The Lord's Prayer by Thomas Watson File 28 (... continued from file 27) (3) Take heed of your besetting sin, that which your nature and constitution most incline to. As in the hive there is a master bee, so in the heart there is a master sin. 'I kept myself from mine iniquity.' Psa 18: 23. There is some sin that is a special favourite, the peccatum in deliciis, the darling sin that lies in the bosom, and this bewitches and draws away the heart. O beware of this!  That sin which a man most cherishes, and to which all other sins are subservient, is the sin which is most tended and waited upon. The Pharisees' darling sin was vainglory, all they did was to feed the sin of pride. 'That they may have glory of men;' when they gave alms they sounded a trumpet. Matt 6: 2. If a stranger had asked the question, why does this trumpet sound? the answer was, The Pharisees are going to give alms to the poor. Their lamp of charity was filled with the oil of vainglory. Matt 23: 5. All their works they did to be seen of men. Pride was their bosom sin. Oftentimes covetousness is the darling sin; all other sins are committed to maintain this. Why do men equivocate, oppress, defraud, take bribes, but to uphold covetousness?  The sin which a man loves not to be reproved for is the darling sin. Herod could not endure to have his incest spoken against; if John the Baptist meddles with that sin, it shall cost him his head.  That sin which has most power over a man, and most easily leads him captive, is the beloved of the soul. There are some sins which a man can better put off and repulse; but there is one sin, which, if it becomes a suitor he cannot deny, but is overcome by it: this is the bosom sin. The young man in the gospel had a besetting sin which he could not resist, and that was the love of the world; his silver was dearer to him than his Saviour. It is a sad thing a man should be so bewitched by a lust that he will part with the kingdom of heaven to gratify it.  The sin which men use arguments to defend is the darling sin. To plead for sin is to be the devil's attorney. If the sin be covetousness, and we vindicate it; if it be rash anger, and we justify it, saying (as Jonah 4: 9), 'I do well to be angry,' this is the besetting sin.  That sin which most troubles a man, and flies in his face in an hour of sickness and distress, is the beloved sin. When Joseph's brethren were distressed, their sin in selling their brother came to remembrance. Gen 45: 3. So, when a man is upon his sick-bed, conscience says, Dost not thou remember how thou hast lived in such a sin, though thou hast been often warned, yet thou wouldst not leave it? Conscience reads a curtain lecture upon the darling sin.  The sin which a man is most unwilling to part with is the darling sin. Jacob could of all his sons, most hardly part with Benjamin. 'Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin away.' Gen 13: 36. So says the sinner, this and that sin have I parted with; but must Benjamin go? Must I part with this delightful sin? That goes to the heart. It is the Delilah, the beloved sin. Oh, if sin be such a deadly evil, dare not to indulge any bosom sin, which is the most dangerous of all; and, like a humour striking to the heart, which is mortal, leaves open but one gap for the wild beast to enter. One darling sin lived in, sets open a gap for Satan to enter. (4) Take heed of the sins which attend your particular callings. A calling you must have. Adam in paradise tilled the ground. God never sealed warrants to idleness. But every calling has its snare; as some sin in living out of a calling, so others sin in a calling. Remember how deadly an evil sin is. Avoid those sins which you are exposed to in your trade. Take heed of all fraud and collusion in your dealings. 'Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.' Matt 7: 12. Take heed of a sinful tongue in selling. The Scripture says of one that goes to heaven, 'He speaketh the truth in his heart.' Psa 15: 2. It is the custom of many to say the commodity stands them more, and yet they take less. This is hardly creditable. Beware of a deceitful balance. 'The balances of deceit are in his hand.' Hos 12: 7. Men by making their weights lighter, make their accounts heavier. Beware of sophisticating, mingling, and debasing commodities. 'We sell the refuse of the wheat.' Amos 8: 6. They pick out the best grains of the wheat, and sell the worst at the same price as they did the best. To mix a coarse commodity with the fine, and sell it all for fine, is no better than deceit. Isa 1: 22, Beware of stretching your consciences too far, or taking more for a commodity than it is worth. 'If thou sell ought unto thy neighbour, ye shall not oppress one another.' Lev 25: 14. There is a lawful gain allowed, yet one may not so advantage himself as to injure another. Let the tradesman's motto be, 'A conscience void of offence toward God and toward men.' Acts 24: 16. He has a hard bargain that purchases the world with the loss of his soul. (5) Sin being so deadly an evil, take heed of the appearance of sin. Abstain not only from apparent evil, but the appearance of evil; if it be not absolutely a sin, yet if it looks like sin, avoid it. He who is loyal to his prince, not only forbears to have his hand in treason, but he will take heed of that which has a show of treason. Joseph's mistress tempted him, and he fled and would not be with her. Gen 39: 12. An appearance of good is too little, and an appearance of evil is too much. The appearance of evil is often an occasion of evil. Dalliance is an appearance of evil, and oftentimes occasions evil. Touching the forbidden fruit occasions tasting. Dancing in masquerades has often been the occasion of uncleanness. The appearance of evil may scandalise another. 