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ship, and in the duties of neceflity and mercy p.

CHAP. XXII. Of lawful Oatbs and Vows.


Lawful oath is a part of religious worship a, wherein

upon just occasion, the person swearing, folemnly calleth God to witness what he asserteth or promiseth; and to judge him according to the truth of what he sweareth b.

11. The name of God only is that by which men ought to swear, and therein it is to be used with a holy fear and reverence c: therefore, to swear vainly or rashly by that glorious and dreadful name, or to swear at all by any other thing, is sinful, and to be abhorred d. Yet as, in matters of weight and moment, an oath is warranted by the word of God, under the New Testament, as well as under the Old e; so a lawful oath


me, O my God, concerning this his own head, and by justifying the also, and spare me according to the righteous, by giving him according greatness of thy mercy.

to his righteousness. p fa. lviii. 13. (See in letter

, 0,) II. c Deut. vi. 13., Thou shalt fear Mat. xii. 12. to the 13. verse. the Lord thy God, and serve him,

1. a Deut. X. 20. Thou shalt fear and shalt swear hy his name. the Lord thy God: him shalt thou d Exod, xx. 7. (See letter b) Jer. serve, and to him shalt thou cleave, v. 7. How shall I pardon thee for and swear by his name.

this ? thy children have forsaken b Exod. xx. 7. Thou shalt not me, and sworn by them that are take the name of the Lord thy God no gods : when I fed them to the in vain; for the Lord will not hold full, then they committed adultery, him guiltless that taketh his name and assembled themselves by troops, in vair. Lev. xix. 12. And ye shall in the harlots houses. Mat. v. 340 not swear by my name falny, Dei- But I say unto you, Swear not aç ther shalt thou prophape the name of all; neither by heaven, for it is thy God: I am the Lord, 2 Cor. i. God's throne. v. 37. But let your 23. Moreover, I call God for a re. communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, cord upon my soul, that to spare nay: for whatsoever is more than you, I came not as yet unto Corinth. these, cometh of evil. Jam. v. 12., 2 Chron. vi. 22. If a man sin against But above all things, my Brethren, his neighbour, and an oath be laid swear not neither by heaven, nei. upon him, to make him swear, and ther by the earth, neither by any. the oath come before thine altar in other oath : but let your Yea, be this house; v. 24. Then hear thou yea, and your Nay, day;


fall from heaven, and do, and judge joto condemnation. thy servants, by requiring the wick- c Heb. vi. 16. For men verily. ed, by recompensing his way upon swear by the greater, and an oath


being imposed by lawful authority, in such matters, ought to be taken f.

III. Whosoever taketh an oath, ought duly to consider the weightiness of so solemn an act, and therein to avouch nothing but what he is fully persuaded is the truth g. Neither may any man bind himself by oath to any thing but what is good and just, and what he believeth so to be, and what he is able and resolved to perform b. Yet it is a fin to refuse an oath touching any thing that is good and just, being imposed by lawful authority i.

IV. An

any man

for confirmation is to them an end house, that ruled over all that he of all strife, 2 Cor. i. 23. (See let. had, Put, I pray, thee, thy hand rer b.) Ifa. Ixv, 16. That he who under my thigh : v. 3. And I will blefleth himself in the earth, shall make thee swear by the Lord, the bless himself in the God of truth; God of heaven, and the God of the and he that sweareth in the earth; earth, that thou shalt not take a shall swear by the God of truth; be wife unto any song of the daughters cause the former troubles are for- of the Canaanities, amongst whom I gotten, and hecause they are hid dwell. v, 5. And the servant said from mine eyes.

unto him, Peradventure the woman f 1 Kings viii. 31.


will not be willing to follow me untrespass against his neighbour, and to this land; mult I needs bring thy, an oath be laid upon him, to cause Son again unto the land from whence him to swear, and the oath come thou cameft ? v. 6. And Abraham. before thine altar in this house. said unto him, Beware thou, that Neh. xii. 25. And I contended with thou bring not my son thither again, them, and curled them, and smote V.8. And if the woman will not be certain of ther, and pluckt off their willing to follow thee, then thou hair, and made them swear by god, shalt be clear, from this my oath ; saying, Ye fhall not give your only bring not my son thither again. daughters unto their fons, nor take v.9. And the servant put his hand their daughters unto your sons, or under the thigh of Abraham his for yourselves, Ezra x, 5. Then master, and sware to him concein. arose Ezra, and made the chief ing that matter. priests and Levites, and all Ifrael to i Numb. v. 19. And the priest, swear, that they should do according shall charge her by an oath, and to this word: and they sware. fay upto the woman, if no man

