The Lord's Prayer
by Thomas Watson
File 3
(... continued from file 2)

    (4) If God be our Father, we are of peaceable spirits. 'Blessed 
are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.' 
Matt 5: 9. Grace infuses a sweet, amicable disposition; it files off 
the ruggedness of men's spirits; it turns the lion-like fierceness 
into a lamb-like gentleness. Isa 11: 7. They who have God to be 
their Father follow peace as well as holiness. God the Father is 
called the 'God of peace,' Heb 13: 20: God the Son, the 'Prince of 
Peace,' Isa 9: 6: God the Holy Ghost, a Spirit of peace; 'the unity 
of the Spirit in the bond of peace.' Eph 4: 3. The more peaceable, 
the more like God. God is not the Father of those who are fierce and 
cruel, as if, with Romulus, they had sucked the milk of a wolf 'The 
way of peace have they not known.' Rom 3: 17. They sport in 
mischief, and are of a persecuting spirit, as Maximinus, Diocletian, 
Antiochus, who, as Eusebius says, took more tedious journeys, and 
ran more hazards in vexing and persecuting the Jews, than any of his 
predecessors had done in obtaining victories. These furies cannot 
call God Father. If they do, they will have as little comfort in 
saying Father, as Dives had in hell, when he said, 'Father Abraham.' 
Luke 16: 24. Nor can those who are makers of division. 'Mark them 
which cause divisions, and avoid them.' Rom 16: 17. Such as are born 
of God, are makers of peace. What shall we think of such as are 
makers of divisions? Will God father these? The devil made the first 
division in heaven. They may call the devil father; they may give 
the cloven foot in their coat of arms; their sweetest music is in 
discord; they unite to divide. Samson's fox tails were tied together 
only to set the Philistine' corn on fire. Judges 15: 4. Papists 
unite only to set the church's peace on fire. Satan's kingdom grows 
up by making divisions. Chrysostom observes of the church of 
Corinth, that when many converts were brought in, Satan knew no 
better way to dam up the current of religion than to throw in an 
apple of strife, and divide them into parties: one was for Paul, and 
another for Apollo, but few for Christ. Would Christ not have his 
coat rent, and can he endure to have his body rent? Surely, God will 
never father them who are not sons of peace. Of all those whom God 
hates, he is named for one who is a sower of discord among brethren. 
Prov 6: 19. 
    (5) If God be our Father, we shall love to be near him, and to 
have converse with him. An ingenuous child delights to approach near 
to his father, and go into his presence. David envied the birds that 
built their nest near to God's altars, when he was debarred his 
Father's house. Psa 84: 3. True saints love to get as near to God as 
they can. In the word they draw near to his holy oracle, in the 
sacrament they draw near to his table. A child of God delights to be 
in his Father's presence; he cannot stay away long from God; he sees 
a Sabbath-day approaching, and rejoices; his heart has been often 
melted and quickened in an ordinance; he has tasted that the Lord is 
good, therefore he loves to be in his Father's presence; he cannot 
keep away long from God. Such as care not for ordinances cannot say, 
'Our Father which art in heaven.' Is God the Father of those who 
cannot endure to be in his presence? 
    Use 1. For instruction. See the amazing goodness of God, that 
he is pleased to enter into the sweet relation of a Father to us. He 
needed not to adopt us, he did not want a Son, but we wanted a 
Father. He showed power in being our Maker, but mercy in being our 
Father. That when we were enemies, and our hearts stood out as 
garrisons against God, he should conquer our stubbornness, and of 
enemies make us children, and write his name, and put his image upon 
us, and bestow a kingdom of glory; what a miracle of mercy is this! 
Every adopted child may say, 'Even so, Father, for so it seemed good 
in thy sight.' Matt 11: 26. 
    If God be a Father, then I infer that whatever he does to his 
children, is in love. 
