Legi Concionem hanc, dignam, que censui, quae publicâ Luce donetur.

Edm. Diggle, S. T. P. Reverendissimo in Chri­sto Patri, ac Domino, Domino Richardo Ar­chiepiscopo Ebor [...]censi à Sacris Domesticis.

A SERMON Preached at CARLISLE, Aug. 17. 1664.

By A. Smalwood. D. D.

YORK, Printed by Stephen Bulkley, 1665.

To the Honourable and Loyal Sir Philip Musgrave Knight and Baronet, Mayor of the City, and Gover­nor of the Garrison of Car­lisle; and the rest of the Noble Gentlemen of the County of Cumberland, the Candid Auditors of this Sermon, the humble Author wisheth all happiness.

IT pleased some of you to put me first upon preaching, then upon Printing this Sermon: [Page] I have obeyed your Commands, you have your desire: may God have the glory, the peo­ple the benefit, and the contentment will re­dound to

Your humble Servant A. SMALWOOD.

To the READER.

THE Reverend Judges of the Circuit desired that the Sermon should be ended by ten a Clock, in respect of the mul­tiplicity of their occasions. Whereupon I was enforced to omit much of what was prepared, and somewhat [Page] was also added during the time it lay by me. But whatsoever was not then uttered in the Pulpit, is marked in the margin by ' or half-moons: The rest is the Sermon Verbatim, as it was spoken, without a­ny change, addition or di­minution. Besides, after it was preached, some of the Gentlemen that desired it might he sent to the Press, furnished me with some Papers (some print­ed, some written) by such [Page] persons as were of contrary Judgment: upon those as often as I find them of­fering any Reason against what I have here incert­ed, I have bestowed some Marginal Annotation or other referred to the place whereto it relates, by some of these Characters * † ‡ &c. In all that I have here spoken or writ, I have proceeded sincerely and according to the di­ctates of my Conscience, and am perswaded that [Page] there is nothing laid down, but what is perfectly conso­nant to Truth, Reason, and Religion: and if any thing can be discovered herin to be otherwise, I shall wil­lingly retract it, freely sub­miting mine opinions to the Doctrine and Judgment of the Church of Eng­land. Of my Readers I shall desire nothing, but that they peruse this Ser­mon and Notes with impar­tial and unbiased affecti­ons, and an earnest desire [Page] to find out the Truth, and submit to it. Let them weigh seriously what here they find, and the Lord give them right judgment in all things. If ought seem ob­scure, I shall be willing to clear it, and if any rational objection be made, I shall be ready to give them satisfa­ction: but shall not put my self upon the trouble to take notice of any loose discourse wherein I find many Words and little Matter.

St. Mat. 5. 34. But I say unto you, Swear not at all.

THe peculiar fa­vour God had for his people Israel, was evidenced in that He vouchsafed to be their Legislator, not onely as to the Moral Law, writ with his own Finger; but also in Ordaining them political Or­dinances (which Divines call the Judicial Law) far tran­scending Dent 4. 8, [Page 2] those of other Na­tions. And because the most wholsome Statutes, not put in execution, are to no more purpose than a Sword rusted in the Scabbard. He therfore that they might be obser­ved duly, and Justice admi­nistred equally, appointed Judges. Ever blessed be God Deut. 16. 18. that we are not defective in either particular, having to enliven our Laws, (and it is now near 500. years since that Institution) Justices iti­nerant, that like so many Sa­muels, 1 Sam 7. 16. Judge our Israel in their several Circuits. Whose Authority, though as to the designation of their Persons, [Page 3] & extent of their Power it be delegated to them by Com­mission from his sacred Maje­sty; yet their Office is from Heaven: Ego dixi dii estis; Psal. 1 [...] 6. God himself calls them Gods, that is, by substi­tution from him, to mind them, that they should act a [...]cording to his good plea­sure in the dispensation of impartial Justice: which notwithstanding cannot be effected, unless Truth in the Causes brought be­fore them; be made to ap­pear by the Information of Witnesses; whose Testimonies, that they may with greater security be relied upon are [Page 4] to be given in upon Oath. And so it seems it was in the Apostles days, and before: Else he could not have said, (as he does) An Oath for con­firmation Heb. 6. 16. is to men an end of all strife: Whereupon, it may seem strange, that I have chosen a Text, which in ap­pearance, so flatly opposes the ground of Legall pro­ceedings, But I say unto you, Swear not at all.

Sect. 2.

To clear mine intentions, you may please to take no­tice, that there are two sorts of men that doe violence to my Text. The one winds it up to too high a note, as though our Saviour had thereby ab­solutely [Page 5] forbidden all kind of Swearing whatsoever: This error, as far as I can trace it in Antiquity, had its rise from that Saint in show, but indeed grand Heretique Pelagtus: For I find a Let­ter from one Hilary, written it seems from Syracuse (and therefore, as it is certain, that it was not that fa­mous Father and Bishop of Poitiers, who goes under the name of St. Hilary, for he was dead above 20. years before St. Austin was Bapti­zed; but Hilary afterwards Epist 88. & 89. Bishop of Arles) to St. Au­stin concerning this matter, above 1200. years agoe; for [Page 6] as for Polycarpus St. John's Schollar, and by him ordain­ed Voss. Mist. Pelag. lib. 5. Part. 2. Antith. 1. Bishop of Smyrna, he re­fused not Swearing in gene­rall, but that Oath that was tendred him, to wit, by the fortune of Caesar. And Basi­lides, Suseb. Ec­cles. Hist. lib. 4. 6. 15. a Martyr not 40. years after, denied also to Swear; but that was More Ethnico per Deos Gentiles (say the Centurists) after the fashion Gent. 3. cap. 6. of the Heathen, and by their Gods: Which may be con­firmed by that of Tertullian, Apel. cap. [...]2. who lived at the same time, when Basilidey suffered, Sed & juramus sient non per Ge­nios Caesarem, it a per salutem eorum, quae est angustior omni­bus [Page 7] Geniis: They would Swear not by the Genii of their Emperors (which they esteemed Devills,) but by their safety, that is, by God, from whom cometh health and salvation; A notable monument of the judge­ment, and practice of the Primitive Christians concern­ing Swearing. But not to digress, This Error revived in St. Bernards time, about 500. years since, in the Pro­vince of Th [...]louse in France, in a Sect of Phanaticks that were called Henricians, from one Henricus their Master, and Apostolicks, because they pretended that they [Page 8] lived according to the Apo­stles Doctrine: Against whom St. Bernard Preached in his 65th. Sermon upon the Can­ticles, and complained of that Henry to Hildefonse Earl of St. Giles, in his 240. Epistle, wherein he menti­ons, That the Bishop of Hostia in Italy was sent from the Apostolick Sea, to root out the Tares, which that Heretique had sown in Gods Vineyard. Which not with­standing, the Albigenses, or Albienses, as some tearm them, in the same Province, no doubt, sprung from the same root, who denied all manner of Swearing; but [Page 9] were refuted publiquely, in the year 1176 (as says Spen­danus in his epitome of Ba­ronius) by the Arch-bishop of Lions, and their opinions, and particularly this against Swearing, were condemned in a Provinciall Synod; as themselves were also, not long after, in the third Coun­cil of Lateran, of 280. or (as Gulielmus Tyrius, who was there present, says) of 300. Bishops under Alexander the third. But (alas) notwith­standing all these endeavors for the suppression of this Error, it was resuscitated by Wicliss, and his followers; & again amongst us, during [Page 10] our late distractions, When Judg. 21. [...]1. there was no King, in Israel: but every man did what was right in his own eyes. Which error, though masked under the fair colour of a more than ordinary piety, tends to the overthrowing of all Ju­dicatories, and taking away the decision of all emergent suits, and controversies. And were it granted, we should be necessitated, if not to disown the Magistrates Authority, yet to disobey their Legal cōmands, as having a countermand from Christ himself, I say unto you, Swear not at all.

Sect. 3.

The other sort are men of Atheisticall Principles, such [Page 11] as have no fear of God before their Eyes, who in despight of my Text, dare Swear, not onely commonly, rashly, pro­phanely; but falsly, and that upon set purpose, and with deliberation, whereby inno­cent persons may be berea­ved of their lives, and any man of his just Estate. The former go disguised in the habit of Angels of light: but these, admit not possibly of any disguise, but walk in their proper colours, as black as outer darkness. And yet these are more ancient than those; for I find the Prophet complaining of such, Though Jer. 5. 2. they say, the Lord liveth, they [Page 12] Swear falsly: The former would abolish Judiciall pro­ceedings, and make them no­thing: These would corrupt them, and render them (if possible) worse then nothing. To induce the former to re­linquish so irrational an opi­nion; and the latter to for­sake so criminal a practice, that God may be glorified, our Judgements rectified, our lives amended, our Estates secured, and just obedience to the King and his Laws performed, was my designe in the choise of these words.

Sect. 4.

And these, I hope, by Gods blessing may be effected; The Explication of my Text, [Page 13] will serve for the one: And the Application for the other. And when I have, by the as­sistance of Heaven, and your Noble Patience posted over these two Stages, I shall no longer entrench upon your weighty occasions. I begin with the former, The Expli­cation of the Words. And here, be pleased to give me leave to proceed, First, Ne­gatively, And secondly, Affir­matively. Negatively, what is not the purport of these words. And Affirmatively, what it is. For the former, I lay down this Proposition, Our Saviour did not intend by these Words, Swear not at all, [Page 14] an absolute, universall, an [...] unlimited Prohibition of all manner of Swearing; And that I prove:

Sect. 5.

First, It is a Principle of the Christian Faith, that the Father and the Son are one, and the same God; that is, of the same Nature, Power, Wisedome, Immutubility, and Eternity: To deny this, were horrid blasphemy. Now, if they be of the same Wise­dom, they are of the same Will; and if they be of the same Will, they cannot issue forth contrary Commands, for so there should be a con­traricty, or a mutability in their Wills, and conse­quently, [Page 15] they should not be one, and the same immuta­ble God; But God the Fa­ther, has Maste [...] Crook, Mr. Fisher, Morgan, VVa [...]kins, (of I under­stand them) and others, I take it, do confess, That Swearing was on to commanded by God; but deny that that Command was part of the Morall Law, because that then, swearing should be performed as a duty continually though no Magistrate require it, which, it seems, they think to be very absurd. But I conceive it to be no absurdity to fol­low Truth whither so ever it leads, and doubt not at all but that a man ought to swear, not continually; (for affirmative Precepts hinde semper, but not ad semper: as a man [...] obliged to heare Sermons, but not continually: for so, be should doe nothing else,) but whenso­ever there is a necessity for an Oath: which may happen, not onely when it is imposed by a Magistrate, but whensoever he cannot otherwise doe that good to his Neighbour that Charity requires. And the neglect thereof [...]sire of Omission. in not doing his Brother that good Office that lawfully be night and therefore ought to have done. And this sin is aggravated: if the lawfull Magistrates (to whose just, and Legall Commands, by Gods Law, we are to yield Obedience) require an Oath of him to testifie the Truth, and he refuse it. For thereby he withdraws his due subjection from [...]is Superiours, and as much as in him is, [...]b­stracts the course of Justice, and (in some cases) hinders the preserva­tion of h [...] Neighbours Person, or Estate. And les any man judge, whe­ther these be not grievous sins, To say there be many that swear rashly, and prophantly in their ordinary discourse, is (alas) too true, but impertiuent. For Vertus is placed in the medium, betwixt two extreams (on either hand one) which both are (more or less) vitious. And therefore to say, there be too many covetam people in the World, is no excuse for a Prodigall. In like s [...]r [...], to say there be too many lewd Swearers, neither excuses, nor extenuates his faul [...], that will not Swear when he ought Let these the [...] whom it concerns, not suffer themselves henceforth to be deluded, nor plunge themselves into a certain sin, whilst they pretend to a degree of Piety above others, lest they be i [...]relled in the Catalogue of those foolish people mentioned by the Pe [...]t, who— Dum vitant vitia, in contraria current. commanded swear­ing, Thou shalt fear the Lord [Page 16] thy God, and serve him, and shalt Swear by his name, Deut. 6. 13. And therefore it is not possible that God the Son should forbid it.

Sect. 6.

At quid verba audio, cum facta videam? saies not the Text, Swear not at all? I answer, That where there is an [...], a seeming contradiction in Scripture, (which cannot possibly be reall, the whole Scripture being exactly true) there by some commodious Interpre­tation, the places are so to be expounded, as to admit of a fair reconciliation one with another. As when we reade, Sacrifice and Offering, Ps [...]. 40. 6. [Page 17] thou didst not desire; we can­not understand it, (how plain soever it appears) as to the Words at the first view seem to import; because it is clear, That God required Sacrifices and Offerings in the Leviticall Law, which was in force in the Psalmists daies. So we, cannot under­stand our Saviours words in the Text, in that latitude, that some interpret them, as generally prohibitive of all Swearing, seeing God has required it no less, then he did his own Service and Worship in the Moral Law.

Sect. 7.

If any alledge in contra­diction to this Argument, [Page 18] That Christ abolished the Ceremoniall and Judiciall Laws once commanded by God, (though Objections be no Answers) I must deny that Assertion. For we were never under the Judiciall Law, it being given solely to the Jews, for the regula­tion of their Common-wealth, so long as they enjoyed it, and that in their own Land; Deut. 4. 14. and therefore, it was never obligatory to us, that neither are Jews, nor ever dwelt in Canaan: And what was ne­ver imposed, need not be abolished.

Sect. 8.

As for the Ceremonial Law, it was meerly temporary, as [Page 19] appears by the Sacrifices ty­pifying the death of Christ to come, and therefore cea­sed of it selfe at our Savi­ours Death, and was not at all If to the con­trary, That of the Apo­stle, Eph. 2. 15. be objected: I answer, That Christ may be said to have abo­lished the Ceremo­nial Law, not by repealing it, but by dying; at whose death it expired. So the High Priest dying, might be said to free the Man-flayer from his Confinement, (which during his life, he could n [...]t, either by disa­nulling, or dispeasing with the Law, Numb. 35.) be­cause at the High Priests death, the Man slayer had liberty to live at horne securely, who by the Law was confined to some City of Refuge, untill the High Priests death. abrougated, but obser­ved by him in his life. So when a Parliament Enacts, That a Law shall continue in force for seven years, and no longer; at the end of that terme (though during that season, it obliges as much as any other) it ceases [Page 20] of it self, and is not proper­ly said to be repealed, but expired. In like manner, our blessed Saviour, cannot be properly said to have re­pealed the Ceremoniall Law Enacted by his Father; but is expired of it self. The greatest humane wisedome may think fit to Enact a Law, which after, upon some emergent, and unfore­seen inconveniencies, may with Reason be Repealed. But it is not so with the un­erring Wisedome of God, who foresees all things pas­sible, ab Aeterno. Hence I may Conclude, Seeing God the Father has Commanded [Page 21] Swearing, that God the Son has not forbidden it.

