The Lord's Prayer
by Thomas Watson
File 16
(... continued from file 15)

    Affliction is for our profit, as it is a means to purge out our 
sins. 'By this therefore shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged.' Isa 
27: 9. Affliction is God's physic to expel the noxious humour, it 
cures the imposthume of pride, the fever of lust; and is not this 
for our profit? Affliction is God's file to fetch off our rust, his 
flail to thresh off our husks. The water of affliction is not to 
drown us, but to wash off our spots. 
    To be under the black rod is profitable, in that hereby we grow 
more serious, and are more careful to clear our evidences for 
heaven. In times of prosperity, when the rock poured out rivers of 
oil, we were careless in getting, at least clearing, our title to 
glory. Job 29: 6. Had many no better evidences for their land than 
they have for their salvation, they were in an ill case; but when an 
hour of trouble comes, we begin to look after our spiritual 
evidences, and see how things stand between God and our souls; and 
is it not for our profit to see our interest in Christ more clear 
than ever? 
    Affliction is for our profit, as it is a means to take us more 
off from the world. The world often proves not only a spider's web, 
but a cockatrice egg. Pernicious worldly things are great 
enchantments, they are retinacula spei [the tether of hope]. 
Tertullian. They hinder us in our passage to heaven. If a clock be 
overwound, it stands still; so, when the heart is wound up too much 
to the world, it stands still to heavenly things. Affliction sounds 
a retreat to call us off the immoderate pursuit of earthly things. 
When things are frozen and congealed together, the only way to 
separate them is by fire; so, when the heart and the world are 
congealed together, God has no better way to separate them than by 
the fire of affliction. 
    Affliction is for our profit, as it is a refiner. It works us 
up to further degrees of sanctity. 'He for our profit, that we might 
be partakers of his holiness.' Heb 12: 10. The vessels of mercy are 
the brighter for scouring. As you pour water on your linen when you 
would whiten it, so God pours the waters of affliction upon us to 
whiten our souls. The leaves of the fig-tree and root are bitter, 
but the fruit is sweet; so afflictions are in themselves bitter, but 
they bring forth the sweet fruits of righteousness. Heb 12: 11. This 
should make us submit to God and say, 'Thy will be done.' 
    [5] There is kindness in affliction, in that there is no 
condition so bad but it might be worse. When it is dusk, it might be 
darker. God does not make our cross so heavy as he might: he does 
not stir up all his anger. Psa 78: 38. He does not put so many nails 
in our yoke, so much wormwood in our cup, as he night. Does God 
chastise thy body? He might torture thy conscience. Does he cut thee 
short? He might cut thee off. The Lord might make our chains 
heavier. Is it a burning fever? It might have been the burning lake. 
Does God use the pruning knife to lop thee? He might bring his axe 
to hew thee down. 'The waters were up to the ankles.' Do the waters 
of affliction come up to the ankles? God might make them rise 
higher; nay, he might drown thee in the waters. God uses the rod 
when he might use the scorpion. 
    [6] There is kindness in affliction, in that your case is not 
so bad as others, who are always upon the rack, and spend their 
years with sighing. Psa 31: 10. Have you a gentle fit of the ague? 
Others cry out of the stone and strangulation. Do you bear the wrath 
of men? Others bear the wrath of God. You have but a single trial: 
others have them twisted together. God shoots but one arrow at you, 
he shoots a shower of arrows at others. Is there not kindness in all 
this? We are apt to say, never any suffered as we! Was it not worse 
with Lazarus, who was so full of sores that the dogs took pity on 
him, and licked his sores? Nay, was it not worse with Christ, who 
lived poor and died cursed? May not this cause us to say, 'Thy will 
be done'? It is in kindness that God deals not so severely with us 
as with others. 