    (1) If he smiles upon them in prosperity, it is in love. They 
have the world not only with God's leave, but with his love. He says 
to every child of his, as Naaman to Gehazi, 'Be content, take two 
talents.' 2 Kings 5: 23. So God says to his child, 'I am thy Father, 
take two talents.' Take health, and take my love with it; take an 
estate, and take my love with it: take two talents. His love is a 
sweetening ingredient in every mercy. 
    How does it appear that a child of God has worldly things in 
    Because he has a good title to them. God is his father, 
therefore he has a good title. A wicked man has a civil title to the 
creature, but no more; he has it not from the hand of a father; he 
is like one that takes up cloth at the draper's, and it is not paid 
for; but a believer has a good title to every foot of land he has, 
for his Father has settled it upon him. 
    A child of God has worldly things in love, because they are 
sanctified to him. They make him better, and are loadstones to draw 
him nearer to God. He has his Father's blessing with them. A little 
that is blest is sweet. 'He shall bless thy bread and thy water.' 
Exod 23: 25. Esau had the venison, but Jacob got the blessing. While 
the wicked have their meat sauced with God's wrath, believers have 
their comforts seasoned with a blessing. Psa 78: 30, 31. It was a 
sacred blessing from God that made Daniel's pulse nourish him more, 
and made him look fairer than they that ate of the king's meat. Dan 
1: 15. 
    A child of God has worldly things in love, because whatever he 
has is an earnest of more; every bit of bread is a pledge and 
earnest of glory. 
    (2) God being a Father, if he frown, if he dip his pen in gall, 
and write bitter things, if he correct, it is in love. A father 
loves his child as well when he chastises and disciplines him, as 
when he settles his land on him. 'As many as I love, I rebuke.' Rev 
3: 19. Afflictions are sharp arrows, says Gregory Nazianzen, but 
they are shot from the hand of a loving Father. Correctio est 
virtutis gymnasium [Correction is the school of character]. God 
afflicts with love: he does it to humble and purify. Gentle 
correction is as necessary as daily bread; nay, as needful as 
ordinances, as word and sacraments. There is love in all: God smites 
that he may save. 
    (3) God being a Father, if he desert and hide his face from his 
child, it is in love. Desertion is sad in itself, a short hell. Job 
6: 9. When the light is withdrawn, the dew falls. Yet we may see a 
rainbow in the cloud - the love of a Father in all this. God hereby 
quickens grace. Perhaps grace lay dormant. Cant 5: 2. It was as fire 
in the embers, and God withdrew comfort to invigorate and exercise 
it. Faith as a star sometimes shines brightest in the dark night of 
desertion. Jonah 2: 4. When God hides his face from his child, he is 
still a Father, and his heart is towards his child. As when Joseph 
spake roughly to his brethren, and made them believe he would take 
them for spies, his heart was full of love, and he was fain to go 
aside and weep; so God's bowels yearn towards his children when he 
seems to look strange. 'In a little wrath I hid my face from thee, 
but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee.' Isa 54: 8. 
Though God may have the look of an enemy, yet still he has the heart 
of a Father. 
    Learn hence the sad case of the wicked. They cannot say, 'Our 
Father in heaven;' they may say, 'Our Judge,' but not 'Our Father;' 
they fetch their pedigree from hell. 'Ye are of your father the 
devil.' John 8: 44. Such as are unclean and profane, are the 
spurious brood of the old serpent, and it were blasphemy for them to 
call God Father. The case of the wicked is deplorable; if they are 
in misery, they have none to make their moan to. God is not their 
Father, he disclaims all kindred with them. 'I never knew you: 
depart from me, ye that work iniquity.' Matt 7: 23. The wicked, 
dying in their sins, can expect no mercy from God as a Father. Many 
say, He that made them will save them; but 'It is a people of no 
understanding; therefore he that made them will not have mercy on 
them.' Isa 27: 11. Though God was their Father by creation, yet 
because they were not his children by adoption, therefore He that 
made them would not save them. 
    Use 2. For invitation. Let all who are yet strangers to God, 
labour to come into this heavenly kindred; never cease till they can 
say, 'Our Father which art in heaven.' 
    But will God be a Father to me, who has profaned his name, and 
been a great sinner? 
