The Lord's Prayer
by Thomas Watson
File 26
(... continued from file 25)

    We must distinguish between being foiled through weakness and 
through wilfulness. If a soldier fights, but is foiled for want of 
strength, the general of the army will pity him, and bind up his 
wounds; but if he be wilfully foiled, and proves treacherous, he 
must expect no favour; so, if a Christian fight it out with Satan, 
but is foiled for want of strength, as it was with Peter, God will 
pity him and do him good by his being foiled; but if he be foiled 
wilfully and runs into temptation, as it was with Judas, God will 
show him no favour, but will execute martial law upon him. 
    The uses remain. 
    Use 1. See in what continual danger we are. Satan is an 
exquisite artist, a deep headpiece, he lies in ambush to ensnare; he 
is the tempter, it is his delight to make the saints sin; and he is 
subtle in tempting, he has ways and methods to deceive. 
    (1) He brings a saint into sin, by making him confide in his 
habitual graces. He makes him believe he has such a stock of grace 
as will secure him against all temptations. Thus he deceived Peter, 
he made him trust in his grace; he had such a cable of faith and 
strong tacklings, that though the winds of temptation blew ever so 
fierce, he could weather the point. 'Though all men forsake thee, 
yet will not I;' as if he had more grace than all the apostles. Thus 
he was led into temptation, and fell in the battle. Man may make an 
idol of grace. Habitual grace is not sufficient without auxiliary. 
The boat needs not only oars, but a gale of wind, to carry it 
against the tide; so we need not only habitual grace, but the gale 
of the Spirit, to carry us against a strong temptation. 
    (2) Satan tempts to sin by the baits and allurements of the 
world. Faenus pecuniae funus animae [The gain of money is the ruin 
of the soul]. One of Christ's own apostles was caught with a silver 
bait. Those whom the devil cannot debauch with vice, he will corrupt 
with money. 'All these things will I give thee,' was his last 
temptation. Matt 4: 9. Achan was deluded by a wedge of gold. 
Sylvester II sold his soul to the devil for a popedom. 
    (3) Satan tempts to sin, sub specie boni, under a mask and show 
of good; his temptations seem gracious motions. 
    [1] He tempts men to duties of religion. You might think it 
strange that Satan should tempt to duty; but it is so. He tempts men 
to duty out of sinister ends. Thus he tempted the Pharisees to pray 
and give alms, that they might be seen of men. Matt 6: 5. Prayer is 
a duty, but to look asquint in prayer, to do it for vainglory, turns 
prayer into sin. He tempts to duty when it is not in season. 'My 
offering and my bread for my sacrifices, shall ye offer unto me in 
their due season.' Numb 28: 2. Satan tempts to duty when it is out 
of season; he tempts to read the word at home when we should be 
hearing the word. He tempts to one duty, that he may hinder another. 
He tempts some to duty that it may be a cloak for sin. He tempts 
them to frequency in duty that they may sin and be less suspected. 
He tempted the Pharisees to make long prayers that, under this 
pretence, they might devour widows' houses. Matt 23: 14. Who would 
suspect him of false weights that so often holds a Bible in his 
    [2] He tempts men to sin out of a show of love to Christ. You 
might think this strange, but there is truth in it. Many a good 
heart may think what he does is in love to Christ, and all the while 
he may be under temptation. When Christ told Peter he must suffer at 
Jerusalem, Peter took him and rebuked him. 'Be it far from thee, 
Lord,' as if he had said, Lord, thou hast deserved no such shameful 
death, and this shall not be unto thee. Matt 16: 22. Peter did this, 
as he thought, out of love to Christ, but he was under temptation. 
What had become of us if Christ had hearkened to Peter, and had not 
suffered! So when Christ washed his disciples' feet, Peter was so 
mannerly that he said, 'Thou shalt never wash my feet.' John 13: 8. 
