The Lord's Prayer by Thomas Watson File 2 (... continued from file 1) The Preface to the Lord's Prayer 'Our Father which art in Heaven ' Having gone over the chief grounds and fundamentals of religion, and enlarged upon the decalogue, or ten commandments, I shall speak now upon the Lord's prayer. 'After this manner therefore pray ye, Our Father which art in heaven hallowed,' &100:. Matt. 6: 9. In this Scripture are two things observable: the introduction to the prayer, and the prayer itself The introduction to the Lord's prayer is, 'After this manner pray ye.' Our Lord Jesus, in these words, gave to his disciples and to us a directory for prayer. The ten commandments are the rule of our life, the creed is the sum of our faith, and the Lord's prayer is the pattern of our prayer. As God prescribed Moses a pattern of the tabernacle (Exod 25: 9), so Christ has here prescribed us a pattern of prayer. 'After this manner pray ye,' &c. The meaning is, let this be the rule and model according to which you frame your prayers. Ad hanc regulam preces nostras exigere necesse est [We ought to examine our prayers by this rule]. Calvin. Not that we are tied to the words of the Lord's prayer. Christ says not, 'After these words, pray ye;' but 'After this manner:' that is, let all your petitions agree and symbolise with the things contained in the Lord's prayer; and well may we make all our prayers consonant and agreeable to this prayer. Tertullian calls it, Breviarium totius evangelii, 'a breviary and compendium of the gospel,' it is like a heap of massive gold. The exactness of this prayer appears in the dignity of the Author. A piece of work has commendation from its artifices, and this prayer has commendation from its Author; it is the Lord's prayer. As the moral law was written with the finger of God, so this prayer was dropped from the lips of the Son of God. Non vex hominem sonat, est Deus [The voice is not that of a man, but that of God]. The exactness of the prayer appears in the excellence of the matter. It is 'as silver tried in a furnace, purified seven times.' Psa 12: 6. Never was prayer so admirably and curiously composed as this. As Solomon's Song, for its excellence is called the 'Song of songs,' so may this be well called the 'Prayer of prayers'. The matter of it is admirable, 1. For its comprehensiveness. It is short and pithy, Multum in parvo, a great deal said in a few words. It requires most art to draw the two globes curiously in a little map. This short prayer is a system or body of divinity. 2. For its clearness. It is plain and intelligible to every capacity. Clearness is the grace of speech. 3. For its completeness. It contains the chief things that we have to ask, or God has to bestow. Use. Let us have a great esteem of the Lord's prayer; let it be the model and pattern of all our prayers. There is a double benefit arising from framing our petitions suitably to this prayer. Hereby error in prayer is prevented. It is not easy to write wrong after this copy; we cannot easily err when we have our pattern before us. Hereby mercies requested are obtained; for the apostle assures us that God will hear us when we pray 'according to his will.' 1 John 5: 14. And sure we pray according to his will when we pray according to the pattern he has set us. So much for the introduction to the Lord's prayer, 'After this manner pray ye.' The prayer itself consists of three parts. 1. A Preface. 2. Petitions. 3. The Conclusion. The preface to the prayer includes, 'Our Father;' and, 'Which art in heaven.' I. The first part of the preface is 'Our Father.' Father is sometimes taken personally, 'My Father is greater than I' (John 14: 28); but Father in the text is taken essentially for the whole Deity. This title, Father, teaches us that we must address ourselves in prayer to God alone. There is no such thing in the Lord's prayer, as, 'O ye saints or angels that are in heaven, hear us'; but, 'Our Father which art in heaven.' In what order must we direct our prayers to God? Here the Father only is named. May we not direct our prayers to the Son and Holy Ghost also? Though the Father only be named in the Lord's prayer, yet the other two Persons are not excluded. The Father is mentioned because he is first in order; but the Son and Holy Ghost are included because they are the same in essence. As all the three Persons subsist in one Godhead, so, in our prayers, though we name but one Person, we must pray to all. To come more closely to the first words of the preface, 'Our Father.' Princes on earth give themselves titles expressing their greatness, as 'High and Mighty.' God might have done so, and expressed himself thus, 'Our King of glory, our Judge:' but he gives himself another title, 'Our Father,' an expression of love and condescension. That he might encourage us to pray to him, he represents himself under the sweet notion of a Father. 'Our Father.' Dulce nomen Patris [Sweet is the name of Father]. The name Jehovah carries majesty in it: the name Father carries mercy in it. In what sense is God a Father? (1) By creation; it is he that has made us: 'We are also his offspring.' Acts 17: 28. 