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at 'all by any other thing, is sinful, and to be abhorreda. 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 being imposed by lawful authority, in such matters, ought to be taken

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 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 ".

Yet

d Exod. xx. 7. (See letter b.] Jer. an oath be laid upon him to cause 1. 7. How shall I pardon thee for

him to swear, and the oath come this? thy children have forsaken me,

before thine altar in this house. Neh. and sworn by them that are no

xiii. 25. And I contended with them, gods : when I'fed them to the full

, and cursed them, and smote certain they then committed adultery, and assembled themselves by troops in

of them, and plucked off their hair,

and made thein swear by God, saythe harlots' houses. Matth. v. 34. ing, Ye shall not give your daughters But I say unto you, Swear not at

unto their sons, nor take their daughall : reither by heaven, for it is

ters unto your sons, or for yourselves. God's throne. Ver. 37. But let your

Ezra x. 5. Then arose Ezra, and communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, made" the chief priests, the Levites, nay: for whatsoever is more than

and all Israel, to swear that they these cometh of evil. James v. 12.

should do according to this word; But above all things, my brethren, and they sware. swear not; neither by heaven, nei

III, 8 Exod. xx. 7. [See letter b.] ther by the earth, neither by any

Jer. iv. 2. And thou shalt swear, The your yea

Lord liveth, in truth, in judgment, and your way, nay; lest ye fall into

and in righteousness; and the nations

shall bless theniselves in him, and in Heb. via 16. For men verily him shall they glory. swear by the greater : and an oath

h Gen. xxiv. 2. And Abraham for confirmation is to them an end of said unto his eldest servant of his all strife, 2 Cor. i. 23. [See letter b.] house, that ruled over all that he Isa. Ixv. 16. That he who blesseth had, Put, I pray thee, thy hand under himself in the earth, shall bless him.

my thigh : Ver. 3. And I will make self in the God of truth; and he that

thee swear by the Lord, the God of Sweareth in the earth, shail swear by heaven, and the God

of the earth, that the former. thou shalt not take a wife unto my troubles are forgotten, and because

son of the daughters of the Canaanites, 'fl Kings viii. 31. If any man

the servant said unto him, Peradventrespass against his reighbour, and

other oath: but let

be yea;

condemnation.

e

the God of truth; becau

they are hid from mine eyes.

aniong whom I dwell. Ver. 5. And

ture the woman will not be willing

to

Yet it is a sin to refuse an oath touching any thing that is good and just, being imposed by lawful autho rity i

IV. An oath is to be taken in the plain and common sense of the words, without equivocation or mental reservation k. It cannot oblige to sin ; but in any thing not sinful, being ta ken, it binds to performance, although to a man's own hurt';

nor

keep; and

to follow me unto this land :: niust

pay.double. Ver. 8. If the thief bic I needs bring thy son again unto not found, then the master of the the land from whence thou camest? house shall be brought unto the Ver. 6. And Abraham said unto judges, to see whether he have put him, Beware thou, that thou brir.g his hand unto his neighbcur's goods. not my son thither again.. Ver. 8. Ver. 9. For all manner of trespass, And if the woman will not be will. whether, it be for ox, for ass, for ing to follow thee, then thou shalt sheep, for raiment, or for any manner. be clear from this my oath :: only

of lost thing, which another chalbring not my son thither again. "lengeth to be his, the cause of both Ver. 9. And the servant put his

parties shall come before the judges; hand under the thigh of Abraham and whom the judges shall condemn, his master, and sware to him con he shall pay double unto his neighcerning that matter.

bour.

Ver: 10. If a man deliver i Numb. v. 19. And the priest unto his neighbour an ass, or an oxy shall charge her by an oath, and say

or a sheep, or any beast, to unto the woman, If no man have it die, or be hurt, or driven away, lain with thee, and if thou hast not

no man seeing it: Ver. 11. Then gone aside to uncleanness with ano shall an oath of the Lord be between ther instead of thy husband, be thou them both, that he hath not put his free from this bitter water that hand unto his neighbour's goods; and causeth the curse. Ver. 21. Then the owner of it shall accept thereof, the priest shall charge the woman and he shall not make it good. with an oath of cursing ; and the

IV. k Jer. iv, 2. (See letter 8.] Psal.. priest shall say unto the woman,

xxiv. 4. He that hath clean hands, The Lord make thee a curse and

and a pure heart : who hath not. an oath among thy people, when

lift the Lord "doth make thy thigh to

up his soul unto vanity, nor

sworn deceitfully. rot, and thy belly to swell. Neh.

