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manner upon Pharaoh, Sennacherib, Belshazzar and others who blasphemed the name of God with cursing, perjury and rash 'swearing.


Is this so, hearers, how guilty then is our land in the sight of the Lord! if any person will walk through the land he will see that taking of the name of the God in vain, is become the sin of our land. What honest heart is not grieved, and what godly ear is not offended, when it percieves that the name of God is dishonoured in the most dreadful manner by blaspheming, by cursing, perjury, unnecessary swearing and all kinds of abominations? Behold how this is done by high and low, by old and young: travel by sea or by land, converse with our sailers and soldiers, traverse our streets, and lodge in our inns, and ye will perceive that all flesh hath corrupted its way, and that the fear of God is in few places. Yea, taking the name of God in vain, and abusing it, is become, as it were, a necessary custom, and wo to him who whispers aught against it. "The prudent man must keep silence, for it is " now also an evil time," as it was in the days of Amos, chap. v. 13. It is true, the magistrates have enacted severe laws against this horrible sin: but if they could secure themselves, and stop the mouths of audacious sinners, this evil would not prevail as it doth. We must therefore wonder at the longsuffering, the forbearance and goodness of God, which he displays in order to lead our people to repentance, that he doth not destroy our land But our wanton and dissolute people do not regard this, they despise the favours of the Lord; and therefore he doth not hold them guiltless They who have eyes to see, and hearts to understand, perceive how the wrath of the Lord is revealed time after time from heaven against this ungodliness; we will not speak now of scanty harvests, of dearths, of inundations, the bursting of dykes and dams, of war, without, or after a short intermission, upon war; see only how the Lord, after having marched forth with our armies in the last war year after year, hath at last caused our sun to go down at noon, and darkened the earth in the clear day," as he threatens, Amos viii. 9. And who knows what the decree of God will yet bring forth against such an ungodly nation as we are? If

there were not still a remnant among us, according to the election of grace, we should have been like Sodom and Gomorrah.

It is true, the children of Belial do not regard the condition of the commonwealth, they are bold and speak boldly, they soothe and flatter themselves, when they hear the curses of the Lord. But know ye blasphemers, cursers, false and unnecessary swearers, the Lord is not your God, and he will not be called upon by you, nor permit you to take his name and covenant into your mouths, Psalm 1 16. His wrath lieth upon you, he will not hold you guiltless, but punish you according to the measure of your wickedness. Should the Lord suffer you to proceed in your wickedness, without punishing you, he will bring your abominations and curses, uttered against yourselves and others with greater aggravation upon you, and with a recompence, after your death: surely "no blasphemers shall inherit the kingdom of God," as Paul speaks, 1 Cor. vi. 10, but everlasting fire, with their father the devil, who is a blasphemer. How will ye gnaw your tongues, which ye have so often abused by dishonouring God, for pain, in that fire! ye will then indeed curse and blaspheme God, but it will not be your element, any more than seething water is the element of fishes. It is no excuse, that ye do not use the name of God in blaspheming and cursing, but that ye speak only of the devil, and use other dreadful expressions; for ye call down such curses upon yourselves and upon your neighbour, from God, though they are uttered by you in a careless manner. It will avail you still less that ye do this from custom, and not from design; for ye show thus, that it is become your second nature to abuse the name of God, and that ye differ but little from the devil, who is by his very temper wicked and inclined to blaspheme.

But are ye, who are not so enormously wicked, guiltless? surely no ye will see it, if ye only remember what God hath commanded and forbidden you here, and if ye will examine yourselves by it. Have ye entered with a holy dread into the covenant, and thought on God with a holy trembling? doth such a holy reverence possess your souls, when ye speak to and of him? Is it your endeavour to glorify and confess him with words and deeds, and that a holy awe for him may direct you in all your behaviour? Are ye strangers to blaspheming the name of God, to cursing, false and unnecessary swearing? are ye no dicers nor gamesters? have ye not abused the name of God in any respect, neither in nor out of the public worship? doth the fear of God restrain you from sinning? and is it intolerable to you, when he is dishonoured? in what doth it appear, and by what is it seen in you? put your hands into your bosoms

and see whether they will not come out leprous. Think not that ye have cleansed your hearts in this respect, and are pure of this sin, because ye are so blind, that ye do not know yourselves. Paul, before he was converted, blasphemed God, and he nevertheless knew not that he did it, as he confessed afterwards, when he was better enlightened, 1 Tim. i. 15. Yea, he compelled others to blaspheme, and thought that he did God service, Acts. xxvi. 9, 10, 11. Only attend to all your former doings, and ye will see that your whole life hath been altogether without and dishonourable to God. And it is therefore evident, that ye take his name in vain, that he is not your covenant God, that ye are guilty in his sight, and that he will not hold you guiltless.

Alas! that with the jailer, ye cried out with trembling, on account of your great gnilt, "What must we do to be saved?" Ye would then learn how the Lord could hold you guiltless; for this would cause your souls to flee out of themselves to him, who suffered blasphemy, and on account of blasphemy. Endeavour not only to restrain your mouths from uttering such dreadful language, but also to be found wholly in Christ, and with "the Corinthians, who were before blasphemers, to be washed, sanctified and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ by the Spirit of God," as the apostle testifieth of them, 1 Cor. vi. 10, 11.