    If thou wilt now at last seek God by prayer, and break off thy 
sins, he has the bowels of a Father for thee, and will in nowise 
cast thee out. When the prodigal arose and went to his father, 'his 
father had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck, and kissed 
him.' Luke 15: 20. Though thou hast been a prodigal, and almost 
spent all upon thy lusts, yet if thou wilt give a bill of divorce to 
thy sins, and flee to God by repentance, know that he has the bowels 
of a Father; he will embrace thee in the arms of his mercy, and seal 
thy pardon with a kiss. What though thy sins have been heinous? The 
wound is not so broad as the plaister of Christ's blood. The sea 
covers great rocks; the sea of God's compassion can drown thy great 
sins; therefore be not discouraged, go to God, resolve to cast 
thyself upon his Fatherly compassion. He may be entreated of thee, 
as he was of Manasseh. 2 Chron 33: 13. 
    Use 3. For comfort. Here is comfort for such as can, upon good 
grounds, call God Father. There is more sweetness in this word 
Father than if we had ten thousand worlds. David thought it a great 
matter to be son-in-law to a king. 'What is my father's family, that 
I should be son-in-law to the king?' 1 Sam 18: 18. But what is it to 
be born of God, and have him for our Father? 
    Wherein lies the happiness of having God for our Father? 
    (1) If God be our Father, he will teach us. What father will 
refuse to counsel his son? Does God command parents to instruct 
their children, and will not he instruct his? Deut 4: 10. 'I am the 
Lord thy God, which teacheth thee to profit.' Isa 48: 17. 'O God, 
thou hast taught me from my youth.' Psa 71: 17. If God be our 
Father, he will give us the teachings of his Spirit. 'The natural 
man receiveth not the things of God, neither can he know them.' 1 
Cor 2: 14. The natural man may have excellent notions in divinity 
but God must teach us to know the mysteries of the gospel after a 
spiritual manner. A man may see the figures upon a dial, but he 
cannot tell how the day goes unless the sun shines; so we may read 
many truths in the Bible, but we cannot know them savingly, till God 
by his Spirit shines upon our soul. God teaches not only our ear, 
but our heart; he not only informs our mind, but inclines our will. 
We never learn aught till God teach us. If he be our Father, he will 
teach us how to order our affairs with discretion (Psa 112: 5) and 
how to carry ourselves wisely. 'David behaved himself wisely.' 1 Sam 
18: 5. He will teach us what to answer when we are brought before 
governors; he will put words into our mouths. 'Ye shall be brought 
before governors and kings for my sake; but take no thought how or 
what ye shall speak; for it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of 
your Father which speaketh in you.' Matt 10: 18, 19, 20. 
    (2) If God be our Father, he has bowels of affection towards 
us. If it be so unnatural for a father not to love his child, can we 
think God can be defective in his love? All the affections of 
parents come from God, yet are they but a spark from his flame. He 
is the Father of mercies. 2 Cor 1: 3. He begets all the mercies and 
bowels in the creature; his love to his children is a love which 
passeth knowledge. Eph 3: 19. It exceeds all dimensions; it is 
higher than heaven, it is broader than the sea. That you may see 
God's fatherly love to his children: Consider, God makes a precious 
valuation of them. 'Since thou wast precious in my sight.' Isa 43: 
4. A father prizes his child above his jewels. Their names are 
precious, for they have God's own name written upon them. 'I will 
write upon him the name of my God.' Rev 3: 12. Their prayers are a 
precious perfume; their tears he bottles. Psa 56: 8. He esteems his 
children as a crown of glory in his hands. Isa 62: 3. God loves the 
places where they were born in for their sakes. 'Of Zion it shall be 
said, This and that man was born in her'; this and that believer was 
born there. Psa 87: 5. He loves the ground his children tread upon; 
hence, Judea, the seat of his children and chosen ones, he calls a 
delight some land. Mal 3: 12. It was not only pleasant for situation 
and fruitfulness, but because his children, who were his Hephzibah, 
or delight, lived there. He charges the great ones of the world not 
to injure his children, because their persons are sacred. 'He 
suffered no man to do them wrong, yea, he reproved kings for their 
sakes, saying, Touch not mine anointed.' Psa 105: 14, 15. By 
anointed is meant the children of the high God, who have the unction 
of the Spirit, and are set apart for God. He delights in their 
company. He loves to see their countenance, and hear their voice. 
