The Lord's Prayer by Thomas Watson File 15 (... continued from file 14) Use 1. For instruction. (1) See hence our impotence. We have no innate power to do God's will. What need to pray, 'Thy will be done,' if we have power of ourselves to do it? I wonder freewillers pray this petition. (2) If we are to do God's will on earth as it is done by the angels in heaven, see the folly of those who go by a wrong pattern. They do as most of their neighbours do: if they talk vain on the Sabbath, if now and then they swear an oath, it is the custom of their neighbours to do so; but we are to do God's will, as the angels in heaven. We must make the angels our patterns, and not our neighbours. If our neighbours do the devil's will, shall we do so too? If our neighbours go to hell, shall we go thither too for company? (3) See here that which may make us long to be in heaven, where we shall do God's will perfectly, as the angels do. Alas! how defective are we in our obedience here! How far we fall short! We cannot write a copy of holiness without blotting. Our holy things are blemished like the moon, which, when it shines brightest, has a dark spot in it; but in heaven we shall do God's will perfectly, as the angels in glory. Use 2. For reproof. (1) It reproves such as do not God's will. They have a knowledge of God's will, but though they know it, they do it not. They know what God would have them avoid. They know they should not swear. 'Swear not at all.' Matt 5: 34. 'Because of swearing the land mourneth.' Jer 23: 10. Yet, though they pray 'hallowed be thy name,' they profane it by shooting oaths like chain bullets against heaven. They know they should abstain from fornication and uncleanness, yet they cannot but bite at the devil's hook, if he bait it with flesh. Jude 7. They know what God would have them practice, but they 'Leave undone those things which they ought to have done.' They know it is the will of God they should be true in their promises, just in their dealings, good in their relations; but they do it not. They know they should read the Scriptures, consult with God's oracles: but the Bible, like rusty armour, is hung up, and seldom used; they look softener upon a pack of cards than upon a Bible. They know their houses should be palestrae pietatis, nurseries of piety, yet they have no religion in them; they do not perfume their houses with prayer. What hypocrites are they who kneel down in the church, and lift up their eyes to heaven and say, 'Thy will be done,' and yet have no care at all to do God's will! What is this but to hang out a flag of defiance against heaven! Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft. (2) It reproves those who do not God's will in a right acceptable manner. They do not God's will entirely. They will obey him in some things, but not in others; as if a servant should do some of your work you set him about, but not all. Jehu destroyed the idolatry of Baal, but let the golden calves of Jeroboam stand. 2 Kings 10: 28, 29. Some will observe the duties of the second table, but not the first. Others make a high profession, as if their tongues had been touched with a coal from God's altar, but live idly, and out of a calling; of whom the apostle thus complains: 'We hear there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all.' 2 Thess 3: 11. Living by faith, and living in a calling, must go together. It is an evil thing not to do all God's will. They do not God's will ardently, nor cheerfully. They put not coals to the incense; they bring their sacrifice, but not their heart. This is far from doing God's will as the angels. How can God like us to serve him as if we served him not? How can he mind our duties, when we ourselves do not mind them? Use 3. For examination. Let us examine all our actions whether they are according to God's will. The will of God is the rule and standard: it is the sun- dial by which we must regulate all our actions. He is no good workman that does not work by rule; so he can be no Christian who goes not according to the rule of God's will. Let us examine our actions whether they do quadrare [square with], agree to the will of God. Are our speeches according to his will? Are our words savoury, being seasoned with grace? Is our apparel according to God's will? 'In like manner that women adorn themselves in modest apparel,' not wanton and garish, to invite comers. I Tim 2: 9. Is our diet according to God's will? Do we hold the golden bridle of temperance, and only take so much as may rather satisfy nature than surfeit it? Too much oil chokes the lamp. Is our whole carriage and behaviour according to God's will? Are we patterns of prudence and piety? Do we keep up the credit of religion, and shine as lights in the world? We pray, 'Thy will be done as it is in heaven.' Are we like our pattern? Would the angels do this if they were on earth? Would Jesus Christ do this? It is to Christianise, this is to be saints of degrees; when we live our prayer, and our actions are the counterpart of God's will. Use 4. For exhortation. Let us be doers of the will of God, 'Thy will be done.' It is our wisdom to do God's will. 