The Lord's Prayer
By Thomas Watson
The First Petition in the Lord's Prayer
"Hallowed be your name." Matthew 6:9
Having spoken of the introduction to the Lord's prayer,
"After this manner therefore pray," and the preface, "Our Father in heaven;"
I come, thirdly, to the prayer itself, which consists of seven petitions.
The first petition is: "Hallowed be your name." In the
Latin it is, "Sanctified be your name." In this petition, we pray that God's
name may shine forth gloriously, and that it may be honored and sanctified
by us, in the whole course and tenor of our lives. It was the angels' song,
"Glory be to God in the highest;" that is, let his name be glorified and
hallowed. This petition is set in the forefront, to show that the hallowing
of God's name is to be preferred before all things. It is to be preferred
before life. We pray, "Hallowed be your name," before we pray, "Give
us this day our daily bread." It is to be preferred before salvation.
Romans 9:23. God's glory is more worth than the salvation of all men's
souls. As Christ said of love in Matthew 22:38, "This is the first and great
commandment;" so I may say of this petition, "Hallowed be your name:" it is
the first and great petition; it contains the most weighty thing in true
religion, which is God's glory.
When some of the other petitions shall be useless and out
of date, as we shall not need to pray in heaven, "Give us our daily bread,"
because there shall be no hunger; nor, "Forgive us our trespasses," because
there shall be no sin; nor, "Lead us not into temptation," because the old
serpent is not there to tempt: yet the hallowing of God's name will be of
great use and request in heaven; we shall be ever singing hallelujahs, which
is nothing else but the hallowing of God's name. Every Person in the blessed
Trinity, God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, must have this honor, to be
hallowed; their glory being equal, and their majesty co-eternal. "Hallowed
be your name." To admire God's name is not enough; we may admire a
conqueror; but when we say, "Hallowed be your name," we set God's name above
every name, and not only admire him—but adore him; and this is proper to the
Deity only. For the further explanation, I shall propound three questions.
I. What is meant by God's name?
 His essence. "The name of the God of Jacob defend
you" (Psalm 20:1); that is, the God of Jacob defend you.
 Anything by which he may be known. As a man is known
by his name; so by his attributes of wisdom, power, holiness, and goodness,
God is known as by his name.
II. What is meant by hallowing God's name?
To hallow, is to set apart a thing from the
common use, to some sacred end. As the vessels of the sanctuary were
said to be hallowed, so, to hallow God's name, is to set it apart from all
abuses, and to use it holily and reverently. In particular, hallowing God's
name is to give him high honor and veneration, and render his name sacred.
We can add nothing to his essential glory; but we are said to honor and
sanctify his name when we lift him up in the world, and make him appear
greater in the eyes of others. When a prince is crowned, there is something
added really to his honor; but when we crown God with our triumphs and
hallelujahs there is nothing added to his essential glory. He cannot be
greater than he is—but we may make him appear greater in the eyes of others.
III. When may we be said to hallow and sanctify God's
 When we profess his name. Our meeting in
his holy assembly is an honor done to his name. This is good—but it is not
enough. All who wear God's livery by profession are not true servants; there
are some professors against whom Christ will profess at the last day. "I
will profess I never knew you." Matthew 7:23. Therefore, to go a little
 We hallow and sanctify God's name when we have a high
appreciation and esteem of him, and set him highest in our thoughts.
The Hebrew word to honor, signifies to esteem precious. We conceive of God
in our minds as the most super excellent and infinite good; we see in him a
constellation of all beauties and delights; we adore him in his glorious
attributes, which are the several beams by which his divine
nature shines forth; we adore him in his works, which are
bound up in three great volumes — creation, redemption, and
providence. We hallow and sanctify his name when we lift him highest in
our souls; we esteem him a supereminent and incomprehensible God.
 We hallow and sanctify his name when we trust in it.
"We have trusted in his holy name." Psalm 33:21. There is no way can we
bring more revenues of honor to God, or make his crown shine brighter, than
by confiding in him. Abraham "was strong in faith, giving glory to
God." Romans 4:20. Here was hallowing God's name. Unbelief stains God's
honor and eclipses his name. "He who believes not God—has made him a liar"
(1 John 5:10); So faith glorifies and hallows his name. The believer trusts
his best jewels in God's hands. "Into your hand I commit my spirit." Psalm
31:5. Faith in a Mediator does more honor, and sanctifies God's name more,
than martyrdom or the most sublime acts of obedience.
 We hallow and sanctify God's name when we never make
mention of it but with the highest reverence. His name is sacred,
and it must not be spoken of but with veneration. When the Scripture speaks
of God, it gives him his titles of honor. "Blessed be the most high God."
