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SERM. particular persons, and to some peculiar actions of them; insomuch that others presuming to act, according to that manner or kind, in Jesus's name, shall thereby become usurpers and deceivers. We (and to us all this precept is directed) shall heinously transgress our duty, doing any thing thus in his name, without his letters of credence; without being specially called or sent, or being duly by him authorized thereto.
These and such like senses the present matter doth not well admit: the rest that suit thereto I shall with some distinction in order represent.
Compare I. To do in another's name sometime doth signify Matt. x. 41. to do it out of affection or honour to another; for
xix. 29. Matt. xviii. 5.
another's sake, because we love or esteem him; & τῷ ὀνόματι being equivalent to ἕνεκα τοῦ ὀνόματος, and dià To avoua. Thus it is said, Whosoever shall give διὰ you a cup of water to drink in my name; because ye are Christ's, (is added by way of interpretation, that is, out of respect to Christ, because of your relation to him,) shall not lose his reward. And thus surely we ought to do every thing in Jesus's name : all our actions ought to proceed from a principle of grateful love and reverence towards our gracious 1 Cor. xvi. Redeemer. Let all your actions be done in charity,
saith the apostle; if in charity to our neighbour, then much more in love to him, for whose sake we are especially bound to love our neighbour. Upon any undertaking, or applying ourselves to action, we should so reflect thereupon, as to consider, whether that we are going about be apt to please him, and conducible to his honour; if so, remembering what he hath done and suffered for us, (what excellent blessings he hath purchased for us, what exceeding
benefits he hath conferred upon us,) we should, out SERM. XXXIII. of love and respect to him, readily perform it; but if it otherwise appear displeasing or dishonourable to him, we should, from the same principles, carefully decline it. The duty is certain, and the reason thereof evident; for inducement to the practice thereof, observe St. Paul's example; who thus represents himself in the main employment of his life, acting, The love of Christ constrains us; judging DikoTimorthis, that he died for all, that they who live might not live to themselves, but to him that died and rose 2 Cor. v. 9, for them: the love of Christ, begot and maintained 14 by a consideration of his great benefits conferred on him, was the spring that set St. Paul on work, excited and urged him forward to action. Thus Matt. xxiii. doing, we shall do in Jesus's name; but if we act 5. out of love to ourselves, (to promote our own interests, to gratify our own desires, to procure credit or praise to ourselves,) we act only in our own names, and for our own sakes; not in the name, or for the sake of Jesus.
I Thess. ii.
Tit. i. 11.
that 1 Pet. v. 2.
Phil. i. 15.
II. To do in another's name implies doing, chiefly, for the interest or advantage of another, upon another's behalf or account, as the servants or factors of another. For, when the business is another's, and the fruit or benefit emergent belong to another, he that prosecutes that business may well be, and is commonly, supposed to act in that other's name. Thus our Saviour is in St. John's Gospel expressed John vii. 18. to come, to speak, to act in God's name; because 25. v. 43. he did God's business, (the work which God gave him to accomplish,) and entirely sought the glory of God, as he there himself often avouches and professes. And thus, in imitation of him, ought we
viii. 54. X.
36. vi. 28.
19. vii. 23.
1 Pet. i. 18.
SERM. also to do all things in his name; remembering that we are not our own men, but the servants of Jesus, 1 Cor. vi. (servants to him not only by nature, as to our Heb. ix. 12. Maker and Preserver, but by purchase, as to our Rom. xiv. Redeemer, who bought us with the greatest price; and by compact also, we having freely undertaken his service, and expecting wages from him,) that we have therefore no business or employment properly our own, but that all our business is (or should be) 1 Cor. x. 31. to serve him, and promote his glory; Whether we eat or drink, or whatever we do, we should do all to the glory of our Lord. Whatever, I say, we do, we therefore should perform it with this formal reference, as it were, toward Jesus, as his servants, from conscience of the duty we owe to him; with intention therein to serve him; in expectation of reward only from him. So doth St. Paul (in prosecution of this same precept) beneath in this chapter Col. iii. 23, enjoin us, that, whatever we do, we perform it heartily, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing (or considering) that from the Lord we shall receive the recompense of the inheritance; for that we serve the Lord Christ. In like manner otherEph.vi. 6.9. where he teaches us to do what we do, not as pleasers of men, (not upon any inferior accounts,) but as servants of Christ, knowing and considering that we have a Master in heaven. But,
III. Doing in another's name imports frequently doing by the appointment and command, or by the Acts iv. 7. commission and authority of another. 'Ev mola dvváμei, καὶ ἐν ποίῳ ὀνόματι ; By what power and in what name have ye done these things? say the high priests to the apostles; that is, who did appoint or authorize you to do thus? Their answer was ready; In the
37, 43. xiv.
name of Jesus, who had sent, commissionated, and SERM. commanded them to preach and propagate that doc- XXXIII. trine. And thus we are also bound to do all things John v. 36, in the name of Jesus, regulating all our actions by 14. xvii. 18. his law; conforming our whole lives to his will; 47 acting, not only out of good principles, (principles of 2 Cor. v. 20. love and conscience,) but according to right rules; 2 Thess. iii. the rules of his word and example, which he hath declared and prescribed to us: for what is done beside his warrant and will cannot be rightly esteemed done in his name; will not as so be avowed or accepted by him; no unjust or impious action will he upon any terms countenance or patronise. It was John xvi. 2. once a famous saying, All mischief begins in nomine Domini; and much surely, more than one way, hath been done under the like notion or pretence: but this will not serve to excuse the doing of that, in the day of final reckoning for our actions. For there Matt. vii. will be many, we are taught, that shall in that day, by specious professions of having done this or that in Christ's name, veil their transgressions and their neglects of duty, saying, Lord, Lord, have we not in thy name prophesied, and in thy name cast out devils, and in thy name done many wonderful things? who yet, our Lord himself assures us, shall have this reply made to them, I never knew you; Luke xiii. depart from me, ye workers of iniquity. There will 26. be those that shall claim acquaintance with Christ in such terms: Lord, we have eaten and drank before thee; and thou hast taught in our streets; whom yet our Lord will disclaim with a, Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. It is not, we see, prophesying in Christ's name, (or preaching about him,) nor frequent attendance upon those who do so, nor
SERM. speaking much or hearing much concerning him; it XXXIII. is not having great gifts or endowments conferred by Christ, (not even so great as that of working miracles ;) it is not familiar converse with Christ, or making frequent addresses to him, that can sanctify all a man's actions, or so entitle them to the name of Christ, as to secure his person from being disavowed and rejected by Christ; it is only the conforming all our actions to his holy laws, that can assure us to be acknowledged and accepted by him. This I could wish they would consider, who seem, by such pretences, to commend or excuse their actions, although otherwise irregular and plainly contrary to the laws of Christ; such as those of being meek and charitable toward all men; living peaceably ourselves, and endeavouring to promote peace among others; abstaining from rash and hard censures, from reviling and defaming others; paying reverence and obedience to superiors; and the like laws of Christ, not only express and manifest, but even of the highest rank and consequence among them; being mainly conducing to that which our Lord especially tenders, the public welfare and benefit of mankind; the violation whereof cannot be justified by pretending any special regard whatever to Christ, or any collateral performances done, whether truly or seemingly, in his name. We do but deceive ourselves, if we conceit, that, because we think much, or speak much of Jesus, or have a zeal for something good, all our actions are done in his name: no, it only can be justly impressed upon, can warrant and sanctify actions truly good and agreeable to his law; it were an abuse and forgery to do it, like stamping the king's name or image on counterfeit metal; upon brass or tin, in