Thomas Watson
The Ten Commandments
File 5
(... continued from file 4)

    Use four. It is a mercy to be brought out of the land of Egypt, 
a defiled place, and where sin reigns. It reproaches such parents as 
show little love for the souls of their children, whether it be in 
putting them out to service, or matching them. In putting them out 
to service, their care is chiefly for their bodies, that they may be 
provided for, and they care not what becomes of their souls. Their 
souls are in Egypt, in houses where there is drinking, swearing, 
Sabbath-breaking, and where God's name is every day dishonoured. In 
matching their children, they look only at money. 'Be ye not 
unequally yoked.' 2 Cor 6: 14. If their children be equally yoked 
for estate, they care not whether they be unequally yoked for 
religion. Let such parents think how precious the soul of their 
child is; that it is immortal, and capable of communion with God and 
angels. Will you let a soul be lost by placing it in a bad family? 
If you had a horse you loved, you would not put him in a stable with 
other horses that were sick and diseased; and do you not love your 
child better than your horse? God has intrusted you with the souls 
of your children; you have a charge of souls. God says, as 1 Kings 
20: 39: 'Keep this man: if he be missing, then shall thy life be for 
his life.' So says God, if the soul of thy child miscarry by thy 
negligence, his blood will I require at thy hand. Think of this, all 
ye parents; take heed of placing your children in Egypt, in a wicked 
family; do not put them in the devil's mouth. Seek for them a sober, 
religious family, such as Joshua's. 'As for me and my house, we will 
serve the Lord.' Josh 14: 15. Such a family as Cranmer's, which was 
palaestra pietatis, a nursery of piety, a Bethel, of which it may be 
said, 'The church which is in his house.' Col. 4: 15. 
    Use five. Let us pray that God would keep our English nation 
from the defilements of Egypt, that it may not be again overspread 
with superstition and idolatry. Oh, sad religion! not only to have 
our estates, our bodies enslaved, but our consciences. Pray that the 
true Protestant religion may still nourish among us, that the sun of 
the gospel may still shine in our horizon. The gospel lifts a people 
up to heaven, it is columna et corona regni, 'the crown and glory of 
the kingdom'; if this be removed, Ichabod, the glory is departed. 
The top of the beech tree being cut off, the whole body of the tree 
withers apace; so the gospel is the top of all our blessings; if 
this top be cut, the whole body politic will soon wither. O pray 
that the Lord will continue the visible tokens of his presence among 
us, his ordinances, that England may be called, Jehovah-shammah, 
'The Lord is there.' Ezek 48: 35. Pray that righteousness and peace 
may kiss each other, that so glory may dwell in our land. 
    III. Out of the house of bondage. Egypt and the house of 
bondage are the same, only they are expressed under a different 
notion. By Egypt is meant a place of idolatry and superstition; by 
the house of bondage is meant a place of affliction. Israel, while 
in Egypt, were under great tyranny; they had cruel task-masters set 
over them, who put them to hard labour, and set them to make bricks, 
yet allowed them no straw; therefore, Egypt is called, in Deut 4: 
20, the iron furnace, and here the house of bondage. From this 
expression, 'I brought thee out of the house of bondage,' two things 
are to be noted; God's children may sometimes be under sore 
afflictions. 'In the house of bondage.' But God will, in due time, 
bring them out of their afflicted state. 'I brought thee out of the 
house of bondage.' 
    God's children may sometimes be under sore afflictions, in domo 
servitutis, in the house of bondage. God's people have no writ of 
ease granted them, no charter of exemption from trouble in this 
life. While the wicked are kept in sugar, the godly are often kept 
in brine. And, indeed, how could God's power be seen in bringing 
them out of trouble, if he did not sometimes bring them into it? or 
how should God wipe away the tears from their eyes in heaven, if on 
earth they shed none? Doubtless, God sees there is need that his 
children should be sometimes in the house of bondage. 'If need be, 
ye are in heaviness.' 1 Peter 1: 6. The body sometimes needs a 
bitter portion more than a sweet one. 
    Why does God let his people be in the house of bondage or in an 
afflicted state? 
    He does it, (1) For probation or trial. 'Who led thee through 
that terrible wilderness, that he might humble thee and prove thee.' 
Deut 8: 15, 16. Affliction is the touch-stone of sincerity. 'Thou O 
God, hast proved us; thou hast tried us as silver; thou laidst 
affliction upon our loins.' Psa 66: 10, 11. Hypocrites may embrace 
the true religion in prosperity, and court this queen while she has 
a jewel hung at her ear; but he is a good Christian who will keep 
close to God in a time of suffering. 'All this is come upon us, yet 
have we not forgotten thee.' Psa 44: I7. To love God in heaven, is 
no wonder; but to love him when he chastises us, discovers 
sincerity. (2) For purgation; to purge our corruption. Ardet palea, 
purgatur aurum. 'And this is all the fruit, to take away his sin.' 
Isa 28: 9. The eye, though a tender part, yet when sore, we put 
sharp powders and waters into it to eat out the pearl; so though the 
people of God are dear to him, yet, when corruption begins to grow 
in them, he will apply the sharp powder of affliction, to eat out 
the pearl in the eye. Affliction is God's flail to thresh off our 
husks; it is a means God uses to purge out sloth, luxury, pride, and 
love of the world. God's furnace is in Zion. Isa 31: 5. This is not 
to consume, but to refine. What if we have more affliction, if by 
this means we have less sin! 
