The Lord's Prayer
by Thomas Watson
File 21
(... continued from file 20)

    The unpardoned sinner is in an ill case at death. Luther 
professed there were three things which he durst not think of 
without Christ; of his sins, of death, and of the day of judgement. 
Death to a Christless soul is the 'king of terrors.' As the prophet 
Ahijah said to Jeroboam's wife, 'I am sent to thee with heavy 
tidings' (I Kings 14: 6); so death is sent to the unpardoned soul 
with heavy tidings; it is God's jailer to arrest him. Death is a 
prologue to damnation. It takes away all earthly comforts, it takes 
away sugared morsels; no more drinking wine in bowls, no more mirth 
or music. 'The voice of harpers and musicians shall be heard no more 
at all in thee.' Rev 18: 22. The sinner shall never taste of 
luscious delights more to all eternity; his honey shall be turned 
into the 'gall of asps.' Job 20: 14. At death, an end shall be put 
to all reprieves. Now God reprieves a sinner, he spares him such a 
fit of sickness; he respites him many years; the sinner should have 
died at such a drinking bout, but God granted him a reprieve; he 
lengthened out the silver thread of patience to a miracle; but when 
the sinner dies without repentance, and unpardoned, the lease of 
God's patience is run out, and he must appear in person before the 
righteous God to receive his sentence; after which, there shall be 
none to bail him, nor shall he hear of a reprieve any more. 
    (6) The sinner dying unpardoned, must go into damnation; this 
is the second death, mors sine morte [an undying death]. The 
unpardoned soul must for ever bear the anger of a sin-revenging God. 
As long as God is God, so long the vial of his wrath shall be 
dropping upon the damned soul. This is a helpless condition. There 
is a time when a sinner will not be helped; Christ and salvation are 
offered to him, but he slights them, he will not be helped; and 
there is a time shortly coming when he cannot be helped; he calls 
out for mercy, Oh! a pardon, a pardon! but it is too late, the date 
of mercy is expired. Oh! how sad, then, is it to live and die 
unpardoned! You may lay a grave-stone upon that man, and write this 
epitaph upon it, 'It had been good for that man that he had never 
been born.' Now, if the misery of an unpardoned state be so 
inexpressible, how should we labour for forgiveness, that we may not 
be engulfed in so dreadful a labyrinth of fire and brimstone to all 
    (7) Such as are unpardoned, must needs lead uncomfortable 
lives. 'Thy life shall hang in doubt before thee, and thou shalt 
fear day and night.' Deut 28: 66. Thus the unpardoned sinner must 
needs have a palpitation and trembling at the heart; he fears every 
bush he sees. 'Fear has torment.' I John 4: 18. The Greek word for 
torment, kolasis, is used sometimes for hell: fear has hell in it. A 
man in debt fears, every step he goes, lest he should be arrested; 
so the unpardoned sinner fears, what if this night death, death 
which is God's sergeant, should arrest him! 'Why dost thou not 
pardon my transgression? For now shall I sleep in the dust:' as if 
Job had said, 'Lord, I shall shortly die, I shall sleep in the dust; 
and what shall I do if my sins be not pardoned?' Job 7: 21. What 
comfort can an unpardoned soul take in anything? Surely no more than 
a prisoner can take in meat or music, that wants his pardon. 
Therefore, by all these powerful motives, let us labour for the 
forgiveness of sins. 
    But I am discouraged from going to God for pardon, for I am 
unworthy of forgiveness; what am I, that God should show such a 
favour to me? 
    God forgives, not because we are worthy, but because he is 
gracious. 'The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious.' Exod 34: 
6. He forgives out of his clemency; acts of pardon are acts of 
grace. What worthiness was there in Paul before conversion? He was a 
blasphemer, and so he sinned against the first table; he was a 
persecutor, and so he sinned against the second table; but free 
grace sealed his pardon. 'I obtained mercy;' I was all bestrewed 
with mercy. I Tim 1: 13. What worthiness was in the woman of 
Samaria? She was ignorant. John 4: 22. She was unclean; ver 18. She 
was morose and churlish, she would not give Christ so much as a cup 
of cold water; ver 9. How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink 
of me which am a woman of Samaria? What worthiness was here? Yet 
Christ overlooked all, and pardoned her ingratitude; and though she 
denied him water out of the well, yet he gave her the water of life. 