'Have we not all one Father?' Mal 2: 10. Has not one God created us? But there is little comfort in this; for God is Father in the same way to the devils by creation; but he that made them will not save them. (2) God is a Father by election, having chosen a certain number to be his children, upon whom he will entail heaven. 'He has chosen us in him.' Eph 1: 4. (3) God is a Father by special grace. He consecrates the elect by his Spirit, and infuses a supernatural principle of holiness, therefore they are said to be 'born of God.' I John 3: 9. Such only as are sanctified can say, 'Our Father which art in heaven.' What is the difference between God being the Father of Christ, and the Father of the elect? He is the Father of Christ in a more glorious and transcendent manner. Christ has the primogeniture; he is the eldest Son, a Son by eternal generation; 'I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.' Prov 8: 23. 'Who shall declare his generation?' Isa 53: 8. Christ is a Son to the Father, as he is of the same nature with the Father, having all the incommunicable properties of the Godhead belonging to him; but we are sons of God by adoption and grace, 'That we might receive the adoption of sons. Gal 4: 5. What is that which makes God our Father? Faith. 'Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.' Gal 3: 26. An unbeliever may call God his Creator, and his Judge, but not his Father. Faith legitimises us, and makes us of the blood-royal of heaven. 'Ye are the children of God by faith.' Baptism makes us church members, but faith makes us children. Without faith the devil can show as good a coat of arms as we can. How does faith make God to be our Father? As it is a uniting grace. By faith we have coalition and union with Christ, and so the kindred comes in; being united to Christ, the natural Son, we become adopted sons. God is the Father of Christ; faith makes us Christ's brethren, and so God comes to be our Father. Heb 2: 11. Wherein does it appear that God is the best Father? (1) In that he is most ancient. 'The Ancient of days did sit.' Dan 7: 9. A figurative representation of God, who was before all time, which may cause veneration. (2) God is the best Father, because he is perfect. 'Your Father which is in heaven is perfect;' he is perfectly good. Matt 5: 48. Earthly fathers are subject to infirmities; Elias, though a prophet, 'was a man subject to like passions' (James 5: 17); but God is perfectly good. All the perfection we can arrive at in this life is sincerity. We may resemble God a little, but not equal him; he is infinitely perfect. (3) God is the best Father in respect of wisdom. 'The only wise God.' 1 Tim 1: 17. He has a perfect idea of wisdom in himself; he knows the fittest means to bring about his own designs. The angels light at his lamp. In particular, one branch of his wisdom is, that he knows what is best for us. An earthly parent knows not, in some intricate cases, how to advise his child, or what may be best for him to do; but God is a most wise Father; he knows what is best for us; he knows what comfort is best for us: he keeps his cordials for fainting. 'God that comforteth those that are cast down.' 2 Cor 7: 6. He knows when affliction is best for us, and when it is fit to give a bitter potion. 'If need be ye are in heaviness.' 1 Pet 1: 6. He is the only wise God; he knows how to make evil things work for good to his children. Rom 8: 28. He can make a sovereign treacle of poison. Thus he is the best Father for wisdom. (4) He is the best Father, because the most loving. 'God is love.' I John 4: 16. He who causes bowels of affection in others, must needs have more bowels himself; quod efficit tale [for he accomplishes the same]. The affections in parents are but marble and adamant in comparison of God's love to his children; he gives them the cream of his love - electing love, saving love. 'He will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love; he will joy over thee with singing.' Zeph 3: 17. No father like God for love; if thou art his child thou canst not love thy own soul so entirely as he loves thee. (5) He is the best Father, for riches. He has land enough to give to all his children; he has unsearchable riches. Eph 3: 8. He gives the hidden manna, the tree of life, rivers of joy. He has treasures that cannot be exhausted, gates of pearl, pleasures that cannot be ended. If earthly fathers should be ever giving, they would have nothing left to give; but God is ever giving to his children, and yet has not the less. His riches are imparted not impaired; like the sun that still shines, and yet has not less light. He cannot be poor who is infinite. Thus he is the best Father; he gives more to his children than any father or prince can bestow. (6) God is the best Father, because he can reform his children. When his son takes bad courses, a father knows not how to make him better; but God knows how to make the children of the election better: he can change their hearts. When Paul was breathing out persecution against the saints, God soon altered his course, and set him praying. 'Behold, he prayeth.' Acts 9: 11. None of those who belong to the election are so roughcast and unhewn but God can polish them with his grace, and make them fit for the inheritance. (7) God is the best Father, because he never dies. 