    [7] There is kindness in affliction, in that, if we belong to 
God, it is all the hell we shall have. Some have two hells: they 
suffer in their body and conscience, which is one hell, and another 
hell to come is unquenchable fire. Judas had two hells, but a child 
of God has but one. Lazarus had all his hell here; he was full of 
sores, but had a convoy of angels to carry him to heaven when he 
died. Say, then, Lo! if this be the worst I shall have, if this be 
all my hell, I will patiently acquiesce: 'Thy will be done.' 
    [8] There is kindness in that God gives gracious supports in 
affliction. If he strikes with one hand, he supports with the other. 
'Underneath are the everlasting arms.' Deut 33: 27. There is not the 
least trial, but if God would desert us, and not assist us with his 
grace, we should sink under it; as the frown of a great man, the 
fear of reproach. Peter was frighted at the voice of a maid. Matt 
26: 69. Oh, therefore, what mercy is it to have Christ strengthen 
us, and as it were, bear the heaviest part of the cross with us! One 
said, I have no ravishing joys in my sickness, but I bless God I 
have sweet supports; and should not this cause submission to God's 
will, and make us say, 'Lo! if thou art so kind as to bear us up in 
affliction, that we do not faint, put us into what wine press thou 
pleases: 'Thy will be done'? 
    [9] There is kindness in affliction in that it is preventive. 
God, by this stroke of his, would prevent some sin. Paul's 'thorn in 
the flesh' was to prevent his being lifted up in pride. 2 Cor 12: 7. 
Affliction is sometimes sent for the punishing of sin, at other 
times for its prevention. Prosperity exposes to much evil: it is 
hard to carry a full cup without spilling, and a full estate without 
sinning. God's people know not how much they are beholden to their 
affliction; they might have fallen into some scandal, had not God 
set a hedge of thorns in their way to stop them. What kindness is 
this! God lets us fall into sufferings to prevent falling into 
snares; say then, Lord, do as it seems good in thy sight, 'Thy will 
be done.' 
    God by affliction would prevent damnation. We are corrected in 
the world, 'that we should not be condemned with the world.' I Cor 
11:32. A man, by falling into briers, is saved from falling into the 
river; so God lets us fall into the briers of affliction that we may 
not be drowned in perdition. It is a great favour when a less 
punishment is inflicted to prevent a greater. Is it not clemency in 
the judge, when he lays some light penalty on the prisoner, and 
saves his life? So it is when God lays upon us light affliction, and 
saves us from wrath to come. As Pilate said, 'I will chastise him, 
and let him go;' so God chastises his children and lets them go, 
frees them from eternal torment. Luke 23: 16. What is the drop of 
sorrow the godly taste, to that sea of wrath the wicked shall be 
drinking to all eternity? oh! what kindness is here! Should it not 
make us say, 'Thy will be done'? 
    [10] There is kindness in that God mixes his providence. In 
anger he remembers mercy. Hab 3: 2. Not all pure gall, but some 
honey mixed with it. Asher's shoes were iron and brass, but his foot 
was dipped in oil. Deut 33: 24, 25. Affliction is the shoe of brass, 
but God causes the foot to be dipped in oil. As the painter mixes 
with his dark shadows bright colours, so the wise God mingles the 
dark and bright colours, crosses and blessings. The body is 
afflicted, but within is peace of conscience. Joseph was sold into 
Egypt, and put into prison; there was the dark side of the cloud. 
Job lost all that ever he had, his skin was clothed with boils and 
ulcers; here was a sad providence. But God gave a testimony from 
heaven of Job's integrity, and afterwards doubled his estate. 'The 
Lord gave Job twice as much;' here was the goodness of God towards 
Job. Job 42: 10. God cheques his works of providence, and shall not 
we submit and say, Lord, if thou art so kind, mixing so many bright 
colours with my dark condition, 'Thy will be done.' 
