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 love? 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.  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.  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 severity? (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.  As they set them praying. 2 Cor 12: 8. Temptation is a medicine for security.  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.  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  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.  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?  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.  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.  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.  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 .