The Lord's Prayer
by Thomas Watson
File 11
(... continued from file 10)

    A fourth aggravation is, that this loss of the kingdom of 
heaven is accompanied with the punishment of sense. He who leaps 
short of the bank, falls into the river: such as come short of 
heaven, fall into the river of fire and brimstone. 'The wicked shall 
be turned into hell;' and how dreadful is that! Psa 9: 17. If to 
have but a spark of God's anger light upon the conscience be so 
torturing here, what will it be to have mountains of God's wrath 
thrown upon the soul? 'Who knoweth the power of thine anger?' Psa 
90: 11. The angel never poured out his vial, but some woe followed. 
Rev 16: 3. When the bitter vials of God's wrath are poured out, 
damnation follows. Dives cries out, 'I am tormented in this flame.' 
Luke 16: 24. In hell there is not a drop of mercy. There was no oil 
nor frankincense used in the sacrifice of jealousy. Numb 5: 15. In 
hell there is no oil of mercy to lenify the sufferings of the 
damned, nor incense of prayer to appease God's wrath. 
    A fifth aggravation of the loss of this kingdom will be to 
consider on what easy and reasonable terms men might have had this 
kingdom. If indeed God had commanded impossibilities, to have 
satisfied justice in their own persons, it had been another matter; 
but what God did demand was reasonable, and was for their good, 
which was to accept of Christ for their Lord and Husband, and to 
part with that which would ruin them. These were the fair terms on 
which they might have enjoyed the heavenly kingdom. Now, to lose 
heaven, which might have been had upon such easy terms, will be a 
cutting aggravation. It will rend a sinner's heart with rage and 
grief, to think how easily he might have prevented the loss of the 
heavenly kingdom. 
    It will be an aggravation of the loss of heaven for sinners to 
think how active they were in doing that which lost them the 
kingdom. It was felo de se. What pains they took to resist the 
Spirit and to stifle conscience! They sinned until they were out of 
breath. 'They weary themselves to commit iniquity.' Jer 9: 5. What 
difficulties men went through! How much they endured for their sins! 
How much shame and pain! How sick was the drunkard with his cups! 
How sore in his body was the adulterer! What marks of sin he carried 
about him! What dangers men adventure upon for their lusts! They 
adventure God's wrath, and adventure the laws of the land. Oh, how 
will this aggravate the loss of heaven! How will it make men curse 
themselves to think what pains they were at to lose happiness! How 
will it sting men's consciences to think that had they but taken as 
much pains for heaven as they did for he]1, they had not lost it! 
    It will be an aggravation of the loss of this kingdom, that it 
will be irreparable: heaven once lost can never be recovered. 
Worldly losses may be made up again. If a man lose his health he may 
have it repaired by physic; if he be driven out of his kingdom he 
may be restored to it again as king Nebuchadnezzar was, 'Mine honour 
returned unto me, and I was established in my kingdom.' Dan 4: 36. 
King Henry VI was deposed from his throne, and restored to it again. 
But they who once lose heaven can never be restored to it again. 
After millions of years they are as far from obtaining glory as at 
first. Thus you see how needful this exhortation is, that we should 
fear lest we fall short of this kingdom of heaven. 
    What shall we do that we may not miss this kingdom of glory? 
    Take heed of those things which will make you miss heaven. (1) 
Take heed of spiritual sloth. Many Christians are settled upon their 
lees; they are loath to put themselves to too much pains. It is said 
of Israel, 'They despised the pleasant land.' Psa 106: 24. Canaan 
was a paradise of delights, a type of heaven; ay, but some of the 
Jews thought it would cost them a great deal of trouble and hazard 
in the getting, and they would rather go without it. 'They despised 
the pleasant land.' I have read of certain Spaniards that live where 
there is a great store of fish, but are so lazy that they will not 
be at the pains to catch them, but buy of their neighbours. Such 
sinful sloth is upon the most, that though the kingdom of heaven be 
offered them, yet they will not put themselves to any labour for it. 
They have some faint wishes and desires. O that I had this kingdom! 
They are like a man that wishes for venison, but will not hunt for 
it. 'The soul of the sluggard desireth, and has nothing.' Prov 13: 
4. Men could be content to have the kingdom of heaven if it would 
drop as a ripe fig into their mouths, but they are loath to fight 
for it. O take heed of spiritual sloth! God never made heaven to be 
a hive for drones. We cannot have the world without labour, and do 
we think to have the kingdom of heaven? Heathens will rise up in 
judgement against many Christians. What pains did they take in their 
Olympic races when they ran but for a crown of olive or myrtle 
intermixed with gold; and do we stand still when we are running for 
a kingdom? 'Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep.' Prov 19: 15. 
Sloth is the soul's sleep. Adam lost his rib when he was asleep. 
Many a man loses the kingdom of heaven when he is in this deep sleep 
of sloth. 
    (2) Take heed of unbelief. Unbelief kept Israel out of Canaan. 
'So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.' Heb 3: 
19. And it keeps many out of heaven. Unbelief is an enemy to 
salvation, it is a damning sin; it whispers thus, To what purpose is 
all this pains for the heavenly kingdom? I had as good sit still; I 
may come near to heaven, yet come short of heaven. 'And they said, 
There is no hope.' Jer 18: 12. Unbelief destroys hope; and if you 
cut this sinew, a Christian goes but lamely in religion, if he goes 
at all. Unbelief raises jealous thoughts of God; it represents him 
as a severe judge; it discourages many a soul, and takes it off from 
duty. Beware of unbelief: believe the promises. 'The Lord is good to 
the soul that seeketh him:' seek him earnestly and he will open both 
heart and heaven to you. Lam 3: 25. Deus volentibus non deest [God 
does not fail those who desire him]. Do what you are able, and God 
will help you. While you spread the sails of your endeavour, God's 
Spirit will blow upon these sails, and carry you swiftly to the 
kingdom of glory. 
    (3) If you would not miss the heavenly kingdom, take heed of 
mistake by imagining the way to be easier than it is; as though it 
were but a sigh, or, Lord have mercy. There is no going to heaven 
per saltum [at a leap]; one cannot leap out of Delilah's lap into 
Abraham's bosom. The sinner is 'dead in trespasses.' Eph 2: 1. Is it 
easy for a dead man to restore himself to life? Is regeneration 
easy? Are there no pangs in the new birth? Does not the Scripture 
call Christianity a warfare and a race? And do you fancy this easy? 
The way to the kingdom is not easy, but a mistake about the way is 
    (4) If you would not miss the heavenly kingdom, take heed of 
delays and procrastinations. Mora trahit periculum [Delay brings 
danger]. It is a usual delusion, I will mind the kingdom of heaven, 
but not yet; when I have gotten an estate, and grown old, then I 
will look after heaven; but on a sudden, death surprises men, and 
they fall short of heaven. Delay strengthens sin, hardens the heart, 
and gives the devil fuller possession of a man. Take heed of 
adjourning and putting off seeking the kingdom of heaven till it be 
too late. Caesar, deferring to read a letter put into his hand, was 
killed in the senate-house. Consider how short your life is; it is a 
taper soon blown out. Animantis cujusque vita in fuga est [The life 
of everyone living is fleeing away]. The body is like a vessel 
tunned with breath: sickness broaches it, death draws it out. Delay 
not the business of salvation a day longer; sometimes death strikes, 
and gives no warning. 
    (5) If you would not come short of the kingdom of heaven, take 
heed at prejudice. Many take a prejudice at religion, and on this 
rock dash their souls. They are prejudiced at Christ's person, his 
truths, his followers, his ways. 
    They are prejudiced at his person. 'And they were offended in 
him.' Matt 13: 57. What is there in Christ that men should be 
offended at him? He is the 'pearl of great price.' Matt 13: 46. Are 
men offended at pearls and diamonds? Christ is the wonder of beauty. 
