The Lord's Prayer by Thomas Watson File 13 (... continued from file 12) (3) This kingdom of heaven deserves our utmost pains and diligence. It is glorious, beyond hyperbole. Suppose earthly kingdoms more magnificent than they are, their foundations of gold, their walls of pearl, their windows of sapphire, they are not comparable to the heavenly kingdom. If the pavement of it be bespangled with so many bright shining lights and glorious stars, what is the kingdom itself? 'It does not yet appear what we shall be.' I John 3: 2. This kingdom exceeds our faith. How sublime and wonderful is that place where the blessed Deity shines forth in his immense glory, infinitely beyond the comprehension of angels! The kingdom of heaven is a place of honour. There are glorious triumphs and sparkling crowns. In other kingdoms there is but one king, but in heaven all are kings. Rev 1: 6. Every glorified saint partakes of the same glory as Christ does. 'The glory which thou gavest me, I have given them.' John 17: 22. This kingdom is a place of joy. 'Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.' Matt 25: 21. To have a continual aspect of love in God's face, to be crowned with immortality, to be as the angels of God, to drink of the rivers of pleasure for ever, this will cause raptures of joy. Surely it deserves our utmost pains to pursue and to secure this kingdom. Julius Caesar coming towards Rome with his army, and hearing the senate and people had fled from it, said, 'They that will not fight for this city, what city will they fight for?' If we will not take pains for the kingdom of heaven, what kingdom will we take pains for? It was the speech of the spies to their brethren, 'We have seen the land, and behold, it is very good; and are ye still? Be not slothful to go, and to enter to possess the land.' Judg 18: 9. We have had a lively description of the glory of heaven, we find the kingdom is very good; why then do we sit still? Why do we not operam navare, put forth our utmost zeal and industry for this kingdom? The diligence of others in seeking after earthly kingdoms, shames our coldness and indifference in pursuing after the kingdom of heaven. (4) The time we have to make sure of the heavenly kingdom is very short and uncertain. Take heed it does not slip away before you have prepared for the kingdom. Time passes on apace, cito pede preterita vite: it will not be long before the silver cord be loosed, and the golden bowl broken. Eccl 12: 6. The skull wherein the brains are inclosed is a bowl that will soon be broken. Our soul is in the body as the bird in the shell, which soon breaks, and the bird flies out; the shell of the body broken, the soul flies into eternity. We know not whether we shall live to another Sabbath. Before we hear another sermon-bell go, our passing-bell may go. Our life runs as a swift stream into the ocean of eternity. Brethren, if our time be so minute and transient, if the taper of life be so soon wasted, or perhaps blown out by violent death, how should we put to all our strength, and call in help from heaven that we may obtain the kingdom of glory! If time be so short, why do we waste it about things of less moment, and neglect the 'one thing needful,' which is the kingdom of heaven? A man that has a great work to be done, and but one day for doing it, needs to work hard. We have a great work to do, we are striving for a kingdom, and alas! we are not certain of one day to work in; therefore what need have we to bestir ourselves, and what we do for heaven, to do it with all our might! (5) To excite our diligence, let us consider how inexcusable we shall be if we miss the kingdom of heaven. Who have had such helps for heaven as we have had? Indians who have mines of gold, have not such advantages for glory as we. They have the light of the sun, moon, and stars, and the light of reason, but this is not enough to light them to heaven. We have had the light of the gospel shining in our horizon; we have been lifted up to heaven with ordinances; we have had the word in season and out of season. The ordinances are the pipes of the sanctuary, which empty the golden oil of grace into the soul; they are scala paradisi, the ladder by which we ascend to the kingdom of heaven. 'What nation is there so great who has God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon him for?' Deut 4: 7. We have had heaven and hell set before us; we have had counsels of friends, warnings, examples, the motions and inspirations of the Holy Ghost; how should all these spurs quicken us in our pace to heaven? Should not that ship sail apace to the haven which has the tide of ordinances, and the wind of the Spirit to carry it? Surely if we, through negligence, miss the kingdom of heaven, we shall have nothing to say for ourselves; we shall be as far from excuse as from happiness. (6) You cannot do too much for the kingdom of heaven. You cannot pray too much, sanctify the Sabbath too much, nor love God too much. In secular things a man may labour too hard, he may kill himself with work; but there is no fear of working too hard for heaven. In virtute non est verendum ne quid nimium sit [In