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rence oves no due ime under to Go is taken in where they
bond which th due impression (5.) Lastly, card and reves
profaning of that ordinance to make it a bond of iniquity, as Herod did, Mark vi. 23. [2.] To keep it and perform it, as he also did, ver. 26; for what is this but to make the name of God subservient to God's dishonour? And that is to be reckoned an unlawful oath, which is of any thing that is false, sinful, unjust, or impossible to us. (3.) When men use equivocations in oaths, or mental reservations; for so he for whose sake the oath is imposed, is deceived and wronged. But whatever shifts men may use that way, God will reckon them as false swearers. (4.) When men swear unnecessari. ly, ignorantly, doubtingly, without due regard and reve. rence of God on their spirits. (5.) Lastly, When a lawful oath leaves no due impression on men's spirits, as a sacred bond which they come under to God.
5. Lastly, In lots. God's name is taken in vain, (1.) When the right manner is not observed in them, where they are lawfully used in weighty matters, as when God is not eyed in the lot, when they do not singly refer and leave the matter to God's decision, and when they murmur and grudge at what falls by the lot to them. (2.) When they are used in matters of very small moment, which are not worthy of an appeal to God's decision, but without any great inconveni. ency might be otherwise decided. This is a very common sin, which people need no more to convince them of the evil of, but the true uptaking of the nature of lots, as the scrip. ture holds it out, Proy. xvi. 33. and xviii. 18. (3.) When they are used in games and plays. For which reason playing at cards, dice, and all games of loftery, are unlawful. For, si.] Thạt cannot but be a profaning of the name of God, which turns an appeal to God for his decision unto a play. And tho' men call it fortune, it is certain that it is nothing indeed bụt God's determination. And it will not excuse men, that they first miscall God's providence by the name of fortune, and then play themselyes with it. [2.] It gives occasion to much sin against God, as blaspheming of God's providence under the name of fortune and ill luck; and commending good fortune, overlooking providence when it falls well. And it renders this ordinance of lots contemptı. ble, being so used.
4. With respect to his word, men are guilty of profaning the name of God,
1st, By misimproving and misapplying the word of God, as the Pharisees did, Matth. v. Ezek. xiii. 19.
2dly, Jesting upon it, Jer. xxiii. 33.
3dly, Using it to the maintenance of erroneous principles, unprofitable questions, and vain janglings, 2 Tim. ii. 14, 15. . -5. With respect to his works, men are guilty of profan. ing the name of God, when they use the works and creatures of God to sinful lusts and practices. "
6. Lastly, Men profane the name of God, in respect of religion, and the profession of it.
ist, By maligning, scorning, and reviling of religion, and the profession of it.
2dly, By a hypocritical profession.
3dly, By a scandalous walk. - To be a little more particular in these things, the name of God is profaned and abused, and this command violated, • 1. By malignity, maligning the truth, grace, and ways of God, otherwise called malignancy. It is a heart-enmity and bitterness of spirit, vented by word or deed, against the truths, grace, and way of God, Rom. i. 29. Such malignants were the Jews, who were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming, Acts xiii. 45. In our father's days, the spirit of malignancy run with a violent stream against the work of reformation, till it had swallowed it up, and is now again appearing in its violence. A different opinion from the truth in point of church-government is not malignancy; but when a set of men lay out themselves to bear down the Lord's work in the land, and in the spirits of his people, when men pretending to be ministers bear down and discourage the power of godliness in others, and men in civil power are filled with a spirit of persecution against those whom they can find nothing against but in the matter of their God, and meaner people aid and assist these, and contribute to, or rejoice at the calamities of the people of God, malignant is their name; for malignant is their nature and course of life. And colour it over as they will, God will not hold them guiltless; for they are his enemies that take his name in vain. i By scorning of the ways of God, Psal. i. 1. The scorner has a high seat in the devil's court, where he sits on hell's bench, giving out a sentence of disdain against the way of
of the comparest of the wisdom ned to roaring, hp
serious godliness, as unworthy of a man, and inconsistent with his honour, sentencing the serious person to be the foot of the company. .. Thus Satan's madcaps, whom he has blinded, make a jest of the wisdom of God; but the day comes, when their scorning shall be turned to roaring, Isa. xxviii. 22.
3. By reviling the truth, grace, and way of God, 1 Pet. iv. 4. Revilers are a generation of hell, who are set to ga. ther together all the filth and vileness they can get to throw upon religion and cover it, that the world may loath it, i Cor. iv. 13. And so with them religion is rebellion, soul exercise distraction, communion with God melancholy fan. cies. They load men with vile calumnies; and if they can see nothing without them, they conclude they are but hypocrites.
4. By hypocrisy, while men pretend to religion and take up a profession, but have nothing of the truth of it in their hearts, 2 Tim. iii. 5. Hypocrites indeed take God's name in yain, making profession of religion, not out of conscience towards God, from love to him, or a design to honour him, but for some sinister ends, as reputation, worldly advantage, or at best their own peace and safety; which is a horrid prostituting the name of God to cursed self.
