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Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vain, for the Lord will not bold him guiltless that taketb bis Name in vain. Exod. xx. 7.
People take the Name of God in vain, when they use or mention it for trifling and vain Purposes; as many do in common Discourse, without any Occasion; and when it can only serve to shew an Irreverence of the Great Jehovah, and to set bad Examples to all that hear them.
Buc ler such profane Sinners remember, that tho’ they may escape Punishment from Men, yet the Lord will not hold them guiltless, and let them consider the tremendous Import of that Declaration.
It is yet a more aggravated Profaneness of the Name of God, when Men (wear falsely by it; because it is an impious Calling on God, or appealing to him, as Witness to a Falsehood, and is a concealing of Truth, or something which should be known, and is often injurious to others. It is speaking a Lye with an Oaih.
Hear ye this—which swear by the Name of the Lord, and make mention of the God of Israel, but not in Truth, not in Righteousness, said the holy God to his People, Isaiah xlviii. 1. Will ye swear falsely – And come, and stand before me, and say, we are delivered to do all these Abominations.—Bebold, even I baik seen it, saith the Lord. Therefore I will cast you out of my hight. Jer. vii. 9, 11.
Because of Swearing the Land mourneth, said the Prophet, Jer. xxiii. 10.
Hear the Word of the Lord, ye Children of Israel, (faid Hosea) for the Lord hath a Controversy with the Inhabitants of ibe Land, because there is no Truth, nor Mercy, ncr Kurwledge of God in the Land. Therefore Jall the Land mourn. Hof.iv. 1, 3.
This is the Curse that goetb forih over the Face of the whole Earıb, for every one ibat stealeth ball be cut
off, as on this Side, and every one that sweareth sĦALL BE CUT OFF, as on that Side, according to it, it is faid, Zech. v. 3.
There is yet another, and a very dreadful Sort of profaning the Name of God, that is, when a Man, on any Provocation from another, shall pray to God to damn him, or that the Plague may take him, or that some other Evil may befal him.
This is a profane Practice, which not only transgreffes the Laws of God, which requires us to love our Enemies, to love all Men, to pray for them which despitefully use us, but it is a treating God as if he was to fulfil their malicious Desires, and to make his Power to subserve their immoral Wishes; and such have abundant Realon to expect Punishment, when God vifits for Sin.
VII. PROFANERS of God's Sabbaths are another Sort of Sinners, which provoke God to send destroying Judgments.
The Sabbath is profaned, when People fall into a Dillike of it, and wilfully mispend the Time of it, transgressing those Laws, which require us to remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy, i.e. to employ it in religious Exercises, except what Time must be taken up in the Works of Neceflity and Works of Mercy.
They who wilfully neglect the holy Convocation of People, appointed to be on the Sabbath, and will not give their Attendance on the Offices of the publick Worship of God, but tranfact iheir secular Affairs, buy and sell, or receive or make Visits of Entertainment, or take their Recreacions and Pleasure on the Day, or spend the Time in Idleness, are Profaners of the Sabbath.
Six Days Malt thou labour, and do all thy Work, (i.e. about thy worldly Affairs) but the seventh Day
is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God, in it thou shalt not do any Work, thou, nor thy Son, nor thy Daughter, nor thy Man-Servant, thy Maid-Servant, nor thy Cattle, nor the Stranger that is within thy Gates.
And the holy God says, If thou turn away thy Foot from the Sabbath, from doing thine own PleaJure on my holy Day, and (shalt) call the Sabbath a Delight, the Holy of the Lord, honourable, and salt bonour him, not doing thine own Ways, nor finding thine own Pleasure, nor Speaking thine cwn Words. Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord, and I will cause thee to ride upon the high Places of the Earth, and feed thee with the Heritage of Jacob thy Father ; for the Mouth of the Lord bath spoken it. Ifa. lviii. 13, 14.