Gratia non invenit dignos, sed facit. Free grace does not find us 
worthy, but makes us worthy. Therefore, notwithstanding 
unworthiness, seek to God, that your sins may be pardoned. 
    But I hare been a great sinner, and surely God will not pardon 
    David brings it as an argument for pardon. 'Pardon mine 
iniquity, for it is great.' Psa 25: 11. When God forgives great 
sins, he does a work like himself. The desperateness of the wound 
the more sets forth the virtue of Christ's blood in curing it. Mary 
Magdalene, out of whom seven devils were cast, was a great sinner, 
yet she had her pardon. When some of the Jews, who had a hand in 
crucifying Christ, repented, the very blood they shed sealed their 
pardon. Consider sins either for their number as the sands of the 
sea, or for their weight as the rocks of the sea, yet there is mercy 
enough in God to forgive them. 'Though your sins be as scarlet, they 
shall be as white as snow.' Isa 1: 18. Scarlet signifies twice 
dipped, which no art of man can get out, yet God can wash out this 
scarlet dye. There is no sin exempted from pardon but that sin which 
despises pardon, the sin against the Holy Ghost. Matt 12: 31. 
Therefore, O sinner, do not cast away thy anchor of hope, but go to 
God for forgiveness. The vast ocean has bounds set to it, but God's 
pardoning mercy is boundless. He can as well forgive great sins as 
little, as the sea can cover great rocks and little sands. Nothing 
hinders pardon but the sinner's not asking it. 
    That a great sinner should not despair of forgiveness, we may 
learn from this Scripture: 'I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy 
transgressions.' If you look on the foregoing words, you would 
wonder how this verse comes in. 'Thou hast made me to serve with thy 
sins, thou has wearied me with thine iniquities;' and then it 
follows, 'I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions.' 
Isa 43: 24, 25. One would have thought it should have run thus, 
'Thou hast wearied me with shine iniquities; I, even I, am he that 
will punish thy iniquities;' but God comes in a mild loving strain, 
'Thou hast wearied me with shine iniquities; I am he that blotteth 
out thy iniquities.' So that the greatness of our sins should not 
discourage us from going to God for forgiveness. Though thou hast 
committed acts of impiety, yet God can come with an act of 
indemnity, and say, 'I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy 
transgressions.' God counts it his glory to display free grace in 
its most brilliant colours. 'Where sin abounded, grace did much more 
abound.' Rom 5: 20. When sin becomes exceeding sinful, free grace 
becomes exceeding glorious. God's pardoning love can conquer the 
sinner, and triumph over the sin. Consider, thou almost despairing 
soul, there is not so much sin in man as there is mercy in God. 
Man's sin in comparison of God's mercy is but as a spark to the 
ocean; and who would doubt whether a spark could be quenched in an 
    But I have relapsed into the same sins, and how can I have the 
face to come to God for pardon of those sins into which I have more 
than once fallen? 
    I know the Novatians held that after a relapse there is no 
forgiveness by the church. But doubtless that was an error. Abraham 
twice equivocated; Lot committed incest twice; Peter sinned thrice 
by carnal fear; but they repented, and they had absolution. 
    There is a twofold relapse, (1) A wilful relapse, when, after a 
man has solemnly vowed himself to God, he falls into a league with 
sin, and returns back to it. 'I have loved strangers, and after them 
will I go' (Jer 2: 25); and (2) there is a relapse through 
infirmity, when the bent and resolution of a man's heart is against 
sin, but, through the violence of temptation, and withdrawing of 
God's grace, he is carried down the stream against his will. Now, 
though wilful and continued relapses are desperate, and tend vastare 
conscientiam (as Tertullian), to waste the conscience, and run men 
upon the precipice of damnation, yet if they are through infirmity, 
and we mourn for them, we may obtain forgiveness. A godly man does 
not march after sin as his general, but is led captive by it; and 
the Lord will pity a captive prisoner. Christ commands us to forgive 
a trespassing brother seventy times seven. Matt 18: 22. If he bids 
us do it, much more will he forgive a relapsing sinner in case he 
repent. 'Return, thou backsliding Israel, for I am merciful, saith 
the Lord.' Jer 3: 12. It is not falling once or twice into the mire 
that drowns, but lying there; it is not once relapsing into sin, but 
lying in sin impenitently that damns. 
    But God requires so much sorrow and humiliation before 
remission, that I fear I shall never arrive at it! 
    He requires no more humiliation than may fit a soul for mercy. 