    (3) For augmentation; to increase the graces of the Spirit. 
Grace thrives most in the iron furnace. Sharp frosts nourish the 
corn; so sharp afflictions nourish grace. Grace in the saints is 
often as fire hid in the embers, affliction is the bellows to blow 
it up into a flame. The Lord makes the house of bondage a friend to 
grace. Then faith and patience act their part. The darkness of the 
night cannot hinder the brightness of a star; so, the more the 
diamond is cut the more it sparkles; and the more God afflicts us, 
the more our graces cast a sparkling lustre. 
    (4) For preparation; to fit and prepare the saints for glory. 2 
Cor 4: I7. The stones which are cut out for a building, are first 
hewn and squared. The godly are called 'living stones.' 1 Pet 2: 5. 
God first hews and polishes them by affliction, that they may be fit 
for the heavenly building. The house of bondage prepares for the 
house not made with hands. 2 Cor 5: 1: The vessels of mercy are 
seasoned with affliction, and then the wine of glory is poured in. 
    How do the afflictions of the godly differ from the afflictions 
of the wicked? 
    (1) They are but castigations, but those on the wicked are 
punishments. The one come from a father, the other from a judge. 
    (2) Afflictions on the godly are fruits of covenant-mercy. 2 
Sam 7: 17. Afflictions on the wicked are effects of God's wrath. 'He 
has much wrath with his sickness.' Eccl 5: I7. Afflictions on the 
wicked are the pledge and earnest of hell; they are like the 
pinioning of a malefactor, which presages his execution. 
    (3) Afflictions on the godly make them better, but afflictions 
on the wicked make them worse. The godly pray more; Psa 130: 1: The 
wicked blaspheme more. 'Men were scorched with great heat, and 
blasphemed the name of God.' Rev 16: 9. Afflictions on the wicked 
make them more impenitent; every plague upon Egypt increased the 
plague of hardness in Pharaoh's heart. To what a prodigy of 
wickedness do some persons come after great sickness. Affliction on 
the godly is like bruising spices, which are most sweet and 
fragrant: affliction on the wicked is like pounding weeds with a 
pestle, which makes them more unsavoury. 
    Use one. (1) We are not to wonder to see Israel in the house of 
bondage. 1 Pet 4: 12. The holiness of the saints will not excuse 
them from sufferings. Christ was the holy one of God, yet he was in 
the iron furnace. His spouse is a lily among thorns. Cant 2: 2. 
Though his sheep have the ear-mark of election upon them, yet they 
may have their wool fleeced off. The godly have some good in them, 
therefore the devil afflicts them; and some evil in them, therefore 
God afflicts them. While there are two seeds in the world, expect to 
be under the black rod. The gospel tells us of reigning, but first 
of suffering. 2 Tim 2: 12. 
    (2) Affliction is not always the sign of God's anger. Israel, 
the apple of God's eye, a peculiar treasure to him above all people, 
were in the house of bondage. Exod 19: 5. We are apt to judge and 
censure those who are in an afflicted state. When the barbarians saw 
the viper on Paul's hand, they said, 'No doubt this man is a 
murderer.' Acts 28: 4. So, when we see the viper of affliction 
fasten upon the godly, we are apt to censure them, and say, these 
are greater sinners than others, and God hates them; but this rash 
censuring is for want of wisdom. Were not Israel in the house of 
bondage? Was not Jeremiah in the dungeon, and Paul a night and day 
in the deep? God's afflicting is so far from evidencing hatred, that 
his not afflicting does. 'I will not punish your daughters when they 
commit whoredom.' Hos 4: 14. Deus maxime irascitur cum non 
irascitur. Bernard. God punishes most when he does not punish; his 
hand is heaviest when it seems to be lightest. The judge will not 
burn him in the hand whom he intends to execute. 
    (3) If God's own Israel may be in the house of bondage, then 
afflictions do not of themselves demonstrate a man miserable. 
Indeed, sin unrepented of, makes one miserable; but the cross does 
not. If God has a design in afflicting his children to make them 
happy, they are not miserable; but God's afflicting them is to make 
them happy, therefore they are not miserable. 'Happy is the man whom 
God correcteth.' Job 5: 17. The world counts them happy who can keep 
out of affliction; but the Scripture calls them happy who are 
    How are they happy? 
    Because they are more holy. Heb 12: 10. Because they are more 
in God's favour. Prov 3: 12. The goldsmith loves his gold when in 
the furnace. Because they have more of God's sweet presence. Psa 91: 
15. They cannot be unhappy who have God's powerful presence in 
supporting, and his gracious presence in sanctifying, their 
affliction. Because the more affliction they have, the more degrees 
of glory they shall have; the lower they have been in the iron 
furnace, the higher they shall sit upon to throne of glory; the 
heavier their crosses, the heavier shall be their crown. So then, if 
afflictions make a Christian happy, they cannot call him miserable. 