righteousness there is no need to fear excess]. Seneca. The world is apt to censure the godly, as if they were too zealous, and overstrained themselves in religion. Indeed, a man may follow the world too much, he may make too much haste to be rich. The ferry-man may take too many passengers into his boat, so as to sink it; so a man may heap up so much gold and silver as to sink himself in perdition. I Tim 6: 9. We cannot be too earnest and zealous for the kingdom of heaven; there is no fear of excess here; when we do all we can, we come short of the golden rule set us, and of Christ's golden pattern. When our faith is highest, like the sun in the meridian, still there is something lacking in our faith, so that all our labour for the kingdom is little enough. I Thess 3: 1. When a Christian has done his best, still he has sins, and wants to bewail. (7) You may judge of the state of your souls, whether you have grace or not, by your earnest pursuit after the heavenly kingdom. Grace infuses a spirit of activity into a person; it does not lie dormant in the soul; it is not a sleepy habit, but it makes a Christian like the seraphim, swift and winged in his heavenly motion; like fire, it makes him burn in love to God; and the more he loves him, the more he presses forward to heaven, where he may fully enjoy him. Hope is an active grace, it is called 'a lively hope.' I Pet 1: 3. It is like the spring in the watch, which sets all the wheels of the soul running. Hope of a crop makes the husband man sow his seed; hope of victory makes the soldier fight; and a true hope of glory makes a Christian vigorously pursue it. Here is a spiritual touchstone by which to try our grace. If we have the anointing of the Spirit, it will oil the wheels of our endeavour, and make us lively in our pursuit of the heavenly kingdom. No sooner had Paul grace infused, but it is said, 'Behold, he prayeth.' Acts 9: 11. The affections are by divines called 'the feet of the soul;' if these feet move not towards heaven, it is because there is no life in them. (8) Your labour for heaven is not lost. Perhaps you may think that you have served God in vain; but know that your pains are not lost. The seed is cast into the earth, and it dies, yet at last it brings forth a plentiful crop; so your labours seem to be fruitless, but at last they bring you to a kingdom. Who would not work hard for one hour, when, for that hour's work, he should be a king as long as he lived? And let me tell you, the more labour you have put forth for the kingdom of heaven, the more degrees of glory you shall have. As there are degrees of torment in hell, so of glory in heaven. Matt 23: 14. As one star differeth from another in glory, so shall one saint. I Cor 15: 41. Though every vessel of mercy shall be full, yet one may hold more than another. Such as have done more work for God, shall have more glory in the heavenly kingdom. Could we hear departed saints speaking to us from heaven, surely they would speak after this manner: 'Were we to leave heaven awhile, and live on the earth again, we would do God a thousand times more service than ever we did; we would pray with more life, act with more zeal; for now we see, the more has been our labour, the greater is our reward in heaven.' (9) While we are labouring for the kingdom, God will help us. 'I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes.' Ezek 36: 27. The promise encourages us, and God's Spirit enables us. A master gives his servant work to do, but he cannot give him strength to work; but God both cuts us out work and gives us strength. 'Give thy strength unto thy servant.' Psa 86: 16. God not only gives us a crown when we have done running, but gives us legs to run; he gives exciting, assisting grace; lex jubet, gratia juvat [law commands, grace assists]; the Spirit helping us in our work for heaven, makes it easy. If the loadstone draw the iron, it is not hard for the iron to move; so, if God's Spirit draws the heart, it moves towards heaven with facility and alacrity. (10) The more pains we have taken for heaven, the sweeter heaven will be when we come there. As when a husband man has been grafting trees, or setting flowers in his garden, it is pleasant to review and look over his labours: so, when in heaven, we shall remember our former zeal and earnestness for the kingdom, which will sweeten heaven, and add to the joy of it. For a Christian to think, such a day I spent in examining my heart; such a day I was weeping for sin; when others were at their sport, I was at prayer; and now, have I lost any thing by my devotion? My tears are wiped away, and the wine of paradise cheers my heart. I now enjoy him whom my soul loves, I am possessed of a kingdom; my labour is over, but joy remains. (11) If you do not take pains for the kingdom of heaven now, there will be nothing to be done for your souls after death. This is the only fit season for working; and if this season be lost, the kingdom is forfeited. 'Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might, for there is no work, nor device, nor wisdom in the grave whither thou goest.' Eccl 9: 10. It was a saying of Charles V, 'I have spent my treasure, but that I may recover again; I have lost my health, but that I may have again; but I have lost a great many brave soldiers, but them I can never have again.' So other temporal blessings may be lost and recovered again; but if the term of life, wherein you should work for heaven, be once lost, it is past all recovery, you can never have another season again for your souls. (12) There is nothing else but this kingdom of heaven of which we can make sure. We cannot make sure of life. Quis scit an adjiciant hodiernae crastina vitiae tempora di superi? [Who knows whether the gods above will add a tomorrow to the life of today?]