Gen 14:20. "Blessed be your glorious name, which is exalted above all
praise." Neh 9:5. To speak vainly or slightly of God is profaning his name,
and is taking his name in vain. By giving God his venerable titles, we hang
his jewels on his crown.
 We hallow and sanctify God's name when we love his
name. "Let those who love your name be joyful." Psalm 5:11. The
love which honors God's name must be special and discriminating love — the
cream and flower of our love; such as we give to none besides; as the wife
honors her husband by giving him such love as she gives to none else — a
marital love. Thus we hallow God's name by giving him such love as we give
to none else — a love joined with worship. "He is your Lord; and worship you
him." Psalm 45:2.
 We hallow and sanctify God's name when we give him a
holy and spiritual worship.
(1) When we give him the same kind of worship that he has
appointed. "I will be sanctified in those who come near me:" that
is, I will be sanctified with that very worship I have appointed. Lev 10:3.
It is the purity of worship, that God loves better than the pomp.
It dishonors his name to bring anything into his worship which he has not
instituted; as if he were not wise enough to appoint the manner in which he
will be served. Men prescribe to him and super add their inventions; which
he looks upon as offering strange fire, and as a high provocation.
(2) When we give to God the same heart devotion in
worship, which he has appointed. "Fervent in spirit; serving the
Lord." Romans 12:11. The word for fervent is a metaphor, which alludes to
water which seethes and boils over; to signify that our affections should
boil over in holy duties. To give God outside worship, and not the devotion
of the heart, instead of hallowing and sanctifying him in an ordinance, is
to abuse him; as if one calls for wine and you give him an empty glass. We
hallow God's name and sanctify him in an ordinance when we give him the
vitals of religion, and a heart flaming with zeal.
 We hallow and sanctify God's name when we hallow his
day. "Hallow the sabbath day." Jer 17:22. Our Christian Sabbath,
which comes in the place of the Jews' Sabbath, is called the Lord's day. Rev
1:10. It was anciently called a day of light, wherein Christ the Sun
of Righteousness shines in an extraordinary manner. It is an honor done to
God to hallow his Sabbath.
(1) We must rest on this day from all secular works.
"Bring in no burden on the sabbath day." Jer 17:24. As when Joseph would
speak with his brethren he thrust out the Egyptians; so when we would
converse with God on this day, we must thrust out all earthly employments.
Mary Magdalene refused to anoint Christ's dead body on the sabbath day. Luke
23:56. She had before prepared her ointment and spices—but came not to the
sepulcher until the Sabbath was past; she rested on that day from civil
work, even the commendable and glorious work of anointing Christ's dead
(2) We must in a solemn manner devote ourselves to God on
this day; we must spend the whole day with God. Some will hear the word—but
leave all their religion at church; they do nothing at home, they do not
pray or repeat the word in their houses, and so rob God of a part of his
day. It is lamentable to see how God's day is profaned. Let no man think
God's name is hallowed, while his Sabbath is broken.
 We hallow and sanctify God's name when we ascribe the
honor of all we do, to him. "Give unto the Lord the glory due
unto his name." Psalm 96:8. Herod, instead of hallowing God's name,
dishonored it by assuming that praise to himself which was due to God alone.
Acts 12:23. We ought to take the honor from ourselves—and give it to God. "I
labored more abundantly than they all;" one would think this had savored of
pride: but the apostle pulls the crown from his own head and sets it upon
the head of free grace: "Yet not I—but the grace of God which was with me."
1 Cor 15:10. If a Christian has any assistance in duty, or victory over
temptation, he rears up a pillar and writes upon it, "Hitherto the Lord has
helped me." John the Baptist transferred all the honor from himself to
Christ; he was content to be eclipsed that Christ might shine the more. "He
who comes after me is preferred before me." John 1:15. I am but the herald,
the voice of one crying; he is the prince. I am but a lesser star; he is the
sun. I baptize with water only; he with the Holy Spirit. This is hallowing
God's name, when we transfer all honor from ourselves to God. "Not unto us,
O Lord, not unto us—but unto your name give glory." Psalm 115:1.
 We hallow and sanctify God's name by obeying him.
How does a son more honor his father, than by obedience? "I delight to do
your will, O my God." Psalm 40:8. The wise men showed honor to Christ, not
only by bowing the knee to him—but by presenting him with gold and myrrh.
Matthew 2:11. We hallow God's name, not only by lifting up our eyes and
hands to heaven and bowing the knee in prayer—but by presenting him with
golden obedience. We trade for God and lay out our strength in his service.
It was a saying of Dr Jewel, "I have spent and exhausted myself in the
labors of my holy calling." "To obey is better than sacrifice." The cherubim
representing the angels are set forth with their wings displayed, to show
how ready they are to do service to God. To obey is angelic; to
pretend honor to God's name, and yet not obey, is but a devout compliment.