11 Sam. xxv. 22. So and more also v. 12. Then said they, We will re

do God unto the enemies of David, store them, and will require nothing if I leave of all that pertain to him of them; so will we do as thou sayesť. by the morning-light any that pisseth

Then I called the priests, and took against the wall. Ver. 32. And David an oath of them, that they should do according to this promise.

said to Abigail, Blessed be the Lord

Exod. xxii. 7. If a man shall deliver unto

God of Israel, which sent thee this

day to meet me :. Ver. 33. And his neighbour money or stuff to keep, blessed be thy advice, and blessed be house ; if the thief be found, let him from coming to shed blood, and

from

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tion, We have sworn unto them pay unto the Lord your God; let

nor is it to be violated, although made to hereticks or infidels

V. A vow is of the like nature with a promissory oath, and ought to be made with the like religious care, and to be performed with the like faithfulness :: VI. It is not to be made to any creature, but to God alone“: and that it may be accepted, it is to be made

voluntarily, from avenging myself with mine by the Lord God of Israel: now own hand. Ver. 34. For in very

therefore we may not touch them. deed, as the Lord God of Israel

With 2 Sam. xxi. l. Then there liveth, which hath kept me back

was a famine in the days of David from hurting thee, except thou hadst three years, year after year; and hasted and come to meet me, surely

David enquired of the Lord: and there had not been left unto Nabal

the Lord answered, it is for Saul by the morning-light any that pisseth

and his bloody house, because he against the wall. Psal. xv. 4. In

slew the Gibeonites. whose eyes a vile person is con

V. Isa. xix. 21. And the Lord temned; but he honoureth them shall be known to Egypt, and the that fear the Lord : he that swear

Egyptians shall know the Lord in eth to his own hurt, and changeth

that day, and shall do sacrifice and

oblation, yea, they shall vow a 119 m Ezek. xvii. 16. As I live, saith

unto the Lord, and perform ić. the Lord God, surely in this place

Eccl. v. 4. When thou vowest a where the king dwelleth that made

vow unto God, defer not to pay him king, whose oath he dessived,

it: for he hath no pleasure in fools ; and whose covenant he brake, even

pay that which thou hast vowed. with him, in the midst of Babylon Ver. 5. Better is it that thou shouldhe shall die. Ver. 18. Seeing he

est not vow, than that thou shouldest despised the oath, by breaking the

vow and not pay. Ver. 6. Suffer covenant, (when, lo, he had given

not thy mouth to cause thy flesh bis hand,) and hath done all these

to sin, neither say thou before the things, he shall not escape. Ver. 19. angel, that it was an error : whereTherefore thus saith the Lord God, fore should God be angry at thy. As I live, surely mine oath that he voice, and destroy the work of hath despised, and my covenant that thine hands? Psal. lxi. 8. So will

even it will I re · I sing praise unto thy name for compense upon his own head. Josh. ever, that I may daily perform my is. 18. And the children of Israel

Psal. lxvi. 13. I will go

into omote them not, because the princes thy house with burnt-offerings: I of the congregation had sworn unto

will pay thee my vows, Ver. 14. them by the Lord God of Israel; and

Which my lips have uttered, and all the congregation murmured against my mouth hath spoken, when I the princes. Ver. 19. But all the

was in trouble. princes said unto all the congrega

VI. * Psal. lxxvi. 11. Vow, and

not.

he hath broken,

VOWS.

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it was day, certain of the Jews

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.

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 not in his own power, and for the performance whereof he hath no promise or ability from God! CH.P.