'When ye sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.' I Cor 8: 12. Sinning against a member of Christ is sinning against Christ himself. What means shall we use to be kept from acts of sin? (1) If you would be preserved from actual and scandalous sins, labour to mortify original sin. If you would not have the branches bud and blossom, smite at the root. I know that original sin cannot in this life be removed, but labour to have it subdued. Why do men break forth into actual sins but because they do not mortify heart sins? Suppress the first risings of pride, lust, and passion. Original sin unmortified will prove such a root of bitterness as will bring forth the cursed root of scandalous sin. (2) If you would be kept from actual sins, think what an odious thing sin is. Besides what you have heard, remember sin is the accursed thing. Josh 7: 13. It is the abominable thing God hates. 'Oh do not this abominable thing that I hate.' Jer 44: 4. Sin is the spirit of witchcraft; it is the devil's excrement; it is called filthiness. James 1: 21. If all the evils in the world were put together, and their essence strained out, they could not make a thing so filthy as sin is. So odious is a sinner that God loathes the sight of him. 'My soul lothed them.' Zech 11: 8. He who defiles himself with avarice, what is he but a serpent licking the dust? He who defiles himself with the lust of uncleanness, what is he but a swine with a man's head? He who defiles himself with pride, what is he but a bladder which the devil has blown up? He who defiles himself with drunkenness, what is he but a beast that has got the staggers? To consider how odious and base a thing sin is, would be a means of keeping us from sinning. (3) If you would be kept from actual sins, get the fear of God planted in your hearts. 'By the fear of the Lord men depart from evil.' Prov 16: 6. Cavebis si pavebis [You will take care if you fear]; fear is a bridle to sin and a spur to holiness. Fear puts a holy awe upon the heart and binds it to its good behaviour. By the fear of the Lord men depart from evil. When the Empress Eudoxia threatened to banish Chrysostom, 'Tell her,' said he, 'I fear nothing but sin.' Fear is janitor animae; it stands as a porter at the door of the soul and keeps sin from entering. All sin is committed for want of the fear of God. 'Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness; their feet are swift to shed blood; there is no fear of God before their eyes.' Rom 3: 14, 15, 18. Holy fear stands sentinel, and is ever watching against security, pride, and wantonness. Fear is a Christian's lifeguard to defend him against the fiery darts of temptation. Si vis esse securus, semper time. The way to be safe is always to fear. (4) If we would be kept from actual sins, let us be careful to avoid all the inlets and occasions of sin. Run not into evil company. He that would not have the plague will not go into an infected house. Guard your senses, which may be the inlets to sin. Keep the two portals, the eye and the ear; especially look to your eyes. Much sin comes in by the eye; the eye is often an inlet to sin; sin takes fire at the eye; the first sin in the world began at the eye. 'When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and was pleasant to the eyes, she took of the fruit thereof.' Gen 3: 6. Looking begat lusting. Intemperance begins at the eye. Looking on the wine when it is red and gives its colour in the glass, causes excess of drinking. Prov 23: 31. Covetousness begins at the eye. 'When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and a wedge of gold, I coveted and took them.' Josh 7: 21. The fire of lust begins to kindle at the eye. David walking upon the roof of his house saw a woman washing herself, and she was, says the text, 'beautiful to look upon,' and he sent messengers and took her, and defiled himself with her. 2 Sam 11: 2. 0 therefore look to your eyes! Job made a covenant with his eyes. Job 31: 1. If the eye be once inflamed, it will be hard to stand out long against sin. If the outworks are taken by the enemy, there is great danger of the whole castle being taken. (5) If you would be kept from actual gross sin, study sobriety and temperance. I Pet 5: 8. Sobrii este, be sober. Check the inordinance of appetite, for sin frequently makes its entrance this way. By gratifying the sensitive appetite, the soul, that is akin to angels, is enslaved to the brutish part. Many drink to drowsiness, if not to drunkenness. Not denying the sensitive appetite, makes men's consciences full of guilt, and the world full of scandal. If you would be kept from running into sin, lay restraint upon the flesh. For what has God given reason and conscience but to be a bridle to check inordinate desires? (6) If you would be kept from actual sins, be continually upon your spiritual watch. Watch your thoughts. 