    [11] There is kindness in affliction in that God moderates his 
stroke. 'I will correct thee in measure.' Jer 30: 11. God in the day 
of his east wind will stay his rough wind. Isa 27: 8. The physician 
that understands the crisis and temper of the patient will not give 
too strong physic for the body, nor will he give one drachm or 
scruple too much: so God knows our frame, he will not over-afflict; 
he will not stretch the strings of the viol too hard, lest they 
break. And, is there no kindness in all this? Should not this work 
our hearts to submission? Lord, if thou uses so much gentleness, and 
correctest in measure, 'Thy will be done.' 
    [12] There is kindness in affliction in that God often sweetens 
it with divine consolation. 'Who comforteth us in all our 
tribulation.' 2 Cor 1: 4. After a bitter potion he gives a lump of 
sugar. God comforts in affliction. (1) Partly by his word. 'This is 
my comfort in my affliction, for thy word has quickened me.' Psa 
119: 50. The promises of the word are a shop of cordials. (2) God 
comforts by his Spirit. Philip, land grave of Jesse, said that in 
his troubles, Se divinas martyrum consolationes sensisse, he felt 
the divine consolations of the martyrs. David had his pilgrimage- 
songs, and Paul his prison-songs. Psa 119: 54; Acts 16: 25. Thus God 
candies our wormwood with sugar, and makes us gather grapes off 
thorns. Some of the saints have such ravishing joys in affliction, 
that they had rather endure their sufferings than want their 
comforts. Oh, how much kindness there is in the cross! In the belly 
of this lion is a honeycomb. Should it not make us cheerfully submit 
to God's will, when he lines the yoke with comfort, and gives us 
honey at the end of the rod? 
    [13] There is kindness in affliction in that God curtails and 
shortens it; he will not let it lie on too long. 'I will not contend 
for ever, for the spirit should fail before me.' Isa 57: 16. God 
will give his people a writ of ease and proclaim a year of jubilee; 
the wicked may slough upon the backs of the saints, but God will cut 
their traces. Psa 129: 3, 4. The goldsmith will not let his gold lie 
any longer in the furnace than till it be purified. The wicked must 
drink a sea of wrath, but the godly have only a cup of affliction, 
and God will say, 'Let this cup pass away.' Isa 51: 17. Affliction 
may be compared to frost, that will break, and spring-flowers will 
come on. 'Sorrow and sighing shall flee away.' Isa 35: 10. 
Affliction has a sting, but withal a wing: sorrow shall fly away. 
This land-flood shall be dried up. If there be so much kindness in 
the cross, and God will cause a cessation of trouble, say then, fiat 
voluntas tua, 'Thy will be done.' 
    [14] There is kindness in affliction in that it is a means to 
make us happy. 'Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth.' Job 
5: 17. It seems strange to flesh and blood that affliction should 
make us happy. When Moses saw the bush burning and not consumed, he 
said 'I will turn aside and see this great sight.' Exod 3: 3. So 
here is a strange sight, a man afflicted, and yet happy. The world 
counts them happy who can escape affliction, but happy is the man 
whom God correcteth. 
    How do afflictions contribute to our happiness? 
    As they are a means of bringing us nearer to God. The loadstone 
of prosperity does not draw us so near to God as the cords of 
affliction. When the prodigal was pinched with want, he said, 'I 
will arise, and go to my father.' Luke 15: 18. As the deluge brought 
the dove to the ark, the floods of sorrow make us hasten to Christ. 
    Afflictions make us happy, as they are safe guides to glory. 
The storm drives the ship into the harbour. Blessed storm that 
drives the soul into the heavenly harbour. Is it not better to go 
through affliction to glory, than through pleasure to misery? Not 
that afflictions merit glory, but they prepare us for it. No cross 
ever merited but that which Christ endured. Think, O Christian, what 
affliction leads to! it leads to paradise, where are rivers of 
pleasure always running. Should not this make us cheerfully submit 
to God's will, and say, Lord, if there be so much kindness in 
affliction, if all thou does is to make us happy, 'Thy will be 
    (7) Consider that it is God's ordinary course to keep his 
people to a bitter diet-drink, and exercise them with great trials. 
