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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

An Exposition of the Assembly's
Shorter Catechism

by John Flavel


Of sanctifying Godís Name.

Q. 101. What do we pray for in the first petition?
A. In the first petition, which is, [Hallowed he thy name,] we pray, that God would enable us and others, to glorify him in all that whereby he maketh himself known, and that he would dispose all things to his own glory.


Q. 1. Is there any word full enough, perfectly to express what God is?
A. No, his name is secret; Judges 13:18. And the angel of the Lord said unto him, Why askest thou thus after my name, seeing it is secret? A name which none can tell; Proverbs 30:4. What is his name, and what is his Sonís name, if thou canst tell? A name above every name; Philippians 2:9. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name. But the name by which he more especially manifests himself, is the name I AM; Exodus 3:14. And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM And he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

Q. 2. What doth the name of God, I AM, signify to us?
A. It signifies to us, first, The reality of his being, in opposition to idols, which arc hut imaginary and fantastic things; 1 Corinthians 8:4. We know that an idol is nothing in the world, &c. God is not only the most perfect Being, but the root of all other beings.

Q. 5. What else doth this name I AM import?
A. It imports both the perfection and eternity of Godís being. I AM implies, he hath not that now, which he had not formerly; and that he shall not afterwards have, what he hath not now; and that there is neither beginning, end, nor succession with God, whose name is I AM.

Q. 4. But what are we here to understand by the name of God?
A. All those things are here intended, by which he manifests himself to the creature; as his words, works, and ordinances, but especially his glorious attributes; Exodus 34:5-6. The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.

Q. 5. What is it to hallow, or sanctify his name?
A. Not to infuse any holiness into him, which he had not before; so he sanctifies us; but to manifest and acknowledge the holiness of God; Isaiah 29:23. But when he seeth his children, the work of my bands in the midst of him, they shall sanctify my name, and sanctify the holy one of Jacob, and shall fear the God of Israel.

Q. 6. Why hallowed or sanctified, rather than glorified? Why that word, rather than this?
A. Because his holiness is the beauty and lustre of his other attributes. His greatness appears in his holiness; Isaiah 12:6. Great is the holy One of Israel in the midst of thee. So doth his power; Luke 1:49. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things, and holy is his name. And therefore his holiness is that attribute, which angels single out especially to celebrate; Isaiah 6:3. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts, &c. And so did men also, as it is the cause why they should glorify him; Exodus 15:11. Who is like thee, glorious in holiness, &c.

Q. 7. What is the first thing we are to intend in this petition?
A. The meaning is, that God would so dispose and order all things in the world, as may best promote and advance the glory of his name; on which account we may pray for the defeat of Godís enemies; Psalm 83:16-18. Fill their faces with shame, that they may seek thy name, O Lord. Let them be confounded and troubled for ever; yea, let them be put to shame, and perish; that men may know that thou, whose name alone is Jehovah, art the most High over all the earth. And the deliverance of his church and people; Psalm 79:9. Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name; and deliver us, and purge away our sins for thy nameís sake.

Q. 8. What is the second thing we are to intend in it?
A. That God would fit us for, and use us in the most serviceable capacity for the glorifying of his name; Psalm 67:1-3. God be merciful unto us, and bless us, and cause his face to shine upon us: That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations. Let the people praise thee, O God, let all the people praise thee.

Q. 9. What is the third thing intended in this petition?
A. That God may not only glorify his own name, and use us to glorify it, but that it should be our endeavour and joy to have it glorified by others all the world over; Psalm 145:4-6. One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts. I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works. And men shall speak of the might of thy terrible acts; and I will declare thy greatness.

Q. 10. Why must our hearts be so intently set upon the sanctification of Godís name?
A. Because this is the ultimate end of our own, and every other being; Romans 11:36. For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things; to whom be glory for ever, Amen. And the particular end of God in our effectual calling; 1 Peter 2:9. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people, that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.

Q. 11. What is the first inference from hence?
A. That the dishonour of Godís name must needs be a cutting affliction to a gracious soul; Psalm 42:10. As with a sword in my bones my enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where is thy God?

Q. 12. What is the second inference hence?
A. That it is a dreadful infatuation, and spiritual judgment upon those men that think they glorify God in doing those things which his soul hateth; Isaiah 66:5. Hear the word of the Lord, ye that tremble at his word: Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my nameís sake, said, Let the Lord be glorified: But he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed. And John 16:2. They shall put you out of the synagogues: Yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you, he will think that he doth God service.

Q. 13. What is the third inference from hence?
A. That it should be indifferent to a Christian what condition God puts him into, so that he may but be useful to sanctify and exalt the name of God therein; Philippians 1:20. As always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life or by death.

Q. 14. What is the last inference hence?
A. That it is an high and dreadful provocation of God to profane and abuse his worship, whereon his name is called, and wherein it is to be sanctified; Leviticus 10:1-3. And Nadab arid Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord. Then Moses said unto Aaron, this is that the Lord spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people will I be glorified.

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