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Hallowed be thy name.
WE are now come to the first petition of the Lord’s Prayer; there three things will fall under discussion:—
I. The order of this petition.
II. The necessity of putting up such a request to God.
III. The sense and meaning of the petition itself.
I. Of the order; it is the first of all the six. The petitions of the Lord’s Prayer may thus be ranked:—The four first concern the obtaining of good; and the two last, the removal of evil—either the removal of evil past, and already committed, or the removal of evil future, and such as may be admitted by the temptation of the devil. Among the former, those things that do more immediately concern the glory of God, they have the first place. In this petition, the glory of God is both desired and promised on our part; for every prayer is both an expression of a desire, and also an implicit vow or a solemn obligation that we take upon ourselves to prosecute what we ask. Prayer, it is a preaching to ourselves in God’s hearing. We speak to God to warm ourselves, not for his information, but for our edification.
From the order observe:—
Doct. That those things are to be desired in the first place, and with the greatest affection, which do concern the glory of God. The first petition is, ‘Hallowed be thy name.’
Here to show:—
1. Why this petition is put first.
2. Present some reasons of the point.
First, This petition is put first, for a double reason:—
1. Partly to show that this must be the end of all our requests. All that we desire and pray for, in behalf of ourselves and others, must be subordinate to this end. All these things must be asked, that by the accomplishment of them God may be brought more in request in the world. See all the other petitions in this prayer, how they are suited to this end in scripture. When we say, ‘Thy kingdom come,’ what do we beg that for, but ultimately the glory of God? Phil. ii. 10, 11, ‘God hath given him a name which is above every name, that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.’ When we say, ‘Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven,’ it is still to the glory of God: Mat. v. 16, ‘That our good works may still shine forth before men here upon earth, that they may glorify our Father which is in heaven.’ When we ask our daily bread, and provisions for the present life, it is still that he may be glorified in our comfortable use of the creature: 1 Cor. x. 31, ‘Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.’ When we ask for the remission of sins, it is that God may be glorified in Christ: Rom. iii. 25, 26, ‘Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, that he may be just,’ &c. When we beg freedom from temptation, it is that we may not dishonour God: Prov. xxx. 9. ‘Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, 67Who is the Lord? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.’ Still that God may be glorified in every condition. When we ask deliverance from evil: Ps. l. 15, ‘Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.’ So that the glory of God, in all requests that we make to him, like oil, still swims on the top, and must be the end of all the rest; for other things are but means in subordination to it.
2. It notes that our chiefest care and affection should be carried out to the glory of God when we pray. We should rather forget ourselves than forget God. God must be remembered in the first place. There is nothing more precious than God himself, therefore nothing should be more dear to us than his glory. This is the great difference between the upright and the hypocrite: the hypocrite never seeks God but when his necessities do require it, not in and for himself; but when the upright come to seek God, it is for God in the first place—their main care is about God’s concernments rather than their own. Though they seek their own happiness in him, and they are allowed so to do; yet it is mainly God’s glory which they seek, not their own interests and concernments. See that: Ps. cxv. 1, ‘Not unto us, not unto us, O Lord, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake.’ It is not a doxology, or form of thanksgiving, but a prayer; not for our safety and welfare, so much as thy glory; not to reek and satisfy our revenge upon our adversaries; not for the establishment of our interest; but for the glory of thy grace and truth, that God may be known to be a God keeping covenant; for mercy and truth are the two pillars of the covenant. It is a great dishonouring of God when anything is sought from him “more than himself, or not for himself. Saith Austin, it is but a carnal affection in prayer when men seek self more than God. Self and God are the two things that come in competition. Now there are several sorts of self; there is carnal self, natural self, spiritual self, and glorified self. Above all these God must have the pre-eminence.
[1.] Carnal self. By a foolish mistake we take our lusts to be ourselves: Col. iii. 5, ‘Mortify your members here upon earth.’ And these members he makes to be fornication, uncleanness, and the like. Our sins are as dear to us as any essential or integral part of the body; they are our members. Now, these should have no room in our prayers at all, though usually they have the first place: James iv. 3, ‘Ye ask and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.’ Our prayers should be the breathings of the spirit, and usually they are but the belches and eructations of the flesh. And for these it is we are so instant and earnest with God. We would have God bless us in some revengeful and carnal enterprise. We deal with God as the thief that lighted his candle at the lamps of the altar. So many would make God a party in their carnal designs: Prov. xxi. 27, ‘The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination; how much more when he bringeth it with a wicked mind?’ It is an abomination when it is at the best; but when he hath an ill aim, then it is an abomination with a witness. Foolish creatures vainly imagine to entice heaven to their lure. Balaam builded altars and sacrificed, out of hope that God would curse his own people, and 68engage in Moab’s quarrel; like the man in the Gospel that would make no other use of Christ than to compose his civil difference: Luke xii. 13. He comes to him as a man of authority, ‘Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me.’ We all look upon God, tanquam aliquem magnum, as Austin said he did in his infancy, as some great power that would serve all our carnal turns. In this sense we make God to serve our sins, Isa. xliii. 24, when we would have God to contribute to our lusts, to our pride, wantonness, revenge. This is such a foolish request, as if a wife should beg of her husband to give her leave to go on with her adulteries. Survey all the petitions which are in this present platform of prayer, there is not one that is calculated for such an evil purpose as our revenge, pomp, pride, pleasure. Carnal self surely must give way to God.
[2.] There is a natural self, when we seek our own temporal felicity. Christ hath allowed these natural desires a room in our prayers; but they must keep their order and their place: first, God’s glory; and then, our safety. The obtaining of natural good is put in the last place. And, therefore, when our thoughts only run upon temporal felicity and outward supplies, it is not prayer, but a brutish cry: Hosea vii. 14, ‘They howl upon their beds for corn, wine, and oil.’ Beasts are sensible of their pain, and are carried by natural instinct to seek their own welfare, as well as men. And, therefore, when this is our first and only request, it is a perversion of that order which Christ hath set down in this perfect form of prayer.
[3.] There is spiritual self, which is valuable either in point of justification or acceptance with God, or in point of sanctification and conformity to him. Now, as these blessings cannot be severed from God’s glory where they are really enjoyed, so they must not be severed in our prayers, nor preferred before it. To ask pardon as a separate benefit as it concerns our ease and quiet, not as it concerns God’s glory, is a perversion and a diversion of our prayers. The main thing which God intends should be the main thing in our requests, is, ‘the praise of his glorious grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved,’ Eph. i. 6. And, therefore, this is the main thing which the soul intends: Ps. lxxix. 9, ‘Help us, God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name; and deliver us, and purge away our sins, for thy name’s sake.’ The argument is not taken from themselves merely, or from their own misery, but from God’s glory. If God could not be more glorified in our pardon and acceptance with him than in our death and damnation, it were an evil thing to desire pardon. But now when God hath abundantly cleared up this to us, that he is no loser by acts of mercy; that this conduceth more to the exalting of his great name, to accept poor sinners to mercy; the soul goeth with the more confidence to beg it of God, that he would purge us from our filthiness for his name’s sake. But now men’s thoughts are wholly taken up with their own peace and safety, and take no care for God’s honour. This is but a selfish request, or an offer of nature after ease. For the other part, to ask for grace and conformity to God’s will, merely as it is a perfection of our nature abstractly from God’s glory, it is not a right request. It is contrary to the very nature of grace, whose tendency is to God in the first place, that his name may 69be glorified, that we should be to the praise of his glorious grace. Grace wrought in us is but a creature, and not to be preferred before the Creator. See how the apostle prays: 2 Thes. i. 11, 12, ‘We pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power: that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.’ That is a regular prayer, when all our spiritual interests are swallowed up in God, and we beg that his name may be glorified in us and upon us.
