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 
    (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 
    (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 
    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, [1] From pride. Men 
think they have deserved better at God's hand; and, when they begin 
to swell, they spit poison. [2] 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 
    (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 
    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 
    (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 
    [1] 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. 
    [1] 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. 
    [2] 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. 
    [3] 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. 
    [1] 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. 
    [2] 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 
    [3] 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. 
    [4] 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