« السابقةمتابعة »
willing subjects to Christ, a people called by his name, and subjected and entirely devoted to him.
[5.] The holiness of God appears in all those doctrines which were preached, on which the faith of the church is built, and those ordinances in which they were to express their subjection to Christ, and hope of salvation by him.
1st, The doctrines of the gospel are all pure and holy; their great design is to set forth the harmony of the divine perfections, as displayed in the method of salvation by Jesus Christ; and to induce those who are made partakers thereof, to serve him in holiness and righteousness; and there is no gospeldoctrine that gives the least countenance, or leads to licentiousness. None have a right to claim an interest in Christ's righteousness, or to hope for that salvation which he has purchased, but they who believe, and none can be said to believe, to the saving of the soul, but they who are enabled to perform all those duties, whereby it will appear, that they are an holy, as well as an happy people.
2dly, All those ordinances which Christ has instituted in the gospel, have a tendency to set forth the holiness of God. What these are, has been considered under foregoing answers; as also, that they were instituted by Christ, and that no creature has a right to invent any modes of worship, or make any
additions to his institutions, without incurring the guilt of deprav. ing and sullying the beauty of gospel-worship *; and therefore all that I shall add under this head, is, that as these are set apart, and sanctified by God, to be means of grace, and pledges of his presence ; so they, who engage herein, are to do it with this view, that they may be made holy in all conversation, as he who hath called them is holy; and hereby God sanctifies his own name in the dispensations of his providence
Now when we pray, Hallowed be thy name, with a particular view to what God does in order hereunto, we adore him with an holy trembling, when we behold the displays of his vindictive justice in punishing sin; and if he sees it necessary to secure his own honour as the governor of the world, so that without it he would not appear to be an holy God, nor the glory of his truth in those threatenings which he has denounced against sin, discovered, we are fully satisfied that all his ways are right, as acquiescing in his providence ; and when his judgments are made manifest, we say, Hallowed be thy name.
However, when we put up this petition, with a particular
See Qucst. CLIV. page 79.
view to God's executing his threatened vengeance on his enemies, several cautions are to be used. As,
1st, We are to take heed that we do not do this out of hatred to the persons of any, for even they who are the monuments of divine justice, in whom God will be glorified as a sinrevenging judge, are the objects of our compassion, as they are miserable, how much soever that sin, which is the cause thereof, is to be hated and detested by us.
2dly, We must always pray, that God would rather convert than destroy his enemies, were it consistent with his purpose, which must be accomplished.
3dly, We are never called to pray expressly for the damnation of any one, how great an enemy soever he may have been to God or us; but rather, on the other hand, that God would glorify his name in his salvation by Jesus Christ.
4thly, If we pray that God would prevent those evils, which his church is exposed to, through the power or malice of its enemies, and, in order thereunto, that he would remove them out of the way, that they may not be able to hurt them ; this is to be considered only as an expedient for their safety, so that if one of the two must suffer ruin, we rather desire that it may be his enemies than his people. We should be glad if God would be pleased to bring about the welfare of his church some other way; but if not, when we pray that his name here in may be hallowed, it is principally with submission to his will, and an humble acknowledgment that all his judgments are right. Thus concerning God's sanctifying his own name, as the subject matter of our prayer in this petition.
II. When we pray, Hallowed be thy name, we signify our desire that we may be enabled to glorify God in every thing whereby he makes himself known: In which there is something supposed, namely, that all men are utterly unable and disinclined, of themselves, to honour God aright, or to improve the various displays of his glory, which we behold in his word and works: This arises from the sinfulness of our nature, our alienation from, and opposition to an holy God; se that without the assistance of his Spirit, we are not able to do any thing that is good; and therefore we pray that God would make us holy, by rendering the means of grace conducive thereunto, that we may give him the glory due to his name.
But the thing more especially prayed for, with respect to ourselves and others is, that we may be enabled to act suitably to the discoveries which God has made of his divine perfections; that we may adore his wisdom, power, and goodness in all he does, and worship him in all ordinances in an holy manner, or, as the Psalmist expresses it, Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness, Psal. xxix. 2. We are also to desire,
that all his holy institutions may be made means of grace to us, that we may be sanctified by his truth, that beholding, as in a glass, the glory of the Lord, we may be transformed into his image, consisting of holiness and righteousness, that we may have an high esteem of every thing whereby he makes himself known, and glorify him in thought, word, and deed.
1. That we may never think or speak of the divine perfections, but with a becoming reverence, and suitable acts of faith, agreeably thereunto; that when he discovers himself as a God of infinite wisdom, we may not only admire the traces and footsteps thereof, as they are visible in all his works, but desire that we may thereby be made wise unto salvation. When we conceive of him as a God of infinite power, we are to desire that he would enable us to have recourse to him, to work all that
grace in us which can be effected by none but him with whom all things are possible. And, when he discovers himself as a God of infinite goodness and mercy, that we may be encouraged to hope that we shall be made partakers thereof, by his communicating to us the blessings that accompany salvation. And when he reveals himself as a God of infinite holiness, that we may be conformed to him, in some measure, so as to be enabled to hate and fly from every thing which is con trary thereunto; and that all sin, which contains in it a reflection on the purity of his nature, as well as a contempt of his authority, may be abhorred and detested by us. And when he discovers himself as a God of infinite faithfulness, a God that keepeth covenant and mercy, to them that fear him, who has made many promises respecting their salvation, and will certainly accomplish them, that we may depend upon, and put our trust in him; that he would remember, his good word unto us, upon which he hath caused us to hope. When he makes himself known as our Creator, he the Potter, and we the clay, that we may be well pleased with all the dispensations of his providence towards us, as considering that he has a right to do what he will with his own.