III. g Exod. xx. 7. See letter b.) have lien with thee, and if no man Jer. xiv, 2. And thou shalt swear, halt not gone aside to uncleanness The Lord liveth, in truth, in judg. with another instead of thy busband, ment, and in righteousness; and be thou free from this bitter water the nations shall bless themselves in that causeth the curse, v. 21. Then him, and in him shall they glory. the priest Thall charge the woman

b Gen, xxiv, 2. And Abraham with an oath of cnrling, and the said unto his eldelt servant of his prielt skal say unto the woman,


. IV. An oath is to be taken in the plain and common sense of the words, without equivocation or inental reservation k: It cannot oblige to fin; but in any thing not finful, being taken, it binds to performance, although to a man's own hurt 1. Nor is it to be violated, although made to heretics or infidels m.

V. A

The Lord make thee a curse and an Ii Sam. xxv. 22, So and more oath among the people, when the also do god unto the enemies of Lord doth make thy thigh to rot, David, if I leave of all that pertain and thy belly to swell. Neh. v. 12. to him, by the morning light, ang Then said they, we will restore that pisseth aginst the wall. v. 32. them, and will require nothing of And David said unto Abigail, Bler. them, so will we do as thou fayest. fed be the Lord God of lfrael, who Then I called the priests, and took fent thee this day to meet me : v. an oath of them, that they should 33. And blessed be thy advice, and do according to this promise. Exod. blessed be thou that hast kept me xxii. 7. If a man shall deliver unto this day from coming to thed blood, his neighbour money or stuff to keep, and from avenging myself with mine and if it be stoleo out of the man's own hand. v. 34. For in very deed, house; if the thief be found, let as the Lord God of Israel liveth, him pay double. v. 8. If the thief who hath kept me back from hurtbe not found, then the master of the ing thee, except thou had haltned house shall be brought unto the and come to meet me, surely there judges, to see whether he hath put had not been left 'unio Nabal, by his hand unto his neighbour's goods. the morning light, any that pisseth y. %. For all manner of trespass, against the wall. Pfal. xv. 4. In whether it be for ox, for ass, for whose eyes a vile person is contemfheep, fur saiment, or for any man- Ded; but he honoureth them that ner of lost thing, which another fear the Lord: He thac fweareth to challengeth to be his : the cause of his own hurt, and changeth not. both parties shall come before the m Ezek. xvii. 16. As I live, faith judges: and whom the judges shall the Lord God, surely in this place condemn, he shall pay double unto where the king dwelleth that made his neighbour. v. 10. If a man deliver him king, whose vath he despised, unto his neighbour an ass, oi an ox, and whose covenant' he brake, evea or a sheep, or any beast 10 keep; and with him, in the midst of Babylon is die, or be hurt, wr driven away, he shall die. v. 18. Seeing he de. no man seeing it, v, 11. Then shall spised the cath, by breaking of the the oath of the Lord be between them

covenant, (when lo he had given both, that he hath not put his band his band) and hath done all these Unto his neighbour's goods : and things, he shall not escape. v. 19. the owner of it shall accept thereof, Therefore thus faith the Lord God, and he shall not make it good. As I live, surely mine oath that he

IV. k Jer. ir. 2. (See letter 8.) hath despised, and my coregant that Psal. xxiv, 4. He that bath clean he hath broken, even it will I rebands, and a pure heart, who hath compense upon his own head. Josh. Dot lift up his soul unto sanity, nor ix, 18. And the children of lack (worn deceitfully.


V: A vow is of the like. Dature with a promisary oath, and ought to be made with the like religious care, and to be performed with the like faithfulness n.

VI. It is not to be made to any creature, but to God alone o: and that it may be accepted, it is to be made voluntarily, out of faith, and conscience of duty, in way of thankfulness for mercy received, or for the obtaining of what we want; whereby we more strictly bind ourselves to necessary duties, or to other things, so far and so long as they may fitly conduce thereunto p.

Vil. No

fmote them not, because the princes Pral. Ixvi. 13. I will go into thy of the congregation had sworo unto house with burnt-offerings ; I will them by the Lord God of Israel: and pay thee my vows,'v, 14. Which my: all the congregation murmured a. 'lips have uttered, and my's

mouth gainst the princes. v. 19. But all the hath spoken when I was in trouble. princes faid unto all the congrega.

vi. Pfal. Ixxvi. 11. Vowand pay tion. We have sworn unto them by unto the Lord your God : let all that the Lord God of Israel: now there be round about him bring presents fore we may not touch thein. With unto him that ought to be feared. 2 Sam. xxi, 1. Then there was a 'fa. Jer, xliv, 25. Thus faith the Lord mine in the days of David three of hosts, the God of Israel, saying, years, year after year; and David Ye and your wives have both spoken enquired of the Lord. And the Lord with your mouths, and fulfilled with anfwered, 'It is for Saul and his your hands, saying, We will furely bloodý house, because he flew the perform our vows that we have' Gibeonites.

