The Lord's Prayer
by Thomas Watson
File 18
(... continued from file 17)

The Fourth Petition in the Lord's Prayer 
'Give us this day our daily bread.' Matt 6: 11 
    In this petition there are two things observable - the order, 
and the matter. 
    I. First, we pray, 'Hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy 
will be done,' before we pray, 'Give us this day our daily bread.' 
God's glory ought to weigh down all before it; it must be preferred 
before our dearest concerns. Christ preferred his Father's glory 
before his own as he was man. 'I honour my Father, I seek not mine 
own glory.' John 8: 49, 50. God's glory is that which is most dear 
to him; it is the apple of his eye; all his riches lie here. As 
Micah said, 'What have I more' (Judges 18: 24), so I may say of 
God's glory, what has he more? His glory is the most orient pearl of 
his crown, which he will not part with. 'My glory will I not give to 
another.' Isa 42: 8. God's glory is more worth than heaven, more 
worth than the salvation of all men's souls; better kingdoms be 
demolished, better men and angels be annihilated, than God lose any 
part of his glory. We are to prefer God's glory before our nearest 
concerns; but before we prefer God's glory to our private concerns, 
we must be born again. The natural man seeks his own secular 
interest before God's glory. He is 'of the earth, earthly.' John 3: 
31. Let him have peace and trading, let the rock pour out rivers of 
oil, and let God's glory go which way it will, he minds it not. A 
worm cannot fly and sing as a lark; so a natural man, whose heart 
creeps upon the earth, cannot admire God, or advance his glory, as a 
man elevated by grace does. 
    Use. For trial. Do we prefer God's glory before our private 
concerns? Minus te amat qui aliquid tecum amat, quod non propter te 
amat [He loves thee too little, who loves anything as well as thee 
which he does not love for thy sake]. Augustine. (1) Do we prefer 
God's glory before our own credit? Fama pari passu ambulat cum vita 
[Credit keeps pace with life]. Credit is a jewel highly valued; like 
precious ointment, it casts a fragrant smell; but God's glory must 
be dearer than credit or applause. We must be willing to have our 
credit trampled upon, that God's glory may be raised higher. The 
apostles rejoiced 'that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for 
his name;' that they were graced so far as to be disgraced for 
Christ. Acts 5: 41. (2) Do we prefer God's glory before our 
relations? Relations are dear, they are of our own flesh and bones; 
but God's glory must be dearer. 'If any man come to me, and hate not 
his father and mother, he cannot be my disciple.' Luke 14: 26. Here 
odium in suos [hatred towards one's own kin] is pietas in Deum 
[devotion towards God]. 'If my friends,' says Jerome, 'should 
persuade me to deny Christ, if my wife should hang about my neck, if 
my mother should show me her breasts that gave me suck, I would 
trample upon all and flee to Christ.' (3) We must prefer God's glory 
before estate. Gold is but shining dust: God's glory must weigh 
heavier. If it come to this, I cannot keep my place of profit, but 
God's glory will be eclipsed, I must rather suffer in my estate than 
God's glory should suffer. Heb 10: 34. (4) We must prefer God's 
glory before our life. 'They loved not their lives unto the death.' 
Rev 12: 2. Ignatius called his fetters his spiritual jewels; he wore 
them as a chain of pearl. Gordius the martyr, said, 'It is to my 
loss, if you bate me anything of my sufferings. This argues grace to 
be growing and elevated in a high degree. Who but a soul inflamed 
with love to God can set God highest on the throne, and prefer him 
above all private concerns? 
    II. The second thing in the petition is, the matter of it. 
'Give us this day our daily bread.' The sum of this petition is, 
that God would give us such a competency in outward things as he 
sees most excellent for us. It is much like that prayer of Augur, 
'Feed me with food convenient for me;' give me a viaticum, a bait by 
the way, enough to bear my charges till I come to heaven, and it 
suffices. Prov 30: 8. Let me explain the words, 'Give us this day 
our daily bread.' The good things of this life are the gifts of God; 
he is the donor of all our blessings. 'Give us.' Not faith only, but 
food is the gift of God; not daily grace only is from God, but 
'daily bread;' every good thing comes from God. 'Every good gift is 
from above, and comes down from the Father of lights.' James 1: 17. 
Wisdom is the gift of God. 'His God does instruct him to 
discretion.' Isa 28: 26. Riches are the gift of God. 'I will give 
thee riches.' 2 Chron 1: 12. Peace is the gift of God. 'He maketh 
peace in thy borders.' Psa 147: 14. Health, which is the cream of 
life, is the gift of God. 'I will restore health unto thee.' Jer 30: 
17. Rain is the gift of God. 'Who giveth rain upon the earth.' Job 
5: 10. All comes from God; he makes the corn to grow, and the herbs 
to flourish. 