But, believers, ye also have frequently sinned against this com mandment. Reflect only on your former behaviour, on all your free thoughts and words, your vain and dissolute conversation, and how ye have reproached God during your "ignorance and unbelief," like Paul 1 Tim. i. 13. Ye have laden yourselves with a heavy burthen of guilt, ye have seen it, and know how it oppressed you, and with what dreadful distress your souls were seized, when ye saw that God would not hold you guiltless; but ye have with Paul, "obtained mercy," 1 Tim. i. 13. God could not, and he nevertheless doth hold you guiltless: his Son hath atoned for your reproaching of the Lord in your stead: "The zeal of God's house did eat him up, and the reproaches of them who reproached the Lord fell on him," as he complains by the mouth of David, Psalm 1xix. 9. Be cause ye had blasphemed God, the wicked accused him of blasphemy, and slew him on account of it: he purchased the covenant of grace for you, and "though he was just, he suffered for you, who were unjust, that he might bring you to God," 1 Peter iii. 18, and that the Lord might no more be wroth with you, "that he might make an everlasting covenant with you, that he would not turn away

from you to do you good, and that he would put his fear in your hearts, that ye might not depart from him," Jer. xxxii. Therefore, amazed at the great and free

1, Let your souls wonder and be grace, that hath been shown to you. Ye who were guilty are holden guiltless; the Son of God, who was guiltless, was holden guilty, and punished in your stead, and all grace is conveyed to you there by: "For him who knew no sin bath God made to be sin for you, that ye might be made the righteousness of God in him," according to 2 Cor. v. 21. Why did not God lay the guilt of your blasphemy upon you, as well as upon others? It was only free grace. Behold it, wonder at it and rejoice, praise him on account of it, like Paul, when he saith, 1 Tim. 1. 15, "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief."

2. The name of the Lord is still often taken in vain by you: must ye not own it? ye know surely that his fear doth not always impress your hearts, as it ought; how often are ye but little influenced by it, as well when ye are engaged in the worship of the Lord, as when ye are not. Therefore the soul should, as often as she renders herself guilty, lay hold on the Son of God for reconciliation, and dip herself in the fountain of his blood, that she may be reconciled and cleansed. He is indeed "the opened fountain," which is always "open to the house of David, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness," Zech. xiii. 1.

3. Let it henceforward be your earnest endeavour, that the fear of the Lord your God may direct you in all your conversation, so that ye may not reproach, but glorify him: "If ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons, judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear," 1 Peter i. 17. The fear of God should restrain you from sinning, especially from scandalous sins, which induce men to blaspheme the name of God: "Shall not his excellency make you afraid, and his dread fall on you?" may we ask you with Job, ch. xiii. ii. Job himself refrained from sinning, because "destruction from God was a terrour to him; and by reason of his highness he could not endure," ch. xxxi. 23. So Joseph also acted, Gen. xxxix. 9, and Nehemiah, Neh. v. 15. An awe for God ought to restrain your tongues and mouths, and prevent you from "speaking so exceeding proudly, and from letting arrogancy come out of your mouths: for the Lord is a God of judg ment," as Hannah admonisheth, 1 Sam. ii. 3. We ought to follow even our daily callings with "fear and trembling," as the apostle enjoins upon servants, Eph. vi. 3. Therefore plead the covenant

promise with the Lord, that "he would put his fear in your hearts,” according to Jer. xxxii. 40.

4. Let every one of you opposehis neighbour, who takes the name of God in vain. This is also "an unfruitful work, which we ought to reprove," Eph. v. ii. This is the duty of every one, but it is espe cially the duty of all who are set over others, whether magistrates, parents, masters or mistresses. He who is silent, when he hears the name of God abused; renders himself guilty of that sin, because he assents to it by his silence: what man can say that the Lord is his God and Father, if his spirit be not vexed, when God is reproached? It is recorded, as an unheard of abomination, that "when Jehoiakim the king had cut Jeremiah's roll, and had burned it, no man was afraid, nor rent his clothes," on account of that ac tion, Jer. xxxiv. 23, 24. But whoever will rebuke another must see that he do it "in the spirit of meekness; considering himself, lest he also be tempted," Gal. vi. 1. But if we have to do with the men of Belial, who are as sharp thorns, and who act and speak still more wickedly, when they are reproved, we must then forbear, and "not give the holy things to dogs, nor cast our pearls before swine, lest at any time they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rent us," as Jesus adviseth, Matt. vii. 6. Solomon, his type gave the same lesson, Prov. ix. 7, 8. All that we can do then, is to manifest some token of displeasure, to withdraw, and complain to the Lord. See 2 Kings xviii. 36, 37. xix. 1.

Is any one, in the mean while, disturbed with blasphemous thoughts and injections, as it often happeneth to the children of God, let him not cherish them, but repel them from him, as he would shake coals of fire from his clothes, and the Lord will hold him guiltless, will honour him again, and his name will be precious to him, and be blessed among men: yea, he will bring honour, glory and thanksgiving to the name of the Lord his God for ever, when, according to Rev. xxii. 4, 5, "he shall see the face of the Lord, and the name of God shall be upon his forehead, that he may be enlightened by him, and reign as a king for ever. Amen.

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