vowed, to burn ineense to the queen Vin lla, xix. 21. And the Lord of heaven, and fo pour out drinkshall be known to Egypt, and the offerings unto her : ye will surely Egyptians Thall know the Lord in accomplish your vows, and furely that day, and shall do 'facrifice and perform your vows. v. 26. There oblacion, yea, they shall vow a vow 'fore, hear ye the word of the Lord, ugto the Lord, and perform it. Eccl. all sudah that dwell in the lanel of V. 4. When thou vowest a vow unto Egypt, Behold, I have sworn by my God, defer not to pay it: for he hath great name, faith the Lord, that my no pleasure in foots, pay that which name fialt no more be named in the Thou halt vowed. S. Better it is mouth of any man of Judah, iu alt that thou shouldît not vow, than that the fand of Egypt saying, The thou shouldit vow and not pay.' v. Lord God liveth. 6, Suffer

not thy mouth to cause thy ø Deut. xxiii. 21. When thou fielh to lio, neither say thoa before mal vow a vow upto the Lord thy the angel, that it was an error; God, thou shalt not hack to pay it : wherefore should cod be angry at for the Lord thy God will surely rethy voice, and destroy the work of quire it of thee; and it would be fin thine håncis ? Plal. Ixi. &. So will I in thee. v. 22. But if thou shalt for:

fing praise unto" thy name for ever, bear to vow, it thall be no fin- in ibat I may daily perform my vows. thice." V. 23. That which is gone

1 I'm out


VII. No man may vow to do any thing forbidden in the word of God, or what would hinder any duty therein commanded, or which is nor in his own power,and for the performance whereof he hath no promise or ability from God q. In which refpects, popilh monastical vows of perpetual single life, professed poverty, and regular obedience, are so far, from being degrees of higher perfection, that they are superstitious and linful snares,

out of thy lips, thou shalt keep and VII. q Acts xxi. 12. And when it

perform; even a free will offering, was day, certain of the Jews banded according as thou halt vowed unto together, and bound themselves ua the Lord thy God, which thou haft der a curfe, saying, that they would promised with thy mouth. Pfal. I. neither eat nor drink, till they had 14. Offer unto God thanksgiving, killed Paul. V. 14. And they came and pay thy vows unto the most to the chief priests and elders, and High. Gen. xxviii. 20. and jacob said, We have bound ourselves unTowed a vow, saying, If God will be der a great curse, that we will eat with me, and will keep me in this nothing until we have flain Paul, way that I go, and will give me Mark. vi. 26. And the king was ex. bread to eat, and raiment to put on; ceeding sorry, yet for his oath's

21. So that I come again to my fake, and for their fakes who fåt Father's houfe in peace then shall with him, he would not reject her. the Lord be niy Gud. v, 22. And Numb. xxx. 5. But if her father dis. this stone, which I have set for a allow her in the day that he hearpillar, shall be God's house: and eth'; not any of her vows, or of her of all that thou shalt give me, I will bonds wherewith the hath bound her furely give the tenth unto thee. foul, fhall stand : ‘and the Lord shall 1 Sam. i. 11. And she vowed a row, forgive her, because her father difand said, O Lord of hosts, if thou allowed her, v. 8. But if her husband wilt indeed look on the affliction of disallow her on the day that he heard thine handnaid, and remember nie, it; then he shall make her vow and not forget thine handmaid, which the vowed, and that which but will give unto thine handmaid a The uttered with her lips, wheremoan child, then will I give him un. 'with the bound her soul, of none to the Lord all the days of his life, effect: and the Lord thall forgive and there shall no razor come upon her. v. 12. But if her husband hath his head.

Prak. Ixvi. 13, 14. (See utterly made them void on the day letter n.). Psal. cxxxii. 2. How he he heard them; then whatsoever *** fware unto the Lord, and vowed proceeded out of her lips, concerntinto the mighty God of jacob. V. ing her vows, or concerning the 3. Surely I will not come into the bond of her soul, shall not stand : cabernacle of my house, nor go up her husband liath made them void, into my bed : v. 4. I will not give and the Lord shall forgive her. K. fleep toʻmine eyes, 'or number to 13. Every vow, and every binding mine eye-lids, v. 5. Until I find out oath to amict the soul, her husband a place for the Lord, an hábitation may establish it, or her busband may for the mighty God of Jacob.“ make it void.


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