    (4) See the merciful providence of God to his children. Though 
they may be in the house of bondage, and smart by affliction, yet 
they shall not be hurt by affliction. What hurt does the fan to the 
corn? it only separates the chaff from it; or the lance to the body? 
it only lets out the abscess. The house of bondage does that which 
sometimes ordinances will not; it humbles and reforms. 'If they be 
holden in cords of affliction, he openeth their ear to discipline, 
and commandeth that they return from iniquity.' Job 36: 8, 10. Oh! 
what a merciful providence is it that, though God bruise his people, 
yet, while he is bruising them, he is doing them good! It is as if 
one should throw a bag of money at another, which bruises him a 
little, but yet it enriches him. Affliction enriches the soul and 
yields the sweet fruits of righteousness. Heb. 12: 11. 
    (5) If Israel be in the house of bondage, if the Lord deals so 
with his own children, then how severely will he deal with the 
wicked! If he be so severe with those he loves, how severe will he 
be with those he hates! 'If they do these things in a green tree, 
what shall be done in the dry?' Luke 13: 31. If they that pray and 
mourn for sin be so severely dealt with, what will become of those 
that swear and break the Sabbath, and are unclean! If Israel be in 
the iron furnace, the wicked shall lie in the fiery furnace of hell. 
It should be the saddest news to wicked men, to hear that the people 
of God are afflicted. Let them think how dreadful the case of 
sinners will be. 'Judgement must begin at the house of God; and if 
it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not 
the gospel?' 1 Pet 4: I7. If God thresh his wheat, he will burn the 
chaff. If the godly suffer castigation, the wicked shall suffer 
condemnation. If he mingle his people's cup with wormwood he will 
mingle the wicked's cup with fire and brimstone. 
    Use two. If Israel be in the house of bondage, 
    (1) Do not entertain too hard thoughts of affliction. 
Christians are apt to look upon the cross and the iron furnace as 
frightful things, and do what they can to shun them. Nay, sometimes, 
to avoid affliction, they run themselves into sin. But do not think 
too hardly of affliction; do not look upon it as through the 
multiplying-glass of fear. The house of bondage is not hell. 
Consider that affliction comes from a wise God, who prescribes 
whatever befalls us. Persecutions are like apothecaries: they give 
us the physic which God the physician prescribes. Affliction has its 
light side, as well as its dark one. God can sweeten our 
afflictions, and candy our wormwood. As our sufferings abound, so 
does also our consolation. 2 Cor 1: 5. Argerius dated his letters 
from the pleasant garden of the Leonine prison. God sometimes so 
revives his children in trouble, that they had rather bear their 
afflictions than want their comforts. Why then should Christians 
entertain such hard thoughts of afflictions? Do not look at its grim 
face, but at the message it brings, which is to enrich us with both 
grace and comfort. 
    (2) If Israel be sometimes in the house of bondage, in an 
afflicted state, think beforehand of affliction. Say not as Job (29: 
18), 'I shall die in my nest.' In the house of mirth think of the 
house of bondage. You that are now Naomi, may be Mara. Ruth 1:20. 
How quickly may the scene turn, and the hyperbole of joy end in a 
catastrophe! All outward things are given to change. The 
forethoughts of affliction would make us sober and moderate in the 
use of lawful delight; it would cure a surfeit. Christ at a feast 
mentions his burial; a good antidote against a surfeit. The 
forethought of affliction would make us prepare for it; it would 
take us off the world; it would put us upon search of our evidences. 
    We should see what oil we have in our lamps, what grace we can 
find, that we may be able to stand in the evil day. That soldier is 
imprudent who has his sword to whet when he is just going to fight. 
He who forecasts sufferings, will have the shield of faith, and the 
sword of the Spirit ready, that he may not be surprised. 
    (3) If afflictions come, let us labour to conduct ourselves 
wisely as Christians, that we may adorn our sufferings: that is, let 
us endure with patience. 'Take, my brethren, the prophets for an 
example of suffering affliction and patience.' James 5: 10. Satan 
labours to take advantage of us in affliction, by making us either 
faint or murmur; he blows the coals of passion and discontent, and 
then warms himself at the fire. Patience adorns sufferings. A 
Christian should say as Jesus Christ did, 'Lord, not my will but thy 
will be done.' It is a sign the affliction is sanctified when the 
heart is brought to a sweet submissive frame. God will then remove 
the affliction: he will take us out of the iron furnace. 
    We may consider these words, 'Which brought thee out of the 
house of bondage,' either, [1] Literally; or [2] Spiritually and 
Mystically. In the letter, 'I brought thee out of the house of 
bondage;' that is, I delivered you out of the misery and servitude 
you sustained in Egypt, where you were in the iron furnace. 
Spiritually and mystically, by which 'I brought thee out of the 
house of bondage,' is a type of our deliverance by Christ from sin 
and hell. 
    [1] Literally, 'I brought thee out of the house of bondage,' 
out of great misery and slavery in the iron furnace. The thing I 
note here is that, though God brings his people sometimes into 
trouble, yet he will bring them out again. Israel was in the house 
of bondage, but at last was brought out. 
    We shall endeavour to show: 1. That God does deliver out of 
trouble. 2. In what manner. 3. At what seasons. 4. Why he delivers. 