Cant 2: 14. He cannot refrain long from their company; let but two 
or three of his children meet and pray together, he will be sure to 
be among them. 'Where two or three are gathered together in my name, 
there am I in the midst of them.' Matt 18: 20. He bears his children 
in his bosom, as a nursing father does the sucking child. Numb 11: 
12; Isa 46: 4. To be carried in God's bosom shows how near his 
children lie to his heart. He is full of solicitous care for them. 
'He cares for you.' I Peter 5: 7. His eye is still upon them, they 
are never out of his thoughts. A father cannot always take care for 
his child, he sometimes is asleep; but God is a Father that never 
sleeps. 'He shall neither slumber nor sleep.' Psa 121: 4. He thinks 
nothing too good to part with for his children; he gives them the 
kidneys of the wheat, and honey out of the rock, and 'wines on the 
lees well refined.' Isa 25: 6. He gives them three jewels more worth 
than heaven - the blood of his Son, the grace of his Spirit, and the 
light of his countenance. Never was there such an indulgent, 
affectionate Father. If he has one love better than another, he 
bestows it upon them; they have the cream and quintessence of his 
love. 'He will rejoice over thee, he will rest in his love.' Zeph 3: 
17. He loves his children with such a love as he loves Christ. John 
17: 26. It is the same love, for the unchangeableness of it. God 
will no more cease to love his adopted sons than he will to love his 
natural Son. 
    (3) If God be our Father, he will be full of sympathy. 'As a 
father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear 
him.' Psa 103: 13. 'Is Ephraim my dear son? my bowels are troubled 
for him.' Jer 31: 20. God pities his children in two cases. 
    [1] In case of infirmities. If the child be deformed, or has 
any bodily distemper, the father pities it; so, if God be our 
Father, he pities our weaknesses: and he so pities them as to heal 
them. 'I have seen his ways, and will heal him.' Isa 57: 18. As he 
has bowels to pity, so he has balsam to heal. 
    [2] In case of injuries. Every blow of the child goes to the 
father's heart; so, when the saints suffer, God sympathises. 'In all 
their affliction he was afflicted.' Isa 63: 9. He did, as it were, 
bleed in their wounds. 'Saul, Saul, why persecutes thou me?' When 
the foot was trod on, the head cried out. God's soul was grieved for 
the children of Israel. Judges 10: 16. As when one string in a lute 
is touched, all the rest sound; so when God's children are stricken, 
his bowels sound. 'He that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his 
eye.' Zech 2: 8. 
    (4) If God be our Father, he will take notice of the least good 
he sees in us; if there be but a sigh for sin, he hears it. 'My 
groaning is not hid from thee.' Psa 38: 9. If but a penitential tear 
comes out of the eye he sees it. 'I have seen thy tears.' Isa 38: 5. 
If there be but a good intention, he takes notice of it. 'Whereas it 
was in thine heart to build an house unto my name, thou didst well 
that it was in thine heart.' 1 Kings 8: 18. He punishes intentional 
wickedness, and crowns intentional goodness. 'Thou didst well that 
it was in thine heart,' He takes notice of the least scintilla, the 
least spark of grace in his children. 'Sara obeyed Abraham, calling 
him lord.' 1 Peter 3: 6. The Holy Ghost does not mention Sara's 
unbelief, or laughing at the promise; he puts a finger upon the 
scar, winks at her failing, and only takes notice of the good that 
was in her, her obedience to her husband - she 'obeyed Abraham, 
calling him lord.' Nay, that good which the saints scarce take 
notice of in themselves, God in a special manner observes. 'I was an 
hungred, and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink. 