Many a Christian thinks, because he has not filled God's bottle so 
full of tears as others, he is not humbled enough to receive pardon. 
But God's dealings are various; all have not the like pangs in the 
new birth. Some are won with love; the sense of God's mercy abused 
causes ingenuous tears to flow; others are more flagitious and 
hardened, and God deals with them more roughly. That soul is humbled 
enough to receive a pardon which is brought to a thorough sense of 
sin, and sees the need of a Saviour, and loves him as the fairest of 
ten thousand. Therefore be not discouraged, for if thy heart be 
bruised from sin and broken off from it, thy sin shall be blotted 
out. No sooner did Ephraim weep than God's bowels were working. 'My 
bowels are troubled for him; I will surely have mercy upon him.' Jer 
31: 20. 
    Having answered these objections, let me beseech you, above all 
things, labour for the forgiveness of sin. Think with yourselves how 
great a mercy it is: it is one of the richest jewels in the cabinet 
of the new covenant. 'Blessed is he whose transgression is 
forgiven.' Psa 32: 1: In the Hebrew it is 'blessednesses'. And think 
of the unparalleled misery of those whose sins are not forgiven! 
Such as had not the blood of the paschal lamb sprinkled upon their 
door-posts, were destroyed by the angel. Exod 12: So they who have 
not Christ's blood sprinkled on them, to wash away the guilt of sin, 
will fall into the gulf of perdition. If you resolve to seek after 
forgiveness, do not delay. 
    Many say they will get their pardon, but they procrastinate and 
put it off so long that it is too late. When the shadows of the 
evening are stretched forth, and the night of death approaches, they 
begin to look after their pardon. This has been the undoing of 
millions. They purpose to look after their souls, but they stay so 
long till the lease of mercy is run out. Oh, therefore, hasten to 
get pardon! Think of the uncertainty of life. What security have you 
that you shall live another day? Volat ambiguis mobilis alis hora 
[The fleeting hour flies on fickle wings]. Our life is a taper soon 
blown out; it is made up of a few flying minutes. O thou dust and 
ashes! thou mayest fear every hour to be blown into thy grave; and 
what if death come to arrest thee before thy pardon be sealed? 
Plutarch reports of one Archias, who being among his cups when a 
letter was delivered to him, and he was desired to read it, as it 
was about serious business, Seria cras, he said, 'I will mind 
serious things to-morrow;' and that night he was slain. Thou that 
sayest, 'To-morrow I will repent, I will get my pardon,' thou mayest 
suddenly be slain; therefore to-day, while it is called to-day, look 
after the forgiveness of sin. After awhile, all the fountains of 
mercy will be stopped, there will not be one drop of Christ's blood 
to be had, there are no pardons after death. 
    Use 3. Let us labour to have the evidence that our sins are 
forgiven. A man may have his sins forgiven and not know it; he may 
have a pardon in the court of heaven when he has it not in the court 
of conscience. David's sin was forgiven soon as he repented. God 
sent Nathan the prophet to tell him so. 2 Sam 12: 13. But David did 
not feel the comfort of it at once, as appears by the penitential 
Psalm composed afterwards. 'Make me to hear joy;' and 'Cast me not 
away from thy presence.' Psa 51: 8, 2: It is one thing to be 
pardoned and another to feel it. The evidence of pardon may hot 
appear for a time, and this may be: 
    (1) From the imbecility and weakness of faith. Forgiveness of 
sin is so strange and infinite a blessing that a Christian can 
hardly persuade himself that God will extend such a favour to him. 
As it is said of the apostles when Christ first appeared to them, 
'They believed not for joy, and wondered,' (Luke 24: 41), so the 
soul may be so stricken with admiration that the wonder of pardon 
staggers its faith. 
    (2) A man may be pardoned and not know it from the strength of 
temptation. Satan accuses the godly of sin, and tells them that God 
does not love them; and should such sinners think of pardon? 
Believers are compared to bruised reeds; and temptations to winds. 
Matt 12: 20; chap 7: 25. Now, a reed is easily shaken with the wind. 
Temptations shake the godly; and though they are pardoned, yet they 
know it not. Job in a temptation thought God his enemy, and yet he 
was then in a pardoned condition. Job 16: 9. 
    Why does God sometimes conceal the evidence of pardon? 