Abraham honored God by obedience; he was ready to sacrifice his son, though
the son of his old age, and a son of the promise. "By myself have I sworn,
says the Lord, for because you have done this thing, and have not withheld
your son, your only son: that in blessing I will bless you." Gen 22:16, 17.
 We hallow and sanctify God's name when we lift up
his name in our praises. God is said to sanctify, and man is said
to sanctify. God sanctifies us by giving us grace; and we sanctify him by
giving him praise. What were our tongues given for but to be organs of God's
praise? "Let my mouth be filled with your praise and with your honor all the
day." Psalm 71:8. "Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him
who sits upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever." Rev 5:13. Thus God's
name is hallowed and sanctified in heaven; the angels and glorified saints
are singing hallelujahs. Let us begin the work of heaven here. David sang
forth God's praises and doxologies in a most melodious manner, and was,
therefore, called the sweet singer of Israel. 2 Samuel 23:1. Praising God is
hallowing his name; it spreads his renown; it displays the trophies of his
excellency; it exalts him in the eyes of others. "Whoever offers praise,
glorifies me." Psalm 123. This is one of the highest and purest acts of true
In prayer we act like men; in praise we act
like angels! Praise is the music of heaven, and a work fit for a saint.
"Let the saints be joyful: let the high praises of God be in their mouth."
Psalm 149:5, 6. None but saints can in a right manner thus hallow God's name
by praising him. As everyone has not skill to play on the violin and organ,
so everyone cannot rightly sound forth God's harmonious praises; only the
saints can do it; they alone can make their tongue and heart
join in concert. "I will praise the Lord with my whole heart." Psalm 111:1.
"He was extolled with my tongue." Psalm 66:17. Here was joining in concert.
This hallowing God's name by praise is very befitting a Christian. It is
unbefitting to murmur, which is dishonoring God's name; but it becomes the
saints to be spiritual choristers, singing forth the honor of his name. It
is called the "garment of praise." Isaiah 61:3. How lovely and handsome is
this garment of praise for a saint to wear! "Praise is lovely for the
upright." Psalm 33:1. Especially is it a high degree of hallowing God's
name—when we can speak well of him and bless him in an afflicted state. "The
Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." Job 1:21. Many will
bless God when he gives—but to bless him when he takes away, is in a high
degree to honor him and hallow his name. Let us thus magnify God's name. Has
he not given us abundant matter for praising him? He has given us grace,
a mercy spun and woven out of his affections; and he intends to crown grace
with glory. This should make us hallow his name by being trumpets for
 We hallow and sanctify God's name when we sympathize
with him; when we grieve when his name suffers.
(1) We lay to heart his dishonor. How was Moses affected
with God's dishonor! He broke the tables of the law. Exod 32:19. We grieve
to see God's worship adulterated, the wine of truth mingled with
(2) We grieve when God's church is brought low, because
his name suffers. Nehemiah lays to heart the miseries of Zion; his
complexion begins to alter, and he looks sad. "Why is your countenance sad?"
Neh 2:2. What! sad, when the king's cup-bearer, and wine is so near! Oh! but
it fared badly with the church of God, and true religion seemed to lose
ground, and God's name suffered; therefore Nehemiah grows weary of the
court; he leaves his wine and mingles his drink with weeping. Such holy
sympathy and grieving when God's name suffers, he esteems as honoring and
sanctifying his name. Hezekiah grieved when the king of Assyria reproached
the living God. He went to the temple, and spread the letter of blasphemy
before the Lord. Isaiah 37:17. He no doubt watered the letter with his
tears; he seemed not to be so much troubled at the fear of losing his own
life and kingdom, as that God should lose his glory.
 We hallow and sanctify God's name when we give the
same honor to God the Son, that we give to God the Father. "That
all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father." John 5:23. The
Socinians deny Christ's divinity, saying that he is a mere man: which is to
make him below the angels. The human nature, considered in itself, is below
the angelic, and thus they reflect dishonor upon the Lord of glory. Psalm
8:5. We must give equal honor to the Son as to the Father; we must believe
Christ's deity; he is the picture of his Father's glory. Heb 1:3. If the
Godhead be in Christ, he must needs be God; but the Godhead shines in him.
"In him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;" therefore, he is
God. Col 2:9. How could these divine titles be given to Christ as
omnipotence, in Heb 1:3; omnipresence, in Matthew 28:20; a power of sealing
pardons in Matthew 9:6; co-equality with God the Father, both in power and
dignity, in John 5:21, 23, if he were not crowned with Deity? When we
believe Christ's Godhead, and build our hope of salvation on the
corner-stone of his merit; when we see that neither the righteousness of the
law, nor of angels, can justify—but flee to Christ's blood as to the altar
of refuge; this is honoring and sanctifying God's name. God never thinks his
name hallowed unless his Son is honored.