Then shall the righteous answer, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred 
and fed thee?' Matt 25: 35, 37. They as it were overlooked and 
disclaimed their own works of charity, but Christ takes notice of 
them - 'I was an hungred, and ye fed me.' What comfort is this! God 
spies the least good in his children; he can see a grain of corn hid 
under chaff, grace hid under corruption. 
    (5) If God be our Father, he will take all we do in good part. 
Those duties which we ourselves censure he will crown. When a child 
of God looks over his best duties, he sees so much sin cleaving to 
them that he is confounded. 'Lord,' he says, 'there is more sulphur 
than incense in my prayers.' But for your comfort, if God be your 
Father, he will crown those duties which you yourselves censure. He 
sees there is sincerity in the hearts of his children, and this 
gold, though light, shall have grains of allowance. Though there may 
be many defects in the services of his children, he will not cast 
away their offering. 'The Lord healed the people.' 2 Chron 30: 20. 
The tribes of Israel, being straitened in time, wanted some legal 
purifications; yet because their hearts were right God healed them 
and pardoned them. He accepts of the good will. 2 Cor 8: 12. A 
father takes a letter from his son kindly, though there are blots or 
bad English in it. What blotting are there in our holy things! Yet 
our Father in heaven accepts them. 'It is my child,' God says, 'and 
he will do better; I will look upon him, through Christ, with a 
merciful eye.' 
    (6) If God be our Father, he will correct us in measure. 'I 
will correct thee in measure.' Jer 30: 11. This he will do two ways. 
It shall be in measure for the kind. He will not lay upon us more 
than we are able to bear. 1 Cor 10: 13. He knows our frame. Psa 103 
Id. He knows we are not steel or marble, therefore will deal gently, 
he will not over-afflict. As the physician, who knows the temper of 
the body, will not give physic too strong for the body, nor give one 
drachm or scruple too much, so God, who has not only the title, but 
the bowels of a father, will not lay too heavy burdens on his 
children, lest their spirits fail before him. He will correct in 
measure, for duration; he will not let the affliction lie too long. 
'The rod of the wicked shall not rest upon the lot of the 
righteous,' Psa 125: 3. It may be there, but not rest. 'I will not 
contend for ever.' Isa 57: I6. Our heavenly Father will love for 
ever, but he will not contend for ever. The torments of the damned 
are for ever. 'The smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and 
ever.' Rev 14: 11. The wicked shall drink a sea of wrath, but God's 
children only taste of the cup of affliction, and their heavenly 
Father will say, transeat calix, 'let this cup pass away from them.' 
Isa 35: 10. 
    (7) If God be our Father, he will intermix mercy with all our 
afflictions. If he gives us wormwood to drink, he will mix it with 
honey. In the ark the rod was laid up and manna; so with our 
Father's rod there is always some manna. Asher's shoes were iron and 
brass, but his foot was dipped in oil. Deut 33: 24, 25. Affliction 
is the shoe of brass that pinches; but there is mercy in the 
affliction, there is the foot dipped in oil. When God afflicts the 
body, he gives peace of conscience; there is mercy in the 
affliction. An affliction comes to prevent falling into sin; there 
is mercy in an affliction. Jacob had his thigh hurt in wrestling; 
there was the affliction: but when he saw God's face, and received a 
blessing from the angel, there was mercy in the affliction. Gen 32: 
30. In every cloud a child of God may see a rainbow of mercy 
shining. As the painter mixeth dark shadows and bright colours 
together, so our heavenly Father mingles the dark and bright 
together, crosses and blessings; and is not this a great happiness, 
for God thus to cheques his providence, and mingle goodness with 
    (8) If God be our Father, the evil one shall not prevail 
against us. Satan is called the evil one, emphatically. He is the 
grand enemy of the saints; and that both in a military sense, as he 
fights against them with his temptations; and in a forensic or law 
sense, as he is an accuser, and pleads against them; yet neither way 
shall he prevail against God's children. As for shooting his fiery 
darts, God will bruise Satan shortly under the saints' feet. Rom 16: 
20. As for his accusing, Christ is an advocate for the saints, and 
answers all bills of indictment brought against them. God will make 
all Satan's temptations promote the good of his children. [1] As 
they set them praying. 2 Cor 12: 8. Temptation is a medicine for 
security. [2] As they are a means to humble them. 'Lest I should be 
exalted above measure, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, 
the messenger of Satan.' 2 Cor 12: 7. The thorn in the flesh was a 
temptation; it was to prick the bladder of pride. [3] As they 
establish them more in grace. A tree shaken by the wind is more 
settled and rooted; so the blowing of a temptation does but settle a 
child of God more in grace. Thus the evil one, Satan, shall not 
prevail against the children of God. 