. Horace. When our breath goes out, we know not whether we shall draw it in again. How many are taken away suddenly! We cannot make riches sure; it is uncertain whether we shall get them. The world is like a lottery, in which every one is not sure to draw a prize. If we get riches, we are not sure to keep them. 'Riches make themselves wings, they fly away.' Prov 23: 5. Experience seals the truth of this. Many who have had plentiful estates, by fire, or losses at sea, have been squeezed as sponges, and all their estates exhausted; but if men should keep their estates awhile, death strips them of all. When death's gun goes off, away flies the estate. 'It is certain we can carry nothing out' of the world. I Tim 6: 7. So that there is no making sure of anything here below, but we may make sure of the kingdom of heaven. 'To him that soweth righteousness shall be a sure reward.' Prov 11: 18. He who has grace is sure of heaven, for he has heaven begun in him. A believer has an evidence of heaven. 'Faith is the evidence of things not seen.' Heb 11: 1. He has an earnest of glory. 'Who has given us the earnest of the Spirit.' 2 Cor 1: 22. An earnest is part of the whole sum. He has a sure hope. 'Which hope we have as an anchor.' Heb 6: 19. This anchor is cast upon God's promise. 'In hope of eternal life, which God that cannot lie promised.' Tit 1: 2. So that here is great encouragement to take pains for heaven, that we may make sure of this kingdom. (13) The kingdom of heaven cannot be obtained without labour. Non est ad astra mollis e terris via [The way from earth to heaven is not easy]. A boat may as well get to land without oars, as we to heaven without labour. We cannot have the world without labour, and do we think to have heaven? If a man digs for gravel, much more for gold. 'I press toward the mark.' Phil 3: 14. Heaven's gate is not like that iron gate which opened to Peter of its own accord. Acts 12: 10. Heaven is not like those ripe figs which fall into the mouth of the eater. Nah 3: 12. No, there must be taking pains. Two things are requisite for a Christian, a watchful eye and a working hand. We must, as Hannibal to Rome, force a way to the heavenly kingdom through difficulties. We must win the garland of glory by labour, before we wear it with triumph. God has enacted this law, 'That no man shall eat of the tree of paradise but in the sweat of his brows.' How, then, dare any censure Christian diligence? How dare they say you take more pains for heaven than need? God says, 'Strive as in an agony: fight the good fight of faith;' and they say, 'You are too strict:' but whom shall we believe, a holy God who bids us strive, or a profane atheist who says we strive too much? (14) Much of our time being already misspent, we had need work the harder for the kingdom of heaven. He who has lost his time at school, and often played truant, had need ply it the harder, that he may gain a stock of learning; and he who has slept and loitered in the beginning of his journey, had need ride the faster in the evening, lest he fall short of the place to which he is travelling. Some are in their youth, others in the flower of their age, others have grey hairs, the almond tree blossoms, and yet perhaps have been very regardless of their souls and heaven. Time spent unprofitably is not time lived, but time lost. If there be any such here who have misspent their golden hours, they have not only been slothful, but wasteful servants. They had need now to redeem the time, and press forward with might and main to the heavenly kingdom. 'The time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles.' I Pet 4: 3. It may suffice us that we have lost so much time already, let us now work the harder. They who have crept as snails, had need now fly as eagles to the paradise of God. If, in the former part of your life, you have been as willows, barren in goodness, in the latter part, be as 'an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits.' Cant 4: 13. Recompense former remissness with future diligence. (15) How uncomely and sordid a slothful temper of soul is! 'I will punish the men who are settled on their lees;' (Heb 'Curdled on their lees.') Zeph 1: 12. Settling on the lees is an emblem of a dull, inactive soul. The snail, by reason of its slow motion, was reckoned among the unclean. Lev 11: 30. 