'How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee?' Jer 4: I4. Sin begins at the thoughts. First, men cherish revengeful thoughts, then they dip their hands in blood. Set a spy over your thoughts. Watch your passions of anger and passions of lust. The heart is ready to be destroyed by its own passions, as a vessel to be overturned by its sails. Passion transports beyond the bounds of reason; it is brevis insania (Seneca), a short frenzy. Moses in a passion 'spake unadvisedly with his lips.' Psa 106: 33. The disciples in a passion called fire from heaven. A man in a passion is like a ship in a storm that has neither pilot nor sails to help it, but is exposed to waves and rocks. Watch your temptations. Satan continually lies in ambush, and watches to draw us to sin; stat in procincto diabolus [the devil stands girded for battle]. He is fishing for our souls; he is either laying snares, or shooting darts. Therefore we had need watch him, that we be not decoyed into sin. Most sin is committed for want of watchfulness. (7) If you would be kept front the evil of sin, consult the oracles of God; be well versed in Scripture. 'Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee.' Psa 119: 11. The word is anceps gladius, a two-edged sword, to cut asunder men's lusts. When the fogs and vapours of sin begin to rise, let but the light of Scripture shine in the soul, and it dispels them. 'Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.' Col 3: I6. Alphonsus, king of Arragon, read over the Bible fourteen times. The word shows the damnable evil of sin; it furnishes us with precepts, which are so many recipes and antidotes against sin. When Christ had a temptation to sin, he beat back the tempter, and wounded him three times with the sword of the Spirit: 'It is written.' Why do men live in sin, but because they either do not read the word or do not believe it? (8) If you would be preserved from gross, presumptuous sin, get your hearts fired with love to God. Love has great force in it; it is 'strong as death;' it breaks the league between the heart and sin. Two things in God cause love.  His glorious beauty. Moses desired to see some glimpse of it. 'Lord, show me thy glory.'  His amazing love. What a prodigy of love was it, to give his Son out of his bosom, and lay such a jewel to pawn for our redemption! The glories of God's beauty, and the magnitude of his love, like two loadstones, draw our love to God; and if we love him, we shall not sin against him: he that loves his friend, will not by any means displease him. I have read of four men meeting together, who asked one another what it was that kept them from sinning? One said, the fear of hell; another said, the joys of heaven; the third said, the odiousness of sin; the fourth said, that which keeps me from sin is love to God; shall I sin against so good a God? shall I abuse love? Love to God is the best curbing-bit to keep from sin. (9) If you would be kept from the evil of sin, be diligent in a calling. Dii laboribus omnia vendunt [Work buys all things from the gods]. Adam in paradise must till the ground. Such as live idly, expose themselves to sin. If we have no work to do, Satan will find us work; he sows most of his seed in fallow ground. A woman being much tempted to sin, came to the reverend Mr Greenham, and asked him what she should do to resist temptation? He answered, Be always well employed, that when Satan comes he may find thee busied in thy calling, and not at leisure to listen to his temptation. (10) If you would be kept from sin, fix the eye of your mind upon the 'beauty of holiness.' Holiness consists in conformity to God. It is the sparkling of the divine nature, a beam of God shining in the soul. How lovely is Christ's bride when decked and bespangled with the jewels of holiness! What makes the seraphims angels of light, but their holiness? Do but think with yourselves what a splendid, glorious thing holiness is, and it will cause a disgust and hatred of sin, which is so contrary to it. The beholding of beauty will make us out of love with deformity. (11) If you would keep from the evil of sin, meditate frequently on death. Think of the unavoidableness of it. Heb 9: 27. Statutum est. 'It is appointed unto men once to die.' We are not so sure to lie down this night in bed as to lie down in the grave. Think of the uncertainty of the time. We are but tenants at will. We hold our life at the will of our landlord, and how soon may God turn us out of this house of clay! Death often comes when we least look for it. The flood, as some learned writers observe, came in the month Ziph, or April, in the spring; when the trees were blossoming, and the birds singing, and men least looked for it; so, often in the spring of youth, when the body is most healthy, and the spirits most sprightly and vigorous, and it is least thought on, then death comes. Could we think often and seriously of death, it would give a death's wound to sin. Nihil sic revocat peccata quam crebra morbis contemplatio [Nothing restrains from sin so much as the frequent thought of death]. Augustine. No stronger antidote against sin than the thought I am now sinning, and to-morrow may be dying. What if death should find me doing the devil's work, would it not send me to him to receive my wages? Would the adulterer but think, I am now in the act of sin, but how soon may death come, and then I who have burned in lust, must burn in hell! it would strike a damp into his soul, and make him afraid of going after strange flesh. (12) If you would be kept from gross, scandalous sins, beware of a covetous heart. Covetousness is a dry drunkenness. He who thirsts insatiably after the world will stick at no sin; he will betray Christ and a good cause for money. Cui nihil satis, eidem nihil turpe [The man for whom nothing is enough holds nothing shameful]. Tacitus. 'The love of money is the root of all evil.' I Tim 6: 10. From this root comes theft. Achan's covetous humour made him steal the wedge of gold. Josh 7: 21. Covetousness makes the gaols full. From this root comes murder. Why did Ahab stone Naboth to death but to possess his vineyard? I Kings 21: 13. Covetousness has made many swim to the crown in blood. From this bitter root of covetousness proceeds fraud. It is the covetous hand that holds false weights. From this root of covetousness comes uncleanness. You read of the hire of a whore. Deut 23: 18. For money she would let both her conscience and chastity be set to sale. Oh, if you would be kept from the evil of sin, beware of covetousness, which is the inlet to so many sins! (13) Let us be much in prayer to God, to keep us from engulfing ourselves in sin. 