The Lord's Prayer
by Thomas Watson
File 20
(... continued from file 19)

    If all sins past and to come are at once forgiven, then what 
need to pray for the pardon of sin? It is a vain thing to pray for 
the pardon of that which is already forgiven. The opinion that sins 
to come, as well as past, are forgiven, takes away and makes void 
Christ's intercession. He is an advocate to intercede for daily 
sins. I John 2: 1. But if sin be forgiven before it be committed, 
what need is there of his daily intercession? What need have I of an 
advocate, if sin be pardoned before it be committed? So that, though 
God forgives all sins past to a believer, yet sins to come are not 
forgiven till repentance be renewed. 
    (10) Faith necessarily precedes forgiveness. There must be 
believing on our part before there is forgiving on God's part. 'To 
him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever 
believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.' Acts 10: 43. So 
that faith is a necessary antecedent to forgiveness. There are two 
acts of faith, to accept Christ and to trust in Christ, to accept of 
his terms, to trust in his merits; and he who does neither of these, 
can have no forgiveness. He who does not accept Christ, cannot have 
his person; he who does not trust in him, cannot have benefit by his 
blood. So that, without faith, there is no remission. 
    (11) Though justification and sanctification are not the same, 
yet God never pardons a sinner but he sanctifies him. Justification 
and sanctification are not the same. Justification is without us, 
sanctification is within us. The one is by righteousness imputed, 
the other is by righteousness imparted. Justification is equal, 
sanctification is gradual. Sanctification is recipere magis et minus 
[to receive more and yet less]. One is sanctified more than another, 
but one is not justified more than another; one has more grace than 
another, but he is not more a believer than another. The matter of 
our justification is perfect, viz., Christ's righteousness; but our 
sanctification is imperfect, there are the spots of God's children. 
Deut 32: 5. Our graces are mixed, our duties are defiled. 
    Thus justification and sanctification are not the same. Yet, 
for all that, they are not separated. God never pardons and 
justifies a sinner but he sanctifies him. 'But ye are sanctified, 
but ye are justified.' I Cor 6: 11. 'This is he that came by water 
and blood, even Jesus Christ.' I John 5: 6. Christ comes to the soul 
by blood, which denotes remission; and by water, which denotes 
sanctification. Let no man say he is pardoned who is not made holy. 
This I urge against the Antinomians, who talk of their sin being 
forgiven, and having a part in Christ, and yet remain unconverted, 
and live in the grossest sins. Pardon and healing go together. 'I 
create the fruit of the lips, peace.' Isa 57: 19. Peace is the fruit 
of pardon, and then it follows, 'I will heal him.' Where God 
pardons, he purifies. As in the inauguration of kings, with the 
crown there is the oil to anoint; so when God crowns a man with 
forgiveness, he gives the anointing oil of grace to sanctify. 'I 
will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name.' Rev 2: 
17. A 'white stone,' that is absolution; and a 'new name' in the 
stone, that is sanctification. 
    If God should pardon a man, and not sanctify him, it would be a 
reproach to him. He would love and be well pleased with men in their 
sins, which is diametrically contrary to his holy nature. 
    If God should pardon and not sanctify, he could have no glory 
from us. God's people are formed to show forth his praise; but if he 
should pardon and not sanctify us, how could we show forth his 
praise? Isa 43: 2I. How could we glorify him? What glory can God 
have from a proud, ignorant, profane heart? 
    If God should pardon and not sanctify, that would enter heaven 
which defileth; but nothing shall enter that defileth. Rev 21: 27. 