'Who only has immortality.' I Tim. 6: 16. Earthly fathers die, and their children are exposed to many injuries, but God lives for ever. 'I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending.' Rev 1: 8. God's crown has no successors. Wherein lies the dignity of those who have God for their Father? (1) They have greater honour than is conferred on the princes of the earth; they are precious in God's esteem. 'Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable.' Isa 43: 4. The wicked are dross (Psa 119: 119), and chaff (Psa 1: 4); but God numbers his children among his jewels. Mal 3: 17. He writes all his children's names in the book of life. 'Whose names are in the book of life.' Phil 4: 3. Among the Romans the names of their senators were written down in a book, patres conscripti [the enrolled fathers]. God enrols the names of his children, and will not blot them out of the register. 'I will not blot his name out of the book of life.' Rev 3: 5. God will not be ashamed of his children. 'God is not ashamed to be called their God.' Heb 11: 16. One might think it were something below God to father such children as are dust and sin mingled; but he is not ashamed to be called our God. That we may see he is not ashamed of his children, he writes his own name upon them. 'I will write upon him the name of my God;' that is, I will openly acknowledge him before all the angels to be my child; I will write my name upon him, as the son bears his father's name. Rev 3: 12. What an honour and dignity is this! (2) God confers honourable titles upon his children. He calls them the excellent of the earth, or the magnificent, as Junius renders it. Psa 16: 3. They must needs be excellent who are e regio sanguine nati, of the blood royal of heaven; they are the spiritual phoenixes of the world, the glory of the creation. God calls his children his glory. 'Israel, my glory.' Isa 46: 13. He honours his people with the title of kings. 'And has made us kings.' Rev 1: 6. All God's children are kings, though they have not earthly kingdoms. They carry a kingdom about them. 'The kingdom of God is within you. 'Grace is a kingdom set up in the hearts of God's children. Luke 17: 21. They are kings to rule over their sins, to bind those kings in chains. Psa 149: 8. They are like kings. They have their insignia regalia, their ensigns of royalty and majesty. They have their crown. In this life they are kings in disguise; they are not known, therefore they are exposed to poverty and reproach. 'Now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be.' I John 3: 2. Why, what shall we be? Every son of God shall have his crown of glory, and white robes. 1 Pet 5: 4; Rev. 6: 2: Robes signify dignity, and white signifies sanctity. (3) The honour of those who have God for their Father is, that they are all heirs; the youngest son is an heir. God's children are heirs to the things of this life. God being their Father, they have the best title to earthly things, they have a sanctified right to them. Though they have often the least share, they have the best right; and with what they have they have the blessing of God's love and favour. Others may have more of the venison, but God's children have more of the blessing. Thus they are heirs to the things of this life. They are heirs to the other world. 'Heirs of salvation' (Heb 1: 14); 'Joint heirs with Christ' (Rom 8: 17). They are co-sharers with Christ in glory. Among men the eldest son commonly carries away all; but God's children are all - joint-heirs with Christ, they have a co-partnership with him in his riches. Has Christ a place in the celestial mansions? So have the saints. 'In my Father's house are many mansions. I go to prepare a place for you.' John 14: 2. Has he his Father's love? So have they. 'That the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them.' Psa 146: 8; John 17: 26. Does he sit upon a throne? So do God's children. Rev 3: 21. What a high honour is this! (4) God makes his children equal in honour to the angels. Luke 20: 36. They are equal to the angels; nay, those saints who have God for their Father, are in some sense superior to the angels; for Jesus Christ having taken our nature, naturam nostram nobilitavit, says Augustine, has ennobled and honoured it above the angelic. Heb 2: 16. God has made his children, by adoption, nearer to himself than the angels. The angels are the friends of Christ: believers are his members, and this honour have all the saints. What a comfort is this to God's children who are here despised, and loaded with calumnies and invectives! 'We are made as the filth of the world,' etc. 1 Cor 4: 13. But God will put honour upon his children at the last day, and crown them with immortal bliss, to the envy of their adversaries. How may we know that God is our Father? All cannot say, 'Our Father.' The Jews boasted that God was their Father. 'We have one Father, even God.' John 8: 41. Christ tells them their true pedigree. 'Ye are of your father the devil;' ver 44. They who are of Satanic spirits, and make use of their power to beat down the power of godliness, cannot say, God is their Father; they may say, 'Our father who art in hell.' How then may we know that God is our Father? (1) By having a filial disposition, which is seen in four things.  