Affliction is the beaten road in which all the saints have gone. The 
lively stones in the spiritual building have been all hewn and 
polished. Christ's lily has grown among the thorns. 'All that will 
live godly in Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution.' 2 Tim 3: 12. 
It is too much for a Christian to have two heavens: it is more than 
Christ had. It has been ever the lot of saints to encounter sore 
trials. It was of the prophets, 'Take, my brethren, the prophets for 
an example of suffering affliction.' James 5: 10. It was of the 
apostles: for Peter was crucified with his head downwards. James was 
beheaded by Herod, John was banished into the isle of Patmos, the 
apostle Thomas was thrust through with a spear, Matthias (who was 
chosen apostle in Judas's room) was stoned to death, and Luke, the 
evangelist, was hanged on an olive-tree. Those saints, of whom the 
world was not worthy, passed under the rod. Heb 11: 38. Christ's 
kingdom is regnum crucis [the kingdom of the cross]. Those whom God 
intends to save from hell, he does not save from the cross. The 
consideration of this should quiet our minds in affliction, and make 
us say, 'Thy will be done.' Do we think God will alter his course of 
providence for us? Why should we look for exemption from trouble 
more than others? Why should we think to tread only upon roses and 
violets, when prophets and apostles have marched through briars to 
    (8) Consider that what God has already done for thee, 
Christian, should make thee content to suffer anything at his hand, 
and say, 'Thy will be done.' 
    [1] He has adopted thee for his child. David thought it no 
small honour to be the king's son-in-law. I Sam 18: 18. What an 
honour is it to derive thy pedigree from heaven, to be born of God! 
Why then art thou troubled, and murmurest at every slight cross? As 
Jonadab said to Amnon, 'Why art thou, being the king's son, lean?' 2 
Sam 13: 4. Why art thou, who art son or daughter to the king of 
heaven, troubled at these petty things? What! the king's son, and 
look lean! Let it quiet thy spirit and bring thy will to God's, that 
he has dignified thee with honour, he has made thee his son and 
heir, and will entail a kingdom on thee. 
    [2] God has given thee Christ. Christ is communis thesaurus, a 
magazine or storehouse of all heavenly treasure; a pearl of price to 
enrich, a tree of life to quicken; he is the quintessence of all 
blessings. Why then art thou discontented at thy worldly crosses? 
They cannot be so bitter as Christ is sweet. As Seneca said once to 
Polybius, 'Why dost thou complain of hard fortune, salvo Caesare 
[while it is well with Caesar]? Is not Caesar thy friend?' So, is 
not Christ thy friend? He can never be poor who has a mine of gold 
in his field; nor he who has the unsearchable riches of Christ. Say 
then, 'Lord, Thy will be done;' though I have my cross, yet I have 
Christ with it. The cross may make me weep, but Christ wipes off all 
tears. Rev 7:17. 
    [3] God has given thee grace. Grace is the rich embroidery and 
workmanship of the Holy Ghost; it is the sacred unction. I John 2: 
27. The graces are a chain of pearl to adorn, and beds of spices 
which make a sweet odour to God. Grace is a distinguishing blessing; 
Christ gave Judas his purse, but not his Spirit. May not this quiet 
the heart in affliction, and make it say, 'Thy will be done'? Lord, 
thou hast given me that jewel which thou bestowest only on the 
elect; grace is the seal of thy love, it is both food and cordial, 
it is an earnest of glory. 
    (9) Consider that when God intends the greatest mercy to any of 
his people, he brings them low in affliction. He seems to go quite 
cross to sense and reason, for when he intends to raise us highest, 
he brings us lowest. As Moses' hand, before it wrought miracles, was 
leprous; and Sarah's womb, before it brought forth the son of 
promise, was barren. God brings us low before he raiseth us, as 
water is at the lowest ebb before there is a spring-tide. 