5. How the deliverances of the godly and wicked out of trouble 
    God does deliver his children out of troubles. 'Our fathers 
trusted in thee; they trusted, and thou didst deliver them.' Psa 22: 
4. 'And I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion,' namely, from 
Nero. 2 Tim 4: 17. 'Thou laidst affliction upon our loins, but thou 
broughtest us out into a wealthy place.' Psa 66: 11, 12. 'Weeping 
may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.' Psa 30: 5. 
God brought Daniel out of the lions' den, Zion out of Babylon. In 
his due time he gives an issue out of trouble. Psa 68: 20. The tree 
which in the winter seems dead, revives in the spring. Post nubila 
Phoebus [The sun emerges after the storms]. Affliction may leap on 
us as the viper did on Paul, but at last it shall be shaken off. It 
is called a cup of affliction. Isa 51: 17. The wicked drink a sea of 
wrath, the godly drink only a cup of affliction, and God will say 
shortly, 'Let this cup pass away.' God will give his people a 
    In what manner does God deliver his people out of trouble? 
    He does it like a God, in wisdom. (1) He does it sometimes 
suddenly. As the angel was caused to fly swiftly (Dan 9: 21), so God 
sometimes makes a deliverance fly swiftly, and on a sudden turns the 
shadow of death into the light of the morning. As he gives us 
mercies above what we can think (Eph 3: 20), so sometimes before we 
can think of them. 'When the Lord turned again the captivity of 
Zion, we were like them that dream;' it came suddenly upon us as a 
dream. Psa 126: 1. Joseph could not have thought of such a sudden 
alteration, to be the same day freed out of prison, and made the 
chief ruler in the kingdom. Mercy sometimes does not stick long in 
the birth, but comes forth on a sudden. (2) God sometimes delivers 
his people strangely. Thus the whale which swallowed up Jonah was 
the means of bringing him safe to land. He sometimes delivers his 
people in the very way which they think will destroy. In bringing 
Israel out of Egypt, he stirred up the heart of the Egyptians to 
hate them (Psa 105: 25), and that was the means of their 
deliverance. He brought Paul to shore by a contrary wind, and upon 
the broken pieces of the ship. Acts 27: 44. 
    When are the times and seasons that God usually delivers his 
people out of the bondage of affliction? 
    (1) When they are in the greatest extremity. Though Jonah was 
in the belly of hell, he says, 'Thou hast brought up my life from 
corruption.' Jonah 2: 6. When there is but a hair's breadth between 
the godly and death, God ushers in deliverance. When the ship was 
almost covered with waves Christ awoke and rebuked the wind. When 
Isaac was upon the altar, and the knife about to be put to his 
throat, the angel comes and says, 'Lay not thy hand upon the child.' 
When Peter began to sink, Christ took him by the hand. Cum 
duplicantur lateres, venit Moses: 'when the tale of brick was 
doubled, then Moses the temporal saviour comes. When the people of 
God are in the greatest danger the morning star of deliverance 
appears. When the patient is ready to faint the cordial is given. 
    (2) The second season is, when affliction has done its work 
upon them; when it has effected that which God sent it for. As, [1] 
When it has humbled them. 'Remembering my affliction, the wormwood 
and gall, my soul is humbled in me.' Lam 3: 19, 20. Then God's 
corrosive has eaten out the proud flesh. [2] When it has tamed their 
impatience. Before, they were proud and impatient, like froward 
children that struggle with their parents; but when their cursed 
hearts are tamed, they say, 'I will bear the indignation of the 
Lord, because I have sinned against him' (Micah 7: 9); and as Eli, 
'It is the Lord; let him do what seemeth him good:' 'Let him hedge 
me with thorns, if he will plant me with grace.' 1 Sam 3: 18. 
    (3) When they are partakers of more holiness, and are more full 
of heavenly-mindedness. Heb 12: 10. When the sharp frost of 
affliction has brought forth the spring-flowers of grace, the cross 
is sanctified, and God will bring them out of the house of bondage. 
Luctus in laetitiam vertetur, cineres in corollas [Sorrow will turn 
to joy, ashes to garlands]. When the metal is refined it is taken 
out of the furnace. When affliction has healed us, God takes off the 
smarting plaister. 
    Why does God bring his people out of the house of bondage? 
    Hereby he makes way for his own glory. His glory is dearer to 
him than anything besides; it is a crown jewel. By raising his 
people he raises the trophies of his own honour; he glorifies his 
own attributes; his power, truth, and goodness are triumphant. 
    (1) His power. If God did not sometimes bring his people into 
trouble, how could his power be seen in bringing them out? He 
brought Israel out of the house of bondage, with miracle upon 
miracle; he saved them with an outstretched arm. 'What ailed thee, O 
thou sea, that thou fleddest?' &c. Psa 114: 5. Of Israel's march out 
of Egypt it is said, when the sea fled, and the waters were parted 
each from other. Here was the power of God set forth. 'Is there any 
thing too hard for me?' Jer 32: 27. God loves to help when things 
seem past hope. He creates deliverance. Psa 124: 8. He brought Isaac 
out of a dead womb, and the Messiah out of a virgin's womb. oh! how 
does his power shine forth when he overcomes seeming 
impossibilities, and works a cure when things look desperate! 