[4.] There is glorified self, which standeth in the eternal fruition of God. Man was made for two ends—to glorify God, and to enjoy him. Now our crown of glory must be laid at God’s feet; as the elders, Rev. iv. 10, ‘Saying, Thou art worthy, Lord, to receive glory, and honour, and power.’ All our desires must give place to this, that he may be glorified in our eternal happiness; and we are to beg it no further than as it may stand with his honour. Man’s chief end, and so his chief request, in respect of himself, is, to enjoy God; but with respect to God, so it is the highest only of subordinate ends; for the highest, chiefly and absolutely, is the glorifying of God.
Well then, therefore, this is put first, to show that our chiefest care and affection should mainly run upon the glory of God, and that God might be advanced and lifted up on high.
Secondly, To give you some reasons why those things which concern the glory of God must be sought in the first place, and with the greatest affection:—
1. As we are reasonable creatures, it is fit it should be so. In all regular desires the end is first intended, and then the means. But now the glory of God, that is the end of all things: Prov. xvi. 4, ‘The Lord hath made all things for himself;’ that is, for his own glory, for the manifesting of his excellency. And so our redemption: Luke ii. 14, ‘Glory be to God on high.’ When God came to show his good will in Christ, it was to make way for his glory: as it begins in good will, so it must end in glory. This is the end of all the privileges we have by nature and grace. Now God’s glory is the end of our being and service, and therefore must be first taken care of in our prayers; first his glory, and then our profit, for the end is the first thing in tended by any rational agent.
2. As we are the children of God by adoption. The great duty of children is to honour their parents. God pleads for honour upon this account: Mal. i. 6, ‘If I be father, where is my honour?’ So that if you consent to the preface, and say, ‘Our Father;’ then the next request will be, ‘Hallowed be thy name.’ If we would own ourselves in such a relation, then we must make it our chief desire and care that God might be glorified by ourselves and others. Every kind of honour will not serve our heavenly Father. He must not be honoured as an ordinary father, in a common notion, but as an infinite and eternal Majesty; and to prefer anything to his interest or glory, or to equal anything to him, it is to make an idol of it, and to renounce him to be our father. The case of earthly parents is not always so. But now you renounce God when an idol is set in the throne; when 70any interest or concernment of yours is preferred before God, and before his interest and concernment.
3. That which is of most value and consideration should be sought first. Now God’s glory it hath an infinite excellency above all other things. The glory of God is of more worth than all creatures,—than their being and happiness. The end is more worthy than that which serveth and conduceth to the end. Meats and drinks they were made for the body, therefore are not so good as the body. Who would dig for iron with mattocks of gold? The means or instrument is better worth than the purchase. Now no matter what becomes of us, so God may be glorified. As it is said of David, ‘Thou art better than ten thousand of us;’ therefore, though they exposed their bodies to hazard, they thought it not safe for him. So is God better than the whole world of men or angels. Our first care must be that he may be glorified, then let other things succeed in their place.
4. The example of Christ shows how much the glory of God should be cared for, and preferred before the creature’s good: John xii. 27, 28, ‘Father, save me from this hour.’ There was the innocent and sinless inclination of his human nature. ‘But for this cause came I unto this hour; Father, glorify thy name.’ He doth not so earnestly insist upon that, but submits all his human concernments, though exceeding precious, that they might give way to the glory of God; and he had no respect to his own ease, or to the innocent inclination of his human nature, or to the felt comforts of the Godhead. Now Christ’s example it is the best instruction. He taught us how we should behave ourselves to our heavenly Father; and, therefore, we should learn to prefer the honour of God before our own ease; and if God but get up, though we be kept low and poor, yet we should be contented. Look, as all natural things will act against their particular inclination for a general good; as to avoid a vacuity, the air will descend, and the water ascend, that there may not be a confusion or dissolution of the frame of nature: so hath Christ taught us still to prefer a general good. ‘Father, glorify thyself;’ that is it we must insist upon, though it be with our loss, suffering, trouble, yea, some times with our trouble of conscience, we must be content.
5. From the nature of prayer. The whole spiritual life it is a living to God: Gal. ii. 19, ‘I am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.’ The whole tendency and ordination of all acts of the spiritual life they are to God. Even the natural life is overruled and directed to this end; there is an eating and drinking to God; the meat and drink we take, if God be not the last end of it, it is but a meat-offering and a drink-offering to our own appetite, and a sacrifice to Moloch. Now, much more in acts of immediate worship, there God will be principally regarded, for their respect and tendency is mainly to God. In our whole life we are God’s, dedicated to him. Every godly man is set apart for God. A man that is a Christian must be ‘holy in all manner of conversation,’ 1 Pet. i. 15. A Christian must look upon himself as one that is dedicated to God, when he is at his meals, in his trade and calling; and grace is to run out in every act. But much more is this tendency of grace to bewray itself in our solemn sequestration of ourselves when we mate our nearer 71approaches to him: Lev. x. 3, ‘I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people will I be glorified.’ What is it to sanctify God? A thing is sanctified when it is set apart; and God is sanctified when we set apart ourselves wholly for him when he hath more than common affections and common respects. And therefore in prayer, in the first place, we should go to God for God, and surely in such a request we are likely to speed.
6. Love to God, if it be unfeigned, and hath any strength in the soul, will necessarily put us upon this. Love seeks the good of the party beloved, as much or more than its own. Those which love have all things in common between them, and one counts it done to himself what is done to the other; so it is in the love between us and God. Look, as Christ loves the saints, and counteth whatever you do to them it is done to him, because done to those whom he loved—Mat. xxv.: so, reciprocally, the saint which loves God, what is done to God is done to us: when God is honoured, we are comforted as much or more than with our own benefit; and when God is dishonoured, we have the grief and sorrow: Ps. lxix. 9, ‘The reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me.’ Or if they hear God’s name rent in pieces, and men dishonour him by their filthy lives, it goeth to their hearts; for God and they have but one common interest—nay, they prefer God’s interest before their own or any other’s: John xxi. 15, ‘Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?’ By the world’s maxim, love should begin at home; but by Christ’s direction, it beginneth with God They are more tender of God’s glory than their own lives and outward comfort: ‘I count not my life dear to me,’ saith Paul. Thus you see what reason there is why our main care and thoughts should be taken up about the concernments of God, and about the glory of his holy name.
Use 1. To reprove us, that we are no more affected with God’s glory. Oh, how little do we aim at and regard it in our prayers! We should seek it, not only above the profits and pleasures of this life, but even above life itself; yea, above life present and to come. But alas! since the fall, we are corrupt, and wholly poisoned with self-love; we prefer every base interest and trifle before God; nay, we prefer carnal self before God. Some are wholly brutish; and so they may wallow in ease and pleasure, and eat the fat and drink the sweet, never think of God, care not how God is dishonoured, both by themselves and others. And then some, oh, how tender are they in matters of their own concernment, and affected with it, more than for the glory of God!—John xii. 43. They are more affected with their own honour, and their own loss and reproach, than with God’s dishonour or God’s glory. If their own reputation be but hazarded a little, oh, how it stings them to the heart! But if they be faulty towards God, they can pass it over without trouble. A word of disgrace, a little contempt cast upon our persons, kindles the coals and fills us with rage; but we can hear God’s name dishonoured, and not be moved with it. When they pray, if they beg outward blessings, if they ask anything, it is for their lusts, not for God; it is but to feed their pomp and excess, and that they may shine in the pomp and splendour of external accommodations. If they beg quickening and enlargement, it is 72for their own honour, that their lusts may be fed by the contributions of heaven; so, by a wicked design, they would even make God to serve the devil. The best of us, when we come to pray, what a deep sense have we of our own wants, and no desire of the glory of God! If we beg daily bread, maintenance, and protection, we do not beg it as a talent to be improved for our master’s use, but as fuel for our lusts. If we beg deliverance, it is because we are in pain, and ill at ease; not that we may honour and glorify God, that mercy and truth may shine forth. If we beg pardon, it is only to get rid of the smart, and be enlarged out of the stocks of conscience. If they beg grace, it is but a lazy wish after sanctification, because they are convinced there is no other way to be happy. If they beg eternal glory, they do not beg it for God, it appears plainly, because they can be content to dishonour God long, provided they at length may be saved. Most of us pray without a heart set to glorify God, and to bring honour unto his great name. Though a man hath never so much sense and feeling in his prayer, yet if his heart be not duly set as to the glory of God, his prayer is turned into sin. It is not the manner or the vehemency only, for a carnal spring may send forth high tides of affection, and motions that come from lust may be earnest and very rapid; therefore it is not enough to have fervour and vehemency, but when our aim is to honour and glorify God: Zech. vii. 5, 6, ‘When ye fasted, did ye at all fast unto me, even to me? And when ye did eat, and when ye did drink, did you not eat for yourselves, and drink for yourselves?’