'Fairer than the children of men.' Psa 45: 2. Is there anything in 
beauty to offend? He is the mirror of mercy. Heb 2: 17. Why should 
mercy offend any? He is a Redeemer. Why should a captive slave be 
offended at him who comes with a sum of money to ransom him? The 
prejudice men take at Christ is from the inbred depravity of their 
hearts. The eye that is sore cannot endure the light of the sun: the 
fault is not in the sun, but in the sore eye. There are two things 
in Christ against which men are prejudiced: [1] His meanness. The 
Jews expected a monarch for their Messiah; but Christ came not with 
outward pomp and splendour. His kingdom was not of this world. The 
stars which are seated in the brightest orbs are least seen. Christ, 
who is the bright morning-star, was not much seen; his divinity was 
hid in the dark lantern of his humanity, all who saw the man did not 
see the Messiah. The Jews stumbled at the meanness of his person. 
[2] Men are prejudiced at Christ's strictness. They look upon him as 
austere, and his laws as too severe. 'Let us break their bands, and 
cast away their cords from us.' Psa 2: 3. Though to a saint, 
Christ's laws are no more burdensome than wings to a bird, yet to 
the wicked his laws are a yoke; and they love not to come under 
restraint, therefore they hate Christ. Though they pretend to love 
him as a Saviour, they hate him as he is the Holy One. 
    Men are prejudiced at the truths of Christ. [1] Self-denial. A 
man must deny his righteousness. Phil 3: 9. He will graft the hope 
of salvation upon the stock of his own righteousness. [2] He must 
deny his unrighteousness. The Scripture seals no patents to sin; it 
teacheth us to deny all 'ungodliness and worldly lusts.' Tit 2: 12. 
We must divorce those sins which bring in pleasures and profit. [3] 
Forgiveness of injuries. Mark 11: 25. These truths men are 
prejudiced at; they can rather want forgiveness from God, than they 
can forgive others. 
    Men are prejudiced at the followers of Christ. [1] Their 
paucity. There are but few, in comparison, that embrace Christ; but 
why should this offend? Men are not offended at pearls and precious 
stones, because they are few. [2] Their poverty. Many that wear 
Christ's livery are low in the world; but why should this give 
offence? Christ has better things than these to bestow upon his 
followers; as the holy anointing, the white stone, the hidden manna, 
and the crown of glory. All Christ's followers are not humbled with 
poverty. Abraham was rich with gold and silver, as well as rich in 
faith. Though not many noble are called, yet some noble are. 
'Honourable women which were Greeks' believed. Acts 17: 12. 
Constantine and Theodosius were godly emperors. So that this 
stumbling block is removed. [3] Their scandals. Some of Christ's 
followers, under a mask of piety, commit sin, which begets a 
prejudice against religion; but does Christ or his gospel teach any 
such thing? The rules he prescribes are holy. Why should the master 
be thought the worse of, because some of his servants prove bad? 
    Men are prejudiced at the ways of Christ. They expose them to 
sufferings. 'Let him take up his cross and follow me.' Matt 16: 24. 
Many stumble at the cross. There are, as Tertullian says, 
delicatuli, silken Christians, who love their ease; they will follow 
Christ to mount Tabor, to see him transfigured, but not to mount 
Golgotha, to suffer with him. But, alas! what is affliction to the 
glory that follows! The weight of glory makes affliction light. 
Adimant caput, non coronam [Let them take the head, but not the 
crown]. O take heed of prejudice, which has been a stumbling-stone 
in men's way to heaven, and has made them fall short of the kingdom! 
    (6) If you would not miss the kingdom of heaven, take heed of 
presumption. Men presume all is well, and take it as a principle not 
to be disputed, that they shall go to heaven. The devil has given 
them opium, to cast them into a deep sleep of security. The 
presumptuous sinner is like the leviathan, made 'without fear;' he 
lives as bad as the worst, yet hopes he shall be saved as well as 
the best; he blesses himself and saith, he shall have peace, though 
he goes on in sin. Deut 29: 19. As if a man should drink poison, yet 
not fear but he will have his health. But whence does this 
presumptuous hope arise? Surely from a conceit that God is made up 
of all mercy. It is true that God is merciful, but he is just too. 
