30 MAY (PREACHED 25 AUGUST 1776)
Trifling with God’s majesty
‘Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.’ Exodus 20:7
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Revelation 11:15–19; 19:11–16
The foundation of true religion is laid in a right knowledge of God and ourselves. How deficient we are in each of these, how far fallen from original righteousness, is strongly implied in this prohibition, which would be altogether unnecessary were we not altogether sunk in stupidity and wickedness. That such worms should be liable to trifle with the majesty whose presence fills heaven and earth, before whom the angels hide their faces—that such frail, dependent creatures have need to be cautioned that we do not profane the name of the God in whom we live, move and have our being—is as striking an instance of our depravity as our daring to break through this caution, and slighting the awful threatenings with which it is closed, is a dreadful aggravation of our guilt.
These words were first delivered in flames and thunder. Such a scene, or rather infinitely more dreadful, shall hereafter take place when the Lord shall again descend and be revealed in flaming fire to take vengeance. Then shall sinners be convinced not only of their ungodly deeds, but their hard speeches—and shall know the meaning of that terrible exception I have read: He will not hold them guiltless.
FOR MEDITATION: … foolish and perverse again. What can I say? But that I am vile beyond expression—weak as water and wilful as an ass’s colt. Silly creature to trifle with thee and to wound myself, and that for a mere nothing. Lord, humble and strengthen me. Let me plead thy blood, thy promise. Let me again see I have an Advocate with the Father, and enable me to come to thee in faith, that I may obtain and find grace to help in time of need.
Diary, 7 July 1776
SERMON: EXODUS 20:7 [1/3]