    (2) His truth. God has made promises to his people, when they 
are under great pressures, to deliver them; and his truth is engaged 
in his promise. 'Call upon me in the day of trouble, I will deliver 
thee.' Psa 50: 15. 'He shall deliver thee in six troubles, yea in 
seven.' Job 5: 19. How is the Scripture bespangled with these 
promises as the firmament is with stars! Either God will deliver 
them from death, or by death; he will make a way of escape. 1 Cor 
10: 13. When promises are verified, God's truth is magnified. 
    (3) His goodness. God is full of compassion to such as are in 
misery. The Hebrew word, Racham, for mercy, signifies bowels. God 
has 'sounding of bowels.' Isa 63: 15. And this sympathy stirs up God 
to deliver. 'In his love and pity he redeemed them.' Isa 63: 9. This 
makes way for the triumph of his goodness. He is tender-hearted, he 
will not over afflict; he cuts asunder the bars of iron, he breaks 
the yoke of the oppressor. Thus all his attributes ride in triumph 
in saving his people out of trouble. 
    How do the deliverance of the godly and tricked out of trouble 
    (1) The deliverances of the godly are preservations; of the 
wicked reservations. 'The Lord knows how to deliver the godly, and 
to reserve the unjust to be punished.' 2 Pet 2: 9. A sinner may be 
delivered from dangerous sickness, and out of prison; but all this 
is but a reservation for some greater evil. 
    (2) God delivers the wicked, or rather spares them in anger. 
Deliverances to the wicked are not given as pledges of his love, but 
symptoms of displeasure; as quails were given to Israel in anger. 
But deliverances of the godly are in love. 'He delivered me because 
he delighted in me'. 2 Sam 22: 20. 'Thou hast in love to my soul 
delivered it from the pit of corruption;' or, as in the Hebrew, 
Chashiaqta Naphshi. Isa 38: 17. Thou hast loved me from the pit of 
corruption. A wicked man may say, 'Lord, thou hast delivered me out 
of the pit of corruption;' but a godly man may say, 'Lord, thou hast 
loved me out of the pit of corruption.' It is one thing to have 
God's power deliver us, and another thing to have his love deliver 
us. 'O,' said Hezekiah, 'Thou hast in love to my soul, delivered me 
from the pit of corruption.' 
    How may it be known that a deliverance comes in love? 
    (1) When it makes our heart boil over in love to God. 'I love 
the Lord because he has heard my voice.' Psa 116: 1. It is one thing 
to love our mercies, another thing to love the Lord. Deliverance is 
in love when it causes love. 
    (2) Deliverance is in love when we have hearts to improve it 
for God's glory. The wicked, instead of improving their deliverance 
for God's glory, increase their corruption; they grow worse, as the 
metal when taken out of the fire grows harder; but our deliverance 
is in love when we improve it for God's glory. God raises us out of 
a low condition, and we lift him up in our praises, and honour him 
with our substance. Prov 3: 9. He recovers us from sickness, and we 
spend ourselves in his service. Mercy is not as the sun to the fire, 
to dull it and put it out, but as oil to the wheel, to make it move 
    (3) Deliverance comes in love when it makes us more exemplary 
in holiness; and our lives are walking Bibles. A thousand praises 
and doxologies do not honour God so much as the mortifying of one 
lust. 'Upon mount Zion there shall be deliverance and holiness,' 
Obadiah 17. When these two go together, deliverance and holiness; 
when, being made monuments of mercy, we are patterns of piety; then 
a deliverance comes in love, and we may say as Hezekiah, 'Thou hast 
in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption.' 
    Use one. If God brings his people out of bondage, let none 
despond in trouble. Say not 'I shall sink under this burden;' or as 
David, 'I shall one day perish by the hand of Saul.' God can make 
the text good, personally and nationally, to bring his people out of 
the house of bondage. When he sees a fit season, he will put forth 
his arm and save them; and he can do it with ease. 'Lord, it is 
nothing with thee to help.' 2 Chron 14: 11. He that can turn tides, 
can turn the times; he that raised Lazarus when he was dead, can 
raise thee when thou art sick. 'I looked, and there was none to 
help, therefore mine own arm brought salvation.' Isa 63: 5. Do not 
despond; believe in God's power: faith sets God to work to deliver 
    Use two. Labour, if you are in trouble, to be fitted for 
deliverance. Many would have deliverance, but are not fitted for it. 
    When are we fitted for deliverance? 
    When, by our afflictions, we are conformed to Christ; when we 
have learned obedience. 'He learned obedience by the things which he 
suffered;' that is, he learned sweet submission to his Father's 
will. Heb 5: 8. 'Not my will, but thine, be done.' Luke 22: 42. When 
we have thus learned obedience by our sufferings, we are willing to 
do what God would have us do, and be what God would have us be. We 
are conformed to Christ, and are fitted for deliverance. 
    Use three. If God has brought you at any time out of the house 
of bondage, out of great and eminent troubles, be much in praise. 
Deliverance calls for praise. 'Thou hast put off my sackcloth, and 
girded me with gladness; to the end that my glory may sing praise to 
thee.' Psa 30: 11, 12. My glory, that is, my tongue, which is the 
instrument of glorifying thee. The saints are temples of the Holy 
Ghost. 1 Cor 3: 16. Where should God's praises be sounded but in his 
temple? Beneficium postulat officium [Gratitude should follow a 
favour]. The deepest springs yield the sweetest water; and hearts 
deeply sensible of God's deliverances yield the sweetest praises. 