And when he reveals himself as our Redeemer, we are to pray, that we may be able to conclude, that we are bought with that invaluable price, which Christ gave for his elect: And if we have a comfortable hope concerning our interest therein, that we may walk as becomes those who are hereby laid under the highest obligations to love him, and live to him.
2. That we may worship him in a right manner, in all his ordinances : Accordingly, when he encourages us to attend to what he imparts therein, as in hearing, or reading the word, we pray, that we may be enabled to receive the truth in the love thereof, and improve it as that which is not the word of men, but of God, which effectually worketh in them that believe, Vol. IV.
1 Thess. ii. 13. that we may esteem it as the only infallible rule of faith and duty; that we may be enabled to hide it in our hearts, that we may not sin against him, Psal. cxix. 11. And when we should draw nigh to him in prayer, in which he requires, that we should sanctify his name as a God all-sufficient, on whom we depend for the supply of our wants ; or when we bless and praise him for what we have received, that the frame of our spirits may be suited to the spirituality and importance of the duty we are engaged in, that we may not be like those whom our Saviour speaks of, who draw nigh to him with their mouths, and honour him with their lips, while their heart is far from him, Matt. xv. 8.
3. As God makes himself known to us by his works, we are to beg of him, that in the work of creation, we may see and admire his eternal power and Godhead, and in his works of common providence, as upholding and governing all things, we may take occasion to adore the manifold wisdom of God, his almighty power, and the inexhaustible treasure of his goodness which appears therein : But more especially when he discovers himself in the gracious dispensations of his providence, in those things which have an immediate reference to our salvation, we are to beg of him, not only that he would enable us to look on them with admiration ; but, particularly, to express our love and thankfulness to Christ our great Mediator and Advocate, as those who humbly trust and hope that we have an interest in him by faith. Thus concerning our requesting these things for ourselves.
We might here observe something concerning our doing it for others, for whom we are to pray, that they may have the highest esteem for God in all those respects and consequently that his name may be known throughout the whole world, not barely as the God of nature, but as he has revealed himself in his word ; and therefore we are to pray, that the way of salvation, by Christ, may be known, and his name adored and magnified as a Redeemer and Saviour in those parts of the world, which are, at present, destitute of gospel-light; and that, where the word is preached, it may be received with faith and love, that they who are called Christians may walk more becoming that relation which they stand in to the blessed Jesus. Thus concerning the subject-matter of our requests in this petition, respecting God's enabling us and others, to glorify him in every thing by which he makes himself known.
There are two things inferred from hence in the close of this
(1.) That when we pray, that God would sanctify his name, it is, in effect, to desire that he would prevent and remove every thing which is dishonourable to it. Some things tend to cast so great a reproach on the name of God, that sinners are hereby hardened in their opposition to him; as David, by his sin, is said to have given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, 2 Sam. xii. 14. And God is highly dishonoured by those open and scandalous sins which are committed by such as make a profession of religion; whereby it appears that they are strangers to the power thereof, and lay a stumbling-block in the
way of those who are too ready to take an estimate of the ways of God, from the conversation of them, who in words profess, but in works deny him. Some deny the very being, perfections and providence of God, or being ignorant of him, worship they know not what; and there are others who treat things sacred with profaneness and scurrility; and, instead of sanctifying the name of God, openly blaspheme and cast a contempt on all his sacred institutions. Therefore,
[1.] We are to pray, that God would prevent and remove atheism. When persons not only act as though there were no God, but, with blasphemy, and daring insolence, express this in words : These are generally hardened in their iniquities, and bid defiance to his justice; as though they were, as it is said of the Leviathan, made without fear, Job xii. 33. and were not apprehensive of any ill consequences that will ensue hereupon. These are not to be convinced by arguments, though there is nothing that occurs in the works of creation and providence, but what might confute and put them to silence, did they duly attend to it: Therefore we are to pray, that God would assert his divine being and perfections, and give them some convincing proof thereof, by impressing the dread and terror of his wrath upon their consciences, that hereby they may learn not to blaspheme ; or that he would give them that internal light, by which they may be brought to adore and sanctify his name. And whereas there are multitudes of practical atheists, who behave themselves as though there were no God to observe what they do, or punish them for it, therefore they presumptuously conclude, that they may rebel without being called to an account; we are to pray, that God, by his grace, would prevent and fence against prevailing impiety, by working a thorough reformation in the hearts of men, to the end that practical godliness may be promoted, and thereby he may be glorified.
[2.] We are to pray, that God would prevent and remove that ignorance which is inconsistent with persons sanctifying his name. This respects, more especially the not knowing or enquiring into those great doctrines, which are of the highest importance, and more directly tend to the advancing the glory of God, and the obtaining eternal life. In these who are destitute of divine revelation, this ignorance is, invincible; there