365 days with Newton

31 MAY (PREACHED 25 AUGUST 1776)

Trivial escapes

‘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: Colossians 3:1–17

What shall we say of the throng of profane swearers, who wound our ears and pollute our language by a horrid mixture of execrations and blasphemies in their common conversation? Their throats are an open sepulchre—their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness, the poison of asps is under their lips [Romans 3:13–14]. The Lord will not hold them guiltless. In vain their thoughtless plea, ‘they mean no harm’. In vain their presumptuous comparison of themselves with others—as though those were trivial escapes that did not affect the peace of society. If these were small sins singly, their frequency would make a vast amount. But is it a small sin, to rush against the bosses of God’s buckler [a small shield: Job 15:26], to despise so terrible a threatening as this! A habit of swearing is a sure sign not only of an unsanctified heart, but of a conscience hardened and, as it were, seared with a hot iron, callous and insensible [1 Timothy 4:2]. May the Lord awaken such.
Will any that live in a Christian land and have the Bible at hand plead ignorance of this in the great day? Surely no! Let your future lives be devoted to him who loved you.

FOR MEDITATION: I stood in need of an almighty Saviour, and such a one I found described in the New Testament. I heartily renounced my former profaneness.… I was quite freed from the habit of swearing, which seemed to have been deeply rooted in me as a second nature.
Narrative, 1764, Letter 9

‘With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be’ (James 3:9–10, NIV).
‘… revere this glorious and awesome name …’ (Deuteronomy 28:58, NIV).

SERMON: EXODUS 20:7 [2/3]

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