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HALLOWED BE THY NAME
Hallowed be Thy name. Although this may represent either that the object of prayer has not yet come to pass, or after its attainment, that it is not permanent in which case the request is for its retention; the language in this instance makes it plain that it is with the implication that the name of the Father has not yet been hallowed, that we are bidden—according to Matthew and Luke, that is—to say “Hallowed be Thy Name.” Then how, one might say, should a man request the hallowing of God’s name as though not hallowed? Let us understand what the Father’s name, and what the hallowing of it, means. A name is a summary designation descriptive of the peculiar character of the thing named.
Thus the Apostle Paul has a certain peculiar character, partly of soul which is accordingly of a certain kind, partly of intellect which is accordingly contemplative of certain things, and partly of body which is accordingly of a certain kind. It is the peculiar in these characteristics, the unique combination—for there is not another being identical with Paul—that is indicated by means of the appellation Paul. In the case of men, however, whose peculiar characteristics are changed, their names also by a sound usage are changed according to scripture.
When the character of Abram was transformed, he was called Abraham; when that of Simon he was named Peter, and when that of Saul the persecutor of Jesus, he was designated Paul. But in the case of God, inasmuch as He is himself ever unchangeable and unalterable, the proper name which even He may be said to bear is ever one, that mentioned in Exodus, “He that is,” or the like. Since therefore, though we all have some notion of God, conceiving of Him in various ways, but not all of what He is, for few and, be it said, fewer than few are they who comprehend His compete holiness—we are with good reason taught to attain to a holy conception of Him in order that we may see His holiness as creator, provider, judge, elector, abandoner, acceptor, rejector, rewarder and punisher of each according to his desert.
For it is in such and similar terms that God’s peculiar character may be said to be sketched which I take to be the meaning of the expression, God’s name according to the scriptures in Exodus: Thou shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain; in Deuteronomy: Be my utterance awaited as rain: as dew let my words descend, as showers upon herbage and as moisture upon grass: for I have called on the Lord’s name; and in Psalms: They shall remember your name in every generation.
It is he who associates the thought of God with wrong things that takes the name of the Lord God in vain, and he who is able to utter rain that cooperates with his hearers in the fruit bearing of their souls, and who addresses words of exhortation that are like dew, and who in the edifying torrent of his words turns upon his listeners showers most helpful or moisture most efficacious is able to do so because he has perceived his need of God as the accomplisher and calls in the real supplier of those things; and everyone who penetrates the very things of God recalls to mind rather than learns the mysteries of piety even when he seems to be told them by another or thinks that he discovers them. And as the suppliant ought at this point to reflect that his asking is for the hallowing of God’s name, so in Psalms it is said Let us Exalt His name together, the patriarch enjoining attainment to the true and exalted knowledge of God’s peculiar nature with all harmony, in the same mind, and in the same will.
It is exalting the name of God together when, after one has participated in an outflow of deity in having been sustained by God and having overcome his enemies so that they are unable to rejoice over his fall, he exalts the power of God in which he has participated, as is shown in the twenty-ninth psalm by the words: I will exalt you, O Lord, for you have sustained me and not made my enemies to rejoice over me. A man exalts God when he has consecrated to Him a house within himself, since the superscription of the Psalm also runs thus: A Psalm of singing for the consecration of the House of David.
It is further to be observed regarding the clause Hallowed be your Name and its successors in imperative form, that the translators also continually made use of imperatives instead of ablatives, as in the Psalms: Speechless let the guileful lips be, that speak lawlessness against the righteous instead of ‘may they be’ and Let the creditor search out all his possessions: Let him possess no helper, concerning Judas in the one hundred and eighth; for the whole Psalm is a petition concerning Judas that certain things may befall him.
But Tatian, failing to perceive that let there be does not always signify the ablative but is occasionally also imperative, has most impiously supposed that God said Let there be light in prayer rather than in command that the light should be; since, as he puts it in his godless thought, God was in darkness. In reply to him it may be asked, how is he going to take the other sayings? Let the Earth grow grass, and Let the water below heaven be gathered together, and Let the waters bring forth creeping things with living souls, and Let the earth bring forth a living soul. Is it for the sake of standing upon firm ground that He prays that the water below heaven be gathered together into one meeting place, or for the sake of partaking of the things that grow from the earth that He prays Let the Earth grow . . . ?
What manner of need, to match His need of light; has He of creatures of water, air, and land that He should pray for them also? If even on Tatian’s view it is absurd to think of Him as praying for these things which occur in imperative expressions, may the same not be said of Let be there light—that it is an imperative and not an ablative expression? I thought that, in view of the fact that prayer is expressed in imperative forms, some reference was necessary to his perversion for the sake of those—I myself have met with cases who have been misled into accepting his impious teaching.
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