תמונות בעמוד

wealth may be less hurt and ofsended. And if we thufl

direct our lise by Christian love and charity, then Christ doth promise and affure us, that he loveth us, that we be the children of our heavenly Father, reconciled to his favour, very members of Christ j and that, after this short time of this present and mortal lise, we shall have with him everlasting lise in his everlasting kingdom of heaven. Therefore to him, with the Father, and the Holy Ghost, be all honour and glory, now and for ever. Amen.




Swearing and Perjury.

ALMIGHTY God, to the intent his most holy name {hould be had in honour, and evermore be magnisied of the people, commandeth that no man (hould take his name vainly in his mouth, threatening punishment unto him that unreverently abuseth it by swearing, forswearing, and blasphemy. To the intent therefore that How tnd this commandment may be the better known and kept, it j^^" • (hall be declared unto you, both how it is lawful for 'ioi* Christian people to swear, and also what peril and danger sweai. it is vainly to swear, or to be forsworn. First, when judges require oaths of the people for declaration or opening of the truth, or for execution of justice, this manner of swearing is lawful. Also when men make faithful promises, with calling to witness of the name of God, to keep covenants, honest promises, statutes, laws, and good customs, as Christian princes do in their conclusions of peace, for conservation of commonwealths; and private persons promise their sidelity in matrimony, or one to another in honesty and true friendship: and all men when they do swear to keep common laws, and local statutes, and good customs, for due order to be had and continued among men; when subjects do swear to be true and faithful to their king and sovereign lord; and when judges, magistrates, and ossicers swear truly to execute their ofsices; and when a man would assirm the truth to the setting forth God's glory, (for the falvation of the people) in open preaching or the Gospel, or in giving of good counsel

sel privately for their souls' health: all these manners of swearing, for causes neceffary and honest, be lawful. But when men do swear of custom, in reasoning, buying, and selling, or other daily communications, (as many be common and groat swearers) such kind of swearing is ungodlv, unlawful, and forbidden by the commandment of God: for such swearing is nothing else but taking of God's holy name in vain. And here is to be noted, that lawful swearing is not forbidden, but commanded by Almighty God i for we have examples of Christ and godly men, in holv Scripture, that did swear themselves, and required oaths of others likewise; and God's command

Deui. vi. ment is, Thou jhalt dread tby Lord God, and shalt swear by bis name. And Almighty God by his Prophet David

Phi. lxiii. faith, All men jhall he prayed that swear by him.

Thus did our Saviour Christ swear divers times, faying,

Jnhniii. Verily, verily: and St. Paul sweareth thus, I call God to

^Cor. i. witness: and Abraham, waxing old, required an oath of en. xxiv. jjjg servant:i ()iat he mould procure a wise for his son Ifaac, 'which should come of his own kindred: and the servant

Gen. xxi. did swear that he would perform his master's will. Abraham also, being required, did swear unto Abimelech the king of Geraris, that he should not hurt him, nor his posterity ; and likewise did Abimelech swear unto Abraham. And David did swear to be and continue a faithful friend to Jonathan; and Jonathan did swear to become a faithful . • friend unto David.

Also God once commanded, that if a thing were laid to pledge to any man, or left with him to keep, if the fame thing were stolen, or lost, that the keeper thereof should be sworn before judges, that he did not convey it away, nor used any deceit in causing the (ame to be conveyed away, by his consent or knowledge. And

Heb. vi. St. Paul faith, That in all matters of controversy between two persons, whereas one faith yea, and the other nay, so as no due proof can be had of the truth, the end of every inch controversy must be an oath ministered by a judge.

Jer. w. And, moreover, God by the Prophet Jeremy laith, Thou shalt swear, the Lord Ivuetb in truth, in judgment, in righteousness. So that whosoever sweareth when he is required of a judge, let him be sure in his conscience that his oath have three conditions, and he (hall never need to be afraid of perjury.

