The Lord's Prayer
by Thomas Watson
File 23
(... continued from file 22)

The Sixth Petition in the Lord's Prayer 
'And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.' Matt 6: 
    This petition consists of two parts. First, Deprecatory, 'Lead 
us not into temptation.' Secondly, Petitionary, 'But deliver us from 
    I. 'Lead us not into temptation.' Does God lead into 
temptation? God tempts no man to sin. 'Let no man say when he is 
tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, 
neither tempteth he any man.' James 1: 13. He permits sin, but does 
not promote it. He who is an encourager of holiness cannot be a 
pattern of sin. God does not tempt to that to which he has an 
antipathy. What king will tempt his subjects to break laws which he 
himself has established? 
    But is it not said, God tempted Abraham? Gen 22: 1. 
    Tempting there was no more than trying. He tried Abraham's 
faith, as a goldsmith tries gold in the fire; but there is a great 
deal of difference between trying his people's grace and exciting 
their corruption; he tries their grace, but does not excite their 
corruption. Man's sin cannot be justly fathered on God. God tempts 
no man. 
    What then is the meaning of 'Lead us not into temptation'? 
    The meaning is, that God would not suffer us to be overcome by 
temptation; that we may not be given up to the power of temptation, 
and be drawn into sin. 
    Whence do temptations come? 
    (1) Ab intra [From within], from ourselves. The heart is fomes 
peccati [the kindling of sin], the breeder of all evil. Our own 
hearts are the greatest tempters: quisque sibi Satan est [everyone 
is Satan to himself]. 'Every man is tempted when he is drawn away of 
his own lust.' The heart is a perfect decoy. James 1: 14. 
    (a) Temptations come ab extra [from without], from Satan. He is 
called the Tempter. Matt 4: 3. He lies in ambush to do us mischief: 
stat in procinctu diabolus [the devil stands girded for battle], the 
devil lays a train of temptation to blow up the fort of our grace. 
He is not yet fully cast into prison, but is like a prisoner under 
bail. The world is his diocese, where he is sure to be found, 
whatever we are doing - reading, praying, or meditating. We find him 
within, but how he came there we know not; we are sure of his 
company, though uncertain how we came by it. A saint's whole life, 
says Augustine, is temptation. Elias, who could shut heaven by 
prayer, could not shut his heart from temptation. This is a great 
molestation to a child of God; as it is a trouble to a virgin to 
have her chastity daily assaulted. The more we are tempted to evil, 
the more we are hindered from good. We are in great danger of the 
'Prince of the air;' and we need often pray, 'Lead us not into 
temptation.' That we may see in what danger we are from Satan's 
    Consider, [1] His malice in tempting. This hellish serpent is 
swelled with the poison of malice. Satan envies man's happiness. To 
see a clod of dust so near to God, and himself, once a glorious 
angel, cast out of the heavenly paradise, makes him pursue mankind 
with inveterate hatred. 'The devil is come down unto you, having 
great wrath.' Rev 12: I2. If there be anything this infernal spirit 
can delight in, it is to ruin souls, and to bring them into the same 
condemnation with himself. This malice of Satan in tempting must 
needs be great, if we consider three things: 
    (1) That Satan, though full of torment, should tempt others. 
One would think that he would scarcely have a thought but of his own 
misery; and yet such is his rage and malice that, while God is 
punishing him, he is tempting others. 
    (2) His malice is great, because he will tempt where he knows 
he cannot prevail; he will put forth his sting, though he cannot 
hurt. He tempted Christ. 'If thou be the Son of God.' Matt 4: 3. He 
knew well enough Christ was God as well as man, yet he would tempt 
him. Such was his malice against him that he would put an affront on 
him, though he knew he should be conquered by him. He tempts the 
elect to blasphemy; he knows he cannot prevail against them; and yet 
such is his malice, that though he cannot storm the garrison of 
their hearts, yet he will plant his pieces of ordnance against them. 
    (3) His malice is great, because though knowing his tempting 
men to sin will increase his own torment in hell, he will not leave 
it off. Every temptation makes his chain heavier and his fire 
hotter, and yet he will tempt. Therefore being such a malicious 
revengeful spirit, we need pray that God will not suffer him to 
prevail by his temptation. 'Lead us not into temptation.' 