    This is true in a temporal sense. When God would bring Israel 
to Canaan, a land flowing with milk and honey, he first led them 
through a sea and a wilderness. When he intended to advance Joseph 
to be the second man in the kingdom, he cast him first into prison, 
and the iron entered into his soul. Psa 105: 18. He usually lets it 
be darkest before the morning-star of deliverance appears. 
    It is true in a spiritual sense. When God intends to raise a 
soul to spiritual comfort, he first lays it low in desertion. Isa 
12: 1. As the painter lays his dark colour first, and then lays his 
gold colour on it, so God first lays the soul in the dark of 
desertion, and then his golden colour of joy and consolation. Should 
not this make us cheerfully submit, and say, 'Thy will be done'? 
Perhaps now God afflicts me, he is about to raise me, he intends me 
a greater mercy than I am aware of. 
    (10) Consider the excellency of this frame of soul, to lie at 
God's feet and say, 'Thy will be done.' 
    A soul that is melted into God's will shows variety of grace. 
As the holy ointment was made up of several aromatic spices, myrrh, 
cinnamon, and cassia, so this sweet temper of soul, submission to 
God's will in affliction has in it a mixture of several graces. Exod 
30: 23. In particular, it is compounded of three graces, faith, 
love, humility. [1] Faith. Faith believes God does all in mercy, 
that affliction is to mortify some sin, or exercise some grace; that 
God corrects in love and faithfulness. Psa 119: 75. The belief of 
this causes submission of will to God. [2] Love. Love thinks no 
evil. I Cor 13: 5. It takes all God does in the best sense, it has 
good thoughts of God, and causes submission. Let the righteous God 
smite me, says love, it shall be a kindness; yea, it shall be an 
excellent oil, which shall not break my head. [3] Humility. The 
humble soul looks on its sins, and how much he has provoked God; he 
says not his afflictions are great, but his sins are great; he lies 
low at God's feet and says, 'I will bear the indignation of the 
Lord, because I have sinned against him.' Micah 7: 9. Thus a 
submissive frame of heart is full of grace; it is compounded of 
several graces. God is pleased to see so many graces at once sweetly 
exercised; he says of such a Christian, as David of Goliath's sword, 
'None like that, give it me.' I Sam 21: 9. 
    He who puts his fiat et placet [so be it; agreed] to God's 
will, and says, 'Thy will be done,' shows not only variety of grace, 
but strength of grace. It argues much strength in the body to be 
able to endure hard weather, yet not to be altered by it; so to 
endure hard trials, yet not faint or fret, shows more than ordinary 
strength of grace. You that can say you have brought your wills to 
God's - God's will and yours agree, as the copy and the original - 
let me assure you, you have outstripped many Christians who perhaps 
shine in a higher sphere of knowledge than you. To be content to be 
at God's disposal, to be anything that God will have us, shows a 
noble, heroic soul. It is reported of the eagle that it is not like 
other fowls, which, when they are hungry, make a noise, as the 
ravens cry for food, but it is never heard to make a noise, though 
it wants meat, because of the nobleness and greatness of its spirit; 
it is above other birds, and has a spirit suitable to its nature: so 
it is a proof of great magnitude of spirit, that whatsoever cross 
providence befall a Christian, he does not cry and whine as others, 
but is silent, and lies quietly at God's feet. There is much 
strength of grace in such a soul, nay, the height of grace. When 
grace is crowning, it is not so much to say, 'Lord, thy will be 
done;' but when grace is conflicting, and meets with crosses and 
trials, then to say, 'Thy will be done,' is a glorious thing indeed, 
and prepares for the garland of honour. 
    (11) Consider that persons are usually better in adversity than 
prosperity; therefore stoop to God's will. A prosperous condition is 
not always so safe. True it is more pleasing to the palate, and 
every one desires to get on the warm side of the hedge, where the 
sun of prosperity shines, but it is not always best; in a prosperous 
state there is more burden, plus oneris. Many look at the shining 
and glittering of prosperity, but not at the burden. 
