The Lord's Prayer
by Thomas Watson
File 14
(... continued from file 13)

The Third Petition in the Lord's Prayer 
    'Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.' Matt 6: 10 
    We come next to the third petition, 'Thy will be done in earth, 
as it is in heaven. 
    This petition consists of two parts: the matter, 'Doing God's 
will;' and the manner, 'As it is in heaven.' 
    What is meant by the will of God? 
    There is a twofold will. (1) Voluntas decreti, God's secret 
will, or 'the will of his decree'. We pray not that God's secret 
will may be done by us. This secret will cannot be known, it is 
locked up in God's own breast, and neither man nor angel has a key 
to open it. (2) Voluntas revelata, God's 'revealed will.' This will 
is written in the book of Scripture, which is a declaration of God's 
will, and discovers what he would have us do in order to our 
    What do we pray for in these words, 'Thy will be done?' 
    We pray for two things; 1: For active obedience; that we may do 
God's will actively in what he commands. 2. For passive obedience; 
that we may submit to God's will patiently in what he inflicts. 
    We pray that we may do God's will actively, subscribe to all 
his commands, believe in Jesus, which is the cardinal grace, and 
lead holy lives. So Augustine, upon this petition, Nobis a Deo 
precamur obedientiam; we pray that we may actively obey God's will. 
This is the sum of all religion, the two tables epitomised, the 
doing God's will. 'Thy will be done.' We must know his will before 
we can do it; knowledge is the eye which must direct the foot of 
obedience. At Athens there was an altar set up, 'To the unknown 
God.' Acts 17: 23. It is as bad to offer the blind to God as the 
dead. Knowledge is the pillar of fire to give light to practice; but 
though knowledge is requisite, yet the knowledge of God's will is 
not enough without doing it. If one had a system of divinity in his 
head; if he had 'all knowledge,' yet, if obedience were wanting, his 
knowledge were lame, and would not carry him to heaven. I Cor 13: 2. 
Knowing God's will may make a man admired, but it is doing it that 
makes him blessed. Knowing God's will without doing it, will not 
crown us with happiness. 
    [1] The bare knowledge of God's will is inefficacious, it does 
not better the heart. Knowledge alone is like a winter-sun, which 
has no heat or influence; it does not warm the affections, or purify 
the conscience. Judas was a great luminary, he knew God's will, but 
he was a traitor. 
    [2] Knowing without doing God's will, will make the case worse. 
It will heat hell the hotter. 'That servant which knew his Lord's 
will,' and did it not, 'shall be beaten with many stripes.' Luke 12: 
47. Many a man's knowledge is a torch to light him to hell. Thou who 
hast knowledge of God's will but does not do it, wherein does thou 
excel a hypocrite? Nay, wherein does thou excel the devil, who 
transforms himself into an angel of light? It is improper to call 
such Christians, who are knowers of God's will but not doers of it. 
It is improper to call him a tradesman who never wrought in his 
trade; so to call him a Christian, who never wrought in the trade of 
religion. Let us not rest in knowing God's will. Let it not be said 
of us, as Plutarch speaks of the Grecians, 'They knew what was just, 
but did it not.' Let us set upon the doing God's will. 'Thy will be 
    Why is the doing God's will requisite? 
    (1) Out of equity. God may justly claim a right to our 
obedience. He is our founder, and we have our being from him; and it 
is but just that we should do his will at whose word we were 
created. God is our benefactor. It is but just that, if he gives us 
our allowance, we should give him our allegiance. 
    (2) The great design of God in the word is to make us doers of 
his will. [1] All God's royal edicts and precepts are to bring us to 
be doers of his will. What needed God to have been at the pains to 
give us the copy of his law, and write it out with his own finger 
but for this end? The word of God is not only a rule of knowledge, 
but of duty. 'This day the Lord thy God has commanded thee to do 
these statutes; thou shalt therefore keep and do them. ' Deut 26: 
16. If you tell your children what is your mind, it is not only that 
they may know your will, but do it. God gives us his word, as a 
master gives his scholar a copy, to write after it; he gives it as 
his will and testament, that we should be the executors to see it 
performed. [2] The end of all God's promises is to draw us to do his 
will. The promises are loadstones to obedience. 'A blessing if ye 
obey;' as a father gives his son money to bribe him to obedience. 