    [2] Consider Satan's diligence in tempting. He 'walketh about.' 
I Pet 5: 8. He neglects no time; he who would have us idle is 
himself always busy. This lion is ever hunting after his prey, he 
compasses sea and land to make a proselyte; he walks about - he 
walks not as a pilgrim, but a spy; he watches where he may throw in 
the fireball of temptation. He is a restless spirit; if we repulse 
him, he will not desist, but come again with a temptation. Like 
Marcellus, a Roman captain Hannibal speaks of, whether he conquered 
or was conquered, was never quiet. More particularly, Satan's 
diligence in tempting is seen in this: 
    (1) If he gets the least advantage by temptation, he pursues it 
to the utmost. If his motion to sin begins to take, he follows it 
close and presses to the act of sin. When he tempted Judas to betray 
Christ, and found him inclinable, and beginning to bite at the bait 
of thirty pieces of silver, he hurried hum on, and never left him 
till he had betrayed his Lord and Master. When he tempted Spira to 
renounce his religion, and saw him begin to yield, he followed the 
temptation close, and never left off till he had made him go to the 
legate at Venice, and there abjure his faith in Christ. 
    (2) Satan's diligence in tempting is seen in the variety of 
temptations he uses. He does not confine himself to one sort of 
temptation, he has more plots than one. If he finds one temptation 
does not prevail, he will have another; if he cannot tempt to lust, 
he will tempt to pride; if temptation to covetousness does not 
prevail, he will tempt to profuseness; if he cannot frighten men to 
despair, he will see if he cannot draw them to presumption; if he 
cannot make them profane, he will see if he cannot make them 
formalists; if he cannot make them vicious, he will tempt them to be 
erroneous. He will tempt them to leave off ordinances; he will 
pretend revelations. Error damns as well as vice: the one pistols, 
the other poisons. Thus Satan's diligence in tempting is great: he 
will turn every stone; he has several tools to work with; if one 
temptation will not do he will make use of another. Had we not need 
then to pray, 'Lead us not into temptation'? 
    [3] Consider Satan's power in tempting. He is called 'the 
prince of this world' (John 14: 30), and the 'strong man' (Luke 11: 
21), and the 'great red dragon,' who with his tail cast down the 
third part of the stars. Rev 12: 3, 4. He is full of power, being an 
angel; though he has lost his holiness, yet not his strength. His 
power in tempting is seen several ways: (1) As a spirit he can 
convey himself into the fancy, and poison it with bad thoughts. As 
the Holy Ghost casts in good motions, so the devil does bad. He put 
it into Judas's heart to betray Christ. John 13: 2. (2) Though Satan 
cannot compel the will, he can present pleasing objects to the 
senses, which have great force in them. He set a 'wedge of gold' 
before Achan, and so enticed him with that golden bait. (3) He can 
excite and stir up the corruption within, and work some 
inclinableness in the heart to embrace the temptation. Thus he 
stirred up corruption in David's heart, and provoked him to number 
the people. I Chron 21: 1. He can blow a spark of lust into a flame. 
(4) Being a spirit, he can convey his temptations into our minds, so 
that we cannot easily discern whether they come from him or from 
ourselves. One bird may hatch the egg of another, thinking it to be 
her own: so we often hatch the devil's motions, thinking they come 
from our own hearts. When Peter dissuaded Christ from suffering, he 
thought it came from the good affection which he bore to his Master, 
little thinking that Satan had a hand in it. Matt 16: 22. Now, if 
the devil has such power to instil his temptations, that we hardly 
know whether they are his or ours, we are in great danger, and had 
need pray not to be led into temptation. Here, some are desirous to 
move the question: 
    How shall we perceive when a motion comes from our own hearts, 
arid when from Satan? 
    It is hard, as Bernard says, to distinguish inter morsum 
serpentis et morbum mentis [between the bite of the serpent and the 
disease of the mind], between those suggestions which come from 
Satan, and which breed out of our own hearts. But I conceive there 
is this threefold difference: 
    First, such motions to evil as come from our own hearts spring 
up more leisurely, and by degrees. Sin is long concocted in the 
thoughts, ere consent be given; but usually we may know a motion 
comes from Satan by its suddenness. Temptation is compared to a 
dart, because it is shot suddenly. Eph 6: 16. David's numbering the 
people was a motion which the devil injected suddenly. 