    (9) If God be our Father, no real evil shall befall us. 'There 
shall no evil befall thee.' Psa 91: 10. It is not said, no trouble; 
but, no evil. God's children are privileged persons; they are 
privileged from being hurt of every thing. 'Nothing shall by any 
means hurt you.' Luke 10: 19. The hurt and malignity of the 
affliction is taken away. Affliction to a wicked man has evil in it; 
it makes him worse. 'Men were scorched with great heat and 
blasphemed the name of God.' Rev 16: 9. But no evil befalls a child 
of God; he is bettered by affliction. 'That we might be made 
partakers of his holiness.' Heb 12: 10. What hurt does the furnace 
to the gold? It only makes it purer. What hurt does affliction to 
grace? Only refine and purify it. What a great privilege it is to be 
freed, though not from the stroke, yet from the sting of affliction! 
No evil shall touch a saint. When the dragon, say they, has poisoned 
the water, the unicorn with his horn draws out the poison. Christ 
has drawn the poison out of every affliction, that it cannot injure 
a child of God. Again, no evil befalls a child of God, because no 
condemnation. 'No condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.' 
Rom 8: 1. God does not condemn them, nor does conscience. When both 
jury and judge acquit, no evil befalls the accused; for nothing is 
really an evil but that which damns. 
    (10) If God be our Father, we may go with cheerfulness to the 
throne of grace. Were a man to petition his enemy, there were little 
hope; but when a child petitions his father, he may hope with 
confidence to succeed. The word 'Father' works upon God; it toucheth 
his very bowels. What can a father deny his child? 'If his son ask 
bread, will he give him a stone?' Matt 7: 9. This may embolden us to 
go to God for pardon of sin, and further degrees of sanctity. We 
pray to a Father of mercy sitting upon a throne of grace. 'If ye 
then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how 
much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them 
that ask him?' Luke 11: 13. This quickens the church, and adds wing 
to prayer. 'Look down from heaven.' Isa 63: 15. 'Doubtless thou art 
our Father'; ver 16. For whom does God keep his mercies but for his 
children? Three things may give boldness in prayer. We have a Father 
to pray to, and the Spirit to help us to pray, and an Advocate to 
present our prayers. God's children should in all their troubles run 
to their heavenly Father, as the sick child in 2 Kings 4: 19: 'He 
said unto his father, My head, my head.' So pour out thy complaint 
to God in prayer. 'Father, my heart, my heart; my dead heart, 
quicken it; my hard heart, soften it in Christ's blood. Father, my 
heart, my heart.' Surely God, who hears the cry of ravens, will hear 
the cry of his children! 
    (11) If God be our Father, he will stand between us and danger. 
A father will keep off danger from his child. God calls himself 
Scutum, a shield. As a shield he defends the head, guards the 
vitals, and shields off dangers from his children. 'I am with thee, 
and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee.' Acts 18: 10. God is a 
hiding-place. Psa 27: 5. He preserved Athanasius strangely; he put 
it into his mind to depart out of the house he was in, the night 
before the enemy came to search for him. As God has a breast to 
feed, so he has wings to cover his children. 'He shall cover thee 
with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust.' Psa 91: 4. 
He appoints his holy angels to be a lifeguard about his children. 