    Though he pardons, he may withhold the sense of it for a time: 
(1) Because he would lay us lower in contrition. He would have us 
see what an evil and bitter thing it is to offend him. Therefore we 
must lie longer in the briny tears of repentance before we have the 
sense of pardon. It was long before David's broken bones were set 
and his pardon sealed, that his heart might be more contrite; and 
this was a sacrifice which God delighted in. (2) Though God has 
forgiven sin, he may deny the manifestation of it for a time, to 
make us prize pardon and make it sweeter to us when it comes. The 
difficulty of obtaining a mercy enhances its value. When we have 
been a long time tugging at prayer for a pardon of sin, and still 
God withholds, but at last, after many sighs and tears, it comes, we 
esteem it the more, and it is sweeter. Quo longius defertur eo 
suavius laetatur [The longer the delay, the sweeter the rejoicing]. 
The longer mercy is in the birth the more welcome will the 
deliverance be. 
    Let us not be content however without the evidence and sense of 
pardon. He who is pardoned and knows it not, is like one who has an 
estate bequeathed to him, but knows it not. Our comfort consists in 
the knowledge of forgiveness. 'Make me to hear joy.' Psa 51: 8. 
There is a jubilee in the soul when we are able to read our pardon. 
To the witness of conscience God adds the witness of his Spirit; and 
in the mouth of these two witnesses our joy is confirmed. O labour 
for the evidence of forgiveness! 
    How shall we know that our sins are forgiven? 
    We must not be our own judges in this case. 'He that trusteth 
in his own heart is a fool.' Prov 28: 26. 'The heart is deceitful.' 
Jer 17: 9. It is folly to trust a deceiver. The Lord only by his 
word must judge whether we are pardoned or not. As under the law no 
leper might judge himself to be clean, but the priest was to 
pronounce him clean, (Lev 13: 37); so we are not to judge ourselves 
to be clean from the guilt of sin till we are such as the word of 
God pronounces to be clean. 
    How shall we know by the word that our sins are pardoned? 
    (1) The pardoned sinner is a great weeper. The sense of God's 
love melts his heart. That free grace should ever look upon me; that 
such crimson sins should be washed away in Christ's blood, makes the 
heart melt and the eyes drop with tears; never did any man read his 
pardon with dry eyes. 'She stood at his feet weeping.' Luke 7: 38. 
Mary's tears were more precious to Christ than her ointment; her 
eyes, which before sparkled with lust, now became a fountain, and 
washed Christ's feet with her tears. She was a true penitent, and 
had her pardon. 'Wherefore, I say, her sins, which are many, are 
forgiven;' ver 47. A pardon will make the hardest heart relent and 
cause the stony heart to bleed. Is it thus with us? Have we been 
dissolved into tears for sin? God seals his pardons upon melting 
    (2) We may know our sins are forgiven by having the grace of 
faith. 'To him give all the prophets witness, that whosoever 
believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.' Acts 10: 43. In 
saving faith there are two things - renunciation and recumbency: [1] 
Renunciation. A man renounces all opinion of himself; is digged out 
of his own burrow, and he is quite taken off from himself. Phil 3: 
9. He sees all his duties are but broken reeds; though he could weep 
a sea of tears; though he had all the grace of men and angels, it 
could not purchase his pardon. [2] Recumbency. Faith is an assent 
with affiance. The soul gets hold of Christ as Adonijah did of the 
horns of the altar. I Kings 1: 51. Faith casts itself into the 
stream of Christ's blood, and says, If I perish, I perish. If we 
have but the minimum quod sic, the least drachm of this precious 
faith, we have something to show for pardon. This faith is 
acceptable to God, it pleases him more than offering up ten thousand 
rivers of oil, than working miracles, than martyrdom, or the highest 
acts of obedience. This faith is profitable to us; it is our best 
certificate to show for pardon. No sooner does faith reach forth its 
hand to receive Christ, than Christ sets his hand to our pardon. 
    (3) The pardoned soul is an admirer of God. 'Who is a God like 
unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity?' Mic 7: 18. Oh, that God should 
ever look upon me! I was a sinner, and nothing but a sinner, yet I 
obtained mercy! 'Who is a God like unto thee?' Mercy has been 
despised, and yet that mercy saves me. Christ has been crucified by 
me, yet his cross crowns me. God has displayed the ensigns of free 
grace, he has set up his mercy above my sin, nay, in spite of it. 
This causes admiration. 'Who is a God like thee?' A man that goes 
over a narrow bridge in the night, and next morning sees the danger 
he was in, how miraculously he escaped, is filled with admiration; 
so when God shows a man how near he was falling into hell, how that 
gulf is passed, and all his sins are pardoned, he is amazed, and 
cries out, 'Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity?' 