Sect. 9.

Secondly, Because some, without any colour of Rea­son, or possibility of proof, pretend that Swearing was onely Mr. Fi­sher takes Swearing for a Cere­mony. And of that mind are many of that Sect. Yet. John Wigon in his Paper, directed from Ean­caster Ca­stle, to Judge Twisden, would ra­ther place it amongst the Judi­cials, Ex. 22. 10. a Ceremonial Rite; (whereas on the contrary, God himself ranks it with his fear, and service, Deut. 10. 20. which certainly are Moral.) I argue thus, What at all times, as well under the Gospel, as under the Law, as well amongst the Gentiles, as the Jews, tends in an especiall manner to the Glory of God, that is nei­ther a Ceremoniall Ordi­nance, nor forbidden by [Page 22] Christ. But Swearing so much conduces to Gods glo­ry, that it is an owning of him in his several Attributes; so [...]hat he that Swears by any object, implicitely acknolwedges it for a Deity. Whereupon, that old Father Lactaentius, de falsa sapientia, sect. 19. accuses Socrates of madnesse, Qui per canem & ansere [...] dejerabat; because, Animal curpissi­mum pro Deo habuit. Indeed Swearing tends so much to the glory of God, that Sim-na kavod laihovah, [...], Give God the Glory, was one of the Formes (ac Groti­us saies on Mat. 26. 63.) which the Jewish Magistrates used, when they required an Oath of any Person brought before them, because the Act of swearing, is an expression and ac­knowledgement of the Power, Wisedom, and Providence of God. And he brings in two Scripture instances, Iosh. 7. 19. and Iohn 9. 24. which to the intelligent, and considerative Reader may strongly evidence the profound knowledge, and [...]aga [...]ity much above the rate of common Enpositors) of that admirable [...]a [...]: The former pla [...]e is read by the Septuagint, [...]. Which seems to me to bear this sense, Give Glory to God, &c. and make thy Confession in his pre­sence, (our Translation reade i [...] unto him) and tell me, &c. The acknowledgment of his sin to God, is plainly differenced, from his [...]ing it to Ioshua. Besides, it is observabi [...], that [...]. Englished Confession, is a Verbal of that same word, wherby the [...]. first, and after them St. Paul, Rom. 24. 11. renders the Prophets word, tish [...]bang, shall swear, Isay 45. 23. And [...], must needs signifie the same, if the one be a true Translation of the other. So also Ier. 44. 26. where our English has it, Behold I have sworn by my great Name, I find it in Greek, (cited by Conrad. Kircher, in his Concordance of the Old Testament, in the word nishbang) [...] It appears then that both [...], and [...], (if the word nishbang be rightly rendred by them) doe sometimes signifie to swear. Thus [...] is used for [...] Oath by Iustin Martyr in his second Apol [...]gy for Christians: as appears by the Context. And so Iohannes Long [...] there Translates it. And if so, why there may not [...] denote, a Confession upon Oath? Adde hereto, that Masius on the place tells us. That in Ori­gens Greek Bible (made up of the 70 [...]s and Theodotion's Translation) in this verse, after the word [...], the Particle [...] was inserted. Quae (saies he) vim quandam u [...]gendi ha­bet, ut scripfit Vir doctissimus Theodorus Gaza. And for that other Text, of Iohn 9. 24. it is not very probable, that when the Phariseas were dissatisfied with the account, the quendam blinde man had given them, how he had obtained his sight, his re-examination should be upon Oath; Nor can I conceive what other so fit sense can be given of what they said, Give God the praise: Let the Reader consider and judge. such is Swear­ing, and therefore it cannot [Page 23] be thought to be prohibi­ted. Such, I say, is Swearing; For he that Swears by Gad for the confirmation of an unknown Truth, acknow­ledges his Omnisciency, in dis­cerning whether he speak truely, or no; and his Power [Page 24] in being able; and his Ju­stice, in being willing, to punish such as Swear falsly. And does not the acknow­ledgment of Gods Wisedom, (in discerning, the secrets of all hearts) and his Soveraign Power, and Impartiall Ju­stice in the Punishment of Offenders, tend much to the Glory of God? And that as well now under the Gospel, as it did before under the Law? Nay, it is a part of [...]at [...]. Gods peculiar ser­vice, that is incommunica­ble to any Creature. Hence that prohibition to Swear by Creatures, because there­by, we should yeild to them [Page 25] that Honour, that is due to God alone. The Glory of God, is the end of our Creation. And therefore, what ever highly advances that, must needs be good, and consi­quently, liable to no prohi­bition. Surely Christ, who Honours his Father, and Ioh. 8. [...]9. Ioh. 6. [...]. who came from Heaven, not to doe his own will, but the will of him that sent him, would not, did not prohibit what God had so clearly ex­prest to be his will, and what so eminently conduces to his Glory.

Sect. 10.

Thirdly, If Christs pur­pose here, be utterly to abolish Swearing, as an ille­gitimate [Page 26] Brat of Jewish extraction, not to be ad­mitted into the Christian Church; then it must be, either as it is This is Rodol­phus Gualthe­ru [...] 's Ar­gument, open Heb. 6. Non prohibet Deus [...]a, quae lan­dem illius non mi­ [...]u [...]nt, [...] o [...] ­sunt proxime, ergo non juramen­tum pro­hibet. repugnant to our Duty to God; or else to our Neighbour; for into that Summary, he has con­tracted the whole Law. And I freely confess, That Perjury is in both respects exceeding culpable, as high­ly tending to the disho­nour of the God of Truth, who is called thereby to the attestation of a lye, and to the injury of men, who thereby may lose their lives, lively-hoods, or what else is dearest to them in [Page 27] this World: Perjurium pec­catum esse, & grande pecca­tum [...]erm. 28. de Verbis Apost. nemo dubitat, saies Saint Austin. And I grant like­wise, That frequent, and customary Oaths, upon slight, or (possibly) no oc­casion, are both extreamly derogatory to the Majesty of that infinite, and in­comprehensible Essence, to whom all Knees must bow, and whom we are not to name without Internall Re­verence, and Adoration; and also in great measure scan­dalous to such as heare them. Many of the Fathers Preached so St. Chry­sostome Preached 21. Sermo [...] ad Popu­lum Antio­chenum, yet extant: and in 17. of them, which follow im­mediately one after another, (one onely excepted) he in [...]ight more, or lesse, ( [...]d in some of them very largely) against this sin of swearing. often, and [Page 28] with so much vehemency against this vitious Cu­stome, that they fell under suspition of disallowing all Swearing: And St. Austin punished every such Oath in those of his own Family by the forfeiture of some part of their wonted S. Saint Chryso­stome Hom, 5. prescribes the like Artidote against swearing. If any (saies he) does perceive himself, his Wife, Chil­drens or Ser­vants addi­cted to that [...], let him male them goe [...] Supperless to Bed, as often as they offend. Or­dinary, (as Possidonius re­cords in his life) the sooner to withdraw them from that prophaness. Hence it cannot be denied, but these Oaths may, and ought to be restrained as offensive, and insolent breaches of our duty both to God and Man. But such Oaths as are ad­advisedly, and reverently [Page 29] taken upon necessary occa­sions, are so far from being displeasing to God, or hurt­full to Men; that on the contrary, they are accepta­ble to the one, and advan­tagious to the other: Nihil Enarrat. in Ps. 131. gratius Deo possumus offerre, quam jure jurare, saies St. Austin. And by them Prin­ces are secured of their Subjects Allegiance, and Ge­neralls of their Soldiers fi­delity, and Subjects assured that their Princes shall not degenerate into Tyrants; Leagues confirmed between Nations; Peace conserved; Mutual Commerce and Tra­ding confirmed, every Mans [Page 30] just Right maintained; Of­fenders discovered, and du­ly punished; and Contro­versies and Suits decided. And these are such great, and good ends, that Men cannot subsist in any de­gree of security, or happi­ness without them. Here­upon Julian the Apostate, the most subtile Enemy that ever Christianity had, Skoffed at this Praecept, Swear not at all, (being wil­ling to understand it in the utmost latitude) as de­structive to all Government, and humane Societies, which unless we would verifie (as I see not but we must, if [Page 31] we expound the words as Julian did) we shall be en­forced to profess that false and vain (but not at all necessary) Oaths, were here prohibited.

Sect. 11

I may add, Swearing by Creatures, it being Idolatry to ascribe that honour to them, that is peculiarly due to the Creator. But the disanulling of such Oaths, as are taken by such things as are no Gods, does not restrain, but rather con­firme the use of those that are lawfully taken by God. And therefore, as Swearing by false Gods, is forbidden, Iosh. 2 [...]. 7. lest thereby, they should [Page 32] be owned for Deities. So Swearing by the true God, ought not to be forbidden, because Men thereby ac­knowledge his Divine Na­ture.

Sect. 12.

Fourthly, Had Christ en­tended Universally to for­bid all kind of Oaths; it had been sufficient to have said, Swear not at all; be­cause a General includes all Particulars; and so these following expressions, Nei­ther by Heaven, nor by the Earth, neither by Jerusalem, neither by the Head, had been useless, as being evi­dently included in the ge­nerall prohibition forego­ing. [Page 33] As he that saies, No Substance is a Quality, needs not add, neither Heaven, nor Earth, nor Man, nor Beast, for all these are compre­hended in the word Sub­stance; and therefore the enumeration of severall Substances were altogether superfluous, and vain. But it were highly blasphemous to say, That our blessed Saviour who condemns all vain Words, did himselfe Mat. 1 [...]. 36. use them in his Sermon.

Sect. 13.

Besides, the following words were in probability added, for the illustration, or explication of the former. But had he meant, That [Page] no Oath should be used upon any occasion, these subsequent words, are so far from giving light to the preceding, that they have much obscured them. For had he said no more, but Swear not at all, it might have been thought, that he had disallowed all Oaths; whereas, his descending to this, and that Creature in particular, may rationally imply, that his purpose was onely to forbid all such Swearing, and not that which was formerly en­joyned. And surely, these words, as they are laid down in the Gospel, might [Page 35] well be spoken without any intention to forbid Swearing by God. For from this Proposition, Swear not at all by this, or that Crea­ture; it cannot be Logical­ly inferred, that we ought upon no occasion to Swear by the Creator. But on the contrary, it seems, that Christ, lest any should con­ceive, that he forbad all kind of Swearing; to pre­vent that mistake, add [...], Neither by Heaven, nor by Earth, &c. thereby mani­festing what kind of Oaths he would have difused.

Sect. 14

If any dislike this Inter­pretation, I would gladly [Page 36] know what other sense these words can import; or what the enumeration of these severalls, Heaven, Earth, Jerusalem, thy Head, can add to a generall nega­tive, which comprehends all them, & more: Or how can they be thought not to be superfluous, if they mean nothing, but what was plainly expressed be­fore? The learned Calvin was of this opinion; for he saies, Si ad substantium re­fer Institut l. 2. cap. 8. sect. 21. as particulam, omnino acsi nulla exceptione illicitum esset quodvis juramentum, quor­sum explicatio quae mox addi­tur; neque per Coelum, neque [Page 37] per terram, &c. As wise a man as he was, (and our judicious Hooker saies, He was incomparably the wisest, Preface to Eccle. Polit. that ever the French Church had since) yet, it seems, he could not vindicate these words from being super­fluous; unless the Word omnino were referred to them, and not to the Act of Swearing. And then the sense of this Verse in the utmost extent thereof will be no more than this; I Command you, that you shall not upon any Consideration whatever, Swear by any Creature, which is not at all exclusive of such Oaths, as [Page 38] God before had Commanded.

Fifthly, Christ never for­bad any thing, but what was of it self Mr. Fi­sher in his Answer to Bishop Gauden saies, That some things are Prohibi­ta quia mala: and some things are, Mala, quia prohibita; evill to us, meerly be­cause forbidden: And of this sort (he saies) are these Ce­remonies, Circumcising, Sacrifices, Swearing, &c By which words, he plainly acknowledges, That Swearing, is neither in it's own Nature, nor in any other respects evill, save onely as it is Forbidden by Christ. But I say, That our Saviour did never universally forbid any thing, but what was in it self evil, or in some respect conducing thereto. Which If be deny, I would gladly hear but one, instance in any par­ticular thing whatsoever, which being of it self either good, or indifferent, was generally, and perpetually forbidden by Christ (so that it should be lawful for none afterwards to do it) as he pretends Swearing to be. If in the four Gospels, or in all the New Testament any such prohibition, be, it may easily be produced: If not, the dictate of Mr. Fishers is vain. intrinsical­ly evill, as may be proved by Induction; For he for­bids Anger, and abusive Language, sect. 22. and they are evill, he forbids Lust, sect. 28. and that is evill; [Page 39] he forbids Divorce, saving for the cause of Fornicati­on, sect. 32. And Swearing by Creatures, and they are evill. And the same Rea­son may be rendred of all his Prohibitions. And there­fore, what ever he forbad was evill, and that in it self, and not meerly as for­bidden. But such Swearing in generall, is not: For that hath not onely been the Practice of holy Men; but also an Angel did Swear, Dan. 12. 7. And so another, (which according to many Interpreters, was Christ) Sware by him that liveth for e­ver, & ever Rev. 10. 6. Besides [Page 40] our Saviours Amen, Amen, 24. times used in St. John's Gospel, according to the Judgement of St. Ambrose, In Heb. 6. Jurat enim & idem Chri­stus in E­vangelio dicens, Amen, A­men dico vobis. (if he be the Author of that Comment upon the Hebrews, which is Printed with his Works) amounts to an Oath. So that very Learned & judi­cious Lutheran Chemnitius, saies expresly, That Christ Harm: Evang. c. 51. peric, 3. in lo­cum. So G. Biel l. 3. dist. 39. A. 2 C [...]ncl. 1. Amen, A­men est jurare, &c. Swore; and proves, that Amen, is, formula jurandi, out of Heb 6. 13. 14. re­ferring the Greek Parti­cles [...], to the Hebrew, Amen; which [...], (sayes our Lexicographer) Fre­quentissimum usum in jure jurando habet. And although [Page 41] an Oath be there mentio­ned, there is none exprest, unless that [...] be it. Nor is Mr. Nicholas Fullers ob­jection Miscel. l 1. c. 2. against it of force, That there is no Oath, where God is not inter­posed, if by Amen, Apoc. 3. 14. These things saith the Amen, be denoted the Per­son of Christ, as Exposi­tors tell us. And indeed, What else can it be? A like instance is in Isay 65. 16. for where our Transla­tion Reads it, The God of Truth; in the Originall it is, Be lohe Amen; and in the vulgar Latine, In Deo Amen, where Amen seems to be [Page 42] either a Name, or an Epi­thite of God. So also St. Hierome, In veteri Testamento, In Ezek. 16. Dei juramentum est, vivo Ego, dicit Dominus in Novo autem, Amen, Amen dico vo­bis. And this is the opinion of our Church, as is plainly exprest in the former part of the Homily against Swear­ing, in these words, And this is the same▪ that is asserted by Saint Chryso­stome in Heb 6. [...]. Quo­modo juravit Pater ita etiam filius jurat. per se, dicens, Amen, Amen dico vobis. So Theophilact, in Heb. 6. to the very same purpose, in Amos 5. Our Saviour Christ did Swear di­vers times, saying, Verily, verily. And it cannot be denied, That God himselfe Swore, The Lord hath Sworn, and will not repent, Ps. 110. 4. [Page 43] The like may be found in severall places of Scri­pture, as St. Hierome saith, Jurantem Deum saepiùs Scri­ptura describit. Now since the holy Ghost bears wit­ness, that not onely the best Creatures; but also that the Creator himself swore: It ap­pears undeniably, That Swearing is not Morally, and of it's own Nature evill. And St. Austin, upon this very ground, affirmes it to be no sin, This may also he further proved, because God once command­ed Swearing, which therefore cannot be intrinfecally evil. Non enim peccatum praeciperetur nobis, saith Saint Austine, Serm. 28. de Verb. Apost. Jurat Deus qui peccatum non habet; non ergo est peccatum jurare. And therefore, we must either [Page 44] say, That Christ forbad that which was not evill, but good, A like arg [...]ent migbt be formed thus; Christ ne­ve for­bad any thing in it selfe good, as Swear [...]ng is, which has many good ends and purposes, both in respect of God and Men. (which I think no man will) or else some other sense must be put up­on these words than that which implies a totall Pro­hibition of Swearing.