    (1) See our own poverty and indigence. We all live upon alms 
and upon free gifts - 'Give us this day.' All we have is from the 
hand of God's royal bounty; we have nothing but what he gives us out 
of his storehouse; we cannot have one bit of bread but from God. The 
devil persuaded our first parents, that by disobeying God, they 
should 'be as gods;' but we may now see what goodly gods we are, 
that we have not a bit of bread to put in our mouths unless God give 
it us. Gen 3: 5. That is a humbling consideration, 
    (2) Is all a gift? Then we are to seek every mercy from God by 
prayer. 'Give us this day.' The tree of mercy will not drop its 
fruit unless shaken by the hand of prayer. Whatever we have, if it 
do not come in the way of prayer, it does not come in the way of 
love; it is given, as Israel's quails, in anger. If everything be a 
gift, we do not deserve it, we are not fit for this alms. And must 
we go to God for every mercy? How wicked are they, who, instead of 
going to God for food when they want, go to the devil, and make a 
compact with him; and if he will help them to a livelihood, they 
will give him their souls? Better starve than go to the devil for 
provender. I wish there were none in our age guilty of this, who, 
when they are in want, use indirect means for a livelihood; they 
consult with witches, who are the devil's oracles, whose end will be 
fearful, as that of Saul was, whom the Lord is said to have killed, 
because he asked counsel at a familiar spirit. 
    (3) If all be a gift, then it is not a debt, and we cannot say 
to God as that creditor who said, 'Pay me that thou owest.' Matt 18: 
28. Who can make God a debtor, or do any act that is obliging and 
meritorious? Whatever we receive from God is a gift; we can give 
nothing to him but what he has given to us. 'All things come of 
thee, and of thine own have we given thee. ' I Chron 29: 14. David 
and his people offered to the building of God's house gold and 
silver, but they offered nothing but what God had given them. 'Of 
thine own have we given thee.' If we love God, it is he that has 
given us a heart to love him; if we praise him, he both gives us the 
organ of tongue, and puts it in tune; if we give alms to others, he 
has given alms to us first, so that we may say, 'We offer, O Lord, 
of thine own to thee.' Is all of gift, how absurd, then, is the 
doctrine of merit? That was a proud speech of the friar, who said, 
redde mihi Vitam Eternam quam debes; give me, Lord eternal life, 
which thou owest me. We cannot deserve a bit of bread, much less a 
crown of glory. If all be a gift, then merit is exploded, and shut 
out of doors. 
    (4) If all be a gift, then take notice of God's goodness. There 
is nothing in us that can deserve or requite God's kindness; yet 
such is the sweetness of his nature, that he gives us rich 
provision, and feeds us with the finest of the wheat. Pindar says it 
was an opinion of the people of Rhodes that Jupiter rained down gold 
upon the city. God has rained down golden mercies upon us; he is 
upon the giving hand. Observe three things in his giving: 
    [1] He is not weary of giving; the springs of mercy are ever 
running. He not only dispensed blessings in former ages, but he 
gives gifts to us; as the sun not only enriches the world with its 
morning light, but keeps light for the meridian. The honeycomb of 
God's bounty is still dropping. 
    [2] He delights in giving. 'He delighteth in mercy.' Mic 7: 18. 
As the mother delights to give the child the breast, God loves that 
we should have the breast of mercy in our mouth. 
    [3] God gives to his very enemies. Who will send in provisions 
to his enemies? Men spread nets for their enemies, God spreads a 
table. The dew drops on the thistle as well as the rose; the dew of 
God's bounty drops upon the worst. God puts bread in the mouths that 
are opened against him. Oh, the royal bounty of God! 'The goodness 
of God endureth continually.' Psa 52: 1. He puts jewels upon swinish 
sinners, and feeds them every day. 
    (5) If all be a gift, see the odious ingratitude of men who sin 
against their giver! God feeds them, and they fight against him; he 
gives them bread, and they give him affronts. How unworthy is this! 
Should we not cry shame of him who had a friend always feeding him 
with money, and yet he should betray and injure him? Thus 
ungratefully do sinners deal with God; they not only forget his 
mercies, but abuse them. 'When I had fed them to the full, they then 
committed adultery.' Jer 5: 7. Oh, how horrid is it to sin against a 
bountiful God! - to strike the hands that relieve us! How many make 
a dart of God's mercies and shoot at him! He gives them wit, and 
they serve the devil with it; he gives them strength, and they waste 
it among harlots; he gives them bread to eat, and they lift up the 
heel against him. 'Jeshurun waxed fat and kicked.' Deut 32: 15. They 
are like Absalom, who, as soon as David his father kissed him, 
plotted treason against him. 2 Sam 15: 10. They are like the mule 
who kicks the dam after she has given it milk. Those who sin against 
their giver, and abuse God's royal favours, the mercies of God will 
come in as witnesses against them. What smoother than oil? But if it 
be heated, what more scalding? What sweeter than mercy? But if it be 
abused, what more dreadful? It turns to fury. 
