While I love reading any of the Puritan Divines, I would have to say that Thomas Watson tops the list for me. His Body of Divinity is worth every penny (and more), and I am finding the case to be true also for The Godly Man’s Picture. He points out one characteristic of a godly man which is that he prizes Christ.
Watson asks, “How shall we know that we have a high estimation of Christ?” Here is how he answers:
1. If we are prizers of Christ, then we prefer him in our judgments before other things. We value Christ above honour and riches; the Pearl of Price lies nearest our heart. He who prizes Christ esteems the gleanings of Christ better than the world’s vintage. He counts the worst things of Christ better than the best things of the world.
2. If we are prizers of Christ, we cannot live without him; things which we value we know not how to be without. . . . A child of God can lack health and friends, but he cannot lack Christ.
3. If we are prizers of Christ, then we shall not complain at any pains to get him. He who prizes gold will dig for it in the mine: ‘My soul followeth hard after God’ (Psalm 63:8). . . . Test by this! Many say they have Christ in high veneration, but they are not industrious in the use of means to obtain him. If Christ would drop as a ripe fig into their mouth, they could be content to have him, but they will not put themselves to too much trouble to get him. Does he who will not take medicine or exercise prize his health?
4. If we are prizers of Christ, then we take great pleasure in Christ. What joy a man takes in that which he counts his treasure! He who prizes Christ makes him his greatest joy. . . . He who esteems Christ can solace himself in Christ when there is an autumn on all other comforts.
5. If we are prizers of Christ, then we will part with out dearest pleasures for him. . . . He who esteems Christ will pull out that lust which is his right eye. He who sets a high value on Christ will part with his pride, unjust gain, and sinful fashions (Isaiah 30:32). He will set his feet on the neck of his sins.
6. If we are prizers of Christ, we shall think we cannot have him at too dear a rate. We may buy gold too dearly but we cannot purchase Christ too dearly. Though we part with out blood for him, it is no dear bargain.
7. If we are prizers of Christ, we will be willing to help others get a part in him. That which we esteem excellent, we are desirous our friend should have a share in it. If a man has found a spring of water, he will call others that they may drink and satisfy their thirst. Do we commend Christ to others? Do we take them by the hand and lead them to Christ? This shows how few prize Christ, because they do not make more effort that their relations should have a part in him. They get land and riches for their posterity, but have no care to leave them the Pearl of Price as their portion.
8. If we are prizers of Christ, then we prize him in health as in sickness; when we are enlarged, as well as when we are straitened. . . . He who values his Saviour aright has as precious thoughts of him in a day of prosperity as in a day of adversity. The wicked make use of Christ only when they are in straits. . . . Sinners desire Christ only for shelter. The Hebrews never chose their judges except when they were in some imminent danger. Godless persons never look for Christ except at death, when they are in danger of hell.
“Oh, then, let us have endearing thoughts of Christ, let him be accounted our chief treasure and delight. This is the reason why millions perish – because they do not prize Christ. Christ is the door by which men are to enter heaven (John 10:9). If they do not know this door or are so proud that they will not stoop to go in at it, how can they be saved?”
– Thomas Watson, The Godly Man’s Picture. (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1999), 50-54.