'Keep and do [these statutes], for this is your wisdom.' Deut 4: 6. Further, it is our safety. Has not misery always attended the doing our own will, and happiness the doing of God's will? (1) Misery has always attended the doing our own will. Our first parents left God's will to fulfil their own, in eating the forbidden fruit; and what came of it? The apple had a bitter core in it; they purchased a curse for themselves and all their posterity. King Saul left God's will to do his own; he spared Agog and the best of the sheep, and what was the issue, but the loss of his kingdom? (2) Happiness has always attended the doing God's will. Joseph obeyed God's will, in refusing the embrace of his mistress; and was not this his preferment? God raised him to be the second man in the kingdom. Daniel did God's will contrary to the king's decree; he bowed his knee in prayer to God, and did not God make all Persia bow their knees to Daniel? (3) The way to have our will is to do God's will. Would we have a blessing in our estate? Let us do God's will. 'If thou shalt hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, to do all his commandments, the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field.' Deut 28: 1, 3. This is the way to have a good harvest. Would we have a blessing in our souls? Let us do God's will. 'Obey my voice, and I will be your God:' I will entail myself upon you, as an everlasting portion; my grace shall be yours to sanctify you, my mercy shall be yours to save you. Jer 7: 23. You see you lose nothing by doing God's will; it is the way to have your own will. Let God have his will in being obeyed, and you shall have your will in being saved. How shall we do God's will aright? (1) Get sound knowledge. We must know his will before we can do it; knowledge is the eye to direct the foot of obedience. The Papists make ignorance the mother of devotion; but Christ makes ignorance the mother of error. 'Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures.' Matt 22: 29. We must know God's will before we can do it aright. Affection without knowledge, is like a horse full of mettle, but his eyes are out. (2) If we would do God's will aright, let us labour for self denial. Unless we deny our own will, we shall never do God's will. His will and ours are like the wind and tide when they are contrary. He wills one thing, we will another; he calls us to be crucified to the world, by nature we love the world; he calls us to forgive our enemies, by nature we bear malice in our hearts. His will and ours are contrary, and till we can cross our own will, we shall never fulfil his. (3) Let us get humble hearts. Pride is the spring of disobedience. 'Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice?' Exod 5: 2. A proud man thinks it below him to stoop to God's will. Be humble. The humble son says, Lord what wilt thou have me to do?' He puts, as it were, a blank paper into God hand; and bids him write what he will, and he will subscribe to it. (4) Beg grace and strength of God to do his will. 'Teach me to do thy will:' as if David had said, Lord, I need not be taught to do my own will, I can do it fast enough, but teach me to do thy will. Psa 143: 10. And that which may add wings to prayer, is God's gracious promise, 'I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes.' Ezek 36: 27. If the loadstone draw the iron, it is not hard for the iron to move: if God's Spirit enable, it will not be hard, but rather delightful to do God's will. II. We pray that we may have grace to submit to God's will patiently in what he inflicts. The text is to be understood as well of suffering God's will as of doing it; so Maldonet, and the most judicious interpreters. A good Christian, when under any disastrous providence, should lie quietly at God's feet, and say, 'Thy will be done.' What is patient submission to God's will not? There is something that looks like patience which is not: as when a man bears a thing because he cannot help it; he takes affliction as his fate and destiny, therefore he endures quietly what he cannot avoid: this is necessity rather than patience. What accompanies patient submissions to God's will? (1) A Christian may be deeply sensible of affliction, and yet patiently submit to God's will. We ought not to be Stoics, insensible and unconcerned with God's dealings; like the sons of Deucalion, who, as the poets say, were begotten of a stone. Christ was sensible when he sweat great drops of blood, but there was submission to God's will. 'Nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.' Matt 26: 39. We are bid to humble ourselves under God's hand, which we cannot do unless we are sensible of it. I Pet 5: 6. (2) A Christian may weep under an affliction, and yet patiently submit to God's will. God allows tears: it is a sin to be 'without natural affection.' Rom. 1: 31. Grace makes the heart tender; strangulat inclusis dolor [grief which is held in chokes the heart]; weeping gives vent to sorrow; expletur lacrimis dolor [grief is poured out in tears]. Joseph wept over his dead father; Job, when he had much ill news brought him at once, rent his mantle, as an expression of grief, but did not tear his hair in anger. Worldly grief, however, must not be immoderate; a vein may bleed too much; the water rises too high when it overflows the banks. (3) A Christian may complain in his affliction, and yet be submissive to God's will. 'I cried unto the Lord with my voice, I poured out my complaint before him.' Psa 142: 1, 2. We may, when under oppression, tell God how it is with us, and desire him to write down our injuries. Shall not the child complain to his father when he is wronged? Holy complaint may agree with patient submission to God's will; but though we may complain to God, we must not complain of God. What is inconsistent with patient submission to God's will? (1) Discontent with providence. Discontent has a mixture of grief and anger in it, and both these must needs raise a storm of passion in the soul. When God has touched the apple of our eye, and smitten us in that we loved, we are touchy and sullen, and he has not a good look from us. 'Why art thou wrath?' like a sullen bird that is angry, and beats herself against the cage. Gen 4: 6. (2) Murmuring cannot stand with submission to God's will. Murmuring is the height of impatience, it is a kind of mutiny in the soul against God. 'The people spake against God.' Numb 21: 5. When a cloud of sorrow is gathered in the soul, and it not only drops in tears, but out of it come hailstones, murmuring words against God, this is far from patient submission to his will. When water is hot the scum boils up; when the heart is heated with anger against God, then murmuring boils up. Murmuring springs,  From pride. Men think they have deserved better at God's hand; and, when they begin to swell, they spit poison.  From distrust. Men believe not that God can make a treacle of poison, bring good out of all their troubles, therefore they murmur. 'They believed not his word, but murmured.' Psa 106: 24, 25. Men murmur at God's providence because they distrust his promises. God has much ado to bear this sin. Numb 14: 27. It is far from submission to God's will. (3) Discomposedness of spirit cannot agree with quiet submission to God's will; as when a man says, I am so encompassed with trouble that I know not how to get out; head and heart are so taken up, that I am not fit to pray. When the strings of a lute are snarled, the lute can make no good music; so when a Christian's spirits are perplexed and disturbed, he cannot make melody in his heart to the Lord. To be under discomposure of mind, is as when an army is routed, one runs this way and another that, all is in disorder; so when a Christian is in a hurry of mind, his thoughts run up and down distracted, as if he were undone, which cannot consist with patient submission to God's will. (4) Self apology cannot agree with submission to God's will, when, instead of being humbled under God's hand, a person justifies himself. A proud sinner stands upon his own defence, and is ready to accuse God of unrighteousness, which is, as if we should tax the sun with darkness. This is far from submission to God's will. God smote Jonah's gourd, and he stood upon his own vindication. 'I do well to be angry, even unto death.' Jonah 4: 9. What! to be angry with God, and to justify this! 'I do well to be angry!' This was strange to come from a prophet, and was far from the prayer Christ taught us, 'Thy will be done.' What is patient submission to God's will? It is a gracious frame of soul, whereby a Christian is content to be at God's disposal, and acquiesces in his wisdom. 'It is the Lord, let him do what seemeth him good.' I Sam 3: 18. 'The will of the Lord be done.' Acts 21: 14. That I may further illustrate this, I shall show you wherein this submission to the will of God lies. It lies chiefly in three things: (1) In acknowledging God's hand; seeing God in the affliction. 'Affliction comes not forth of the dust;' it comes not by chance. Job 5: 6. Job eyed God in all that befell him. 'The Lord has taken away.' Job 1: 21. He complains not of the Chaldeans, or the influence of the planets: he looks beyond second causes, he sees God in the affliction. 'The Lord has taken away.' There can be no submission to God's will till there be an acknowledging of God's hand. (2) Patient submission to God's will lies in justifying God. 'O my God, I cry but thou hearest not,' thou turnest a deaf ear to me in my affliction. Psa 22: 2. 