To melt in tears for sin as a child weeps for offending his father: When Christ looked on Peter, and Peter remembered his sin in denying him, he fell to weeping. Clemens Alexandrinus reports of Peter that he never heard a cock crow but he wept. It is a sign that God is our Father when the heart of stone is taken away, and there is a gracious thaw in the heart; and it melts into tears for sin. He who has a childlike heart, mourns for sin in a spiritual manner, as it is sin he grieves for, as it is an act of pollution. Sin deflowers the virgin soul; it defaces God's image; it turns beauty into deformity; it is called the plague of the heart. 1 Kings 8: 38. A child of God mourns for the defilement of sin; sin has to him a blacker aspect than hell. He who has a childlike heart, grieves for sin, as it is an act of enmity. Sin is diametrically opposed to God. It is called walking contrary to God. 'If they shall confess their iniquity, and that they have walked contrary unto me.' Lev 26: 40. It does all it can to spite God; if God be of one mind, sin will be of another; sin would not only enthrone God, but strike at his very being. If sin could help it, God would no longer be God. A childlike heart grieves for this; 'Oh!' say she, 'that I should have so much enmity in me, that my will should be no more subdued to the will of my heavenly Father!' This springs a leak of godly sorrow. A childlike heart weeps for sin, as it is an act of ingratitude. It is an abuse of God's love; it is taking the jewels of his mercies, and making use of them to sin. God has done more for his children than others; he has planted his grace and given them some intimations of his favour; and to sin against kindness, dyes a sin in grain, and makes it crimson; like Absalom, who soon as his Father kissed him, and took him into favour, plotted treason against him. Nothing so melts a childlike heart in tears, as sins of unkindness. Oh, that I should sin against the blood of a Saviour, and the bowels of a Father! I condemn ingratitude in my child, yet I am guilty of ingratitude against my heavenly Father. This opens a vein of godly sorrow, and makes the heart bleed afresh. Certainly it evidences God to be our Father, when he has given us a childlike frame of heart, to weep for sin as it is sin, an act of pollution, enmity and ingratitude. A wicked man may mourn for the bitter fruit of sin, but only a child of God can grieve for its odious nature.  A filial disposition is to be full of sympathy. We lay to heart the dishonours reflected upon our heavenly Father. When we see his worship adulterated, and his truth mingled with the poison of error, it is as a sword in our bones, to see his glory suffer. 'I beheld the transgressors and was grieved. ' Psa 119: 158. Homer describing Agamemnon's grief when forced to sacrifice his daughter Iphigenia, brings in all his friends weeping and condoling with him; so, when God is dishonoured, we sympathise, and are as it were clad in mourning. A child that has any good nature, is cut to the heart to hear his father reproached; so an heir of heaven takes a dishonour done to God more heinous than a disgrace done to himself.  A filial disposition, is to love our heavenly Father. He is unnatural that does not love his father. God who is crowned with excellency, is the proper object of delight; and every true child of God says as Peter, 'Lord, thou knowest that I love thee.' But who will not say he loves God? If ours be a true genuine love to our heavenly Father, it may be known by the effects. Then we have a holy fear. There is the fear which rises from love to God, of losing the visible tokens of his presence. Eli's 'heart trembled for the ark.' I Sam 4: 13. It is not said his heart trembled for his two sons Hophni and Phinehas; but his heart trembled for the ark, because the ark was the special sign of God's presence; and if that were taken, the glory was departed. He who loves his heavenly Father, fears lest the tokens of his presence should be removed, lest profaneness should break in like a flood, lest Popery should get head, and God should go from his people. The presence of God in his ordinances is the glory and strength of a nation. The Trojans had the image of Dallas, and they had an opinion that as long as that image was preserved among them, they should never be conquered; so, as long as God's presence is with a people they are safe. Every true child of God fears lest God should go, and the glory depart. Let us try by this whether we have a filial disposition. Do we love God, and does this love cause fear and jealousy? Are we afraid lest we should lose God's presence, lest the Sun of Righteousness should remove out of our horizon? Many are afraid lest they should lose some of their worldly profits, but not lest they should lose the presence of God. If they may have peace and trading, they care not what becomes of the ark of God. A true child of God fears nothing so much as the loss of his Father's presence. 'Woe to them when I depart from them.' Hos 9: 12. Love to our heavenly Father is seen by loving his day. 