'A slothful man hideth his hand in his bosom:' he is loath to pull it out, though it be to lay hold on a crown. Prov 19: 24. Non capit porta illa caelestis torpore languidos [That gate of heaven does not receive those who are dull with sloth]. Brugensis. The devil himself cannot be charged with idleness. He 'walketh about.' I Pet 5: 8. An idle soul stands in the world for a cipher, and God writes down no ciphers in the book of life. Heaven is no hive for drones. An idle person is fit for a temptation. When the bird sits still upon the bough, it is in danger of the gun: when one sits still in sloth, the devil shoots him with a temptation. Standing water putrifies. Heathens will rise up in judgement against supine Christians. What pains did they take in the Olympic games! They ran but for a garland of flowers, or olive; and do we sit still who run for a kingdom? How can he expect a reward who never works, or a crown who never fights? Inertia animae somnus. Sloth is the soul's sleep. Adam, when asleep, lost his rib; and when a person is in the deep sleep of sloth, he loses salvation. (16) Holy activity and industry ennoble a Christian. Labor splendore decoratur [Work is adorned with honour]. Cicero. The more excellent anything is, the more active. The sun is a glorious creature, it is ever in motion, going its circuit. Fire is the purest element, and the most active, it is ever sparkling and flaming; the angels are the most noble creatures, they are represented by the cherubim, with wings displayed. The more active for heaven, the more illustrious, and the more do we resemble the angels. The phoenix flies with a coronet on its head; so the industrious soul has his coronet, his labour is his ensign of honour. (17) It is a mercy that there is a possibility of happiness, and that upon our painstaking we may have a kingdom. By our fall in Adam we forfeited heaven. Why might not God have dealt with us as with the lapsed angels? They had no sooner sinned than they were expelled from heaven, never to come thither more. We may say, as the apostle, 'Behold the goodness and severity of God. ' Rom 11: 22. The apostate angels behold the severity of God, that he should throw them down to hell for ever; we behold the goodness of God in that he has put us into a possibility of mercy; so that if we do but take pains, a kingdom stands ready for us. How should this whet and sharpen our industry, that we are in a capacity of salvation; and that if we do but what we are able, we shall receive an eternal weight of glory! (18) Our labour for the kingdom of heaven is minute and transient. It is not to endure long; it expires with our life. It is but awhile, and we shall leave off working; for a little labour we shall have an eternal rest. Who would think much to wade through a little water, if he were sure to be crowned as soon as he came on shore? Christians, let this encourage you, you have but a little more pains to take, a few tears more to shed, a few more Sabbaths to keep, and, behold an eternal recompense of reward. What are a few tears to a crown, a few minutes of time to an eternity of glory? (19) What striving is there for earthly kingdoms, which are corruptible, and subject to change! With what vigour and alacrity did Hannibal's soldiers continue their march over the Alps, and craggy rocks, and Caesar's soldiers fight with hunger and cold! Men will break through laws and oaths, they will swim to a crown in blood. Will they venture thus for earthly promotions, and shall not we strive more for a heavenly kingdom? This is 'a kingdom which cannot be moved' (Heb 12: 28); a kingdom where there is unparalleled beauty, unstained honour, unmixed joy; a kingdom where there shall be nothing present which we could wish were removed, and nothing absent which we could wish were enjoyed. Surely if there be any spark of grace, or true generosity in our breasts, we shall not suffer ourselves to be out-striven by others; we shall not let them take more pains for earthly honours, than we do for that excellent glory which will crown all our desires. (20) What pains some men take to go to hell, and shall not we take more pains to go to heaven? 'They weary themselves to commit iniquity.' Jer 9: 5. Sinners hackney themselves out in the devil's service. What pains some men take to satisfy their unclean lusts! They waste their estates, wear the shameful marks of their sin about them, and visit the harlot's house, though it stands the next door to hell. 'Her house is the way to hell.' Prov 7: 27. What pains do others take in persecuting! Holiness is the mark they shoot at. It is said of Antiochus Epiphanes, that he undertook more tedious journeys, and went upon greater hazards, to vex and oppose the Jews, than any of his predecessors had done in getting victories. The devil blows the horn and men ride post to hell, as if they feared hell would be full see they should get thither. When Satan had entered into Judas, how active was he! He went to the high priests, from them to the band of soldiers, and with them back again to the garden, and never left till he had betrayed Christ! How industrious were the idolatrous Jews! So fiercely were they bent upon their sin, that they would sacrifice their sons and daughters to their idol- gods. Jer 32: 35. Do men take all these pains for hell, and shall not we take pains for the kingdom of heaven? The wicked have nothing to encourage them in their sins, they have all the threatening of God as a flaming sword against them. Oh, let it never be said that the devil's servants are more active than Christ's; that they serve him better who rewards them only with fire and brimstone, than we do God, who rewards with a kingdom! (21) The labour we take for heaven is a labour full of pleasure. Prov 3: 17. A man sweats at his recreation, tires himself with hunting, but there is a delight he takes in it which sweetens it. 