God should then settle the inheritance upon men before they were fit 
for it. 'Which hath made us meet to be partakers of the 
inheritance.' Col 1: 12. How is that but by the divine unction? So 
that whoever God forgives, he transforms. Let no man say his sins 
are forgiven who does not find an inherent work of holiness in his 
    (12) Where God remits sin, he imputes righteousness. This 
righteousness of Christ imputed is a salvo to God's law, and makes 
full satisfaction for breaches of it. This righteousness procures 
God's favour. God cannot love us when he sees us in his Son's robe, 
which both covers and adorns us. In this spotless robe of Christ we 
outshine the angels. Theirs is but the righteousness of creatures, 
this is the righteousness of God himself 'That we might be made the 
righteousness of God in him.' 2 Cor 5: 21. How great a blessing then 
is forgiveness? With remission of sin is joined imputation of 
    (13) They whose sins are forgiven must not omit praying for 
forgiveness. 'Forgive us our trespasses.' Believers who are pardoned 
must be continual suitors for pardon. When Nathan told David, 'The 
Lord hath put away thy sin,' David composed a penitential psalm for 
the pardon of his sin. 2 Sam 12: 13. Sin, after pardon, rebels. Like 
Samson's hair, though it be cut, it will grow again. We sin daily, 
and must ask for daily pardon as well as for daily bread. Besides, a 
Christian's pardon is not so sure but he may desire to have a 
clearer evidence of it. 
    (14) A full absolution from all sin is not pronounced till the 
day of judgement. The day of judgement is called a time of 
refreshing, when sin shall be completely blotted out. Acts 3: 19. 
Now God blots out sin truly, but then it shall be done in a more 
public way. God will openly pronounce the saints' absolution before 
men and angels. Their happiness is not completed till the day of 
judgement, because their pardon shall be solemnly pronounced, and 
there shall be the triumphs of the heavenly host. At that day it 
will be true indeed that God sees no sin in his children; they shall 
be as pure as the angels; then the church shall be presented without 
wrinkle. Eph 5: 27. She shall be as free from stain as guilt, Satan 
shall no more accuse. Christ will show the debt-book crossed in his 
blood. Therefore the church prays for Christ's coming to judgement. 
The bride says, 'Come, Lord Jesus:' light the lamps, then burn the 
incense. Rev 22: 20. 
    Use 1. For information. 
    (1) From this word, 'Forgive,' we learn that if the debt of sin 
be no other way discharged but by being forgiven, we cannot satisfy 
for it. Among other damnable opinions of the church of Rome, one is, 
man's power to satisfy for sin. The Council of Trent holds that God 
is satisfied by our undergoing the penalty imposed by the censure of 
priests; and again, that we have works of our own by which we may 
satisfy for our wrongs done to God. By these opinions we judge what 
the Popish religion is. They intend to pay the debt they owe to God 
of themselves, to pay it in part, and do not look to have it all 
forgiven; but why did Christ teach us to pray, 'Forgive us our 
sins,' if we can of ourselves satisfy God for the wrong we have done 
him? This doctrine robs God of his glory, Christ of his merit, and 
the soul of salvation. Alas! is not the lock cut where the strength 
lay? Are not all our works fly-blown with sin, and can sin satisfy 
for sin? This doctrine makes men their own saviours, which is most 
absurd to hold, for can the obedience of a finite creature satisfy 
for an infinite offence? Sin being forgiven, clearly implies we 
cannot satisfy for it. 
    (2) From this word "us", 'Forgive us,' we learn that pardon is 
chiefly to be sought for ourselves; for though we are to pray for 
the pardon of others, 'Pray one for another,' yet in the first 
place, we are to beg pardon for ourselves. James 5: 16. What! will 
another's pardon do us good? Everyone is to endeavour to have his 
own name in the pardon. A son may be made free by his father's 
freedom, but he cannot be pardoned by his father's pardon, he must 
have a pardon for himself. In this sense selfishness is lawful, 
everyone must be for himself and get a pardon for his own sins. 
'Forgive us.' 
    (3) From this word "our", 'our sins,' we learn how just God is 
in punishing us. The text says 'our sins;' we are not punished for 
other men's sins, but our own. Nemo habet de proprio, nisi peccatum 
[No one has anything of his own, except his sin]. Augustine. There 
is nothing we can call so properly ours as sin. Our daily bread we 
have from God, our daily sins we have from ourselves. Sin is our own 
act, a web of our own spinning. How righteous therefore is God in 
punishing us! We sow the seed, and God makes us reap what we sow. 'I 
give every man according to the fruit of his doings.' Jer 17: 10. 
