WE have treated of the first part of true religion, the invocation or adoration of the Deity; we proceed to the remaining part, the sanctification of the divine name under all circumstances.

An ardent desire of hallowing the name of God, together with an indignation against whatever tends to the violation or contempt of religion, is called zeal. Psal. lxix. 8, 9. "I am become a stranger unto my brethren... for the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up." cxix. 139. "my zeal hath consumed me, because mine enemies have forgotten thy words." Rom. xii. 11. "not slothful in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord."

Examples of this virtue are seen in Lot, 2 Pet. ii. 7, 8. in Moses, Exod. xxxii. 19. in Phinehas, Num. xxv. 7. in Elijah, 1 Kings xix. 10. in Jeremiah, Jer. xxiii. 9-11. "mine heart within me is broken... for the land is full of adulterers;" in Christ, Matt. xii. 30. John ii. 14, &c. in Stephen, Acts vii. 51, &c. in Paul and Barnabas, xiv. 14. and xvii. 16, 17.


Its opposites are, first, lukewarmness, as exemplified in Eli, 1 Sam. ii. 29. and iii. 13. in the chief rulers of the Jews, John xii. 43. in the Laodiceans, Rev. iii. 15, 16.

Secondly, an ignorant and imprudent zeal. 2 Sam. xxi. 1, 3. "because he slew the Gibeonites... Saul sought to slay them in his zeal to the children of Israel and Judah." Rom. x. 2. "I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge."

Thirdly, a too fiery zeal. Jonah iv. 1-3. Luke ix. 54, "wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven?"

Fourthly, an hypocritical and boastful zeal, as that of Jehu, 2 Kings x. 16. "come with me and see my zeal for Jehovah."

The name of God is to be hallowed in word as well as in deed. To hallow it in word, is never to name it but with a religious purpose, and to make an open profession of the true faith, whenever it is necessary.

The holy or reverential mention of God is inculcated Exod. xx. 7. "thou shalt not take the name of Jehovah thy God in vain."

To this is opposed an impious or reproachful mention of God, or, as it is commonly called, blasphemy, from the Greek βλασφημία, as in the Hebrew ברובה with the root ברו, and פללח with the root קלל This was the crime of the Israelitish woman's son, Levit. xxiv. 11. who blasphemed (or expressly named) the name of Jehovah, and cursed (or spake impiously), v. 14. "bring forth him that hath cursed without the camp." Such also was that of Rabshakeh <320> and the other Assyrians, 2 Kings xix. 6. "be not afraid of the words which thou hast heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me;" of the scribes, Mark iii. 22. "they said, He hath Beelzebub," compared with v. 29. "he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost —," for the scribes had said that the deeds of the Father working in Christ were the deeds of Beelzebub; of those whom Paul before his conversion compelled to blaspheme, Acts xxvi. 11. of the Jews at Corinth, xviii. 6. "when they opposed themselves and blasphemed —;" of Paul himself in his unconverted state, 1 Tim. i. 13. "who was before a blasphemer and a persecutor;" of Hymenæus and Alexander, v. 19, 20. "that they may learn not to blaspheme," inasmuch as "having put away a good conscience concerning faith, they had made shipwreck;" of those profane persons mentioned in James ii. 7. "do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called?" of the beast, Rev. xiii. 5, 6. "there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies;" of the followers of the beast, xvi. 11. "they blasphemed the God of heaven, because of their pains and their sores."

Considering, however, that all the Greek writers, sacred as well as profane, use the word blasphemy in a general sense, as implying any kind of reproach against any person whatever, which is also the received usage of the corresponding word in Hebrew, Isai. xliii. 28. "I have given Israel to reproaches." li. 7. "neither be ye afraid of their revilings;" Ezek. v. 15. "so it shall be a reproach and a taunt," that is, to the Jews; Zeph. ii. 8. "the revilings of the children of Ammon, whereby they have reproached my <321> people;" in all which passages the same word is used, being that which we translate blasphemy: so also Matt. xv. 19. "false witness, blasphemies." (Compare Mark vii. 22.) 1 Tim. vi. 1. "that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed." (Compare Tit. ii. 5.) 2 Pet. ii. 10. "they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities" (βλασφημοῦντες Gr.); v. 11. "whereas angels... bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord" (βλάσφημον κρίσιν Gr.): considering, 1 say, that such is the meaning invariably attached to the Greek word even by the sacred writers, I am of opinion that those who introduced this foreign term into the Latin language, did wrong in restricting it to the single sense of speaking evil of God; especially since, at the same time that they narrowed its meaning in one direction, they expanded it in another to an almost indefinite vagueness; insomuch, that presuming on the general ignorance as to the true signification of the word, they have not scrupled to brand as blasphemy every opinion differing from their own on the subject of God or religion.[1] This is to resemble the scribes, Matt. ix. 3, who, when Christ had simply said, v. 2. "thy sins be forgiven thee," immediately "said within themselves, This man blasphemeth;" whereas blasphemy, as is evident from the foregoing <322> examples, consists solely in uttering reproaches against God, openly and with a high hand, Numb. xv. 30. Matt. xv. 19. "out of the heart proceed blasphemies," and that whether against God or men. This sin therefore is not to be imputed to those, who in sincerity of heart, and with no contentious purpose, promulgate or defend their conscientious persuasions respecting God, founded, as appears to them, on the Scriptures. If on the other hand blasphemy is interpreted according to the Hebrew sense, it will comprehend too much; for in this sense every obstinate sinner will be a blasphemer, and as such, according to those who regard the law of Moses on this subject as still in force, punishable with death.[2] Numb. xv. 30. "the soul that doeth ought presumptuously... the same reproacheth (or blasphemeth) Jehovah; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people." Ezek. xx. 27, 28. "yet in this your fathers have blasphemed me, in that they have committed a trespass against me; for when had brought them into the land... then they saw every high hill," &,c.