This he did, as he thought, out of love and respect to Christ. He 
thought Christ was too good to wash his feet, and therefore would 
have put him off, but it was a temptation; the devil put Peter upon 
this sinful modesty; he struck at Peter's salvation, insomuch that 
Christ said, 'If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.' So 
when the Samaritans would not receive Christ, the disciples James 
and John said, 'Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down 
from heaven and consume them?' Luke 9: 54. They did this, as they 
thought, out of love to Christ; they wished for fire to consume his 
enemies, but they were under temptation; it was not zeal, but the 
wild fire of their own passion. 'Ye know not,' saith Christ, 'what 
manner of spirit ye are or. 
    (4) Satan tempts to the sin to which a man's heart is naturally 
most inclinable. He will not tempt a civil man to a gross sin, which 
is abhorrent to the light of nature. Satan never sets a dish before 
men that they do not love. He will tempt a civil man to pride, and 
to trust in his own righteousness, and to make a Saviour of his 
civility. As the spider weaves a web out of her own bowels, the 
civil man would weave a web of salvation out of his own 
    See, then, in what danger we are, when Satan is continually 
lying in ambush with his temptations! 
    See man's inability of himself to resist a temptation! Could he 
stand of himself against a temptation, the prayer were needless, 
'Lead us not into temptation:' no man has power of himself to resist 
temptation, further than God gives him strength. 'O Lord, I know 
that the way of man is not in himself.' Jer 10: 23. If Peter, who 
had true grace, and Adam, who had perfect grace, could not stand 
against temptation, much less can any stand by the power of nature, 
which confutes the doctrine of free will. What freedom of will has 
man, when he cannot resist the least temptation? 
    Here is matter for humiliation, that there is in us such an 
aptitude and proneness to yield to temptation. We are as ready to 
swallow a temptation as the fish to swallow the bait. If the devil 
tempt to pride, lust, envy, revenge, how do we symbolise with Satan 
and embrace his snares! Like a woman that has a suitor, and does not 
need much wooing, but readily gives her consent, Satan comes wooing 
by temptation, and we soon yield; he strikes fire, and we are as dry 
tinder dial catches the first spark; he knocks by temptation, and it 
is sad to think how soon we open the door to him, which is as if one 
should open the door to a thief. 
    See hence that a Christian's life is no easy life. It is 
military: he has a Goliath in the field to encounter with, one that 
is armed with power and subtlety, and has his wiles and darts. A 
Christian must be continually watching and fighting. Satan's designs 
carry death in the front. 'Seeking whom he may devour.' I Pet 5: 8. 
Therefore we had need always have our weapons in our hand. How few 
think their life a warfare! Though they have an enemy in the field, 
always laying snares, or shooting darts, yet they do not stand 
sentinel or get their spiritual artillery ready; they put on their 
jewels, but not their armour. 'They take the timbrel and harp, and 
rejoice at the sound of the organ,' as if they were rather in music 
than in battle. Job 21: 12. Many are asleep in sloth, when they 
should be fighting against Satan; and no wonder the devil shoots 
them when he finds them asleep. 
    Use 2. They are reproved who pray, 'Lead us not into 
temptation,' and yet run of themselves into temptation. Such are 
they who go to plays and masquerades, and hunt after strange flesh. 
Some go a slower pace to hell, but such as run themselves into 
temptation go galloping thither. We have too many of these in this 
debauched age, who, as if they thought they could not sin fast 
enough, tempt the devil to tempt them. 
    Use 3. Let us labour that we be not overcome by temptation. 
    What means should be used, that Satan's temptations may not 
prevail against us? 
    (1) Avoid solitariness. It is no wisdom, in fighting with an 
enemy, to give him the advantage of the ground. We give Satan 
advantage of the ground when we are alone. Eve was foiled in the 
absence of her husband. A virgin is not so soon set upon in company. 
'Two are better than one.' Eccl 4: 9. Get into the communion of 
saints, for that is a good remedy against temptation. 
    (2) If you would not be overcome by temptation, beware of the 
predominance of melancholy, which is atra bilis, a black humour 
seated chiefly in the brain. Melancholy disturbs reason and exposes 
to temptation. One calls melancholy balneum diaboli, the devil's 
bath; he bathes himself with delight in such a person. Melancholy 
clothes the mind in sable; it fills it with such dismal 
apprehensions as often end in self-murder. 