    Secondly, the motions to evil which come from our own hearts 
are not so terrible. Few are frightened at the sight of their own 
children; but motions coming from Satan are more ghastly and 
frightful, as motions to blasphemy and self-murder. Hence it is that 
temptations are compared to fiery darts, because, as flashes of 
fire, they startle and affright the soul. Eph 6: 16. 
    Thirdly, when evil thoughts are thrown into the mind, when we 
loathe and have reluctance to them; when we strive against them, and 
flee from them, as Moses did from the serpent, it shows they are not 
the natural birth of our own heart, but the hand of Joab is in this. 
2 Sam 14: 19. Satan has injected these impure motions. 
    (5) Satan's power in tempting appears by the long experience he 
has acquired in the art; he has been a tempter well nigh as long as 
he has been an angel. Who are fitter for action than men of 
experience? Who is fitter to steer a ship than an old, experienced 
pilot? Satan has gained much experience by being so long versed in 
the trade of tempting. Having such experience, he knows what are the 
temptations which have foiled others, and are most likely to 
prevail; as the bowler lays those snares which have caught other 
birds. Satan having such power in tempting, increases our danger, 
and we had need pray, 'Lead us not into temptation. 
    [4] Consider Satan's subtlety in tempting. The Greek word to 
tempt, signifies to deceive. Satan, in tempting, uses many subtle 
policies to deceive. We read of the depths of Satan (Rev 2: 24), of 
his devices and stratagems (2 Cor 2: 11), of his snares and darts. 
He is called a lion for his cruelty, and an old serpent for his 
subtlety. He has several sorts of subtlety in tempting. 
    1st subtlety. He observes the natural temper and constitution. 
Omnium discutit mores [He attacks the character of all]. He does not 
know the hearts of men, but he may feel their pulse, know their 
temper, and can apply himself accordingly. As the husbandman knows 
what seed is proper to sow in such a soil, so Satan, finding out the 
temper, knows what temptations are proper to sow in such a heart. 
The same way the tide of a man's constitution runs, the wind of 
temptation blows. Satan tempts the ambitious man with a crown, the 
sanguine man with beauty, the covetous man with a wedge of gold. He 
provides savoury meat, such as the sinner loves. 
    2nd subtlety. He chooses the fittest season to tempt in. As a 
cunning angler casts in his angle when the fish will bite best, so 
the devil can hit the very joint of time when temptation is 
likeliest to prevail. There are several seasons he tempts in. 
    1st season. He tempts us in our first initiation and entrance 
into religion, when we have newly given up our names to Christ. He 
will never disturb his vassals; but when we have broken his prison 
in conversion, he will pursue us with violent temptations. Solet 
inter primordia conversionis acrius insurgere [He is wont to attack 
more sharply at the first signs of conversion]. Bernard. When Israel 
were got a little out of Egypt, Pharaoh pursued them. Soon as Christ 
was born, Herod sent to destroy him so when the child of grace is 
newly born, the devil labours to strangle it with temptation. When 
the first buddings and blossoms of grace begin to appear, the devil 
would nip the tender buds with the sharp blasts of temptation. At 
first conversion, grace is so weak, and temptation so strong, that 
one wonders how the young convert escapes with his life. Satan has a 
spite against the new creature. 
    2nd season. The devil tempts when he finds us unemployed. We do 
not sow seed in fallow ground; but Satan sows most of his seed in a 
person that lies fallow. When the fowler sees a bird sit still and 
perch upon the tree, he shoots it; so when Satan observes us sitting 
still, he shoots his fiery darts of temptation at us. 'While men 
slept, his enemy sowed tares;' so, while men sleep in sloth, Satan 
sows his tares. Matt 13: 25. When David was walking on the housetop 
unemployed, the devil set a tempting object before him, and it 
prevailed. 2 Sam 11: 2, 3. 
