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June 2008

from Thomas Watson

Thomas Watson (c1620-1686) is one of the best known, most republished and spiritually esteemed of the English Puritans. In the course of his exposition of The Lord's Prayer , while dealing with the opening statement (‘Our Father which art in heaven', Matthew 6:9), he addresses the question, Wherein lies the happiness of having God for our Father? Then, with typical Puritan fullness such that no stone is left unturned, he proceeds to give a 20-point answer! Here it is, in headings only. It may be found in full on pages 15-25 of the Banner of Truth edition, a close perusal of which is warmly recommended.

If God be our Father:

(1) he will teach us .

(2) he has bowels of affection towards us .

(3) he will be full of sympathy .

(4) he will take notice of the least good he sees in us .

(5) he will take all we do in good part .

(6) he will correct us in measure .

(7) he will intermix mercy with all our afflictions .

(8) the evil one shall not prevail against us .

(9) no real evil shall befall us .

(10) we may go with cheerfulness to the throne of grace.

(11) he will stand between us and danger.

(12) we shall not want anything that he sees to be good for us.

(13) all the promises of the Bible belong to us.

(14) he makes all his children conquerors.

(15) he will now and then send us some token of his love.

(16) he will indulge and spare us.

(17) he will put honour and renown upon us at the last day.

(18) he will settle a good inheritance upon us.

(19) it is a comfort in case of the loss of relations.

(20) he will not disinherit us.

As a taster of the many good things he draws out under these headings, here is something from section (4): how God as our Father will take notice of the least good he sees in us. ‘If there be but a sigh for sin, he hears it … If but a penitential tear comes out of the eye, he sees it … If there be but a good intention, he takes notice of it … He takes notice of the least spark of grace in his children … What comfort is this! God spies the least good in his children; he can see a grain of corn hid under chaff, grace hid under corruption'.