Sect. 16. Sixthly, Either these words, Swear not at all, must be so interpreted, as not to forbid every Oath, though taken upon a just occasion, or St. Paul never knew the meaning of this Text, or els contrary to his knowledge, and that upon set deliberation, he acted against it, and that in those very writings wherein we [Page 45] all beleeve, that he was in­fallibly assisted by the holy Ghost. For his Oaths are upon record, 1 Thes. 2. 5. God is witness. So Rom. 1. 9. and in several other places. There is a little Pamphles extent, called, Supplementum sublatum, in answer to Mr. Tombes, by Richard Hubberthorne, in a Samuel Fisher, who deny that these expressions, I affirme before God. God is witness, &c. are Oaths, because were these Oaths, then the Apostle did Swear frequently and unnecessarily, in respect his credit was so good amongst the Saints to whom he did wri [...]e, that his words would have been taken at any time without an Oath. I answer, That though he swore several times, yet never unnecessarily. For had he not judged those Oaths necessary, he would not have used them. And he knew better in what credit he was with his Country­men, than either Mr. Hubber thorne or Mr. Fisher I am sure St. Austin was not of [...]ha [...] jud [...]ement, For he sayes ( [...]erm. 28. de verbis Apost.) Videbat ibi, (that is amongst the Ga­lations to whom he had used this expression behold before God I lye not, Gal. 1. 20) eos qui [...]e edebant, videbat & alios qui non credebant. Thus St. Aust [...]n with an unde [...]iable, evidence of Reason. For if all had so readily beleeved his word, how came it to p [...]ss that some, even of the beleevers, disputed against his Doctrine? Acts 15 Or what occ [...]si [...]n bad there been for him to have written (as he does Rom. 9. 1.) I say the truth in Christ, (or, by Christ) I lye not? Which translation (by Christ) Mr. Fisher in his Antidote carps at, because it is in Greek [...]. And yet it is the same word, (as he knows, I doubt not) that is h [...]re translated by Hea­ven, by Earth, &c. Mat. 5. 34. 35. 36. But not to digress, it is not probable to be as they imagine: For were their A [...]gu­ment good, as there had been no need of such Oaths, so nei­ther of such vehement Asseverations, as they themselves take these to be. And then i [...] would follow, that the Apostle writ what he needed not, which to assert savours of blasphemy, if we grant that be writ by inspiration from the holy Ghost. But if these be Oaths, how is it (say they) that the Judges and Justices in Sessions will not own them as so—? And then they triumph saying, Surely the Magistrate in England doe not believe the Priests Doctrine. I answer, (1.) I have heard a great Magistrate say, That such Oaths should be ac­cepted by him. (2) I suppose that they are accepted by such as be in Authority so to do, when they are persuaded of the fidelity of the Swearer. For I have it under the hand of Mr. Isaac Pennington (one of the most considerable of that Fraternity) that he once gave satisfaction, which he heard found acceptance with the Court to which he gave it, and also to the King, &c. (3.) The same I. P. gives a Reason why that savour is not indulged to all. His own expressions are these, (Many words have been spoken by severall eminent Persons (as hath been often related to me) of their belief and satisfaction in relation to our words, and a good inclination in them several times to accept there­of in stead of an Oath, if they knew but how to exclude others from the like indulgence, whom they were more jealous of. (4ly.) Inferiour Magistrates (such as they speak of) are sworn to act according to Law: And the Law pre­scribes (as I understand) in what manner, and with what formality Oaths are to be taken, which it is not in their power to dispense with, or vary from pro arbitrio. And therefore though they firmely believe that calling God to witness is an Oath; yet they are not at liberty to accept thereof, because they are tied up to Rules of Law. And of this me thinks Mr. H. and Mr. F. should not be ignorant, and if they were not, then this Quaere were needless. Lastly, they argue thus, If to say God knows, or God is witness, as in appeal to Gods contestation be Swear­ing by God; then to say such a man knows, or such a man is witness to the truth of what I say as an appeal to that mans contestation is Swearing by that man. And then they cry out upon such an absurdity. 'Tis strange that men of Parts, and Reason should be so deluded. They migh [...] [...]t well have argued, That if a Man may lawfully marry a Woman, then a Man may lawfully marry a Beast. I say as well. For as the Essence of lawfull Matrimony consists in the mutu­all agreement betwixt a Man and a Woman; and not be­twixt a Man and a Beast: so the Essence of a lawfull Oath consists in calling God to wi [...]ness, not in calling Man to witness. I beseech God to open their eyes, that they may discern into what absurdities they fall, whilst they v [...]ly dream of putting absurdities upon others. Now to call God to wit­ness, [Page 46] [Page 47] is the very substance of an Oath. Jurat (saith Saint Austin) qui adhibet testem De­um. And again, Hoc est ju­rare, Deum testuri. And in se­veral passages of his Books, he condemns their ridicu­lous folly that thinks other­wise: [Page 48] Were it to any pur­pose, I could produce more than Cicer [...], Est jus juran­dum af­firmatio religiosa. Clem. Alex. Strom. lib. 7. c. 1. [...]. Juramentum est confessio definitiva cum divina assumptione. Ambrose ad Valentin. Ep. 30. Quid est ju­rare nisi eju [...] quem testare fidei tuae praesule, divinam po­tentiam confiteri? Et in Praefar. in Luc. Dominus Naturae fidei testis adhibe [...]ur. So Saint Chrysostome Hom. 9. in Act for Swearing uses this Per [...]phrasis, [...]. Deum vocabant testem, Austin in Psalm. 109. Enarrat. Quid ergo tu facis cum jurat? Testaris Deum. Hoc est jurare Deum testari. And in his former Book de Sermone Domini in monte and els where to the same pur­pose. Cyril. Alex de Adorat. in Spirit. & ver. l. 6. [...], &c. Quod fi haec loquendi forma est, & non ab aliquo contemnatur, tum deni (que) juris jurandi usus ad id revocetur, quod est nobis, imò verò univers [...] creaturâ ma­jus. Cassiodorus in Psal. 14 Jurare est sub attestatione divinâ aliquid polliceri. Eu [...]hym. Zygabon. in eundem. Juramentum nihil aliud est quàm dictorum confirmatio in quâ testem assumimus Deum Tho Aquin. 28. [...]ae. Q. 89. A. 1. Conclus. Assumere Deum in testem dicitur jurare. And Q. 98. A. 2. Concl. Jurare est Deum testem in voca­re. P. Lumb [...]d. l 3. dist. 39. In omni juratione aut Deus testis adhibetur, aut creatura Deo obligatur, & oppignera­tur, ut hoc sit jurare [...]sc. Deum testem adhibere, &c. G Biel. l. 3. dist. 39 Q 1. A. 1. brings in several definitions there­of to this purpose. So King Henry the 8ths necessary Do­ctrine Published, 1543. on the 3d, Command. They Swear in vain that Swear without lawful or just cause, for that they take the Name of God in vain, although the thing they Swear be true. Calvin Instit. l. 2. c. 8. §. 23. Est (juramentum) Dei attestatio a [...] veritatem Sermonis nostri confirmandam. M. Chemnitius (in locis, de lege Dei) Ju­ramentum est invocatio nominis Dei, qua petimus ut Deus sit testis de nostro animo, quod non velimus fallere homi­nes in eâ re de qua asseveramus, & simul petimus ut Deus sit vindex, si fefelierimus: & nos ipso reste ad poenam ob­ligamus secundum ipsius comminati [...]nem. And again, Harm. Evang. c. 51, Peric. 3. Est juramentum contestatio, seu invocatio Dei, qua petimus ut Deus qui est inspector cordium, & patronus veritatis sit testis de animo nostro quod non velimus fallere, & simul, netimus ut sit vinde [...] si fe [...]ellerimus. M. Bonacina in adum Decalogi Praeceptum, (as they count them) Q. 1. Juramentum est invocatio di­vini nominis in testimonium. Tilemannus Heshurius in Examine Theologico, Dedicated to the Duke of Sexony, 1586. Loc. 15. Juramentum est adseveratio alicujus rei nobis perspectae cum invocatione veri Dei, ut sit testis di­ctorum, & judex seve [...] innocentem, & veracem clemen­ter desendat: perjurum vero fallentem & nomine divino abutentem puniat, & cocrceat. Pareus in Mat. 5. 34. Ju­ramentum est invocatio Dei, qua petitur, ut is tanquam unicus [...], testimonium det Veritati, & ju­rantem puniat, si sciens fallat. Which definition be bor­rowed of Ursin. Q. 102. of his Catech [...]sme. And upon Rom. 9. 1. he saies it is, Species invocationis Dei, & pars culcus divini: (and then to take that away, is to bereave God of a part of his worship and service.) The right Reverend and Learned Bishop Sanderson, de juram. Prael. 1. § 2. Jura­mentum est Actus religiosus in quo ad confirmandam rem dubiam Deus testis invocatur. I. Wollebius Compend. Theol. Christ. lib. 2. cap. 6 can. 6. Objectum juramenti per quod jurandum sol [...]s Deus est. H. G [...]otius de jure B [...]lli & Pac. l. 2. c. 13. § 10. Forma juris jurandi verbis dif­fert, re convenit. Hunc enim sensum habere debet, ut Deus invocetur, &c. It is said in the first part of the Homily against Swearing, set out by the authority of our Church, Saint Paul Sweareth thus, I call God to witness. Wilson in his Christian Dictionary thus expounds what it is to Swear, sc. To use the name of God in an Oath to witness some matter in controversie for the ending of strife. The Author of that most excellent Treatise, entituled, The whole duty of Man, pag. 101. §. 4. In all Oaths you know God is solemnly called to witness the truth of that which is spoken. Corn. à Lapide in Rom. 14. 11. Est juramentum vera, ac aperta ejus Dei professio, quem ut testem, & per­juril vindicem appellamus, &c. The Learned Mich. Wal­ther in his Harm. Bib. Deut. 6. 13. Est jusjurandum non solum vinculum—sed etiam invocatio veri Dei qua De­um testem citamus vera nos dicere, seu asseverationem nostram esse veracem, & petimus ut severè nos puniat, si mentiamur; Lorinus in Ps. 118. 106. Paulus scribers—Testis est mihi Deus, censetur jurasse. And in Ps. 62. 12. Derivantes aliqui nomen illud Dei, Eloah vel elohim obalah, quod est jurare sive affirmando, sive execrando colli­gunt in omni juramento nomen Dei aliquo modo includi. So N. Fuller, Missel. l. 1. c. 2. In jurisjurandi Religione semper interponit Deu [...] & testis, & judex. So the learned Dr. Prideaux late Bishop of Worcester, then Divinity Pro­fessor in Oxford, Cons. 5. de Relig. Juram. sect. 12. Inter plurimas juramenti definitiones quae occurrunt passim apud plurimos caete [...]is haec videtur accuratior, & con­tactior. Juramentum est asseveratio religiosa de re possi­bili & licita cum veri Dei invocatione facta, qua petimus ut sittestis dictorum, & fallentes puniat. And Illiricus in his Clavis Script. Jurare praeter suam propriam fignificatio­nem quae est Deum in testem vocare alicujus dicti, aut Sententiae. So Athanasius in his Apoligy to the Emperour Constantius. We speak (saies he) in the presence of God. For [...], that Oath we Christians use. And Rodolphus Gualtherus in his Comment upon the Hebrews, cap. 6. saies, That an Oath is Conte­statio summi Numinis quod omnia intuetur. Philo Judaeus (as Grotius has it upon Heb. 6. 15.) calls an Oath, [...], the testi­mony of God in a doubtfull business. The learned Vossius, Hist. Pelag. lib. 5. part 2. Juramentum est actio qua Deus sive simpliciter sive cum piecatione aliqua intestem eorum invocatur quae asseuntur, aut promittuntur. So Peter Martyr, in Gen 21. 24. saies, That an Oath is, Confirmatio voluntatis testimonio Dei, vel divinarum rerum. Nor doe I believe that ever any not interested Person was otherwise m [...]nd [...]. Ipsi Ethnici (saies Bishop Sanderson, Prael. 5. sect 7) [...], ad juramenti essentiam perti­nere docuerunt. And therefore he that saies, That Swear­ing is forbidden, but means not that which all the world calls so, is like to him that would undertake to prove, that Snow is not white▪ but meant not that which is com­monly named Snow, but some other meteor. twenty Authors of [Page 49] [Page 50] [Page 51] the same Judgment. Nor indeed have I seen, or read of any of the contrary opini­on, except some Phanaticks, who would they yield the substance, and with St. Paul, call God to witness of the [Page 52] Truth of their Assertions, it might be wished out of condescention to their weak­ness that they might be dispensed withall (if the Law would give leave) as to the externall formalities of an Oath.

