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creature ought at all times to contemplate with the highest reverence and fear. The transgressors against this commandment are,
1st, Blasphemers, who use blasphemous language against God himself, and our Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ, or against some of his most eminent saints: for example, those who say that God is the author of our sins, because he gives men opportunities to commit sin, or that he will overlook our sins; or who call him unjust and unmerciful, because he does not grant them those things which, according to their opinion, they should have; or who say that he punisheth men more than they deserve; or who pretend to sit in judgment on his divine works, saying that this is not right, and that might have been framed better; or who accuse the present system of things, alleging, that in the whole there is disorder, and speak as if God paid no regard to it. They also are guilty, who, when called to suffer misfortunes or diseases, bear them with impatience, murmuring against God, and charging him with injustice. These, and such like awful blasphemers of the name of God, are guilty of the greatest of sins.
To this class belong those also who attack the word of God, or the Holy Scriptures, with their blasphemous tongues, and dare to say that
they contain fables, or endeavour to find contradictions in them, and places that are against sound reason, or who recommend some of the writings of heathens, and respect them more than those of the divinely inspired penmen. Such blasphemers were commanded to be put to death under the Old Testament, Lev. xxiv. 16. And from the present society of Christians they ought to be expelled..
2. Perjured persons, who swear and take oaths falsely, or give right oaths, but do not act according to them; for thus they blaspheme against God, whom they call upon to be the guarantee of what they swear to, and therefore "the oath shall enter into the house of the thief, and into the house of him that sweareth falsely by my name and it shall remain in the midst of his house, and shall consume it.", Zech. v. 4.
3. Those who make use of the name of God without necessity; that is, on the most trifling occasions, and who have a detestable practice of mixing the glorious name of the Lord in all their speeches and common conversation; who say, for example, By God! God knoweth it is so! By the commandments of the Gospel! And sometimes, even in jest, are heard to exclaim, O heavens! O fate! With these lawless characters, must also be reckoned those who swear by the names of the
Heathen deities, as by Jove, by Venus, &c. which the word of God forbids to remember in any other way than by endeavouring to root them
4. False prophets, or teachers of lies, who declare that which is false, predicting it in the name of God, and proclaim that God has made to them such and such revelations, which he commanded them to make known unto others.
5. Those who present improper petitions to God; thus, for instance, somé pray to God to take vengeance on their enemies, or the robber prays to him to assist him in his depredations, and thereby such persons desire to make God, as it were, a party in the gratification of their wicked passions.
6. Those who violate their vows, or who, having promised something to God, do not perform their promise. As, for example, those do who, for certain divine blessings received, vow before God to erect a temple to him in some place where there is need of it, and to build for the poor and needy an asylum, or to give something for the support of schools, or to leave off the gratification of certain passions, and notwithstanding all this, do not perform these their vows.
On what occasions is the name of God permitted to be used?
1. We may, and we ought to use the name of God, 1st, When we are engaged in his service, and in singing his praise. 2d, On certain important and necessary occasions, such as take place in courts of law, in which, according to the words of Paul, "An oath for confirmation, is to them an end of all strife;" Heb. vi. 16. 3d, When the lawful authorities require of us an oath in affairs that are sanctioned by the word of God.: Here it is necessary to remember, that a lawful oath should not be made in the name of any creature, but in the name of God alone, as that being who is omnipresent, and the only searcher of hearts.
2. This commandment clearly forbids the us ing of the name of God without becoming réverence, and enjoins that awful veneration which, man is bound to shew to the Supreme Being. The worship of God is the testifying of our internal subjection of spirit before God; and we have already, in some degree, treated of this under Section xi. of the First Part. The principal parts of divine worship are, the love and the fear of God. The love of God is the ardent desire of our souls to be united to him, as the most desirable of objects,
or as love itself.
"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind;" Mat. xxii. 37. This union takes place through the pure contemplation of God, and through virtue. Hence it follows, that the pious soul, burning with love to God, 1st, Meditates on the law of God continually, and finds real delight only in this holy exercise. 2d, By sincere prayer, the soul ascends to him in thought, and approaches the throne of grace. 3d, On every occasion it glorifies his name, and declares his gracious deeds. 4th, For the mercies received, it brings the most heartfelt acknowledgments, and keeps in remembrance every one of his bounties. 5th, It places all its hope on God, and trusteth all the concerns of life to his holy providence. Hence, 6th, The man who possesses these sentiments with meekness, obeys all the commandments of the Lord, and joins hope with patience. 7th, He loves his neighbour, as he desires to be beloved of God; "For if a man say, he loves God and hateth his brother, he is a liar;" 1 John iv. 20.
In opposition to the above mentioned virtues, are the following vices: 1st, Hatred of God, which consists in neglecting to obey his commands. 2d, Spiritual insensibility, which produces carelessness about the duties of godliness,