'I delight in the law of God after the inward man.' (Gr. I take pleasure) Rom 7: 22. Not only is the kingdom of heaven delightful, but the way thither. What a delight has a gracious soul in prayer! 'I will make them joyful in my house of prayer.' Isa 56: 7. While a Christian weeps, joy drops with tears; while he is musing on God, he has such quickening of the Spirit, and, as it were, such transfigurations of soul, that he thinks himself half in heaven. 'My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips, when I remember thee upon my bed,' &c. Psa 63: 5, 6. A Christian's work for heaven is like a bridegroom's work on the morning of the marriage-day, he puts on his vesture and wedding-robes in which he shall be married to his bride; so, in all the duties of religion, we are putting on those wedding robes in which we shall be married to Christ in glory. Oh, what solace and inward peace is there in close walking with God! 'The work of righteousness shall be peace.' Isa 32: 17. Serving God is like gathering spices or flowers, wherein there is some labour, but the labour is recompensed with delight. Working for heaven is like digging in a gold mine; the digging is labour, but getting the gold is pleasure! O, then, let us bestir ourselves for the kingdom of heaven; it is a labour of pleasure. A Christian would not part with his joy for the most delicious music; he would not exchange his anchor of hope for a crown of gold. Well might David say, 'In keeping [thy precepts] there is great reward,' not only after keeping thy precepts, but in keeping them. Psa 19: 11. A Christian has both the spring-flowers and the crop; inward delight in serving God is the spring-flowers, in the kingdom of glory at last is the full crop. (22) How industrious have the saints in former ages been! They thought they could never do enough for heaven; they could never serve God enough, love him enough. Minus te amavi Domine. Augustine. Lord, I have loved thee too little. What pains did Paul take for the heavenly kingdom. 'Reaching forth unto those things which are before.' Phil 3: 13. The Greek word, to reach forth, signifies to stretch out the neck; a metaphor from racers, who strain every limb, and reach forward to lay hold on the prize. Anna, the prophetess, 'departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.' Luke 2: 37. Basil the Great, by much labour and watching, exhausted his bodily strength. 'Let racks, pulleys, and all torments come upon me,' said Ignatius, 'so I may win Christ.' The industry and courage of former saints, who are now crowned with glory, should provoke our diligence, that so at last we may sit down with them in the kingdom of heaven. (23) The more pains we take for heaven, the more welcome will death be to us. What is it that makes men so loath to die? They are like a tenant that will not go out of the house till the serjeant pull him out. They love not to hear of death. Why so? Because their conscience accuses them that they have taken little or no pains for heaven; they have been sleeping when they should have been working, and now they are afraid lest death should carry them prisoners to hell; but he who has spent his time in serving God, can look death in the face with comfort; he was wholly taken up about heaven, and now he shall be taken up to heaven; he traded before in heaven, and now he shall go to live there. Cupio dissolvi, I desire to be dissolved, and to be with Christ. Phil 1: 23. Paul had wholly laid himself out for God, and now he knew there was a crown laid up for him, and he longed to take possession. Thus I have given you twenty-three persuasive or arguments to exert and put forth your utmost diligence for obtaining the kingdom of heaven. O that they were written in all your hearts, as with the point of a diamond! Because delays in these cases are dangerous, let me desire you to set upon this work for heaven at once. 'I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments.' Psa 119: 60. Many people are convinced of the necessity of looking after the kingdom of glory, but they say as those in Hag 1: 2, 'The time is not come.' They adjourn and put off till their time is slipped away, and so they lose the kingdom of heaven. Beware of this fallacy; delay strengthens sin, hardens the heart, and gives the devil fuller possession of a man. 