When we are punished we but taste the fruit of our own grafting. 
    (4) From this word sins, see from hence the multitude of sin we 
stand guilty of. We pray not, forgive us our sin, as if it were only 
a single debt, but sins, in the plural. So vast is the catalogue of 
our sins that David cries out, 'Who can understand his errors?' Psa 
19: I2. Our sins are like the drops of the sea, like the atoms in 
the sun - they exceed all arithmetic. The debts we owe to God we can 
no more number than we can satisfy; which, as it should humble us to 
consider how full of black spots our souls are, so it should put us 
upon seeking after the pardon of our sins. 
    Use 2. For exhortation. 
    Let us labour for the forgiveness of sin, which is a main 
branch of the charter or covenant of grace. 'I will be merciful to 
their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I 
remember no more.' Heb 8: 12. It is mercy to feed us, but it is rich 
mercy to pardon us. Earthly things are no signs of God's love: he 
may give the venison, but not the blessing; but when he seals up 
forgiveness, he gives his love and heaven with it. 'Thou settest a 
crown of pure gold on his head.' Psa 21: 3. A crown of gold was a 
mercy; but if you look into Psa 103 you shall find a greater mercy: 
'Who forgiveth all shine iniquities, who crowneth thee with 
lovingkindness;' ver 3, 4. To be crowned with forgiveness and 
lovingkindness is afar greater mercy than be have a crown of pure 
gold set upon the head. It was a mercy when Christ cured the palsied 
man; but when Christ said to him, 'Thy sins be forgiven,' it was 
more than to have his palsy healed. Mark 2: 5. Forgiveness of sin is 
the chief thing to be sought after; and surely, if conscience be 
once touched with a sense of sin, there is nothing a man will thirst 
after more than forgiveness. 'My sin is ever before me.' Psa 51: 3. 
This made David so earnest for pardon. 'Have mercy upon me, O God; 
blot out my transgressions.' Psa 51: 1. If anyone should have come 
to David and asked him, Where is thy pain? What is it troubles thee? 
Is it the fear of shame which shall come upon thee and thy wives? Is 
it the fear of the sword which God has threatened shall not depart 
from thy house? He would have said, No, it is only my sin pains me: 
'My sin is ever before me.' Were this removed by forgiveness, though 
the sword rode in circuit in my family, I would be well enough 
content. When the arrow of guilt sticks in the conscience, nothing 
is so desirable as to have it plucked out by forgiveness. 
    O therefore seek after forgiveness of sin. You may make a shift 
to live without it; but how will you die without it? Will not death 
have a sting to an unpardoned sinner? How do you think to get to 
heaven without forgiveness? As at some festivals there is no being 
admitted unless you bring a ticket; so unless you have this ticket 
to show, 'Forgiveness of sin', there is no being admitted into the 
holy place of heaven. Will God ever crown those that he will not 
forgive? O be ambitious of pardoning grace. When God had made 
Abraham great and large promises, Abraham replied, 'Lord, what wilt 
thou give me, seeing I go childless!' Gen 15: 2. So, when God has 
given thee riches, and all thy heart can wish, say to him, Lord, 
what is all this, seeing I want forgiveness? Let my pardon be sealed 
in Christ's blood. A prisoner in the Tower is in an ill case, 
notwithstanding his brave diet, great attendance, soft bed to lie 
on, because, being impeached, he looks every day for his 
arraignment, and is afraid of the sentence of death. In such a case 
and worse is he who swims in the pleasures of the world, but his 
sins are not forgiven. A guilty conscience impeaches him, and he is 
in fear of being arraigned and condemned at God's judgement-seat. 
Give not then sleep to your eyes, or slumber to your eyelids, till 
you have gotten some well-grounded hope that your sins are blotted 
out. Before I come to press the exhortation to seek after 
forgiveness of sin, I shall propound one question. 