 We hallow God's name by standing up for his truths.
Much of God's glory lies in his truths. His truths are his
oracles. He entrusts us with his truths as a treasure; we have not a richer
jewel to entrust him with than our souls, nor has he a greater jewel to
entrust us with than his truths. His truths set forth his glory. When we are
zealous advocates for his truths, it is an honor done to his name.
Athanasius was called the bulwark of truth; he stood up in the defense of
God's truths against the Arians, and so was a pillar in the temple of God.
We had better have truth without peace, than peace without truth. It
concerns the sons of Zion to stand up for the great doctrines of the gospel;
as the doctrine of the Trinity, the hypostatic union, justification by
faith, and the saints' perseverance. We are bid to contend earnestly, to
strive as in an agony for the faith—that is, the doctrine of faith. Jude 3.
This contending for the truth, brings great revenues to heaven's treasury;
and hallows God's name. Some can contend for ceremonies—but not for
the truth. We should count him unwise that should contend for a box
of pennies, more than for his box of jewels.
 We hallow and sanctify God's name by making as many
proselytes as we can to him; when, by all holy expedients,
counsel, prayer, example, we endeavor the salvation of others. How did
Monica, Augustine's mother, labor for his conversion! She had sorer pangs in
travail for his new birth than for his natural birth. It is hallowing God's
name when we diffuse the sweet savor of godliness, and propagate true
religion to others; when not only we ourselves honor God—but are instruments
to make others honor him. Certainly when the heart is seasoned with grace,
there will be an endeavor to season others. God's glory is as dear to a
saint as his own salvation; and that this glory may be promoted he endeavors
the conversion of souls. Every convert is a new member added to Christ. Let
us then hallow God's name by laboring to advance piety in others; especially
let us endeavor that those who are nearly related to us, or are under our
roof, may honor God. "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." Josh
24:15. Let us make our houses Bethels, places where God's name is called
upon. "Salute Nymphas, and the church that is in his house." Col 4:15. Let
the parent endeavor that his children may honor God, and the master that his
servants may honor him. Read the Word, drop holy instruction, perfume your
houses with prayer. The Jews had sacrifices in their families, as well as in
the tabernacle. Exod 12:3. This is hallowing God's name when we make
proselytes to him, and endeavor that all under our charge should honor and
sanctify his name.
 We hallow God's name when we prefer the honor of his
name before the dearest things.
(1) When we prefer the honor of God's name before our own
credit. The saints of old have, for the honor of God, been
willing to endure reproach. "For your sake I have borne reproach." Psalm
69:7. David cared not what reproach he suffered, just so that God's name
might not suffer. The prophet Elijah was called in derision, the "hairy
prophet;" and the prophet Isaiah "the bearer of burdens;" and the prophet
Zephaniah, "the bitter prophet;" but these reproaches, were as a crown about
their head. The honor of God's name was dearer to them than their own honor.
Moses esteemed the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of
Egypt. Heb 11:26. The apostles went away rejoicing that they were counted
worthy to suffer shame for the name of Christ! that they were graced so far
as to be disgraced for the name of Christ. Acts 5:41. We hallow God's name
when we are content to have our name eclipsed, that his name may shine the
(2) When we prefer the honor of God's name before our
worldly profit and interest. "We have forsaken all, and followed
you." Matthew 19:27. When these two, God and estate, come in competition, we
would rather let estate go than God's love and favor. Thus that noble
Marquis of Vice parted with a fair estate, using these words, "Let their
money perish with them, who count all the gold and silver in the world worth
one hour's communion with Jesus Christ."
(3) When we prefer the honor of God's name before our own
life. "For your sake we are killed all the day long." Romans 8:36. The honor
done to God's name is not by bringing the outward pomp and glory to him as
we do to kings—but it comes in another way, and that is by the sufferings of
his people. When the world sees how entirely his people love him, that they
will die in his service—it exalts and honors his name. God's crown
flourishes in the ashes of his martyrs. Basil speaks of a virgin, condemned
to the fire, who having her life and estate offered her, if she would bow to
the idol, answered, "Let life and money go, welcome Christ!" When God's
glory weighs heaviest in the balance, and we are willing to suffer the loss
of all rather than God's name should suffer, we do, in a high degree, hallow
 We hallow and sanctify God's name by a holy life.
"You are a royal priesthood, a peculiar people; that you should show forth
the praises of him who has called you." 1 Peter 2:9. As an unholy life
dishonors God's name, "The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles
through you;" Romans 2:24, so by our holy and Bible lives— we honor God's
name. A holy life speaks louder than all the anthems and praises in the
world. Though the main work of religion lies in the heart—yet when our light
so shines, that others behold it, we glorify God. When our lives shine, his
name shines in us. When we carry the picture of Christ about us in our holy
example, we bring honor to God's name.