    3rd season. When a person is reduced to outward wants and 
straits, the devil tempts him. When Christ has fasted forty days, 
and is hungry, the devil comes and tempts him with the glory of the 
world. Matt 4: 8. When provisions grow short, Satan sets in with a 
temptation; What, wilt thou starve rather than steal? reach forth 
thy hand, and pluck the forbidden fruit. How often does this 
temptation prevail? How many do we see, who, instead of living by 
faith, live by their shifts, and will steal the venison, Though they 
lose the blessing. 
    4th season. Satan tempts after an ordinance. When we have been 
hearing the word, or at prayer, or sacrament, Satan casts in the 
angle of temptation. When Christ had been fasting and praying, then 
came the tempter. Matt 4: 2, 3. 
    Why does Satan choose time after an ordinance to tempt? We 
should think it to be the most disadvantageous time, when the soul 
is raised to a heavenly frame! 
    (1) Malice puts Satan upon it. The ordinances, which cause 
fervour in a saint, cause fury in Satan. He knows in every duty we 
have a design against him; in every prayer we put up a suit in 
heaven against him; in the Lord's Supper, we take an oath to fight 
under Christ's banner against him; therefore he is more enraged, and 
lays his snares and shoots his darts against us. 
    (2) Satan tempts after an ordinance, because he thinks he will 
find us more secure. After we have been at the solemn worship of 
God, we are apt to grow remiss, and leave off former strictness; 
like a soldier, who, after the bathe, leaves off his armour. Satan 
watches his time. He does as David did to the Amalekites, who, when 
they had taken the spoil, and were secure, and they did eat and 
drink, and dance, fell upon them, and smote them. I Sam 30: 17. When 
we grow remiss after an ordinance, and indulge ourselves too much in 
carnal delights, Satan falls upon us by temptation, and often foils 
us. After a full meal, men are apt to grow drowsy; so, after we have 
had a full meal at an ordinance, we are apt to slumber and grow 
secure, and then Satan shoots his arrow of temptation, and hits us 
between the joints of our armour. 
    5th season. Satan tempts after some discoveries of God's love. 
Like a pirate who sets on a ship that is richly laden, when a soul 
has been laden with spiritual comforts, the devil shoots at him to 
rob him of all. He envies a soul feasted with spiritual joy. 
Joseph's party-coloured coat made his brethren envy him and plot 
against him. After David had the good news of the pardon of his sin, 
which must needs fill him with consolation, Satan tempted him to a 
new sin in numbering the people; and so all his comfort leaked out 
and was spilt. 
    6th season. Satan tempts when he sees us weakest. He breaks 
over the hedge where it is lowest; as the sons of Jacob came upon 
the Shechemites when they were sore, and could make no resistance. 
Gen 34: 25. On two occasions Satan comes upon us in our weakness: 
(1) When we are alone; as he came to Eve when her husband was away, 
and she the less able to resist his temptation. He has the policy to 
give his poison privately, when no one is by to discover the 
treachery. Like a cunning suitor who wooes the daughter when the 
parents are from home; when alone and none near, the devil comes 
wooing with a temptation, and hopes to have the match struck up. (2) 
When the hour of death approaches. As the crows peck at the poor 
sheep, when sick and weak, and can hardly help itself, so, when a 
saint is weak on his deathbed, the devil pecks at him with a 
temptation. He reserves his most furious assaults till the last. The 
people of Israel were never so fiercely assaulted as when they were 
going to take possession of the promised land; then all the kings of 
Canaan combined their forces against them; so, when the saints are 
leaving the world and going to set their foot on the heavenly 
Canaan, Satan sets upon them by temptation; he tells them they are 
hypocrites, and all their evidences are counterfeit. Like a coward, 
he strikes the saints when they are down; when death is striking at 
the body, he is striking at the soul. 
    3rd subtlety. Satan, in tempting, baits his hook with religion. 