'Keeping mercy for thousands, and that will by no means clear the 
guilty.' Exod 34: 7. If a king proclaimed that those only should be 
pardoned who came in and submitted, ought any still persisting in 
rebellion, to claim the benefit of the pardon? Dost thou hope for 
mercy who wilt not lay down thy weapons, but stand out in rebellion 
against heaven? None might touch the ark but the priests: none may 
touch this ark of God's mercy, but holy, consecrated persons. 
Presumption is heluo animarum, the great devourer of souls. A 
thousand have missed heaven by putting on the broad spectacles of 
    (7) If you would not miss the heavenly kingdom, take heed of 
the delights and pleasures of the flesh. Soft pleasures harden the 
heart; many people cannot endure a serious thought, but are for 
comedies and romances; they play away their salvation. Homilies 
capiuntur voluptate, ut pisces hamo [Men are caught by pleasure, as 
fish by the hook]. Cicero. Pleasure is the sugared bait men bite at, 
but there is a hook under it. 'They take the timbrel and harp; and 
rejoice at the sound of the organ.' Job 21: 12. 'That lie upon beds 
of ivory, that chant to the sound of the viol, that drink wine in 
bowls, and anoint themselves with the chief ointments.' Amos 6: 4, 
5, 6. The pleasures of the world keep many from the pleasures of 
paradise. What a shame is it, that the soul, that princely thing, 
which sways the sceptre of reason, and is akin to angels, should be 
enslaved by sinful pleasure! Beard, in his Theatre, speaks of one 
who had a room richly hung with fair pictures, he had most delicious 
music, he had the rarest beauties, he had all the candies, and 
curious preserves of the confectioner, to gratify his senses with 
pleasure, and swore he would live one week as a god, though he were 
sure to be damned in hell the next day. Diodorus Siculus observes, 
that the dogs of Sicily while hunting among the sweet flowers, lose 
the scent of the hare; so, many while hunting after the sweet 
pleasures of the world, lose the kingdom of heaven. It is, says 
Theophylact, one of the worst sights to see a sinner go laughing to 
    (8) If you would not fall short of the kingdom of heaven, take 
heed of worldly-mindedness. A covetous spirit is a dunghill spirit, 
it chokes good affections, as the earth puts out the fire. The world 
hindered the young man from following Christ; abiit tristis, he went 
away sorrowful, which extorted these words from our Saviour: 'How 
hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!' 
Luke 18: 23, 24. Divitiae saeculi sunt laquei diaboli [The riches of 
the world are the snares of the devil]. Bernard. Riches are golden 
snares. If a man were to climb up a steep rock, and had weights tied 
to his legs, it would hinder him in his ascent; so too many golden 
weights will hinder us from climbing up the steep rock which leads 
to heaven. 'They are entangled in the land, the wilderness has shut 
them in.' Exod 14: 3. So it may be said of many, they are entangled 
in earthly affairs, the world has shut them in. The world is no 
friend to grace. The more the child sucks, the weaker the nurse is; 
and the more the world sucks and draws from us, the weaker our grace 
is. 'Love not the world.' I John 2: 15. Had a man a monopoly of all 
the wealth of the world; were he able to empty the western parts of 
gold, and the eastern of spices; could he heap up riches to the 
starry heaven, yet his heart would not be filled. Covetousness is a 
dry dropsy. Joshua could stop the course of the sun, but could not 
stop Achan in his covetous pursuit of the wedge of gold. He whose 
heart is locked up in his chest, will be locked out of heaven. Some 
ships that have escaped the rocks, have been cast away upon the 
sands; so, many who have escaped gross sins, have been cast away 
upon the world's golden sands. 
    (9) If you would not come short of the kingdom of heaven, take 
heed of indulging any sin. One millstone will drown, as well as 
more, and one sin lived in will damn, as well as more. Ubi regnat 
peccatum, non potest regnare Dei regnum. Jerome. If any one sin 
reign, it will keep you from reigning in the kingdom of heaven. 
