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3. Further, it is a presumptuous Sin.
By a presumptuous sin is meant a sin of a very daring and malignant nature: a sin committed, as it were, in defiance of God, and against light, knowledge, and conviction. Surely sins of this description must bring with them a guilt of peculiar aggravation. But of this description is the Sin in the text. It is a sin immediately committed against God Himself. Every sin indeed is an attack made upon God. But the Sin of swearing and profaning the Name of God is an attack made on Him, not in the person of His creatures, but in His own Person : it is an attack directly made on His Majesty and Holiness; and made too in open opposition to His commands, and in a daring defiance of His threatenings. Under both dispensations God has most solemnly and expressly forbidden the practice of this Sin - under the Jewish dispensation by a voice from heaven, and in words written with His own finger on a Table of Stone, « Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord Thy God in vain :" - under the Christian, by His Son, whom He sent from heaven and has commanded us to hear; and whose words are these, “ I say unto you, Swear not at all.” Nor are any persons, who have the light of the Gospel around them, so ignorant as not to know these things. The ways
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which they speak of this Sin, in which, as we have seen, at some times they altogether refrain from it, and at other times endeavour to excuse and palliate it, all plainly show, that they know the practice of it to be wrong. They know and are convinced in their own consciences, that God has forbidden them to take His Name in vain. But notwithstanding this knowledge and conviction, they dare to break the command, and presumptu. ously sin.
From this detailed view of the nature and quality of the Sin in question, we may form some just conceptions of its magnitude. It is a Sin, gratuitous, wilful, and presumptuous. How great then, how aggravated must be its Guilt.
III. I point out the aweful State of those who practise this Sin.
On this head there can be little necessity for enlarging. If such, as we have seen, be the aggravated Guilt of profaning the Name of God, most aweful indeed must be the state of those, who practise this Sin. Some few observations however may serve to illustrate and enforce this conclusion,
1. The State of those who practise this sin must be most aweful, because God has, in an especial manner, denounced his vengeance against them.
He has solemnly declared, that “ He will not hold them guilt.
less.” Now this expression implies much more than it may at first sight seem to de. note. When the Almighty says, that " He will not hold them guiltless," He intends to declare, in a manner peculiarly strong and impressive, that He will hold them guilty. He will not overlook their sin. He will not forget it. He will write it in his book. He will treasure it in his memory. He will one day bring them into judgement; will call them to account for their profane and contemptuous disregard of His Majesty and Power; will convict and condemn them before the assembled universe; and will finally pour out upon them his wrath to the uttermost. Thus He will hold them guilty. In proof of God's peculiar indignation against this sin, do we not occasionally witness, even in this life, some examples of his judgement on those who are guilty of it? Have we not sometimes heard of sinners of this description, who in the midst of their oaths and im. precations have been cut off by some sudden and signal display of Almighty vengeance, and have been sent in a moment into eternity with blasphemy in their mouths, and with all their guilt upon their heads ? Such things have been ; and whenever they do occur, in a most striking manner, they ad. monish us of the aweful state of those who practise this sin, and on whom the wrath of
'God abideth. Surely the following passage from the Book of Psalms, in which the impiety and the doom of these sinners are so strongly depicted, is sufficient to strike terror into the soul of the most hardened swearer. “ As he loved cursing, so let it come unto him : as he delighted not in blessing, so let it be far from him. As he clothed himself with cursing, like as with his garment; so let it come into his bowels like water, and like oil into his bones. Let it be unto him, as the garment which covereth him, and for a girdle wherewith he is girded con. tinually.”*
2. The State of those who practise this sin must be very aweful, inasmuch as it is a state of ripeness and fitness for destruction. When Judas the traitor died, it is said of him, “ he fell by transgression, that he might go to his own place.”+ This place was hell
, the place of torment and punishment; and it is called his own place, because it was the place, and the only place for which he was fitted. It was the place prepared for him and suited to him ; the place where he would meet with wickedness congenial to his own,
And when profane and impious swearers die, whither will they go? What place is reserved for them? They must go to “ their own place.” And what place is this but Hell;
* Psalm cix. 17, 18, 19. + Acts, i. 25.
the only place for which they are fitted and prepared ? Already they breathe the sentiments, and speak the language of Hell. Already they show their congeniality with this place of sin and blasphemy. This then is their place to which they must evidently go. -There only will they meet with associates and employments adapted to their taste and nature. There, with the devil and his angels, will they be tormented day and night, and will gnaw their tongues for pain, and will curse and blaspheme the God of Heaven for ever.Is it not an aweful State indeed to be fit and ripe for such a place ?
3. To practise this sin is to be in a most aweful State, because it is a certain sign of an unregenerate condition. No man who profanes the name of God can be the child of God. I will adduce two, out of many proofs, in support of this assertion.
Those who are born of God have the fear of Him in their hearts. It is a part of that new and holy nature, which in regeneration they have received. He hath taught them to fear his name. How then can they profane it? How can they speak lightly of that God, whom as a Father they venerate and love with every pious and devout affection ? They cannot do it. Those who commit this sin, plainly testify that they have no fear of God before their eyes. They stand in awe