    [1] There is the burden of care. Therefore God calls riches 
'cares.' Luke 8: 14. A rose has its prickles, so have riches. We 
think them happy that flourish in their silks and cloth of gold, but 
we see not the troubles and cares that attend them. A shoe may have 
silver lace on it, yet pinch the foot. Many a man that goes to his 
day-labour, lives a more contented life than he that has his 
thousands per annum. Disquieting care is the malus genius, the evil 
spirit that haunts the rich man. When his chests are full of gold, 
his heart is full of care how to increase, or how to secure what he 
has gotten. He is sometimes full of care to whom he shall leave it. 
A large estate, like a long, trailing garment, is often more 
troublesome than useful. 
    [2] In a prosperous estate there is the burden of account. Such 
as are in high places, have a far greater account to give to God 
than others. 'Unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much 
required.' Luke 12: 48. The more golden talents any are entrusted 
with, the more they have to answer for; the more their revenues, the 
more their reckonings. God will say, I gave you a great estate, what 
have you done with it? How have you employed it for my glory? I have 
read of Philip, king of Spain, that when he was about to die, said, 
'O that I had never been a king! O that I had lived a private, 
solitary life! Here is all the fruit of my kingdom, it has made my 
accounts heavier!' So, then, may not this quiet our hearts in a low, 
adverse condition, and make us say, 'Lord, thy will be done!' as 
thou hast given me a less portion of worldly things, so I have a 
less burden of care, and a less burden of account. 
    [3] A prosperous condition has plus periculi, more danger in 
it. Such as are on the top of the pinnacle of honour, are in more 
danger of falling; they are subject to many temptations; their table 
is often a snare. Heliogabalus made ponds of sweet water to bathe 
in; millions are drowned in the sweet waters of pleasure. A great 
sail overturns the vessel: how many, by having too great sails of 
prosperity, have had their souls overturned! It must be a strong 
head that bears heady wine; he had need have much wisdom and grace 
that knows how to bear a high condition. It is hard to carry a full 
cup without spilling, and a full estate without sinning. Augur 
feared if he were full, he should deny God and say, 'Who is the 
Lord?' Prov 30: 9. Prosperity breeds pride. The children of Korah 
were in a higher estate than the rest of the Levites: they were 
employed in the tabernacle about the most holy things of all; they 
had the first lot; but as they were lifted up above others of the 
Levites in honour, so in pride. Numb 4: 4; Josh 21: 10; Numb 16: 3. 
When the tide rises higher in the Themes, the boat rises higher; so, 
when the tide of an estate rises higher, many men's hearts rise 
higher in pride. Prosperity breeds security. Samson fell asleep in 
Delilah's lap, so do men in the lap of ease and plenty. The world's 
golden sands are quicksands. 'How hardly shall they that have riches 
enter into the kingdom of God!' Luke 18: 24. The consideration of 
this should make us submit to God in adversity, and say, 'Thy will 
be done.' God sees what is best for us. If we have less estate, we 
are in less danger; if we want the honours of others, so we want 
their temptations. 
    (12) Consider that, having our wills melted into God's is a 
good sign that the present affliction is sanctified. Affliction is 
sanctified when it attains the end for which it was sent. The end 
why God sends affliction, is to calm the spirit, to subdue the will, 
and bring it to God's will; when this is done, affliction has 
attained the end for which it came; it is sanctified, and it will 
not be long ere it be removed. When the sore is healed, the smarting 
plaister is taken off. 
    (13) Consider how unworthy it is of a Christian to be froward 
and unsubmissive, and not bring his will to God's. 