What con- First, be that sweareth may swear truly; that is, he diiions an must (setting apart all favour and affection to the parties) to hares1' nave tne tiutri OIUV before his eyes, and, for love thereof, sir aad speak that which he knoweth to be truth, and no father. The second is, he that taketh an oath, must doThesecond. it with judgment; not rashly and unadvisedly, but soberlv, considering what an oath is. The third is, he that The ihird. sVeareth, must swear in righteousnels; that is, for the very zeal and love which he beareth to the desence of inaocency, to the maintenance of the truth, and of the righteousness of the matter or cause: all prosit, disprosit, all love and favour unto the person for friendship or kindred laid apart. Thus an oath (if it have with it these why we be three conditions) is a part of God's glory, which we are "''!cd in

, ii..'' •B ' 1 . Sctipiure io

bound by his commandments to give unto him: tor netwearby" wiiieth that we shall swear only by his name ; not that he 'he name hath pleasure in oaths; but like as he commanded theofGodJews to ofser facrisice unto him, not for any ddlight that he had in them, but to keep the Jews from committing idolatry; so, he commanding us to swear by his holy name, doth not teach us that he delighteth in swearing, but he thereby forbiddeth all men to give his glory to any creature in heaven, earth, or water. Hitherto you Isaiah xlii'. see, that oaths lawful are commanded of God, used of patriarchs and prophets, of Chrisi himself, and of his Apostle Paul. Therefore Christian people must think lawful oaths both godly and neceffary. For by lawful promise Commodiand covenants, consirmed by oaths, princes and their [.^^am* countries are consirmed in common tranquillity and peace. made and By holy promises, with calling the name of God to wit- obserred. ness, we be made lively members of Christ, when wp prosess his religion receiving the facrament of baptism. By like holy promise the facrament of matrimony knitteth man and wise in perpetual love, that they desire not to be separated for any displeasure or adversity that shall after happen. By lawful oaths, which kings, princes, judges, ana magistrates do swear, common laws are kept inviolate, justice is indifferently ministered, harmless persons, fatherless children, widows and poor men, are desended from murderers, oppreffors, and thieves, that they suffer no wrong, nor take any harm. By lawful oaths, mutual society, amity, and good order is kept continually in all commonaliies, as boroughs, cities, towns, and villages: and by lawful oaths malefactors are searched out, wrong doers are punished, and they which sustain wrong are restored to their right: therefore lawful swearing cannot be evil, which bringeth unto us so many godly, good, and neceffary commodities. Wherefore when Christ so Vain swear_ earnestly forbad swearing, it may not be understood as j

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

though he did forbid all manner of oaths: but he fbrbiddeth all vain swearing and forswearing both by God, and by his creatures, as the common use of swearing in buying, selling, and in our daily communication, to the intent every Christian man's word should be as well regarded in such matters, as if he should consirm his communication with an oaih: for every Christian man's word, faith St. llierom, mould be 16 true, that it should be regarded as an oath. And Chrysostom witnessing the same, faith, It is not convenient to lwcar: for what need we to swear, when it is not lawful for one of us to make a lie An ohjec- unto another? Peradventure some will fay. I am compelled to swear, or else men that do commune with me, An answer. or do buy and se!l with me, will not believe me. To this answereth St. Chrysostom, that he that thus faith, sheweth himself to be an unjust and a deceitful person: for if he were a trusty man, and his deeds taken to agree with his words, he should not need to swear at all: for he that useth truth and plainness in his bargaining and communication, he shall have no need, by such vain swearing, to bring himself in credence with his neighbours, nor will his neighbours mistrust his fayings. And if his credence be so much lost indeed, that he thinketh no man will believe him without he swear, then he may well think his credence is clean gone: for truth it is, as Theophylactus writeth, that no man is less trusted, than he that useth much to swear: and Almighty God by the Wise Man Ecel.xxxiii. faith, That man which sweareth much Jhall he full of fin,

and the scourge of God shall not depart from his house. Anoiher But here some men will fay, for excusing of their many objeii.on. oatriS \n their daily talk, Why should I not swear, when An answer. I swear truly? To such- men it may be faid, that though thcy swear truly, yet, in swearing often, unadvisedly, for trifles, without neceffity, and when they should not swear, they be not without fault; but do take God's most holy name in vain. Much more ungodly and unwise men are they, that abuse God's most holy name, not only in buying and selling of small things daily in all places; but allo in eating, drinking, playing, communing, and reasoning: as if none of these things might be done, except in doing of them the most holy name of God be commonly used and abused, vainly and unreverently talked of, sworn by, and forsworn, to the breaking of God's commandment, aud procurement of his indignation.


« הקודםהמשך »