    (3) If you would not be overcome by temptation, study sobriety. 
'Be sober, because your adversary walketh about.' I Pet 5: 8. 
Sober-mindedness consists in the moderate use of earthly things: an 
immoderate desire of these things often brings men into the snare of 
the devil. 'They that will be rich fall into a snare.' I Tim 6: 9. 
He who loves riches inordinately, will purchase them unjustly. Ahab 
would swim to Naboth's vineyard in blood. He who is drunk with the 
love of the world, is never free from temptation. He will pull down 
his soul to build up an estate. Quid non mortalia pectora cogis, 
auri sacra fames? [Oh cursed hunger for gold, to what dost thou not 
drive the hearts of men?] Virgil. Be sober, take heed of being drunk 
with the love of the world, lest ye fall into temptation. 
    (4) Be always upon your guard, watch against Satan's wiles and 
subtleties. 'Be vigilant, because your adversary the devil walketh 
about.' I Pet 5: 8. A Christian must excubias agere, keep watch and 
ward; he must see where Satan labours to make a breach, see what 
grace he most strikes at, or what sin he most tempts to. 'I say unto 
all, Watch.' Mark 13: 37. Watch all the senses, the eye, the ear, 
the touch; for Satan can creep in by these. Oh, how needful is the 
spiritual watch! Shall Satan be watchful, and we drowsy? Does he 
watch to devour us, and shall not we watch to save ourselves? Let us 
see what sin our heart most naturally inclines to, and watch against 
    (5) Beware of idleness. Satan sows most of his seed in fallow 
ground. It was Jerome's counsel to his friend to be ever busied, 
that if the devil did come, he might find him working in the 
vineyard. Idleness tempts the devil to tempt. The bird that sits 
still is shot. He that wants employment never wants temptation. When 
a man has nothing to do, Satan will bring grist to the mill, and 
find him work enough. 
    (6) Make known thy case to some godly friend. Hiding a serpent 
in the bosom is not the way to be safe; when the old serpent has got 
into your bosom by temptation, do not hide him there by keeping his 
counsel. If a spark be got into the thatch, it is not wisdom to 
conceal it, it may set the house on fire. Conceal not temptation. 
Keeping secrets is for familiar friends: be not so great a friend to 
Satan as to keep his secrets. Reveal your temptations, which is the 
way to procure others' prayers and advice; let all see that you are 
not true to Satan's party, because you tell all his plots and reveal 
his treasons. Besides, telling your case to some experienced 
Christian, is the way to have ease; as the opening of a vein gives 
ease, so the opening of your case to a friend will give ease to the 
soul, and temptation will not so much inflame. 
    (7) Make use of the word. This the apostle calls the 'sword of 
the Spirit,' a fit weapon with which to fight against the tempter. 
Eph 6: 17. This 'sword of the Spirit' is gladius anceps, a two-edged 
sword: it wounds carnal lust and it wounds Satan. He who travels a 
road where there is robbing will be sure to ride with his sword; we 
are travelling to heaven, and in this road there is a thief who 
always besets us in every place where we go. He meets us at church, 
he does not miss a sermon, he will be tempting us there; sometimes 
to drowsiness: when any sleep at sermon, the devil rocks them; 
sometimes he tempts by distracting the mind in hearing, sometimes he 
tempts by questioning the truth of what is heard. He tempts in the 
shop to use collusion and deceit. 'The balances of deceit are in his 
hand.' Hos 12: 7. Thus we meet with the tempter everywhere; 
therefore, this thief being in the road, we had need ride with a 
sword; we must have the 'sword of the Spirit' about us. We must have 
skill to use this sword, and have a heart to draw it out, and it 
will put the devil to flight. Thus when Satan tempted our blessed 
Saviour to distrust and blasphemy, he used a Scripture weapon, 'It 
is written.' Three times he wounded the old serpent with this sword. 