'Keep back thy servant from presumptuous sins.' Psa 19: I3. We have no power inherent to keep us from evil. Arnoldus says, that man in his corrupt estate, has aliquas reliquias vitae spiritualis, some relics of spiritual life left. And Arminius says, man has a sufficiency of grace within himself whereby he may abstinere a malo, abstain from evil; that freewill is a sufficient curb to check and pull him back from sin. But what needed Christ to have taught us this prayer: Libera nos a malo, 'Deliver us from evil'? If we have power of ourselves to keep from sin, why pray to God for power? Alas! if David and Peter, who in a habit of grace fell, for want of a fresh gale of the Spirit to hold them up, much more will they be in danger of falling who have only the power of freewill to hold them. Let us therefore sue to God for strength to keep us from sinning! Let us pray the prayer of David, 'Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe' (Psa 119: 117); and that other prayer, 'Hold up my goings in thy paths, that my footsteps slip nos.' Psa 17: 5. Lord, keep me from dishonouring thee; keep me from the defiling sins of the age, that I may not be worse for the times, nor the times the worse for me. 'Keep back thy servant from presumptuous sins.' Lord, whatever I suffer, keep me from sin. The child is safe in the nurse's arms; and we are only safe from falling into sin while we are held up in the arms of Christ and free grace. Secondly, this exhortation has an aspect to God's children. You that are professors, and carry Christ's colours, I beseech you, above all others, to take heed of sin; beware of any action that is scandalous and unbecoming the gospel. You have heard what a prodigious hyperbolical evil sin is. Come not near the forbidden fruit. 'Though Israel play the harlot, yet let not Judah offend.' Hos 4: 15. So, though wicked men run into sin, yet let not the spouse of Christ defile the breasts of her virginity. Sin ill becomes any, but least becomes professors. Dung is unsightly in the street; but to see it in the temple is much more offensive. Leprosy in the foot is ill, but to see a leprous sore in the face is much worse: to see sin break forth in those who have a face of religion, is most to be abominated. The sins of the wicked are not so much to be wondered at. 'The wicked shall do wickedly.' Dan 12: 10. It is no wonder to see a toad spit poison. It was not so wonderful to see Cain or Ahab sin; but to see Lot's incest, to see David's hands stained with blood, was strange indeed. When the sun is eclipsed every one stands and looks at it; so when a child of light is eclipsed by scandalous sin, all stand and gaze at such an eclipse. The sins of God's people do, in some sense, provoke him more than the sins of the wicked! We read of the provocations of his sons and daughters. Deut 32: 19. The sins of the wicked anger God, but the sins of his people grieve him. The sins of God's people have a more malignant aspect, and are of a blacker dye than others. There are aggravations in the sins of his people, which are not to be found in the sins of the unregenerate, in eight particulars: (1) The godly have something which may ponere obicem [set up a barrier], restrain them from sin. When wicked men sin, they have no principle to restrain them; they have wind and tide to carry them, they have nothing to pull them back from sin; but a child of God has a principle of grace to give check to sin; he has the impulses of God's Spirit dissuading him from evil. For him, therefore, to commit sin is far worse than for others. It is to sin more desperately; it is as if a woman should go about to kill the babe in her womb. Christian, when thou sinnest presumptuously, thou doest what in thee liest to kill the babe of grace in thy soul. (2) The sins of God's people are greater than others, because they sin against more mercy. It is like a weight put in a scale to make sin weigh heavier. God has given Christ to a believer; he has cut him off from the wild stock of nature, and grafted him into the true olive; and for him to abuse all this mercy is to outdo the wicked, and to sin with a higher aggravation, because it is to sin against greater love. How was Peter's sin enhanced and accented, by Christ having done more for him than others! He had dropped some of the holy oil upon him; he had taken him into the number of the apostles; he had carried him up into the mount of transfiguration, and shown him the glory of heaven in a vision. For Peter to deny Christ after all this mercy was heinous, and could not be forgiven but by a miracle and prodigy of love. (3) The sins of the godly have this aggravation in them, that they sin against clearer illumination than the wicked. 