Use 1. See the true note and character of a
godly person: he is a sanctifier of God's name. A true saint ambitiously
endeavors to advance God's name. The question which he asks himself in
everything he is going about is, "Will this action tend to the honor of
God's name? Will it exalt God?" It was Paul's chief design that Christ might
be magnified, that the crown upon his head might flourish. Phil 1:20. A
godly man thinks it scarce worth his while to live—if he may not bring some
revenues of honor to God's name.
Use 2. I may here take up a sad lamentation,
and speak, as the apostle Paul, weeping. Phil 3:18. Consider how God's name,
instead of being hallowed and sanctified, is dishonored. His name, which is
worth more than the salvation of all men's souls, suffers deeply. We are apt
to speak of our sufferings; alas! what are all our sufferings! God's name
suffers most. His name is the dearest thing he has. How do men stand upon
their name and honor! God's name is this day dishonored; it is like the sun
in an eclipse. Theodosius took it heinously when they threw dirt upon his
statue; but what is far worse, disgrace is thrown upon the glorious name of
Jehovah. His name, instead of being hallowed, is dishonored by all sorts; by
heathens, by Turks, by Jews, by Papists, and by Protestants.
(1) By heathen; who have a knowledge of a godhead
by the light of nature; yet dishonor him, and sin against the light of
nature. Romans 1:19. The Egyptians worship an ox; the Persians worship the
sun; the Grecians and Romans, Jupiter; and the Parthians worship the devil.
(2) God's name is dishonored by the Turks, who
adore Mahomet their great prophet, as one divinely inspired. Mahomet was of
an impure, wicked nature. He plucked the crown from Christ's head by denying
(3) God's name is dishonored by the Jews, who give
not equal honor and adoration to God the Son, as to God the Father. They
expect a Messiah yet to come. They believe not in Christ; they blaspheme
him; they reject imputed righteousness; they vilify the Christian Sabbath.
(4) God's name is dishonored by the Papists.
Theirs is a God-dishonoring religion. They dishonor the name of God by their
idolatry, which is spiritual adultery. Idolatry is to worship a false
God, or the true God in a false manner. They dishonor God by their
idolatry, in making graven images, and giving the same honor to those who is
due to God. Images are teachers of lies. They represent God in a
bodily shape. Hab 2:18. They dishonor God by their idolatry in the mass;
worshiping the host, and offering it up as a sacrifice for sin. The apostle
says, "By one offering, Christ has perfected forever those who are
sanctified" (Heb 10:14); but as if his offering on the cross were imperfect,
they offer him up daily in the mass, which is a dishonor to Christ's
The Papist, instead of hallowing God's name, dishonors it
by locking up the Scriptures in an unknown tongue. Like the Philistines,
they pluck out people's eyes, and then make sport with them. The Bible is a
shining light—but they draw a curtain over it; they take away the key of
knowledge, and hinder God's glory by hindering men's salvation. Luke 11:52.
Instead of hallowing God's name, they dishonor it by
giving men indulgences. They say the Pope, as Peter's successor, has power
to grant indulgences, by virtue whereof men are set free in the sight of
God. This is to steal a flower from the crown of heaven. The Pope assumes a
power to pardon, which is God's royal prerogative. "Who can forgive sins but
God alone?" Mark 2:7. The Pope, by his indulgence, encourages men to sin.
What need the Papists care what sins they commit, when they have a license
from the Pope to commit sin?
Instead of hallowing God's name, they dishonor it by
their invocation to saints. We are to pray to God only. "Pray to your
Father;" not pray to a saint or the Virgin Mary—but pray to your Father in
heaven. Matthew 6:6. We may pray to none but whom we may believe in. Romans
10:14. The saints in heaven are ignorant of our grievances. "Abraham is
ignorant of us." Isaiah 63:16.
Instead of hallowing God's name, they dishonor it, by
their luxury and uncleanness. At Rome, fornication keeps open shop, and is
in some cases preferred before honorable matrimony. [The whole city is now a
Instead of hallowing God's name, they dishonor it, by
their blasphemies. They give equal, nay, more honor to the Virgin Mary than
to Christ; they ascribe more to her breast-milk, than to his blood; they
call her Scala Coeli, the ladder of heaven; Janua paradisi,
the gate of Paradise. In their doxologies they say, "Praise be to the Virgin
Mary, and also to Christ." What blasphemy is this, to set the creature above
the Creator! They say to her, "O happy Mother of a Son, who purges away our
Instead of hallowing God's name, they dishonor it, by
their lies. Their golden legend is an imposture, and is full of lying
wonders. They show John Baptist's forehead for a relic in Spain—yet his
whole head they affirm to be seen in St. Sylvester's in Rome. They show
Peter's shadow at Rome. We read of Peter's shadow in Acts 5:15; but it is
strange how the Papists could catch it, and keep it with them so long.