Christ, with his power and authority, could have rebuked the prince 
of the air as he did the winds; but he stopped the devil's mouth 
with Scripture, 'It is written.' It is not our vows and resolutions 
that will do it, it is not the Papist's holy water or charms that 
will drive away the devil; but let us bring the word of God against 
him: this is an argument that he cannot answer. It was a saying of 
Luther, 'I have had great troubles of mind; but so soon as I laid 
hold on any place of Scripture, and stayed myself upon it as upon my 
chief anchor, straightway my temptations vanished away.' There is no 
temptation but we have fit Scripture to answer it. If Satan tempts 
to Sabbath-breaking, answer him, '"It is written, Remember to keep 
the Sabbath day holy."' If he tempts to uncleanness, answer him, 
'"It is written, whoremongers and adulterers God will judge."' If he 
tempts to carnal fear, say, '"It is written, Fear not them that kill 
the body, and after that, have no more that they can do."' No such 
way to confute temptation as by Scripture; the arrows we shoot 
against Satan must be fetched out of this quiver. Many people want 
this sword of the Spirit, they have not a Bible; others seldom make 
use of it, but let it rust; they seldom look into it - no wonder, 
therefore, they are overcome by temptations. He who is well skilled 
in the word is like one who has a plaister ready to lay upon the 
wound as soon as it is made, and so the danger is prevented. O study 
the Scripture, and you will be too hard for the devil; he cannot 
stand against this. 
    (8) Let us be careful of our own hearts, that they do not decoy 
us into sin. The apostle says, 'A man is drawn away of his own lust, 
and enticed.' James 1: 14. Quisque sibi Satan est [Everyone is Satan 
to himself]. Bernard. Every man has a tempter in his own bosom. A 
traitor within the castle is dangerous. The heart can bring forth a 
temptation, though Satan do not midwife it into the world; if Satan 
were dead and buried, the heart could draw us to evil. As the ground 
of all diseases lies in the humours of the body, so the seed of all 
sin lies in the original lust. Look to your hearts. 
    (9) If you would not be overcome by temptation, flee the 
'occasions of sin.' Occasions of sin have great force to awaken lust 
within. He that would keep himself free from infection will not come 
near an infected house; so if you would be sober, avoid drunken 
company. When Joseph was enticed by his mistress, he shunned the 
occasion; the text says, 'He hearkened not unto her to be with her.' 
Gen 39: 10. If you would not be ensnared with Popery, do not hear 
the mass. The Nazarite, who was forbid wine, might not eat grapes, 
which might occasion intemperance. Come not near the borders of 
temptation. Suppose any one had a body made of gunpowder, he would 
not come near the least spark of fire, lest he should be blown up. 
Many pray, 'Lead us not into temptation,' and yet run themselves 
into temptation. 
    (10) If you would not be overcome by temptation, make use of 
faith. 'Above all taking the shield of faith.' Eph 6: 19. Faith 
wards off Satan's fiery darts, that they do not hurt. 'Whom resist, 
stedfast in the faith.' I Pet 5: 9. Mariners in a storm flee to 
their anchor; flee to your anchor of faith. Faith brings Christ with 
it. Duellers bring their seconds with them into the field; so faith 
brings Christ for its second. It puts us into Christ, and then the 
devil cannot hurt us. The chicken is safe from the birds of prey, 
under the wings of the hen; and we are secure from the tempter, 
under the wings of the Lord Jesus. Though other graces are of use to 
resist the impulses of Satan, yet faith is the conquering grace. It 
takes hold of Christ's merits, value and virtue; and so the 
Christian becomes too hard for the devil. As the stars vanish when 
the sun appears, so Satan vanishes when faith appears. 
    (11) If you would not be overcome by temptation, be much in 
prayer. Such as walk in infectious places, carry antidotes about 
them: prayer is the best antidote against temptation. When the 
apostle had exhorted, to 'put on the whole armour of God,' he adds, 
'Praying with all prayer.' Eph 6: 11, 18. Without this, reliqua arma 
parum prosunt. Zanchius. All other weapons will do little good. 