    [1] It is below the spirit of a Christian. The spirit of a 
Christian is dovelike, meek, and sedate, willing to be at God's 
disposal. 'Not my will, but thine be done.' Luke 22: 42. A Christian 
spirit is not fretful, but humble; not craving, but contented. See 
the picture of a Christian spirit in Paul. 'I know how to be abased, 
and how to abound.' Phil 4: 12. He could be either higher or lower, 
as God saw good; he could sail with any wind of providence, either a 
prosperous or boisterous gale; his will was melted into God's. To be 
of a cross spirit that cannot submit to God, is unworthy of the 
spirit of a Christian; it is like the bird that, because it is pent 
up and cannot fly in the open air, beats itself against the cage. 
    [2] A froward unsubmissive frame that cannot submit to God's 
will, is unworthy of a Christian's profession. He professes to live 
by faith, yet repines at his condition. Faith lives not by bread 
alone; it feeds on promises, it makes future glory present; it sees 
all in God. When the fig-tree does not blossom, faith can joy in the 
God of its salvation. Hab 3: 17, 18. To be troubled at our present 
estate, because low and mean, shows weak faith. Surely that is a 
weak faith, or no faith, which must have crutches to support it. Oh, 
be ashamed to call thyself believer, if thou canst not trust God, 
and acquiesce in his will, in the deficiency of outward comforts. 
    [3] To be of a froward unsubmissive spirit, that cannot 
surrender its will unto God, is unworthy of the high dignities God 
has put upon a Christian. He is a rich heir; he is exalted above all 
creatures that ever God made except the angels; yea, in some sense, 
as his nature is joined in a hypostatic union to the divine nature, 
he is above the angels. Oh! then, how is he below his dignity, for 
want of a few earthly comforts, to be froward, and ready to quarrel 
with the Deity! Is it not unworthy of a king's son, because he may 
not pluck such a flower, to be discontented and rebel against his 
royal father? A Christian is espoused to Jesus Christ. What! to be 
married to Christ, yet froward and unsubmissive! Hast not thou 
enough in him? as Elkanah said to Hannah, 'Am not I better than ten 
sons?' I Sam 1: 8. Is not Christ better than a thousand worldly 
comforts? Omnia bona in summo bono [All good things in the highest 
good]. It is a disparagement to Christ, that his spouse should be 
froward when she is matched to the crown of heaven. 
    [4] To be of a froward unsubmissive spirit is unsuitable to the 
prayers of a Christian. He prays, 'Thy will be done.' It is the will 
of God he should meet with such troubles, whether sickness, loss of 
estate, crosses in children, God has decreed and ordered it; why 
then is there not submission? Why are we discontented at that for 
which we pray? It is a saying of Latimer, speaking of Peter, who 
denied his Master, that he forgot the prayer, 'Hallowed be thy 
name.' So, we often forget our prayers, nay, contradict them, when 
we pray 'Thy will be done.' Now, if in submissiveness to God be so 
unworthy of a Christian, should we not labour to bring our wills to 
God's, and say, Lord, let me not disparage religion, let me do 
nothing unworthy of a Christian? 
    (14) Consider that frowardness or in submissiveness of will to 
God, is very sinful. 
    [1] It is sinful in its nature. To murmur when God crosses our 
will, shows much ungodliness. The apostle Jude speaks of ungodly 
ones; and that we may better know who these are, he sets a mark upon 
them: 'These are murmurers;' ver 15, 16. Some think they are not so 
ungodly as others, because they do not swear, nor get drunk, but 
they may be ungodly in murmuring. There are not only ungodly 
drunkards, but ungodly murmurers: nay, this is the height of 
ungodliness, it is rebellion. Korah and his company murmured against 
God, and see how the Lord interpreted it. 'Bring Aaron's rod to be 
kept for a token against the rebels.' Num 17: 10. To be a murmurer, 
and a rebel, is, in God's account, all one. 'This is the water of 
Meribah, because the children of Israel strove with the Lord.' Num 
20: 13. How did they strive with God? They murmured at his 
providence; ver 3. What! wilt thou be a rebel against God? It is a 
shame for a servant to strive with his master, but what is it for a 
creature to strive with its Maker. 
