Of Lawful Oaths and Vows.
1. A lawful Oath
is a part of religious worship, (a)
wherein the person swearing in Truth, Righteousness, and Judgement, solemnly
calleth God to witness what he sweareth; (b)
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 (c)
abhorred; yet as in matter of weight and moment for confirmation of truth,
(d) and ending all strife, an Oath
is warranted by the Word of God; so a lawful Oath being imposed,
(e) by lawful Authority, in such
matters, ought to be taken.
c Mat. 5.34.37. Jam. 5.12
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 (f) Lord is provoked, and for
them this Land mournes.
f Levit. 19.12. Jer. 23.10.
4. An Oath is to be taken in the plain,
and (g) common sense of the words;
without equivocation, or mental reservation.
g Ps. 24.4.
5. A Vow which
is not to be made to any Creature, but to God alone, (h)
is to be made and performed with all Religious care, and faithfulness:
But Popish Monastical Vows, (i)
of perpetual single life, professed (k)
poverty, and regular obedience, are so far from being degrees of higher
perfection, that they are superstitious, (l)
and sinful snares, in which no Christian may intangle himself.
h Psal. 76.11. Gen. 28.20,21 22.