'But thou art holy;' ver 3. God is holy and just, not only when he punishes the wicked, but when he afflicts the righteous. Though he put wormwood in our cup, yet we vindicate him, and proclaim his righteousness. When Mauricius, the emperor, saw his son slain before his eyes, he exclaimed, Justus es, Domine, 'Righteous art thou, O Lord, in all thy ways.' We justify God, and confess he punishes us less than we deserve. Ezra 9: 13. (3) Patient submission to God's will lies in accepting the punishment. 'And they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity.' Rev 26: 41. Accepting the punishment, is taking all that God does in good part. He who accepts of the punishment says, 'God is the rod of the Lord;' he kisses the rod, yea, blesses God that he would use such a merciful severity, and rather afflict him than lose him. Patient submission to God's will in affliction shows a great deal of wisdom and piety. The skill of a pilot is most discerned in a storm, so a Christian's grace in the storm of affliction. Submission to God's will is most requisite for us while we live in this lower region. In heaven there will be no more need of patience than there is need of the starlight when the sun shines. In heaven there will be all joy, and what need of patience then? It requires no patience to wear a crown of gold; but while we live here in a valley of tears, patient submission to God's will is much needed. 'Ye have need of patience.' Heb 10: 36. The Lord sometimes lays heavy affliction upon us. 'Thy hand presseth me sore.' Psa 38: 2. The word in the original for 'afflicted' signifies to be 'melted.' God sometimes melts his people in a furnace. He sometimes lays divers afflictions upon us. 'He multiplieth my wounds.' Job 9: I7. God shoots divers sorts of arrows. (1) Sometimes God afflicts with poverty. The widow had nothing left her save a pot of oil. 2 Kings 4: 2. Poverty is a great temptation. To have an estate reduced almost to nothing, is hard to flesh and blood. 'Call me not Naomi, but Mara; I went out full, and the Lord has brought me home again empty.' Ruth 1: 20, 21. This exposes to contempt. When the prodigal was poor, his brother was ashamed to own him. 'This thy son;' he said not, this my brother, but this thy son; he scorned to call him brother. Luke 15: 30. When the deer is shot and bleeds, the rest of the herd push it away, so when God shoots the arrow of poverty at one, others are ready to push him away. When Terence was grown poor, his friend Scipio cast him off. The poets feign that the muses, Jupiter's daughters, had no suitors, because they wanted a dowry. (2) God sometimes afflicts with reproach. Such as have the light of grace shining in them may be eclipsed in their name. The primitive Christians were reproached as if they were guilty of incest, says Tertullian. Luther was called a trumpeter of rebellion. David calls reproach heart-breaking. Psa 69: 20. God often lets his dear saints be exercised with this. Dirt may be cast upon a pearl, and those names may be blotted which are written in the book of life. Sincerity shields from hell, but not from slander. (3) God sometimes afflicts with the loss of dear relations. 'Son of man behold, I take away from thee the desire of thine eyes with a stroke.' Ezek 24: 16. This is like pulling away a limb from the body. He takes away a holy child: Jacob's life was bound up in Benjamin. Gen 44: 30. That which is worse than the loss of children is, when they are continued as living crosses; where the parents expected honey, there to have wormwood. What greater cut to a godly parent than a child who disclaims his father's God? A corrosive applied to the body may do well, but a bad child is a corrosive to the heart. Such an undutiful son had David, who conspired treason, and would not only have taken away his father's crown, but his life. (4) God sometimes afflicts with infirmity of body. Sickness takes away the comfort of life, and makes one in deaths oft. God tries his people with various afflictions, so that there is need of patience to submit to his will. He who has divers bullets shot at him needs armour; so when divers afflictions assault, we need patience as proof armour. He sometimes lets the affliction continue long. Psa 74: 9. As with diseases, some are chronic, that linger and hang about the body several years together; so it is with affliction, the Lord is pleased to exercise many of his precious ones with chronic affliction, such as lies upon them a long time. In all these cases we need patience and submissiveness of spirit to God's will. Use 1. For reproof. It reproves such as have not yet learned this part of the Lord's prayer: 'Thy will be done;' they have only said it, but not learned it. If things be not according to their mind, if the wind of Providence crosses the tide of their will, they are discontented and querulous. Where is now submission of will to God? To be displeased with God if things do not please us, is this to lie at God's feet, and acquiesce in his will? It is a very bad temper of spirit, and God may justly punish us by letting us have our will. Rachel cried, 'Give me children, or else I die.' Gen 30: 1. God let her have a child, but it cost her her life. Gen 35: 18. Israel was not content with manna, but they must have quails, and God punished them by letting them have their will. 