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And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his naine. Luke xxiv, 47.
To them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name. John i, 12,
What is forbidden by this Commandment ?
1. All irreverent use of the sacred name of God.
Holy and reverend is his name. Ps. cxi, 9.
Thine enemies take thy name in vain. Ps. cxxxix, 20.
Mal. i, 6.
Some people foolishly suppose, that by using other names in their oaths and exclamations, instead of God's, they avoid breaking this commandment. But this is a vain supposition. Swearing by them that are no gods, is worse than swearing by God.
Make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth. Exod. xxiii, 13.
A Christian ought not to swear at all on ordinary occasions: his simple declaration is sufficient.
Let your communication be, yea, yea; nay, nay; for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil, (or of the evil one.) Matt. v, 37. 2. Blasphemy, or speaking evil of God.
He that blasphemeth the name of the Lord, shall surely be put to death. Lev. xxiv, 16.
A blasphemer punished with death. Lev. xxiv, 11, 23.
Out of the heart proceed blasphemies. Matt. xv, 19; Mark vii, 22.
Blasphemy is the language of damned spirits. Rev. xvi, 9, 11, 21.
We are not only to avoid blaspheming ourselves, but many cautions are contained in the Bible against giving others occasion to blaspheme.
3. Perjury, which is the capital transgression of the third commandment. This sin consists in appealing to the omniscient God for the truth of what a person asserts, when he knows it to be false.
Ye shall not swear by my name falsely. Lev. xix, 12.
By swearing, and lying, &c. they break out, &c. Therefore shall the land mourn. Hosea iv, 2, 3.
[A curse] shall enter into the house of him that sweareth falsely.
Zech. v, 4.
I will be a swift witness against false swearers. Mal. iii, 5.
4. Rash swearing, and profane swearing.
Because of swearing the land mourneth. Jer. xxiii, 10.
Swear not all: neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: nor by the earth; for it is his footstool. Matt. v, 34-37.
Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing, &c. Whoso shall swear by the temple, sweareth by it; and by him that dwelleth therein. And he that shall swear by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon. Matt. xxiii, 16--22. Above all things, swear not; neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation. James v, 12. It is shocking to think of the awful frequency of this sin. We can scarcely pass along the streets without hearing it committed: and yet its folly is so evident, that we may well wonder how any but a madman can be addicted to it. Those who are guilty of it, pray, in effect, that they may be deprived of eternal happiness, and plunged into eternal misery. The custom is inexcusable: it is irrational and profane, and gives neither pleasure nor profit.
5. Cursing; which consists in calling down mischief upon a person, or wishing evil to him.
It is mentioned by the Apostle Paul as a proof of an unconverted state.
Rom. iii, 14.
Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.
How shall I curse whom God hath not cursed? Numb. xxiii, 8. [Shimei] cursed [David] still as he came. 2 Sam. xvi, 5.
[David said] It may be the Lord will requite me good for his cursing. 2 Sam. xvi, 12.
As he loved cursing, so let it come unto him.-As he clothed himself with cursing like as with a garment, so let it come into his bowels like water, and like oil into his bones. Ps. cix, 17, 18.
Let them curse, but bless thoa. Ps. cix, 28.
Bless them that curse you; do good to them that hate you; and pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you. Matt. v, 44; Luke vi, 28.
Many of the curses in Scripture, as those in Deut. xxvii, 15, 16, and Josh. vi, 26, were either ordained by God against those who should commit certain sins, or were predictions of what evils should happen. They were not the effects of passion or revenge, as the curses of men are.
What is further forbidden by this Commandment?
6. Want of reverence in our devotions, and attendance upon religious ordinances, saying prayers, and reading the Scriptures without attention, and an awful sense of what we are doing.
Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God, Eccles. v, 2.
Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, &c. Therefore the wisdom of their wise men shall perish. Isa. xxix, 13, 14; Matt. xv, 8.
We are taught to pray, "Hallowed be thy name;" we should therefore endeavour always to approach and think of God with the utmost reverence.
7. All rash and unlawful vows, like that of the Jews who bound themselves under a curse to kill Paul. Acts xxiii, 12, 14.