Sect. 17

But not to digress; If any be still of that conceit, notwithstanding the con­trary Judgement of all the world, that no man Swears unless be say by God; I would demand what they mean, when they say, By God this is true, or that is false? Is it any more, than I call God to witness, or than So help me God? And if [Page 53] these forms of speech be all aequivolent, then if one be an Oath, why be not the other? If there be any difference, it may well be thought that these last are more certain expressions of an Oath than the first. They cannot well be used to any other purpose, but the first may, So Saint Austin, Serm. 28. de verbis Apostoli. Ut noveritis verum jurare non esse peccatum, invenimus & Apostolum Paulum jurasse, Q [...]otidiè morio [...] per vestram Gloriam fratres, &c. Per vestram Gloriam juratio est, non enim sic ait: Per vestram Gloriam m [...]riot, quasi vestra Gloria me fecit mori: quo­modo si diceret, [...]er venenum mortuus est, per gladium mortuus est, per Bestiam mortuus est, per inimicum mortu­ous est, id faciente in mico, faciente gladio, faciente veneno, & fimilia: non sic d [...]xit, Per v [...]stram Gloriam. Ambiguita­tem Graecus Sermo dissolvit. Incipitur in Epistola Graeca, & invenitur ibi juratio [...]e non est ambigua, [...], ubi dixerit Graeous, ju­rat—Ergo, nemo dubitet jura [...]se Apostolum Paulum, cum dixit, Per v [...]ltram Gloriam, fratres, Per non semper sig­nificatio [Page 54] juramenti est: nam si dicam per puerum misi, non statim per puerum jurasse pu­tabor, said Sedutius. The In 1 Cor. 15. 31. & Hierom ibidem. Particle by, is not always a note of Swearing, but of a medium or instrumentall cause whereby any thing is effected, as in this Prayer, By thy Cross and Passion, good Lord deliver us; which some rather malitiously, than ignorantly would mi­stake for an Oath. When the Israelites craved passage through Edom, they said, We will goe by the Kings Num 20. 17. high-way. Can any ima­gine that they swore by the Way? It is said, Thou Ps. 77. 20 [Page 55] leadest thy people like a Flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron. Will any say that the Psalmist Swore by the hand of Moses and Aaron that God led his people? So, There is no King saved Psal. 33. 16. by the multitude of an Host. Does the Prophet there swear, by the multitude of an host, that no King is saved? I should abuse both your time, and patience, and seem to distrust your Judgments, should I give you mo instances, which might in a great number, and variety, be produced to shew, that the word by doth not always import an Oath, as the former expres­sion, [Page 56] I call God to witness perpetually; and, So help me God most commonly does. These generally are Oaths; but so is not the other. And therefore if any difference be put betwixt them, the skale will go down on this side, for these may more certainly be reputed Oaths than the other, which is often lyable to various, and doubtful construction. The truth is, That the substance of an Oath consists in the attestation of God, by what tearms soever it be exprest. And therefore, Non audiendi sunt (saies St. In Epist. ad Galat. Austin) qui has jurationes [Page 57] esse non putare. Nor have I found any before this pre­sent Age that does deny it, and some in express termes declare it. So P. Lumbard, Juravit Apostolos, dicens, Lib 3. Dist. 39. Testis est mihi Deus; ac si dixisset, Per Deum ita est. And St. Austin long before Serm. 28, de verbis Apost. So Sander son Praelect. 5. sect. 6. Per De­um est—propriè juramen­tum, & qui sic lo­quitur, Deum inducit testem. him, Si dicas, per Deum ju­ras; Si dicas, Testis est Deus, non juras? Quid est enim, Per Deum, nisi Testis est De­us? Aut quid est, Testis est Deus; nisi, Per Deum?

Sect. 18.

I know there is a generation of people, Quo [...] non persuadebis etiamsi persuaseris, who will have by, and nothing els to be [Page 58] the formality of an Oath. Were that true, then that which God himself expres­ses to be an Oath, Jer. 4. 2. & 5. 2. The Lord liveth was none, because there is not the particle by. And again, were that true, it could not be denied but that St. Paul swore, 1 Cor. 15. 31. by your rejoycing. And indeed, there want not Interpreters that so expound it. The Syriack Translator renders it Jure per gloriam vestram. And vii. the original word in that place, is as ordinarily a note of swearing in Greek, as by is in English. Hence [Page 59] Saint Austin writing to Hil­larius, Epist. 89. Serm. 28. de verb. Apost. draws an argument for the lawfulness of Swear­ing. And again more clear­ly, Per vestram gloriam ju­ratio est. Notwithstanding they that affirme the par­ticle by to be the onely and peculiar mark and cha­racteristicall expression of an Oath, will not I believe allow it to denote one in this place. And therefore I shall not insist further up­on it.

Sect. 19.

However the Apostle swears by Christ, Rom. 9. 1. so the Syriack, and Athi­opick Translators; as also Piscator, Beza, Pareus, and [Page 60] Hentenius the Translator of Oecumenius, reade it, Per Christum. And the Fathers, St. Ambrose, Theodoret, The­ophilact, In locum. and Oecumenius say, that the Apostle here brings in Christ for a wit­ness, which is Swearing. And Gual­terus jus­jurancū inter po­nit pis­cator. [...], [...]d est, [...], formula jurantis. Pareus, Jurejurando fimula [...]i doloris suspitlo­nem averrit—docet—Christianis non esse illicitum jurejurando Veritatem confirmare in rebu [...] gravibus, Glo­riam Dei, & salutem proximi concernentibus, ubi alio­qui fides verbis non haberetur. A Lapide, Jure per Christum me verum dic [...]re. Grotius—sus [...]itionem—à se amoletur. & qu dem jurejurando abhibito per Christum, quod non minoris ha eri debet in novo sce­dere, quàm juramente in veteri scedere per Deum fact [...]. modern Expositers, both Romish and reformed, as many as I had opportu­nity to consult with, doe unanimously agree, That [Page 61] this is an Oath, and hence conclude the lawfulness of Swearing And further this praeposition So Sal [...] Mat. 23. 16. 18. 20, 21, 22. where [...] is the formula jurandi, [...], by the tem­ple, by the gold, by the altar, by heaven, by the throne of God. Si verbo­rum vis, & genui­nus sen­sus peni­tium introspiciatur, nullum erit discrimen inter praeposi­tiones per, & in fi ad eundem rem applicentur. Sander­son Praelect. 5. sect. 7. [...]here used is the very same that is used in St. Mat. 5. 34. [...], by Heaven, sect. 35. [...], by Earth, sect. 36. [...], by the Head. And therefore why not here [...], by Christ? And thus is [...] used by the 7ty. Dan. 12. 7. [...], per viventem, swore by him that liveth for ever. So Jer. 5. 7. [...], swore by them that are no [Page 62] Gods. And Ephes. 4. 17. [...], Obtester per Dominum, so the Arabique, and Ethiopick Translators, and Beza. 1 Cor. 12. 3, 9, 13. & 14. 6. 1 Joh. 2. 3. Mat. 23. 16. 2. Cor. 6. 6. 7. & 10. 15. Gal. 2. 17, 20. & 3. 11. Ephes. 2. 13, 18. & 3. 5. 21. & 4. 14, 21, 30. & 5. 26. Phil. 4. 19 Col 1. 16, 17, 21. 1 Thes. 3. 3. & 4. 1. 15. 2 Thes. 3. 16. 1 Tim. 1. 18. Mat. 17. 21. 1 Pet. 5. 10. And many times in the New Testa­ment, [...] is rendred by, 1 Cor. 6. 2. [...]. by you. And fit­ly As Ephes. 2. 10. 1 Cor. 7. 22. 2 Cor. 7. 8. Gal. 3. 14. & 2. 4. it might be so Englished in severall other places. It appears by what has been said, that both the use of the word, and the sence of the place concur in eviden­cing, that the Apostle swore, especially it being a synonymon to beth, which amongst the Hebrews is, [Page 63] nota jurantis, as appears, Gen. 22. 16. bi nishbangti, By my selfe have I Sworn. And Josh. 2. 12. Jurate mihi per Dominum, baiho­vah, Swear unto me by the Lord. This Argument St. In Epist. ad Galat. Austin afforded me, Nam utique Apostolus noverat prae­ceptum Domini, & juravit tamen. Hence then we must either lay the imputation of Ignorance, or wicked­ness upon that great Apo­stle; or els understand these words, Swear not at all, (as doubtless he did) in a limited sense.

Sect. 20.

Seventhly. If some swear­ing be enjoyned in the [Page 64] third Command, then all swearing is not forbidden by Christ in these words, Swear not at all, because he came not to destroy the Law. But some swearing is there enjoyned, or els the Law written by the Finger of God in Tables of Stone cannot be vindi­cated from imperfection, which to assert were no less blasphemous in it self, then conrrary to the Psalmists profession, to wit, That the Ps. 19. 7. Law of the Lord is perfect. The Consequence, that God's not enjoyning some swearing, implyes some im­perfection in the Law, as it [Page 65] was delivered upon Mount Sinai; I thus shew, What­soever is perfect is defective in nothing; Perfectum est cui nihil deest. If then the Law summarily contained in the Decalogue, be perfect, it must command every practicall duty, and prohi­bit every vice; which is im­possible, being contracted in­to so short an Epitome, un­less we admit of those Rules which Divines have been necessitated in order to the maintaining the perfection of the Law, to make for an extensive Interpretation of these synecdochical praecepts.

And if we admit of them, [Page 66] it follows, That God com­manded some swearing, for one of them is this: Every negative praecept commands the contrary vertue. By this generall Rule, (which either must pass without excepti­on, or els we cannot defend the perfection of the Law) it follows from the sixth Commandment, Thou shalt not kill, that we are obliged (quantum in nobis est) to pre­serve our Neighbours, and to do all charitable offices to them: So from the seventh, Thou shalt not commit Adul­tery, that we should live in Chastity and Temperance, &c. And so from the third, [Page 67] Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vain, it follows by this Rule, that thou The pro­hibition of an abuse implies the permission of the due use of any thing. And that Maxime, Exceptio firmat re­gulam in non ex­ceptis, holds no less in Reason then in Law. shalt take the Name of the Lord thy God (that is, thou shalt swear) whensoever an Oath is not vain, and that Oath is not vain, but necessary, which is required by a lawfull Magi­strate for the glory of God, the preservation of his Ma­jesty, the peace of the Na­tion, the manifestation of Truth, the just punishment of Offenders, the security of mens Lives and Estates, or the decision of Contro­versies; which last the Apo­stle mentions, Heb. 6. 16. And seeing there be contro­versies [Page 68] amongst men now, as well as there were then, and so are like to be to the end­ing of the world, and that it is necessary that they be decided for the preservation of Peace and Concord; and seeing an Oath is a Medium that conduces as much to that purpose now, as it did formerly, it is clear that there must be the same ne­cessity thereof now, that there was then. All these are necessary ends, but not atteinable, at least not so well, by any expedient yet put in practise, as by inter­position of Oaths, which as they were enjoyned by God [Page 69] in the third Commandment, no less then Charity in the sixth; so it cannot reasona­bly be believed, that our blessed Saviour would for­bid them being of such im­portant use for the safety of Empires, Kingdoms, and Common-wealths, and the lives, means, and well-being of the generality of Man­kind, and that onely of his own meer good pleasure.

And that puts me in mind of another Argu­ment. For,

Sect. 21

Eightly. Our blessed Sa­viour did never any thing without some ground, or [Page 70] evidence of That of which no Reason can be gi­ven, is not a Morall Praecept, Dr. Tay­lor in his Ductor Dubitan­tive, Book 2. Chapt. 2. Rule 5. Ject. 66. Reason. But no Reason can be shewed why all manner of swear­ing should be forbidden. Indeed swearing by Crea­tures, without respect to the Creator, is therefore unlawfull, (as hath been already mentioned, sect. 11.) because thereby we ascribe that Glory to them, that is incommunicably due to God. And swear­ing by God falsly, is abho­minable, because thereby we make him (as much as in us is) guilty of our lye. So swearing truely by God in triviall matters, is also to be disallowed, because it [Page 71] is dishonourable to that high Majesty to be called to witness for a trifle. Like­wise customary Oaths in ordinary communication, are therefore not without cause forbidden, in respect that thereby men get such a habit of swearing, that Oaths with them are but words of course, and for­malities of Speech, they very often (as experience showes) neither knowing, nor regarding what, or when they swear, which highly tends to the disho­nour of Almighty God, whose Holy and Reverend Name ought never to be­mentioned [Page 72] without inward Reverence and fear. Be­sides, frequent swearing is an occasion of frequent perjury, and absolutely voids the end of an Oath, which is the assurance, and confirmation of truth. For men that constantly swear are not in Reason to be better believed for their swearing. But none of all these, nor any other the like inconveniences that I can imagine can be obje­cted against swearing in a due manner, and upon a just and necessary occasion. And therefore we may wel believe, that such swearing [Page 73] was neither here, nor any where els forbidden.

Sect. 22

It is objected, That Oaths may justly fall under pro­hibition, as idle and unne­cessary, because they nei­ther doe, nor can serve to any good purpose. For a good man will speak truth though he be not sworn; and a wicked man will not be restrained from lying by the Religion of an Oath. I answer, (first,) That were this dilemma granted, it would infer onely the no-necessity of an Oath, but not the unlawfulness there­of, which is the point in question. (Secondly,) The [Page 74] Fathers that (as far as we Chrysost. Hom. 15. ad pop. Antioch. & Hom. 9. in Act. know) were the first that thus argued, are to be un­derstood of rash, and cu­stomary, not usefull, or imposed Oaths, intending thereby to break that pro­phane custome of ordinary swearing in common dis­course. Thirdly, Upon sup­posall that some are so ex­act observers of Truth, as never to lye upon any oc­casion; and others so de­sperately wicked, that they dare on set purpose swear a known untruth; yet it cannot reasonably be thought that the generality of men are to be ranked in either of these [Page 75] Classes. For it has been observed, that some who have not much scrupled to tell a lye, notwithstanding have refused to swear it, making more conscience of the one, than of the other. And amongst all such, (and they may well be supposed to be the greatest part of man-kind) an Oath is a fit expedient for discovery of Truth, or obliging them to the performance of a duty. Fourthly, Even a­mongst those good men that will never lye, some perhaps may think them­selves not obliged to disco­ver voluntarily an hidden [Page 76] truth, especially if it ten [...] to the prejudice of them­selves, or some whom they favour. And there are not a few that hold, Mendaciu [...] Officiosum, to be but a ve­niall sin. And as to such, an Oath is not vain, or use­less, but necessary for the discovery of the truth. And therefore this can be no Reason why such Oaths should be forbidden.