Heb 1: 14. Never was any prince so well guarded as a believer. The 
angels [1] are a numerous guard. 'The mountain was full of horses of 
fire round about Elisha.' 2 Kings 6: 17. 'The horses and chariots of 
fire' were the angels of God to defend the prophet Elisha. [2] A 
strong guard. One angel, in a night, slew a hundred and fourscore 
and five thousand. 2 Kings 19: 35. If one angel slew so many, what 
would an army of angels have done? [3] The angels are a swift guard; 
they are ready in an instant to help God's children. They are 
described with wings to show their swiftness: they fly to our help. 
'At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, 
and I am come.' Dan 9: 23. Here was swift motion for the angel, to 
come from heaven to earth between the beginning and ending of 
Daniel's prayer. [4] The angels are a watchful guard; not like 
Saul's guard, asleep when their lord was in danger. I Sam 26: 12. 
The angels are a vigilant guard; they watch over God's children to 
defend them. 'The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that 
fear him.' Psa 34: 7. There is an invisible guardianship of angels 
about God's children. 
    (12) If God be our Father, we shall not want anything that he 
sees to be good for us. 'They that seek the Lord shall not want any 
good thing.' Psa 34:10. God is pleased sometimes to keep his 
children on hard commons, but it is good for them. As sheep thrive 
best on short pasture, so God sees too much may not be good for his 
people; plenty might breed surfeit. Luxuriant animi rebus secundis 
[In prosperity men's characters run riot]. God sees it good 
sometimes to diet his children, and keep them short, that they may 
run the heavenly race the better. It was good for Jacob that there 
was a famine in the land; it was the means of bringing him to his 
son Joseph; so God's children sometimes see the world's emptiness, 
that they may acquaint themselves more with Christ's fulness. If God 
sees it to be good for them to have more of the world, they shall 
have it. He will not let them want any good thing. 
    (13) If God be our Father, all the promises of the Bible belong 
to us. His children are called 'heirs of promise.' Heb 6: 17. A 
wicked man can lay claim to nothing in the Bible but the curses; he 
has no more to do absolutely with the promises than a ploughman has 
to do with the city charter. The promises are children's bread; they 
are mulctralia evangelii, the breasts of the gospel milking out 
consolations; and who are to suck these breasts but God's children? 
The promise of pardon is for them. 'I will pardon all their 
iniquities, whereby they have sinned against me.' Jer 33: 8. The 
promise of healing is for them. Isa 57: 19. The promise of salvation 
is for them. Jer 23: 6. The promises are the supports of faith; they 
are God's sealed deed; they are a Christian's cordial. Oh, the 
heavenly comforts which are distilled from the promises! Chrysostom 
compares the Scripture to a garden: the promises are the fruit trees 
that grow in this garden. A child of God may go to any promise in 
the Bible, and pluck comfort from it; he is an heir of the promise. 
    (14) God makes all his children conquerors. They conquer 
themselves; fortior est qui se quam qui fortissima vincit moenia [he 
who conquers himself is stronger than he who conquers the stoutest 
ramparts]. The saints conquer their own lusts; they bind these 
princes in fetters of iron. Psa 149: 8. Though the children of God 
may be sometimes foiled, and lose a single battle, yet not the 
victory. They conquer the world. The world holds forth her two 
breasts of profit and pleasure, and many are overcome by it; but the 
children of God have a world-conquering faith. 'This is the victory 
that overcometh the world, even our faith.' 1 John 5: 4. They 
conquer their enemies. How can that be, when their enemies often 
take away their lives? They conquer, by not complying with them; as 
the three children would not fall down to the golden image. Dan 3: 
18. They would rather burn than bow. Thus they were conquerors. He 
who complies with another's lust, is a captive; he who refuses to 
comply, is a conqueror. God's children conquer their enemies by 
heroic patience. A patient Christian, like the anvil, bears all 
strokes invincibly. Thus the martyrs overcame their enemies by 
patience. God's children are more than conquerors. 'We are more than 
conquerors.' Rom 8: 37. How are they more than conquerors? Because 
they conquer without loss, and because they are crowned after death, 
which other conquerors are not. 