These various methods of breaking this commandment are so common, that it is to be feared many make the practice of others an excuse for their own misconduct. But the commonness of the offence does not make it less heinous, nor can the multitude of transgressors prevent the terrible vengeance of God from overtaking them. There were few in the old world that belonged to God, yet the sinners were punished, notwithstanding their numbers-the flood swept them all away.
Are all oaths then forbidden?
No: on solemn and just occasions, we may appeal to God for the truth of what we say.
Art. 39. "As we confess that vain and rash swearing is forbidden Christian men by our Lord Jesus Christ, and James his Apostle; so we judge that Christian religion doth not prohibit, but that a man may swear when the magistrate requireth, in a cause of faith and charity, so it be done according to the prophet's teaching, in justice, judgment, and truth."
Abraham's oath with Abimelech. Gen. xxi, 24, 31.
Isaac's oath with Abimelech. Gen. xxvi, 31.
And Jacob sware by the Fear of his father Isaac. Gen. xxxi, 53.
The spies swear to Rahab. Josh. ii, 12, 17.
Jonathan and David sware to each other. 1 Sam. xx, 11-17.
And they sware unto the Lord with a loud voice, &c.
He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not. Ps. xv, 4.
He that sweareth in the earth, shall swear by the God of truth.
And thou shalt swear, "The Lord liveth," &c. Jer. iv, 2.
I call God for a record upon my soul. 2 Cor. i, 23.
The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not. 2 Cor. xi, 31.
God is my record, how greatly I long after you all. Phil. i, 8. For mea verily swear by the greater; and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife. Heb. vi, 16.
The Lord sware, and will not repent. Heb. vii, 21,
What is required in this Commandment?
An awful reverence, and holy fear, whenever we speak of,
1. The name of God.
Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name. Ps. xxix, 2;
2. The attributes of God.
And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, &c. his head towards the earth, and worshipped. 3. The ordinances of God.
I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me.
And Moses bowed
Lev. x, 3.
God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him. Ps. lxxxix, 7. 4. The word of God.
Whosoever will not hearken unto my words, I will require it of him.
Deut. xviii, 19.
Ps. cxxxviii, 2.
My heart standeth in awe of thy word. Ps cxix, 161.
Ezek. iii, 17.
Isa. lxvi, 2. warning from me.
And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them. Ezek. xxxiii, 31.
The word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last
day. John xii, 48.
When ye received the word of God, ye received it not as the word of men, but, as it is in truth, the word of God. 1 Thess. ii, 13. Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast, &c. how shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation? Heb. ii, 1, 2, 3. The word of God is quick and powerful, &c. By the word of God the heavens were of old.
Heb. iv, 12.
2 Pet. iii, 5.
What is the sanction of this Commandment?
The Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
It is a terrible thing to stand unpardoned before an angry God. Well might David say, "Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin." But,
He will by no means clear the guilty. Exod. xxxiv, 7.
The sentence may be prevented by timely repentance; but we cannot hope to escape, if we are determined to continue our sinful practices. Delay is no security. Divine vengeance may slumber, but will fall on the transgressor at last.
There was a famine in the days of David three years, because Saul
slew the Gibeonites, who had made a league with Israel confirmed by an oath in the days of Joshua. 2 Sam. xxi, 1, 2. Jehoiakin, king of Judah, revolted from the king of Babylon, despising the oath, by breaking the covenant:-Therefore thus saith the Lord God, as I live, surely mine oath that he hath despised, and my covenant that he hath broken, even it will I recompense upon his own head. Ezek. xvii, 13-19.
He that blasphemeth shall surely be put to death. Lev. xxiv, 16. There are many instances of men being struck dead with oaths in their mouths.
Hope not to escape punishment, you who make no scruple of swearing, and cursing, and taking God's name in vain. Be sure your sin will find you out. A sinner's conscience may not trouble him, being hardened by the frequent commission of sin, and lulled to sleep by a false security but at the great day, when all secrets shall be revealed, and men will be judged according to their words and actions, God will ask, "Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the Lord?"
Wherein does the sinfulness of this sin appear?
An habitualirreverent use of God's name, shows a person to be totally destitute of that holy fear and reverential love which is the essence of true religion.,
Beware, then, how you follow the example of those