Christ prescribes this remedy, 'Watch and pray, lest ye enter into 
temptation.' Mark 14: 38. A Christian fetches down strength from 
heaven by prayer. Let us cry to God for help against the tempter, as 
Samson cried to heaven for help. 'O Lord God, remember me and 
strengthen me, I pray thee, that I may be avenged of the 
Philistines.' Judges 16: 28. 'The house fell upon the lords and upon 
all the people;' ver 30. 
    Prayer is flagellum diaboli, it whips and torments the devil. 
The apostle bids us 'pray without ceasing.' I Thess 5: 17. It was 
Luther's advice to a lady, when temptation came, to fall upon her 
knees in prayer. Prayer assuages the force of temptation. It is the 
best charm or spell we can use against the devil. Temptation may 
bruise our heel, but by prayer we wound the serpent's head. When 
Paul had a messenger of Satan to buffet him; what remedy did he use? 
He betook himself to prayer. 'For this thing I besought the Lord 
thrice, that it might depart from me.' 2 Cor 12: 8. When Satan 
assaults furiously, let us pray fervently. 
    (12) If you would not be overcome by temptation, be humble in 
your own eyes. They are nearest falling who presume on their own 
strength. Pendleton said his fat flesh should melt in the fire; but 
instead of his fat melting, his heart melted, and he turned from the 
truth. When men grow into big conceit God lets them fall, to prick 
the bladder of pride. O be humble! They are likely to hold best out 
in temptation who have most grace; but God gives more grace to the 
humble. James 4: 6. Beware of pride; an abscess is not more 
dangerous in the body than pride in the soul. The doves, says Pliny, 
take pride in their feathers, and in their flying high, till at last 
they fly so high, that they become a prey to the hawk; so when men 
fly high in pride and self-confidence, they become a prey to the 
    (13) If you would not be foiled by temptation, do not enter 
into a dispute with Satan. When Eve began to argue the case with the 
serpent, the serpent was too hard for her; the devil, by his logic, 
disputed her out of paradise. Satan can mince sin, make it small, 
and garnish it over, and make it look like virtue. He is too subtle 
a sophister for us to hold an argument with him. Dispute not, but 
fight. If you enter into a parley with him, you give him half the 
    (14) If we would not be overcome by Satan, we must put on 
Christian fortitude. We must expect an enemy who is either shooting 
darts, or laying snares, therefore let us be armed with courage. 
'Deal courageously, and the Lord shall be with the good.' 2 Chron 
19: 11. The coward never won a victory. To animate us in our combat 
with Satan, let us think, [1] We have a good Captain that marches 
before us. Christ is called the Captain of our salvation. Heb 2: 10. 
[2] We have good armour. Grace is armour of God's making. Eph 6: 11. 
[3] Satan is beaten in part already. Christ has given him his death- 
wound upon the cross. Col 2: 15. [4] Satan is a chained enemy, his 
power is limited! he cannot force the will. Eve complained that the 
serpent deceived her, not constrained her. Gen 3:13. Satan has 
astutiam suadendi [guile to persuade], not potentiam cogendi [power 
to compel]; he may persuade, not compel. [5] He is a cursed enemy, 
and God's curse will blast him: therefore put on holy gallantry of 
spirit and magnanimity. Fear not Satan. Greater is he that is in you 
than he that is against you. 
    (15) If we would not be overcome by temptation, let us call in 
the help of others. If a house be on fire, would you not call in 
help? Satan tempts, that he may rob you of your soul; acquaint some 
friends with your case, and beg for their counsel and prayers. Who 
knows but Satan may be cast out by the joint prayers of others? In 
case of temptation, how exceeding hopeful is the communion of 
    (16) If we would not be overcome by temptation, let us make use 
of all the encouragements we can. If Satan be a roaring lion, Christ 
is the lion of the tribe of Judah. If Satan tempts, Christ prays. If 
Satan be a serpent to sting, Christ is a brazen serpent to heal. If 
the conflict be hard, look to the crown. James 1: 12. Whilst we are 
fighting, Christ will succour us; and when we overcome, he will 
crown us. What makes the soldier endure a bloody fight but the hope 
of a golden harvest? Think that shortly God will call us out of the 
field where the bullets of temptation fly so fast, and he will set a 
garland of glory upon our head. How will the case be altered then! 