Moses tells Pharaoh, when he was going out of Egypt, 'We will go 
with our flocks and our herds.' Exod 10: 9. Why so? Because he might 
have sacrifices of thanksgiving ready to offer to God for their 
deliverance. To have a thankful heart for deliverance is a greater 
blessing than the deliverance itself. One of the lepers, 'when he 
saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified 
God.' Luke 17: 15. The leper's thankful heart was a greater blessing 
than to be healed of his leprosy. Have any of you been brought out 
of the house of bondage - out of prison, sickness, or any 
death-threatening danger? Do not forget to be thankful. Be not 
graves, but temples. That you may be the more thankful, observe 
every emphasis and circumstance in your deliverance; such as to be 
brought out of trouble when you were in articulo mortis [at the 
brink of death], when there was but a hair's breadth between you and 
death; or, to be brought out of affliction, without sin, you did not 
purchase your deliverance by the ensnaring of your consciences; or, 
to be brought out of trouble upon the wings of prayer; or, that 
those who were the occasions of bringing you into trouble, should be 
the instruments of bringing you out. These circumstances, being well 
weighed, heighten a deliverance, and should heighten our 
thankfulness. The cutting of a stone may be of more value than the 
stone itself; and the circumstancing of a deliverance may be greater 
than the deliverance itself. 
    But how shall we praise God in a right manner for deliverance? 
    (1) Be holy persons. In the sacrifice of thanksgiving, 
whosoever did eat thereof with his uncleanness upon him, was to be 
cut off (Lev 7: 20), to typify how unpleasing their praises and 
thank-offerings are who live in sin. 
    (2) Praise God with humble hearts, acknowledge how unworthy you 
were of deliverance. God's mercies are not debts, but legacies; and 
that you should have them by legacy should make you humble. 'The 
elders fell upon their faces (an expression of humility) and 
worshipped God. Rev 11: I6. 
    (3) Praise God for deliverances cordially. 'I will praise the 
Lord with my whole heart.' Psa 111: 1. In religion there is no music 
but in concert, when heart and tongue join. 
    (4) Praise God for deliverances constantly. 'While I live will 
I praise the Lord.' Psa 146: 2. Some will be thankful while the 
memory of a deliverance is fresh, and then leave off. The 
Carthaginians used, at first, to send the tenth of their yearly 
revenue to Hercules; but by degrees they grew weary, and left off 
sending; but we must be constant in our Eucharistic sacrifice, or 
thank-offering. The motion of our praise must be like the motion of 
our pulse, which beats as long as life lasts. 'I will sing praises 
unto my God while I have any being.' Psa 146: 2. 
    [2] THESE words are to be understood mystically and 
spiritually. By Israel's deliverance from the house of bondage, is 
typified their spiritual deliverance from sin, Satan, and hell. 
    (1) From sin. The house of bondage was a type of Israel's 
deliverance from sin. Sin is the true bondage, it enslaves the soul. 
Nihil durius servitute. Cicero. 'Of all conditions, servitude is the 
worst.' 'I was held before conversion,' says Augustine, 'not with an 
iron chain, but with the obstinacy of mine own will.' Sin is the 
enslaver; it is called a law, because it has a binding power over a 
man (Rom 7: 23); it is said to reign, because it exercises a 
tyrannical power (Rom 6: 12); and men are said to be the servants of 
sin, because they are so enslaved by it. Rom 6: 17. Thus sin is the 
house of bondage. Israel was not so enslaved in the iron furnace as 
the sinner is by sin. They are worse slaves and vassals who are 
under the power of sin, than they are who are under the power of 
earthly tyrants. 
    Other slaves have tyrants ruling over their bodies only; but 
the sinner has his soul tyrannised over. That princely thing, the 
soul, which sways the sceptre of reason, and was once crowned with 
perfect knowledge and holiness, now goes on foot; it is enslaved, 
and made a lackey to every base lust. 
    Other slaves have some pity shown them: the tyrant gives them 
meat, and lets them have hours for their rest; but sin is a 
merciless tyrant, it will let men have no rest. Judas had no rest 
until he had betrayed Christ, and after that he had less rest than 
before. How does a man wear himself out in the service of sin, waste 
his body, break his sleep, distract his mind! A wicked man is every 
day doing sin's drudgery-work. 
    Other slaves have servile work; but it is lawful. It is lawful 
to work in the galley, and tug at the oar; but all the laws and 
commands of sin are unlawful. Sin says to one man, defraud; to 
another, be unchaste; to another take revenge; to another, take a 
false oath. Thus all sin's commands are unlawful; we cannot obey 
sin's law, but by breaking God's law. 
    Other slaves are forced against their will. Israel groaned 
under slavery (Exod 2: 23); but sinners are content to be under the 
command of sin; they are willing to be slaves; they love their 
chains; they will not take their freedom; they 'glory in their 
shame.' Phil 3: 19. They wear their sins, not as their fetters, but 
their ornaments; they rejoice in iniquity. Jer 11: 15. 