    (6) If God gives us all, let his giving excite us to 
thanksgiving. He is the founder and donor of all our blessings, and 
should have all our acknowledgements. 'Unto the place from whence 
the rivers come, thither they return again.' Eccl 1: 7. All our 
gifts come from God, and to him must all our praises return. We are 
apt to burn incense to our own drag, to attribute all we have to our 
own second causes. Hab 1: 16. 
    [1] Our own skill and industry. God is the giver; he gives 
daily bread. Psa 136: 25; he gives riches. 'It is he that giveth 
thee power to get wealth.' Deut 8: 18. 
    Or [2], We often ascribe the praise to second causes and forget 
God. If friends have bestowed an estate, we look at them and admire 
them, but not God who is the great giver; as if one should be 
thankful to the steward, and never take notice of the master of the 
family that provides all. Oh, if God gives all, our eye-sight, our 
food, our clothing, let us sacrifice the chief praise to him; let 
not God be a loser by his mercies. Praise is a more illustrious part 
of God's worship. Our wants may send us to prayer, nature may make 
us beg daily bread; but it shows a heart full of ingenuity and grace 
to be rendering praises to God. In petition we act like men, in 
praise we act like angels. Does God sow seeds of mercy? Let 
thankfulness be the crop we bring forth. We are called the temples 
of God, and where should God's praises be sounded forth but in his 
temples? I Cor 3: 16; 'While I live will I praise the Lord, I will 
sing praises unto my God while I have any being.' Psa 146: 2. God 
gives us daily bread, let us give him daily praise. Thankfulness to 
our donor is the best policy; there is nothing lost by it. To be 
thankful for one mercy is the way to have more. Musicians love to 
sound their trumpets where there is the best echo, and God loves to 
bestow his mercies where there is the best echo of praise. Offering 
the calves of our lips is not enough, but we must show our 
thankfulness by improving the gifts which God gives us, and as it 
were putting them out to use. God gives us an estate, and we honour 
the Lord with our substance. Prov 3: 9. He gives us the staff of 
bread, and we lay out the strength we receive by it in his service; 
this is to be thankful; and that we may be thankful, let us be 
humble. Pride stops the current of gratitude. A proud man will never 
be thankful; he looks upon all he has either to be of his own 
procuring or deserving. Let us see all we have is God's gift, and 
how unworthy we are to receive the least favour; and this will make 
us much in doxology and gratitude; we shall be silver trumpets 
sounding forth God's praise. 
    [1] Thus we argue from the word "Give", that the good things of 
this life are the gifts of God; he is the founder and donor; and 
that it is not unlawful to pray for temporal things. We may pray for 
daily bread. 'Feed me with food convenient for me.' Prov 30: 8. We 
may pray for health. 'O Lord, heal me; for my bones are vexed.' Psa 
6: 2. As these are in themselves good things, so they are useful for 
us; they are as needful for preserving the comfort of life as oil is 
needful for preserving the lamp from going out. Only let me insert 
two things: 
    (1) There is a great difference between praying for tempera] 
things and spiritual. In praying for spiritual things we must be 
absolute. When we pray for pardon of sin, and the favour of God, and 
the sanctifying graces of the Spirit, which are indispensably 
necessary to salvation, we must take no denial; but when we pray for 
temporal things, our prayers must be limited; we must pray 
conditionally, so far as God sees them good for us. He sometimes 
sees cause to withhold temporal things from us: when they would be 
snares, and draw our hearts from him; therefore we should pray for 
these things with submission to God's will. It was Israel's sin that 
they would be peremptory and absolute in their desire for temporal 
things; God's bill of fare did not please them, they must have 
dainties. 'Who shall give us flesh to eat?' Numb 11: 18. God has 
given them manna, he fed them with a miracle from heaven, but their 
wanton palates craved more: they must have quails. God let them have 
their desire, but they had sour sauce to their quails. 'While their 
meat was yet in their mouths, the wrath of God came upon them and 
slew them.' Psa 78: 31. Rachel was importunate in her desires for a 
child. 'Give me children, or I die;' God let her have a child, but 
it was a Ben-oni, a son of my sorrow; it cost her her life in 
bringing forth. Gen 30: 1; Gen 35: 18. We must pray for outward 
things with submission to God's will, else they come in anger. 