'The king's business required haste;' so the business of salvation requires haste. I Sam 21: 8. Do not put off an hour longer. Volat ambiguis mobilis alis hora [The fleeting hour flies on fickle wings]. What assurance have you that you shall live another day? Have you any lease of life granted? Why then do you not presently arise out of the bed of sloth, and put forth all your strength and spirits, that you may be possessed of the kingdom of glory? Should not things of the highest importance be done first? Settling a man's estate, and clearing the title to his land, is not delayed, but done in the first place. What is there of such grand importance as the saving of your souls, and the gaining a kingdom? Therefore to-day hear God's voice; now mind eternity; now get your title to heaven cleared before the decree of death brings forth. What imprudence is it to lay the heaviest load upon the weakest horse! So it is to lay the heavy load of repentance on thyself when thou art enfeebled by sickness, the hands shake, the lips quiver, and the heart faints. O be wise in time; prepare now for the kingdom. If a man begins his voyage to heaven in the storm of death, it is a thousand to one if he does not suffer an eternal shipwreck. Use 6. For exhortation to those who have any good hope through grace. You that are the heirs of this kingdom, let me exhort you to six things: (1) Often take a prospect of this heavenly kingdom. Climb up the celestial mount; take a turn, as it were, in heaven every day by holy meditation. 'Walk about Zion, tell the towers thereof, mark ye well her bulwarks.' Psa 48: 12, 13. See what a glorious kingdom heaven is; go tell the towers, view the palaces of the heavenly Jerusalem. Christian, show thy heart the gates of pearl, the beds of spices, the clusters of grapes which grow in the paradise of God. Say, 'O my soul, all this glory is thine, it is thy Father's good pleasure to give thee this kingdom.' The thoughts of heaven are very delightful and ravishing. Can men of the world so delight in viewing their bags of gold, and fields of corn, and shall not the heirs of promise take more delight in contemplating the celestial kingdom? The serious meditation of the kingdom of glory would work these three effects: It would put a damp and slur upon all worldly glory. To those who stand upon the top of the Alps, the great cities of Campania seem but small in their eye; so, could we look through the perspective glass of faith, and take a view of heaven's glory, how small and minute would all other things appear! Moses slighted the honours of Pharaoh's court, having an eye to the recompense of reward. Heb 11: 26. When Paul had a vision of glory, and John was carried away in the Spirit, and saw the holy Jerusalem descending out of heaven, having the glory of God in it, how did the world after appear in an eclipse to them! The meditation of the heavenly kingdom would much promote holiness in us. Heaven is a holy place: 'an inheritance undefiled.' I Pet 1: 4. It is described by transparent glass, to denote its purity. Rev 21: 21. Contemplating heaven would put us upon the study of holiness, because none but such are admitted to that kingdom. Heaven is not like Noah's ark, into which came clean beasts and unclean. Only the pure in heart shall see God. Matt 5: 8. The meditation of the heavenly kingdom would be a spur to diligence. Immensum gloria calcar habet [Glory possesses an immeasurable stimulus]. 'Always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.' I Cor 15: 58. When the mariner sees the haven, he plies harder with his oars; so when we have a sight and prospect of glory, we should be much in prayer, alms, and watching; it should add wings to duty, and make the lamp of our devotion burn brighter. (2) If you have hopes of this kingdom, be content though you have but a little of the world! Contentment is a rare thing, it is a jewel that but few Christians wear; but if you have a grounded hope of heaven, it may work your heart to contentation. What though you have but little in possession, you have a kingdom in reversion! Were you to take an estimate of a man's estate, how would you value it? By what he has in his house, or by his land? Perhaps he has little money or jewels in his house, but he is a landed man - there lies his estate. A believer has but a little oil in the cruse, and meal in the barrel, but he is a landed man, he has a title to a kingdom, and may not this satisfy him? If a man who lived here in England, had a great estate befallen him beyond the seas, and perhaps had no more money at present but just to pay for his voyage, he is content; he knows when he comes to his estate he shall have money enough; so, thou who art a believer hast a kingdom befallen thee; though thou hast but little in thy purse, yet if thou hast enough to pay for thy voyage, enough to bear thy charges to heaven, it is sufficient. God has given thee grace, which is the fore-crop, and will give thee glory, which is the after-crop; and may not this make thee content? (3) If you have hope of this blessed kingdom, pray often for its coming; say, 'Thy kingdom come.' Only believers can pray heartily for the hastening of the kingdom of glory. They cannot pray that Christ's kingdom of glory may come who never had the kingdom of grace set up in their hearts. Can the guilty prisoners pray that the as sizes may come? They cannot pray heartily that Christ's kingdom of glory may come who are lovers