Use 2. For exhortation, to press us to seek the glory of God above all things. Take these arguments:—
1. How necessary it is the Lord should have his glory. The world serves for no other purpose; it is made and continued for this end: Rev. iv. 11, ‘Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honour, and power; for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.’ All that God hath made, it was for his own glory; and, Rom. xi. 36, ‘For of him, and through him, and to him are all things; to whom be glory for ever. Amen.’ Of him, in a way of creation; through him, by way of providential influence and supportation; that they may be to him in their final tendency and result. God did not make us for ourselves, but his own glory.
2. It is a singular benefit to be admitted to sanctify God’s name. Oh that poor worms should come and put the crown upon God’s head! and that he will count anything we can do to be a glory to himself: 1 Chron. xxix. 14, ‘But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? For all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee.’
3. Consider how much it concerneth us, that we may make some restitution for our former dishonouring of God; therefore we should be more zealous in this work. How forward have we been to dishonour God in thought, word, and deed, before the Lord wrought upon us! There is not a mercy but we have abused it, nor anything we have meddled with, but one way or other we have turned it to the Lord’s reproach and dishonour. Now when the Lord hath put grace in our hearts, when we are ‘a people formed for his praise’—Isa. xliii.73—when he hath made us anew, we should think of making some restitution, some amends to God, and should zealously affect his glory above all things.
Use 3. For trial. Do we prefer the glory of God in the first place? Take these marks:—
1. Then we would be content with our loss, provided the name of God may gain any respect in the world; and so he may be magnified, no matter what becomes of us, and our interest and concernment: Phil. i. 20. The apostle expresseth there a kind of indifferency: so ‘Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life or by death.’ Oh, then it is a sign you make it your purpose, drift, and care, when you are contented to do or be anything that God will have you to be or do. This holds good, not only in temporal concernments, when you are content to want necessary food, &c., but it holds also in spiritual concernments: as to sense of pardon, though God should suspend the consolations of his Spirit, yet, if it be for the glory of his grace, I am to be content; nay, in some cases God’s glory is more to be cared for than our own salvation, if they two could come in competition; but that case never falls out with the creature—our salvation is conjoined with the glory of God. But yet, in supposition, if it should, as Paul and Moses puts the supposition—Exod. xxxii. 32, ‘Blot me, I pray thee, out of the book which thou hast written’—so God might be honoured in saving that people. So Rom. ix. 3, ‘For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.’ It was not a rash speech, a thing spoken out of an unadvised passion: see but with what a serious preface it is ushered in, ver. 1, ‘God is my witness, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost.’ He calls God to witness this was the real disposition of his heart, and he speaks advisedly, and with good deliberation.
Object. But is it lawful thus to wish to be accursed? Certainly Paul could not wish himself to love Christ less, or to be less beloved of him; for these things we cannot part with .them without sin; but in our enjoyment of Christ there is a happy part, some personal happiness which resulteth to us. Now all this he could lay at God’s feet. How so? What, for others? A regular love begins at home, and every man is bound to look to his own salvation first, and then the salvation of others. But that was not the case; it was not their salvation and Paul’s salvation which was in competition, but the glory of God, and the common salvation of the Jews, and Paul’s particular salvation. It was a mighty prejudice to the gospel that the people from whom Christ’s messengers proceeded—for the law went out of Sion, the gospel came out from among the Jews—that so many of them were prejudiced, and a mighty eclipse to the glory of God. Now he could lay down all his personal happiness at God’s feet, he speaks in supposition, if such a case falls out. But, however, this is a clear rule: the glory of God must be preferred before our own salvation. In some cases there will be need of this rule. For in stance, there is many a man that possibly is convinced of a false religion; and the first question men make is, if they can be saved in such a religion, but many men are hardened in Popery. When, therefore, 74a man is contented to continue in a false religion, and dishonour God with his compliance there, provided he may be saved, he prefers his own salvation before the glory of God; and in case of the delay of repentance, when men dally with God, and put off the work of returning to the Lord until another time, or hereafter it is time enough to repent, these men prize their salvation before the glory of God. If it were true upon that supposition, that if ever they shall be saved, they are contented God shall be dishonoured a great deal longer, and that if they be saved at length this will satisfy them.
Quest. But how may we discern that we make the glory of God the first and chief thing we aim at in prayer?
1. Partly by the work of your own thoughts. The end is first in intention, though last in execution. When you are praying for a public mercy against an enemy, what runs in your thoughts? Revenge, safety, and your own personal happiness, or God’s glory? ‘What wilt thou do, O Lord, unto thy great name?’ Josh. vii. 9. Are you pleasing yourselves with suppositions of your escape and deliverance, and reeking your wrath upon your adversaries? So in prayer for strength and quickening, what is it that runs in your mind? Are you entertaining your spirit with dreams of applause, and feeding your minds with the sweetness of popular acclamation?
2. By the manner of praying, absolutely for God’s glory, but for all other things with a sweet submission to God’s will: John xii. 27, ‘Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.’ Christ is absolute in the request, and he receives an answer. Is this enough? Do you mainly press God with this, that he might provide for his own glorious name, that his name might not lie under reproach? But now carnal aims do make affection impetuous and impatient of check and denial. Rachel must have children, or die. When the heart is set upon earthly success, pleasure, or comfort, then they cannot brook a denial without murmuring. The children of God only accept of God’s glory, and in all other things they leave themselves to God’s disposal, and therefore this is the main thing.
3. Partly too by the disposition of your hearts when your prayers are accomplished, and God hath given any blessing you pray for. We do not ask it for God’s glory, if we do not use it for God’s glory. The time of having mercies is the time of trial, and therefore when we consume our mercies upon our lusts, when they do not conduce to check our sins, it is a sign God’s glory is not the thing intended as it should be.
Thus for the order of this petition.
II. The necessity of putting up such a request to God. It is his charge to us in the third commandment, that we should sanctify his name: ‘Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.’ The positive part of that commandment is, thou shalt sanctify it. Now here we make it matter of prayer to God: ‘Hallowed be thy name.’ From whence let me observe:—
Doct. Those that would have God’s name hallowed and glorified, must seriously deal with God about it.75
There are several reasons why we must put up such requests to God. I might argue from the utility and the necessity of it.
First, The utility. We put up these requests to God:—
1. That we may more solemnly warn ourselves of our own duty. In prayer there is an implicit vow, or solemn obligation, that we take upon ourselves to prosecute what they ask. It is a preaching to ourselves in God’s hearing. So that every word we speak to God is a lesson to us, and our requests are so many exhortations to glorify his holy name. With what face can we ask that which we are wholly reckless and neglectful of? Then we shall certainly come under that character: Mat. xv. 7, 8, ‘This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.’ It is the greatest mockage of God to ask, unless we have a mind to pursue and diligently to attend to this work and business, that the name of God may be glorified in us and upon us.
