Изображения страниц

righteous runneth into it, and is safe. Every part of his name is a secret chamber, where a believer may feed, feast, and be safe in the worst of times. His names and titles are cordials to a fainting soul; his atttibutes are a magazine of comfort, and a fountain of fulness for all wants; his ordinances are breasts of consolations; his word is a good heri. tage ; and his works are full of wonder, declaring what a great and good God he is.

[3.] The good of others. It is a great kindness to a blinded world to take up this name in our lips and lives. It is like the pouring out of ointment, and breaking of spices, that they may find the fragrant smell, and desire to be partakers, John iv. We should commend his names, titles, attributes, ordinances, word, and works to others. It is glory to God, good for us, and may do good to others. It was Christ's work, John xvii. 26. and was comfortable to him when going out of the world, and would be so to us at that hour.

Secondly, We are to use this name in all the parts of it holily and reverently, whatever way we use the same, whether in thought, word, or deed. This is very extensive; but there are three things especially aimed at in the holy and reverent use of God's name.

1. The using of it in faith. If we use not his names, titles, &c. in faith, we take them in vain, Heb. xi. 6. Rom. xiv. ult. If we believe not his being, what his names and titles import, our giving them to him is but hypocritical compliment. Do we call him Hearer of prayer ? let us be sure of the faith of it, or we do but mock God. If we believe not his word, as it will not please him, so it will not profit us, Heb. iv. 2. Unbelief makes us take his name in vain.

2. In fear. To use the name of God without fear and reverence of his majesty, is to abuse it, Deut. xxvii. 58. His names and titles are dreadful, though sweet. I may say of them as of the rings, they are so high that they are dreadful Ezek. i. 18. His attributes are so: for even that love, mercy, and grace towards sinners, comes not but through the wounds made in the side of the Mediator by the sword of justice. His ordinances need nothing from men to make them awful; in their greatest simplicity they have an impression of divine authority on them, and God's special presence in them, sufficient to awe the hearts of them that are not blinded. His word has a peculiar majesty in it; and the meanest of his works bear the impression of a divine hand. And shall we use them without fear? . 3. In singleness, to a right end; not for no end, a carnal „selfish end, far less a wicked end; but for the honour of God, the good of ourselves and others. It is a precious treasure opened unto sinners for their eternal welfare, not to be la. vished out to no good purpose, but for the highest and best ends. So that these things must be reserved as sacred, and .not meddled with but in matters, of highest importance. More particularly,

1st, We must holily and reverently use his names and titles, when we think, speak, or any way handle them, with aith, fear, and singleness, having a holy dread and awe of his majesty on our spirits, as believing him to be what he calls himself, Jer. v. 22. and looking on him as his name is high above all.

2dly, We must holily and reverently use his attributes, thinking and speaking of them in a reverent and spiritual manner, and making such use of them for our own particu• lar case, and the case of others, as the revealing of them is designed for, otherwise we use them in vain, Psal. cxxx. 4. 2 Cor. v. 11.

3dly, We must holily and reverently use his ordinances going about all of them in the right manner; praying in the spirit, singing with grace in the heart, making melody unto the Lord; preaching or hearing in faith, communicating worthily with grace and grace in exercise, &c. In a word, it requires all to be done in the ordinances after the right manner. Particularly,

(1.) We must use God's name holily and reverently in an path. When the oath being lawful, and we are called to it by authority, we swear in truth, in judgment, and in righteousness, Jer. iv, 2.

(1.) In truth; which implies, (1.) That the thing be truth in itself which we swear to, otherwise we call God to witness to a lie. (2.) That we be persuaded in our consciences that it is truth. So that here is required an agreement of our words with the truth of the thing sworn, and an agreement of our minds with our words Psal. xv. 2. (3.) That it be without fraud or deceit, whereby all equivocations or mental reservations are to be far from oaths, as we would not

profane that sacred name; and the intent of the imposer is to be regarded.

(2.) In judgment; which implies, (1.) That we must un. derstand the thing we swear, that it be not dubious and per. plexed, swearing we know not what. (2.) That we under. stand the nature of an oath, viz. that we thereby solemnly call God to witness to the truth of what we assert or pro. mise, and to judge us according to the truth or falsehood of what we swear, And therefore, (3.) That it be gone about with a due fear and reverence of God on our spirit, as knowing it is God we have to do with. Hence the righteous man is represented as one that feareth an oath.

(3.) In righteousness; which implies, (1.) That the thing we swear be lawful and just; for an oath is abused when it is made a bond of iniquity; and so that the thing be possible, and in our power. (2.) That it be for good ends viz, that God be glorified, Josh. vii. 19; our neighbour sa. tisfied, and controversy ended, Heb, yi. 16; our own innocency cleared, Exod. xxii. 11, &c. (3.) That we mind well and firmly resolve to perform it.