    (2) When we pray for things pertaining to this life, we must 
desire temporal things for spiritual ends; we must desire these 
things to be as helps in our journey to heaven. If we pray for 
health, it must be that we may improve this talent of health for 
God's glory, and may be fitter for his service; if we pray for a 
competency of estate, it must be for a holy end, that we may be kept 
from the temptations which poverty usually exposes to, and that we 
may be in a better capacity to sow the golden seeds of charity, and 
relieve such as are in want. Temporal things must be prayed for for 
spiritual ends. Hannah prayed for a child, but it was for this end, 
that her child might be devoted to God. 'O Lord, if thou wilt 
remember me, and wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I 
will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life.' I Sam 1: 11. 
Many pray for outward things only to gratify their sensual 
appetites, as the ravens cry for food. Psa 147: 9. To pray for 
outward things only to satisfy nature, is to cry rather like ravens 
than Christians. We must have a higher end in our prayers, we must 
aim at heaven while we are praying for earth. Must we pray for 
temporal things for spiritual ends, that we may be fitter to serve 
God? Then how wicked are they who beg temporal mercies that they may 
be more enabled to sin against God! 'Ye ask that ye may consume it 
upon your lusts.' James 4: 3. One man is sick, and he prays for 
health that he may be among his cups and harlots; another prays for 
an estate; he would not only have his belly filled, but his barns; 
and he would be rich that he may raise his name, or that, having 
more power in his hand, he may now take a fuller revenge on his 
enemies. It is impiety joined with impudence to pray to God to give 
us temporal things that we may be the better enabled to serve the 
    If we are to pray for temporal things, how much more for 
spiritual? If we are to pray for bread, how much more for the bread 
of life? If for oil, how much more for the oil of gladness? If to 
have our hunger satisfied, much more should we pray to have our 
souls saved. Alas! what if God should hear our prayers, and grant us 
these temporal things and no more, what were we the better? What is 
it to have food and want grace? What is it to have the back clothed 
and the soul naked? To have a south land, and want the living 
springs in Christ's blood, what comfort could that be? O therefore 
let us be earnest for spiritual mercies! Lord, not only feed me, but 
sanctify me; give me rather a heart full of grace than a house full 
of gold. If we are to pray for daily bread, the things of this life, 
much more for the things of the life that is to come. 
    Some may say we have an estate already, and what need we pray, 
'Give us daily bread'? 
    Supposing we have a plentiful estate, yet we need make the 
petition, 'Give us daily bread;' and that upon a double account. 
    (1) That we may have a blessing upon our food, and all that we 
enjoy. 'I will bless her provision.' Psa 132: 15. 'Man shall not 
live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the 
mouth of God.' Matt 4: 4. What is that but a word of blessing? 
Though the bread is in our hand, yet the blessing is in God's hand, 
and it must be fetched out of his hand by prayer. Well, therefore, 
may rich men pray, 'Give us our bread,' let it be seasoned with a 
blessing. If God should withhold a blessing, nothing we have would 
do us good; our clothes would not warm us, our food would not 
nourish us. 'He gave them their request, but sent leanness into 
their soul;' that is, they pined away, and their meat did not 
nourish them. Psa 106: 15. If God should withhold a blessing, what 
we eat would turn to bad humours, and hasten death. If God do not 
bless our riches, they will do us more hurt than good. 'Riches kept 
for the owners thereof to their hurt.' Eccl 5: 13. So that, granting 
we have plentiful estates, yet we had need pray, 'Give us our 
bread;' let us have a blessing of what we have. 
    (2) Though we have estates, yet we had need pray, Give, that we 
may hereby engage God to continue these comforts to us. How many 
casualties may fall out! How many have had corn in their barn, and a 
fire has come on a sudden and consumed all! How many have had losses 
at sea, and great estates boiled away to nothing! 'I went out full, 
and the Lord has brought me home again empty.' Ruth 1: 21. 
Therefore, though we have estates, yet we had need pray, 'Give us;' 
Lord, give us a continuance of these comforts, that they may not, 
before we are aware, take wings and fly from us. So much for the 
first word in the petition, Give. 
    [2] Secondly, us. 'Give us.' 
    Why do we pray in the plural, 'Give us'? Why is it not said, 
give me? 
    To show that we are to have a public spirit in prayer. We must 
not only pray for ourselves, but others. Both the law of God and the 
law of love bind us to this, we must love our neighbour as 
ourselves; therefore we must pray for them as well as ourselves. 
Every good Christian has a fellow-feeling of the wants and miseries 
of others, and he prays God would extend his bounty to them; 
especially he prays for the saints. 'Praying always for all saints.' 
Eph 6: 18. These are children of the family. 