2. That we may have a due sense and grief for God’s honour. God’s children they are troubled to see God dishonoured. Lot’s righteous soul was vexed, not with Sodom’s injuries, but with Sodom’s sins, 2 Pet. ii. 8. And David saith: ‘Rivers of tears run down mine eyes, because men keep not thy law.’ Ps. cxix. 136. Many will scarce weep for their own sins, where they have advantage of remorse of conscience; but when they are zealously affected with God’s glory, they will weep for others’ sins. When his name is torn and rent in pieces, it is a grief of heart to them. Now God will have us ask this, that this holy sense of spiritual grief may be kept up; for when it is become the matter of our requests, then we are interested in the glory of God. We are loth to see things miscarry where we have petitioned and begged for others; so when we have begged the glory of his name, it will further this spiritual sense and grief of heart when his name is dishonoured.
3. That we may count it as great a blessing when God is glorified as when we are saved. ‘Continue in prayer,’ saith the apostle, ‘and watch thereunto with thanksgiving.’ When we have been instant with God in prayer, that he might be glorified, then we shall count it as great a blessing when he is glorified as when we are saved. Prayer makes way for the increase of our esteem, and engages us to observe the return. When we have asked it of God, we will be affected with it then. When we see all his works praise him, what a comfort will this be to the soul: ‘Bless the Lord, O my soul.’ Ps. ciii. 22.
But secondly, Let me show the necessity of dealing with God about it. The necessity will appear both in respect of persons and things; when we beg that God’s name may be hallowed, we beg dispositions of heart and occasions.
First, The necessity will appear in respect of persons, both as to ourselves and others.
First, In respect of ourselves, there is a great necessity that we should deal with God about the hallowing of his name; because we need direction, sincerity, quickening, submission to God, humility, and holiness.
To instance in these six things:—76
1. We need direction. The habits of grace are God’s gifts, and the exercise of grace is another thing; to actuate, quicken, guide, and direct it: 2 Thes. iii. 5, ‘The Lord direct your hearts to the love of God.’ And so in prayer, and in honouring of God. In prayer, ‘we know not’ how or ‘what to pray for as we ought.’ Though we have grace, yet we need direction. A ship that is well rigged, yet needs a skilful pilot: Rom. viii. 26, ‘Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities; for we know not what we should pray for as we ought.’ How much are we to seek to give God his due honour!’ Of ourselves we cannot so much as think a good thought:’ 2 Cor. iii, 5. There is an utter insufficiency in us to meditate of God, and conceive aright of his excellency, and give him the honour which is due to him. None of us but needs daily to go to God, that we may be taught how to hallow and sanctify his name.
2. We need quickening, being so backward to this duty. All the lepers could beg help, and but one returned to give God the glory. There is much dulness and deadness of heart as to the praising of God, and glorifying of God. Self-love will put us upon other things; but it is grace must quicken us to glorify him and praise him. When we go to God for ourselves, our necessities will sharpen our affections, and put a shrill accent upon our prayers. But now when we beg of God for God, then there is a greater restraint upon us. And therefore David saith, Ps. li. 15, ‘Open thou my lips, and my mouth shall show forth thy praise.’ We need God to open our mouths; that is, enlarge our hearts and quicken our affections. How apt are we to turn the back upon the mercy-seat! Ezek. xlvi. 9. If a man came in at the north gate he was to go out at the south gate, but never at the same door. Why? That he might not turn his back upon the mercy-seat. When we have prayed, we are apt to forget that God which hath blessed us; and therefore that our hearts might be enlarged and quickened, we need to go to God.
3. We need uprightness and sincerity, that we may mind the glory of God. This is not a work of nature, but grace: Phil. ii. 21, ‘All men seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s.’ There is the fruit and effect of nature, it puts men upon seeking their own things, worldly ease, profit, and pleasure. Every creature naturally seeks its own welfare; but to make the glory of God our great aim and pursuit, it is grace puts upon that. Water ascends no higher than it descends, so nature cannot rise beyond itself. The stream cannot rise above the fountain, and above the principle. A man that hath nothing but nature, he cannot unfeignedly seek the things which are of God. The old man with the deceitful lusts, that is the natural man. The upright heart, that unfeignedly seeks God, needs grace from above. Without influence from God, our actions cannot have a tendency to God. We shall prefer our interest before God’s glory, if we have no higher principle than what our hearts furnish us with.
4. We must go to God for submission. Now there is a double submission required, which if we have not, we shall find it marvellously difficult to glorify God. One, as to the choice of instruments; another, as to the way and means by which God will bring about his own glory.77
[1.] As to the choice of instruments. There is in us an envy, and wicked emulation. Oh, how hard a matter is it to rejoice in the gifts, and graces, and services of others, and be content with the dispensation, when God will cast us by as unworthy, and use others for the glorifying of his name! Therefore that we may refer the choice of instruments to God, we need go to him and say, Lord, ‘hallowed be thy name;’ do it which way, and by whom thou pleasest. We are troubled, if others glorify God, and not we, or more than we; if they be more holy, more useful, or more serious, self will not yield to this. Now by putting up this prayer to God, we refer it to him to choose the instrument whom he will employ. It was a commendable modesty and self-denial in John Baptist, which is described, John iii. 13, ‘He must increase, I must decrease.’ When we are contented to be abased and obscured, provided Christ may be honoured and exalted; and be content with such a dispensation, though with our loss and decrease. Many are of a private station, and straitened in gifts, and can have no public instrumentality for God; now these need to pray, ‘Hallowed be thy name,’ that they may rejoice when God useth others whom he hath furnished with greater abilities.
[2.] A submission for the way; that we may submit to those unpleasing means and circumstances of his providence, that God will take up and make use of, for the glorifying of his holy name. Many times we must be content, not only to be active instruments, but passive objects of God’s glory. And therefore if God will glorify himself by our poverty, or our disgrace, our pain and sickness, we must be content. Therefore we need to deal with God seriously about this matter, that we may submit to the Lord’s will, as Jesus Christ did: John xii. 27, 28, ‘Save me from this hour; but for this cause came I unto this hour: Father, glorify thy name. And there was a voice from heaven that said, I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.’ Put me to shame, suffering, to endure the cross, the curse, so thou mayest be glorified. This was the humble submission of Christ Jesus, and such a submission should be in us. The martyrs were contented to be bound to the stake, if that way God will use them to his glory. Phil. i. 20, saith Paul, ‘So Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death:’ if my body be taken to heaven in glory, or whether it be exercised or worn out with ministerial labour. We need to deal with God that we may have the end, and leave the means to his own choosing; that God may be glorified in our condition, whatever it be. If he will have us rich and full, that he might be glorified in our bounty; if he will have us poor and low, that he may be glorified in our patience; if he will have us healthy, that he may be glorified in our labour; if he will have us sick, that he may be glorified in our pain; if he will have us live, that he may be glorified in our lives; if he will have us die, that he may be glorified in our deaths: and therefore, ‘Whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s:’ Rom. xiv. 9. A Christian is to be like a die in the^hand of providence, content whether he be cast high or low, and not to grudge at it, whether he will continue us longer or take us out of the world. As a servant employed beyond the seas, if his master will have him tarry, there he tarries; if he would have him come home, 78home he comes: so that we had need to deal seriously with God about this submissive spirit.