'They are of those that rebel against the light.' Job 24: 13. Light is there taken figuratively for knowledge. It cannot be denied, but the wicked sin knowingly; but the godly have a light beyond them, such a divine, penetrating light as no hypocrite can attain to. They have better eyes to see sin than others; and for them to meddle with sin and embrace this dunghill, must needs provoke God, and make the fury rise up in his face. O therefore, you that are the people of God, flee from sin; your sins are more enhanced, and have worse aggravations in them, than the sins of the unregenerate. (4) The sins of the godly are worse than the unregenerate; for, when they sin, it is against great experiences. They have felt the bitterness of sin in the pangs of the new birth, and afterwards God has spoken peace, and they have had an experimental taste how sweet the Lord is; and yet, after these experiences, that they should touch the forbidden fruit, and venture upon a presumptuous sin, enhances and aggravates their guilt, and is like putting a weight more in the scale to make their sin weigh heavier. The wicked have never tasted the sweetness of a heavenly life; they have never known what it is to have any smiles from God; they have never tasted anything sweeter than corn and wine; therefore no wonder if they sin: but for a child of God who has had such love-tokens from heaven, and signal experiences from God, for him to gratify a lust, how horrid is this! It was an aggravation of Solomon's sin, that his heart was turned from the Lord, who had appeared to him twice. I Kings 11: 9. (5) The sins of the godly are greater than others, because they sin against their sonship. When wicked men sin, they sin against the command; but when the godly sin, they sin against a privilege; they abuse their sonship. The godly are adopted into the family of heaven, they have a new name. Is it a light thing, said David, to be son-in-law to a king? So, to be called the sons of God, to be heirs of the promises, is no small honour. For such to run into an open offence, is sinning against their adoption. They hereby make themselves vile, as if a king's son should be tumbling in the mire, or lie among swine. (6) The sins of the godly are worse than others, because they are committed against more vows and engagements. They have given up their names to God; they have bound themselves solemnly to God by oath. 'I have sworn that I will keep thy righteous judgements.' Psa 119: 106. In the supper of the Lord, they have renewed this sacred vow; and, after this, to run into presumptuous sin, is a breach of vow, a kind of perjury, which dyes the sin of a crimson colour. (7) The sins of the godly are worse than others, because they bring a greater reproach upon religion. For the wicked to sin, must be expected from them, as swine will wallow in the mire; but when sheep do so, when the godly sin, it redounds to the dishonour of the gospel. 'By this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme.' 2 Sam 12: I4. Every one's eye is upon a stain in scarlet; for the godly to sin, is like a spot in scarlet, it is more taken notice of, and reflects greater dishonour upon the ways of God. When the sun is eclipsed, every one stands and looks upon it; so, when a child of light is eclipsed by scandalous sin, all stand and gaze at it. How does the gospel suffer by the miscarriages of the godly! Their blood can never wash off the stain they bring upon religion. (8) The sins of the godly are worse, because they encourage and harden wicked men in sin. If the wicked see the godly loose and uncircumspect in their lives, they think they may do so too. The wicked make the godly their pattern, not in imitating their virtues, but their vices; and is it not fearful to be the means to damn others? These are the aggravations of the sins of the godly. You, therefore, above all others, beware of presumptuous sin. Your sins wound conscience, weaken grace, and do more highly provoke God than the sins of others, and God will be sure to punish you. Whoever escapes, you shall not. 'You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.' Amos 3: 2. If God does not damn you, he may send you to hell in this life; he may cause such agonies and tremblings of heart, that you will be a terror to yourselves. You may draw nigh to despair, and be ready to look upon yourselves as castaways. When David had stained himself with adultery and murder, he complained of his broken bones. Psa 51: 8. This metaphor sets forth the grief and agony of his soul; he lay in sore desertion three quarters of a year, and it is thought he never recovered his full joy to his dying day. O. therefore, you who belong to God and are enrolled in his family, take heed of blemishing your profession with scandalous sin; you will pay dear for it. Think of the broken bones. Though God does not blot you out of his book, yet he may cast you out of his presence. Psa 51: 2: He may keep you in long desertion. You may feel such lashes in your conscience, that you may roar out and think yourselves half in hell.  We also pray in a special sense, 'Deliver us from evil.' We pray to be delivered from evil under a threefold notion. 1. From the evil of our heart, which is called an evil heart. Heb 3: 12. 2. From the evil of Satan, who is called the 'wicked one.' Matt 13: 19. 3. From the evil of the world, which is called en 'evil world.' Gal 1: 4. (1) In the petition, 'Deliver us from evil,' we pray to be delivered from the evil of our heart, that it may not entice us to sin. The heart is the poisoned fountain, from whence all actual sins flow. 'Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, fornications, murders.' Mark 7: 21. The cause of all evil lies in a man's own breast, all sin begins at the heart. Lust is first conceived in the heart, and then it is midwifed into the world. Whence comes rash anger? The heart sets the tongue on fire. The heart is a shop or workhouse, where all sin is contrived and hammered out. How needful, therefore, is this prayer, deliver us from the evil of our hearts! The heart is the greatest seducer, therefore the apostle James says, 'Every man is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.' James 1: I4. The devil could not hurt us, if our own hearts did not give consent. All that he can do is to lay the bait, but it is our fault to swallow it. O let us pray to be delivered from the lusts and deceits of our own heart. 'Deliver us from evil.' Luther feared his heart more than the pope or cardinal; and it was Augustine's prayer, Libera me, Domine, a meipso; Lord, deliver me from myself. It was good advice one gave to his friend, Caveas teipsum [Beware of yourself]. Beware of the bosom traitor, the flesh. The heart of a man is the Trojan horse, out of which comes a whole army of lusts. (2) In this petition, 'Deliver us from evil,' we pray to be delivered from the evil of Satan. He is 'the wicked one.' Matt 13: 19. In what respect is Satan the wicked one? He was the first inventor of evil. He plotted the first treason. John 8: 44. His inclination is only to evil. Eph 6: 12. His constant practice is doing evil. I Pet 5: 8. He has some hand in all the evils and mischief that fall out in the world. He hinders from good. 'He showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.' Zech 3: 1. He provokes to evil. He put it into Ananias' heart to lie. 'Why has Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost?' Acts 5: 3. The devil blows the fire of lust and strife. When men are proud, the old serpent has poisoned them, and makes them swell. Thus he is the evil one and well may we pray, 'Lord, deliver us from the evil one.' The word Satan in the Hebrew signifies an opponent or adversary. He is a restless adversary, he never sleeps. Spirits need no sleep. He is a peripatetic. He 'walketh about.' I Pet 5: 8. And how does he walk? Not as a pilgrim, but as a spy. He narrowly observes where he may plant his pieces of battery, and make his assaults with most advantage against us. Satan is a subtle engineer; there is no place that can secure us from his assaults and inroads. While we are praying, hearing, and meditating, we are of his company, though uncertain how we came by it. Satan is a mighty adversary, he is armed with power. He is called the 'strong man.' Luke 11: 21. He takes men captive at his pleasure. 'Who are taken captive by him at his will,' who are taken alive by him. 2 Tim 2: 26. It alludes to a bird that is taken alive in the snare. The devil's work is to angle for men's souls; he lays suitable baits; he allures the ambitious man with honour, the covetous man with riches; he hooks his bait with silver; he allures the lustful man with beauty, he tempts men to Delilah's lap to keep them from Abraham's bosom. The devil glories in the damnation of souls. How needful then is this prayer, 'Deliver us from evil!' Lord, keep us from the evil one. Though Satan may solicit us to sin, suffer us not to give consent; though he may assault the castle of our hearts, yet let us not deliver up the keys of the castle to our mortal enemy. (3) In this petition, 'Deliver us from evil,' we pray to be delivered from the evil of the world. It is called an evil world, not but that the world, as God made it, is good, but through our corruption it becomes evil, and we had need pray, deliver us from an evil world. Gal 1: 4. In what sense is it an evil world? (1) It is a defiling world. It is like living in an infectious air, it requires a high degree of grace to keep ourselves 'unspotted from the world.' James 1: 27. It is as hard to live in the world and not be defiled, as to go much in the sun and not be tanned. The opinions of the world are defiling; as that a little religion will serve the turn; that like leaf gold, it must be spread but thin; that morality runs parallel with grace; that to be zealous is to be righteous over much; that it is better to keep the skin whole than the conscience pure; that the flesh is rather to be gratified than mortified. These opinions of the world are defiling. The examples of the world are defiling. Examples have great force to draw us to evil. Princeps imperio magnus exemplo major [A prince great in power is greater by his example]. Princes are looking-glasses by which we dress ourselves; if they do evil, we are apt to imitate them. Great men are copies we set before us, and usually we write most like the copy when it is blotted. There is great proneness in us to follow the examples of the world; therefore God has put in a caveat against it. 'Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil.' Exod 23: 2. How easily are we hurried to sin, when we have the tide of natural corruption and the wind of example to carry us! Lot was the world's wonder; the complexion of his soul kept pure in Sodom's infectious air. The river of Peru, in America, after running into the main sea, keeps fresh, and does not mingle with the salt waters; to which Lot might be compared, whose piety kept fresh in Sodom's salt water. Bad examples are catching. 'They were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works.' Psa 106: 35. Had we not need then pray, Lord, deliver us from this evil world? Living in the world is like travelling in a dirty road. (2) It is an evil world, as it is an ensnaring world. The world is full of snares. Company is a snare, recreation is a snare, oaths are snares, riches are golden snares. Opes irritamenfa malorum [Riches are incitements to sin]. The apostle speaks of the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life.' I John 2: 16. The lust of the flesh is beauty, the lust of the eye is money, the pride of life is honour; these are the natural man's trinity. In mundo splendor opum, gloriae majestas, voluptatum illecebrae ab amore Dei nos abstrabunt [In the world, the splendour of wealth, the greatness of high reputation and the allurements of pleasure draw us away from the love of God]. The world is a flattering enemy; whom it kisses it betrays; it is a silken halter. The pleasures of the world, like opium, cast men into the sleep of security. Lysimachus sold his crown for a draught of water; so, many part with heaven for the world. The king of Armenia was sent prisoner to queen Cleopatra in golden fetters. Too many are enslaved with the world's golden fetters. The world bewitched Demas. 