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holiness in themselves, but for his sake, to whom they belong
We are taught to request, that the name of God may be thus hallowed.
Now the name of God is used in various
Let us see, therefore, what these are.
And ist, The name of God signifies the true God; whom, by way of eminence, the Jews call the Name. Thus, in scripture, to forget the name of God, is to forsake him, and serve strange gods: to walk in his name, is to worship the one true God, in opposition to idols.
2dly, The name of God signifies his superior excellence and dignity, as possessing, in the highest degree, every natural and moral perfection. Thus God himself proclaims his name by his distinguishing characters of excellence, in the book of Exodus: " And the Lord descended “ in the cloud, and stood with him there, and
proclaimed the name of the Lord: The Lord, " the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long
suffering, and abundant in goodness and " truth.'
And, in this sense, the hallowing his name will be to frame worthy conceptions of his nature and attributes, to adore him in the wonders of his creation and providence, where his several perfections are so signally displayed, and to acknowledge him in both, to be great, wise, wonderful, and holy.
3dly, The name of God signifies his authority, or delegated power. Thus, when the angel was sent to conduct the children of Israel, it is said, my name is in him,” that is, he acts by my authority. And, in the same sense, our Saviour says, “I am come in my Father's name. ”
And, in this sense, we shall hallow his name, by paying a regard to every duty he has enjoined, by shewing a respect to his laws, and by submitting ourselves to all, who act by his divine authority and appointment.
Lastly, The name of God signifies the appellation by which we express, in common, the Supreme Being, as Jehovah, Lord, or God. And, in this sense, we have the same expression in the third commandment: “Thou shalt not take “ the name of the Lord thy God in vain.”
Now to hallow the name of God, in this sense, will be, to avoid all light, irreverent, or unnecessary use of it; all profane cursing and swearing, and that still greater profanation of the name of God, which consists in perjury and blasphemy.
Instead of such base practices as these, we should rather endeavour to copy the example of a great and excellent philosopher of our own country, who, from a long contemplation of the wonderful works of divine providence, had wrought in himself so profound a veneration of the great God of heaven and earth, that, for more than twenty years of his life, the very name of God was never mentioned by him, in his common discourse, without a visible pause and stop, expressive of his reverence and devotion *.
And indeed, even the Jews, whom we are apt to hold in much contempt, are so impressed with a veneration for the Deity, that they think it a profanation even to pronounce the word, which they conceive most expressive of the majesty of his divine name.
* Roulton's Life of Boyle, page 21.
Upon the whole, when we offer up this petition, having a regard to all these several senses, we pray, -that God would dispose us and all inankind to own him, as the one true God ;to give honour to him, as the pure fountain of all perfection ;-to love him, as the giver of all good things ;-to adore him, as the sovereign Lord of the universe ;-to admire him, as the wise disposer of all events ;-to fear him, as the tremendous and just Governor, to whom we must give an account of our actions ;-whose name ought to fill our souls with reverence, and our lips with praises ; a name, which is above every name, holy and reverend, to which, therefore, every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things on the earth, and things under the earth.
The uses suggested to us from these notions of hallowing the name of God, are these,
1st, That we should endeavour to cultivate in ourselves, and advance in others, just ideas of God; which are not only the basis of all religion, but also of the greatest use in life. For here it well deserves your attention to remark, that all the leading characters of God, which we can either derive from the light of reason, or are delivered to us in scripture, are such as are
not intended to lead our minds to idle and unprofitable speculation, but rather to establish an immediate relation between God and his creatures, and to beget in us a habit of practical virtue, from the consideration of this relation. Thus, if from regarding that excellent wisdom, which shines forth in every part of the visible creation, we are led to consider God as all-wise; that consideration will teach us to bear our lot in life, however lowly or embittered it may be, with patience and resignation, as being the appointment of him who cannot err. If, again, from contemplating that variety of perception and intelligence, which we discover in all the parts of the moral world, we are led to consider God as all-knowing, and extending his providential eye over the whole creation ;-that consideration will teach us to demean ourselves with decency, purity, and reverence, as being ever in the presence of our all-seeing judge, who is about our path and about our bed, and spieth out all our ways.
Nor will the other attributes of the Deity, if rightly considered, have less influence upon our moral practice in life. His justice will teach us to respect and obey his laws, as not being the mandates of a capricious tyrant, but the decrees of a righteous Governor: nor will his mercy be less efficacious in instructing us to love him, as a kind parent, and to have