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CHAP. XXIII.

Of Lawful Oaths and Vows.

1. A lawful Oath is a part of religious worship, 391391 Exo. 20 7. Deut. 10 20. Jer. 4.2.wherein the person swearing in Truth, Righteousness, and Judgement, solemnly calleth God to witness what he sweareth; 392392 2 Cro. 6 22,23.and to judge him according to the Truth or falseness thereof.

2. The Name of God only is that by which men ought to swear; and therein it is to be used, with all Holy Fear and reverence, 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 393393Mat. 5.34.37. Jam. 5.12.abhorred; yet as in matter of weight and moment for confirmation of truth, 394394 Heb. 6.16. 2 Cor. 1.23.and ending all strife, an Oath is warranted by the Word of God; so a lawful Oath being imposed, 395395Neh. 13.25.by lawful Authority, in such matters, ought to be taken.

3. Whosoever taketh an Oath warranted by the Word of God, ought duely to consider the weightiness of so solemn an act; and therein to avouch nothing, but what he knoweth to be the truth; for that by rash, false, and vain Oaths the 396396 Levit. 19.12. Jer. 23.10.Lord is provoked, and for them this Land mournes.

4. An Oath is to be taken in the plain, and 397397 Ps. 24.4.common sense of the words; without equivocation, or mental reservation.

5. A Vow which is not to be made to any Creature, but to God alone, 398398 Psal. 76.11. Gen. 28.20,21 22.is to be made and performed with all Religious care, and faithfulness: But Popish Monastical Vows, 3993991 Cor. 7.2.9.of perpetual single life, professed 400400Eph. 4.28.poverty, and regular obedience, are so far from being degrees of higher perfection, that they are superstitious, 401401Mat. 19.11.and sinful snares, in which no Christian may intangle himself.


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