    Use 1. Should we have a public spirit in prayer? It reproves 
narrow spirited men who move within their own sphere only; who look 
only at themselves, and mind not the case of others; who leave 
others out of their prayers; if they have daily bread, they care not 
though others starve; if they are clothed, they care not though 
others go naked. Christ taught us to pray for others, to say, 'Give 
us;' but selfish persons are shut up within themselves, as the snail 
in the shell, and never speak a word in prayer for others. These 
have no commiseration or pity; they are like Judas, whose bowels 
fell out. 
    Use 2. Let us pray for others as well as for ourselves. Vir 
bonus aliis prodest aeque ac sibi [A good man benefits others as 
much as himself]. Spiders work only for themselves, but bees for the 
good of others. The more excellent anything is, the more it operates 
for the good of others. Springs refresh others with their crystal 
streams; the sun enlightens others with its golden beams: the more a 
Christian is ennobled with grace, the more he besieges heaven with 
his prayers for others. If we are members of the mystic body, we 
cannot but have a sympathy with others in their wants; and this 
sympathy would lead us to pray for them. David had a public spirit 
in prayer. 'Do good, O Lord, unto those that be good.' Psa 125: 4. 
Though he begins the Psalm with prayer for himself, 'Have mercy upon 
me, O God,' yet he ends the Psalm with prayer for others. 'Do good 
in thy good pleasure unto Zion.' Psa 51: 1, 18. 
    Use 3. It is matter of comfort to the godly, who are but low in 
the world, that they have the prayers of God's people for them; who 
pray not only for the increase of their faith, but their food, that 
God will give them 'daily bread.' He is like to be rich who has 
several stocks going; so they are in a likely way to thrive who have 
the prayers of the saints going for them in several parts of the 
    [3] The third word in the petition is 'This day.' We pray not 
give us bread for a month or a year, but a day. 'Give us this day.' 
    Is it not lawful to lay up for the future? Does not the apostle 
say, that he who provides not for his family, 'is worse than an 
infidel'? I Tim 5: 8. 
    True, it is lawful to lay up for posterity; but our Saviour has 
taught us to pray, 'Give us this day our bread,' for two reasons: 
    (1) That we should not have anxious care for the future. We 
should not set our wits upon the tenter, or torment ourselves how to 
lay up great estates; if we do vivere in diem [live for the day], if 
we have but enough to supply for the present, it should suffice. 
'Give us this day:' 'Take no thought for the morrow.' Matt 6: 34. 
God fed Israel with manna in the wilderness, and he fed them from 
hand to mouth. Sometimes all their manna was spent; and if anyone 
had asked them where they would have their breakfast next morning, 
they would have said, 'Our care is only for the day: God will rain 
down what manna we need. If we have bread to-day, let us not 
distrust God's providence for the future.' 
    (2) Our Saviour will have us pray, 'Give us bread this day,' to 
teach us to live every day as if it were our last. We are not to 
pray, Give us bread tomorrow, because we do not know whether we 
shall live till to-morrow; but, 'Lord, Give us this day;' it may be 
the last day we shall live, and then we shall need no more. 
    If we pray for bread for a day only, then you who have great 
estates have cause to be thankful. You have more than you pray for; 
you pray but for bread for one day, and God has given you enough to 
suffice all your life. What a bountiful God do you serve! Two things 
should make rich men thankful. (1) God gives them more than they 
deserve. (2) He gives them more than they pray for. 
    [4] The fourth thing in the petition is, 'Our bread.' 
    Why is it called 'Our bread,' when it is not ours, but God's? 
    (1) We must understand it in a qualified sense; it is our 
bread, being gotten by honest industry. There are two sorts of bread 
that cannot properly be called our bread: the bread of idleness and 
the bread of violence. 
    The bread of idleness. 'She eateth not the bread of idleness.' 
Prov 31: 27, An idle person lives at another body's cost. 'His hands 
refuse to labour.' Prov 21: 25. We must not be as the drones, which 
eat the honey that other bees have brought into the hive. If we eat 
the bread of idleness, it is not our own bread. 'There are some 
which walk disorderly, working not at all; such we command that they 
work, and eat their own bread.' 2 Thess 3: 11, 12. The apostle gives 
this hint, that such as live idly do not eat their own bread. 
    The bread of violence. We cannot call that 'our bread' which is 
taken away from others; that which is gotten by stealth or fraud, or 
any manner of extortion, is not 'our bread,' it belongs to another. 
He who is a bird of prey, who takes away the bread of the widow and 
fatherless, eats the bread which is not his, nor can he pray for a 
blessing upon it. Can he pray God to bless that which he has gotten 
    (2) It is called our bread by virtue of our title to it. There 
is a twofold title to bread. [1] A spiritual title. In and by Christ 
we have a right to the creature, and may call it 'our bread.' As we 
are believers we have the best title to earthly things, we hold all 
in capite [in chief]. 'All things are yours;' by what title? 'ye are 
Christ's.' I Cor 3: 23. [2] A civil title, which the law confers on 
us. To deny men a civil right to their possessions, and make all 
common, opens the door to anarchy and confusion. 
