« PreviousContinue »
eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that
OF OATHS AND VOWS.
Sect. 1. Oaths and vows are considered as acts of
worship.-2. In these acts the strictest regard to truth is required by the all-seeing God.-3. Oaths in
e 1 Cor. xi. 27-30. *“ They used to meet on a certain stated day before it was light, and addressed themselves in a form of prayer to Christ, as to some God, binding themselves by a solemn oath, not for the purposes of any wicked design, but never to commit any fraud, theft, or adultery; never to falsify their word, nor deny a trust when they should be called upon to deliver it up: after which it was their custom to separate, and then re-assemble to eat in common a harmless meal."
ordinary conversation are expressly prohibited by our Lord Jesus.-4. Lawful vows or promissory oaths bind the soul, and cannot be retracted.-5. This illustrated by the purposes of the servants of God.
The examples of Joshua and the princes of Israel. Sect. 1. Oaths and vows are considered as acts of
worship. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain". Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God; him shalt thou serve, and to him shalt thou cleave, and swear by his name; he is thy praise, and he is thy God". And thou shalt swear, the Lord liveth, in truth, in judgment, and in righteousnesso. For men verily swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is ta them an end of all strife". SECT. 2. In these acts the strictest regard to truth is
required by the all-seeing God. Thus saith the Lord God, He who blesseth himself in the earth, shall bless himself in the God of trụth; and he that sweareth in the earth, shall swear by the God of truth". For I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear". These are the things that ye shall do; speak ye every man the truth to his neighbour; execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates; and let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his neighbour; and love no false oath; for all these are things that I hate, saith the Lord. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour". And ye shall not swear by my name falsely; neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God'. Be not a witness against thy brother without cause; and deceive not with thy lips'. The curse goeth
• Deut. X. 20, 21.
c Jer. iv. 2.
§ 1. • Exod. xx. 7.
d Heb. vi. 16. $ 2. a Isa. Ixv. 13, 16.
d Exod. xx. 16.
b Isa. xlv. 23.
e Zech. vjii. 16, 17.
forth over the face of the whole earth; for every one that stealeth shall be cut off; and every one that sweareth shall be cut off. I will bring it forth, saith the Lord of hosts, and it shall enter into the house of the thief, and into the house of him that sweareth falsely by my name; and it shall remain in the midst of his house, and shall consume it, with the tiinber thereof, and the stones thereof. Thus saith the Lord God, as I live, surely mine oath that he hath despised, and my covenant that he hath broken, even it will I recompense upon his own head". Hear ye this, O house of Jacob, which are called by the name of Israel, and are come forth out of the waters of Judah; which swear by the name of the Lord, and make mention of the God of Israel, but not in truth, nor in righteousness'. And though they say, The Lord liveth, surely they swear falselyk. Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely; and come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name'? Behold, I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that fear not me, saith the Lord".
Secr. 3. Oaths in our ordinary conversation are
expressly prohibited by our Lord Jesus. Ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shall perform unto the Lord thine oaths. But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven, for it is God's throne; nor by the earth, for it is his footstool; neither by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head; because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be yea, yea; nay, nay; for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil". 'Wo unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing;
but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor. Ye fools and blind; for whether is greater the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold? And whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty. Ye fools and blind, for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift? Whoso therefore shall swear by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all things thereon.
And whosoever shall swear by the temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth therein"; and he that shall swear by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereono.
Above all things, my brethren, swear not; neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath. But let your yea be yea, and your nay nay; lest ye fall into condemnation". Sect. 4. Lawful vows or promissory oaths bind the
soul, and cannot be retracted. This is the thing which the Lord hath commanded, If a man vow a vow unto the Lord, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word ; he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth. If a woman also vow a vow unto the Lord, and bind herself by a bond, being in her father's house, in her youth; and her father hear her vow, and her bond wherewith she hath bound her soul, and her father shall hold his peace at her; then all her vows shall stand, and every bond wherewith she hath bound her soul shall stand. But if her father disallow her, in the day that he heareth; not any of her vows, or of her bonds wherewith she hath bound her soul, shall stand. And the Lord shall forgive her, because her father disallowed her**. When thou shalt vow a vow unto the Lord thy God, thou shalt not slack to pay it; for the Lord thy God will surely require it of thee; and it would be sin in thee.
Mat. xxiii. 16–21. e Matth. xxiii, 22. d James, v. 12. $ 4. 2 Numb. xxx. 1–5.
* See Numbers, xxx. 6—15. “Where the same rule is applied to the vows of a wife.”
But if thou shalt forbear to vow, it shall be no sin
servants of God