It appears from these Passages, that God does not allow us on the Sabbath, either to do any worldly Business, or to gratify ourselves even with those Recreations and Pleasures, which are lawful on other Days: It appcars, that if we prize the Day of Sacred Reft, and take Delight in the religious Exercises of it, and abstain from our own fecularWorks, and Words, and Pleasures, we shall then please our most gracious God, and have his Blessing upon us, and have his Blessing manifested to us by kind Difpensations of his Providence towards us : And it appears also, that if we allow ourselves to break his Laws concerning the Sabbath, we provoke his Wrath.
God hath promised to them that keep his Sabbaths, and choose the Things that please him, and take hold of his Covenant, that he will give them an everlasting Name, that shall not be cut off: That them who join themselves to the Lord to serve him, and to love the Name of the Lord to be bis Servants, every one that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and taketh bold of his Covenant, even them will be bring to his holy Mountain, and make them joyful in bis House of Prayer. Read Ifaiah lvi.
26 Sacred Declarations, &c.
But most tremendous are the Declarations of the righteous God against his own People for profaning his Sabbath.
That is an awful Declaration of the LORD of Hofts in Ezek. xx, 21.
They polluled my Sabbaths : Then I said I would pour out my Fury upon them. And this Impiery is mentioned as one Cause of destroying Judgments, and of God's with-holding his Favour and Blessing. v. 13, 10, 24.
This Irreligion is reckoned among the crying Sins of the Inhabitants of Jerusalem, ( Ezek. xxii. 8.) Thou haft despised mine holy Things, and bajt profaned my Sabbaths, said the holy God.
And after the mentioning of their Provocations, God says, (ib. v. 14.) Can thine Heart endure, or can thire Hands be strong in the Days that I shall deal with thee.? I the Lord have spoken it, and I will do it. And I will scatter thee among the Heathen, and disperse thee in the Countries, and will consume thy Filthiness out of thee; ver. 16.
Many People break God's Sabbaths without Remorfe, because they meet with no Punishments from Men, and because the Judgments of God are not speedily executed ; but they must not think to escape so in the Day of God's Visitation for Sin ; 'The Threatnings mentioned plainly shew, that they shall not escape.
I have, in the foregoing Particulars, considered the Declarations of the righteous God concerning fome Sorts of Persons who are wilful, istubborn Transgreffors of one or other of the four first of the Ten Commandments, recorded in Exodus xx, and I intended to have related some of the awful Things, which the Lord hath spoken in his Word of those, who live in wilful Disobedience to his orher Commandments; but that what has been written may
sooner sooner get
into the Hands of those whom it chiefly concerns, I thought it needful first to publish this Part of what I proposed to offer to the most serious Thoughts of People.
The DECLARATIONS of the Judge of the whole Earth, which have been related, are indeed full of doleful Tidings, Tidings which may justly fill the Minds of people with an awful Fear and Dread of provoking the Divine Anger, and excite them to forsake their Sins.
Are not the Threatnings mentioned, the Threatnings of Almighty God, against those Sorts of Perfons, who are the objects of them! And is not the Great God able to execute them ! And will he not do lo, in case the Guilty remain incorrigible!
And when, in Way of his Providence, he proceeds to fulfil his Threatnings, can the guilty Sinners, against whom they are pronounced, expect to escape them? Can they fly from God? Can they get out of the Reach of his almighty Arm? Can they hide themselves, where he cannot find them ? Can any hide himself in secret Places, that I hall not see him? SAITH THE LORD. Fer. xxiii. 24. He hall not be able to hide himself, says God, Jerem. xlix.
Every one has Reason to say unto God, as David did, Ps. cxxxix. 1. O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me-thou understandeft my Thought afar off-and art acquainted with all my Ways--- For there is not a Word in my Tongue, but lo, O Lord thou knowejt it altogether. Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy Presence? If I ascend up into Heaven, ihou art there : if I make my Bed in Hell, behold thou art there. If I say, surely the Darkness all cover me ; even ibe Night Mall be Light about me ; yea, the Darkness hideib not from thee.