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.'  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.  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.  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.'  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'?  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'?  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.'  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.'  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?  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.'  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 done.' (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 heaven? (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.'  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.  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.  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.  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.  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.  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.  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.  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.  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.  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.  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.  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.  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.  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.  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.  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.  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 .