[5.] Humility; that we may not put the crown upon our own heads, but may cast it at the Lamb’s feet; that we may not take the glory of our graces to ourselves. God’s great aim in the covenant is, ‘that no flesh should glory in itself; but whosoever glories, may glory in the Lord:’ 1 Cor. i. 27-31. He would have us still come and own him, in all that we are, and in all that we do. As the good servant gave account of his diligence, Luke xix. 16, he doth not say, My industry, but, ‘Thy pound hath gained ten pounds.’ And Paul was a zealous instrument, that went up and down doing good; he ‘laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God, which was with me:’ 1 Cor. xv. 10. In this case if we would honour and glorify God, we must do as Joab did, when he was likely to take Rabbah: he sent for David to gather up more forces, and encamp against the city and take it, ‘Lest I take the city, and it be called after my name:’ 2 Sam. xii. 28. How careful was he that his sovereign might have the honour! So careful should we be that the crown be set upon Christ’s head, and that he may have the glory of our graces and services, that they may not be called after our own name, that God may be more owned in them than we. Now what more natural, than for creatures to intercept the revenues of the crown of heaven, and to convert them to their own use? It is a vile sacrilege, to rob God of the glory of that grace he hath bestowed upon us; and yet what more common? The flesh is apt to interpose upon all occasions; and therefore we need to put up this request, ‘Hallowed be thy name.’
[6.] There is holiness required, that we may not be a disgrace to God and a dishonour to him. The Lord saith, Ezek. xx. 9, ‘That his name should not be polluted before the heathen, among whom they (his people) were.’ The sin of God’s people doth stain the honour of God, and profane his name. When men profess much to be a people near God, and live carnally and loosely, they dishonour God exceedingly by their conversation. Men judge by what is visible and sensible, and so they think of God by his servants and worshippers; as the heathens did of Christ in Salvian’s time,—If he was a holy Christ, certainly Christians would live more temperately, justly, and soberly. They are apt to think of God by his worshippers, and by the people that profess themselves so near and dear to him; therefore it concerns us to walk so, that our lives may honour him: Mat. v. 16, ‘Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.’ As the loins of the poor (saith Job) blessed him, Job xxxi. 20, namely, as they were fed and clothed by his bounty; so our lives may glorify God. David saith, Ps. cxix. 7, ‘Then shall I praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I have learned thy righteous judgment.’ There is no way to praise God entirely and sincerely until we have learned both to know and do his will. Real praise is the praise God looks after. Otherwise we do but serve Christ as the devil served him, who would carry him upon the top of the mountain, but it was with an intent to bid him throw himself down again. So we seem to exalt God much in our talk and 79profession; yea, but we throw him down, when we pollute him and deny him in our conversation. Our lives are the scandal of religion, and a pollution and blot to the name of God. So that with respect to ourselves, you see, what need we have to go to God. that he will give us grace that we may please him and glorify his name.
Secondly, In regard of others. A Christian cannot be content to glorify God himself, but he would have all about him to glorify God. .As fire turns all things round about it into fire; and leaven, it spreads still, until it hath subdued the whole lump: so is grace a diffusive, a spreading thing. As far as we can reach and diffuse our influence, we would have God brought into request with all round about us. ‘Being converted,’ saith Christ to Peter, ‘strengthen thy brethren.’ So it will be where there is true grace. Mules, and creatures which are of a mongrel and bastard race, they beget not after their kind: so bastard Christians are not for the calling in of others, and the gaining of those about them. But a true Christian will be earnest, and much in this matter. Now their hearts are not in our power, but in God’s; therefore we need to be much in prayer, and make this our main request, Lord, ‘hallowed be thy name.’ For hereby,
1. We acknowledge God’s dominion over the spirits of men, which is a great honour to God, and a quieting to us. It is a title often given to God in scripture, that he is the ‘God of the spirits of all flesh.’ If they had a magistrate to choose, they go to God: Num. xxvii. 16, ‘Let the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation.’ If a judgment to be averted, Num. xvi. 22, ‘O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and wilt thou be wroth with all the congregation?’ This is a great honour to God, when we acknowledge the power and dominion that he hath over the hearts and spirits of men. To roll a stone is not so much as to rule the creatures; and to keep the sun in its course is not so much as to rule the spirits of men, and to work them to the glorifying of his holy name. God can turn the hearts of men this way and that way, according as he pleaseth: Prov. xxi. 1, ‘The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water; he turneth it whithersoever he will.’ As a man can dispose of a watercourse, turn it hither and thither as the necessities of his field or garden require, so can God draw out the hearts and respects of men. Surely there would not be so many disorders in the world if we did often reflect upon this attribute, or did deal .with God about his power over the spirits of men. We are wrathful, and think nothing but the confusion of men would serve the turn, and there is no riddance of our burden but by the destruction of those who stand in our way; whereas the conversion of men, a change of their spirits and hearts, would be a better cure, and bring more honour to God, and safety with it. The truth is, we look more to men than to God, and that is the reason why we pitch rather upon the destruction than the conversion of others. Destruction, that may be executed by the creature; but conversion, that is a power (to order and regulate the spirits of men) which God hath reserved in his own hands. One angel could destroy above a hundred and eighty thousand in Sennacherib’s camp in one night; but all the angels, with their united strength, cannot draw in one heart to God. 80But now the God of the spirits of all flesh, who is too hard for him? Oh, did we often reflect upon this, we would be dealing with God about this matter, that he would work upon the spirits of men. If there be a wicked ruler, or an obstinate child or servant, &c., that he would sanctify himself upon them, and change their hearts.
2. You discover much love to God, when, as you would not dishonour him yourselves, so you are careful others may not dishonour him. ‘Praise him, all ye ends of the earth,’ Ps. xcviii. 4, and c. 1. You would have all the world own him. Private spirits that would impale and enclose religion, that they may shine alone, they do not love God, but themselves, their own credit, and their own profit. ‘Would to God all the Lord’s people were prophets!’ Num. xi. 29. That was a free and noble speech. God is resembled to the sun, be cause it is he that must shine alone; but the church is compared to the moon and stars, where all may shine, but every star in its own glory. True Christians would have all to be as they are, unless it be with respect to their bonds and incumbrances.
3. You discover love to others, you would have them glorify God. The angels, they rejoice when a sinner is converted; they have a great love to souls, Luke xv. 7. And so do Christians; the more spiritual they are, the more they come near to the blessed spirits above, and the more affected they are with the good done to others, and with their conversion. Saith Paul, Rom. ix. 3: ‘I could wish that my self were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.’ Such a zeal and entire affection he had to the souls of others, that he could lay all his personal happiness at Christ’s feet. And thus you see what need we have to deal seriously with God in this business, if indeed we make this our aim. Especially those which are in public relations, as Paul was, which had an office put upon him to procure the salvation of others, how will their hearts run out upon it!
Secondly, It is needful we should deal with God about the sanctifying of his name, as in regard of persons, so of things and events. God hath the disposal of all events in his own hands. There are many things which concern the glory of God that are out of our reach, and are wholly in God’s hands; and therefore it discovers our love to his glory, and our submission to his wise and powerful government of all affairs, when we deal with God about it, and refer the matter to his disposal, and say, Lord, ‘hallowed be thy name,’ take the work into thy own hands. We discover our love to his glory, because we make it a part of our request that all these events may conduce to the glory of his majesty. As Joshua, when Israel fell before their enemies: Josh. vii. 9, ‘Lord, what wilt thou do for thy great name?’ There was his trouble. And Moses: Num. xiv. 15, 16, What will the nations say round about?’ Because the Lord was not able to bring this people into the land which he sware unto them, therefore he hath slain them in the wilderness.’ It goeth near to the heart of God’s children when they see anything that will tend to God’s reproach.
But that is not all; it is not enough we discover that, but also our submission to his wise and powerful government, when we refer the matter to his disposal, and can see that he can work out his own ends 81out of all the confusions which happen there; out of sins, errors, wars, blood: Ps. lxxvi. 10, ‘The wrath of man shall praise thee; the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.’ In the Septuagint it is, the wrath of man shall keep holy day to thee, shall increase a festival for thee. God many times gets up in the world upon Satan’s shoulders. When matters are ravelled and disordered, he can find out the right end of the thread, and how to disentangle us again; and when we have spoiled a business, he can dispose it for good, and make an advantage of those things which seem to obscure the glory of his name.