Sect. 23

Ninthly, Either these words, Swear not at all, must not be extended to a totall prohibition of swearing, or els Christ thereby gave a new morall Command; for all men grant, that be­fore, [Page 77] Swearing was either commanded, or permitted, not forbidden. But Christ gave no new Isidoru [...] Pelusiota in an Epi­stle to Ti­motheus Lector, (l [...]b. 1. Ep. 107.) [...] Nul­lain [...]dog­ [...]matum novita­tem Dei filius le­gi, ac Prophesis induxit. And there is reason for it. For if our Saviour gave a new Precept, then the Morall Law before it was supplyed by that Precept was defective, and imperfect, or els that new Precept [...] was superfluous. But that David denies, Psal. 19. 7. Moral Com­mand. For that had been contrary to Gods expressed will, Deut. 4. 2. You shall not add unto the Word which I command you, and would also have argued the im­perfection thereof. Besides, he ordained no new Law in the matter of the sixth and seventh Command­ments; but onely reproved the erronious Tenents, or [Page 78] vitious manners of the Jews. To manifest which assertion, you may take notice that he reduces the Decalogue into a duologue, Mat. 22. 37. & 39. Love God with all thy heart, and thy neighbour as thy self. But both these (whereup­on saies Christ, hang all the Law, and the Prophets, sect. 40.) were of old. The for­mer is exprest, Deut. 6. 5. The latter verbatim, Levit. 19. 18. So Saint Austin, l. 19. c. 28. contra Faustum Manichaeum, Itaque vel omnia, vel penè omnia, quae mo [...]ui [...], seu praecepit, ubi adjunge­bar; Ego autem dico vobis, inveniuntur & in illis veteribus libris. And there be gives sundry particular instances. And Christophorus Pelargus in his Evangelicall Questions [...] Mat. [...]5. part. ult. Q. 1. saies, Omnia quae [...] loco, & quasi supplemento hic recitantur, in Lege & Propheti [...] priùs comprehensa apparent; whereof he also gives seve­rall instances. And further, [Page 79] Christ reproved nothing, but what had been disal­lowed before. He forbids Anger; but for that God had of old rebuked Cain, Gen. 4. 6. He prohibits reviling, sect. 22. But that had God formerly declared against as punishable, Zeph. 2. 8, 9. He disallows ha­tred, sect. 43. 44. But that was unlawfull before, Lev. 19. 17. He forbids Lust, sect. 28. And that was like­wise prohibited of old, Ex. 20. 17. Thou shalt not covet. Prov. 6. 25. Joh 31. 1. Whence St. Paul (which els he had not) understood Lust to be a sin, Rom. 7. 7. And shall we think that [Page 80] our Saviour, who vindica­ted the other Command­ments from the lewd de­pravations of men, has abro­gated this onely, as though it had not been framed by the same wisedome, and enacted by the same God, or that in lieu thereof he instituted a novel Praecept never heard of formerly? Whatever we doe, St. Au­stin did not: For he saies, Tract. 3. in Joh. cap. 1. Legite vetus Testamentum, & videte quia carnali ad huc populo ea quidem praecipie­bantur, quae nobis. If to the contrary any urge the clause, But I say unto you; I reply, that as it denoted [Page 81] not a new Commandment, sect. 22. & 28. no more does it now, but onely our Saviours opposition, not against Gods Law, but the Pharisaicall Obser­vandum est quod Christus sequence suam senten [...]iam non Legi Dei opponat, sed corruptelis; quas Pharisai ex prava & perversa Legis Dei interpreta­tione in Ecclesiam invexerant, Chemnit in locum If any her [...] oppose the word [...], by them of old time, § 33. and thence conjecture that thereby Moses and the Prophets are meant. I reply, That that word does not alwayes denote great antiquity: For we find it used, Acts 15. 7. [...], ab antiquis diebus, which in our last Tran­slation, and others, is Englished, a good while ago, intima­ting, that it was no very long time before. And our Com­mentators understand it, to be less then twenty years. Pa­reus on the place speeks to the same purpose; Antiquos au­tem [...], Christus non intelligit Patres, vel Mosen, sed majores Pharisaeorum tam falsae doctrin [...]e Authores. And this may be added in confirmation thereof, that when out Saviour had disallowed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, sect. 20. he immediately adds sect. 21. Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, &c. What them, but the Scribes and Pharisee [...] next before mentioned? For against then righteousness he disputes, not against the righteousness of Moses, and the Fathers. The learned Ma [...] ­donat with other Jesuits, the Anabaptists and Socini [...] contend earnesty for the contrary opinion; alledging, the Christ named expresly the Commandments themselves, Thou shalt not Kill, sect. 21. Thou shalt not commit Adultery, sect. 27. and thereto opposed his, But I say unto you, § 2 [...]. & 28. To this i [...] may be replyed, that Christ did not onely mention, Thou shalt not kill, but further, that whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of Judgement: which words are not to be found in the Law of Moses, though spoken ( [...] our saviour saies) by them of old time, And therefore it was not against the Law, but against the depravation thereof by those Ancients that Christ opposed. Another like instanct may be produced, sect. 43. Thou shalt love thy neighbour, (which is found Levit. 19. 18.) and hate thine enemy; But that is no where extant in the Law, and appears to be a corrupt addition destructive to the former member of this Sentence, For the hatred of this or that man, under the [...] ­ [...]ion of an enemy, is inconsistent with the love of our neigh­bour, Hence it may appear that Christ did oppose his, But I say unto you, to the Pharisaicall innovations, not to the Divine Ordinances; or if to the Law, not as it was given by God (for it was exactly perfect) or expounded in the Old Testament, (for so it fully agrees with Christs Doctrine in the New) but as depraved by the corrupt Glosses of the Scribes and Pharisees. Doe we make void the Law through Faith? (sayes Saint Paul, Rom. 3. 31.) God forbid! yea we establish the Law. mis-interpre­tations [Page 82] thereof, against which it is as reasonable to interpret this place as the [Page 83] former. And if so, then did not Christ by these words, Swear not at all, pro­mulgate a new Law, nor consequently forbid such Oaths as were lawfull, or enjoyned before.

Sect. 24

Tenthly, If the High Priest charged our Saviour to swear, and he without exception therto answered upon Oath, as acknow­ledging his Authority over him (as he did Pilates, Joh. 19. 11.) and that some years after he had said, Swear not at all; then from thence follows, that when the Magistrate imposes an Oath, the persons charged [Page 84] to swear, may lawfully an­swer upon Oath, as Christ himself did, notwithstand­ing this seeming prohibiti­on, Swear not at all; and consequently, that all swearing was not forbid­den in these words. But the high Priest did charge The same kind of adjurati­on, [...], Ire­naeus calls an Oath, as it is ci­ted in Eu­seb. Hist. Eccl. l. 5. c. 19 or (accord­ing to the Greek) 20. our Saviour to swear, Mat. 26. 63. [...], (of [...] ju­ramentum) I adjure thee, that is, I command thee to Swear; or (as it is in Tompsons Translation of Beza's new Testament dedicated to Sir Fran: Walsingham) I charge thee Swear unto us. So the word is used by the Septua­gint, Gen. 24. 3. [...], [Page 85] thereby giving the sense of ashbignacah, faciam te jurare. And sect. 37. [...], My Master made me swear. So Gen. 50. 5. [...], My Father made me swear. The like use of the word is found, sect. 6. & 25. and in Ex. 13. 19. Josh. 6 26. 1 Sam. 27. 28. 1 Kings 2. 42. 8 [...]. 2 [...]. 16. 2 Kings 1. 4. 2 C [...]o [...]. 18. 15. & 36. 13. Ez. 10. 5. Nehem. 15. 12. 1 Esd. 8. ult. many other places, And though [...] somtimes in Scripture, or perhaps in the Septuagint be rendred charge, yet so is not [...], nor [...] neither, when an answer is to be given, nor unless in matter of fact, when somwhat is required to be done. No [...] does ei­ther [...], or [...] when [...] with a Genitive case [Page 86] follows after it (as it does here) signifie any other thing any where in these holy writings then to ad­jure, or make to swear. So then, the high Priest en­joyned Christ to answer upon Oath, whereto hap­pily he might be warrant­ed from De te­stibu [...] Lex [...] ­tat, Levit, 5. 1. ubi o [...]ini ob­noxius. produn­ciatur te­stis, qui verum sub [...]ice [...] post quam [...]udicrit [...], Quol alah. Grotius in Mat 26. 63. And there be mentions two of the formes which the Magistrates were wont to use when they caused any to [...]ear. One whereof [...] this which the high Priest used [...] Christ, [...]. Lev. 5. 1. and he accordingly who before held his peace, in reverence it seems of his heavenly Father by whom he was adjured, and in preserva­tion of the Magistrates [Page 87] Authority, and perhaps in obedience to the Law, Lev. 5. 1. answered di­rectly (as every man ought that speaks upon Oath) and acknowledged the whole Truth; which sure­ly he would not have done, but rather have reproved the high Priest, had he en­joyned him what was un­lawfull.

Sect. 25

I confess that some pre­tend, that Christ here by these words, Thou hast said, Fisher's Antidote. did rather wave than give any positive answer. But that is a groundless con­ceit. For it consisted not with the ingenuity, and [Page 88] honour of our Saviour (who is the faithfull Wit­ness, Rev. 1. 5. and who came into the World to bear witness to the Truth, John 18. 37.) not to have affer­ted that Truth in his ut­most danger, which was necessary for the salvation of mankind, and which be­fore when he was in safety, he had plainly professed to the Samaritan woman, John 4. 26. I would demand whether one of us brought before some Heathen Ty­rant, and examined whe­ther he were a Christian, or no, might lawfully by obscure, or ambiguous [Page 89] words clude the question. If so, the Martyrs were in­discreet in not so doing. If not, it were not fit to impute that to the Master, which would misbecome the Disciple. Besides, the Apostle testifies of Christ Jesus, That before Pontius Pilate he witnessed a good Confession, 1 Tim. 6. 13. And what was that, but onely that he was the King of the Jews, the expected Messiah, and Saviour of the World? To put the matter beyond all dispute, St. Mark (14. 62.) relates plainly, that Christ's an­swer was, I am. And there­fore [Page 90] that in St. Matthew, must be the same in sense, unless we would make the one Evangelist differ from the other. And thus the high Priest apprehended it, when he rent his clothes, and cryed blasphemy, Mat. 26. 65. That the Phrase, Thou hast said, impl [...]: a grant, and concession of the de­mand, ap­pears by our Savi­ours an­swer to Judas's question Mat. 26. §. 25. So here, a [...] Plyricus upon St. John 18 37. (cited by the learned Mr. Gataker in the 19th. Chapter of his Adversari [...] Miscellanea) Phrasi qua­dam Hebraeae Linguae propriâ modestè confi [...]tur se esse Regem. For, Tu di [...]isti may well be understood, Re [...] [...]u tetigisti, Thou [...]ast [...]; So tis; Thou hast his the [...]ail on the head. And doubtless he understood well enough what Christ's answer was, though it appear not so intelligible to us, who are not so versed in the idi­otismes of the Language [Page 91] the Jews then used) other­wise he had been very rash in renting his clothes he knew not why.

Sect. 26

To reply, that Christ swore not (though Caiphas had adjured him) because he said not I swear, is vain. For an examinat is to answer the Magistrate both in matter, and form, ac­cording to what is propo­sed to him. It was enough that he denied not to swear, which assuredly, had it been unlawfull, he would have done. He that came to teach all Truth, would not so have deluded the people there present, [Page 92] as to seem to speak upon Oath, when he intended it not; and by his example taught them dissimulation. Qui tacet consentire videtur. And let any one judge, whether (upon supposition that all swearing is unlaw­full) this had not been at least (which the Apostle forbids; 1 Thes. 5. 22.) an appearance of evill. If it be demanded, whether (had the high Priest asked the blessed Jesus forty Questions touching the same matter, without re­iterating his Adjuration) he was still to answer upon Oath; mine opinion is, [Page 93] That he was. Nor is that to multiply unnecessary Oaths, for one and the same Oath puts an obliga­tion upon the party exa­mined to speak the whole, and the sole Truth in all Interrogatories touching that matter concerning which he was sworn.

Sect. 27

To alledge, that Christ swore not, becausé he layd not his hand on That Ceremony i [...] ancient. For it ap­pears by St. Chry­sostome, Hom. 19. ad pop. Antioch. That the Gospel-Book was holden out to those that were to take an Oath in that time. And that is above 1250. years since. a Book, or kissed it, is to trifle. For the Essence of swearing, is in calling God to witness: the lifting up of the hand, or [Page 94] the laying it on a Bible, are but extrinsecall forma­lities, and render an Oath more solemne, not more obligatory. The Question is concerning swearing it self, and not the Ceremo­nies thereof. Nor is it pre­tended, that those Acci­dentall Rites in taking an Oath were prohibited in these words, Swear not at all.