'There went forth a wind from the Lord and brought quails; and while the flesh was yet between their teeth, the wrath of the Lord was kindled against them, and the Lord smote the people with a very great plague.' Numb 11: 31, 33. They had better been without their quails than had such sour sauce to them. Many have importunately desired the life of a child, and could not bring their will to God's to be content to part with it; and the Lord has punished them by letting them have their will; for the child has lived and been a burden to them. Seeing their wills crossed God their child shall cross them. Use 2. For exhortation. Let us be exhorted, whatever troubles God exercises us with, aequo animo ferre [to bear with a calm mind], to resign up our wills to him, and say, 'Thy will be done.' Which is fittest, that God should bring his will to ours, or we bring our wills to his? Say as Eli, 'It is the Lord, let him do what seemeth him good;' and as David, 'Behold, here am I; let him do to me as seemeth good unto him.' I Sam 3: 18. 2 Sam 15: 26. It was the saying of Harpulas, Placet mihi quod Regi placet, 'That pleases me which pleases the king;' so should we say, that which pleases God pleases us. 'Thy will be done.' Some have not yet learned this art of submission to God; and truly he who wants patience in affliction is like a soldier in battle who wants armour. When do we not submit to God 's will in affliction as we ought? (1) When we have hard thoughts of him, and our hearts begin to swell against hum. (2) When we are so troubled at our present affliction that we are unfit for duty. We can mourn as doves, but not pray or praise God. We are so discomposed that we are not fit to hearken to any good counsel. 'They hearkened not unto Moses for anguish of spirit.' Exod 6: 9. Israel was so full of grief under their burdens, that they minded not what Moses said, though he came with a message from God to them; 'They hearkened not unto Moses for anguish of spirit.' (3) We do not submit as we ought to God's will when we labour to break loose from affliction by indirect means. Many, to rid themselves out of trouble, run themselves into sin. When God has bound them with the cords of affliction, they go to the devil to loosen their bands. Better it is to stay in affliction than to sin ourselves out of it. O let us learn to stoop to God's will in all afflictive providence. But how shall we bring ourselves, in all occurrences of providence, patiently to acquiesce in God's will, and say, 'Thy will be done'? The means for a quiet resignation to God's will in affliction are:  Judicious consideration. 'In the day of adversity consider.' Eccl 7: 14. When any thing burdens us, or runs cross to our desires, did we but sit down and consider, and weigh things in the balance of judgement, it would much quiet our minds, and subject our wills to God. Consideration would be as David's harp, to charm down the evil spirit of frowardness and discontent. But what should we consider? That which should make us submit to God in affliction, and say, 'Thy will be done,' is: (1) To consider that the present state of life is subject to afflictions, as a seaman's life is subject to storms; ferre quam sortem omnes patiuntur nemo recusat [no one escapes bearing the lot which all suffer]. 'Man is born unto trouble;' he is heir apparent to it; he comes into the world with a cry, and goes out with a groan. Job 5: 7. Ea lege nati sumus [On that condition are we born]. The world is a place where much wormwood grows. 'He has filled me with bitterness (Heb with bitternesses); he has made me drunken with wormwood.' Lam 3: 15. Troubles arise like sparks out of a furnace. Afflictions are some of the thorns which the earth after the curse brings forth. We may as well think to stop the chariot of the sun when it is in its swift motion, as put a stop to trouble. The consideration of a life exposed to eclipses and sufferings should make us say with patience, 'Thy will be done.' Shall a mariner be angry that he meets with a storm at sea? (2) Consider that God has a special hand in the disposal of all occurrences. Job eyed God in his affliction. 'The Lord has taken away;' chap 1: 21. He did not complain of the Sabeans, or the influences of the planets; he looked beyond all second causes; he saw God in the affliction, and that made him cheerfully submit; he said, 'Blessed be the name of the Lord.' Christ looked beyond Judas and Pilate to God's determinate counsel in delivering him up to be crucified, which made him say, 'Father, not as I will, but as thou wilt.' Acts 4: 27, 28, Matt 26: 39. It is vain to quarrel with instruments: wicked men are but a rod in God's hand. 