He can hang out Christ's colours and tempt to sin under pretences of 
piety. Sometimes he is the white devil, and transforms himself into 
an angel of light. Celsus wrote a book full of error, and he 
entitled it, Liber Veritatis, The Book of Truth. So Satan can write 
the title of religion upon his worst temptation. He comes to Christ 
with Scripture in his mouth, 'It is written,' &c. So he comes to 
many and tempts them to sin, under the pretence of religion. He 
tempts to evil, that good may come of it; he tempts men to such 
unwarrantable actions, that they may be put into a capacity of 
honouring God the more. He tempts them to accept of preferment 
against conscience that they may be in a condition of doing more 
good. He put Herod upon killing John the Baptist, that he might be 
kept from the violation of his oath. He tempts many to oppression 
and extortion, telling them they are bound to provide for their 
families. He tempts many to make away with themselves, that they may 
live no longer to sin against God. Thus he wraps his poisonous pills 
in sugar. Who would suspect him when he comes as a divine, and 
quotes Scripture? 
    4th subtlety. Satan tempts to sin gradually. The old serpent 
winds himself in by degrees: he tempts first to less sins, that so 
he may bring on greater. A small offence may occasion a great crime; 
as a little prick of an artery may occasion a mortal gangrene. Satan 
first tempted David to an impure glance of the eye to look upon 
Bathsheba, and that unclean look occasioned adultery and murder. 
First he tempts to go into the company of the wicked, then to twist 
into a cord of friendship, and so, by degrees, to be brought into 
the same condemnation with them. It is a great subtlety of Satan to 
tempt to less sins first, for these harden the heart, and fit men 
for committing more horrid and tremendous sins. 
    5th subtlety. Satan's policy is to hand over temptations to us 
by those whom we least suspect. 
    (1) By near friends. He tempts us by those who are near in 
blood. He tempted Job by a proxy, he handed over a temptation to him 
by his wife. 'Dost thou still retain thine integrity?' Job 2: 9. As 
if he had said, Job, thou seest how, for all thy religion, God deals 
with thee, his hand is gone out sore against thee; what, and still 
pray and weep! Cast off all religion, turn atheist! 'Curse God, and 
die!' Thus Satan made use of Job's wife to do his work. The woman 
was made of the rib, and Satan made a bow of this rib, out of which 
to shoot the arrow of his temptation. Per costam petit cor [He aims 
at the heart through the rib]. The devil often stands behind the 
curtain - he will not be seen in the business, but puts others to do 
his work. As a man makes use of a sergeant to arrest another, so 
Satan makes use of a proxy to tempt; as he crept into a serpent, so 
he can creep into a near relation. 
    (2) He tempts sometimes by religious friends. He keeps out of 
sight, that his cloven foot may not be seen. Who would have thought 
to have found the devil in Peter? When he would have dissuaded 
Christ from suffering, saying, 'Master, spare thyself,' Christ spied 
Satan in the temptation. 'Get thee behind me, Satan.' When our 
religious friends would dissuade us from doing our duty, Satan is a 
lying spirit in their mouths, and would by them entice us to evil. 
    6th subtlety. Satan tempts some persons more than others. Some 
are like wet tinder, who will not so soon take the fire of 
temptation as others. Satan tempts most where he thinks his policies 
will most easily prevail. Some are fitter to receive the impression 
of temptations, as soft wax is fitter to take the stamp of the seal. 
The apostle speaks of 'vessels fitted to destruction,' so there are 
vessels fitted for temptation. Rom 9: 22. Some, like the sponge, 
suck in Satan's temptations. There are five sorts of persons that 
Satan most broods upon by his temptations. 
    (1) Ignorant persons. The devil can lead these into any snare. 
You may lead a blind man any whither. God made a law that the Jews 
should not put a stumbling-block in the way of the blind. Lev 19: 
14. Satan knows it is easy to put a temptation in the way of the 
blind, at which they shall stumble into hell. When the Syrians were 
smitten with blindness, the prophet Elisha could lead them whither 
he would into the enemy's country. 2 Kings 6: 20. The bird that is 
blind is soon shot by the fowler. Satan, the god of this world, 
blinds men and then shoots them. An ignorant man cannot see the 
devil's snares. Satan tells him such a thing is no sin, or but a 
little one, and he will do well enough; it is but repent. 
    (2) Satan tempts unbelievers. He who, with Diagoras, doubts a 
Deity, or with the Photinians, denies hell, what sin may he not be 
drawn into? He is like metal that Satan can cast into any mould; he 
can dye him of any colour. An unbeliever will stick at no sin, be it 
luxury, perjury, or injustice. Paul was afraid of none so much as 
those who did not believe. 'That I may be delivered from them that 
do not believe in Judaea.' Rom 15: 31. 