1st, They take his name in vain in their hearts ; for the truths of religion, they know, have no suitable efficacy on their hearts or lives, Rom. i. 18. The candle of God is set up before them in their knowledge ; but in vain it wastes, for they do not work at it. Their knowledge of sin does not make them loath it. The love of Christ does not con, strain them to walk in the paths of new obedience.' · 2dly, In their iñouths. They may go about duties but they go about none in the right manner. Their words are good, but their heart is not upright, Ezek. xxxiji. 30. Hence their prayers are an abomination, their best works are but glistering sins, like a potsherd covered over with silver dross. (1.) Their largest duties are but half-duties, and that the worst half, as wanting spiritual worship, which is the soul and life of worship. (2.) Their service is but self-service. All the streams of the hypocrite's duties disburden in the dead sea, self.
3dly, On their foreheads; for there hypocrites bear it in an external profession : but in vain ; for though they wear Christ's livery, they are but the devil's drudges. 'if they
be not such as fulfil the desires of the flesh, they fulfil the desires of the mind; they are under the power of spiritual plagues.
5. By being ashamed of religion, Mark viii. ult. Religion is our glory; men will not miss in a profane world to have it turned to shạme; but to be ashamed of it is a sin of naugh. tiness of heart, and want of experience of the power of truth on the spirit. It is a horrible affront to the majesty of God, to be ashamed of his badge; for that is to be ashamed of him as a Master. . · 6. Lastly, By being a shame to it,
ist, By an uncomfortable, unsuitable walk, Phil. i. 27. The world takes notice of the agreeinent that is betwixt the principles and practice of professors; and a disagreement there reflects dishonour on religion itself before them, as if it were all but sham and trick.
2dly, By an unwise walk, Eph. v. 15. We should be wise as serpents, and harmless as doves; for the imprudencies of professors are no small handle to the enemies, and much im. proved for the reproach of religion. There is much need of continual dependence on the Lord for wisdom, especially that we may walk in wisdom toward them that are without Col. iv. 5. . sayo by and 3dly, By an unfruitful walk, Isa. V: 4.
The fruitfulness of the vineyard is the honour of the husbandman, and the un.
mit fruitfulness thereof reflects dishonour on him, Rom, ii, 24, The fruits of holiness are the best testimony to the divine original of ordinances and institutions; and while men have been violently running down these, their credit has been supported that way. But, alas! now their credit is impaired by the barren and unfruitful lives of professors,
4thly, By: an offensive scandalous walk, Rom. ii. 23, 24. The scandals of professors are the stumbling-blocks whereon the blind would break their necks, Matth. xviii. 7. They are the reproach of religion, and the dishonour of God. They harden the wicked, and grieve the truly good.
Lastly, By backsliding from it, Gal. ij. 1, 2, Apostates cast shame on the name of God in a peculiar manner; for having tried both ways, they practically prefer the way of evil.
III. I come now to consider the reason annexed to the
third commandment, which is, That however the breakers of this commandment may escape punishment from men, yet the Lord our God will not suffer them to escape his righteous judgment."
Here I will shew,
1. Whence it is that men think so lightly of the profan. ing of the name of God, so that in effect they hold them. selves guiltless.
2. Whence it is that the profaners of the name of God escape punishment from men. • 3. How God will not let men escape with it. . 4. What is the great evil of this sin, that it is so severely threatened. . • First, I will shew whence it is that men think so lightly of the profaning of the name of God, so that in effect they hold themselves guiltless. Nothing is plainer than that little is thought of the taking of God's name in vain, espe: cially by those that are most guilty. They heap up guilt this way, and yet in effect hold themselves guiltless.
1. It proceeds from that wicked and malicious spirit the devil, Jam. iii. 6. He is the sworn enemy of God, and does what he can to make men dishonour him. There is so little of the world or the flesh in it, that it seems in a special manner to come from the devil.
2. It springs from the low and mean thoughts they have of God and his dreadful name, Psal. xxxvi. 1, 2. They see not the glory and majesty of his names, titles, attributes, ora dinances, word, and works: hence they treat them as common things. · A view of God in his glory would cure this profane disposition of Spirit. When proud Pharaoh contemns God, and must needs be a god to himself, what won. der he regards not that holy name ? Exod. v. 2. Paul un. converted was a great blasphemer; but when he saw the light and heard the voice, he got suitable thoughts of Christ, and so was cured of that.
3. There are many profanations of the name of God, that untender men will not allow to be such. They are not and will not be convinced of a fault in them, as in obsecrations, appeals to God, adjurations, &c. But a due sense of the majesty of that name would clear people's minds in these things, Matth. v. 37. It is not enough that these things are common. It is so much the worse, when the world is in a