    If pardon of sin he so absolutely necessary, what is the reason 
that so few in the world seek after it? If they want health, they 
repair to the physician; if they want riches, they take a voyage to 
the Indies; but if they want forgiveness of sin, they seem to be 
unconcerned, and do not seek after it: whence is this? 
    Inadvertency, or want of consideration. They do not look into 
their spiritual estate, or cast up their accounts to see how matters 
stand between God and their souls. 'My people doth not consider:' 
they do not consider they are indebted to God in a debt often 
thousand talents, and that God will, ere long, call them to account. 
'So, then, every one of us shall give account of himself to God.' 
Isa 1: 3; Rom 14: 12. But people shun serious thoughts: 'My people 
doth not consider.' Hence it is they do not look after pardon. 
    Men do not seek after forgiveness of sin for want of 
conviction. Few are convinced what a deadly evil sin is, that it is 
the spirits of mischief distilled, it turns a man's glory into 
shame, it brings all plagues on the body, and curses on the soul. 
Unless a man's sin be forgiven, there is not the vilest creature 
alive, the dog, serpent, or toad, but is in a better condition than 
the sinner; for when they die they go but to the earth; but he, 
dying without pardon, goes into hell torments for ever. Men are not 
convinced of this, but play with the viper of sin. 
    Men do not seek earnestly after forgiveness, because they are 
seeking other things. They seek the world immoderately. When Saul 
was seeking after the asses, he did not think of a kingdom. The 
world is a golden snare. Divitiae saeculi sunt laquei diaboli [The 
riches of the world are the snares of the devil]. Bernard. The wedge 
of gold hinders many from seeking after pardon. Ministers cry to the 
people, 'Get your pardon sealed;' but if you call to a man that is 
in a mill, the noise of the mill drowns the voice, that he cannot 
hear; so when the mill of a trade is going, it makes such a noise, 
that the people cannot hear the minister when he lifts up his voice 
like a trumpet and cries to them to look after the sealing of their 
pardon. He who spends all his time about the world and does not mind 
forgiveness, will accuse himself of folly at last. You would judge 
that prisoner very unwise that should spend all his time with the 
cook to get his dinner ready, and should never mind getting a 
    Men seek not after forgiveness of sin, through a bold 
presumption of mercy; they conceive God to be made up all of mercy; 
and that he will indulge them, though they take little or no pains 
to sue for their pardon. True, God is merciful, but withal he is 
just, he will not wrong his justice by showing mercy. Read the 
proclamation: 'The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious; and 
that will by no means clear the guilty.' Exod 34: 6, 7. Such as go 
on in sin, and are so slothful or wilful that they will not seek 
after forgiveness, though there be a whole ocean of mercy in the 
Lord, not one drop shall fall to their share. He 'will by no means 
clear the guilty.' 
    Men seek not earnestly after forgiveness out of hope of 
impunity. They flatter themselves in sin, and because they have been 
spared so long, therefore think God never intends to reckon with 
them. 'He hath said in his heart, God has forgotten: he hideth his 
face; he will never see it.' Psa 10: 11. Atheists think either the 
judge is blind or forgetful; but let sinners know that long 
forbearance is no forgiveness. God bore with Sodom a long time, but 
at last rained down fire and brimstone upon them. The adjourning of 
the assizes does not acquit the prisoner. The longer God is taking 
the blow, the heavier it will be at last, if sinners repent not. 
    Men do not seek earnestly after forgiveness through mistake. 
They think getting a pardon is easy, it is but repenting at the last 
hour, a sigh, or a 'Lord, have mercy,' and a pardon will drop into 
their mouths. But is it so easy to repent, and have a pardon? Tell 
me, O sinner, is regeneration easy? Are there no pangs in the new 
birth? Is mortification easy? Is it nothing to pluck out the right 
eye? Is it easy to leap out of Delilah's lap into Abraham's bosom? 
This is the draw-net by which the devil drags millions to hell, the 
facility of repenting and getting a pardon. 
    Men do not look after forgiveness through despair. Oh, says the 
desponding soul, it is a vain thing for me to expect pardon; my sins 
are so many and heinous that surely God will not forgive me. 'And 
they said, There is no hope.' Jer 38: 12. My sins are huge 
mountains, and can they ever be cast into the sea? Despair cuts the 
sinews of endeavour. Who will use means that despairs of success? 
The devil shows some men their sins at the little end of the 
perspective-glass, and they seem little or none at all; but he shows 
others their sins at the great end of the perspective, and they 
fright them into despair. This is a soul-damning sin. Judas's 
despair was worse than his treason. Despair spills the cordial of 
Christ's blood. The voice of despair is, Christ's blood cannot 
pardon me. Thus you see whence it is that men seek no more earnestly 
after the forgiveness of sin. Having answered this question, I shall 
now come to press the exhortation upon every one of us, to seek 
earnestly after the forgiveness of our sins. 
    (1) Our very life lies in getting pardon. It is called the 
'justification of life.' Rom 5: 18. Now, if our life lies in our 
pardon, and we are dead and damned without it, does it not concern 
us above all things to labour after forgiveness of sin? 'For it is 
not a vain thing for you, because it is your life.' Deut 32: 47. If 
a man be under a sentence of death, he will set his wits to work, 
and make use of all his friends to get the king to grant his pardon, 
because his life lies upon it; so we by reason of sin are under a 
sentence of damnation. There is one friend at court we may make use 
of to procure our pardon, namely, the Lord Jesus. How earnest then 
should we be with him to be our Advocate to the Father for us, that 
he would present the merit of his blood to the Father, as the price 
of our pardon! 
    (2) There is that in sin that should make us desire 
forgiveness. Sin is the only thing that disquiets the soul. It is a 
burden, it burdens the creation, it burdens the conscience. Rom 8: 
22; Psa 38: 4. A wicked man is not sensible of sin, he is dead in 
sin; and if you lay a thousand weight upon a dead man he feels it 
not. But to an awakened conscience sin is a burden. When a man 
seriously weighs with himself the glory and purity of that Majesty 
which sin has offended, the preciousness of that soul which sin has 
polluted, the loss of that happiness which sin has endangered, the 
greatness of that torment which sin has deserved, to lay all this 
together, surely must make sin burdensome: and should not we labour 
to have this burden removed by pardoning mercy? Sin is a debt, 
'Forgive us our debts.' Matt 6: 12. Every debt we owe, God has 
written down in his book. 'Behold, it is written before me,' and one 
day God's debt-book will be opened. 'The books were opened.' Isa 65: 
6; Rev 20: 12. And should not this make us look after forgiveness? 
Sin being such a debt as we must eternally lie in the prison of hell 
for, if it be not discharged, should we not be earnest with God to 
cross the debt-book with the blood of his Son? There is no way to 
look God in the face with comfort, but by having our debts either 
paid or pardoned. 
    (3) Nothing but forgiveness can give ease to a troubled 
conscience. There is a great difference between having the fancy 
pleased, and having the conscience eased. Worldly things may please 
the fancy, but not ease the conscience. Nothing but pardon can 
relieve a troubled soul. It is strange what shifts men will make for 
ease when conscience is pained, and how many false medicines they 
will use before they will take the right way for a cure. When 
conscience is troubled, they will try what merry company can do. 
They may perhaps drink away trouble of conscience; perhaps they may 
play it away at cards; perhaps a Lent-whipping will do the deed; 
perhaps multitude of business will so take up their time, that they 
shall have no leisure to hear the clamours and accusations of 
conscience; but how vain are all these attempts! Still the wound 
bleeds inwardly, their heart trembles, their conscience roars, and 
they can have no peace. Whence is it? The reason is they go not to 
the mercy of God, and the blood of Christ, for the pardon of their 
sins; and hence they have no ease. Suppose a man has a thorn in his 
foot, which puts him to pain; let him anoint it, or wrap it up, and 
keep it warm; but till the thorn be plucked out, it aches and 
swells, and he has no ease; so when the thorn of sin is in a man's 
conscience, there is no ease till it be pulled out. When God removes 
iniquity, the thorn is plucked out. How was David's heart finely 
quieted, when Nathan the prophet told him, 'The Lord hath put away 
thy sin'! 2 Sam 12: 13. How should we therefore labour for 
forgiveness! Till then we can have no ease in the mind. Nothing but 
pardon, sealed with the blood of the Redeemer, can ease a wounded 
    (4) Forgiveness of sin is feasible, and may be obtained. 
Impossibility destroys endeavour; but, 'There is hope in Israel 
concerning this.' Ezra 10: 2. The devils are past hope; a sentence 
of death is upon them, which is irrevocable; but there is hope for 
us of obtaining pardon. 'There is forgiveness with thee.' Psa 130: 
4. If pardon of sin were not possible, it were not to be prayed for; 
but it has been prayed for. 'I beseech thee, O Lord, take away the 
iniquity of thy servant.' 2 Sam 24: 10. And Christ bids us pray for 
it 'Forgive us our trespasses.' That is possible which God has 
promised, but God has promised pardon upon repentance. 'Let the 
wicked forsake his way and return unto the Lord, and he will have 
mercy upon him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.' Isa 
55: 7. Hebrew, 'He will multiply to pardon.' That is possible which 
others have obtained; but others have arrived at forgiveness, 
therefore it is obtainable. Psa 32: 5. 'Thou hast cast all my sins 
behind thy back.' Isa 38: 17. 
    (5) Forgiveness of sin is a choice and eminent blessing. To 
have the book cancelled, and God appeased, is worth obtaining, which 
may whet our endeavour after it. That it is a rare transcendent 
blessing, appears by three demonstrations: 
    First, if we consider how this blessing is purchased, namely, 
by the Lord Jesus. There are three things in reference to Christ 
which set forth the choiceness and preciousness of forgiveness: 
    [1] No mere created power in heaven or earth could expiate one 
sin, or procure a pardon, but Jesus Christ only. 'He is the 
propitiation for our sins.' I John 2: 2. No merit can buy out a 
pardon. Paul had as much to boast of as any man, his high birth, his 
learning, his legal righteousness; but he disclaims all in point of 
justification, and lays them under Christ's feet to tread upon. No 
angel, with all his holiness, could lay down a price for the pardon 
of one sin. 'If a man sin against the Lord, who shall intreat for 
him?' I Sam 2: 25. What angel durst be so bold as to open his mouth 
to God for a delinquent sinner? Only Jesus Christ, who is God-man, 
could deal with God's justice, and purchase forgiveness. 
    [2] Christ himself could not procure a pardon without dying. 
Every pardon is the price of blood. Christ's life was a rule of 
holiness, and a pattern of obedience. He fulfilled all 
righteousness. Matt 3: 15. Certainly his active obedience was of 
great value and merit; but that which raises the worth of 
forgiveness, is that his active obedience had not fully procured a 
pardon for us without the shedding of his blood. Our justification 
therefore is ascribed to his blood. 'Being justified by his blood.' 
Rom 5: 9. Christ did bleed out our pardon. There is much ascribed to 
his intercession, but his intercession had not prevailed with God 
for the forgiveness of one sin had he not shed his blood. It is 
worthy of notice, that when Christ is described to John as an 
intercessor for his church, he is represented in the likeness of a 
Lamb slain, to show that Christ must die and be slain before he can 
be an intercessor. Rev 5: 6. 
    [3] Christ, by dying, had not purchased forgiveness for us if 
he had not died an accursed death. He endured the curse. Gal 3: 13. 
All the agonies Christ endured in his soul, all the torments in his 
body, could not purchase a pardon except he had been made a curse 
for us. He must be cursed before we could be blessed with a pardon. 