Especially keep from sins of presumption, which waste conscience, 
vastare conscientiam (Tertullian); and the sin of your natural 
constitution; the peccatum in deliciis (Augustine); thy darling sin; 
'I kept myself from mine iniquity,' that sin which my heart would 
soonest decoy and flatter me into. Psa 18: 23. As in the hive there 
is one master bee, so in the heart one master-sin: Oh, take heed of 
    How may this sin be known? 
    That sin for which a man cannot endure the arrow of a reproof 
is the bosom-sin. Herod could not brook to have his incest meddled 
with, that was a noli me tangere [touch me not]. Men can be content 
to have other sins declaimed against; but if a minister put his 
finger upon the sore, and touches upon one special sin, then igne 
micant oculi [their eyes flash with fire], they are enraged, and 
spit the venom of malice. 
    That sin which a man's heart runs out most to, and he is most 
easily captivated by, is the Delilah in the bosom. One man is 
overcome with wantonness, another by worldliness. It is a sad thing 
for a man to be so bewitched by a beloved sin, that if it ask him to 
part with not only one half the kingdom, but the whole kingdom of 
heaven, he must part with it to gratify that lust. 
    That sin which most troubles a man and flies in his face in an 
hour of sickness and distress, is the sin he has allowed himself in, 
and is his complexion-sin. When Joseph's brethren were distressed, 
their sin in selling their brother came into their remembrance. 'We 
are verily guilty concerning our brother,' &c. Gen 42: 21. So, when 
a man is upon his sick-bed, and conscience shall say, Thou hast been 
guilty of such a sin, the sin of slandering or uncleanness, 
conscience reads a man a sad lecture, and affrights him most for one 
sin; that is the complexion-sin. 
    That sin which a man is least inclined to part with, is the 
endeared sin. Of all his sons Jacob could most hardly part with 
Benjamin. 'Will ye take Benjamin away.' Gen 42: 35. So says the 
sinner, this and that sin I have left, but must Benjamin go too? 
Must I part with this delightful sin? That goes to the heart. As 
with a castle that has several forts about it, the first and second 
forts of which are yielded, when it comes to the main castle, the 
governor will rather fight and die than yield it; so a man may 
suffer many of his sins to be demolished; but when it comes to one, 
that is like the taking of a castle, he will never yield to part 
with that; surely that is the master-sin. Take heed especially of 
this sin; the strength of sin lies in the beloved sin, which, like a 
humour striking to the heart, brings death. I have read of a 
monarch, who being pursued by the enemy, threw away the crown of 
gold on his head, that he might run the faster; so the sin which 
thou didst wear as a crown of gold must be thrown away, that thou 
mayest run the faster to the kingdom of heaven. Oh, if you would not 
lose glory, mortify the beloved sin; set it, as Uriah, in the 
forefront of the battle to be slain. By plucking out this right eye 
you will see the better to go to heaven. 
    (10) If you would not fall short of the kingdom of heaven, take 
heed of inordinate passion. Many a ship has been lost in the storm; 
and many a soul has been lost in a storm of unruly passions. Every 
member of the body is infected with sin, as every branch of wormwood 
is bitter; but 'the tongue is full of deadly poison.' James 3: 8. 
Some care not what they say in their passion; they will censure, 
slander, and wish evil to others. How can Christ be in the heart, 
when the devil has taken possession of the tongue? Passion disturbs 
reason, it is brevis insania, a short frenzy. Jonah in a passion 
flies out against God. 'I do well to be angry, even unto death.' Jon 
4: 9. What! to be angry with God, and to justify it? 'I do well to 
be angry;' the man was not well in his wits. Passion unfits for 
prayer. 'I will, therefore, that men pray, lifting up holy hands, 
without wrath.' I Tim 2: 8. He that prays in wrath may lift up his 
hands in prayer, but he does not lift up holy hands. Water, when 
hot, soon boils over; so, when the heart is heated with anger, it 
soon boils over in fiery passionate speeches. Some curse others in 
their passion. Let those whose tongues are set on fire, take heed 
that they do not one day in hell desire a drop of water to coo] 
them. Oh, if you would not miss the heavenly kingdom, beware of 
giving way to unbridled passions. Some say, words are but wind; but 
they are such a wind as may blow them to hell. 