    (15) If God be our Father, he will now and then send us some 
token of his love. His children live far from home, and meet 
sometimes with coarse usage from the unkind world; therefore, to 
encourage them, he sends them tokens and pledges of his love. What 
are these? He gives them an answer to prayer, which is a token of 
love; he quickens and enlarges their hearts in duty, which is a 
token of love; he gives them the first fruits of his Spirit, which 
are love tokens. Rom 8: 23. As he gives the wicked the first fruits 
of hell, horror of conscience and despair, so he gives his children 
the first fruits of his Spirit, joy and peace, which are foretastes 
of glory. Some of his children, having received those tokens of love 
from him, have been so transported, that they have died for joy, as 
the glass often breaks with the strength of the wine put into it. 
    (16) If God be our Father, he will indulge and spare us. 'I 
will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.' Mal 
3: 17. God's sparing his children, imports his clemency towards 
them. He does not punish them as he might. 'He has not dealt with us 
after our sins.' Psa 103: 10. We often do that which merits wrath, 
grieve God's Spirit, and relapse into sin. God passes by much and 
spares us. He did not spare his natural Son, and yet he spares his 
adopted sons. Rom 8: 32. He threatened Ephraim to make him as the 
chaff driven with the whirlwind, but he soon repented. 'Yet I am the 
Lord thy God.' Hos 13: 4. 'I will be thy king;' ver 10. Here God 
spared him, as a father spares his son. Israel often provoked God 
with their complaints, but he used clemency towards them; he often 
answered their murmurings with mercies. Thus he spared them, as a 
father spares his son. 
    (17) If God be our Father, he will put honour and renown upon 
us at the last day. [1] He will clear the innocence of his children. 
His children in this life are strangely misrepresented. They are 
loaded with invectives - they are called factious, seditious; as 
Elijah, the troubler of Israel; and Luther, the trumpet of 
rebellion. Athanasius was accused to the Emperor Constantine as the 
raiser of tumults; and the primitive Christians were accused as 
infanticidii, incestus rei, 'killers of their children, guilty of 
incest.' Tertullus reported Paul to be a pestilent person. Acts 24: 
5. Famous Wycliffe was called the idol of the heretics, and reported 
to have died drunk. If Satan cannot defile God's children, he will 
disgrace then; if he cannot strike his fiery darts into their 
consciences he will put a dead fly to their names; but God will one 
day clear their innocence; he will roll away their reproach. As he 
will make a resurrection of bodies, so of names. 'The Lord God will 
wipe away tears from off all faces, and the rebuke of his people 
shall he take away.' Isa 25: 8. He will be the saints' vindicator. 
'He shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light.' Psa 37: 6. 
The night casts its dark mantle upon the most beautiful flowers; but 
the light comes in the morning and dispels the darkness, and every 
flower appears in its orient brightness. So the wicked may by 
misreports darken the honour and repute of the saints; but God will 
dispel this darkness, and cause their names to shine forth. 'He 
shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light.' Thus God stood up 
for the honour of Moses when Aaron and Miriam sought to eclipse his 
fame. 'Wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant 
Moses?' Numb 12: 8. So God will one day say to the wicked, 
'Wherefore were ye not afraid to defame and traduce my children? 
Having my image upon them, how durst you abuse my picture?' At last 
his children shall come forth out of all their calumnies, as 'a dove 
covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold.' Psa 68: 13. 
[2] God will make an open and honourable recital of all their good 
deeds. As the sins of the wicked shall be openly mentioned, to their 
eternal infamy and confusion; so all the good deeds of the saints 
shall be openly mentioned, 'and then shall every man have praise of 
God.' 1 Cor 4: 5. Every prayer made with melting eyes, every good 
service, every work of charity, shall be openly declared before men 
and angels. 'I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: thirsty, and ye 
gave me drink: naked, and ye clothed me.' Matt 25: 35, 36. Thus God 
will set a trophy of honour upon all his children at the last day. 
'Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of 
their Father.' Matt 13: 43. 

The Lord's Prayer
by Thomas Watson
(continued in file 4...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-09: watlp-03.txt