    Secondly, forgiveness of sin is a choice blessing, if we 
consider what glorious attributes God puts forth in it. He puts 
forth infinite power. When Moses was pleading with God for the 
pardon of Israel's sin, he spoke thus: 'Let the power of my Lord be 
great.' Numb 14: 17. For God, forgiving sin is a work of as great 
power as to make heaven and earth, nay, a greater. When he made the 
world, he met with no opposition; but, when he pardons, Satan 
opposes, and the heart opposes. A sinner is desperate, and slights, 
yea, defies pardon, till God, by his mighty power, convinces him of 
his sin and danger, and makes him willing to accept of pardon. God, 
in forgiving sins, puts forth infinite mercy. 'Pardon, I beseech 
thee, the iniquity of this people, according unto the greatness of 
thy mercy.' Numb 14: 19. It is mercy to have a reprieve; and if 
there be mercy in sparing a sinner, what mercy is there in pardoning 
him! This is the flos lactis, the cream of mercy. For God to put up 
with so many injuries, to wipe so many debts off the score, is 
infinite favour. 
    Thirdly, forgiveness of sin is a choice blessing, as it lays a 
foundation for other mercies. It is a leading mercy. It makes way 
for temporal good things. It brings health. When Christ said to the 
palsied man, 'Thy sins are forgiven,' he made way for a bodily cure. 
'Arise, take up thy bed and walk.' Matt 9: 6. The pardon of his sin 
made way for the healing of his palsy. It brings prosperity. Jer 33: 
8, 9. It makes way for spiritual good things. Forgiveness of sin 
never comes alone, but has other spiritual blessings attending it. 
Whom God pardons, he sanctifies, adopts, crowns. It is a voluminous 
mercy, it draws the silver link of grace, and the golden link of 
glory after it. It is a high act of indulgence. God seals the 
sinner's pardon with a kiss. And should not we, above all things, 
seek after so great a blessing as forgiveness? 
    (6) That which may make us seek after forgiveness of sin is 
God's inclinableness to pardon. 'Thou art a God ready to pardon.' 
Neh 9: 17. In the Hebrew it is, 'A God of pardons.' We are apt to 
entertain wrong conceits of God, that he is inexorable, and will not 
forgive. 'I knew thee that thou art an hard man.' Matt 25: 24. But 
God is a sin-pardoning God. 'The Lord merciful and gracious, 
forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.' Exod 34: 6, 7. Here 
is my name, says God, if you would know how I am called, I tell you 
my name, 'The Lord, the Lord God, merciful, forgiving iniquity.' A 
pirate or rebel, that knows there is a proclamation out against him, 
will never come in; but, if he hears that the prince is full of 
clemency and there is a proclamation of pardon if he submit, it will 
be a great incentive to him to lay down his arms and become loyal to 
his prince. See God's proclamation to repenting sinners, in Jer 3: 
12: 'Go and proclaim these words, and say, Return, thou backsliding 
Israel, saith the Lord, and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon 
you, for I am merciful.' God's mercy is a tender mercy. The Hebrew 
word for mercy signifies bowels. God's mercy is full of sympathy, he 
is of a most sweet, indulgent nature. 'Thou, Lord, art good, and 
ready to forgive.' Psa 86: 1. The bee does not more naturally give 
honey, than God shows mercy. 
    But does not God seem to delight in punitive acts, or acts of 
severity? 'I will laugh at your calamity.' Prov 1: 26. 
    To whom does God say this? See verse 25. 'Ye have set at nought 
all my counsel, and would none of my reproof' God delights in the 
destruction of those who despise his instruction; but a humble 
penitent breaking off sin, and suing for pardon, he delights in. 'He 
delighteth in mercy.' Mic 7: 18. 
    But though God be so full of mercy, and ready to forgive, yet 
his mercy reaches not to all; he forgives such only as are elected, 
and I question my election. 
    No man can say he is not elected. God has not revealed to any 
particular man that he is a reprobate, excepting him only who has 
sinned the sin against the Holy Ghost; which thou art far enough 
from who mournest for sin, and seekest after forgiveness. 