    (11) If you would not fall short of the heavenly kingdom, 
beware of too much indulging the sensual appetite. 'Make not 
provision for the flesh.' Rom 13: 14. The Greek word, pronoian 
poiein, to make provision, signifies to be caterers for the flesh. 
'Whose god is their belly.' Phil 3: 19. The throat is a slippery 
place. Judas received the devil in the sop; and often the devil 
slides down in the liquor; excess in meat and drink clouds the mind, 
chokes good affections, and provokes lust. Many a man digs his own 
grave with his teeth. The heathen could say, Magnus sum et ad majora 
natus quam ut sim corporis mei mancipium [I am great and born to 
greater things than to be a slave to my body]. Seneca. He was higher 
born than to be a slave to his body. To pamper the body, and neglect 
the soul, is to feed the slave and to starve the wife. Take such a 
proportion of food as may recruit nature, but do not surfeit it. 
Excess in things lawful has lost many the kingdom of heaven. A bee 
may suck a little honey from the leaf, but put it in a barrel of 
honey, and it is drowned. To suck temperately from the creature, God 
allows; but excess engulfs men in perdition. 
    (12) If you would not fall short of the kingdom of heaven, take 
heed of injustice in your dealings. Defrauding lies in two things, 
1. Mixing commodities, as if anyone should mix bad wheat with good, 
and sell it for pure wheat, which is to defraud. 'Thy wine mixed 
with water.' Isa 1: 22. 2. Giving scant measure. 'Making the ephah 
small.' Amos 8: 5. The ephah was a measure which the Jews used in 
selling: they made the ephah small; they gave not full measure. I 
wish this were not the sin of many. 'He is a merchant, the balances 
of deceit are in his hand.' Hos 12: 7. Can they be holy which are 
not just? 'Shall I count them pure with the wicked balances?' Micah 
6: 11. Is his heart sincere who has false weights? Many cannot reach 
heaven because of their over-reaching. 
    (13) If you would not miss the kingdom of heaven, take heed of 
evil company. There is a necessary commerce with men in buying and 
selling, or, as the apostle says, we must go out of the world, but 
do not voluntarily choose the company of the wicked. I Cor 5: 10. 'I 
have written unto you not to keep company.' I Cor 5: 11. Do not 
incorporate into the society of the wicked, or be too much familiar 
with them. The wicked are God-haters and 'Shouldest thou love them 
that hate the Lord?' 2 Chron 19: 2. A Christian is bound, by virtue 
of his oath of allegiance to God in baptism, not to have intimate 
converse with such as are God's sworn enemies: it is a thing of bad 
report. What do Christ's doves among birds of prey? What do virgins 
among harlots? The company of the wicked is very defiling, it is 
like going among them that have the plague. 'They were mingled among 
the heathen, and learned their works.' Psa 106: 35. If you mingle 
bright armour with rusty, the bright armour will not brighten the 
rusty, but the rusty armour will spoil the bright. Such as have had 
religious education, and have some inclinations to good, by mixing 
with the wicked, are apt to receive hurt. The bad will sooner 
corrupt the good, than the good will convert the bad. Pharaoh taught 
Joseph to swear, but Joseph did not teach Pharaoh to pray. There is 
a strange attractive power in ill company to corrupt and poison the 
best dispositions; they damp good affections. Throw a fire-ball into 
the snow, and it is soon quenched. Among the wicked, the heat of 
zealous affections is lost. By holding familiar correspondence with 
the wicked, they will dissuade us from strict godliness, and debar 
us our liberty and pleasure. 'This sect everywhere is spoken 
against.' Acts 28:22. 
    Hereupon he, who before looked towards heaven, begins to be 
discouraged, and gradually declines from goodness. There steals upon 
him a dislike of his former religious course of life; he thinks he 
was righteous overmuch, stricter than needed. There is instilled 
into his heart a secret delight of evil. He begins to like foolish 
scurrilous discourse; he can hear religion spoken against, and be 
silent, nay, well pleased; he loves vanity, and makes sport of sin. 
He is by degrees so metamorphosed, and made like the company he 
converses with, that he now grows into disgust and hatred of his 
former sober ways. He is ill-affected towards good men, transformed 
into scoffing Ishmael, a breathing devil; and becomes at last as 
much the child of hell as any of that graceless damned crew he 
conversed with. And what is the end of all? A blot in the name, a 
moth in the estate, a worm in the conscience. Oh, if you would not 
miss the kingdom of heaven, beware of evil company! Bad company is 
the bane and poison of the youth of this age. Such as were once 
soberly inclined, by coming among the profane, grow familiar, till 
at last they keep one another company in hell. 
    (14) If you would not miss the kingdom of heaven, take heed of 
parleying with the fleshly part. The flesh is a bosom traitor. When 
an enemy is gotten within the walls of a castle, it is in great 
danger of being taken. The flesh is an enemy within: it is a bad 
counsellor; it says, There is a lion in the way; it discourages from 
religious strictness; it says as Peter did to Christ, 'Spare 
thyself;' it says as Judas, 'What needs all this waste?' What needs 
this praying? Why do you waste your strength and spirits in 
religion? What needs all this waste? The flesh cries out for ease 
and pleasure. How many, by consulting with the flesh, have lost the 
kingdom of heaven! 
    (15) If you would not fall short of heaven, take heed of carnal 
relations. Our carnal friends are often bars and locks in our way to 
heaven; they will say, Religion is preciseness and singularity. A 
wife in the bosom may be a tempter. Job's wife was so. 'Dost thou 
still retain thine integrity? Curse God, and die.' Job 2: 9. What! 
still pray? What dost thou get by serving God? Job, where are thy 
earnings? What canst thou show thou hast had in God's service, but 
boils and ulcers? And dost thou still retain thy integrity? Throw 
off God's livery, renounce religion. Here was a temptation handed 
over to him by his wife. The woman was made of the rib, the devil 
turned this rib into an arrow, and would have shot Job to the heart, 
but his faith quenched his fiery dart. Beware of carnal relations. 
We read that some of Christ's kindred laid hold on him, and would 
have hindered him when he was going to preach. 'They said, He is 
beside himself' Mark 3: 21. Our kindred sometimes would stand in our 
way to heaven, and, judging all zeal rashness, would hinder us from 
being saved. Such carnal relations Spira had; for having advised 
with them whether he should remain constant in his orthodox opinion, 
they persuaded him to recant; and so, abjuring his former faith, he 
fell into horror and despondency of mind. Galeacius, Marquis of 
Vice, found his carnal relations a great block in his way; and what 
ado had he to break through their temptations! Take heed of a snare 
in your bosom. It is a brave saying of Jerome, si mater mihi ubera 
ostendat, &c. 'If my parent should persuade me to deny Christ, if my 
mother should show me her breast that gave me suck, if my wife 
should go to charm me with her embraces, I would forsake all, and 
fly to Christ.' 
    (16) If you would not fall short of the kingdom of heaven, take 
heed of falling off. Beware of apostasy. He misses the prize who 
does not hold out in the race; he who makes shipwreck of the faith 
cannot come to the haven of glory. We live in the fall of the leaf; 
men fall from that goodness they seemed to have; some are turned to 
error, others to vice; some to drinking and dicing, and others to 
shoring; the very mantle of their profession is fallen off. It is 
dreadful for men to fall off from hopeful beginnings. The apostate, 
says Tertullian, seems to put God and Satan in the balance, and 
having weighed both their services, prefers the devil's service, and 
proclaims him to be the best master; in which respect he is said to 
put Christ to open shame. Heb 6: 6. This is sad at last. Heb 10: 3 
8. If you would not miss the glory, take heed of apostasy. Those who 
fall away, must needs fall short of the kingdom. 