    [2] To quarrel with God's providence, and be unsubmissive to 
his will, is sinful in the spring and cause; it arises from pride. 
It was Satan's temptation, 'ye shall be as gods.' Gen 3: 5. A proud 
person makes a god of himself, he disdains to have his will crossed; 
he thinks himself better than others, therefore he finds fault with 
God's wisdom, that he is not above others. 
    [3] Quarrelsomeness or in submissiveness to God's will, is 
sinful in the concomitants of it. 
    It is joined with sinful risings of the heart. Evil thoughts 
arise. We think hardly of God, as if he had done us wrong, or, as if 
we had deserved better at his hands. Passions begin to rise; the 
heart secretly frets against God. Jonah was crossed in his will, and 
passion began to boil in him. 'He was very angry.' Jonah 4: 1. 
Jonah's spirit, as well as the sea, wrought and was tempestuous. 
Insubmissiveness of will is joined with unthankfulness. Because in 
some one thing we are afflicted, we forget all the mercies we have. 
We deal with God just as the widow of Sarepta did with the prophet; 
the prophet Elijah had been a means to keep her alive in the famine, 
but as soon as her child died she quarrelled with the prophet, 'O 
thou man of God, art thou come to slay my son?' I Kings 17: 18. So, 
we can be content to receive blessings at the hand of God; but soon 
as in the least thing he crosses us in our will, we grow touchy, and 
are ready in a passion to fly out against him. 
    [4] Frowardness and in submissiveness to God's will is evil in 
the effects. It unfits for duty. It is bad sailing in a storm, and 
it is ill praying when the heart is stormy and unquiet; it is well 
if such prayers do not suffer shipwreck. In submissiveness of 
spirit, sometimes unfits for the use of reason. Jonah was 
discontented because he had not his will; God withered the gourd, 
and his heart fretted against him; and in the midst of his passion, 
he spake no better than nonsense and blasphemy. 'I do well to be 
angry, even unto death.' Jonah 4: 9. Surely he did not know well 
what he said. What! to be angry with God and die for anger! He 
speaks as if he had lost the use of his reason. Thus in 
submissiveness of will is sinful in its nature, causes concomitants 
and effects. Should not this martyr our wills, and bring them to God 
in everything, making us say, 'Thy will be done?' 
    (15) Consider that in submissiveness to God's will is very 
imprudent: we get nothing by it, it does not ease us of our burden, 
but rather makes it heavier. The more the child struggles with the 
parent, the more it is beaten; so, when we struggle with God, and 
will not submit to his will, we get nothing but more blows. Instead 
of having the cords of affliction loosened, we make God tie them 
tighter. Let us then submit, and say, 'Lord, thy will be done.' Why 
should I spin out my own trouble by impatience, and make my cross 
heavier? What got Israel by their frowardness? They were within 
eleven days' journey of Canaan, and fell into murmuring, and God led 
them a march of forty years longer in the wilderness. 
    (16) Consider that being unsubmissive to God's will in 
affliction, lays a man open to many temptations. Where the heart 
frets against God by discontent, there is good fishing for Satan in 
those troubled waters. He usually puts discontented persons upon 
indirect means. Job's wife fretted (so far was she from holy 
submission) and she presently put her husband upon cursing God. 
'Curse God, and die.' Job 2: 9. What is the reason why some have 
turned witches, and given themselves to the devil, but out of envy 
and discontent, because they have not had their will! Others being 
under a temptation of poverty, and not having their wills in living 
at such a high rate as others, have laid violent hands upon 
themselves. Oh, the temptations that men of discontented spirits are 
exposed to! Here, says Satan, is good fishing for me. 

The Lord's Prayer
by Thomas Watson
(continued in file 17...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-09: watlp-16.txt