Hopkins - HP BR75 .H65 1710

Third Commandment. tit 2· Although it be Perjury to falfify an Oath taken by any Creature, yet it is a fin likewifc, and utterly unlawful to make any fuch Oath, infomuch as it is an Idolatrous afcribing a Religious Worfhip unto the Creature which is due to God only. And in this fcnfe cfpecia ll y, I und~ritand thcf<; Words of on: Saviour, Sweet 110 , l!t all; i· e. by any Creature. And thts the followmg Enumeration of Heaven, and Earth, and 'Jcrufalem, and their Head, which were the ufual forms of their Oaths, and by which our Saviour forbids them to fwear, doth clearly prove to be l1is true meaning. 1.. 3 . Thcfc places teach that it is a Sin to fwear at any time, or by any t~ing, al~ though by the great God himfelf, unncceffarily and arbitrarily: And therefore fwear not at all, unlefs fame juO: reafon and cogent ncceffity conO:ra in you to call -in fo ~rcat a Tcll:imony to confirm the truth ofwhat you fpeak: For common and quotidian [wearing is an high contempt an~ irrevcre_nce fhcwn. to the Majeftyof that '?od whom we bring in to attdl: to every tnfte and frivolous thmg we.utter. And thts I take to be the true fenfe and meaning of thefc places of Scripture; and that they do not fimply and abfol~tely condemn all manner ~f Oaths, ~ut ~he. corrupt DoCtrine o~ the Scribes and Phanfces, and the corrupt Pra(hcc of their Dtfctples, who thought It no Sin to fwcar familiarly, if fo be that they did not fwear falfly. So that the rne:ming of Snuarnot at all, is, Swear not unnecelfarily and voluntarily. Now to make an Oath lawful, it mull:: have thefe Three Q!.1alifications mentioned by the Prophet, ']er. 4· 2.. Thou ]halt [wear, the Lord liveth, in truth, in judgment, tmd in righteoufnefs· p~·rft, A warrant:tble O:tth mull:: be accompanied with Truth, for it is taken in the Name of the God of Truth: \ lfai. 69. 15. He that fweartth in the earth, jlut!l [wear by the God of trutl,. And therefore it behoves him to confider, whether what he dcJ10fcth be Truth, or not; yea, moreover, we mull:: be fully certain, that the thing .is as we atteft it: For a Man may be guilty of Perjury in fwcaring that which is trnc, if he either believe it othetwifc, or .be doubtful of it. And therefore he that is o\lcd to ~ive his Oath, mull:: loOk to thefe Two things: · t. That his Words agree with his Mind,. 2. That the Thing agree with his Words. . He who f.1ils in the fecond, is {.£./'oex.ttY- , a falfc Swearer: He who fdHs in the firfr, is ht~fx.&, a Forfwearcr ; and in both is a perjured Perfon. &condly, A lawful Oai:h mull: be taken in Judgment, difcrectly and delibcrately 7 advifing and pondering with our felves before we fwcar. And here we mull:: confider both the Matter, whether that be right and good; and the Ends, whether they are duly proponnded by us. And there are but two Ends that can warrant an Oath; one is the Benefit of our felves or others; the other is the Glory ofGod. And whofoc\rcr flmH fwear without a due conlideration ofthefe Ends, and an holy and fincere defirc to accomplilh them by his Oath, he fwcars r afhly and unwarrantably. ThirdLy, A lawful Oath mull: be taken in Righteoufnef!l and Juftice: And therefore it is very wicked to bind our felves by an Oath, or Vow, to do things that arc either impoffible or finful. ,; ~. 2· 3· Firft, The Matter of a juft Oath ought to be poffible; and therefore we fee how IJ cautious .Abraham's Servant was, when his Ma!ter made him fwear to take a Wife for his Son /foac, of his Kindred, Gen. 24. 5· Peradventure the woman will not be wiliin~ to follow me into this land. And fo fhould we in all our Promi([ory ~ Oaths, caut1on and limit them with thofe reafonable Exceptions, of as far as we know, and can lawfully endeavour. Stcondly, The Matter of a juil: Oath innil: be not only poffible, but lawful and ho- 2J ne£\: too; for if it be unlawful, we are nccelfarily infnared in fin ; for either we mnft violate God's Command, or our own Oath. And therefore it was a moft wicked Oath in the ·'Jews, who combined. together againfi: Paul, and bound them... fclves under a Cnrfe, that they would neithe.r eat nor drink, •till M!ey had killed I 1 him.