In all that be round about him bring God thanksgiving, and pay thy vows presents unto him that ought to be unto the most High. Gen. xxviii

. 20. feared. Jer. xliv. 25. Thus saith And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel,

If God will be with me, and will saying, Ye and your wives have keep me in this way that I go, both spoken with your mouths, and

and will give me bread to eat, and fulfilled with your hand, saying, raiment to put on; Ver. 21. So We will surely perform our vows

that I come again to my father's that we have vowed, to burn in

house in peace; then shall the Lord cense to the queen of heaven, and

be my God. Ver. 22. And this to pour out drink-offerings unto

stone, which I have set for a pillar, ye will surely accomplish

shall be God's house : and of all your vows, and surely perform your

that thou shalt give me, I will vows. Ver. 26. Therefore hear ye

surely give the tenth unto thee. the word of the Lord, all Judah that

1 Sam. i. 11. And she vowed a dwell in the land of Egypt, Behold, I have sworn by my great name,

vow, and said, O Lord of hosts, if

thou wilt indeed look on the afflicsaith the Lord, that my name shall

tion of thine handmaid, and remem. no more be named in the mouth of any man of Judah in all the

ber me, and not forget thine handland of Egypt, saying, The Lord

maid, but will give unto thine

handmaid a man-child, then will I God liveth.

give him unto the Lord all the days P Deut. xxiii. 21. When thou shalt

of his life, and there shall no razor vow a vow unto the Lord thy God, thou shalt not slack to pay it: for

come upon his head. the Lord thy God will surely re

13, 14. (See letter 1.] Psal. cxxxii

. 2, quire it of thee; and it would be

How he sware unto the Lord, and sin in thee, Ver. 22. But if thou

vowed unto the mighty God of Jacob

. shalt forbear to vow, it shall be no

Ver. 3. Surely I will not come into sin in thee. Ver. 23. That which

the tabernacle of my house, nor goup is gone out of thy lips thou shalt

into my bed; Ver. 4. I will not give keep and perform ; even

sleep to mine eyes, or slumber to mine will-offering, according as thou hast place for the Lord, an habitation for

a free, eye-lids, Ver. 5. Until I find out a vowed unto the Lord thy God, which thou hast promised with

the mighty God of Jacob. thy niouth. Psal. l. 14. Offer unto

VII. 9 Acts xxiii. 12. And when

2

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Psal. lxvi.

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banded

In which respects, Popish 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 sinful snares, in which no Christian may entangle himself"

CHAP. XXIII. Of the Civil Magistrate. GOD, the supreme Lord and King of all the world, hath ordained civil magistrates to be under him over the

people,

banded together, and bound them Ver. 13. Every vow,

and

every selves under a curse

, saying, that binding oath to afflict the soul, her they would neither eat nor drink

husband may establish it, or her till they had killed Paul. Ver. 14.

husband may make it void. And they came to the chief priests

r Matth. xix. 11. But he said unand elders, and said, We have bound

to them, All men cannot receive ourselves under a great curse, that

this saying, save they to whom it we will eat notning until we have given. Ver. !2. For there are slain Paul. Mark vi. 26. And the

some eunuchs, which were so born king was exceeding sorry; yet for

from their mother's womb; and his oath's sake, and for their sakes

there are some eunuchs, which were which sat with hin, he would not

made eunuchs of men ; and there reject her. Numb. xxx. 5. But if bė eunuchs, which have made themher father disallow her in the day

selves eunuchs for the kingdom of that he hearethe 7 any of her

heaven's sake: he that is able to vows, or of her bonds, wherewith

receive it, let him receive it. I Cor. she hath bound her soul, shall stand:

vii. 2. Nevertheless, to avoid forniand the Lord shall forgive her, be cation, let every man have his own cause her father disallowed her. wife, and let every woman have Ver

. 8. But if her husband disallow her own husband. Ver. 9. But if her on the day that he heard it; they cannot contain, let theni marry: then he shall make her vow which for it is better to marry than to she vowed, and that which she

burn. Eph. iv. 28. Let him that uttered with her lips, wherewith she

stole, steal no more : but rather bound her soul, of none effect : and let him labour, working with his the Lord shall forgive her. Ver. 12.

hands the thing which is good, that But if her husband hath utterly he may have to give to him that made them void on the day he needeth.

1 Pet. iv. 2. That he then whatsoever

no longer should live the rest of proceeded out of her lips, concern

his time in the flesh, to the lusts ing her vows, or concerning the bor.d of her soul, shall not stand :

of men, but to the will of God. her husband hath made them void;

I Cor. vii. 23. Ye are bought with and the Lord shall forgive her.

a price, be not ye the servants of

I, a Rom,

heard them ;

men,

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