That God should pardon one and pass by another - one should be taken 
and another left - fills the soul with wonder and astonishment. 
    (4) Wherever God pardons sin, he subdues it. 'He will have 
compassion on us, he will subdue our iniquities.' Mic 7: 19. Where 
men's persons are justified, their lusts are mortified. There is in 
sin vis imperatoria et damnatoria, a commanding and a condemning 
power. The condemning power of sin is taken away when the commanding 
power of it is taken away. We know our sins are forgiven when they 
are subdued. If a malefactor be in prison, how shall he know that 
his prince has pardoned him? If the jailor come and knock off his 
chains and fetters, and lets him out of prison, then he knows he is 
pardoned: so we know God has pardoned us when the fetters of sin are 
broken off, and we walk at liberty in the ways of God. 'I will walk 
at liberty;' this is a blessed sign that we are pardoned. Psa 119: 
45. Such as are washed in Christ's blood from guilt, are made kings 
to God. Rev 1: 6. As kings they rule over their sins. 
    (5) He whose sins are forgiven is full of love to God. Mary 
Magdalene's heart was fired with love. 'Her sins, which are many, 
are forgiven; for she loved much.' Luke 7: 47. Her love was not the 
cause of her remission, but a sign of it. A pardoned soul is a 
monument of mercy, and he thinks he can never love God enough: he 
wishes he had a coal from God's altar to inflame his heart in love, 
he wishes he could borrow the wings of the cherubims that he might 
fly swifter in obedience; a pardoned soul is sick of love. He whose 
heart is like marble, locked up in impenitence, that does not melt 
in love, gives evidence that his pardon is yet unsealed. 
    (6) Where sin is pardoned, the nature is purified. 'I will heal 
their backslidings, I will love them.' Hos 14: 4. Every man, by 
nature, is both guilty and diseased. When God remits the guilt, he 
cures the disease. 'Who forgiveth all shine iniquities, who healeth 
all thy diseases.' Psa 103: 3. Herein God's pardon goes beyond the 
king's pardon; the king may forgive a malefactor, but he cannot 
change his heart, which may be a thievish heart still; but when God 
pardons, he changes the heart. 'A new heart also will I give you.' 
Ezek 36: 26. A pardoned soul is adorned and embellished with 
holiness. 'This is he that came by water and blood.' I John 5: 6. 
When Christ comes with blood to justify, he comes with water to 
cleanse. 'I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will 
clothe thee with change of raiment.' Zech 3: 4. I will cause thy 
iniquity to pass from thee, there is pardoning grace; and I will 
clothe thee with change of raiment, there is sanctifying grace. Let 
no one say, he has pardon who has not grace. Many tell us they hope 
they are pardoned, who were never sanctified. They believe in 
Christ; but what faith is it? A swearing faith, a whoring faith: the 
faith of devils is as good. 
    (7) Such as are in the number of God's people have forgiveness 
of sin. 'Comfort ye my people, cry unto her that her iniquity is 
pardoned.' Isa 40: 1, 2. 
    How shall we know that we are God's elect people? 
    By three characters. 
    God's people are a humble people. The livery which all Christ's 
people wear is humility. 'Be clothed with humility.' I Pet 5: 5. A 
sight of God's glory humbles. Elijah wrapped his face in a mantle 
when God's glory passed by. 'Now mine eye seeth thee, wherefore I 
abhor myself.' Job 13: 5, 6. The stars vanish when the sun appears. 
A sight of sin humbles. In the glass of the word the godly see their 
spots, and they are humbling spots. Lo, says the soul, I can call 
nothing my own but sins and wants. A humble sinner is in a better 
condition than a proud angel. 
    God's people are a willing people. 'A people of willingness;' 
love constrains them; they serve God freely, and out of choice. Psa 
110: 3. They stick at no service; they will run through a sea, and a 
wilderness; they will follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. 
    God's people are a heavenly people. 'They are not of the 
world.' John 17: I6. As the primum mobile in the heavens has a 
motion of its own, contrary to the other orbs, so God's people have 
a heavenly motion of the soul, contrary to the men of the world. 
They use the world as their servant, but do not follow the world as 
their master. 'Our conversation is in heaven.' Phil 3: 20. Such as 
have these three characters of God's people, have a good certificate 
to show that they are pardoned. Forgiveness of sin belongs to them. 