(2.) In lots God's name is holily and reverently used, · when,

(1.) They are used in a matter of weight; for the end of them is the same with that of an oath, Prov. xviii, 18. And the nature of them is not unlike, being an appeal to God's decision, Prov. xvi. 33. And so we find they are weighty cases in scripture wherein they are used, as in the cases of Jonah and Matthias.

(2.) When they are necessary, and the matter cannot otherwise be decided without great inconveniences, as in the above cases. And reason teaches, that this being God's decision, men ought not without great necessity to go off the ordinary road.

(3.) When men eye God in the lot, look to him for the decision, with calling on his name, Jonah i. Acts i.

(4.) When the matter is singly given up to God, and no fraud or trick is used to cast the matter to one side rather than another; for that is to put the decision first in God's hand, and then to take it out again, which is a mocking of God. (5.) Lastly, When with due reverence that is received

which falls by the lot, as coming from the determination of God.

Were these things duly considered, I think men would not make such use of lotting, by casting cavils, drawing cuts, &c. but would satisfy themselves otherwise many times.

41hly, We must holily and reverently use the word, think. ing of, speaking, and hearing it with godly fear, as the word of God, and that we may obey it.

5thly, and lastly, We must holily and reverently use his works, thinking of, speaking of, and using them to the honour of God, our own and others welfare, adoring the Author, and giving him the praise of all.

To shut up all, we do thus use the name of God, by hav, ing a conversation suitable to that great and glorious name we profess to honour, Phil. i. 27. For we take his name in vain when our practice thwarts our profession; for that makes the name of God to be blasphemed, Rom. ii. 24.

II. I proceed to shew what is forbidden in the third com. mandment. It • forbids all profaning or abusing of any thing whereby God makes himself known.'

This command is broken two ways. .

1. By not using the name of God as is required, Mal. ii. 2. So as many duties as are required, so many sins there are in omitting these duties. Hence this command is broken by our not hallowing and glorifying God's name, by not taking up the name of God into our minds, lips, and lives. We contract guilt against this command by not thinking and me. ditating on God's titles, attributes, &c. not speaking of them for the glory of God, our own and the good of others; not writing of it when men are gifted for it, and have a real call to do it. So also by not making a profession of religion ; a real profession at all times; a verbal profession when men are by providence called thereto, Not using God's ordinances. Particularly it is a sin against this command, to refuse an oath touching what is good and just, when duly called thereunto. For in all these cases there is a neglect of the duty of glorifying God's name enjoined in this command.

2. By profaning or abusing of the name of God; that is, any thing whereby God makes himself known. This is the great sin forbidden in this command; a bitter root that

spreads itself out with many branches. In speaking to it, I shall shew,

1. The more plain and palpable profanations of that holy name forbidden in this command.

2. Other ways how the Lord's name is abused and taken in vain.

First. I am to shew the more plain and palpable profanations of that holy name forbidden in this command. The name of God is plainly and palpably abused,

1. When it is used ignorantly, as it was by the Athenians, whom the apostle Paul charges with worshipping God igno. rantly, Acts xviii. 23. And of this all those that are ignorant of God, Christ, and the way of salvation, cannot but be guilty, when they do at all use that holy name: for as no man can work right in the dark, so the darkness of ignorance on the soul utterly unfits it to glorify the name of God. And in what measure soever that culpable ignorance lies on us, so far are we guilty in that case. How is the name of God abused by ignorant persons, while they mention the name of they know not whom, and speak of him they know not what? They will call God their God, who know not the nature of that. God, the covenant of grace, or the way how he becomes ours. They will call Christ their sweet Saviour, while they know not who he is, nor are acquainted with his salvation. They will call his Spirit their Sanctifier, who know nothing of his sanctifying operations and influ. ences. · 2. When it is used vainly and irreverently, that is, lightly and rashly. There is so little of God in the hearts of many, that his name, that dreadful name, is much in their mouths, without any necessity or reverence in their common talk. The Jews had so great thoughts of the name Jehovah, that they would not mention it. They permit not their children to mention the name of God till they be seven years old. If the Mahometans find a piece of paper in the way, they put it in some hole of a wall or so, because the name of God is or may be in it. But, alas! among Christians it is much used in vain and irreverently. The name of God is thus profaned, vainly and irreverently used,

ist, By exclamations in a way of foolish wonder. It is sad to think how that holy name is profaned by men, when, being surprised to see, or hear, something they wonder at

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »