« AnteriorContinuar »
We have treated of the first part of true religion, the invocation or adoration of the Deity; we proceed to the remaining part, the sanctification of the divine name under all circumstances.
An ardent desire of hallowing the name of God, together with an indignation against whatever tends to the violation or contempt of religion, is called zeal. Psal. lxix. 8, 9. “I am become a stranger unto my brethren .... for the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.' cxix. 139. my zeal hath consumed me, because mine enemies have forgotten thy words.' Rom. xii. 11. not slothful in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.
Examples of this virtue are seen in Lot, 2 Pet. ii. 7, 8. in Moses, Exod. xxxii. 19. in Phinehas, Num. xxv. 7. in Elijah, 1 Kings xix. 10. in Jeremiah, Jer. xxiii. 9-11. mine heart within me is broken ... for the land is full of adulterers ;' in Christ, Matt. xii. 30. John ii. 14, &c. in Stephen, Acts vii. 51, &c. in Paul and Barnabas, xiv. 14. and xvii. 16, 17.
Its opposites are, first, lukewarmness, as exemplified in Eli, 1 Sam. ij. 29. and iii. 13. in the chief rulers of the Jews, John xii. 43. in the Laodiceans, Rev. iii. 15, 16.
Secondly, an ignorant and imprudent zeal. 2 Sam. xxi. 1, 3. because he slew the Gibeonites.... Saul sought to slay them in his zeal to the children of Israel and Judah.' Rom. x. 2. •I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.
Thirdly, a too fiery zeal. Jonah iv. 1-3. Luke ix. 54. wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven?"
Fourthly, an hypocritical and boastful zeal, as that of Jehu, 2 Kings x. 16. come with me and see my zeal for Jehovah.'
The name of God is to be hallowed in word as well as in deed. To hallow it in word, is never to name it but with a religious purpose, and to make an open profession of the true faith, whenever it is necessary.
The holy or reverential mention of God is inculcated Exod. xx. 7. thou shalt not take the name of Jehovah thy God in vain.
To this is opposed an impious or reproachful mention of God, or, as it is commonly called, blasphemy, from the Greek Brac Druíd, as in the Hebrew
5. This was the crime of the Israelitish woman's son, Levit. xxiv. 11. who blasphemed (or expressly named) the name of Jehovah, and cursed (or spake impiously). v. 14. bring forth him that hath cursed without the camp. Such also was that of Rabshakeh
and the other Assyrians, 2 Kings xix.: 6. be not afraid of the words which thou hast heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me;' of the scribes, Mark iii. 22. they said, He hath Beelzebub,' compared with v. 29. he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost—, for the scribes had said that the deeds of the Father working in Christ were the deeds of Beelzebub; of those whom Paul before his conversion compelled to blaspheme, Acts xxvi. 11. of the Jews at Corinth, xviii. 6. when they opposed themselves and blasphemed;' of Paul himself in his unconverted state, 1 Tim. i. 13.
who was before a blasphemer and a persecutor ;' of Hymenæus and Alexander, v. 19, 20. that they may learn not to blaspheme,' inasmuch as having put away a good conscience concerning faith, they had made shipwreck ;' of those profane persons mentioned in James ïi. 7. do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called ?? of the beast, Rev. xiii. 5, 6. there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies;' of the followers of the beast, xvi. 11. .they blasphemed the God of heaven, because of their pains and their sores.'
Considering, however, that all the Greek writers, sacred as well as profane, use the word blasphemy in a general sense, as implying any kind of reproach against any person whatever, which is also the received usage of the corresponding word in Hebrew, Isai. xliii. 28. • I have given Israel to reproaches.' li. 7. neither be ye afraid of their revilings ;' Ezek. v. 15. .so it shall be a reproach and a taunt,' that is, to the Jews; Zeph. ii. 8. the revilings of the children of Ammon, whereby they have reproached my
people;' in all which passages the same word is used, being that which we translate blasphemy: so also Matt. xv. 19. false witness, blasphemies.? (Compare Mark vii. 22.) 1 Tim. vi. 1. that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed. (Compare Tit. ii. 5.) 2 Pet. ii. 10. they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities' (BACOOMLOŪVTES Gr.); v. 11. whereas angels ... bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord' (Bréo Pupov upíow Gr.): considering, I say, that such is the meaning invariably attached to the Greek word even by the sacred writers, I am of opinion that those who introduced this foreign term into the Latin language, did wrong in restricting it to the single sense of speaking evil of God; especially since, at the same time that they narrowed its meaning in one direction, they expanded it in another to an almost indefinite vagueness ;, insomuch, that presuming on the general ignorance as to the true signification of the word, they have not scrupled to brand as blasphemy every opinion differing from their own on the subject of God or religion.* This is to resemble the scribes, Matt. ix. 3, who, when Christ had simply said, v. 2. thy sins be forgiven thee,' immediately
said within themselves, This man blasphemeth;' whereas blasphemy, as is evident from the foregoing
*Some are ready to cry out, what shall then be done to blasphemy? Them I would first exhort not thus to terrify and pose the people with a Greek word; but to teach them better what it is, being a most usual and common word in that language to signify any slander, any malicious or evil speaking, whether against God or man, or any thing to good belonging. Blasphemy, or evil speaking against God maliciously, is far from conscience in religion.' Treatise of Civil Power in Ecclesiastical Causes. Prose Works, III. 324. Id esse blasphemiam quo tu pacto evinces ? nisi si forte theologorum dictatis quibusvis contradicere, nunc primum blasphemia est credenda.' Aucloris pro se Defensio. Prose Works, V, 285. VOL. II.
examples, consists solely in uttering reproaches against God, openly and with a high hand, Numb. xv. 30. Matt. xv. 19. out of the heart proceed blasphemies, and that whether against God or men. This sin therefore is not to be imputed to those, who in sincerity of heart, and with no contentious purpose, promulgate or defend their conscientious persuasions respecting God, founded, as appears to them, on the Scriptures. If on the other hand blasphemy is interpreted according to the Hebrew sense, it will comprehend too much ; for in this sense every obstinate sinner will be a blasphemer, and as such, according to those who regard the law of Moses on this subject as still in force, punishable with death.* Numb. xv. 30. “the soul that doeth ought presumptuously .... the same reproacheth (or blasphemeth) Jehovah ; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people.' Ezek. xx. 27, 28.
yet in this your fathers have blasphemed me, in that they have committed a trespass against me ; for when I had brought them into the land ... then they saw every high hill,' &c.
A second opposite is irreverent or jesting mention of the name of God, or of religious subjects.
The most solemn mention of the name of God consists in dedicating to his glory whatever is intended for the use of man. 1 Cor. x. 31. whether ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.' 1 Tim. iv. 4, 5. nothing is to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.' Acts xxvii. 35. he took
* «Snch as these, indeed, were capitally punished by the law of Moses, as the only true heretics, idolaters, plain and open deserters of God and his known law.' Trealise of Civil Power, &c. III.326.