Sect. 28

And for that [...] the Anabaptists last eva­sion, That swearing was lawfull untill our Saviours death, and then abolished as a Ceremoniall Ordi­nance: it is not true; and [Page 95] if it were, it yeilded the Question. First, It is not true. For swearing duely performed, is (as hath been Sect. said) a part of Gods pecu­liar worship, an acknow­ledgment of the infinite Wisdome, Power, Goodness, and Justice of God; and therefore incommunicable to any Creature, or false God. Whereupon it is equally commanded, with the fear and service of God, Deut. 6. 13. & 10. 20. and consequently obliges e­qually at all times, no less now under the Gospel, than it did formerly in time of the Law. Nor has [Page 96] it in it's substance an, It is evi­dent that Oaths were an­ciently reputed more ob­ligatory than the Sanctions of the Ce­remoniall Law, and conse­quently were to be refer­red pro­perly to the Moral Law. The Author of the Que­stions and Answers in the Works of Justin Martyr in Resp. ad Quest. 27. saies, [...]. Moses for the greater obser­servance of the Oath (in carrying Joseph's bones out of Egypt) violated the less forcible Obligation of the Cere­moniall Law; which denounced a Legall impurity in all those that that touched any dead body, Numb. 19. 11. or a mans bone, or a g [...]ave, § 16. Type at all. Circumcisi­on, the Passover, the Levi­ticall Obligations, and the other Ceremonies of the old Law, had no Moral goodnes in them (as swearing has) but were mere Shadows of things future, and therfore ceased of themselves, which cannot with any colour of probability be said of swearing, that conduceth now as much to the honour [Page 97] of God as ever it did. And why might not that com­mand, Zech. 8. 16. Speak ye every man the Truth to his Neighbour (which with­out all peradventure is Morall) as well be counted Typicall, (as relating to Christ the everlasting Truth) and consequently now antiquated, as swear­ing performed in a due manner, which was a more immediate service of God than the other? For Christ is essentially the Truth; John 14. 6. and saving Truth came by him, John 1. 17. But he is improperly called the Oath of God.

Sect. 29

But were it so indeed, that Oaths were Ceremo­niall, then it follows, that Christ in this Text did not forbid them, for he did not forbid the Ceremoniall Law, but observed it all his life, eating the Passe­over with his Disciples the Night before his death; unless perhaps some would interpret his words thus; I command you that you doe not swear, yet am wil­ling that this command shall not oblige you at pre­sent: For I am content that for a year or two you may swear by Heaven or Earth as you have been ac­customed; but after my [Page 99] Crucifixion, and Resurre­ction, swear no more. He that thus dares expound these words, may also at his pleasure Paraphrase in the like manner upon the 28. sect. You are not to look lustfully upon a Wo­man, for that is Adultery of the heart, which for the present indeed I permit you to doe: but after my Passion doe it not. If this Interpretation be worthi­ly deemed absurd; so like­wise is the other. And therefore let these that disallow swearing as a part of the Ceremoniall Law, [Page 100] and consequently now an­tiquated, argue no more the unlawfulness thereof from these words, Swear not at all.

Sect. 30

11thly. No Exposition of this Text, or any other, is to be admitted that puts an inconsistency betwixt the Old Testament and the New, both being in­spired 2 Tim. 3. 16 2 Pet. 1. 21. Contra adversa­rium Le­gis. & Pr [...]phe­tarum, c. 16. & 17. by the same God; So St. Austin, Testamenti utriusque unus est Deus: And again, Deus Author est amborum Testamentorum. And hence he inferrs the [Page 101] Contra Adiman­tum c. 4. Unde cla­rescat be­nè intel­lie enti­bus utri­us (que) Te­stamenti man festa concor­dia. And cap. 7. Ex quo faci­le appa­ret—u­trumque Testa­mentum conveni­re, arque congrue­re, tan­quam ab uno Deo utrumque conscriptum, &c, And cap. 19. Haec isti si aut legerent, aut non impie legerent, vielerent omnia in utri­usque Testamenti Scripturis—si [...]i concordantia, & suis gradibus ordinata. And contra Faustum, lib. 10. cap. 3. Omnia quae in vetere scripta sunt, nos & vera esse dicimus, & divinitus mandata, & congruis temporibus distributa. And contra Adimanium cap. 3. Quod isti si conside are vellent—omnia cam in veteri, quam in no [...]o Testamento uno Sancto Spiritu conscripta & commendata esse sentirent. perfect Harmony, and Concordance betwixt the two Testaments, as pro­ceeding from one and the same God, who is uncapa­ble of fashood, or alterati­on. Whereupon if we be not so Atheisticall as to deny the veracity, or im­mutability of the most High, (Tit. 1. 2.) it must be granted, that his Word is of eternall Truth, (Jam. 1. 17.) His Promises are [Page 102] Yea, and Amen; His pre­dictions 2 Cor. 1. 20 Mat. 26. 24. [...]4 & Luk. 24. 25, 26, 27 must needs be ac­complished, His Precepts are more unalterable than the Laws of the Medes and Persians Nor did our Saviour come to destroy, but to fulfil Mat. 5. 17. L [...]k. 16. 17. them who affirms that it is easier for Heaven and Earth to pass than one tittle of the Law to fail. Whereupon he enjoins obedience to the Mat. 2 [...]. 2. 3. commands of the Pharisees, as sitting in Moses Chair: Quo loco (saies St. Austin) Contr. Adiman­tum, c. 16 Authoritatem legis quae per Moysen data est, codfirmat Do­minus. From all which pas­ages it is apparent that the Old Testament is so far [Page 103] from being contradicted, that it is fully confirmed in the New. So the s [...]me Fa­ther refu­ting an He [...]etick, that dis­claimed the Authority of the Law, and the Pro­phets (contra adver­sarie Le­gis & Pro­phetarū, l. 2. c. 2.) Nec iste adversus lucem, vocem (que) Domini­cam, vel Apostoli­cam tam caecus & surdus est, ut ignoret quemadmodum à Christo, & Aposto­l [...]s in libris ad novum Testamentum pertinentibus confir­metur Legis. ac Prophetarum, & commendetur Authoritus. So our Church in the 7th Article, The Old Testament is not contrary to the New, &c. It was part of the Manichean Heresie to set the one in opposition to the other: Against which, and the Assertors thereof, Faustus, Adimantus and the rest of that crew, St. Austin writ above 40 Books yet extant. This Error was likewise confuted By Epi­phanius, who saies, Haer. 66 Sect. 74. [...]. that though there be two Te­staments yet there is but [Page 104] one God the Author of them both; and that there­upon they are set to the same tune. And it is no small evidence of the Di­vine Authority of holy Scripture that there is so full an agreement in all the particulars thereof, though written by several Penmen at very distant both times and places. This Truth hath ever been maintained against both Heathens and Hereticks. Lib 7. [...]. Ne [...]ther (sa [...]es he) did the Father sending Jesu [...], forget what he had commanded Moses, neither did he condemn his own Laws, repent, and send a messenger for contrary purposes Sigis­mundus Gelenius the Translator renders it thus Evangelium Deo Legis Authorise non opponit,—Nec Pater Jes [...]m mittens oblitus erat quid Mosi mandaverit, neque penitentia ductus damnata propria Lege misit Evangeli­um doct [...]um contraria mandatis pristi [...]is. Origen makes [Page 105] it good against Celsus, that there is no contradiction betwixt the Law and the Gospel, which differ not in substance nor in deed, more than the Sun under a cloud from it self when it shines forth in its brightest lustre. So St. Austin; Et novam in Contr. Adversa­rium Leg. & Pro­phet. l. 1. c. 17. vetere est figuratum; & ve­tus in novo est revelatum. The Law is the Gospel vailed and the Gospel is the Law revealed. What was typified or foretold in the one; is verified and ac­complished in the other. [Page 106] From all these Premisses I may well draw this conclu­sion that these words, Swear not at all, ought not to be so interpreted as to render all It was also Pro­phefied be­fore, that Christians under the Gospel should swear, Is. 19. 18. & 45. 23. which if at might not be ful­filled without contradi­ction to our Savi­ours com­mand would en­trench upon the Truth of the Prophesie, and make the Gospel thwart the Law beyond all terms of Reconci­liation. swearing unlaw­ful, (Deut. 6. 13. & 10. 20. Psal. 63. 11. not without promise of reward, Jer. 12. 16.) which before was both commanded, and com­mended. For I cannot but look upon it as a perfect piece of Manicheisme, and extreamly derogatory both to Scripture, and God him­self, that for what Morall [Page 107] duty one man was commen­ded in the Old Testament, another for the same should be condemned in the New.

Sect. 31

12thly. and lastly, The consent of the Christian World, the practises of Emperours, Kings, Princes, Councils, Bishops and Peo­ple of all sorts confirme this Truth, that the general opi­nion was, that Christ their Lord, notwithstanding these words which were well enough known, had never forbidden swearing as alto­gether unlawfull. For other­wise doubtless it had not been in so common, and un­questioned use. It would [Page 108] be a work more fit for a Vo­lume, than a Sermon, to re­late historically the practice thereof through all Ages, and places. Let it suffice that the Centurists tell us that in the 12th. Age after Christ one Otho was consecrated Bishop of the Bambergenses, and had no Oath administred unto him, Quod hactenus (say they) nul­li Germanorum Episcopo acci­disse constat, which is certain had Sir Ro­ger Twis­den in his learned Vindicat [...]on of the Church of England, cap. 3. sect. 51. shows, that Oaths were imposed not only upon Arch-Bi­shops at the receit of their Pall, but also upon B [...]shops and Abbots. Nay, not so much as the Popes themselves were ex­empted. never happened before to any Bishop of Germany. [Page 109] So also many Laws have been made concerning Oaths, as well in our own Country as else where, and punishments decreed and in­flicted upon perjured per­sons. All which are Argu­ments that just Oaths were always allowed. True it is, that some of the Fathers, e­specially in their Homilies and Sermons to the People, inveighed much against swearing, as though it had been altogether unlawful. But that was out of a Reli­gious zeal against irreligious and customary Oaths. A In Hag­gai 2. 1. Lapide relates a story of St. Chrisostome that he preached [Page 110] so often against swearing, that the people were offen­ded thereat; which he un­derstanding, told them, he would never leave that Ser­mon till they would leave that prophane Custome; which I find taken out of his fifth Homily ad populum Antiochenum. But as to the Fathers; they spoke less cau­telously; never perhaps su­specting that lawful swearing upon just occasion would be denied: not [...] but [...], with great vehe­mency refuting that horrid Custome of common swear­ing in ordinary discourse; but not at all intending to [Page 111] take away necessary Oaths. Origen in his 25th Tract up­on St. Matthew says, that Christ Manifeste vetuit omni­no jurare: whereupon I con­ceive it came that Pareus branded him with holding the Anabaptistical Tenent against swearing which I can­not grant, because he The like may be said of St. Hie­rum, as appears out of his 153. Epi­stle to Paulinus. him­self swears in his first book against Celsus. [...], God is witness of my Conscience that, &c. And so the great Athanasius having declaimed with much vehemency against In Pass. & Cru­cem Do­mini. prophane swearing; yet in his Apology to the Empe­ror Constantius, he spontane­ously [Page 112] swears again and a­gain, [...], The Lord is witness, and his Christ is witness. And severall times he useth such Oaths, and wishes that his Accuser were there to be examined according to the Oath used by Christians. So Chrysostome, though he often sharpned his stile a­gainst swearing, (for which Pareus, unadvisedly enough, listed him with other of the Fathers as bearing arms for the Anabaptists) yet in his 5. Homily, ad Populum Antio­chenum, he advises the Peo­ple to leave [...]. superfluous Oaths, such as are rashly, and without necessity ut­tered [Page 113] at home, amongst their friends and servants, which if they did, they should need him no further in these matters. All which clear­ly shows, that though they zealously inveighed against the prophane practice of swearing; yet they did not dis-allow the voluntary ta­king an Oath upon just oc­casion, and much less ju­diciary proceedings, which were then, and ever since every where publickly pra­ctised even till these times. To omit the Master of the sentences, and the School Divines who are generally consentient to this Do­ctrine, [Page 114] the Churches of the Reformation have publick­ly professed the lawfulness of Oaths, as may be seen in the Harmony of Confessions, and accordingly The in­ferior Mi­nisters in Hungaria and Tran­sylvania swear Ca­nonical obedi­ence to their Bi­shops as is the cu­stome of England) The form of their Oath is set down by Monsieur Darel in his excellent Book of the conformity of the Reformed Churches beyond the Seas with that of England, Sect. 1. § 19. begining thus, I N. N. swear before the living God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, &c. practised them. The confession of Switzerland condemns the Anabaptists for denial of Oaths required by the Ma­gistrates. The confession of Basil (Helvetica Basiliensis, vel Milhusiana, Ann. 1532. Art. 11.) protests that they [Page 115] reject, and damn as abho­minations and blasphemies, that Doctrine that we must swear in no case, though the glory of God and Charity to our brethren require it. And in a marginal note they pro­fess, that swearing is lawful, and give reasons for it; to wit, because God in the old Testament commanded it, and Christ in the new did not forbid it; but on the contrary▪ both Christ and his Apostles practised it. So al­so the Augustine confession Art. 16. teaches, that Christians thereto called by the Magi­strates may lawfully swear, and condemns them which [Page 116] forbid that duty. To con­clude, our own Church in the 39th Article speaks thus, As we confess that vain and rash swearing is forbidden Christian men by our Lord Je­sus Christ, and James his A­postle; so we judge that Chri­stian Religion doth not prohi­bit, but that a man may swear when the Magistrate requireth in a cause of Faith and Chari­ty; whence it appears, that they are neither Children of the Church of England, nor conformable to the Reform­ed Churches beyond the Seas, nor agreeable to the Doctrine, and practise of the Primitive Church, who de­ny [Page 117] the lawfulness of swear­ing upon just occasion. Hence also it is evident, that not only the Church of England, and the Reformed Churches; but also the whole Catho­lick Church in all times, and places approved this Do­ctrine, that all swearing is not unlawful, which according­ly they practised as occasion served. Whence it follows, that either the whole Chri­stian Church in all places, and ages was so ignorant as not to understand our Savi­ours meaning; or so wicked, as understanding it, to teach and practise the quite con­trary; or else that Christ [Page 118] never meant to forbid all kind of swearing. To assert either of the former, were to profess all that went be­fore us were either dunces or Devils. And if so, what's become of the holy Catho­lick Church professed in the Creed? Nay, what's become of our Saviours promise, Mat. 28. 20. I am with you alway even unto the end of the World, when upon this sup­position he never assisted them effectually either in the profession of his Truth, or practice of his Commands? And of these absurdities one is unavoidable, unless (which is most reasonable) we [Page 119] confess that these words, Swear not at all, are not to be extended to that lati­tude in which some of late have been pleased to ex­pound them.