    See the privilege of believers. They have both a spiritual and 
a civil right to what they possess. They who can say, 'our Father,' 
can say 'our bread.' Wicked men that have a legal right to what they 
possess, but not a covenant right; they have it by providence, not 
by promise; with God's leave, not with his love. Wicked men are in 
God's eye no better than usurpers; all they have, their money and 
land, is like cloth taken up at the draper's, which is not paid for; 
but the sweet privilege of believers is, that they can say, 'our 
bread.' Christ being theirs, all is theirs. Oh, how sweet is every 
bit of bread dipped in Christ's blood! How well does that meat 
relish, which is a pledge and earnest of more! The meal in the 
barrel is an earnest of our angels' food in paradise. It is the 
privilege of saints to have a right to earth and heaven. 
    [5] The fifth and last thing in this petition is, the thing we 
pray for, 'daily bread.' 
    What is meant by bread? 
    Bread here, by a synecdoche, species pro genere [the particular 
for the whole class], is put for all the temporal blessings of this 
life, food, fuel, clothing, &c. Quicquid nobis condicut ad bene esse 
[Whatever serves for our well-being]. Augustine. Whatever may serve 
for necessity or sober delight. 
    Learn to be contented with the allowance God gives. If we have 
bread and a competence of outward things, let us rest satisfied. We 
pray but for bread, 'Give us our daily bread;' we do not pray for 
superfluities, nor for quails or venison, but for bread which may 
support life. Though we have not so much as others, so full a crop, 
so rich an estate, yet if we have the staff of bread to keep us from 
falling, let us be content. Most people are herein faulty. Though 
they pray that God would give them bread, as much as he sees 
expedient for them, yet they are not content with his allowance, but 
over greedily covet more, and with the daughters of the horse-leech, 
cry, 'Give, give.' Prov 30: 15. This is a vice naturally ingrafted 
in us. Many pray Agur's first prayer, 'Give me not poverty,' but few 
pray his last prayer, 'Give me not riches.' Prov 30: 8. They are not 
content with 'daily bread,' but have the dry dropsy of covetousness; 
they are still craving for more. 'Who enlargeth his desire as hell, 
and is as death, and cannot be satisfied.' Hab 2: 5. There are, says 
Agur, four things that say it is not enough, the grave, the barren 
womb, the earth, the fire; and I may add a fifth thing, the heart of 
a covetous man. Prov 30: 15. Such as are not content with daily 
bread, but thirst insatiably after more, will break over the hedge 
of God's command; and to get riches will stick at no sin. Cui nihil 
satis est, eidem nihil turpe [The man for whom nothing is enough 
holds nothing shameful]. Tacitus. Therefore covetousness is called a 
radical vice. 'The root of all evil.' I Tim 6: 10. Quid non mortalie 
pectora cogis, auri sacra fames? [Oh cursed hunger for gold, to what 
dost thou not drive the hearts of men?] The Greek word for 
covetousness, pleonexia, signifies an inordinate desire of getting. 
Covetousness is not only in getting riches unjustly, but in loving 
them inordinately, which is a key that opens the door to all sin. It 
causes (1) Theft. Achan's covetous humour made him steal the wedge 
of gold which cleft asunder his soul from God. Josh 7: 21. (2) It 
causes treason. What made Judas betray Christ? It was the thirty 
pieces of silver. Matt 26: 15. (3) It produces murder. It was the 
inordinate love of the vineyard that made Ahab conspire Naboth's 
death. I Kings 21: 13. (4) It is the root of perjury. Men shall be 
covetous; and it follows, truce-breakers. 2 Tim 3: 23. Love of 
silver will make men take a fall - oath, and break a just oath. (5) 
It is the spring of apostasy. 'Demas has forsaken me, having loved 
this present world.' 2 Tim 4: 10. He not only forsook Paul's 
company, but his doctrine. Demas afterwards became a priest in an 
idol-temple, according to Dorotheus. (6) Covetousness will make men 
idolaters. 'Covetousness which is idolatry.' Col 3: 5. Though the 
covetous man will not worship graven images in the church, yet he 
will worship the graven image in his coin. (7) Covetousness makes 
men give themselves to the devil. Pope Sylvester II sold his soul to 
the devil for a popedom. Covetous persons forget the prayer, 'Give 
us daily bread.' They are not content with that which may satisfy 
nature, but are insatiable in their desire. O let us take heed of 
this dry dropsy! 'Be content with such things as ye have.' Heb 13: 
5. Natura parvo dimittitur [Nature is satisfied with little]. 
    Use. That we may be content with 'daily bread,' that which God 
in his providence carves out to us, and not covet or murmur, take 
the following considerations: 
    (1) God can bless a little. 'He shall bless thy bread and thy 
water.' Exod. 23: 25. A blessing puts sweetness into the least 
morsel of bread, it is like sugar in wine. 'I will bless her 
provision.' Psa 132: 15. Daniel, and the three children, ate pulse, 
which was a coarse fare, and yet they looked fairer than those who 
ate of the king's meat. Dan 1: 12, 15. Whence was this? God infused 
a more than ordinary blessing into the pulse. His blessing was 
better than the king's venison. A piece of bread with God's love is 
angels' food. 