Instead of hallowing God's name, they dishonor it, by
baptising sin with the name of virtue. Breach of oaths is with the Papists a
virtue. If a man has bound his soul to God by an oath, to violate it is
virtuous, if it may propagate the Catholic cause. Killing those who are of a
different religion, is not only venial—but a virtue among Catholics!
Destroying two hundred thousand of the Albigenses, who were Protestants, was
commended as a glorious action, honored with a triumph at Rome, and crowned
with his holiness' blessing. Is not this a high dishonor to God, to
gild over the foulest crimes with the name of virtue and piety? Instead of
hallowing God's name, they dishonor it, by their damnable assertions. The
Papists affirm that the Pope is above Scripture; that he may dispense with
it, and that his canon binds more then the Word of God. They teach salvation
by good works; but if a debtor cannot pay his creditor, how can he merit at
his hands? They affirm that the Scripture is not a perfect rule of faith and
manners; and therefore eke it out with their traditions, which they hold to
be of equal authority. They teach that an intellectual faith is saving. They
say, that the inward act of the mind is not required in God's worship.
Diversion of the mind in duty, though one prays and never thinks of God, is
no sin, as Angelus and Sylvester, and other Papists say. They make habitual
love to God unnecessary. "It is not needful," says Bellarmine, "to perform
any acts of religion out of love to God." Stapleton and Cajetan affirm, that
the precept of loving God with all our heart is not binding; by which they
cut asunder the sinews and soul of all religion. Thus, instead of honoring
God's name, the Papists dishonor it. Let us pray heartily, that this Romish
religion may never again get footing in this nation. God grant that this
poisonous weed of Popery may never be watered here; but that being a plant
which our heavenly Father has not planted, it may be rooted up!
(5) God's name is dishonored by Protestants. How
is his name this day dishonored in England! Christians, instead of hallowing
God's name, preach and dishonor it by their tongues. They speak
irreverently of his name. God's name is sacred. "That you may fear this
glorious and fearful name: the Lord Your God." Deut 28:58. The names
of kings are not mentioned without giving them their tides of honor, high
and mighty; but men speak irreverently of God, as if he were like one of
them. Psalm 50:21. This is taking God's name in vain. They swear by his
name. Many seldom mention God's name but in oaths. How is he dishonored,
when men rend and tear his name by oaths and imprecations! "Because of
swearing, the land mourns." Jer 23:10. If God will reckon with men for idle
words, shall not idle oaths be put into the account-book! "Oh! but," says
one, "I cannot help it: it is a custom of swearing I have got, and I cannot
help it. I hope God will forgive me." Is the habit of swearing a good
plea? It is no excuse—but an aggravation of sin; as if one who had been
accused of killing a man should plead with the judge to spare him, because
it was his habit to murder. That would be an aggravation of the offence; for
would not the judge say, "You shall surely die!" So it is here.
As men dishonor God by their tongues, so by their
lives. What is it to say, "Hallowed be your name," when in their lives
they profane his name? They dishonor God by their atheism, uncleanness,
perjury, intemperance, and injustice. Men hang out a flag of defiance
against heaven. As the Thracians, when it thunders, shoot their arrows
against heaven, so men shoot their sins as bearded arrows against heaven.
Sinners are hardened in sin, they despise counsel, they laugh at reproof,
they cast off the veil of modesty. Satan has taken such full possession of
them, that when they sin, they glory in their shame. Phil 3:19. They brag
how many new oaths they have invented, how often they have been drunk, how
many they have defiled; they declare their sin as Sodom. Such horrid
impieties are committed, that a modest heathen would blush at. Men in
this age sin at that rate, as if either they did not believe there were a
hell, or as if they feared hell would be full before they could get there!
Was God's name ever so openly dishonored? All our preaching will not
make them leave their sins.
What a black veil is drawn over the face of religion at
this day? "We live in the dregs of time," wherein the common sewer of
wickedness runs. Physicians call it cachexia, when there is no part of the
body free from distemper. England has such a disease. "The whole head is
sick, the whole heart is faint." Isaiah 1:5. As black vapors rising out of
the earth cloud and darken the sun, so the sins of people in our age, like
hellish vapors, cast a cloud upon God's glorious name. O that our eyes were
rivers of water of holy tears, to see how God's name, instead of being
hallowed, is polluted and profaned! May we not justly fear some heavy
judgements on this account? Can God put up with our affronts any longer? Can
he endure to have his name reproached? Will a king allow his crown-jewels to
be trampled in the dust? Do we not see the symptoms of God's anger? Do we
not see his judgements hovering over us? Surely God is whetting his sword,
he has bent his bow, and is preparing his arrows to shoot!