of the world. They have found paradise, they are in their kingdom already; this is their heaven, and they desire to hear of no other; they are of his mind who said, If he might keep his cardinalship in Paris, he would give up his part in paradise. They cannot pray heartily that Christ's kingdom of glory may come who oppose his kingdom of grace, who break his laws, which are the sceptre of his kingdom, who shoot at those who bear Christ's name and carry his colours. Surely these cannot pray that Christ's kingdom of glory may come, for then Christ will judge them; and if they say this prayer, they are hypocrites, they mean not what they speak. But you who have the kingdom of grace set up in your hearts, pray much that the kingdom of glory may hasten; say, 'Thy kingdom come.' When this kingdom comes, then you shall behold Christ in all his embroidered robes of glory, shining ten thousand times brighter than the sun in all its meridian splendour. When Christ's kingdom comes, the bodies of the saints that sleep in the dust shall be raised in honour, and made like Christ's glorious body; then your souls like diamonds shall sparkle with holiness; you shall never have a sinful thought more, you shall be as holy as the angels; you shall be as holy as you would be, and as holy as God would have you to be; then you shall be in a better state than in innocence. Adam was created a glorious creature, but mutable; a bright star, but a falling star; but in the kingdom of heaven is a fixation of happiness. When Christ's kingdom of glory comes, you shall be rid of all your enemies; as Moses said, 'The Egyptians whom you have seen to day, you shall see them no more for ever.' Exod 14: 13. So those enemies who have sloughed on the backs of God's people, and made deep their furrows, when Christ shall come in his glory, you shall see no more. All Christ's enemies shall be 'put under his feet.' I Cor 15: 25. Before the wicked be destroyed, the saints shall judge them. 'Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world?' I Cor 6: 2. It will cut the wicked to the heart that those whom they have formerly scorned and scourged, shall sit as judges upon them, and vote with Christ in his judicial proceedings. Oh, then, well may you pray for the hastening of the kingdom of glory, 'Thy kingdom come.' (4) If you have any good hope of this blessed kingdom, let it make the colour come in your faces, be of a sanguine, cheerful temper. Have you a title to a kingdom, and are sad? 'We rejoice in hope of the glory of God.' Rom 5: 2. Christians, the trumpet is ready to sound, an eternal jubilee is at hand, when a freedom from sin shall be proclaimed; your coronation-day is coming. It is but putting off your clothes, and laying your head upon a pillow of dust, and you shall be enthroned in a kingdom, and invested with the embroidered robes of glory. Does not all this call for a cheerful spirit? Cheerfulness adorns religion. It is a temper of soul that Christ loves. 'If ye loved me, ye would rejoice.' John 14: 28. It makes many suspect heaven is not so pleasant, when they see those that walk thither sad. How does the heir rejoice in hope of the inheritance? Who should rejoice if not a believer, who is heir of the kingdom, and such a kingdom as eye has not seen? When the flesh begins to droop, let faith lift up its head, and cause a holy jubilation and rejoicing in the soul. (5) Let the saints long to be in that blessed kingdom. Does not a prince that travels in foreign parts long to be in his own nation, that he may be crowned? The bride desires the marriage day. 'The Spirit and the bride say, Come: even so, come, Lord Jesus.' Rev 22: 17, 20. Sure our unwillingness to go hence, shows either the weakness of our faith in the belief of the heavenly kingdom, or the strength of our doubts whether we have an interest in it. Were our title to heaven more clear, we should need patience to be content to stay here any longer. Again, our unwillingness to go hence, declares we love the world too much, and Christ too little. Love, as Aristotle says, desires union. Did we love Christ as we should, we should desire to be united to him in glory, when we might take our fill of love. Be humbled that ye are so unwilling to go hence. Let us labour to arrive at that divine temper of soul which Paul had: Cupio dissolvi, 'Having a desire to depart and to be with Christ.' Phil 1: 23. We are compassed with a body of sin: should we not long to shake off this viper? We are in Mesech, and the tents of Cedar, in a place where we see God dishonoured. Should we not desire to have our pass to be gone? We are in a valley of tears. Is it not better to be in a kingdom? Here we are combating with Satan. Should we not desire to be called out of the bloody field, where the bullets of temptation fly so fast, that we may receive a victorious crown? O ye saints, breathe after the heavenly kingdom. Though we should be willing to stay to do service, yet we should ambitiously desire to be always sunning ourselves in the light of God's countenance. Think what it will be to be ever with the Lord! Are there any sweeter smiles or embraces than his? Is there any bed so soft as Christ's bosom? Is there any such joy as to have the golden banner of Christ's love displayed over us? Is there any such honour as to sit upon the throne with Christ? Rev 3: 21. O, then, long for the celestial kingdom! (6) Wait for this kingdom of glory. It is not incongruous or improper to long for heaven, yet wait for it. Long for it because it is a kingdom, yet wait your Father's good pleasure. God could bestow this kingdom at once, but he sees it good that we should wait awhile.  