    (2) God, who gives us our allowance, knows what quantity of 
outward things is fittest for us. A smaller provision may be fitter 
for some; bread may be better than dainties. Everyone cannot bear a 
high condition, any more than a weak brain can bear heavy wine. Has 
any one a larger proportion of worldly things? God sees he can 
better manage such a condition; he can order his affairs with 
discretion, which perhaps another cannot. As he has a large estate, 
so he has a large heart to do good, which perhaps another has not. 
This should make us content with a shorter bill of fare. God's 
wisdom is what we must acquiesce in; he sees what is best for every 
one. That which is good for one, may be bad for another. 
    (3) In being content with daily bread, though less than others 
have, much grace is seen. All the graces act their part in a 
contented soul. As the holy ointment was made up of several spices, 
myrrh, cinnamon, and cassia, so contentment has in it a mixture of 
several graces. Exod 30: 23. There is faith. A Christian believes 
that God does all for the best. There is love, which thinks no evil, 
but takes all God does in good part. There is patience, submitting 
cheerfully to what God orders wisely. God is much pleased to see so 
many graces at once sweetly exercised, like so many bright stars 
shining in a constellation. 
    (4) To be content with daily bread, though but sparing, keeps 
us from many temptations which discontented persons fall into. When 
the devil sees a person just of Israel's humour, not content with 
manna, but must have quails, he says, Here is good fishing for me. 
Satan often tempts discontented ones to murmuring, and to unlawful 
means, cozening and defrauding; and he who increases an estate by 
indirect means, stuffs his pillow with thorns, so that his head will 
lie very uneasy when he comes to die. If you would be freed from the 
temptations which discontent exposes to, be content with such things 
as ye have, bless God for 'daily bread.' 
    (5) What a rare and admirable thing is it to be content with 
'daily bread,' though it be coarse, and though there be but little 
of it! Though a Christian has but a viaticum, a little meal in the 
barrel, yet he has that which gives him content. What he has not in 
the cupboard, he has in the promise. That bit of bread he has is 
with the love of God, and that sauce makes it relish sweet. The 
little oil in the cruse is a pledge and earnest of the dainties he 
shall have in the kingdom of God, and this makes him content. What a 
rare and wonderful thing is this! It is no wonder to be content in 
heaven, when we are at the fountain-head, and have all things we can 
desire; but to be content when God keeps us to short commons, and we 
have scarcely 'daily bread,' is a wonder indeed. When grace is 
crowning, it is no wonder to be content; but when grace is 
conflicting with straits, to be content is a glorious thing, and 
deserves the garland of praise. 
    (6) To make us content with 'daily bread,' though God straitens 
us in our allowance, think seriously of the danger there is in a 
high, prosperous condition. Some are not content with 'daily bread,' 
but desire to have their barns filled, and heap up silver as dust; 
which proves a snare to them. 'They that will be rich fall into a 
snare.' I Tim 6: 9. Pride, idleness, wantonness, are three worms 
that usually breed of plenty. Prosperity often deafens the ear 
against God. 'I spake unto thee in thy prosperity, but thou saidst, 
I will not hear.' Jer 22: 21. Soft pleasures harden the heart. In 
the body, the more fat, the less blood in the veins, and the less 
spirits; so the more outward plenty, often the less piety. 
Prosperity has its honey, and also its sting; like the full of the 
moon, it makes many lunatic. The pastures of prosperity are rank and 
surfeiting. Anxious care is the mains genius, the evil spirit that 
haunts the rich man, and will not let him be quiet. When his chests 
are full of money, his heart is full of care, either how to manage 
or how to increase, or how to secure what he has gotten. Sunshine is 
pleasant, but sometimes it scorches. Should it not make us content 
with what allowance God gives, if we have daily bread, though not 
dainties? Think of the danger of prosperity! The spreading of a full 
table may be the spreading of a snare. Many have been sunk to hell 
with golden weights. The ferry-man takes in all passengers, that he 
may increase his fare, and sometimes to the sinking of his boat. 