By the way, both these must go together, our love to his glory, and our submission to his providence. Our love to his glory; for we should not be altogether reckless and careless how things go; and yet not carking, because of the wisdom and power of his providence. The truth is, we should be more solicitous about duties than events. The glory of events belongeth to God himself, and we are not to take his work out of his hand, but mind him in it. Look, as some would learn their schoolfellows’ lesson better than their own; so we would have things carried thus and thus. And so by murmuring we tax providence, rather than adore it, and we eclipse the glory of God. Yet we must be sensible of the reproaches cast upon God, and must pray to the Lord to vindicate and right his name, to take the way and means into his own hands.
Thus you have seen the necessity of putting up such a request to God, ‘Hallowed be thy name.’
Use 1. Is for information. It informs us that whatever we be stow upon God, we have it from God at first: 1 Chron. xxix. 11, ‘Of thine own have we given thee.’ The King of all the earth, we cannot pay him any tribute but out of his own exchequer. When we are best affected to God’s interest, and pray for God’s concernments, we must beg the grace which maketh us to do so. It is his own gift. It is he must enable and incline us, quicken and direct us. So that in all things he is Alpha and Omega—we begin in him, whenever we end in him. And when we do most for God, we have all from him.
Use 2. For direction in the matter of glorifying God, in four propositions.
[1.] This life is not to be valued, but as it yieldeth us opportunities for this end and purpose, to glorify God. We were not sent into the world to live for ourselves, but for God. If we could make ourselves, then we could live to ourselves. If we could be our own cause, then we might be our own end. But God made us for himself, and sent us into the world for himself. Christ saith: John xvii. 4, ‘Father, I have glorified thee on earth,’ &c. It is not our duty only to glorify God in heaven, to join in concert with the angels in their hallelujahs above, where we may glorify him without distraction, weariness, and weakness; but here on earth, in the midst of difficulties and temptations. There are none sent into the world to be idle, or to ‘bring forth fruit to themselves,’ Hosea x. 1; to improve their pains2222 Qu. ‘gains’?—Ed. and strength, to promote merely their own interest; but God’s glory must be our chief work and aim while we are here upon earth,—this must be the purpose and intent of our lives.82
[2.] Every man, besides his general calling, hath his own work and course of service whereby to glorify and honour God: John xvii. 4, ‘I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.’ As in a great house one hath one employment, one another: so God hath designed to every man his work he hath to do, and the calling he must be in; some in one calling, and some in another; but they all have their ser vice and work given them to do for God’s glory.
[3.] In discharge of this work, as they must do all for God, so they can do nothing without God. Every morning we should revive the sense of it upon ourselves, as the care of our work and aim, so the sense of our impotency. This day I am to live with God; but how unable am I, and how easily shall I dishonour him!’ The way of man is not in himself,’ Jer. x. 23. When a Christian goeth abroad in the morning, he must remember he is at Christ’s dispose; he is not to do as he pleaseth, but to be guided by rule, and act for God’s glory, and fetch in strength from Christ: Col. iii. 17, ‘Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.’ Not only in our duties or immediate converses with God, but in our sports, business, recreation. What is it to do things in the name of Christ,—that is, to do it according to Christ’s will and command? He hath allowed us time for recreation, for conversing with God, and calling in Christ’s help, and aiming at his glory. If we have anything to do for God, we must do it in his own strength, in every word and deed.
[4.] You are directed again, when the glory of God and sanctifying of his name either sticks with us, or sticks abroad, God must be specially consulted with in the case. When our hearts are backward, then. ‘Lord, open thou my lips;’ Lord, affect me with a sense of thy kindness and mercy. When it sticks abroad, when such events fall out, as for a while God’s name is obscured, and seems to be clouded, ‘Lord, what wilt thou do for thy great name?’
III. Having opened the order of the words, and the reasons of putting up such a request to God, I now come to the sense of the petition, ‘Hallowed be thy name.’ Four things will come under consideration:—
1. What is meant by the name of God.
2. What it is to hallow and sanctify it.
3. I shall take notice of the form of the proposal, ἁγιασθητω, Hallowed.
4. The note of distinction, thy name.
First, What is meant by God’s name?
1. God himself.
2. Anything whereby he is made known.
[1.] God himself. Name, by an Hebraism, is put for the person itself. Thus: Rev. iii. 4, ‘Thou hast a few names even in Sardis, which have not defiled their garments;’ that is, many persons; so: Acts i. 15, it is said there, ‘The number of the names together were about one hundred and twenty,’ that is of persons. So it is used in the present case. God’s name is put for God himself: Ps. xx. 1, ‘The name of the God of Jacob defend thee!’ That is, God himself. So: Ps. xliv. 5, ‘Through thy name will we tread them under that rise up against us;’ that is, by thee. And to believe in the name of Christ is to believe in Christ himself. Name is put for person, for the immediate 83object of faith is the person of Christ: John i. 12, ‘To as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.’
[2.] Anything whereby he is made known to us, Nomen quasi notamen. As a man is known by his name, so God’s titles and attributes, his ordinances, his works, his word, are his name, chiefly the two latter. For his works, they are a part of the name of God: Ps. viii. 1, the burden of that psalm is twice repeated, ‘O Lord, our Lord, how great is thy name in all the earth!’ By the name there, is meant God made known in his works of creation and providence, for he speaks there of sun, moon, and stars, which proclaim an eternal power to all the world; and he speaks of such a name as is in all the earth. And, Ps. cxlvii. 19, 20, ‘He hath not dealt so with any nation,’ and given them his word, statutes, and ordinances; every one hath not that privilege. But, ‘How great is thy name in all the earth!’ That is, how manifestly art thou made known by thy works! But above all, by name is meant his word: Ps. cxxxviii. 2, ‘Thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.’ There is more of God to be seen in his word, than in all the creatures of the world, and in all his other works besides. We understand more of God than can be taken up by the creation. It helps us to interpret the book of nature and providence; there we have his titles, attributes, ordinances; there we have his greatest work, in which he hath discovered so much of his name, the mystery of redemption, which is not elsewhere to be known. Thus by the name of God is meant God himself, as he hath made known himself in the word. We desire that he may be sanctified, that he may with honour and reverence be received everywhere.
Secondly, The second thing to be explained, what is meant by hallowed? In scripture God is said sometimes to be magnified, sometimes to be justified, sometimes to be glorified, and sometimes to be sanctified. Now it is not here said, Magnificetur nomen tuum, or glorificetur, but sanctificetur—let thy name be sanctified. All these terms do express how God is to be honoured by the creature, and they have all distinct notions. God is said to be magnified: Luke i. 46, ‘My soul doth magnify the Lord.’ To magnify God argueth a high esteem or a due sense of his greatness. Again, God is said to be justified: Luke vii. 29, ‘The people and the publicans justified God.’ What is it to justify God? To justify is to acquit from accusation, and when that word is applied to God, it signifieth our owning of him notwithstanding the prejudices of the world against him. To glorify God is to make him known to others, and to bring him into request with others, for glory it is clara cum laude notitia, a public fame or knowledge of excellency. Thus Christ saith, John xvii. 10, ‘I am glorified in them;’ speaking of his apostles, because by their means he was made known to the world. All these are included in the word of the text. Yet there is somewhat more intended by to be sanctified. When is God then said to be sanctified?
To hallow and to sanctify is to set apart from common use, and so to sanctify the name of God, is to use it in a separate manner, with that reverence and respect which is not used to anything else. So that when we pray that God’s name may be hallowed or sanctified, we 84desire that, according as he hath made known himself in the word, so he may be known, reverenced, and esteemed in the world. Known to be the only true God: 1 Kings xviii. 36, ‘Let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel,’ and accordingly worshipped and glorified in the hearts and lives of men.