Instead of fighting, singing; instead of a helmet, a diadem; instead 
of a sword, a palm branch of victory; instead of armour, white 
robes; instead of Satan's skirmishes, the kisses and embraces of a 
Saviour. These eternal recompenses should keep us from yielding to 
temptation. Who, to gratify a lust, would lose a crown? 
    Use 4. Let such as are tempted be wise to make good use of 
their temptations. As we should labour to improve our afflictions, 
so to improve our temptations. We should pick some good out of 
temptation, as Samson got honey out of the lion. 
    What good comes from temptation? Can there be any good in being 
set upon by an enemy? Can it be good to have fiery darts shot at us? 
    Yes! God can make his people get much good by their 
temptations. Hereby a Christian sees that corruption in his heart 
which he never saw before. Water in a glass looks pure, but set it 
on the fire, and the scum boils up; so in temptation a Christian 
sees the scum of sin boil up, of passion and distrust of God, which 
he thought had not been in his heart. Hereby a Christian sees more 
of the wiles of Satan, and is better able to withstand them. Paul 
had been in the fencing-school of temptation, and grew expert in 
finding out Satan's stratagems. 'We are not ignorant of his 
devices.' 2 Cor 2:11. Hereby a Christian grows more humble. God 
would rather let his children fall into the devil's hands than be 
proud. Temptation makes the plumes of pride fall. 'Lest I should be 
exalted above measure, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh.' 
2 Cor 41: 7. Better is that temptation that humbles than that duty 
which makes us proud. Thus a Christian may get much good by 
temptation, which made Luther say three things make a good divine, 
prayer, meditation, and temptation. 
    Use 5. Some have been under sore temptations and buffetings of 
Satan, to lust, revenge, self-murder, but God has stood by them, and 
given them strength to overcome the tempter. 
    (1) Let them be very thankful to God. 'Thanks be to God, which 
giveth us the victory.' I Cor 15: 57. Be much in doxology. Why were 
we kept more than others from falling into sin? Was it because 
temptation was not so strong? No, Satan shoots his darts with all 
his force. Was the cause in our will? No, such a broken shield would 
never have conquered Satan's temptations. Know that it was free 
grace that beat back the tempter, and brought us off with trophies 
of victory. O be thankful to God! Had you been overcome by 
temptation, you might have put black spots in the face of religion, 
and given occasion to the enemies of God to blaspheme. 2 Sam 12: 14. 
Had you been overcome, you might have lain sick of a 'wounded 
spirit' and cried out, with David, of 'broken bones.' After David 
yielded to temptation, he lay for three quarters of a year in horror 
of mind; and some divines think he never recovered his full joy to 
the day of his death. Oh therefore, what cause have they to stand 
upon mount Gerizim blessing God, who, in a field of battle have got 
the better of Satan, and been more than conquerors! Say as the 
Psalmist, 'Blessed be the Lord, who has not given us as a prey to 
their teeth:' blessed be God, who has not given us as a prey to 
Satan, that roaring lion. Psa 124: 6. When God puts mercy in the 
premises, we must put praise in the conclusion. 
    (2) You that have been tempted, and come off victors, be full 
of sympathy; pity tempted souls; show your piety in your pity. Do 
you see Satan's darts sticking in their sides? Do what you can to 
pull them out. Communicate your experiences to them; tell them how 
you broke the devil's snare, and your Saviour was your succourer. 
The apostle speaks of restoring others 'in the spirit of meekness.' 