'If thou call the Sabbath a delight.' Isa 58: 13. The ancients called this regina dierum, the queen of days. If we love our Father in heaven, we spend this day in devotion, in reading, hearing, meditating; on this day manna falls double. God sanctified the Sabbath; he made all the other days in the week, but he has sanctified this day; this day he has crowned with a blessing. Love to our heavenly Father is seen by loving his children. 'Every one that loveth him that begat, loveth him also that is begotten of him.' 1 John 5: 1. If we love God, the more we see of him in any, the more we love them. We love then though they are poor, as a child loves to see his father's picture, though hung in a mean frame. We love the children of our Father, though they are persecuted. 'Onesiphorus was not ashamed of my chain.' 2 Tim 1: 16. Constantine kissed the hole of Paphnusius's eye, because he suffered the loss of his eye for Christ. They have no love to God, who have no love to his children; they care not for their company; they have a secret disgust and antipathy against them. Hypocrites pretend great reverence to departed saints; they canonise dead saints, but persecute living ones. I may say of these, as the apostle in Heb 12: 8: they are 'bastards, not sons.' If we love our heavenly Father, we shall be advocates for him, and stand up in the defence of his truth. He who loves his father will plead for him when he is traduced and wronged. He has no childlike heart, no love to God, who can hear his name dishonoured and be silent. Does Christ appear for us in heaven, and are we afraid to appear for him on earth? Such as dare not own God and religion in times of danger, God will be ashamed to be called their God; it will be a reproach to him to have such children as will not own him. A childlike love to God is known by its degree. We love our Father in heaven above all other things; above estate, or relations, as oil runs above the water. Psa 73: 25. A child of God seeing a supereminence of goodness and a constellation of all beauties in him, is carried out in love to him in the highest measure. As God gives his children electing love, such as he does not bestow upon the wicked, so his children give to him such love as they bestow upon none else. They give him the flower and spirits of their love; they love him with a love joined with worship; this spiced wine they keep only for their Father to drink of. Cant 8: 2.  A childlike disposition is seen in honouring our heavenly Father. 'A son honoureth his father.' Mal 1: 6. We show our honour to our Father in heaven, by having a reverential awe of him upon us. 'Thou shalt fear thy God.' Lev 25: 17. This reverential fear of God, is when we dare do nothing that he has forbidden in his Word. 'How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?' Gen 39: 9. It is part of the honour a son gives to a father, that he fears to displease him. We show our honour to our heavenly Father, by doing all we can to exalt him and make his excellencies shine forth. Though we cannot lift him up higher in heaven, yet we may lift him higher in our hearts, and in the esteem of others. When we speak well of God, set forth his renown, display the trophies of his goodness; when we ascribe the glory of all we do to him; when we are the trumpeters of his praise; this is honouring our Father in heaven, and a sure sign of a childlike heart. 'Whose offereth praise, glorifieth me.' Psa 123. (2) We may know God is our Father by resembling him. The child is his father's picture. 'Each one resembled the children of a king', every child of God resembles the king of heaven. Judg 8: 18. Herein God's adopted children and man's differ. A man adopts one for his son and heir that does not at all resemble him; but whomsoever God adopts for his child is like him; he not only bears his heavenly Father's name, but his image. 'And have put on the new man, which is renewed after the image of him that created him.' Col 3: 10. He who has God for his Father, resembles him in holiness, which is the glory of the Godhead. Exod 15: 11. The holiness of God is the intrinsic purity of his essence. He who has God for his Father, partakes of the divine nature; though not of the divine essence, yet of the divine likeness; as the seal sets its print and likeness upon the wax, so he who has God for his Father, has the print and effigies of his holiness stamped upon him. 'Aaron, the saint of the Lord.' Psa 106: 16. Wicked men desire to be like God hereafter in glory, but do not affect to be like him here in grace; they give it out to the world that God is their Father, yet have nothing of God to be seen in them; they are unclean: they are not only without his image, but hate it. (3) We may know God is our Father by having his Spirit in us.  By having the intercession of the Spirit. It is a Spirit of prayer. 'Because ye are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying Abba, Father.' Gal 4: 6. Prayer is the soul's breathing itself into the bosom of its heavenly Father. None of God's children are born dumb. Implet Spiritus Sanctus organum suum, et tanquam fila chordarum tangit Spiritus Dei corda sanctorum [The Holy Spirit fills his instrument, and the Spirit of God touches the hearts of the saints like the threads of harp-strings]. Prosper. 