The body politic is in a paroxysm, or burning fit; and
may not the Lord cause a sad phlebotomy? Seeing we will not leave our sins,
he may make us lose our blood. May we not fear that the ark should remove,
the vision cease, the stars in God's church be removed, and we follow the
gospel to the grave? When God's name, which should be hallowed, is profaned
by a nation, it is just with God to write that dismal epitaph upon its tomb,
"The glory is departed." It were well if the profane party only were guilty;
but may not many professors be called to the bar, and indicted for having
dishonored God's name? "Are there not with you, even with you, sins against
the Lord your God?" 2 Chron 28:10. Are these the spots of God's children?
Deut 32:5. If you are diamonds, have you no flaws? Have you not your
vanities? If your discourse be not profane, is it not vain? Have you not
your self-seekings, rash censures, indecent dresses? If the wicked of the
land swear, do not you sometimes slander? If they are drunk
with wine, are not you sometimes drunk with passion? If their
sin is blaspheming, is not your sin murmuring? "Are there not
with you, even with you, sins against the Lord?"
The sins of God's children go nearer to his heart than
the sins of others. "When the Lord saw it, he abhorred them, because of the
provoking of his sons and of his daughters." Deut 32:19. The sins of the
wicked anger God, the sins of his own people grieve him; he
will be sure to punish them. "You only have I known of all the families of
the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities." Amos 3:2. O
that our head were waters, that we could make this place a Bochim, a place
of weeping, that God's children might mix blushing with tears, that they
have so little hallowed, and so much eclipsed, God's name! Truly his own
people have sinned enough to justify him in all his severe acting against
Use 3. For exhortation. Let us hallow and
sanctify God's name. Could we but see a glimpse of God's glory, as Moses did
in the rock, it would draw adoration and praise from us. Could we "see God
face to face," as the angels in heaven do, could we behold him sitting on
his throne, at the sight of his glory we would do as the twenty-four elders,
who "worship him that lives forever, and cast their crowns before the
throne, saying, You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and
power." Rev 4:11. That we may be stirred up to this great duty of hallowing,
adoring, and sanctifying God's name—let us consider:
(1) It is the very end of our being. Why did
God give us life—but that by living we may hallow his name? Why did he give
us souls—but to admire him? and tongues—but to praise him? The excellence of
a thing—is the end for which it was made; as of a star to give light,
and of a plant to be fruitful. So the excellence of a Christian is to answer
the end of his creation, which is to hallow God's name, and live to that God
by whom he lives. He who lives, and of whom God has no honor, buries himself
alive, and exposes himself to a curse. Christ cursed the barren fig-tree.
(2) God's name is so excellent that it deserves to be
hallowed. "How excellent is your name in all the earth!" Psalm
8:9. "You are clothed with honor and majesty." Psalm 104:1. As the sun has
its brightness, whether we admire it or not, so God's name is illustrious
and glorious, whether we hallow it or not. In him are all shining
perfections—holiness, wisdom, and mercy. He is "worthy to be praised." 2
Samuel 22:4. God is dignus honore, worthy of honor, love, and
adoration. We often bestow titles of honor upon those who do not deserve
them; but God is worthy to be praised; his name deserves hallowing; he is
above all the honor and praise which angels in heaven give him.
(3) We pray, "hallowed be your name"; that is, let your
name be honored and magnified by us. If we do not magnify his
name, we contradict our own prayers. To say, "hallowed be your name," yet
not to bring honor to God's name, is to take his name in vain.
(4) If men will not hallow God's name, and bring revenues
of honor to him—he will get honor upon them. "I will get honor
upon Pharaoh." Exod 14:17. Pharaoh would not hallow God's name; he said,
"Who is the Lord that I should obey him?" Well, says God, if Pharaoh will
not honor me, I will get honor upon him. When God overthrew him and his
chariots in the sea, he got honor upon him. God's power and justice were
gloried in his destruction. There are some whom God has raised to
great power and dignity, and they will not honor his name; they make use of
their power to dishonor him; they cast reproach upon his name, and revile
his servants. If they will not honor God, he will get honor upon them in
their final ruin. Herod did not give glory to God—but God got glory upon
him. "The angel of the Lord smote him because he gave not God the glory, and
he was eaten by worms!" Acts 12:23.
(5) It will be no small comfort to us when we come to
die, that we have hallowed and sanctified God's name. Christ's
comfort a little before his death was, "I have glorified you on the earth."
John 17:4. His redeeming mankind was hallowing and glorifying God's name.