Deut 11: 27. 'If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy 
God, to do all his commandments, the Lord thy God will set thee on 
high above all the nations of the earth; blessed shalt thou be in 
the city and in the field.' Deut 28: 1, 3. The promises are a royal 
charter settled upon obedience. [3] The minatory part of the word, 
the threatening of God, stand as the angel with a flaming sword to 
deter us from sin, and make us doers of God's will. 'A curse if ye 
will not obey.' Deut 11: 28. 'God shall wound the hairy scalp of 
such an one as goes on still in his trespasses.' Psa 68: 21. These 
threatening often take hold of men in this life; they are made 
examples, and hung up in chains to scare others from disobedience. 
[4] All God's providence are to make us doers of his will. As he 
makes use of all the seasons of the year for harvest, so all his 
various providence are to bring on the harvest of obedience. [5] 
Afflictions are said to be sent us to make us do God's will. 'When 
he [Manasseh] was in affliction, he besought the Lord, and humbled 
himself greatly.' 2 Chron 33: 12. The rod has this voice, 'Be doers 
of God's will.' Affliction is called a furnace. The furnace melts 
the metal, and then it is cast into a new mould. God's furnace is to 
melt us and mould us into obedience. [6] God's mercies are to make 
us do his will. 'I beseech you by the mercies of God, that ye 
present your bodies a living sacrifice.' Rom 12: 1. Body is by 
synecdoche put for the whole man; if the soul should not be 
presented to God as well as the body, it could not be a reasonable 
service; therefore the apostle says, 'I beseech you by the mercies 
of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice.' Mercies are 
the strongest obligations to duty. 'I drew them with cords of a 
man;' that is, with golden cords of my mercy. Hos 11: 4. In a word, 
all that is written in the law or gospel tends to this, that we 
should be doers of God's will. 'Thy will be done.' 
    (3) By doing the will of God, we evidence sincerity. As Christ 
said in another sense, 'The works that I do, bear witness of me.' 
John 10: 25. It is not all our golden words, if we could speak like 
angels, but our works, our doing of God's will which bears witness 
of our sincerity. We judge not the health of a man's body by his 
high colour, but by the pulse of the arm, where the blood chiefly 
stirs; so a Christian's soundness is not to be judged by his 
profession; but the estimate of a Christian is to be taken by his 
obediential acting, his doing the will of God. This is the best 
certificate and testimonial to show for heaven. 
    (4) Doing God's will propagates the gospel. It is the diamond 
that sparkles in religion. Others cannot see what faith is in the 
heart, but when they see we do God's will on earth, it makes them 
have a venerable opinion of religion, and become proselytes to it. 
Julian, in one of his epistles, writing to Arsatius, says, 'that the 
Christian religion did much flourish, by the sanctity and obedience 
of them that professed it.' 
    (5) By doing God's will, we show our love to Christ. 'He that 
has my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me.' 
John 14: 21. What greater love to Christ than to do his will, though 
it cross our own? Every one would be thought to love Christ; but, 
how shall it be known but by this? - Do you do his will on earth? 
Neque principem veneramur, si odio ejus leges habemus [We do not 
honour the ruler if we hate his laws]. Isidore. It is a vain thing 
for a man to say he loves Christ's person, when he slights his 
commands. Not to do God's will on earth is a great evil. 
    It is sinful. We go against our prayers; we pray, fiat voluntas 
tua, thy will be done, and yet we do not obey his will; we confute 
our own prayer. We go against our vow in baptism; we have vowed to 
fight under the Lord's banner, to obey his sceptre, and this vow we 
have often renewed in the Lord's supper; if we do not God's will on 
earth, we are forsworn, and God will indict us for perjury. 
    Not to do God's will on earth is foolish; because there is no 
standing out against God. If we do not obey him, we cannot resist 
him. 'Are we stronger than he?' I Cor 10: 22. 'Hast thou an arm like 
God?' Job 40: 9. Canst thou measure arms with him? To oppose God, is 
as if a child should fight with an archangel; as if a heap of briers 
should put themselves into a battalion against the flame. Not to do 
God's will is foolish; because, if we do it not, we do the devil's 
will. Is it not folly to gratify an enemy - to do his will who seeks 
our ruin? 
    But are any so wicked as to do the devil's will? 
    Yes! 'Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your 
father ye will do.' John 8: 44. When a man tells a lie, does he not 
do the devil's will? 'Ananias, why has Satan filled thine heart to 
lie to the Holy Ghost?' Acts 5: 3. 