Sect. 32

To sum up all then that has been said; if we would not oppose God the Son a­gainst God the Father; if we confess that swearing tends in an especial manner to the glory of God in the acknowledgment of his Om­nisciency, Power, and Ju­stice; if it neither thwart our duty to God, nor that to our Neighbour; if the particular Enumeration of several Oaths in this place [Page 120] forbidden, be irreconcilia­ble with that interpreta­tion, that from hence in­fers a total abolition of swearing; if we grant that it is not unlawful, ex natura rei, being practised by holy men, Angels, and God himself; if we acknowledge that Saint Paul assisted in a great mea­sure by the Holy Ghost un­derstood his Masters mean­ing, and yet advisedly, and upon deliberation did seve­ral times swear; if we yield that swearing upon weighty occasions, and in due sort is enjoined in the third Com­mandment, as we must, unless we have a mind to deny the [Page 121] perfection of Gods Law; if no Reason can be given, why all manner of swearing should be forbidden; if we confess that Christ ordained no new Law, but only re­formed the abuses in the in­terpretation of the old; if Christ himself brought be­fore a Magistrate answered upon Oath; if no Text of the Gospel ought so to be expounded as to infer a re­pugnancy to the Moral Law, as this does accord­ing to the Anabaptistical interpretation thereof; and if we consent to the Do­ctrine and practise of the Christian world in all Ages, [Page 122] then we must confess that our Saviour by these words, Swear not at all, intended not an absolute and unlimited prohibition of all manner of Oaths.

Sect. 33.

And thus I have done with the negative Explication of the Text. And though I should not be able to lay down positively the genuine meaning thereof, yet I am encouraged by the former Reasons to hope that I have freed these Judicial Proceed­ings from any sad influence which the dismal aspect of these words might seem to portend against them.

Sect. 34.

And now I come to the affirmative part of my Task, what the sense thereof may be. And here I have scarce so much time as to shew the many Expositions, whereby several Authors have endea­voured to clear their latent meaning. Some only of the principal I shall: First, that Portent of learning Hugo Grotius was of opinion (and I think that glory of our English Divines the incom­parable Dr. Hammond was much of his mind) that Pro­missory Oaths are here prin­cipally, though perhaps not only understood in our Savi­ours Prohibition. And that [Page 124] is probable because the im­mediate words before my Text, Thou shalt perform unto the Lord thine Oaths, re­late only to such as are Pro­missory. And 'tis reasona­ble, that the following sen­tence should be understood as the foregoing whereto it answers. And this may be thought more likely, in re­spect to that what is future is not in our power, and consequently not so fit to be promised by Oath, though indeed I conceive we engage not so much the after event as our present intention, and future endea­vour. Again, this interpre­tation [Page 125] is not inconsistent with legal proceedings. For all Oaths therein are Asser­torii us [...] praecipu­us est in Judiciis ad lites t [...]rmi­nandas, Sander­son Pral. 1. sect. 8. asser­tory (as I take it) and con­cern the truth of things al­ready past.

Sect. 35. 2ly. Others think that Christ here forbad such Oaths, as then were, and still are too frequently used in common discourse, but not such as the Magistrates require by Law: Nor is this improbable, for here is not a syllable of any proceed­ings in Law; but on the contrary, this Comment receives a great Corrobora­tion from the place it self, sect. 37. but let your Commu­nication [Page 126] be yea, yea; nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these (that is in your Com­munication) cometh of evil. Now if this verse refer to my Text, as the particle but seems to imply, Swear not at all, but say yea, nay, then as on the one side we are enjoyned to use bare af­firmations or negations; so on the other, we are forbid­den to swear at all in Commu­nication. And for the fur­ther confirmation hereof, it is urged that the Hebrew word Nishbang is most fre­quently used in the Old Testament: And that is known to be of the passive [Page 127] voice, implying, that we are not to swear, but be sworn, Quod nemo jurare nisi coactus solemniter debeat, says Pagnin. And this is the judgment of some very re­verend and learned persons now living.

Sect. 36.

3ly. There are who say that prophane, false, rash, and vain Oaths are gene­rally here prohibited, as never to be used upon any occasion: and no other. So Pareus, Nihil haec Christi In locum sententia derogat legitimis ju­ramentis quae vel in judiciis vel extra judicia quandoque praestanda sunt. And that such Oaths as are seriously [Page 128] taken, and upon good ground, whether required by Magistrates, or extrajudi­cial, are lawful, and there­fore not dis-allowed by Christ is highly warranted by the Authority and This was also St. Au­stins pra­ctise. Cum vi­dero non mihi cre­di, nisi faciam, & ei qui mihi non credi, non ex­pedire quod non cre­dit, ha [...] per pensâ rat [...]one, & consideratione libratâ, cum mag­ [...]o timo [...]e dico, coram Deo, aut Testi [...] est Deus, aut scit Christus, sic esse in animo me [...]. Serm. 28. de Verb. Apost. pra­ctise of St. Paul. And on the contrary frequent and idle swearing, the taking in vain the dreadful Name of the most High, which ought not to be used but advised­ly, and with great Reve­rence, must needs argue a great impiety, and dis-re­spect [Page 129] of the Almighty. Whereupon it must be granted, that this Exposi­tion is very sutable to other Scriptures, and the Analo­gy of Faith, and neither re­strains Oaths imposed by Authority, nor is disagree­able to the Text, if the word [...] (from which I suppose come our English words whole and wholy) be rendred commonly, as it may well be, and as it is, 1 Cor. 5. 1. [...]. It is commonly reported; There goeth a common saying as an old Translation reads it. Nor can it hence be inferred, that the Apostles were com­mon [Page 130] Swearers, though St. Peter that great Apostle, was not altogether free from this vice, some years after these words were spoken, as appears St. Mat. 26. sest. 72. and 74. For as St. Ambrose saies, Non ad solos Apostolos loquebatur, In Ps. 108 Octo [...]. 14. sed ad turbas. And Christ himself saies as much, Luke 6. 27. I say unto you which hear; and that was this same Sermon whence I have chosen my Text, at the end whereof it is said, S. Mat. 7. 28. that the people were astonished at his Doctrine, and therefore assuredly they heard it. Besides, as [Page 131] there is no Reason that I know to be rendred, why swearing should in general & totally be prohibited; so there are two great causes why cōmon swearing should severely be forbidden. The one is the prophanation of Gods Name. The other, lest thereby men at unawares fall into that horrid sin of To this sense St. Austin expounds this Text Epist. 1 [...].—In novo Testamento dictum est, ne omni­no juremus Quod quidem mihi proptere [...] dictum vide­tur, non quià verum jurate peccatum est, sed quià per­jurare immane peccatum est, à quo nos longè esse vo­luit, qui omnino ne juremus admonuit. So also St. Am­brose, l. 30. de Virginibus: Non immeritò Dominus in Evangelio jubet non esse jurandum, ne [...]it causa perjurii, ne sit necessitas delinquendi. And again, Tract. de hort▪ ad Virg. prope finem. Non jurandum, inquit, facile, quia plerumque multi casus accidunt, ut non pomssius imple [...]e quod juraverimus. Qui autem non jurat, utique non pejerat: qui autem jurat, aliquando necesse est incidat (I suppose is should be read in) perjurium, qui [...] [...] homo mendax. Noli ergo jurare ne incipias pejera [...]e. A [...] again in Ps. 118. Octon. 14. Voluit te non jurare ne pe [...] jures. So Clemens Alexandrinus, Strom. l. 7. [...]. Nam qui ne jur [...] quidam multum abest ut sit pejera [...]ur [...]s So St. Basil [...] Psal. 14. 15. [...]. Qui non jurat periculum vitavit perju [...] And Isidorus Hispalensis, lib. 2. Sentent. cap. 31. sect. Non est contra Dei praeceptum jurare, sed dum us [...] ju andi facimus, perjurii crimen incurrimus And [...] contemptu mundi, Prohibe etiam tibi juramentum, tol [...] jus jur [...]ndi (that's his word) usum, quia periculos [...] est. Assiduitas jurandi perjurii consuetudinem facit, & So Euthymius Zigabo [...]us in Mat. 5. Qui facile jurat al [...] quando for [...]asse pejerabit ob jurandi cousuetudine [...] And in Regula S. Benedicti (cap 4. sect. 27.) the Rule [...] Non jurare, ne forte perjures. He lived Anno 500. A [...] these words are made use of by Theodulphus Aureliane [...] sis above 300 years after. Perjury, the prevention [Page 132] whereof is here more clearly discovered than it wa [...] before. For whereas it wa [...] said, Thou shalt not forswea [...] thy self, &c. Christ expresly forbids the occasion o [...] Perjury, rash, and customary [Page 133] swearing, not only as ill [...] it self, but also in respect of the danger adjoyned. This Reason is touched by St. James 5. 12. if we read the Text with the most learned Bishop Walton in his Polyglot, [...], ne incidatis in simulationem as the Arabick Translator ren­ders Eccl. 23. 11. In Epi­tome di­vinarum Institut. sect. 4. In Ps. 118. Oct. 14. In verba Domini & de Serm. Dom. in monte. l. 1. & In Ps. 88. & In Ps. 109. it; which Grotius ex­pounds, ne fallaces inveni­ [...]mini. Thus also Syracides, [...]. So that ancient Father La­ctantius speaks of a good man, who, Ne jurabit quidem, ne quando vel necessitate, vel consuetudine in perjuri­um cadat. So St. Ambrose [Page 134] Voluit te non jurare ne perj [...] res. So St. Austin, ne fac [...] litate jurandi in perjuriu [...] prolabamur; to which purpose he (as many others) speaks in several places.

Sect. 37.

4thly. Many understand that by these words of Christ, all swearing by Crea­tures is forbidden, but not that by God himself. And that seems evident if the words [...] be not referred to the foregoing act of swearing, but to the subse­quent objects. Besides, this opinion, as it fully agrees with the Analogy of Faith, and makes a perfect concord [Page 135] betwixt the Old Testament and the New, and is no way repugnant to swearing in judicial proceedings; so it is backed with great Au­thorities. Considera (saies St. Hierome on the place) quod hic salvator non per De­um jurare prohibuerat, sed per Coelum, & terram, & Hiero­solymam, & per caput tuum. This way went the Gallican Council that condemned the Albigenses, where it is said, that in the Text, Non prohibet nos jurare per De­um, sed per Creaturas: and this great reason is there gi­ven, Si licitum fuisset per Creaturas jurare, Reverentia, [Page 130] [...] [Page 131] [...] [Page 132] [...] [Page 133] [...] [Page 134] [...] [Page 135] [...] [Page 136] & honor qui Deo soli debetur, creaturis exhiberetur. And In Re­spe [...] ad co [...]ta Bulg [...]ro­cum. before that Nic. the first Bishop of Rome (about 800. years since) saies that here, nil nisi ut per Creaturam ju­retur procul dubio inhibetur; without doubt, nothing is here forbidden, save only swearing by Creatures. And before that also about 1200. years ago, according to the judgment of the noble An­tiquary Sir Henry Spelman, who by his unparelled la­bours has so highly merited Cap. 23. of our Church, an Irish Sy­nod holden under St. Patrick, expounded this, Non jurare omnino, non adjurandam esse [Page 137] Creaturam, that we should not be sworn by a Crea­ture.

Sect. 38.

And now I hope you do not expect, that so mean a Person should sit down in the Moderators Chair, and determine which of these Expositions is most conso­nant to our Saviours mean­ing. Let me not be guilty of such a Presumption. Yet what my thoughts are of this matter, without the least derogation to any of the recited opinions war­ranted by so much Reason, and Authority, I shall not refuse to declare.

Sect. 39

It has in part, and may be sufficiently proved that our Saviour did not in this Chapter dis-allow the Mo­ral vide s [...]t. 23. Law, but only the Pharisaical corrupt Glosses thereon, and the ir-religi­ous practises of the mis-in­formed Jews, who (as Ori­gen Tract. 25. in Mat. tells us) Consuetudinem habent per Coelum jurare. To that same purpose, St. Hierom, Hanc per Clementa In locum jurandi possimam consuetudi­nem semper habuere Judaei. And so St. Chrysostome, In locum [...]. They were accustomed to swear by these things. And Christian Druthman a In locum [Page 139] Writer of 850 years stand­ing, saith, Habuerunt Judae [...] consuetudinem jurandi per Creaturas, Deus hoc nobis prohibet. Nay farther, be­cause the Pharisees taught them to perform whatever they had promised, swear­ing by God, they under a specious pretension, that they would not take Gods Name in vain upon a slight occasion, fell to swear by Creatures (which the Pha­risees, as Grotius shows out of Philo Judaeus, did not disallow) the easilier there­by to delude such credulous people as believed those Oaths, which themselves [Page 140] neither thought obligatory, nor meant to keep. This cheating trick grew not long after to be so notori­ously known every where, that Martial, in the Reign of the Emperor Domitian in one of his Epigrams made sport with it, bringing in a Jew swearing by the Roman Gods; Non credo (said he) Mart. l. 11. Epig. 95. jura verpe per Anchialum, corruptly, for im chai eloah, as the Lord liveth. The Poet ignorant of this Lan­guage, mistook it for the proper name of some God, by whom alone he thought they durst not swear falsly. And it is certain that the [Page 141] Scribes and Pharisees taught the People, that to swear by several Creatures, as by the Temple, and the Altar, was not binding: For Christ reproves them as blind guides upon that account, S. Mat. 23. 16. &c. This practise was a gross offence as well a­gainst the eighth Command­ment as the third. And our Saviour having already pro­hibited the abuses against the sixth and seventh, pro­ceeds now in due order to reprove such as were com­mitted not only against the third, but also the eighth, which otherwise might seem to be omitted. Upon which [Page 142] ground I conceive (with submission to better Judg­ments) that Christs scope in these words, was to recti­fie the erroneous Doctrine of the Pharisees (which had too powerful an influence upon the lives of the peo­ple) and the vicious St. Au­stin de Sermone Domin [...] in monte, makes a Quaere why Christ forbad swearing by Heaven, Earth, &c. and answers it thus, Credo propterea quia non putabant Judei se t [...]neri [...]ure jurando, si per ista Juras­sent, & quoniam audierant, Reddes autem Domino Jusjurandum tuum, non se putabant Domino debere Jus­jurandum, si per Coelum, aut tertam, aut per Hycroso­limam, aut per c [...]put suum jurarent: qu [...]d non vitio praecipientis, sed illis malè intelligentibus factum est. To the same purpose speaks Chemnitius, Har [...]. Evang. cap. 51. Pericop. 3. Explicatio certior & firmior est quae ex Textu samitur▪ duae enim quasi species subjiciuntur. 1. Quod Pharisaeorum traditio erat in quibusvis casibus in familiari Sermone, & in communibus negotiis rectè, & sine pe [...]to posse nomen Dei ad Juramentum assumi. 2. Quod sentiebant in quibusdam obliquis sive indire­ctis jurandi formulis, ut per Caelum, per caput jura­mentum impunè posse violari. Illis igitur persuas [...]oni­bus Christus opponit particulam omnino, quae ad hanc subjectum materiam restringenda est, ut sc. omnino non lice [...]t vel [...]irecte per Deum, vel indirecte per creaturas, vel vane, seu temere, vel falso jurare. Haec autem pro­hibitio Christi non est nova quaedam Le [...], &c. practi­ses [Page 143] of that seduced Nation, as to the third and eighth Commandments, as well as he had done already in the sixth and seventh. The one taught that it was Perjury indeed to break an Oath, if a man had sworn by God; but not, if he had only sworn by some Creature. And the other took advantage of that li­berty, and customarily u­sed those non-obliging Oaths (as they accounted [Page 144] them) upon a set design to over-reach their credulous Neighbours. In opposition to which, both Doctrine, and Practise, Christ forbids all swearing by Creatures, and Teaches (contrary to the Jewish Rabbies) that though such Oaths ought not to be taken; yet being taken are binding, in respect of the Creatures relation to the Creator; which is the purport of the latter part of this 34, 35, and 36. verses. And Sect. 37. he orders them in place of these sinful Oaths, to use only bare Affirmations or Denials in their mutual converse. Whereof [Page 145] he gives this reason, that whatsoever is superadded there to (as their accustomed Oaths) Some argue from thence, that therefore [...]ll swearing is unlawful as coming from evil. But that is no good Argument. For, first; all swearing comes not from evil causally (though occasionly it do) because some is commanded by God. Onely that swearing that comes from a vici [...]us habit in ordinary d [...]scourse, (whereof our Saviour speaks especial [...]y here) or Pe [...]jury, or swearing to wicked purposes, which come from the instinct of the Devill, or from mens own malicious, or co­ [...]tous Passi [...]ns: or swearing, when otherwise we cannot he believed, ei [...]her in r [...]spect we have been formerly promise­ [...]akers: or through incredulity, or want of Charity in the hearers (which ordinarily ariseth out of the conscious­ness of their own fraudulency, and deception of others) may truely the said to come of evill: and so thu reaches not all Oaths. But secondly▪ It is not true, that what ever com­ [...]th occasionly of evill, is evill it se [...]f. For good Laws are [...]casioned by evill manners. And the preservation of Ja­cob and his Family from perishing by Famine was good; set it was occasioned by selling of Joseph, which was evil. So if a man will no [...] believe what's necess [...]ry for him, nine Oath is good, though his distrust which oc [...]asioned it, be ev [...]ll. cometh of evil, that is, either by the suggestion of Satan that evill one, or [Page 146] els from their wickedness, and desire of defrauding their brethren.