'They that will be rich fall into many hurtful lusts, which drown 
men in perdition.' I Tim 6: 9. The world's golden sands are 
quicksands, which should make us take our daily bread, though it be 
but coarse, contentedly. What if we have less food, we have less 
snare; if less dignity, less danger. As we lack the rich provisions 
of the world, so we lack the temptations. 
    (7) If God keeps us to a spare diet, if he gives us less 
temporal, he has made it up in spirituals; he has given us the pearl 
of price, and the holy anointing. The pearl of price, the Lord 
Jesus, he is the quintessence of all good things. To give us Christ, 
is more than if God had given us all the world. He can make more 
worlds, but he has no more Christs to bestow; he is such a golden 
mine, that the angels cannot dig to the bottom. Eph 3: 8. From 
Christ we may have justification, adoption, and coronation. The sea 
of God's mercy in giving us Christ, says Luther, should swallow up 
all our wants. God has anointed us with the graces, the holy unction 
of his Spirit. Grace is a seed of God, a blossom of eternity. The 
graces are the impressions of the divine nature, stars to enlighten 
us, spices to perfume us, diamonds to enrich us; and if God has 
adorned the hidden man of the heart with these sacred jewels, it may 
well make us content, though we have but short commons, and that 
coarse too. God has given his people better things than corn and 
wine; he has given them that which he cannot give in anger, and 
which cannot stand with reprobation, and they may say as David, 'The 
lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly 
heritage.' Psa 16: 6. Didimus was a blind man, but very holy; 
Anthony asked him, if he was not troubled for the want of his eyes, 
and he told him he was; Anthony replied, 'Why are you troubled? You 
want that which flies and birds have, but you have that which angels 
have.' So I say to Christians, if God has not given you the purse, 
he has given you his Spirit. If you want that which rich men have, 
God has given you that which angels have, and are you not content? 
    (8) If you have but daily bread enough to suffice nature, be 
content. Consider it is not having abundance that always makes life 
comfortable, it is not a great cage that will make the bird sing. A 
competency may breed contentment, when having more may make one less 
content. A staff may help the traveller, but a bundle of staves will 
be a burden to him. A great estate may be like a long trailing 
garment, more burdensome than useful. Many that have great incomes 
and revenues have not so much comfort in their lives as some that go 
to hard labour. 
    (9) If you have less daily bread, you will have less account to 
give. The riches and honours of this world, like alchemy, make a 
great show, and with their glistening, dazzle men's eyes; but they 
do not consider the great account they must give to God. 'Give an 
account of thy stewardship.' Luke 16: 2. What good hast thou done 
with thy estate? Hast thou, as a good steward, traded thy golden 
talents for God's glory? Hast thou honoured the Lord with thy 
substance? The greater revenues the greater reckonings. Let it quiet 
and content us, that if we have but little daily bread, our account 
will be less. 
    (10) You that have but a small competence in outward things, 
may be content to consider how much you look for hereafter. God 
keeps the best wine till last. What though now you have a small 
pittance, and are fed from hand to mouth? You look for an eternal 
reward, white robes, sparkling crowns, rivers of pleasure. A son is 
content though his father give him but now and then a little money, 
as long as he expects his father should settle all his land upon him 
at last; so if God give you but little at present, yet you look for 
that glory which eye has not seen. The world is but a diversorium, a 
great inn. If God give you sufficient to pay for your charges in 
your inn, you may be content, you shall have enough when you come to 
your own country. 
    How may we be content, though God cut us short in these 
externals; though we have but little daily bread, and coarse? 
    (1) Think with yourselves that some have been much lower than 
you, who have been better than you. Jacob, a holy patriarch, went 
over Jordan with his staff, and lived in a mean condition a long 
time; he had the clouds for his canopy, and a stone for his pillow. 
Moses, who might have been rich, as some historians say, that 
Pharaoh's daughter adopted him for her son, because king Pharaoh had 
no heir, and so Moses was like to have come to the crown, yet 
leaving the honours of the court, in what a low, mean condition did 
he live in, when he went to Jethro, his father-in-law! Musculus, 
famous for learning and piety, was put to great straits, even to dig 
in a town ditch, and had scarcely daily bread, and yet was content! 
Nay, Christ, who was heir of all, for our sakes became poor. 2 Cor 
8: 9. Let all these examples make us content. 
    (2) Let us labour to have the interest cleared between God and 
our souls. He who can say, 'My God,' has enough to rock his heart 
quiet in the lowest condition. What can he want who has El-Shaddai, 
the all-sufficient God for his portion? Though the nether springs 
fail, yet he has the upper springs; though the bill of fare grow 
short, yet an interest in God is a pillar of support to us, and we 
may, with David, encourage ourselves in the Lord our God. 

The Lord's Prayer
by Thomas Watson
(continued in file 19...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-09: watlp-18.txt