    Other slaves are brought to correction, but sin's slaves are 
without repentance, and are brought to condemnation. Other slaves 
lie in the iron furnace: sin's slaves lie in the fiery furnace. What 
freedom of will has a sinner to his own confusion, when he can do 
nothing but what sin will have him? He is enslaved. Thus sinners are 
in the house of bondage; but God takes his elect out of the house of 
bondage, he beats off the chains and fetters of sin; he rescues them 
from their slavery; he makes them free, by bringing them into 'the 
glorious liberty of the children of God.' Rom 8: 21. The law of love 
now rules, not the law of sin. Though the life of sin be prolonged, 
yet not the dominion; as those beasts in Daniel had their lives 
prolonged for a season, but their dominion was taken away. Dan 7: 
12. The saints are made spiritual kings, to rule and conquer their 
corruptions, to 'bind these kings in chains.' It is matter of the 
highest praise and thanksgiving, to be taken out of the house of 
bondage, to be freed from enslaving hosts, and made kings to reign 
in glory for ever. 
    (2) The bringing Israel out of the house of bondage, was a type 
of the deliverance from Satan. Men naturally are in the house of 
bondage, they are enslaved to Satan. Satan is called the prince of 
this world (John 14: 30); and the god of this world (2 Cor 4: 4); 
because he has power to command and enslave them. Though he shall 
one day be a close prisoner in chains, yet now he insults and 
tyrannises over the souls of men. Sinners are under his rule, he 
exercises over them a jurisdiction such as Caesar did over the 
senate. He fills men's heads with error, and their hearts with 
malice. 'Why has Satan filled thine heart?' Act 5: 3. A sinner's 
heart is the devil's mansion house. 'I will return into mine house.' 
Matt. 12: 44. And sure that must needs be a house of bondage, which 
is the devil's mansion-house. Satan is a complete tyrant. He rules 
men's minds, he blinds them with ignorance. 'The god of this world 
has blinded the minds of them that believe not.' 2 Cor 4: 4. He 
rules their memories. They remember that which is evil, and forget 
that which is good. Their memories are like a strainer, that lets go 
all the pure liquor, and retains only the dregs. He rules their 
wills. Though he cannot force the will, he draws it. 'The lusts of 
your father you will do.' John 8: 44. He has got your hearts, and 
him you will obey. His strong temptations draw men to evil more than 
all the promises of God can draw them to good. This is the state of 
every man by nature; he is in the house of bondage; the devil has 
him in his power. A sinner grinds in the devil's mill; he is at the 
command of Satan, as the ass is at the command of the driver. No 
wonder to see men oppress and persecute; as slaves they must do what 
the god of this world will have them. How could those swine but run, 
when the devil entered into them? Matt 8: 32. When the devil tempted 
Ananias to tell a lie, he could not but speak what Satan had put in 
his heart. Acts 5: 3. When the devil entered into Judas, and bade 
him betray Christ, he would do it, though he hanged himself. It is a 
sad and dismal case, to be in the house of bondage, under the power 
and tyranny of Satan. When David would curse the enemies of God, how 
did he pray against them? That Satan might be at their right hand. 
Psa 109: 6. He knew he could then lead them into any snare. If the 
sinner has Satan at his right hand, let him take heed that he be not 
at God's left hand. Is it not a case to be bewailed, to see men 
taken captive by Satan at his will? 2 Tim 2: 26. He leads sinners as 
slaves before him in triumph; he wholly possesses them. If people 
should see their beasts bewitched and possessed of the devil, they 
would be much troubled; and yet, though their souls are possessed by 
Satan, they are not sensible of it. What can be worse than for men 
to be in the house of bondage, and to have the devil hurry them on 
in their lusts to perdition? Sinners are willingly enslaved to 
Satan; they love their gaoler; are content to sit quietly under 
Satan's jurisdiction; they choose this bramble to rule over them, 
though after a while, fire will come out of the bramble to devour 
them. Judges 9: 15. What an infinite mercy is it when God brings 
poor souls out of this house of bondage, when he gives them a 
gaol-delivery from the prince of darkness! JESUS CHRIST redeems 
captives, he ransoms sinners by price, and rescues them by force. As 
David took a lamb out of the lion's mouth (1 Sam 17: 3 5), so Christ 
rescues souls out of the mouth of the roaring lion. Oh, what a mercy 
is it to be brought out of the house of bondage, from captives to 
the prince of the power of the air, to be made subjects of the 
Prince of Peace! This is done by the preaching of the Word. 'To turn 
them from the power of Satan unto God.' Acts 26: 18. 
    (3) The bringing of Israel out of the house of bondage was a 
type of their being delivered from hell. Hell is domus servitutis, a 
house of bondage; a house built on purpose for sinners to lie in. 
    There is such a house of bondage where the damned lie. 'The 
wicked shall be turned into hell.' Psa 9: 17. 'How can ye escape the 
damnation of hell?' Matt 23: 33. If any one should ask where this 
house of bondage is, where is the place of hell? I wish he may never 
know experimentally. 'Let us not so much,' says Chrysostom, 'labour 
to know where hell is, as how to escape it.' Yet to satisfy 
curiosity, it may be observed that hell is locus subterraneus, some 
place beneath. 'Hell beneath.' Prov 15: 24. Hesiod says, 'Hell is as 
far under the earth, as heaven is above it.' The devils besought 
Christ 'that he would not command them to go out into the deep.' 