'Behold, he prayeth.' Acts 9: 11. But it is not every prayer that evidences God's Spirit in us. Such as have no grace may excel in gifts, and affect the hearts of others in prayer, when their own hearts are not affected; as the lute makes a sweet sound in the ears of others, but itself is not sensible. How shall we know our prayers to be indited by the Spirit, and so he is our Father? When they are not only vocal, but mental; when they are not only gifts, but groans. Rom 8: 26. The best music is in concert: the best prayer is when the heart and tongue join together in concert. When they are zealous and fervent. 'The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.' James 5: 16. The eyes melt in prayer, and the heart burns. Fervency is to prayer as fire to incense, which makes it ascend to heaven as a sweet perfume. When prayer has faith mingled with it. Prayer is the key of heaven, and faith is the hand that turns it. 'We cry, Abba, Father.' Rom 8: 15. 'We cry,' there is fervency in prayer; 'Abba, Father,' there is faith. Those prayers suffer shipwreck which dash upon the rock of unbelief. We may know God is our Father, by having his Spirit praying in us; as Christ intercedes above, so the Spirit intercedes within.  By having the renewing of the Spirit, which is nothing else but regeneration, which is called a being born of the Spirit. John 3: 5. This regenerating work of the Spirit is a transformation, or change of nature. 'Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.' Rom 12: 2. He who is born of God has a new heart: new, not for substance, but for qualities. The strings of a viol may be the same, but the tune is altered. Before regeneration, there are spiritual pangs, much heart-breaking for sin. It is called a circumcision of the heart. Col 2: 11. In circumcision there was a pain in the flesh; so in spiritual circumcision there is pain in the heart; there is much sorrow arising from a sense of guilt and wrath. The jailor's trembling was a pang in the new birth. Acts 16: 29. God's Spirit is a spirit of bondage before it is a spirit of adoption. This blessed work of regeneration spreads over the whole soul; it irradiates the mind; it consecrates the heart, and reforms the life; though regeneration be but in part, yet it is in every part. 1 Thess 5: 23. Regeneration is the signature and engraving of the Holy Ghost upon the soul, the new-born Christian is bespangled with the jewels of the graces, which are the angels' glory. Regeneration is the spring of all true joy. At our first birth we come weeping into the world, but at our new birth there is cause of rejoicing; for now, God is our Father, and we are begotten to a lively hope of glory. 1 Pet 1: 3. We may try by this our relation to God. Has a regenerating work of God's Spirit passed upon our souls? Are we made of another spirit, humble and heavenly? This is a good sign of sonship, and we may say, 'Our Father which art in heaven.'  We know God is our Father by having the conduct of the Spirit. We are led by the Spirit. 'As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.' Rom 8: 14. God's Spirit does not only quicken us in our regeneration, but leads us on till we come to the end of our faith. It is not enough that the child has life, but he must be led every step by the nurse. 'I taught Ephraim to go, taking them by their arms.' Hos 11: 3. As the Israelites had the cloud and pillar of fire to go before them, and be a guide to them, so God's Spirit is a guide to go before us, and lead us into all truth, and counsel us in all our doubts, and influence us in all our actions. 'Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel.' Psa 73: 24. None can call God Father but such as have the conduct of the Spirit. Try then what spirit you are led by. Such as are led by a spirit of envy, lust, and avarice, are not led by the Spirit of God; it were blasphemy for them to call God Father; they are led by the spirit of Satan, and may say, 'Our father which art in hell.'  By having the witness of the Spirit. 'The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.' Rom 8: 16. This witness of the Spirit, suggesting that God is our Father, is not a vocal witness or voice from heaven. The Spirit in the word witnesseth: the Spirit in the word says, he who is qualified, who is a hater of sin and a lover of holiness, is a child of God, and God is his Father. If I can find such qualifications wrought, it is the Spirit witnessing with my spirit that I am a child of God. Besides, we may carry it higher. The Spirit of God witnesses to our spirit by making more than ordinary impressions upon our hearts, and giving some secret hints and whispers that God has purposes of love to us, which is a concurrent witness of the Spirit with conscience, that we are heirs of heaven, and God is our Father. This witness is better felt than expressed; it scatters doubts and fears, and silences temptations. But what shall one do that has not this witness of the Spirit? If we want the witness of the Spirit let us labour to find the work of the Spirit; if we have not the Spirit testifying, let us labour to have it sanctifying, and that will be a support to us. The Lord's Prayer by Thomas Watson (continued in file 3...) ---------------------------------------------------- file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-09: watlp-02.txt .