297. THE SECOND COMMANDMENT.
THOU SHALT NOT TAKE THE NAME OF JEHOVAH THY GOD IN VAIN; FOR JEHOVAH WILL NOT HOLD HIM GUILTLESS THAT HATH TAKEN HIS NAME IN VAIN.
In the natural sense, which is the sense of the letter, to take the name of Jehovah God in vain means the name itself, and its abuse in various kinds of conversation, especially in false speaking or lying, and in useless oaths or oaths to exculpate one's self in evil intentions (that is, oaths with imprecations), also when employed in juggleries and incantations. But to swear by God and His holiness, by the Word or the Gospel, at coronations, inaugurations into the priesthood, and inductions into offices of trust, is not to take the name of God in vain, unless he who takes the oath afterwards discards his promises as vain. But the name of God, because it is holiness itself, must be used continually in the holy things pertaining to the church, as in prayers, psalms, and all worship, also in preaching, and in writing on ecclesiastical subjects. This is so because God is in all things of religion, and when He is solemnly invoked He is present through His name and hears. In such ways is the name of God hallowed. That the name of Jehovah God is in itself holy is evident from that name, in that the Jews since their earliest age have not dared and do not dare to utter the name Jehovah; and for their sake the writers of the Gospels and the apostles were unwilling to use it, and used the name Lord instead, as is evident from various passages transferred from the Old Testament into the New, where the name Lord is used instead of Jehovah (as in Matt. 22:37; Luke 10:27, compared with Deut. 6:5, and other passages). That the name of Jesus is in like manner holy is known from the saying of the Apostle that at this name every knee is bowed or should be bowed in heaven and on earth; and furthermore from this, that no devil in hell can utter that name. There are many names of God that must not be taken in vain, as Jehovah, Jehovah God, and Jehovah of Hosts; the Holy One of Israel, Jesus and Christ, and the Holy Spirit.