'Comfort ye my people,' tell them their iniquity is forgiven. 
    (8) We are pardoned, if, after many storms, we have a sweet 
calm and peace within. 'Being justified we have peace.' Rom 5: 1. 
After many a bitter tear shed, and heart-breaking, the mind has been 
more sedate, and a sweet serenity or still music has followed; which 
brings the tidings that God is appeased. Before conscience accused, 
now it secretly whispers comforts, which is a blessed evidence that 
a man's sins are pardoned. If the bailiffs do not trouble and arrest 
the debtor, it is a sign his debt is compounded or forgiven; so if 
conscience does not vex or accuse, but upon good grounds whispers 
consolation, it is a sign that the debt is discharged, and the sin 
is forgiven. 
    (9) Sin is forgiven when we have hearts without guile. 'Blessed 
is he whose transgression is forgiven, unto whom the Lord imputeth 
not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.' Psa 32: 1, 2. 
    What is it to be without guile? 
    He who is without guile has plainness of heart. He is without 
collusion, he has not cor duplex, a double heart; his heart is right 
with God. A man may do a right action, but not with a right heart. 
'Amaziah did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, but not 
with a perfect heart.' 2 Chron 25: 2. To have the heart right with 
God, is to serve him from a right principle, which is love; by a 
right rule, the word; to a right end, the glory of God. 
    A heart without guile dares not allow itself in the least sin; 
it avoids secret sins. The man dares not hide any sin, as Rachel did 
her father's images, under her. Gen 31: 34. He knows God sees him, 
which is more than if men and angels beheld him. He avoids besetting 
sins. 'I was also upright before him, and I kept myself from mine 
iniquity.' Psa 18: 23. As in the hive there is a master-bee, so in 
the heart there is a master-sin. A heart without guile takes the 
sacrificing knife of mortification, and runs it through its beloved 
    A heart without guile desires to know the whole mind and will 
of God. An unsound heart is afraid of the light, it is not willing 
to know its duty. A sincere soul says (as Job 34: 32), 'That which I 
see not, teach thou me:' Lord, show me what is my duty, and wherein 
I offend; let me not sin for want of light; what I know not, teach 
thou me. 
    A heart without guile is uniform in religion. The man has an 
equal eye to all God's commands. He makes conscience of private 
duties; he worships God in his closet as well as in the temple. When 
Jacob was alone, he wrestled with the angel. Gen 32: 23, 24. So a 
Christian, when alone, wrestles with God in prayer, and will not let 
him go till he has blessed him. He performs difficult duties, 
wherein the heart and spirit of religion lie, and which cross flesh 
and blood; he is much in self-humbling and self-examining. Utitur 
speculis magis quam perspecillis. Seneca. He rather uses the looking 
glass of the word to look into his own heart, than the broad 
spectacles of censure to spy the faults of others. 
    He who has a heart without guile is true to God's interest. He 
grieves to see it go ill with the church. Nehemiah, though the 
king's cupbearer, and wine so near, was sad when Zion's glory was 
eclipsed. Neh 2: 3. Like the tree of which I have read, if any of 
the leaves of which are cut, the rest shrink up of themselves, and 
for a time hang down; so when God's church suffers, a sincere soul 
feels himself touched in his own person. He rejoices to see the 
cause of God get ground; to see truth triumph, piety lift up her 
head, and the flowers of Christ's crown flourish. This is a heart 
without guile, it is loyal and true to God's interest. 
    He who has a heart without guile is just in his dealings. As he 
is upright in his words, so he is in his weights. He makes 
conscience of the second table as well as the first; he is for 
equity as well as piety. 'That no man go beyond and defraud his 
brother in any matter.' I Thess 4: 6. A sincere person thinks he may 
as well rob as defraud; his rule is to do to others what he would 
have them do to him. Matt 7: 12. 
    He who has a heart without guile is true in his promises; his 
word is as good as his bond. If he has made a promise, though it be 
to his prejudice, and entrenches upon his profit, he will not go 
back. The hypocrite plays fast and loose, flees from his word; there 
is no more binding him with oaths and promises, than Samson could be 
bound with green withs. Judges 16: 7. A sincere soul saith as 
Jephthah, 'I have opened my mouth unto the Lord, and I cannot go 
back.' Judges 11: 35. 