Gal 6: 1. The Greek word for restore alludes to surgeons, who set 
bones out of joint; so when we see such as are tempted, and Satan 
has, as it were, put their bones out of joint, labour to put them in 
again, with all love, meekness, and compassion. A word spoken in 
season may relieve a soul fainting in temptation; and you may, as 
the good Samaritan, drop oil and wine into the wound. Luke 10: 34. 
Vir spiritualis consilia magis quam convicia meditatur [The 
spiritual man thinks over advice rather than reproaches]. Augustine. 
    (3) You that have got the conquest over Satan, be not secure. 
Think not that you shall never be troubled with the tempter more. He 
is not like the Syrians, of whom it is said, 'The bands of Syria 
came no more into the land of Israel' 2 Kings 6: 23. If a cock be 
once made to run away, it will fight no more; but it is not so with 
Satan. He is a restless enemy; if you have beaten him back, he will 
make a fresh onset. Hannibal said of Marcellus, a Roman captain, 
that whether he beat or was beaten, he was never quiet. 
    When Satan was worsted by Christ, he went away, but ad tempos, 
for a season, as if he meant to come again. Luke 4: 13. When we have 
got the better of Satan, we are apt to grow secure, to lay aside our 
armour, and leave off our watch; which, when he perceives, he comes 
upon us with a new temptation and wounds us. He deals with us as 
David did with the Amalekites, who, when they had taken the spoil 
and were secure, 'They were spread upon the earth eating, and 
drinking, and dancing' (1 Sam 30: 16); then 'David smote them, and 
there escaped not a man of them;' ver 17. Therefore, after we have 
got the better of the tempter, we must do as the mariners in a calm, 
mend our tackling, not knowing how soon another storm may come. 
Satan for a time may retreat, that he may afterwards come on more 
fiercely; he may go away awhile, and bring other seven spirits with 
him. Luke 11: 26. 
    Therefore, be not secure, but stand upon your watch-tower; lie 
in your armour; always expect a fight. As he that has a short 
respite from an ague says, I look every day when my fit shall come, 
so say, I look every day when the tempter shall come; I will put 
myself into a warlike posture. When Satan is beaten out of the 
field, he is not beaten out of the heart; he will come again. He had 
little hope to prevail against Christ. Christ gave him three deadly 
wounds, and made him retreat; yet he departed 'only for a season.' 
If the devil cannot conquer us, he knows he can molest us; if he 
cannot destroy us, he will surely disturb us; therefore we must, 
with the pilot, have our compass ready, and be able to turn our 
needle to any point where temptation shall blow. If the tempter come 
not so soon as we expect, by putting ourselves in a defensive 
posture, we shall have the advantage of being always prepared. 
    To conclude all: let us often make this prayer, 'Lead us not 
into temptation.' If Satan woo us by a temptation, let us not give 
consent. In case a Christian has through weakness and not out of a 
design, yielded to temptation, let him not 'cast away his anchor;' 
but take heed of despair, which is worse than the fall itself. 
    Christian, steep thy soul in the brinish waters of repentance, 
and God will be appeased. Repentance gives the soul a vomit. Christ 
loved Peter after his denial of him, and sent the first news of his 
resurrection to him - 'Go tell the disciples and Peter.' It is an 
error to think that one act of sin can destroy the habit of grace. 
It is a wrong to God's mercy and to a Christian's comfort, to make 
the despairing conclusion, that after one has fallen by temptation, 
his estate is irrecoverable. Therefore, Christian, if thou hast 
fallen with Peter, repent with Peter, and God will be ready to seal 
thy pardon. 
    II. 'Deliver us from evil.' There is more in this petition than 
is expressed. The thing expressed is, that we may be kept from evil: 
the thing further intended is, that we may make progress in piety. 
'Denying ungodliness and worldly lusts;' there is being delivered 
from evil; 'we should live soberly, righteously, and godly;' there 
is progress in piety. Titus 2: 12. 