Never was more honor brought to God's name than by this great undertaking of
Christ. Here was his comfort before death, that he had hallowed God's name,
and brought glory to him. So, what a cordial will it be to us at last, when
our whole life has been a hallowing of God's name! We have loved him with
our hearts, praised him with our lips, honored him with our
lives; we have been to the praise of his glory. Eph 1:6. At the hour of
death, all your earthly comforts will vanish; to think how rich you have
been, or what pleasures you have enjoyed upon earth, will not give one grain
of comfort. What is one the better for an estate that is spent? But to have
conscience witnessing that you have hallowed God's name, that your whole
life has been glorifying him—what sweet peace and satisfaction will this
How glad is that servant who has been all day working in
the vineyard, when evening comes, that he shall receive his pay! How sweet
will death be when those who have spent their lives in honoring God, shall
receive the recompense of reward! What comfort was it to Hezekiah, when on
his sick bed, that he could appeal to God, "Remember, Lord, how I have
walked before you with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in
your sight." Isaiah 38:3. I have hallowed your name, I have brought all the
honor I could to you, "I have done that which is good in your sight."
(6) There is nothing lost by what we do for God.
If we bring honor to his name, he will honor us. As Balak said to
Balaam, "Am not I able to promote you to honor?" Num 22:37. So if we hallow
and sanctify God's name, is he not able to promote us to honor? He will
honor us in our life. He will put honor upon our persons: he will
number us among his jewels. Mal 3:17. He will make us a royal diadem in his
hand. Isaiah 62:3. He will lift us up in the eyes of others. "They shall be
as the stones of a crown lifted up, as an ensign of glory." Zech 9:17. He
will esteem us as the cream and flower of the creation. "Since you were
precious in my sight, you have been honorable." Isaiah 43:4.
God will put honor upon our names. "The memory of
the just is blessed." Proverbs 10:7. How renowned have the saints been in
all ages, who have hallowed God's name! How renowned was Abraham for his
faith, Moses for his meekness, David for his zeal, Paul for his love to
Christ! Their names as a precious ointment, send forth a sweet perfume in
God's church to this day.
God will honor us at our death. He will send his
angels to carry us up with triumph into heaven. "The beggar died, and was
carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom." Luke 16:22. Amasis king of
Egypt, had his chariot drawn by four kings, whom he had conquered in war;
but what is this, compared to the glory every believer shall have at his
death? He shall be carried by the angels of God!
God will put honor upon us after death. He will put glory
upon our bodies. We shall be as the angels, not for substance—but
quality; our bodies shall be agile and nimble. Now they are as a weight,
then they shall be as a wing, moving swiftly from place to place; they shall
be full of clarity and brightness, like Christ's glorious body. Phil 3:21.
The bodies of the saints shall be as cloth dyed into a scarlet color, made
more illustrious; they shall be so clear and transparent, that the soul
shall sparkle through them, as the wine through the glass. God will put
glory upon our souls. If the cabinet of the body shall be so
illustrious, of what orient brightness shall the jewel be! Then will
be the great coronation day, when the saints shall wear the robe of
immortality, and the crown of righteousness which fades not away. Oh, how
glorious will that garland be, which is made of the flowers of paradise! Who
then would not hallow and glorify his name, and spread his renown in the
world, who will put such immortal honor upon his people, "as eye has not
seen, nor ear heard, nor has entered into the heart of man to conceive"?
(7) If men do not hallow—but profane and dishonor God's
name, he will pour contempt upon them. Though they be ever so
great, and though clothed in purple and scarlet, they shall be abhorred by
God, and their name shall rot! Though the name of Judas is in the Bible, and
the name of Pontius Pilate be in the Creed—yet their names stand there for
infamy, as traitors to the crown of heaven. "I will make your grave, for you
are vile." Nahum 1:14. It is said of Antiochus Epiphanes, though he was a
king, and his name signifies illustrious—yet God esteemed him vile. To show
how base the wicked are in God's esteem, he compares them to things most
vile—to chaff (Psalm 1:4); to dross (Psalm 119:119); to the filth that foams
out of the sea (Isaiah 57:20). As God vilely esteems such as do not hallow
his name, so he sends them to a vile place at last. Vagrants are sent to the
house of correction; and hell is the house of correction to which the wicked
are sent when they die. Let all this prevail with us to hallow and sanctify
What should we do to honor and sanctify God's name?
(1) Get a sound knowledge of God. Take a view of
his superlative excellencies; his holiness, his incomprehensible goodness.
The angels know God better than we, therefore they sanctify his name, and
sing hallelujahs to him. Let us labor to know him to be our God. "This God
is our God." Psalm 48:14. We may dread him as a judge—but we cannot honor
him as a father, until we know he is our God.
(2) Get a sincere love to God; a love of
appreciation, and a love of delight to delight in him. "Lord, you know that
I love you." John 21:15. He can never honor his master—who does not love
him. The reason God's name is no more hallowed, is because his name is no
So much for the first petition, "Hallowed be your
name." Matthew 6:9.