A Door to Despair!

I’m hoping I got your attention with that title :grinning:

I’ve been recently reading Watson’s treatise on the Lord’s Prayer. It has been good. You can find it in full here: https://ccel.org/ccel/watson/prayer/prayer.i.html

Watson wrote a few hundred years ago, and though the writing is somewhat archaic, I can generally get it, but at this certain point he has me flummoxed and I seek direction in understanding his point. I figure most of yall are smarter than me…

Midway through the preface - the section dealing with “Our Father which art in Heaven,” He writes (and the part I have a question about is the last sentence):

How does Christ preserve the saints’ graces, till they come to heaven?

(3) That God’s children cannot be disinherited, or put out of their right to the crown of heaven, is evident from their mystic union with Christ. Believers are incorporated into him; they are knit to him as members to the head, by the nerves and ligaments of faith, so that they cannot be broken off. ‘The church, which is his body.’ Eph 1: 22, 23. What was once said of Christ’s natural body, is as true of his mystic body. ‘A bone of it shall not be broken.’ As it is impossible to sever the leaven and the dough when they are once mingled and kneaded together, so it is impossible, when Christ and believers are once united, that they should ever, by the power of death or hell, be separated. Christ and his spiritual members make one Christ. Is it possible that any part of Christ should perish? How can Christ want any member of his mystic body and be perfect? Every member is an ornament to the body, and adds to the honour of it. How can Christ part with any mystic member, and not part with some of his glory too? By all this it is evident that God’s children must needs persevere in grace, and cannot be disinherited. If they could be disinherited, the Scripture could not be fulfilled, which tells us of glorious rewards for the heirs of promise. ‘Verily there is a reward for the righteous.’ Psa 58: 11. If God’s adopted children should fall away finally from grace, and miss of heaven, what reward would there be for the righteous? Moses indiscreetly looked for the recompense of the reward, and a door would be opened to despair."

Its this very last part: “Moses indiscreetly looked for the recompense of the reward, and a door would be opened to despair.” Watson uses near identical phrasing in some of his other work (The Beatitudes among others) and references Hebrews 11:26 (“considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for [Moses] was looking to the reward.”).

I’m just having trouble putting it together. So I’m asking, in the words of my 5 year old, “Little help? Little help, please?”

Not a reference to the fact that while he got to see the Promised Land, he never got to enter it? (so near and yet so far, as we say).

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That was my first thought as well, but doesn’t seem to fit. Moses is certainly one of the elect. He saw the true promised land from afar and is now with our Lord. He was disciplined, but is still a welcomed son. He is not ultimately disinherited. Though its true he missed out on Canaan. So maybe, as a picture or lesson to obedience.

Yet there are the direct references to Hebrews 11:26 in other places.

You may be onto it, but I’m not convinced.

Here’s how I would interpret this in the context of Perseverance of the Saints: “If God’s adopted children should fall away finally from grace…a door would be opened to despair.”

The subjunctive “would” tells me that it is still paired with the “If”, and it dovetails with “what reward would there be for the righteous?” (There’s that subjunctive again, too.)

I am not precisely sure what the comment about Moses is supposed to mean, but I wouldn’t take “indiscreetly” with a negative connotation, necessarily. It may just mean “openly.”

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I took indiscreetly to mean - to the side, away from. Instead of staring at the power and riches of Egypt right in front of his face, he looked away, to the Kingdom that was to come.

Otherwise “a door would be opened to despair.”

I like where you are coming from here. Gives me “food for thought.”


You may be onto it but I’m not convinced

I now think I agree with you … that said, the context of Hebrews tells us of how Abraham was looking for a city and a country from God. Since the same was no doubt true of Moses, it might well have been that what God showed him, as he stood on Nebo, that while he wasn’t going to enter the Promised Land, it was never going to be his final destination anyway. (I’ve actually been to Mt Nebo, but that’s for another post).