    (3) Satan tempts proud persons: over these he has more power. 
None is in greater danger of falling by temptation than he who 
stands high in his own conceit. When David's heart was lifted up in 
pride, the devil stirred him up to number the people. 2 Sam 24: 2. 
Celsae graviore casu decidunt turres, feriuntque summos fulmina 
montes [Lofty towers crash with a heavier fall, and lightning 
strikes the tops of mountains]. Horace. Satan made use of Haman's 
pride to be his shame. 
    (4) Melancholy persons. Melancholy is atra bilis, a black 
humour, seated chiefly in the brain. It clothes the mind in sable, 
and disturbs reason. Satan works much upon this humour. There are 
three things in melancholy which give the devil greet advantage: [1] 
It unfits for duty, it pulls off the chariot-wheels; it dispirits a 
man. Lute strings that are wet, will not sound; so when the spirit 
is sad and melancholy, a Christian is out of tune for spiritual 
actions. [2] Melancholy sides often with Satan against God. The 
devil tells such a person God does not love him, there is no mercy 
for him; and the melancholy soul is apt to think so too, and sets 
his hand to the devil's lies. [3] Melancholy breeds discontent, and 
discontent is the cause of many sins, as unthankfulness, impatience, 
and often it ends in self-murder. Judge, then, what an advantage 
Satan has against a melancholy person, and how easily he may prevail 
with him by his temptation! A melancholy person tempts the devil to 
tempt him. 
    (5) Idle persons. The devil will find work for the idle to do. 
Jerome gave his friend this counsel, To be ever well employed, that 
when the tempter came, he might find him working in the vineyard. If 
the hands be not working good, the head will be plotting evil. Mic 
2: 1. 
    7th subtlety. Satan gives some little respite, and seems to 
leave off tempting awhile, that he may come on after with more 
advantage; as Israel made as if they were beaten before the men of 
Al, and fled; but it was a policy to draw them out of their fenced 
cities, and ensnare them by an ambush. Josh 8: 15. The devil 
sometimes raises the siege, and feigns a flight, that he may the 
better obtain the victory. He goes away for a time, that he may 
return when he sees a better season. 'When the unclean spirit is 
gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest: and 
finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house, whence I came 
out.' Luke 11: 24. Satan, by feigning a flight, and leaving off 
tempting awhile, causes security in persons; they think they are 
safe, and are become victors, when, on a sudden, Satan falls on and 
wounds them. As one that is going to leap, runs back a little, that 
he may take the greater jump, so Satan seems to retire and run back 
a little, that he may come on with a temptation more furiously and 
successfully. We need, therefore, always to watch, and have on our 
spiritual armour. 
    8th subtlety. The old serpent either takes men off from the use 
of means, or makes them miscarry in the use of them. 
    (1) He labours to take men off from duty, from praying and 
hearing, in order to discourage them; and, to do that, he has two 
    He discourages them from duty by suggesting to them their 
unworthiness; that they are not worthy to approach to God, or have 
any signals of his love and favour. They are sinful, and God is 
holy, how dare they presume to bring their impure offering to God? 
That we should see ourselves unworthy, is good, and argues humility; 
but to think we should not approach God because of unworthiness, is 
a conclusion of the devil's making. God says, Come, though unworthy. 
By this temptation, the devil takes many off from coming to the 
Lord's table. Oh, says he, this is a solemn ordinance, and requires 
much holiness: how darest thou so unworthily come? you will eat and 
drink unworthily. Thus, as Saul kept the people from eating honey, 
so the devil by this temptation, scares many from this ordinance, 
which is sweeter than honey and the honeycomb. 
    Satan endeavours to discourage from duty by objecting want of 
success. When men have waited upon God in the use of ordinances, and 
find not the comfort they desire, Satan disheartens them, and puts 
them upon resolves of declining all religion; they begin to say as a 
wicked king, 'What should I wait for the Lord any longer?' 2 Kings 
6: 33. When Saul saw God answered him not by dreams and visions, 
Satan tempted him to leave his worship, and seek to the witch of 
Endor. I Sam 28: 6. No answer to prayer comes; therefore, says 
Satan, leave off praying; who will sow seed where no crop comes up? 