2 Tim 4: 10. One of Christ's own apostles was caught with a silver bait. It is hard to drink the wine of prosperity and not be giddy. The world, through our innate corruption, is evil, as it is a snare. 'They that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare.' 1 Tim 6: 9. If an angel were to live here, there were no danger of the world's ensnaring him, because he has no principle within to receive the temptation; but we have a corrupt principle that suits the temptation, and that makes us always in danger. (3) It is an evil world as it is a discouraging world. It casts scorn and reproach upon those who live virtuously. What, will you be holier than others, wiser than your ancestors? The world deals with the professors of religion, as Sanballat did with the Jews when they were building. 'He mocked the Jews, and said, What do these feeble Jews? Will they fortify themselves? Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which are burned?' Neh 4: 1. So the wicked world casts out squibs of reproach at the godly. What, will ye build for heaven? What needs all this cost? What profit is it to serve the Almighty? Thus the world would pluck off our chariot wheels when we are driving towards heaven. These are called cruel mockings. Heb 11: 36. It requires a great measure of sanctity to withstand the discouragements of the world, to dance among serpents, to laugh at reproaches, and bind them as a crown about our head. (4) It is an evil world as it is a deadening world. It dulls and deadens the affections to heavenly objects. It cools holy motions, like a damp in a silver mine, which puts out the light. Earthly things choke the seed of the word. A man entangled in the world is so taken up with secular concerns that he can no more mind the things above than the earth can ascend, or the elephant fly in the air. And even such as have grace in them, when their affections are belimed with the earth, they find themselves much indisposed to meditation and prayer; it is like swimming with a stone about the neck. (5) It is an evil world as it is a maligning world. It hates the people of God. 'Because ye are not of the world, therefore the world hateth you.' John 15: 19. Hatred, as Aristotle says, is against the whole kind. Haman's hatred was against the seed of the whole Jews. When you can find a serpent without a sting, or a leopard without spots, then you may expect to find a wicked world without hatred. The mark that is shot at is piety. 'They are mine adversaries, because I follow the thing that good is.' Psa 38: 20. The world pretends to hate the godly for something else, but the ground of the quarrel is holiness. The world's hatred is implacable; anger may be reconciled, hatred cannot. You may as well reconcile heaven and hell, as the two seeds. If the world hated Christ, no wonder it hates us. 'The world hated me before it hated you.' John 15: 18. Why should any hate Christ? This blessed Dove had no gall, this Rose of Sharon sent forth the sweetest perfume; but it shows the world's baseness, that it is a Christ-hating and a saint-hating world. Had we not need to pray, deliver us from this evil world? (6) It is an evil world, as it is a deceitful world. There is deceit in dealing. 'He is a merchant, the balances of deceit are in his hand.' Hos 12: 7. The Hebrew word rimmah signifies both to deceive and oppress. He who dares use deceit will not spare to oppress. There is a deceit in friendship. 'But a faithful man who can find?' Prov 20: 6. Trita frequensque via est per amici fallere nomen. Some use too much courtship in friendship; they are like trumpets which make a great noise, but within they are hollow. Some can flatter and hate, commend and censure. Mel in ore, fel in corde [Honey on the tongue, gall in the heart]. Dissembled love is worse than hatred. There is deceit in riches. 'The deceitfulness of riches.' Matt 13: 22. The world makes us believe it will satisfy our desires, and it does but increase them; it makes us believe it will stay with us, and it takes wings. Prov 23: 5. (7) It is an evil world, as it is a disquieting world. It is full of trouble. John 16: 33. The world is like a beehive; when, having tasted a little honey, we have been stung with a thousand bees. Basil was of opinion that before the fall the rose grew without prickles; but now every sweet flower of our life has its thorns. There are many things which cause disquiet-loss of friends, law-suits, crosses in estate. Relations are not without their troubles; some are troubled that they have no children, others that they have children: the world is a vexing vanity. If a man be poor, he is despised by the rich; if he be rich, he is envied by the poor. If we do not find an ensnaring world, we shall find it an afflicting world; it has more in it to wean us than tempt us. The world is a sea, where we are tossed upon the surging waves of sorrow, and often in danger of shipwreck. It is a wilderness, full of fiery serpents. What storms of persecution are raised against the righteous! 2 Tim 3: 12. The wicked are briers, where Christ's sheep lose some of their golden fleece. Mic 7: 4. Then had we not need pray, Lord, deliver us from being hurt by this evil world? Why should we be forbidden to love the world? Though we are commanded to love our enemies, yet this is an enemy we must not love. 