The third thing to open is the form of proposal, ἁγιασθητω. It is not sanctificemus, let us hallow, but sanctificetur, let it be hallowed, for in this form of speech, all the persons concerned in this work are included—God, ourselves, and others.
[1.] God is to be included in the prayer, that we may express our sense of his providence working all things for the glory of his holy name, yea, discovering his excellency, showing himself to be the holy God: Ezek. xxxviii. 23, ‘I will magnify myself, and sanctify myself, and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that 1 am the Lord.’ The Lord magnifieth himself by the more eminent effects of his care and providence, but he sanctifieth himself chiefly by blessing and defending the godly, and by punishing and afflicting the wicked, for thereby he declareth his holiness, the purity of his nature, and his love to saints; so that when we say, ‘Hallowed be thy name,’ we mean, Lord, declare thyself to be a holy God, by putting a distinction between men and men in the course of thy providence, and owning thy people from heaven.
[2.] We include ourselves when we say, ‘Hallowed be thy name,’ for it is especially the duty of God’s people: Isa. xxix. 23, ‘They shall sanctify my name, and sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and shall fear the God of Israel.’ It is our duty, by our religious carriage, to evidence that we have a holy God. This must be our first care, that we ourselves be sanctified, and to sanctify our sanctifier, the Holy One of Israel. Some, they would have God glorified by others, but do not look to themselves how they sanctify God. Now God hath made this to be a great part of our care, that his own people should not only magnify and glorify him, but sanctify him; therefore he rather makes them good than great. When he would make men great, then he shows his magnificence, to be the almighty disposer of the riches of the world; but when he makes them good, then he expects to be sanctified, that his people should discover that he is a holy One; that he is holy in himself, for we add nothing to him when we sanctify him, but only discover him to be such a one. In short, God sanctifieth us effectively by working grace and holiness in us, and we sanctify him relatively, objectively, declaratively, declaring him to be a holy God, and that we are a people belonging to this God.
[3.] The speech is so formed that others may be included, and that we may express our sense of their dishonouring God, as a thing that is grievous to us, that we may show how near it goeth to our heart to see the ignorance, atheism, and blasphemy that is in the world. They would have the holy God to be sanctified abroad, either by the conversion of men, or by their punishment. And so it is meant: Isa. v. 16, ‘God that is holy shall be sanctified in righteousness.’ That is, his holiness and hatred of sin shall appear, either in the conversion of obstinate sinners, that God may be sanctified by them, or else for punishment, that God may be sanctified upon them.85
Fourthly, The next thing is the note of distinction, ‘Hallowed be thy name,’ not ours. There seems to be a secret opposition between our name and the name of God. When we come to pray, we should distinctly remember whose name is to be glorified, that God may be at the end of every request. We beg of God many times, but we think of ourselves; our hearts run upon our own name, and upon our own esteem. How often do we come to him with a selfish aim, as if we would draw God into our own designs and purposes! None are so unfit to glorify God, and so unwelcome to him, as those that are so wedded and vehemently addicted to their own honour and esteem in the world. Therefore Christ, by way of distinction, by way of opposition to this innate disposition that is in us, he would have us to say, ‘Hallowed be thy name.’ That which gives most honour to God is believing: Rom. iv. 19, 20, Abraham was ‘strong’ in faith, ‘giving glory to God.’ Now, none so unfit for the work as they that seek glory for themselves: John v. 44, ‘How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?’ Affectation of vainglory, or splendour of our own name, is a temper inconsistent with faith, which is the grace that gives honour to God. I say, when we hunt after respect from men, and make that the chiefest scope of our actions, God’s glory will certainly lie in the dust; when we are to suffer ignominy and abasement for his sake, the care of God’s glory will be laid aside. The great sin of the old world was this: Gen. xi. 4, ‘Let us make us a name.’ There are many conceits about that enterprise, what that people should aim at there in building so great and so vast a tower, before God confounded their tongues. Some, interpreting that place, ‘Let us build us a tower even to heaven,’ think this was their intention, to make a way into heaven. But it is not likely they would be so foolish that had so late experience of the flood, and, when the ark rested upon the top of the highest mountains, found themselves to be at so great and vast a distance from heaven. Some think it was (as Josephus) to secure themselves from another flood; but that was sufficiently done by God’s promise, who had engaged to them he would no more destroy the earth by water; and if that were their intention, why should they build in the plain, between the two rivers of Tigris and Euphrates? Moses gives the main reason there, that they might have an immortal name among posterity. But now see how ill they reckon that do reckon without God. Those that are so busy about their own name, how soon will God blast them! When in any action we do not seek glory to God, but ourselves, it is the ready way to be destroyed. This was the means to bury them in perpetual oblivion. Nebuchadnezzar, when he re-edified the city, Dan. iv. 30: ‘Is not this great Babylon that I have built for the house of the kingdom, by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?’ How doth God disappoint him, and turn him out among the beasts! Thus are we sure to be disappointed and blasted, when our hearts run altogether upon our own name. But now Christ saith thy name; when we are careful of that, this is the way to prosper.
From the words thus illustrated, I shall only observe:—
Doct. That God will be so glorified in the world as that his name may be hallowed or sanctified.86
Here I shall show:—
1. How many ways God’s name is sanctified.
2. Why God will be so glorified as that he may be sanctified.
First, How many ways is God’s name sanctified? I answer, either upon us, or by us.
[1.] Upon us, by the righteous executions and judgments of his providence: and so God is sanctified when he doth by a high hand of power recover and extort the glory of his holiness from the dead and stupid world; as by that notable stroke of the Bethshemites, when fifty thousand were slain for peeping into the ark: 1 Sam. vi. 20. This was the result of all: ‘Who is able to stand before this holy Lord God?’ There he discovered himself to be a holy God, to be one that hath a high displeasure against the creature’s disobedience. Now when he doth by a high hand extort this from the wicked, or from his children, then he sanctifieth himself upon us.
[2.] By us. And so he is sanctified in our thoughts, words, and actions; in our heart, tongue, or life.
1. In our hearts: 1 Pet. 3, 15, ‘Sanctify the Lord God in your heart.’ How is God sanctified in our hearts?
[1.] When we have awful thoughts of his majesty: Ps. cxi. 9, ‘Holy and reverend is his name.’ Not only when we speak of the name of God, but when we think of it, we should be seriously affected. But,
[2.] More especially God is sanctified when, in straits, difficulties, and dangers, we can bear ourselves upon the power and sufficiency of God, and go on resolutely and cheerfully with our duty, notwithstanding discouragements. This is to sanctify the Lord God in our hearts. I shall prove it by two places where the phrase is used; one is, 1 Pet. iii. 15, ‘Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.’ Mark, the Christians that did profess the name of God, which spake of God as their hope or object of their religion, were in great danger. Now what direction doth he give them, that they might not be afraid, but bear up? For he speaks before: ‘Be not afraid of their terror, or be troubled; but sanctify the Lord God in your hearts.’ See the same phrase used for the same purpose: Isa. viii. 13, ‘Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself, and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.’ He opposeth it plainly there to carnal fear: ver. 12, ‘Say ye not a confederacy to all them to whom this people shall say a confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid; but sanctify the Lord of hosts himself, and let him be your fear.’ How comes this direction to be used in the present case? Thus; to sanctify is to set apart; and to sanctify God is to set apart, as the alone object of fear and trust, that he alone is to be feared and trusted, so that we can see no match for God among the creatures; therefore we are to embolden ourselves in the Lord, and go on cheerfully, when we can counterbalance all fears and dangers with his surpassing excellency. To glorify God is to do that which simply and absolutely tendeth to the manifestation of his excellency, without any relation to the creature; but to sanctify God is to set God above the creature, to do that which tends to exalt his greatness and excellency from and above all terrors, and all the discouragements that we can have from the creature; it is 87to. ascribe that greatness, that power and glory, to God alone, which, cannot be ascribed to anything else, and so to go on cheerfully with our duty, whatever difficulties we meet with. Thus Moses was chidden, that was amazed with present difficulty: Num. xx. 12, ‘And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel; therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.’ Because they were discouraged, and thought they should never carry on their business, therefore God saith, ‘Ye believe not to sanctify me:’ you sanctify not God, or set him aloft, as the alone and supreme object of fear and trust. It is a practical acknowledgment of God’s matchless excellency. Thus we sanctify God in our hearts.