    What, then, must we do? 
    (1) If we would not come short of this heavenly kingdom, let us 
be much in the exercise of self-denial. 'If any man will come after 
me, let him deny himself.' Matt 16: 24. He who would go to heaven 
must deny self righteousness. Cavendum eat a propria justitia [We 
must beware of our own righteousness]. 'That I may be found in him, 
not having mine own righteousness.' Phil 3: 9. The spider weaves a 
web out of her own bowels; so a hypocrite would spin a web of 
salvation out of his own righteousness. We must deny our civility in 
point of justification. Civility is a good staff to walk with among 
men, but it is a bad ladder to climb up to heaven. We must deny our 
holy things in point of justification. Alas! how are our duties 
chequered with sin! Put gold in the fire, and there comes out dross; 
so our most golden services are mixed with unbelief. Deny self- 
righteousness; use duty, but trust to Christ. Noah's dove made use 
of her wings to fly, but trusted to the ark for safety! Let duties 
have your diligence, but not your confidence. Self-denial is via ad 
regnum [the way to the kingdom]. There is no getting into heaven but 
through this strait gate of self-denial. 
    (2) The second means for obtaining the kingdom is serious 
consideration. Most men fall short of heaven for want of 
    We should often consider what a kingdom heaven is. It is called 
regnum paratum, a kingdom prepared, which implies something that is 
rare and excellent. Matt 25: 34. God has prepared in his kingdom 
such things as 'eye has not seen nor ear heard.' I Cor 2: 9. Heaven 
is beyond hyperbole. In particular in this celestial kingdom are two 
things. A stately palace, and a royal feast. The stately palace is 
large and has several storeys. The dimensions of it are twelve 
thousand furlongs, or, as it is in some Greek copies, twelve times 
twelve thousand furlongs, a finite number put for an infinite; no 
arithmetician can number these furlongs. Rev 21: 15. Though there be 
an innumerable company of saints and angels in heaven, yet there is 
infinitely enough room to receive them. The palace of this kingdom 
is lucid and transparent; it is adorned with light, and the light is 
sweet. Hell is a dark dungeon, but the palace above is bespangled 
with light. Col 1: 12. Such illustrious beams of glory shine from 
God, as shed a brightness and splendour upon the empyrean heaven. 
This palace of the kingdom is well situated for good air and a 
pleasant prospect. There is the best air, which is perfumed with the 
odours of Christ's ointments; and a most pleasant prospect of the 
bright morning-star. The palace is rich and sumptuous. It has gates 
of pearl. Rev 21: 21. It is enriched with white robes and crowns of 
glory; it never falls to decay, and the dwellers in it never die. 
'They shall reign for ever and ever.' Rev 22: 5. 
    There is also a royal feast. It is called 'the marriage-supper 
of the Lamb.' Rev 19: 9. Bullinger and Gregory the Great understood 
this of the magnificent supper prepared in the kingdom of heaven. A 
glorious feast it will be in respect of the founder. The glorified 
saints shall feast their eyes with God's beauty, and their hearts 
with his love. A delicious feast it will be in respect of the 
festivity and holy mirth. What joy shall there be in the anthems and 
triumphs of glorified spirits! Saints and angels shall twist 
together in an inseparable union of love, and lie in each others' 
sweet embrace. A royal banquet it will be, where there is no 
surfeit, because a fresh course is continually served in. The 
serious consideration of what a kingdom of heaven is, would be a 
means to quicken our endeavours in the pursuit after it. What causes 
men to make voyages to the Indies but the consideration of the gold 
and spices which are to be had there? Did we survey and contemplate 
the glory of heaven, we should soon take a voyage, and never leave 
till we had arrived at the celestial kingdom. 

The Lord's Prayer
by Thomas Watson
(continued in file 12...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-09: watlp-11.txt