Luke 8: 31. Hell is in the deep. 
    Why must there be this house of bondage? Why a hell? Because 
there must be a place for the execution of divine justice. Earthly 
monarchs have their prison for malefactors, and shall not God have 
his? Sinners are criminals, they have offended God; and it would not 
consist with his holiness and justice, to have his laws infringed, 
and not inflict penalties. 
    The dreadfulness of the place. Could you but hear the groans 
and shrieks of the damned for one hour, it would confirm you in the 
truth, that hell is a house of bondage. Hell is the emphasis of 
misery. Besides the poena damni, 'the punishment of loss,' which is 
the exclusion of the soul from the gloried sight of God, which 
divines think the worst part of hell, there will be poena sensus,' 
the punishment of sense.' If, when God's wrath is kindled but a 
little, and a spark of it flies into a man's conscience in this 
life, it is so terrible (as in the case of Spira), what will hell 
itself be? 
    In hell there will be a plurality of torments, 'Bonds and 
chains.' 2 Pet 2: 4. There will be the worm. Mark 9: 48; This is the 
worm of conscience. There will be the lake of fire. Rev 20: 15. 
Other fire is but painted to this. 
    This house of hell is haunted with devils. Matt 25: 41. Anselm 
says, 'I had rather endure all torments, than see the devil with 
bodily eyes.' Such as go to hell must not only be forced to behold 
the devil, but must be shut up with this lion in his den; they must 
keep the devil company. He is full of spite against mankind; a red 
dragon that will spit fire in men's faces. 
    The torments of hell abide for ever. 'The smoke of their 
torment ascendeth up for ever and ever.' Rev 14: 2: Time cannot 
finish it, tears cannot quench it. Mark 9: 44. The wicked are 
salamanders, who live always in the fire of hell, and are not 
consumed. After they have lain millions of years in hell, their 
punishment is as far from ending, as it was at the beginning. If all 
the earth and sea were sand, and every thousandth year a bird should 
come, and take away one grain, it would be a long time before that 
vast heap would be removed; yet, if after all that time the damned 
might come out of hell, there would be some hope; but this word EVER 
breaks the heart. 
    How does it seem to comport with God's justice to punish a sin 
committed in a moment, with eternal torment? 
    Because there is an eternity of sin in man's nature. Because 
sin is crimen laesae majestatis, 'committed against an infinite 
majesty,' and therefore the sin itself is infinite, and 
proportionally the punishment must be infinite. Because a finite 
creature cannot bear infinite wrath, he must be eternally satisfying 
what he can never satisfy. If hell be such a house of bondage, what 
infinite cause have they to bless God who are delivered from it! 
Jesus 'delivered us from the wrath to come.' 1 Thess 1: 10. Jesus 
Christ suffered the torments of hell in his soul, that believers 
should not suffer them. If we are thankful, when we are ransomed out 
of prison, or delivered from fire, oh, how should we bless God to be 
preserved from the wrath to come! It may cause more thankfulness in 
us, seeing the most part go into the house of bondage, even to hell. 
To be of the number of those few that are delivered from it, is 
matter of infinite thankfulness. Most, I say, go to that house of 
bondage when they die; most go to hell. 'Broad is the way that 
leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat.' Matt 
7: 13. The greatest part of the world lies in wickedness. 1 John 5: 
19. Divide the world, says Brerewood, into thirty-one parts, 
nineteen parts of it are possessed by Jews and Turks, and seven 
parts by heathens; so that there are but five parts of Christians, 
and among these Christians so many seduced Papists on the one hand, 
and so many formal Protestants on the other, that we may conclude 
the major part of the world goes to hell. Scripture compares the 
wicked to briers. Isa 10: 17. There are but few lilies in your 
fields, but in every hedge thorns and briers. It compares them to 
'the mire in the streets.' Isa 10: 6. Few jewels or precious stones 
are in the street, but you cannot go a step without meeting with 
mire. The wicked are as common as the dirt in the street. Look at 
the generality of people. How many drunkards are there for one that 
is sober! How many adulterers for one that is chaste! How many 
hypocrites for one that is sincere! The devil has the harvest, and 
God a few gleanings only. Oh, then, such as are delivered from the 
house of bondage, in hell, have infinite cause to admire and bless 
God. How should the vessels of mercy run over with thankfulness! 
When most others are carried prisoners to hell, they are delivered 
from the wrath to come. 
    How shall I know I am delivered from hell? 
    (1) Those whom Christ saves from hell he saves from sin. 'He 
shall save his people from their sins.' Matt 1: 21. Has God 
delivered you from the power of corruption, from pride, malice, and 
lust? If he has delivered you from the hell of sin, he has delivered 
you from the hell of torment. 
    (2) If you have got an interest in Christ, and are prizing, 
trusting, and loving him, you are delivered from hell and damnation. 
'No condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.' Rom 8:1. If you 
are in Christ, he has put the garment of his righteousness over you, 
and hell-fire can never singe it. Pliny observes, nothing will so 
soon quench fire as salt and blood: the salt tears of repentance and 
the blood of Christ will quench the fire of hell, so that it shall 
never kindle upon you.

Watson, The Ten Commandments
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