The first petition is, “Hallowed by Your name.”  The necessity of presenting it bespeaks our great disgrace.  For what can be more unbecoming than that our ingratitude and malice should impair, and that our audacity and petulance should, as much as in them lies, destroy the glory of God?  But, though all the ungodly should burst with sacrilegious rage, the holiness of God’s name still shines forth.  Justly does the psalmist exclaim, “As Your name, O God, so Your praise reaches to the end of the earth” (Psalm 48.10).  For wherever God has made Himself known, His perfections must be displayed: His power, goodness, wisdom, justice, mercy, and truth – which fill us with admiration and incite us to show forth His praise.

Therefore, as the name of God is not duly hallowed on the earth, and we are otherwise unable to assert it, it is, at least, our duty to make it the subject of our prayers.  The sum of the whole is: it must be our desire that God may receive the honor which is His due, that men may never think or speak of Him without the greatest reverence.  The opposite of this reverence is profanity, which has always been too common in the world and is very prevalent in the present day.  Hence, the necessity of the petition which, if piety had any proper existence among us, would be superfluous.  But, if the name of God is duly hallowed only when separated from all other names, it, alone, is glorified, and we are, in the petition, enjoined to ask not only that God would vindicate His sacred name from all contempt and insult, but also that He would compel the whole human race to reverence it.  Then, since God manifests Himself to us partly by His Word and partly by His works, He is not sanctified unless, in regard to both of these, we ascribe to Him what is due, and thus embrace whatever has proceeded from Him, giving no less praise to His justice than to His mercy.  On the manifold diversity of His works He has inscribed the marks of His glory, and these ought to call forth, from every tongue, an ascription of praise. Thus, Scripture will obtain its due authority with us and no event will hinder us from celebrating the praises of God in regard to every part of His government.

On the other hand, the petition implies a wish that all impiety which pollutes this sacred name may perish and be extinguished, that everything which obscures or impairs His glory, all detraction and insult, may cease, that all blasphemy being suppressed, the divine majesty may be, more and more, signally displayed. – John Calvin (1509-1564), Institutes 3.20.41.


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