    The thought that we are not elected, and that there is no 
pardon for us, comes from Satan, and is the poisoned arrow he 
shoots. He is the accuser: he accuses us to God that we are great 
sinners; and he accuses God to us as if he were a tyrant, one that 
watches to destroy his creatures. These are diabolical suggestions; 
say, 'Get thee behind me, Satan.' 
    It is sinful for any to hold that he is not elected. It would 
take him off from the use of means, from praying and repenting; it 
would harden him, and make him desperate. Therefore pry not into the 
arcana coeli, secrets of heaven. Remember what befell the men of 
Bethshemesh, for looking into the ark. I Sam 6: 19. Know that we are 
not to go by God's secret will, but by his revealed will. Let us 
look into God's revealed will, and there we shall find enough to 
cherish hope, and encourage us to go to God for the pardon of our 
sins. He has said in his Word, that he is 'rich in mercy,' and that 
he does not delight in the destruction of a sinner. Eph 2: 4; Ezek 
18: 32. Jurat per essentiam. Musculus. He swears by his essence. 'As 
I live, saith the Lord God I have no pleasure in the death of the 
wicked.' Ezek 33: 11. Hence he waits long, and puts off the sessions 
from time to time, to see if sinners will repent and seek to him for 
pardon. Therefore, let God's tender mercies and precious promises 
encourage us to seek him for the forgiveness of our sins. 
    (7) Not to seek earnestly for pardon is unspeakable misery to 
such as need forgiveness. It must needs be ill with that malefactor 
that has not pardon. 
    The unpardoned sinner, who lives and dies such, is under the 
greatest loss and privation. Is there any happiness like the 
enjoyment of God in glory? This is the joy of angels, the crown of 
saints glorified, but the unforgiven sinner shall not behold God's 
smiling face; he shall see God as an enemy, not as a friend; he 
shall have an affrighting sight of God, not beatific; he shall see 
the black rod, not the mercy-seat. Sins unpardoned are like the 
angel with a flaming sword, who stopped the passage to paradise. 
They stop the way to the heavenly paradise. How doleful is the 
condition of that soul which is banished from the place of bliss, 
where the King of Glory keeps his court! 
    The unpardoned sinner has nothing to do with any promise. The 
promises are mulctralia evangelii, the breasts that hold the sincere 
milk of the word, which fill the soul with precious sweetness. They 
are the royal charter: but what has a stranger to do to meddle with 
the charter? It was the dove that plucked the olive branch; it is 
only the believer who plucks the tree of the promise. Till the 
condition of the promise be performed, no man can have right to the 
comfort of it; and how sad is it not to have one promise to show for 
    An unpardoned sinner is continually in danger of the outcry of 
an accusing conscience. An accusing conscience is a little hell. 
Siculi non invenere tyranni tormentum majus [The Sicilian tyrants 
devised no worse a torture]. We tremble to hear a lion roar: how 
terrible are the roarings of conscience! Judas hanged himself to 
quiet his conscience. A sinner's conscience at present is either 
asleep or seared; but when God shall awaken it, either by affliction 
or at death, how will the unpardoned sinner be affrighted! When a 
man shall have all his sins set before his eyes, and drawn out in 
their bloody colours, and the worm of conscience begins to gnaw, oh, 
what a trembling at heart will the sinner have! 
    All the curses of God stand in full force against an unpardoned 
sinner. His very blessings are cursed. 'I will curse your 
blessings.' Mal 2: 2. His table is a snare; he eats and drinks a 
curse. What comfort could Dionysius have at his feast, when he 
imagined he saw a naked sword hanging by a twine-thread over his 
head? It is enough to spoil a sinner's banquet, that a curse like a 
naked sword, hangs over his head. Caesar wondered to see one of his 
soldiers who was in debt so merry. One would wonder that man could 
be merry who is heir to all God's curses. He does not see these 
curses, but is blinder than Balaam's ass, who saw the angel's sword 

The Lord's Prayer
by Thomas Watson
(continued in file 21...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-09: watlp-20.txt