    He who has a heart without guile is faithful in his friendship; 
he is what he pretends; his heart goes along with his tongue, as a 
well-made dial goes with the sun. He cannot flatter and hate, 
commend and censure. Counterfeiting of love is hypocrisy. It is too 
usual to betray with a kiss. Joab took Abner by the beard to kiss 
him, and smote him in the fifth rib that he died. 2 Sam 20: 9, 10. 
Many deceive with sugar words. Physicians judge of the health of the 
body by the tongue; if that look well, the body is in health; but we 
cannot judge of friendship by the tongue. The words may be full of 
honey, when the heart has the gall of malice. His heart is not true 
to God who is treacherous to his friend. Thus you see what a heart 
without guile is; and that to have such a heart is a sign that sin 
is pardoned. God will not impute sin to him 'in whose spirit there 
is no guile.' What a blessed thing is it not to have sin imputed! If 
our sins be not imputed, it is as if we had no sin; sins remitted 
are as if they had not been committed. This blessing belongs to a 
sincere soul. God imputes not iniquity to him in whose spirit is no 
    (10) He whose sins are forgiven is willing to forgive others 
who have offended him. 'Forgiving one another, even as God for 
Christ's sake has forgiven you.' Eph 4: 32. A hypocrite will read, 
come to church, give alms, build hospitals, but cannot forgive 
wrongs; he will rather want forgiveness from God than he will 
forgive his enemies. A pardoned soul argues thus: 'Has God been so 
good to me to forgive me my sins, and shall I not imitate him in 
this? Has he forgiven me pounds, and shall I not forgive pence?' It 
is noted of Cranmer, nihil oblivisci solet praeter injurias. Cicero. 
He was of a forgiving spirit, and would do offices of love to all 
who had injured him; like the sun, which having drawn up black 
vapours from the earth, returns them back in sweet showers. 
    By this touchstone we may try whether our sins are pardoned. We 
need not climb up to heaven to see whether our sins are forgiven, 
but only look into our hearts. Are we of forgiving spirits? Can we 
bury injuries, requite good for evil? This would be a good sign that 
we are forgiven of God. If we can find all these things wrought in 
our souls, they are happy signs that our sins are pardoned, and are 
good letters testimonial to show for heaven. 
    Use 4. For consolation. I shall open a box of cordials, and 
show you some of the glorious privileges of a pardoned condition. 
This is a peculiar favour, it is a spring shut up, and unsealed for 
none but the elect. The wicked may have forbearing mercy, but an 
elect person only has forgiving mercy. Forgiveness of sin makes way 
for solid joy. 'Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. 
Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem;' or, as in the Hebrew, 'speak to 
her heart.' Isa 40: 1, 2. What was to cheer her heart? 'Cry unto 
her, that her iniquity is pardoned.' If anything would comfort her 
the Lord knew it was this. When Christ would cheer the palsied man, 
he said, 'Son, be of good cheer, thy sins be forgiven thee.' Matt 9: 
2. It was a greater comfort to have his sins forgiven than to have 
his palsy healed. This made David put on his best clothes, and 
anoint himself 2 Sam 12: 20. His child was newly dead, and God had 
told him 'the sword shall never depart from thine house;' yet now he 
spruces up himself, puts on his best clothes, and anoints himself, 
whence was this? He had heard good news, God sent him pardon by 
Nathan the prophet. 'The Lord has put away thy sin.' 2 Sam 12: 13. 
This could not but revive his heart, and, in token of joy, he 
anointed himself. Philo says, it was an opinion of some of the 
philosophers, that among the heavenly spheres there was such sweet 
harmony, that if the sound of it could reach our ears it would 
affect us with wonder and delight. Surely he who is pardoned has 
such a divine melody in his soul as replenishes him with infinite 
delight. When Christ said to Mary Magdalene, 'Thy sins are 
forgiven,' he soon added, 'go in peace.' Luke 7: 50. More 
    (1) God looks upon a pardoned soul as if he had never sinned. 
As cancelling a bond nulls the bond, and makes it as if the money 
had never been owing, so forgiving sin makes it not to be. Where sin 
is remitted, it is as if it had not been committed. So that, as 
Rachel wept because her children were not, so a child of God may 
rejoice because his sins are not. Jer 50: 20. God looks upon him as 
if he had never offended. Though sin remain in him after pardon, yet 
God does not look upon him as a sinner, but as a just man. 
    (2) God having pardoned sin, will pass an act of oblivion. 'I 
will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.' 