2. God is sanctified with our tongues, when we use God’s name, titles, ordinances, and word, as holy things; when we speak of the Lord with reverence, and with great seriousness of heart, not taking his name in vain; especially when we are deeply affected with his praise. It is no slight thing to praise God. God’s people, when they have gone about it, see a need of the greatest help: Ps. li. 15, ‘O Lord, open thou my lips, and my mouth shall show forth thy praise.’ And Ps. xlv. 1: ‘My heart is inditing a good matter;’ my heart fries or boils a good matter: when we will not give God dough-baked praise, nor speak of his name slightly, but so as becomes his greatness and surpassing excellency.
3. In our actions. Our actions may be parted into two things,—worship, and ordinary conversation.
(1.) In our worship, there God especially will be sanctified. Lev. x. 3, ‘I will be sanctified in all that draw near unto me.’ God is very tender of his worship: sancta sanctis, holy things must be managed by holy men in a holy manner. Therefore, what is it to sanctify God when we draw nigh to him? To have a more excellent frame of heart in worship than we have about other things. As in prayer, the frame of our hearts must not be common; we must not go about it with such a frame of heart as we go about our callings, worldly business, and converses with men: but there must be some special reverence, such as is peculiar to him. When we draw near to God in the word, he will be sanctified. The word must be received with meekness, and by faith applied to our souls, as an instrument designed to our endless good. When we have a peculiar reverence for God, and a respect to God in all our approaches; Eccles. v. 1, ‘Look to thy feet when thou goest to the house of God:’ we must not go about these holy services hand over head, but with great caution and heed. Thus is God sanctified in worship, or in our immediate converse with him.
(2.) In our ordinary conversation. Then God is sanctified; when our life is ordered so that we may give men occasion to say, that surely he is a holy God whom we serve. By two things you may know you sanctify God in your conversations: when you walk as remembering you have a holy God, and when you walk as discovering to others you have a holy God.
[1.] When you walk as remembering yourselves that you have a holy God, therefore you must be watchful and strict. It is notable, when the Israelites were making a hasty promise, Joshua puts them 88in mind, chap. xxiv. 9, ‘You cannot serve the Lord, for he is a holy God.’ So we should remember when we give up ourselves to God, he is a holy and jealous God, that is narrowly observant, and he will not be put off with anything that is common.
[2.] As discovering you have a holy God. A carnal worshipper profaneth the memory of God in the world. But now a Christian that walks according to his holy calling, that is holy in all manner of conversation, he discovereth what a God he hath. 1 Pet. ii. 9, ‘That ye should show forth the praises of him, who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.’ We are not only to conceive and make use of them to beget fear and reverence in our hearts of the all-seeing God, but are to show them forth, to evidence them to others. We should discover more than a human excellency, that so those which look upon us may say, These are the servants of the holy God.
Secondly, For the reasons why God will be so glorified, that he may be sanctified.
1. Because this is the glory that is due to his name. Ps. xcvi. 8, ‘Give unto the Lord the glory due to his name.’ Every glory will not serve the turn, but such glory as is proper and peculiar for that God we serve. It is a stated rule in scripture, that respects to God must be proportioned to the nature of God. God is a spirit, therefore will be worshipped in spirit and truth. God is a God of peace, therefore lift up your hands without wrath and doubting. God is a holy God, therefore will be sanctified. They which worship the sun, among the heathens, they used a flying horse, as a thing most suitable to the swift motions of the sun. Well, then, they that will glorify and honour God with a glory due to his name, must sanctify him as well as honour him. Why? For God is ‘glorious in holiness.’ Exod. xv. 11. This is that which God counteth to be his chief excellency, and the glory which he will manifest among the sons of men.
2. This is that glory which God affects, and therefore the saints will give it him, Isa. vi. 3. The holy angels, what do they cry out when they honour God? They do not acknowledge his power and dominion over all creatures as Lord of all; but they give him his peculiar glory, ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.’ So David, Ps. ciii. 1, ‘Bless the Lord, my soul; yea, all that is within me, bless his holy name.’ That is the notion upon which he pitcheth, he would praise God with such praise as is welcome and acceptable to him.
3. This is the attribute which is most eclipsed and most blotted out in the hearts of the sons of men, because of God’s patience, because he doth not take vengeance of all the sins of men: ‘Thou thoughtest I was altogether such a one as thyself,’ Ps. 1. 21. Certainly if men did not blot and stain God in their thoughts, if they did not fancy an unreasonable indulgence, such as is not comely and proper to his majesty, they could not go on in sin, and think God could be so pure; therefore he will be so glorified, that he may be sanctified.
Use. To press us so to glorify God, as we may also sanctify him. Let this be your care. To quicken you, remember—
1. God is much offended with his people that do not sanctify him. 89Moses and Aaron, as choice and as dear to God as they were, yet you know what the Lord saith, Num. xx. 12, ‘Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel; therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.’ When Moses and Aaron murmured, and spake unadvisedly, and did not sanctify him, nor carry God’s excellency aloft, they shall not enter. And God remembereth this a great while after, in that, Deut. xxxii. 51, ‘Because ye trespassed against me among the children of Israel, at the waters of Meribah-Kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin; because ye sanctified me not in the midst of the children of Israel, thou shalt not go into the land which I give the children of Israel.’ Well, then, though God’s children should get to heaven, yet if they do not sanctify God they will want many a privilege. God will remember this against them; for he takes it ill when his people will not sanctify him as becoming his peculiar excellency.
2. If you do not sanctify God, then you pollute God, and stain his memory in the world: Ezek. xxxvi. 20, ‘Ye have profaned my holy name among the heathen.’ How is God polluted? Not intrinsically; God cannot receive any pollution from us. It is here, as in that case, ‘A man that lusteth after a woman, hath committed adultery already in his heart.’ Mat. v. 28. The man pollutes the woman in his heart, while she remains spotless and undefiled. So in this case we blemish God in appearance, as much as in us lies we pollute and blot God, though he remains pure and undefiled. You make heathens think as if you had an unholy God. Well, then, glorify God.
1. Be holy. The praise of the wicked is a disgrace to him, it is an obscuring of his praise: 1 Pet. i. 15, ‘As he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation.’
2. Study his name, if ye would sanctify his name: Ps. ix. 10, ‘They that know his name will put their trust in him.’
3. Submit to his providence without murmuring. When we can speak well of him, though he seem to deal most hardly; as the Bethshemites, when there was such a slaughter made among them, fifty thousand slain; they do not say, murmuringly, Who can stand before this severe, cruel God? but before ‘this holy God?’ They own his holiness in the dispensation, though it were so dreadful, 1 Sam. vi. 20. It is a great glory to God when you own him as just in all his ways, when he deals most hardly. Whatsoever be our lot and portion, yet he is a holy God. But to cavil and murmur, it is to tax and blemish God before the world.
4. Live to public ends, that is, to draw God into request with others. Let this be the aim of your conversation, not only to get holiness enough to bring you to heaven, but to allure others, and recommend God to them, that by the purity and strictness of your conversation you might gain upon others, and bring them to be in love with God, and acquainted with him.
And lastly, Be sensible when God’s name is dishonoured by your selves and others, not enduring the least profanation of it.90
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