    Not to do God's will is dangerous. It brings a spiritual 
Praemunire. If God's will be not done by us, he will have his will 
upon us; if we obey not his will in commanding, we shall obey it in 
perishing. 'The Lord Jesus shall be revealed with his mighty angels, 
in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that obey not the gospel.' 
2 Thess 1: 7, 8. Either we must do his will, or suffer it. 
    (6) To do God's will is for our benefit. It promotes our own 
self-interest. As if a king commands a subject to dig in a mine of 
gold, and gives him all the gold he had digged. God bids us do his 
will, and that is for our good. 'And now, Israeli what does the Lord 
thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to keep the 
commandments of the Lord, which I command thee this day for thy 
good?' Deut 10: 13. It is God's will that we should repent, and this 
is for our good; for repentance ushers in remission. 'Repent, that 
your sins may be blotted out.' Acts 3: 19. It is God's will that we 
should believe; and why is it, but that we should be crowned with 
salvation? 'He that believeth, shall be saved.' Mark 16: 16. What 
God wills, is not so much our duty, as our privilege; he bids us 
obey his voice, and it is greatly for our good. 'Obey my voice, and 
I will be your God.' Jer 7: 23. I will not only give you my angels 
to be your guard, but myself to be your portion; my spirit shall be 
yours to sanctify you; my love shall be yours to comfort you; my 
mercy shall be yours to save you; 'I will be your God.' 
    (7) To do God's will is our honour. A person thinks it an 
honour to have a king speak to him to do a thing. The angels count 
it their highest honour in heaven to do God's will. Servire Deo 
regnare est, to serve God is to reign. Non onerant nos, sed ornant 
[They do not burden us but adorn us]. Salvian. How cheerfully did 
the rowers row the barge that carried Caesar! To be employed in this 
barge was an honour: to be employed in doing God's will is insigne 
honoris, the highest ensign of honour that a mortal creature is 
capable of. Christ's precepts do not burden us, but adorn us. 
    (8) To do God's will on earth makes us like Christ, and akin to 
him. It makes us like Christ. Is it not our prayer that we may be 
like Christ Jesus Christ did his Father's will. 'I came down from 
heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.' 
John 6: 38. As God the Father and Christ have but one essence, so 
but one will. Christ's will was melted into his Father's. 'My meat 
is to do the will of him that sent me.' John 4: 34. By doing God's 
will on earth, we resemble Christ, nay, we are akin to him and are 
of the blood royal of heaven. Alexander called himself cousin to the 
gods; but what honour is it to be akin to Christ! 'Whosoever shall 
do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, 
and sister, and mother.' Matt 12: 50. Did king Solomon rise off his 
throne to meet his mother and set her on a throne by him? I Kings 2: 
19. Such honour will Christ bestow on such as are doers of God's 
will; he will salute them as his kindred, and set them on a glorious 
throne in the amphitheatre of heaven. 
    (9) Doing God's will on earth brings peace in life and death. 
[1] In life. 'In keeping them [thy precepts] there is great reward,' 
not only after keeping them, but in keeping them. Psa 19: 11. When 
we walk closely with God in obedience, there is a secret joy let 
into the soul and how swiftly and cheerfully do the wheels of the 
soul move when they are oiled with the oil of gladness! [2] Peace in 
death. When Hezekiah thought he was about to die, what gave him 
comfort? That he had done the will of God. 'Remember O Lord, I 
beseech thee, how I have walked before thee in truth, and have done 
that which is good in thy sight.' Isa 38: 3. It was Augustus's wish 
that he might have an easy death, without much pain. If anything 
make our pillow easy at death, it will be that we have endeavoured 
to do God's will on earth. Did you ever hear any cry out on their 
death-bed, that they have done God's will too much? No! Has it not 
been, that they have done his will no more, that they came so short 
in their obedience? Doing God's will, will be both your comfort and 
your crown. 
    (10) If we are not doers of God's will, we shall be looked upon 
as condemners of his will. Let God say what he will, yet men will go 
on in sin, which is to condemn God. 'Wherefore does the wicked 
condemn God?' Psa 10: 13. To condemn God is worse than to rebel. The 
tribes of Israel rebelled against Rehoboam, because he made their 
yoke heavier. I Kings 12: 16. But to condemn God is worse: it is to 
slight him; it is to put a scorn upon him, and affront him to his 
face; and an affront will make him draw his sword. 
