them. So it is our daily bread by allowance, and promised before we get it (Matt. 6:11).
3. If a natural man abound, he cannot promise himself the continuance of meat till the end of his life; no, not so much as his dinner tomorrow, nor life till then. But, if a believer live, he may expect the continuance of as much food as shall be necessary for him; if he have nothing, he may confidently promise himself both life and food tomorrow, if either or both of them be needful, more than a wicked man, that has more wealth, health, and outward protection, can do.
4. He may promise himself the blessing, and the sanctified use of what he enjoys, which another cannot.
5. He may have peace, whether he have or want, in the enjoyment of creatures, or in their scarcity, because he has a right to them; for it is not from want of right to creature-comforts that scarcity of them comes, but God, like a wise and skilful physician, keeps back meat for health, where there is abundance in the right, and to be given also when needful. So that, comparing him with a wicked man, whether he have or want, whether he enjoy more plentifully, or be in scarcity, he has still the better of him by far; which should make us all love godliness the more, which has so great an advantage as this attending it.

-James Durham, Practical Exposition of the Ten Commandments speaking of the promise attached to the 5th Commandment, and of the promise that godliness has for the life that now is.

One reply on “The Present Advantage of Godliness”

I read Calvin on the fifth commandment today — so this was especially good to read. Calvin says that long life was promised that they might enjoy the land, which was the type of God’s favor: and that the promise is primarily (to sum Calvin up as I understood things, rather than quote him exactly) that we will experience God’s favor in the meting out of our life here, and in death itself, as we keep this commandment — which seems a nice complement to the above.

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