The Wanderer

As I walked through the wilderness of this world …

Hallowed be your name

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When you pray, “Hallowed be your name” do you mean it? Do you mean it whatever it might cost? Thomas Manton, treating this phrase in his exposition of the Lord’s prayer, points out that this petition requires a submissive spirit in the making of it, without which we will rob the prayer of its point. Are we ready, in so praying, to have God answer our prayers even at our own expense? (The language below is very gently updated.)

4. We must go to God for submission. Now there is a double submission required, which if we have not, we shall find it marvellously difficult to glorify God. One, as to the choice of instruments; another, as to the way and means by which God will bring about his own glory.

[1.] As to the choice of instruments. There is in us an envy, and wicked emulation. Oh, how hard a matter is it to rejoice in the gifts, and graces, and services of others, and be content with the dispensation, when God will cast us by as unworthy, and use others for the glorifying of his name! Therefore that we may refer the choice of instruments to God, we need go to him and say, Lord, ‘hallowed be your name;’ do it which way, and by whom you please. We are troubled, if others glorify God, and not we, or more than we; if they be more holy, more useful, or more serious, self will not yield to this. Now by putting up this prayer to God, we refer it to him to choose the instrument whom he will employ. It was a commendable modesty and self-denial in John Baptist, which is described, John iii. 13, ‘He must increase, I must decrease.’ When we are contented to be abased and obscured, provided Christ may be honoured and exalted; and be content with such a dispensation, though with our loss and decrease. Many are of a private station, and limited in gifts, and can have no public instrumentality for God; now these need to pray, ‘Hallowed be your name,’ that they may rejoice when God uses others whom he has furnished with greater abilities.

[2.] A submission for the way; that we may submit to those unpleasing means and circumstances of his providence, that God will take up and make use of, for the glorifying of his holy name. Many times we must be content, not only to be active instruments, but passive objects of God’s glory. And therefore if God will glorify himself by our poverty, or our disgrace, our pain and sickness, we must be content. Therefore we need to deal with God seriously about this matter, that we may submit to the Lord’s will, as Jesus Christ did: John xii. 27, 28, ‘Save me from this hour; but for this cause I came unto this hour: Father, glorify your name. And there was a voice from heaven that said, I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.’ Put me to shame, suffering, to endure the cross, the curse, so you may be glorified. This was the humble submission of Christ Jesus, and such a submission should be in us. The martyrs were contented to be bound to the stake, if that way God will use them to his glory. Phil. i. 20, says Paul, ‘So Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death:’ if my body be taken to heaven in glory, or whether it be exercised or worn out with ministerial labour. We need to deal with God that we may have the end, and leave the means to his own choosing; that God may be glorified in our condition, whatever it be. If he will have us rich and full, that he might be glorified in our bounty; if he will have us poor and low, that he may be glorified in our patience; if he will have us healthy, that he may be glorified in our labour; if he will have us sick, that he may be glorified in our pain; if he will have us live, that he may be glorified in our lives; if he will have us die, that he may be glorified in our deaths: and therefore, ‘Whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s:’ Rom. xiv. 9. A Christian is to be like a die in the hand of providence, content whether he be cast high or low, and not to grudge at it, whether he will continue us longer or take us out of the world. As a servant employed beyond the seas, if his master will have him tarry, there he tarries; if he would have him come home, home he comes: so that we had need to deal seriously with God about this submissive spirit.

He goes on immediately (and I am not sure what is missing, but he has clearly finished his two points under submission, and the printed text jumps immediately to a number 5) to deal with two related elements of the necessary disposition for such prayer:

[5. (sic)] Humility; that we may not put the crown upon our own heads, but may cast it at the Lamb’s feet; that we may not take the glory of our graces to ourselves. God’s great aim in the covenant is, ‘that no flesh should glory in itself; but whosoever glories, may glory in the Lord:’ 1 Cor. i. 27-31. He would have us still come and own him, in all that we are, and in all that we do. As the good servant gave account of his diligence, Luke xix. 16, he does not say, My industry, but, ‘Your pound hath gained ten pounds.’ And Paul was a zealous instrument, that went up and down doing good; he ‘laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God, which was with me:’ 1 Cor. xv. 10. In this case if we would honour and glorify God, we must do as Joab did, when he was likely to take Rabbah: he sent for David to gather up more forces, and encamp against the city and take it, ‘Lest I take the city, and it be called after my name:’ 2 Sam. xii. 28. How careful was he that his sovereign might have the honour! So careful should we be that the crown be set upon Christ’s head, and that he may have the glory of our graces and services, that they may not be called after our own name, that God may be more owned in them than we. Now what more natural, than for creatures to intercept the revenues of the crown of heaven, and to convert them to their own use? It is a vile sacrilege, to rob God of the glory of that grace he hath bestowed upon us; and yet what more common? The flesh is inclined to interpose upon all occasions; and therefore we need to put up this request, ‘Hallowed be your name.’

[6.] There is holiness required, that we may not be a disgrace to God and a dishonour to him. The Lord says, Ezek. xx. 9, ‘That his name should not be polluted before the heathen, among whom they (his people) were.’ The sin of God’s people does stain the honour of God, and profane his name. When men profess much to be a people near God, and live carnally and loosely, they dishonour God exceedingly by their conversation. Men judge by what is visible and sensible, and so they think of God by his servants and worshippers; as the heathens did of Christ in Salvian’s time,—If he was a holy Christ, certainly Christians would live more temperately, justly, and soberly. They are inclined to think of God by his worshippers, and by the people that profess themselves so near and dear to him; therefore it concerns us to walk in such a way that our lives may honour him: Mat. v. 16, ‘Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.’ As the loins of the poor (says Job) blessed him, Job xxxi. 20, namely, as they were fed and clothed by his bounty; so our lives may glorify God. David says, Ps. cxix. 7, ‘Then shall I praise you with uprightness of heart, when I have learned your righteous judgment.’ There is no way to praise God entirely and sincerely until we have learned both to know and do his will. Real praise is the praise God looks after. Otherwise we do but serve Christ as the devil served him, who would carry him upon the top of the mountain, but it was with an intent to bid him throw himself down again. So we seem to exalt God much in our talk and profession; yea, but we throw him down, when we pollute him and deny him in our conversation. Our lives are the scandal of religion, and a pollution and blot to the name of God. So that with respect to ourselves, you see, what need we have to go to God, that he will give us grace that we may please him and glorify his name.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Thursday 13 January 2011 at 13:41

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