    In what manner are we to do God 's will, that we may find 
    The manner of doing God's will is the chief thing. The 
schoolmen say well, Modus rei cadit sub precepto, 'the manner of a 
thing is as well required as the thing itself.' If a man build a 
house, and the owner likes it not, and it be not according to his 
mind, he thinks all his charges lost; so if we do not God's will in 
the right manner, it is not accepted. We must not only do what he 
appoints, but as he appoints. Here lies the very life-blood of 
religion. It is a great question, therefore, 'In what manner are we 
to do God's will that we may find acceptance?' 
    (I) We do God's will acceptably when we do duties spiritually. 
'We worship God in the spirit.' Phil 3: 3. To serve God spiritually, 
is to do duties ab interno principio, from an inward principle. The 
Pharisees were very exact about the external part of God's worship. 
How zealous were they in the outward observation of the Sabbath, 
even charging Christ with the breach of it! But all this was outward 
obedience only: there was nothing of spirituality in it. We do God's 
will acceptably when we serve him from a renewed principle of grace. 
A crab tree may bear as well as a good apple tree, but it is not so 
good fruit as the other, because it does not come from so sweet a 
root; so an unregenerate person may do as much external obedience as 
a child of God: he may pray as much, hear as much, but his obedience 
is harsh and sour, because it does not come from the sweet and 
pleasant root of grace. The inward principle of obedience is faith; 
therefore it is called 'the obedience of faith.' Rom 16: 26. But why 
must this silver thread of faith run through the whole work of 
obedience? Because faith looks at Christ in every duty, it touches 
the hem of his garment; and through Christ, both the person and the 
offering are accepted. Eph 1: 6. 
    (2) We do God's will acceptably when we prefer his will before 
all others. If God wills one thing, and man wills the contrary, we 
are not to obey man's will, but God's. 'Whether it be right to 
hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.' Acts 4: 19. God 
says, 'Thou shalt not make a graven image.' King Nebuchadnezzar set 
up a golden image to be worshipped; but the three children, or 
rather champions, resolved God's will should prevail, and they would 
obey him, though with the loss of their lives. 'Be it known unto 
thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the 
golden image which thou hast set up.' Dan 3: 18. 
    (3) We do God's will acceptably when we do it as it is done in 
heaven, that is, as the angels do it. To do God's will as the angels 
similitudinem notat, non aequalitatem [marks our likeness to them, 
not our equality with them]. Brugensis. It denotes this much, that 
we are to resemble them, and make them our pattern. Though we cannot 
equal the angels in doing God's will, yet we must imitate them; a 
child cannot write so well as the copy, yet he imitates it. 
    [1] We do God's will as the angels in heaven when we do it 
regularly, sine deflexu [without wavering]; when we go according to 
the divine institutions, not decrees of councils, or traditions of 
men. Angels do nothing but what is commanded; they are not for 
ceremonies. As there are statute laws in the land which bind, so the 
Scripture is God's statute law, which we must exactly observe. As 
the watch is set by the dial, so our obedience is right when it goes 
by the sun-dial of the word. If obedience has not the word for its 
rule, it is not doing God's will, but our own; it is will-worship. 
The Lord would have Moses make the tabernacle according to the 
pattern. Exod 25: 40. If Moses had left out anything or added 
anything to it, it would have been very provoking. To mix anything 
of our own devising in God's worship, is to go beside, yea, contrary 
to the pattern. His worship is the apple of his eye, that which he 
is the most tender of; and there is nothing he has more showed his 
displeasure against than corrupting his worship. How severely did he 
punish Nadab and Abihu for offering up strange fire, that is, such 
fire as God has not sanctified on the altar! Lev 10: 2. Whatever is 
not divinely appointed, is offering up strange fire. There is in 
many a strange itch after superstition: they love a gaudy religion, 
and are more for the pomp of worship than the purity; which cannot 
be pleasing to God. As if God were not wise enough to appoint the 
manner how he will be served, man will be so bold as to prescribe 
for him. To thrust human inventions into sacred things, is doing our 
will, not God's; and he will say, quis quaesivit haec? 'Who has 
required this at your hand?' Isa 1: 12. We do God's will as it is 
done in heaven when we do it regularly, when we reverence his 
institutions, and the mode of worship, which have the stamp of 
divine authority upon them. 