    [1] In general, when we pray, 'Deliver us from evil,' we pray 
to be delivered from the evil of sin. Not that we pray to be 
delivered immediately from the presence and inbeing of sin, for that 
cannot be in this life, we cannot shake off this viper, but we pray 
that God would deliver us more and more from the power and practice, 
from the scandalous acts of sin which cast a reflection upon the 
gospel. Sin is the deadly evil we pray against. With what pencil 
shall I be able to draw the deformed face of sin? The devil would 
baptise sin with the name of virtue. It is easy to lay fair colours 
on a black face. I shall endeavour to show you what a prodigious 
monster sin is, and that there is great reason we should pray, 
'Deliver us from evil.' 
    Sin, as the apostle says, is exceeding sinful. Rom 7: 13. It is 
the very spirits of mischief distilled; it is called 'an accursed 
thing.' Josh 7: 13. That sin is the most execrable evil, appears 
several ways: (1) Look upon sin in its origin. (2) Look upon sin in 
its nature. (3) Look upon sin in the judgement and opinion of the 
godly. (4) Look upon sin by comparison. (1) Look upon sin in the 
manner of its cure. (6) Look upon sin in its direful effects. When 
you have seen all these, you will apprehend what a horrid evil sin 
is, and what great reason we have to pray, 'Deliver us from evil.' 
    (1) Look upon sin in its origin. It fetches its pedigree from 
hell. It is of the devil. John 8: 44. It calls the devil father. It 
is serpentis venenum, as Augustine says; it is the poison which the 
old serpent has spit into our virgin nature. 
    (2) Look upon sin in its nature, and it is evil. See what the 
Scripture compares it to. It has got a bad name. It is compared to 
the vomit of dogs (2 Pet 2: 22); to a menstruous cloth (Isa 30: 22); 
which, as Jerome says, was the most unclean thing under the law; it 
is compared to the plague (I Kings 8: 38); and to a gangrene (2 Tim 
2: I7). Persons under these diseases we should be loth to eat and 
drink with. 
    Sin is evil in its nature, because it is transgression against 
God. It is a breach of his royal law. 'Sin is the transgression of 
the law.' I John 3: 4. It is crimen laesae majestatis, high treason 
against heaven. What greater injury can be offered to a prince than 
to trample upon his royal edicts? 'They cast thy law behind their 
backs.' Neh 9: 26. Sin is an affront to God, as it is walking 
contrary to him. Lev 26: 40. The Hebrew word for sin signifies 
rebellion. It flies in the face of God. 'He stretcheth out his hand 
against God.' Job 15: 25. We ought not to lift up a thought against 
God, much less to lift up a hand against him; but the sinner does 
both. Sin is deicidium [the killing of God]; it would not only 
unthrone God, but ungod him; if sin could help it, God should no 
longer be God. 
    Sin is an act of high ingratitude to God. He feeds a sinner, 
screens off many evils from him; and yet he not only forgets his 
mercies, but abuses them. 'I gave her corn, and wine, and oil, and 
multiplied her silver, which they prepared for Baal.' Hos 2: 8. God 
may say, I gave thee wit, health, riches, which thou hast employed 
against me. A sinner makes an arrow of God's mercies, and shoots at 
him. 'Is this thy kindness to thy friend?' 2 Sam 16: 17. Did God 
give thee life to sin? Did he give thee wages to serve the devil? 
Oh, what an ungrateful thing is sin! Ingratitude forfeits mercy, as 
the merchant forfeits his goods by not paying custom. 
    Sin is evil in its nature, because it is a foolish thing. 'Thou 
fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee.' Luke 12: 20. 
Is it not foolish to prefer a short lease before an inheritance? A 
sinner prefers the pleasures of sin for a season before those 
pleasures which are at God's right hand for evermore. Is it not 
folly to gratify an enemy? Sin gratifies Satan. Mortalium errores 
epulae sunt daemonum; men's sins feast the devil. Is it not folly 
for a man to be felo de se, guilty of his own destruction, to give 
himself poison? A sinner has a hand in his own death. 'They lay wait 
for their own blood.' Prov 1: 18. No creature did ever willingly 
kill itself but man. 

The Lord's Prayer
by Thomas Watson
(continued in file 27...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-09: watlp-26.txt