Had we the kingdom of heaven as soon as ever grace is infused, then God would lose much of his glory. Where would be our living by faith, which is the grace that brings in the chief revenues of glory to God? Rom 5: 20. Where would be our suffering for God, which is a way of honouring him which the angels in heaven are not capable of? Where would be the active service we are to do for God? Would we have God give us a kingdom, and we do nothing for him before we come there? Would we have rest before labour, a crown before victory? This were disingenuous. Paul was content to stay out of heaven awhile that he might be a means of bringing others thither. Phil 1: 24.  While we wait for the kingdom, our grace is increasing. Every duty religiously performed, adds a jewel to our crown. Do we desire to have our robes of glory shine brighter? Let us wait and work. The longer we stay for the principal, the greater will the interest be. As the husband man waits till the seed spring up, wait for the harvest of glory. Some have their waiting weeks at court; this is your waiting time. Christ says, men ought to pray, and not to faint. Luke 18: 1. So, wait, and faint not. Be not weary, the kingdom of heaven will make amends for waiting. 'I have waited for thy salvation, O Lord,' said the dying patriarch. Gen 49: 18. Use 7. For comfort to the people of God. (1) In all their sufferings. The true saint, as Luther says, is haeres crucis, heir to the cross. Affliction is his diet-drink, but this keeps him from fainting, that his sufferings bring a kingdom. The hope of the kingdom of heaven, says Basil, should indulcerate and sweeten all our troubles. 'If we suffer, we shall also reign with him.' 2 Tim 2: 12. It is but a short fight, but an eternal triumph. This light suffering produces an 'eternal weight of glory.' 2 Cor 4: 17. The more weighty precious things are, the more they are worth, as the more weight in a crown of gold, the more it is worth. Did this glory last for awhile only, it would much abate and embitter the joys of heaven; but it runs parallel with eternity. God will be a deep sea of blessedness, and the glorified saints shall for ever bathe themselves in the ocean. One day's wearing the crown will abundantly pay for all the saints' sufferings; how much more when 'they shall reign for ever and ever!' Rev 22: 5. O let this be our support under all the calamities and sufferings in this life. What a vast difference is there between a believer's sufferings and his reward! 'The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.' Rom 8: 18. For a few tears, rivers of pleasure; for mourning, white robes. This made the primitive Christians laugh at imprisonments, and snatch up torments as so many crowns. Though now we drink in a wormwood-cup, there is sugar in the bottom to sweeten it. 'It is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.' (2) Comfort in death. That which takes away from God's children the terror of death, is that they are entering into the kingdom. No wonder if wicked men be appalled and terrified at the approach of death, for they die unpardoned. Death carries them to the jail, where they must lie for ever, without bail or deliverance; but why should any of God's children be scared and half dead with the thoughts of death? What hurt can death do to them, but lead them to a glorious kingdom? Faith gives a title to heaven, death a possession. Let this be a gospel antidote to expel the fear of death. Hilarion, that blessed man, cried out, Egredere, anima, egredere, quid times? Go forth, my soul, go forth, what fearest thou? Let them fear death who do not fear sin; but let not God's children be over much troubled at the grim face of that messenger, which brings them to the end of their sorrow, and the beginning of their joy. Death is yours, it is a part of the believer's inventory. I Cor 3: 22. Is a prince afraid to cross a narrow sea, who shall be crowned when he comes to shore? Death to the saints shall be an usher to bring them into the presence of the King of glory. This thought puts lilies and roses into the ghastly face of death, and makes it look amiable. Death brings us to a crown of glory which fades not away. The day of death is better to a believer than the day of his birth. Death is aditus ad gloriam, an entrance into a blessed eternity. Fear not death, but rather let your hearts revive when you think these rattling wheels of death's chariot are but to carry you home to an everlasting kingdom. The Lord's Prayer by Thomas Watson (continued in file 14...) ---------------------------------------------------- file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-09: watlp-13.txt .