Sect. 40

I know that many ju­dicious Persons have inter­preted this word evill, to be the Incredulity of those with whom we converse. But I must crave leave to dissent from them in this particular, because that might be a motive to us to Swear, especially in mat­ters of importance, when otherwise we should not be credited; but no Rea­son why we should not Swear. Another mans di­strust, cannot make mine Oath unlawfull. Nor is [Page 147] this Argument of any force, I ought not to Swear, because some men will not otherwise believe me.

Sect. 41

If any of a contrary perswasion be not yet sa­tisfied, but still urges the universality of the expres­sion, Swear not at all; and that of St. James 5. 12. Above all things, my brethren, Swear not, neither by Hea­ven, neither by the Earth, neither by any other Oath. I answer, first to the Texts severally; and then to both together. To the former, it is plain, that they who thus argue, break off our Saviours Sentence in the [Page 148] middle, and suffer him not to come to his intended Period, which is wrong, and incivility to an ordi­nary speaker. For he said not, Swear not at all, there fixing a point; but, Swear not at all, neither by Heaven, &c. nor by Earth, &c. And it is certain, that the be­ginning of many sentences, were the explanatory words cut off, might ad­mit of a construction (and that with a great show of probability) contrary to the meaning of the Au­thor. For example, There be some (saith the holy Je­sus) standing here which shall [Page 149] not taste of death, till they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdome, St. Mat. 16. 28. should any put a full point at Death, and lop off the re­mainder of the sentence, how distant would the sence seem from the in­tending meaning? if any then urge against you, Swear not at all, you may desire him to speak on, and what God has joyned together not to put asun­der.

Sect. 42.

And as for that of St. James, it must of necessity be understood with Re­striction. Serm 28. de Verb. Apost. St. Austin preach­ing [Page 150] upon that Text, scru­ples at the first words, Quare ante omnia? jurare pejus est quam furari, &c. quam adulterare, &c. quam hominem occidere? Absit? It cannot be that swearing is worse than forswearing, Theft, Adultery, Murder; nor so ill, if that Father may be judge. These are hainous crimes, nulla u­tem culpa est verum jurare. But it is no sin to swear the Truth, with due qualifica­tions. Why then above all things, Swear not? Ʋt vi­giletis ne surrepat vobis con­suetudo jurandi; not that swearing is so great an of­fence [Page 151] as many others, or indeed any offence at all rightly used; but left we contract a habit thereof, which we shall be apt to do, if carefully we avoid it not, and then probably by rash Oaths we shall of­fend God, by false swear­ing wrong our Neighbours, by both, damn our souls. And therefore above all things (which is here no more than in Quid est ante omnia? Prae cae­teris cau­tus esto, plus ad hoc in­ [...]entus e [...]o, quàm ad alia, Aust. Serm. 28. de Verb. Apost. an especial manner) forbear swearing. In like sort, the subsequent words any other Oath, must be understood in a re­strained [Page 152] sense. For there­by is not meant any Oath whatever; but only such as the Apostle there speaks of. As therefore it were an illogical inference from the former part of that Verse, to say, that swearing is worse than Murder, be­cause St. James saies, A­bove all things swear not: so it is no better a conse­quence to say that swearing by God is unlawful, be­cause it is here enjoyned, that we should not swear neither by Heaven, neither by the Earth, neither by a-any other Oath, that is, any Oath taken by any other [Page 153] Creature. For so of neces­sity must the Apostle be understood, unless we so interpret his words, as to make them contradict Gods, and set the Servant in a manifest opposition to his Master.

Sect. 34

Secondly, I answer to both these Texts conjunctim, that these Propositions, how universally soever exprest, ought not in equity to be extended beyond the in­tention of the Speakers, but to be limited accord­ing to the subject matter. Swear not at all (says Christ) neither by Heaven, nor by Earth, &c. that is, I uni­versally [Page 154] forbid you all those Oaths, which you were wont to use frequently to wicked purposes. And this is not a phancy of our own to evacuate the words of our Saviour: far be that from us; we rather seek to establish them in the full la­titude that they were in­tended to bear: But to this Restriction of them, the for­mer Reasons do constrain us. If it be said, that then, for all Christs words, we may swear as oft as we please, and that vainly, and falsly too, by God, if on­ly swearing by Creatures be here prohibited, which [Page 155] seems most absurd. I reply, that these vain, and false Oaths by God, even by the acknowledgment of the Pharisees themselves were sufficiently forbidden be­fore; and so there was no need either for Christ or St. James to speak of them, or forbid them again. Christ came neither to make a new Law, nor to void, or alter what was already establish­ed; but to vindicate the perfect Law of God from the sinful interpretations of men. Nor is this exposition of these Texts strange, or unusual. Other places of Scripture must of necessity [Page 156] be thus interpreted, a [...] 1 Cor. 10. 23. All things are lawful for me. How? is it lawful to kill, or steal? no­thing less. The Apostle is speaking there of things in­different, and therefore the words there (just in the same manner as here) are to be restrained to the sub­ject matter. All things in general are not lawful, but all such adiaphorous things as the Apostle there dis­courses of. So here, all Oaths are forbidden, not all in ge­neral, but all which our Sa­viour, and St. James had oc­casion to speak of: many like instances might be gi­ven. [Page 157] There went out to John the Baptist all the Land of Ju­daea, Mar. 15. What? sure not all the sick, blind, lame, decrepit, bedrid, but some from all quarters of the Land. St. Luke says, he had perfect understanding in all Cap. 1. 3 things. What? of all Arts, Trades, Professions, Nations, Languages, &c. No sure, but of all things concerning which he was to Write. Au­gustus decreed that all the World should be taxed. But Lu. 2. 1. that was no more than that part of the World that was under his Dominion: For the rest was not under his command, and at that time [Page 158] much of the Earth was ei­ther not inhabited, or un­known; and all that was not known, was not then sub­ject to the Roman Empire. We read in the fourth Com­mand, In it (that is in the Sabbath day) thou shalt do Ex. 10. 10. no manner of Work, or (as it is rendred by our last Translators) Thou shalt not do any Work; yet notwith­standing this expression of the most extensive lati­tude, it is certain that Works of Piety, Charity, or Necessity were not for­bidden. So our Saviour saies, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven Mat. 12. 31. [Page 159] unto Men; an universal pro­position, which neverthe­less admits of a Restriction; for he immediately adds, that the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And be­sides, notwithstanding the generallity of these words, All manner of sin shall be Luc. 13. [...] forgiven, we know that no sin shall be forgiven but upon condition of Repen­tance. The woman that was healed by touching the border of Christs gar­ment, St. Luk. 8. 47. told him before all the people why she had touched him. How, before all the people [Page 160] of the World, or before all the people of the Land? No doubtless, but before all the people there pre­sent. Reason plainly shows that these and many like Enunciations, how univer­sally soever proposed, must be restrained according to the occasion, and purpose of the speaker. And so ac­cordingly must these words be, Swear not at all.

Sect. 44.

And here the grand ob­jection falls of it self, which is, either all kind of Swear­ing is here forbidden, or else Christ notwithstand­ing his words, But I say un­to you, forbad nothing [Page 161] which was not forbidden before, which is utterly improbable. The reason is, because God had formerly prohibited all false, and vain Oaths, and all swear­ing by Creatures: all which I grant to be true. Never­theless, the Pharisees▪ had taught the People other­wise, and that under a re­ligious pretence of a great­er Reverence to Gods Name. And the practice of that Nation, mislead by their Teachers, was wide­ly distant from the Com­mandment, both which were very necessary to be [Page 162] reformed. Which here our Saviour did in these words, But I say unto you, swear no [...] at all; Which were not spoken in any opposition to Gods Law, but to the false, and wicked glosse [...] of those blind Guides (that made the Commandment of God of small effect by their Tradition) and the leud de-deportment of the Peo­ple.

Sect. 45.

And now I have done, and I fear it is more than time to have done with the Exposi­tion of these words. For Application let me address my self to you all, who ei­ther [Page 163] now, or at some other time may be legally called to take your Oaths, which you have heard vindicated to be lawful, notwithstand­ing the seeming opposition of these words, Swear not at all. But this must be under­stood only of just and ne­cessary Oaths. Hear what our Saviour saies, St. Mat. 5. 20. I say unto you, that except your righteousnesse shall exceed the righteous­nesse of the Scribes and Pha­risees, ye shall in no case en­ter into the Kingdome of Heaven. But they con­demned Perjury in the [Page] Verse immediately before my Text: Thou shalt not forswear thy self. So then, if you swearing by God, do not carefully avoid all false Oaths, you are so far from exceeding them, that you fall much below them. And then if they shall not enter into Hea­ven, what will become of these that are much worse? For the regulation of your Practice in this point, I shall commend that Text of the Prophet. Jer. 4. 2. And thou shalt swear (here is your warrant for swear­ing, which thence appears [Page] to be not only Lawful, but in some cases Necessary, be­cause commanded) The Lord liveth; whence you learn by whom you are to swear, that is, only by the Living God. Consider, O consider with what fear, and reverence, and care of the Truth you ought to approach into the presence of God, whom you call to Witness; that God who is your Maker and Pre­server; that God through whose Mercies you hope to be saved; that God who is the searcher of your hearts, and the just Judge, [Page 166] and severe Revenger of all Perjury. In Truth, in Judg­ment, and in Righteousness, these three are the quali­fications of a lawful Oath; and no Oath is lawful, if it be repugnant to any of these. St. Hierom calls them, the Companions of In Jer. 4. an Oath, without which, Nequaquam est juramentum, sed Perjurium, it is not swearing, but forswear­ing.

Sect. 46

The first Concomitant of an Oath is Truth, which engages you neither▪ to swear any thing you know [Page 167] false, nor any thing you know not to be true. Ground not your Eviden­ces on surmises, or conje­ctures, but on your own certain knowledge. Jurare (saies St. Ambrose) judicium scientiae, testimonium Consci­entiae In Ps 11 [...] Oct. 14. est. Use plain, and not ambiguous words, with­out deceit, partiallity, or by respects. Be not tran­sported with fear, favour, or ill will to any Person: Your testimonies are nei­ther to be lamed by concealing ought that's true, nor corrupted with the addition of any false­hood.

The second is Judgment, which admonishes you, that what you speak upon Oath should not be pas­sionate, rash, or inconsi­derate; knowing, that whatever Information you give to a Judge upon Earth, you must at the last day be accountable for it to the great Judge of quick, and dead. Be therefore wary, and well-advised what you utter, that neither through wick­ednesse, nor inconsidera­tion, you pervert Justice, or prejudice their right [Page 169] who may suffer through your sin, or unadvised­ness.

The third is Righteous­nesse, which ought to be your scope. Accuse not the innocent, excuse not the guilty. Remember that, he that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, are both abomi­nation to the Lord, Prov. 17. 15. Be then so consci­entious in bearing wit­ness, for, or against o­thers, that your own Consciences bear not wit­ness against you in the [Page 170] day when God shall judge the secret of all men by Christ Jesus. Consider that you do not onely speak in the presence of God, (and therefore ought to regard what you say,) but also call him to witness with you the Truth of your Affirma­tions. Think that every false Oath is a grievous curse, wherein you re­nounce the help of your Creator, the hope of Heaven, your salvation by Christs death decla­red in the Gospel; and by your falshood bid de­fiance [Page 171] to the God of Truth. The honour of that God in protecting the innocent, and pu­nishing the wicked, and the security of mens per­sons, and Estates depend much upon your fidelity. Seek not by wronging others to lose your own souls; these soul [...] for the salvation whereof our bles­sed Saviour was content to shed his dearest bloud. Let me shut up all in the words of the Prophet Zech. 8. 16. Speak ye every man the truth to his [Page] 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 Oaths; for all these are things that I hate, saith the Lord. May our heavenly Father so imprint these words in our minds, that we may love what he loves, hate what he hates, and at length may be partakers of everlast­ing happinesse, through the Merits and Media­tion of Christ Jesus, to [Page 173] whom with the Father, and the Holy Ghost, three Persons, and one God, be all honour and glory, now, and evermore. Amen, Amen.

FINIS.

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