    [2] We do God's will as it is done by the angels in heaven when 
we do it entirely, sine mutilatione [with nothing cut away]; when we 
do all God's will. The angels in heaven do all that God commands; 
they leave nothing of his will undone. 'Ye his angels that do his 
commandments.' Psa 103: 20. If God sends an angel to the virgin 
Mary, he goes on God's errand, if he gives his angels a charge to 
minister for the saints, they obey. Heb 1: 14. It cannot stand with 
angelic obedience, to leave the least iota of God's will 
unfulfilled. It is to do God's will as the angels when we do all his 
will, quicquid propter Deum fit aequaliter fit [whatever is done for 
God's sake is done uniformly]. This was God's charge to Israel. 
'Remember and do all my commandments.' Numb 15: 40, It is said of 
David, 'I have found David, a man after mine own heart, which shall 
fulfil all my will.' (Gr. all my wills.) Acts 13: 22. Every command 
has the same authority; and if we do God's will uprightly, we do it 
uniformly; we obey every part and branch of his will; we join first 
and second table. Surely we owe to God our Father, what the Papists 
say we owe to our mother, the church, unlimited obedience. We must 
incline to every command, as the needle moves the way which the 
loadstone draws. 
    Many do God's will by halves, they pick and choose in religion: 
in some they comply with God's will, but not in others; like a lame 
horse, which sets some of its feet on the ground, but favours one. 
He who is to play upon a lute, must strike upon every string, or he 
spoils all the music. God's commandments may be compared to a ten- 
stringed lute; we must obey his will in every command, strike upon 
every string, or we can make no good melody in religion. The badger 
has one foot shorter than the other, so hypocrites are shorter in 
some duties than others. Some will pray, but not give alms; some 
hear the word, but not forgive their enemies; others receive the 
sacrament, but not make restitution. How can they be holy who are 
not just? Hypocrites profess fair, but when it comes to sacrificing 
the Isaac, crucifying the beloved sin, or parting with some of their 
estate for Christ, they pause and say, as Naaman, 'In this thing, 
the Lord pardon thy servant.' 2 Kings 5: 18. This is far from doing 
God's will as the angels do. God likes not such as do his will by 
halves. If your servant should do some of your work which you set 
him about, but not all, how would you like it? 
    But who is able to do all God's will? 
    Though we cannot do all his will legally, we may evangelically; 
which is: (1) When we mourn that we can do God's will no better; 
when we fail we weep. Rom 7: 24. (2) When it is the desire of our 
soul to do God's whole will, 'O that my ways were directed to keep 
thy precepts.' Psa 119: 5. What a child of God wants in strength, he 
makes up in desire, in magnis voluisse sat est [in great matters it 
is enough to have had the will]. (3) When we endeavour quoad conatum 
[as far as we are able] to do the whole will of God. When a father 
bids his child lift a burden, and the child is not able, but tries, 
and does his best, the father accepts it as if he had done it; so to 
do our best, is to do God's will evangelically. He takes it in good 
part; though it be not to satisfaction, it is to acceptation. 
    [3] We do God's will as it is done in heaven by the angels when 
we do it sincerely, sine fuco [without pretence]. To do God's will 
sincerely lies in two things, first, to do God's will out of a pure 
respect to his command. Abraham's sacrificing Isaac was contrary to 
flesh and blood. To sacrifice the son of his love, the son of the 
promise, and by no other hand but the father's own, was hard 
service; but, because God commanded it, and out of pure respect to 
the command, Abraham obeyed. This is to do God's will aright, when 
though we feel no present joy or comfort in duty, yet, because God 
commands we obey. Not comfort, but the command is the ground of 
duty. Thus the angels do God's will in heaven. His command is the 
weight that sets the wheels of their obedience going. Secondly, to 
do God's will sincerely, is to do it with a pure eye to his glory. 
The Pharisees did the will of God giving alms; but that which was a 
dead fly in the ointment, was that they did not aim at his glory, 
but vain glory; they blew a trumpet. Jehu did the will of God in 
destroying the Baal-worshippers, and God commended him for it; but 
because he aimed more at setting himself in the kingdom, than at the 
glory of God, God looked upon it as no better than murder, and said 
he would avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu. Hos 1: 
4. Let us look to our ends in obedience; though we shoot short, let 
us take a right aim. We may do God's will, and yet not with a 
perfect heart. 'Amaziah did that which was right in the sight of the 
Lord, but not with a perfect heart.' 2 Chron 25: 2. The action was 
right for the matter, but his aim was not right; and the action 
which wants good aim, wants a good issue. He does God's will rightly 
that does it uprightly, whose end is to honour God and lift up his 
name in the world. A gracious soul makes God his centre. As Joab, 
when he had taken Rabbah, sent for King David, that he might have 
the glory of the victory, so when a gracious soul has done any duty, 
it desires that the glory of all may be given to God. 2 Sam 12: 27, 
28. 'That God in all things may be glorified.' I Pet 4: 11. It is to 
do God's will as the angels, when we not only advance his glory, but 
design his glory. The angels are said to cast their crowns before 
the throne. Rev 4: 10. Crowns are signs of the greatest honour, but 
these the angels lay at the Lord's feet, to show they ascribe the 
glory of all they do to him. 
    [4] We do God's will as it is done in heaven by the angels when 
we do it willingly, sine murmuratione [without complaint]. The 
angels love to be employed in God's service. It is their heaven to 
serve God. They willingly descend from heaven to earth, when they 
bring messages from God, and glad tidings to the church. Heaven 
being a place of much joy, the angels would not leave it a minute 
were it not that they take such infinite delight in doing God's 
will. We resemble the angels when we do God's will willingly. 'And 
thou Solomon, my son, serve [the Lord] with a willing mind.' I Chron 
28: 9. God's people are called a willing people (Heb. a people of 
willingnesses); they give God a freewill offering; though they 
cannot serve him perfectly, they serve him willingly. Psa 110: 3. A 
hypocrite is able facere bonum [to do good], yet not velle [desire 
it], he has no delight in duty; he does it rather out of fear of 
hell than love to God. When he does God's will it is against his 
own. Virtus nolentium nulla est [There is no virtue in the 
unwilling]. Cain brought his sacrifice, but grudgingly; his worship 
was rather a task than an offering, rather penance than a sacrifice; 
he did God's will, but against his own. We must be carried upon the 
wings of delight in every duty. Israel were to blow the trumpets 
when they offered burnt offerings. Num 10: 10. This was to show 
their joy and cheerfulness in serving God. We must read and hear the 
word with delight. 'Thy words were found, and I did eat them, and 
thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart.' Jer 15: 
16. A pious soul goes to the word as to a feast, or as one would go 
with delight to hear music. Sleidan reports that the Protestants of 
France had a church which they called paradise, because, when they 
were in the house of God, they thought themselves in paradise. The 
saints flock as doves to the windows of God's house. 'Who are these 
that fly as the doves to their windows?' Isa 60: 8. Not that a truly 
regenerate person is always in the same cheerful temper of 
obedience; he may sometimes find an indisposition and weariness of 
soul, but his weariness is his burden; he is weary of his weariness; 
he prays, weeps, uses all means to regain the alacrity and freedom 
in God's service that he was wont to have. To do God's will 
acceptably is to do it willingly. Delight in duty is better than 
duty itself. The musician is not commended for playing long, but 
well; it is not how much we do, but how much we love. 'O, how love I 
thy law!' Psa 119: 97. Love is as musk among linen, that perfumes 
it; it perfumes obedience, and makes it go up to heaven as incense. 
It is doing God's will as the angels in heaven do. They are ravished 
with delight while praising God; they are said to have harps in 
their hands, to signify their cheerfulness in God's service. Rev 15: 
    [5] We do God's will as the angels in heaven when we do it 
fervently, sine remissione [without slackness]. 'Fervent in spirit, 
serving the Lord;' a metaphor taken from water when it seethes and 
boils over; so our affections should boil over in zeal and fervour. 
Rom 12: 11. The angels serve God with such fervour and intenseness 
that they are called seraphim, from a Hebrew word which signifies to 
burn, to show they are all on fire; they burn in love and zeal in 
doing God's will. Psa 104: 4. Grace turns a saint into a seraphim. 
Aaron must put burning coals to the incense. Lev 16: 12. Incense was 
a type of prayer, burning coals of zeal, to show that the fire of 
zeal must be put to the incense of prayer. Formality starves duty. 
Is it like the angels to serve God dully and coldly? Duty without 
fervour is as a sacrifice without fire. We should ascend to heaven 
in a fiery chariot of devotion. 
    [6] We do God's will as the angels in heaven when we give him 
the best in every service. 'Out of all your gifts, ye shall offer 
all the best thereof.' Numb 18: 29. 'In the holy place shalt thou 
cause the strong wine to be poured unto the Lord for a drink 
offering.' Numb 28: 7. The Jews might not offer to the Lord wine 
that was small or mixed, but the strong wine, to imply that we must 
offer to God the best, the strongest of our affections. If the 
spouse had a cup more juicy and spiced, Christ should drink of that. 