'Love not the world.' I John 2: 15.  Let it be observed, however, that abstaining from, or forbearing the external acts of sin, is not sufficient to entitle us to salvation. When we pray, 'Deliver us from evil,' more is implied in it, as that we make progress in holiness. Being divorced from sin is not enough, unless we are espoused to virtue; therefore in Scripture these two are joined. 'Depart from evil, and do good.' Psa 34: 14; Rom 12: 9. 'Cease to do evil, learn to do well.' Isa 1: 16, 17. 'Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit perfecting holiness.' 2 Cor 7: 1. Leaving sin is not enough, unless we embrace righteousness. Virtutis est magis honesta agere quam non turpia [The mark of righteousness is rather to do good than not to do evil]. As it is in the body, it is not enough that the disease be stopped, but it must grow in health; so in the soul, it is not enough that acts of sin be forborne, which is stopping a disease, but it must be healthy, and grow in holiness. Use 1. Those are reproved who labour only to suppress the outward acts of sin, but do not press on to holiness; they cease from doing evil but do not learn to do well. Their religion lies only in negatives; they glory in this, that they are given to no vice, none can charge them with any foul miscarriages. 'God, I thank thee that I am not as other men are; extortioners, unjust, adulterers.' Luke 18: 11. This is not enough, you must advance a step further in solid piety. It is not enough that a field be not sown with tares or hemlock, but it must be sown with good seed. Consider two things: (1) If that you are not guilty of gross sins be the best certificate you have to show, God makes no account of you. Though a piece of brass be not so bad as clay, yet not being so good as silver, it will not pass for current coin; so, though you are not grossly profane, yet not being of the right metal, wanting the stamp of holiness, you will never pass current in heaven. (2) A man may abstain from evil, yet he may go to hell for not doing good. 'Every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit, is hewn down, and cast into the fire.' Matt 3: 10. Why were the foolish virgins shut out? They had done no hurt, they had not broken their lamps: yea, but their fault was, there was no goodness in them, they had no oil in their lamps. O therefore, let us not content ourselves in being free from gross acts of sin, but let us launch forth further in holiness; let us cleanse ourselves from all pollution, perfecting holiness.  'Deliver us from evil,' may be from temporal evil. We pray that God will either prevent temporal evils or deliver us out of them. (1) We pray that God will prevent temporal evils; that he will be our screen, to stand between us and danger. 'Save me from them that persecute me.' Psa 7: 1. We may lawfully pray against the plots of the wicked, that they may prove abortive, that, though they have a design upon us, they may not have their desire upon us. 'Keep me from the snares which they have laid for me.' Psa 141: 9. (2) We pray that God will deliver us out of temporal evils; that he will remove his judgements from us, whether famine, sword, or pestilence. 'Remove thy stroke away from me.' Psa 39: 10. Yet may we pray to be delivered from temporal evils, only so far as God sees it good for us. We may pray to be delivered from the evil of sin absolutely, but we must pray to be delivered from temporal evils conditionally, so far as God sees fit for us, and may stand with his glory. Use 2. In all the troubles that lie upon us, let us look up to God for ease and succour. 'Should not a people seek unto their God?' Isa 8: 19. The Papists, then, are to blame who knock at the wrong door. When they are in any trouble, they pray to the saints to deliver them. When they are in danger of shipwreck, they pray to St Nicholas; when they are in the fit of a fever, they pray to St Petronilla! when they are in travail, they pray to St Margaret. How unlawful it is to invocate saints in prayer I will prove from one Scripture: 'How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed?' Rom 10: 14. We may pray to none but such as we believe in; but we ought not to believe in any saint, therefore we may not pray to him. The Papists have, in their Lady's Psalter, directed their prayers for deliverance to the Virgin Mary; Deliver me, O Lady. Benedicta Domina, in manibus tuis reposita est nostra salus; O thou blessed Lady, in thy hands our salvation is laid up. But 'Abraham be ignorant of us.' Isa 63: 16. The saints and virgin Mary are ignorant of us. To pray to saints is idolatry advanced to blasphemy. Our Saviour has taught us in all our distresses to pray to God for a cure. 'Deliver us from evil.' He only knows what our troubles are, and can give us help from trouble; he only that laid the burden on can take it off. David went to God: 'O bring thou me out of my distresses.' Psa 25: 17. God with a word can heal. 'He sent his word, and healed them.' Psa 107: 20. He delivered the three children out of the fiery furnace, Joseph out of prison, Daniel out of the lions' den; which proves him to be God, because none can deliver as he does. 'There is no other God that can deliver after this sort.' Dan 3: 29. Let us, then, in all our straits and exigencies, look to God, and say, 'Deliver us from evil.' End The Lord's Prayer by Thomas Watson (... concluded) ---------------------------------------------------- file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-09: watlp-28.txt .