A second opposite is irreverent or jesting mention of the name of God, or of religious subjects.

The most solemn mention of the name of God consists in dedicating to his glory whatever is intended for the use of man. 1 Cor. x. 31. "whether ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." 1 Tim. iv. 4, 5. "nothing is to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer." Acts xxvii. 35. "he took <323> bread, and gave thanks to God in presence of them all." 1 Cor. vii. 14. "the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife."

Opposed to this are superstitious consecrations such as are common among the Papists.

Thus far of the solemn and reverential mention of the name of God. We are next to consider the duty of making a consistent, and, when necessary, an open profession of his true worship. This is enjoined Matt. x. 32, 33. "whosoever, therefore, shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven; but whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven." Psal. cxix. 46. "I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed." Luke ix. 26. "whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come —." Rom. x. 10. "with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." 2 Cor. iv. 13. "it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak." 1 Tim. vi. 12-14. "thou hast professed a good profession before many witnesses; I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession, that thou keep this commandment." 2 Tim. i. 16. "he was not ashamed of my chain." ii. 12. "if we deny him, he also will deny us." 1 Pet. iii. 15. "be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you." Heb. x. 35, "cast not away therefore your confidence."


This profession, when it leads to death, or imprisonment, or torments, or disgrace, is called martyrdom. Matt. v. 11. "blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake." Philipp. i. 20, "with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death." v. 29. "for unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake." Heb. xi. 36, &c. "others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea moreover of bonds and imprisonment —." 1 Pet. iii. 14. "but and if ye suffer for righteousness sake, happy are ye."

It is generally through the means of martyrdom that the spread of the gospel is effected. Philipp. i. 14. "many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear."

Opposed to this is, first, the concealment of our religion. This was the fault of Nicodemus, John iii. 2. "the same came to Jesus by night." xii. 42. "nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue." Isai. lix. 4. "none calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth."

Secondly, apostasy. 2 Chron. xxviii. 6. "he slew in Judah an hundred and twenty thousand in one day, which were all valiant men, because they had forsaken Jehovah God of their fathers." John vi. 66. "from that time many of his disciples went back and walked no more with him." 1 Tim. iv. 1, &c. "in the latter times some shall depart from the faith. &c." Heb. vi. <325> 4, &. c "it is impossible for those who were once enlightened... if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance." x. 29. "of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God."

Thirdly, an unseasonable profession. Matt. vii. 6. "give not that which is holy unto the dogs... lest they turn again and rend you." xvi. 20. "then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ."

Such are the means by which the name of God is hallowed in word. It is hallowed in deed, when our actions correspond with our religious profession. Matt. v. 16. "let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."

Opposed to this, is a neglect to act conformably to our profession. Thus Moses and Aaron are said, contrary to their usual custom, not to have sanctified God in the eyes of the people, Numb. xx. 12. and David, a man otherwise holy, gave occasion to the Gentiles to think and speak ill of God, by reason of his adultery, 2 Sam. xii. 14. So also the Jews, of whom St. Paul writes, Rom. ii. 24. "the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written;" alluding to Isai. lii. 5. Ezek. xxxvi. 20. "when they entered unto the heathen, whither they went, they profaned my holy name, when they said to them, These are the people of Jehovah, and are gone forth out of his land."


'Some are ready to cry out, what shall then be done to blasphemy? Them I would first exhort not thus to terrify and pose the people with a Greek word; but to teach them better what it is, being a most usual and common word in that language to signify any slander, any malicious or evil speaking, whether against God or man, or any thing to good belonging Blasphemy , or evil speaking against God maliciously, is far from conscience in religion.' Treatise of Civil Power in Ecclesiastical Causes. Prose Works, III. 324. 'Id esse blasphemiam quo tu pacto evinces? nisi si forte theologorum dictatis quibusvis contradicere, nunc primum blasphemia est credenda.' Auctoris pro se Defensio. Prose Works, V. 285.


'Such as these, indeed, were capitally punished by the law of Moses, as the only true heretics, idolaters, plain and open deserters of God and his known law.' Treatise of Civil Power, &c. III. 326.

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