'O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger.' Isa 10:5. Whoever brings an affliction, God sends it. The consideration of this should make us say, 'Thy will be done;' for what God does he sees a reason for. We read of a wheel within a wheel. Ezek 1: I6. The outward wheel, which turns all, is providence; the wheel within this wheel is God's decree; this believed, would rock the heart quiet. Shall we mutiny at that which God does? We may as well quarrel with the works of creation as with the works of providence. (3) Consider that there is a necessity for affliction. 'If need be, ye are in heaviness.' I Pet 1: 6. It is needful some things be kept in brine. Afflictions are needful upon several accounts.  To keep us humble. Often there is no other way to have the heart low but by being brought low. When Manasseh 'was in affliction, he humbled himself greatly.' 2 Chron 33: 12. Corrections are corrosives to eat out the proud flesh. 'Remembering my misery, the wormwood and the gall, my soul is humbled in me.' Lam 3: 19, 20.  It is necessary that there should be affliction; for if God did not sometimes bring us into affliction, how could his power be seen in bringing us out? Had not Israel been in the Egyptian furnace, God had lost his glory in their deliverance.  If there were no affliction, then many parts of Scripture could not be fulfilled. God has promised to help us to bear affliction. Psa 37: 24, 39. How could we experience his supporting us in trouble, if we did not sometimes meet with it? God has promised to give us joy in affliction. John 16: 20. How could we taste this honey of joy if we were not sometimes in affliction? Again, he has promised to wipe away tears from our eyes. Isa 25: 8. How could he wipe away our tears in heaven if we never shed any? So that, in several respects, there is an absolute necessity that we should meet with affliction; and shall not we quietly submit, and say, 'Lord, I see there is a necessity for it?' 'Thy will be done!' (4) Consider that whatever we feel is what we have brought upon ourselves; we have put a rod into God's hand to chastise us. Christian, God lays thy cross on thee; but it is of thy own making. If a man's field be full of tares, it is what he has sown in it: if thou reapest a bitter crop of affliction, it is what thou thyself hast sown. The cords that pinch thee are of thy own twisting; meme adsum qui feci [it is myself here who made them]. If children will eat green fruit, they may thank themselves if they are sick; and if we eat the forbidden fruit, no wonder we feel it gripe. Sin is the Trojan horse that lands an army of afflictions upon us. 'A voice publisheth affliction:' 'Thy way and thy doings have procured these things unto thee; this is thy wickedness.' ,Jer 4: 15, 18. If we by sin run ourselves into arrears with God, no wonder if he set affliction as a sergeant on our back to arrest us. This should make us patiently submit to God in affliction, and say, 'Thy will be done.' We have no cause to complain of God; it is nothing but what our sins have merited. 'Hast not thou procured this unto thyself?' Jer 2: 17. The cross, though it be of God's laying, is of our making. Say, then, as Micah (chap 7: 9), 'I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him.' (5) Consider that God is about to prove and try us. 'Thou, O God, hast tried us as silver is tried, thou laidst affliction upon our loins.' Psa 66: 10, 11. If there were no affliction, how could God have an opportunity to try men? Hypocrites can serve in a pleasure boat: they can serve God in prosperity; but when we can keep close to him in times of danger, when we can trust him in darkness, and love him when we have no smile, and say, 'Thy will be done,' that is the trial of sincerity! God is only trying us; and what hurt is there in that? What is gold the worse for being tried? (6) Consider that in all our crosses God has kindness for us. As there was no night so dark but Israel had a pillar of fire to give light, so there is no condition so cloudy but we may see that which gives light of comfort. David could sing of mercy and judgement. Psa 101: 1. It should make our wills cheerfully submit to God's, to consider that in every path of providence we may see a footstep of kindness. There is kindness in affliction when God seems most unkind.  There is kindness in that there is love in it. God's rod and his love may stand together. 'Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth.' Heb 12: 6. As when Abraham lifted up his hand to sacrifice, Isaac loved him; so when God afflicts his people, and seems to sacrifice their outward comforts, he loves them. The husband man loves his vine when he cuts it and makes it bleed; and shall not we submit to God? Shall we quarrel with that which has kindness in it, which comes in love? The surgeon binds the patient, and lances him, but no wise man will quarrel with him, because it is in order to a cure.  There is kindness in affliction, in that God deals with us as children. 'If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons.' Heb 12: 7. God has one Son without sin, but no son without stripes. Affliction is a badge of adoption; it is Dei sigillum, says Tertullian, it is God's seal by which he marks us for his own. When Munster, that holy man, lay sick, his friends asked him how he did? He pointed to his sores, saying, Hae sunt gemmae Dei, these are the jewels with which God decks his children. Shall not we then say, 'Thy will be done'? Lord, there is kindness in the cross, thou uses us as children. The rod of discipline is to fit us for the inheritance.  In kindness God in all our afflictions has left us a promise; so that in the most cloudy providence the promise appears as the rainbow in the cloud. Then we have God's promise to be with us. 'I will be with him in trouble.' Psa 91: 15. It cannot be ill with that man with whom God is; I will be with him, to support, sanctify, and sweeten every affliction. I had rather be in prison and have God's presence, than be in a palace without it. We have the promise that he will not lay more upon us than he will enable us to bear. I Cor 10: 13. He will not try us beyond our strength; either he will make the yoke lighter, or our faith stronger. Should not this make us submit our wills to his, when afflictions have so much kindness in them? In all our trials he has left us promises, which are like manna in the wilderness.  It is great kindness that all troubles that befall us shall be for our profit. 'He for our profit.' Heb 12: 10. What profit is in affliction? Afflictions are disciplinary, they teach us. They are, Schola crucis, Schola lucis [the school of the cross, the school of light]. Many psalms have the inscription, Maschil, a psalm giving instruction; so affliction has the inscription Maschil upon it, an affliction giving instruction. 'Hear ye the rod.' Micah 6: 9. Luther says he could never rightly understand some of the psalms till he was in affliction. Gideon 'took thorns of the wilderness, and briers, and with them he taught the men of Succoth.' Judges 8: 16. God by the thorns and briers of affliction teaches us. Affliction shows us more of our own hearts. Water in a glass vial looks clear; but set it on the fire, and the scum boils up; so when God sets us upon the fire, corruption boils up which we did not discern before. Sharp afflictions are to the soul as a soaking rain to the houses; we know not that there are holes in the house till the shower comes, but then we see it drop down here and there; so we do not know what unfortified lusts are in the soul till the storm of affliction comes; then we find unbelief, impatience, carnal fear, dropping down in many places. Affliction is a sacred collyrium [eye- salve], it clears our eye-sight: the rod gives wisdom. Affliction brings those sins to remembrance which we had buried in the grave of forgetfulness. Joseph's brethren, for twenty years together, were not at all troubled for their sin in selling their brother; but when they came into Egypt, and began to be in straits, their sin came to their remembrance, and their hearts smote them. 'They said one to another, we are verily guilty concerning our brother. ' Gen 42: 21. When a man is in distress his sin comes fresh into his mind; conscience makes a rehearsal-sermon of all the evils which have passed in his life; his expense of precious time, his Sabbath-breaking, his slighting of the word, come to remembrance, and he goes out with Peter and weeps bitterly. Thus the rod gives wisdom, shows the hidden evil of the heart, and brings former sins to remembrance. There is profit in affliction, as it quickens the spirit of prayer; premuntur justi ut pressi clament [the righteous are afflicted that in their affliction they may pray]. Jonah was asleep in the ship, but at prayer in the whale's belly. Perhaps in a time of health and prosperity we prayed in a cold and formal manner, we put no coals to the incense, we scarcely minded our own prayers, and how should God mind them? God sends some cross or other to make us stir up ourselves to take hold of him. When Jacob was in fear of his life by his brother, he wrestled with God, and wept in prayer, and would not leave him till he blessed him. Hos 12: 4. It is with many of God's children as with those who formerly had the sweating sickness in this land, it was a sleepy disease, if they slept they died; therefore, to keep them waking, they were smitten with rosemary branches; so the Lord uses affliction as a rosemary branch to keep us from sleeping, and to awaken a spirit of prayer. 'They poured out a prayer, when thy chastening was upon them;' now their prayer pierced the heavens. Isa 26: 16. In times of trouble we pray feelingly, and we never pray so fervently as when we pray feelingly; and is not this for our profit? The Lord's Prayer by Thomas Watson (continued in file 16...) ---------------------------------------------------- file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-09: watlp-15.txt .