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have himself, would bring a horse into a garden, or walk over the strawberry beds, or trample down the flowers. But in riding from here to Salisbury everybody would feel himself at liberty, while crossing the downs, to gallop over the turf at pleasure. Well! the same difference which there is between common down and a cultivated garden, the same is there also between worldly days, worldly books, worldly names, worldly people, and God's day, God's book, God's name, and God's people. The former are common, and may be treated as such: the latter are not common; because God has taken them to himself, and brought them within the limits of his sanctuary, and thrown the safeguard of his holiness around them. In a word, they belong to God, and therefore are not to be treated as if they belonged to man.
It is true, that in one sense everything belongs to God. For everything was made by him: the whole earth is the Lord's, and all that is therein. In this view of the matter every day may be called the Lord's day, as well as Sunday: so too may every man living be called his, as well as the holiest of the apostles. All in this sense are his: that is, we are all his property and his subjects; because he is the Maker and the Ruler of everything in heaven and earth. Therefore those who are heartily desirous of doing right, and of giving
God his own as far as may be, would never think of unhallowing or profaning any one act or moment of their lives. They would never think of keeping back any part of their time, or of their thoughts, from God's service; because they know that he has a right to every part of them, and that they ought to be wholly and altogether his. It is in this spirit that the apostle bids us pray always. He does not say, Pray when you get up, or, when you go to bed, or, when you go to church, but always. In like manner he enjoins us to seek God's glory in the smallest things, as well as in the greatest. "Whether ye eat or drink, (he says,) or whatever ye do, do all to the glory of God." But though all this be so, it by no means follows that some things may not belong to God more nearly and peculiarly than others. Monday for example belongs to God as well as Sunday : but it does not belong to him as much and as exclusively; for the best of reasons,—because he has not been pleased to make it so. He is by right the master and owner of every day in the week equally: but he has been pleased to leave the six days open and unenclosed for the common business of life, for ploughing and sowing, and reaping and harvesting, and buying and selling; while the seventh day he has thought fit to reserve for himself, and has set it apart to be employed in his worship. Thus it
comes to pass that, though all the seven days are equally his by right, yet Sunday by his appointment is more entirely and peculiarly his day than the other six. What is true of Sundays and working-days, is equally true of prayer. Though we are enjoined to be always praying in a manner,—that is, we are to keep a sense of God's a sense of God's power and goodness always alive in our minds, and are to look up to him for help in whatever we take in hand, yet we are not to be always offering up prayers on our knees. The good Christian will live in such a way, that his whole life will be one continual prayer: yet on the other hand he will not think that he is thereby excused from having fixed times for regular prayer. He will pray by himself: he will pray with his family: he will pray with his fellow Christians in the house of God. On these occasions the feelings of devotion, which are always alive and burning in his heart, will blaze up into a flame, and will find vent in words: the silent, quiet, habitual piety of every day and every hour will be heightened for a time into open adoration, in which the whole man will be given up to prayer; and lips and thoughts, heart and mind, will join to entreat a blessing from the Lord, and to magnify the God of his salvation.
In a word, no day, no action, no thought, no moment of our lives ought to be separate from God:
some days however, some actions, some things and persons are his more entirely and more directly than others; and these we should reverence and hallow above the rest. Such appears to be the general spirit of the third and fourth commandments. But it will be useful to take a nearer view of them, and to see what each of them more particularly enjoins and forbids.
We will begin with the third commandment: “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain." Now what is taking the name of the Lord in vain? That is the first thing to be made out; and then the sense of the commandment will be clear. To take the name of the Lord in vain, is to take it into our mouths or use it in any light or trifling or unworthy manner. This may be done in two ways; either by calling God to witness to a lie,-for lies and falsehood of all kinds are in many places of Scripture called vanity; or else it may be done by using that holy name on small and irreverent occasions; for light and empty things are also called vanity. Whoever then calls God to witness falsely, takes his name in vain; and whoever uses God's name lightly and irreverently, takes it in vain. What I have said of God's name will of course apply equally to Jesus Christ; for he is God. Indeed it applies to every holy and sacred word or name. So
that all false swearing, and all idle swearing of every sort, is forbidden by this commandment.
Of the wickedness, the utter madness of swearing falsely, and calling the God of truth to witness to a lie, I shall say nothing to you. False swearing has never been the vice of Englishmen and they who wish for a sermon about it, may read one in the market-place at Devizes. The shocking story there recorded, of the wretched woman who forswore herself, and fell down dead, is proof enough that our God is neither blind nor deaf, and that he will not suffer himself to be mocked, or his name to be invoked falsely. True, he does not always strike at the instant, as he did then: but wo to that head over which the blow of God's wrath keeps hanging, only to fall on it in the next world with a weight of punishment insupportable!
Though false swearing however, I would fain hope, is not a common vice among Englishmen, idle and profane swearing is so, and that to a very great and strange degree. I call it a strange degree; because it surely is strange that a sin, to which the temptations are so trifling, a sin which yields neither profit nor pleasure, should meet one at every step in a Christian land. Go into the streets of any town, go to any place where a num ber of persons have got together; and whether they are working, or whether they are playing, whether