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Sixth Edition, 1915
By Dr. John Thomas (first edition written 1861)



Chapter 3


6. His Name




A name is representative of a person. It is a word or term by which an individual is designated. That which is inherited or bestowed at birth, indicates the relationship and attributes of flesh and blood to certain specialities. John Smith, by proving that he is the heir at law of the deceased William Smith, may inherit his estate; but in relation to "the life of the Lamb slain," there is nothing in the name "John Smith" that gives him any claim upon it.

The scriptures, which treat of all things pertaining to life and godliness, have delineated the character to which all must be conformed who would be inscribed in the book of the Lamb's life. John Smith may have the name, or reputation, of being conformed to that character, while he is only so in pretence, or not really. He is, then, like the members of the Star-Angel in Sardis, who were "dead;" he has "a name that he lives;" but it is good for nothing.

The name to be confessed before the Father is one that is "holy, unblameable, and unreproachable in his sight." It is representative of one who has "continued in the faith, grounded and settled, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel." This suggests a time when the subject received the name. It was not when he was born, or sprinkled according to the formula of the catechism children are taught by rote. It has no relation to human "godfathers and godmothers," who have been introduced by ignorance and superstition, as substitutes for the divine. The name is called upon the subject when faith is manifested in the obedience it prescribes. James styles it that worthy name, the honourable, excellent, or distinguished name, which had been called upon those to whom he wrote (ii. 7); and Peter, in answer to the inquiry of the believing multitude on the day of Pentecost, told them to be "every one of them immersed upon the name of Jesus Annointed into remission of sins." Thus they were grafted, as it were, "upon the name," which became their designation before the Father.

The subject having been called by this name in baptism, it became "his name" -- the name to be confessed if preserved undefiled, and to be duly illustrated by him who had been ennobled by it. Many inherit the name of a distinguished ancestry, which is brought into contempt by their misdeeds; so there have been many who have disgraced the name, more exalted than any other name, to the privileges of which they have been introduced. Their character has not been conformed to the divine example incarnated in Jesus; "who, though he were a son, learned obedience by the things which he suffered;" having been obedient even unto death, his name became illustrious; but in their keeping after being named upon them it became a by-word and reproach. But the undefiled in Sardis were not such. They preserved it unsullied; and in the name confessed, and kept it as their own to be celebrated by the Spirit in the presence of his Father and in the presence of his angels, the messengers of his power.

"He that hath an ear let him hearken to what the Spirit saith to the ecclesias."




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