Jer 31: 34. When a creditor has crossed the book, he does not call 
for the debt again. God will not reckon with the sinner in a 
judicial way. When our sins are laid upon the head of Christ, our 
scapegoat, they are carried into a land of forgetfulness. 
    (3) The pardoned soul is for ever secured from the wrath of 
God. How terrible is God's wrath! 'Who knoweth the power of thine 
anger?' Psa 90: 11. If a spark of God's wrath lighting upon a man's 
conscience fills it with horror, what is it to be always scorched in 
that torrid zone, to lie upon beds of flames! Now, from this 
avenging wrath of God every pardoned soul is freed. Though he may 
taste the bitter cup of affliction, he shall never drink of the sea 
of God's wrath. 'Being justified by his blood, we shall be saved 
from wrath through him.' Rom 5: 9. His blood quenches the flames of 
    (4) Sin being pardoned, conscience has no more authority to 
accuse. Conscience roars against the unpardoned sinner, but it 
cannot terrify or accuse him that is pardoned. God has discharged 
the sinner, and if the creditor discharge the debtor, what right has 
the sergeant to arrest him? The truth is, if God absolves, 
conscience if rightly informed, absolves; if once God says, 'Thy 
sins are pardoned,' conscience says, 'Go in peace.' If the sky be 
clear, and no storms blow there, the sea is calm; so, if all be 
clear above, and God shines with pardoning mercy upon the soul, 
conscience is calm and serene. 
    (5) Nothing that befalls a pardoned soul shall hurt him. 'There 
shall no evil befall thee:' that is, no destructive evil. Psa 91: 
10. Everything to a wicked man is hurtful. Good things are for his 
hurt. His very blessings are turned into a curse. 'I will curse your 
blessings.' Mal 2: 2. Riches and prosperity do him hurt. They are 
not munera [favours], but insidiae [snares]. Seneca. 'Gold snares.' 
'Riches kept for the owners thereof to their hurt.' Eccl 5: 13. Like 
Haman's banquet, which ushered in his funeral. Ordinances do a 
sinner hurt; they are a 'savour of death.' 2 Cor 2: 16. Cordials 
themselves kill. The best things hurt the wicked, but the worst 
things which befall a pardoned soul shall do him no hurt. The sting, 
the poison, the curse is gone. His soul is no more hurt, than David 
hurt Saul, when he cut off the lap of his garment. 
    (6) To a pardoned soul, everything has a commission to do him 
good. Afflictions do him good; poverty, reproach, persecution. 'Ye 
thought evil against me, but God meant it unto good.' Gen 50: 20. As 
the elements, though of contrary qualities, are so tempered that 
they work for the good of the universe, so the most cross 
providences work for good to a pardoned soul. Correction as a 
corrosive eats out sin; it cures the swelling of pride, the fever of 
lust, and the dropsy of avarice. It is a refining fire to purify 
grace, and make it sparkle as gold. Every cross providence, to a 
pardoned soul, is like Paul's Euroclydon or cross wind, which, 
though it broke the ship, yet Paul was brought to shore upon the 
broken pieces. Acts 27. 
    (7) A pardoned soul is not only exempted from wrath, but 
invested with dignity; as Joseph was not only freed from prison, but 
advanced to be second man in the kingdom. 
    (8) A pardoned soul is made a favourite of heaven. A king may 
pardon a traitor, but will not make him one of his privy council; 
but whom God pardons, he receives into favour. I may say to him as 
the angel to the virgin Mary, 'Thou hast found favour with God.' 
Luke 1: 30. Hence, such as are forgiven, are said to be crowned with 
lovingkindness. Psa 103: 3, 4. Whom God pardons he crowns. Whom God 
absolves, he marries to himself. 'I am merciful, and I will not keep 
anger for ever;' Jer 3: 12; there is forgiveness; and in the 
fourteenth verse, 'I am married to you;' and he who is matched into 
the crown of heaven, is as rich as the angels, as rich as heaven can 
make him. 
    (9) Sin being pardoned, we may come with humble boldness to God 
in prayer. Guilt makes us afraid to go to God. Adam having sinned, 
'was afraid, and hid' himself. Gen 3: 10. Guilt clips the wings of 
prayer, it fills the face with blushing; but forgiveness breeds 
confidence. We may look upon God as a Father of mercy, holding forth 
a golden sceptre. He that has got his pardon, can look upon his 
prince with comfort. 

The Lord's Prayer
by Thomas Watson
(continued in file 22...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-09: watlp-21.txt