'I would cause thee to drink of spiced wine of the juice of my 
pomegranate.' Cant 8: 2. Thus the angels in heaven do God's will; 
they serve him in the best manner; they give him their seraphic high 
stringed praises; so he who loves God, gives him the cream of his 
obedience. God challenged the fat of all the sacrifice as his due. 
Lev 3: 16. Hypocrites care not what services they bring to God; they 
think to put him off with anything; they put no cost in their 
duties. 'Cain brought of the fruit of the ground.' Gen 4: 3. The 
Holy Ghost took notice of Abel's offering that it was costly. He 
'brought of the firstlings of his flock, and of the fat thereof.' 
Gen 4: 4. When he speaks of Cain's offering, he says only, 'He 
brought of the fruit of the ground.' We do God's will aright when we 
offer pinguia [fat things], dedicate to him the best. Domitian would 
not have his image carved in wood or iron, but in gold. God will 
have the best we have - golden services. 
    [7] We do God's will as the angels in heaven when we do it 
readily and swiftly. The angels do not dispute or reason the case, 
but soon as they have their charge and commission from God, they 
immediately obey. To show how ready they are to execute God's will, 
the cherubim, representing angels, are described with wings. 'The 
man Gabriel (that was an angel) being caused to fly swiftly.' Dan 9: 
21. Thus should we do God's will as the angels. Soon as ever God 
speaks the word we should be ambitious to obey. Alas! how long is it 
sometimes ere we can get leave of our hearts to go to a duty! Christ 
went more readily ad crucem [to the cross], than we to the throne of 
grace. How many disputes and excuses have we! Is this to do God's 
will as the angels in heaven do it? O let us shake off this 
backwardness to duty, as Paul shook off the viper. Nescit tarda 
molimina Spiritus Sancti gratia [The grace of the Holy Spirit knows 
nothing of sluggish efforts. 'Behold two women, and the wind was in 
their wings.' Zech 5: 9. Wings are swift, but wind in the wings is 
great swiftness; such readiness should be in our obedience. Soon as 
Christ commanded Peter to let down his net, he let it down, and you 
know what success he had. Luke 5: 4. It was prophesied of such as 
were brought home to Christ, 'As soon as they hear of me, they shall 
obey me.' Psa 18: 44. 
    [8] We do God's will as the angels in heaven when we do it 
constantly. The angels are never weary of doing God's will; they 
serve him day and night. Rev 7: 15. Thus we should imitate them. 
'Blessed [is] he that does righteousness at all times.' Psa 106: 3. 
Constancy crowns obedience. Non coepisse, sed perfecisse, virtutis 
est [The righteousness consists not in beginning but in completing 
the work]. Cyprian. Our obedience must be like the fire of the 
altar, which was continually kept burning. Lev 6: 13. Hypocrites 
soon give over doing God's will. They are like chrysolite, which is 
of a golden colour in the morning, very bright to look upon, but 
towards evening grows dull and loses its splendour. We should 
continue doing God's will, because of the great loss that will 
befall us if we do it not. There will be a loss of honour. 'That no 
man take thy crown;' implying, if the church of Philadelphia left 
off her obedience, she would lose her crown that is, her honour and 
reputation. Rev 3: 2: Apostasy creates infamy. Judas came from an 
apostle to be a traitor, which was a dishonour. If we give over our 
obedience, it is a loss of all that has been already done; as if one 
should work in silver, and then pick out all the stitches. All a 
man's prayers are lost, all the Sabbaths he has kept are lost; he 
unravels all his good works. 'All his righteousness that he has done 
shall not be mentioned.' Ezek 18: 24. He undoes all he has done; as 
if one drew a curious picture with the pencil, and then came with 
his sponge and wiped it out again. A loss of the soul and happiness. 
We were in a fair way for heaven, but left off doing God's will, 
missed the excellent glory, and are plunged deeper in damnation. 'It 
had been better not to have known the way of righteousness than, 
after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment.' 2 Pet 
2: 21. Therefore let us continue in doing God's will. Constancy sets 
the crown upon the head of obedience. 

The Lord's Prayer
by Thomas Watson
(continued in file 15...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-09: watlp-14.txt