Thus the devil by his subtle logic would dispute a poor soul out of 
duty. But if he sees he cannot prevail this way, to take men off 
from the use of means, then he labours: 
    (2) To make them miscarry in the use of means. By this artifice 
he prevails over multitudes of professors. The devil stands, as he 
did at Joshua's right hand, to resist men. Zech 3: 1. If he cannot 
hinder them from duty, he will be sure to hinder them in duty, two 
    By causing distraction in the service of God; and this he does 
by proposing objects of vanity, or by whispering in men's ears, that 
they can scarcely know what they are doing. 
    He hinders, by putting men upon doing duties in a wrong manner. 
[1] In a dead formal manner, that so they may fail of the success. 
Satan knows duties done superficially were as good as left undone. 
That prayer which does not pierce the heart, will never pierce 
heaven. [2] He puts them upon doing duties for wrong ends. Finis 
specificat actionem [The end governs the action]; he will make them 
look asquint, and have by-ends in duty. 'Thou shalt not be as the 
hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the corners of the 
streets, that they may be seen of men.' Matt 6: 5. Prayer is good, 
but to pray to be seen of men, was a dead fly in the box of 
ointment. The oil of vainglory feeds the lamp; sinister aims corrupt 
and flyblow our holy things. Here is Satan's policy, either to 
prevent duty, or pervert it; either to take men off from the use of 
means, or make them miscarry in the use of them. 
    9th subtlety. Satan can colour over sin with the name and 
pretence of virtue. Alcibiades hung a curtain curiously embroidered 
over a foul picture of satyrs; so Satan can put the image of virtue 
over the foul picture of sin. He can cheat men with false wares; he 
can make them believe that presumption is faith, that intemperate 
passion is zeal, revenge is prudence, covetousness is frugality, and 
prodigality is good hospitality. 'Come, see my zeal for the Lord,' 
says Jehu. Satan persuaded him it was a fire from heaven, when it 
was nothing but the wildfire of his own ambition; it was not zeal, 
but state policy. This is a subtle art of Satan, to deceive by 
tempting, and put men off with the dead child, instead of the live 
child; to make men believe that is a grace which is a sin; as if one 
should write balm-water upon a glass of poison. If Satan has all 
these subtle artifices in tempting, are we not in great danger from 
this prince of the air? Have we not often need to pray, 'Lord, 
suffer us not to be led into temptation'? As the serpent beguiled 
Eve with his subtlety, let us not be beguiled by his hellish snares 
and policies. 2 Cor 11: 3. 
    He has a dexterity in subtle contrivances. He hurts more as a 
fox than a lion; his snares are worse than his darts. 'We are not 
ignorant of his devices.' 2 Cor 2: 1. 
    10th subtlety. He labours to ensnare us by lawful things, in 
licitis perimus omnes [we all perish through lawful things]. More 
are hurt by lawful things than unlawful, as more are killed with 
wine than poison. Gross sins affright but how many take a surfeit 
and die, in using lawful things inordinately. Recreation is lawful, 
eating and drinking are lawful, but many offend by excess, and their 
table is a snare. Relations are lawful, but how often does Satan 
tempt to overlove! How often is the wife and child laid in God's 
room! Excess makes things lawful become sinful. 
    11th subtlety. He makes the duties of our general and 
particular calling hinder and jostle out one another. Our general 
calling is serving God, our particular calling is minding our 
employments in the world. It is wisdom to be regular in both these, 
when the particular calling does not eat out the time for God's 
service, nor the service of God hinder diligence in a calling. The 
devil's art is to make Christians defective in one of these two. 
Some spend all their time in hearing, reading, and under a pretence 
of living by faith, do not live in a calling; others Satan takes off 
from duties of religion, under a pretence that they must provide for 
their families, he makes them so careful for their bodies, that they 
quite neglect their souls. The subtlety of the old serpent is to 
make men negligent in the duties either of the first table or the 

The Lord's Prayer
by Thomas Watson
(continued in file 24...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-09: watlp-23.txt