A SUMMONS FOR SVVEARERS, AND A Law for the Lips in reproving them: Wherein the chiefe Disswasives from Swearing are proposed, the sleight obje­ctions for swearing answered, The strange judgments upon Swearers, For­swearers, Cursers, That take Gods Name in vain, related.

Which may be a terror to the wicked for swearing, and a preservative for the godly from Swearing.

With sundry Arguments to prove the verity of the Scriptures, and excellencie of the Decalogue, against all prophane and Atheisticall deniers thereof.

By WALTER POWELL, Preacher at Standish, neer Glocester.

LONDON, Printed by Matthew Simmons in Aldersg [...] street. 1645.

An Exposition of the third COMMANDEMENT: Being the summe and substance into one Modell, newly, briefly, properly collected out of that which by many Authors hath more anciently, large­ly, promiscuously been delivered.

Tending to banish the Devill from mens tongues, that they doe not utter oathes, and from mens ears that they doe not hear them uttered, without reproving them.

Librum ut Monitorem potius, quam Crimi­natorem, lege. Hierome.

Corpore stetisti, animo fugisti;
Fugisti, quia tacuisti;
Tacuisti, quia timuisti;
Nam fuga animae, timor est.
Histo. of Adam ex Augustino.

TO THE RIGHT Honorable the LORDS and Commons assembled in Parliament.

THE Copie of this Trea­tise (Right Honorable) having for a yeares space in these times of dan­ger, been buried in the ground, when other my bookes that lay open, were plundered a­way, was secure, and by Gods provi­dence, for some better use, I hope, re­served.

If in the Prophet Ieremies time,Jer. 23.10. the land did mourn because of oathes, why may not such a cause produce such an ef­fect now also?Hosea 4.1.

If in Hosea's time the Lord had a con­troversie with the inhabitants of the [Page]land, because by swearing, &c. they brake forth, and blood touched blood: i. bloo­dy punishments, bloody sinnes; why may not this heaven-daring sinne be a speciall promover of the fury of Gods wrath, so hotly incensed against this na­tion, at this time?

I know not any one sinne more uni­versally spread over Court, Citie, Coun­try, then this Laws-outfacing Gangren.

That Gods sword may bee sheathed, mans must be drawn forth, out of the scabbard of silence, connivence, by re­prehension, by correction. It requires the labour of most skilfull Chirurge­ons, to put to their helping hearts and hands, to the healing of this festered wound,Ezek. 22.30. to make up the hedge, to stand in the gap before the Lord, for the Land, (which is as the Bush in Moses time,Exod. 3.2. bur­nin, though not consumed) that hee may not fully destroy it.

Such searchers of these soares have need of Eagles eyes, and Lions hearts, as well as Ladies hands.

Knotty pieces require the more blowes to break them, foule linnen the more water to cleanse them, Drossie [Page]silver the more refining, and dusty gar­ments the more brushing.

If this Epidemicall sinne were more frequently, more fervently, preached a­gainst by Ministers, I think it would not be so freely, so fully persisted in by men, against the Lord.

The ensuing Summons for Swearers will discover how this sinne of swearing hath been punished by God, by men, Christi­ans, heathens.

Some Errata's you may meet with in the booke, because while part of it was in the presse in the Citie, the Author was in pressure (and that (almost a thing incredible) under the authority of the Parliament) in the countrey, by the ma­lice of malevolent, and malignant adver­saries. The Devill is more delighted with the quenching of the fire of zeale in the hearts of Peachers, then the Pope is pleased by the sprinkling of holy water upon the faces of the people.

Your inflamed Resolutions against this, and other like sinnes, this Tract will no whit retard, I hope, but rather ani­mate, enliven, enlarge. Renowned, indefa­tigable, reforming, eternizable Senators: [Page]consider God hath done great things by you, for you, that you may doe more for him still.

You may be bold to trust God upon triall.

These are times of warre, and who are to be accounted Souldiers, if you are not? You may bee as confident as the Souldier that Eràsmus speakes of, who being told of a numerous Army com­ming against, answered, Tanto plus gloriae referemus, quanto sunt plures quos superabi­mus: The greater the opposition, the more illustrious the conquest shall be to you,2 Tim. 4.7.8. considering all Christs Souldiers shall have a crown, though sometimes enforced to swim to the same in streames of blood. In Exodus 32. wee read of three sorts of fire; of the Israe­lites by sinne, of God by judgements, of Moses by zeale. The first made way for the second, the second for the third.

Hannibal by fire made a way over the Alps: so shal you by zeal over all moun­tains of oppositions.

What powder is to bullets, a clapper to the Bell, fire to wood, wings to a bird, wind to sailes, sailes to a ship, an [Page]edge to a razor, wine to the spirits, me­tall to a horse, a soule to the body, viva­city to any creature, that is zeale to a Christian, it acts his soule, it moves his affection.

It is oft winter within, when it is Sum­mer without: In the cold climate of this countrey, let the fire of your zeale bee seen more and more to unthaw this icie corruption. Why should there not bee in superiors a liberty of punishing, aswel as there is in inferiors a liberty of sin­ning? The frantick man returning to his wits, thinkes him his best friend, that bound and beat him most.

He that withstands a man in the pro­secution of this or any other sin, though he beares away frowns & heart-burnings for a time, yet when the offending party comes to himselfe, he recompenseth his former dislike, with so much the more love, and so many the more thanks. The Lord himselfe will for all eternity speak of such a man, such a Parliament, as som­times he did of Phinehas, This man,Numb. 25.11. this Parliament that was zealous for my glo­ry, hath turned away my wrath from the children of Israel, from the people of [Page] England. This was the great Councel of England, that first successfully hindered the blaspheming, and effectually furthe­red the sanctifying of my glorious Name; that was carefull to banish swea­ring, 1. out of their own hearts, 2. out their houses, 3. out of the Land, before swearing had banished them out of all. By so doing your active spirits may the rather expect your other workes to bee the more prosperous, your labour bee light, your sorrowes easie, our warres hushed, our peace permanent, and your own salvation certain: which hath been, is, and shall be the prayer of

Your servant, Sufferer, Supplicant, WALTER POWELL.

I Have perused this Treatise intituled, A Summons for Swearers, I find it fraughted with usefull and delight­full matter, so as omne tulit punctum, &c. In generall I observe solid Arguments therin to prove the divine au­thority of the sacred Scripture; whereby much weight is added to the proof which thence he produceth. It doth further set out the manifold excellencies of the word of God, as in generall, so in particular of the Morall Law therein contained. As for the main point whereat the Au­thor aimeth in this treatise, it is set out with much variety. As a groundwork he hath set down sundry distinctons of Gods name, and discovered above an hundred inventions of taking it in vain. Before he laies his Battery against the great sins of rash swearing, and false swearing, he judici­ously setteth down the lawfull and right use of swearing; and therein answereth the Anabaptists. Then he distinct­ly declareth wherein this sin of undue swearing lieth, how hainous it is, and how many waies committed; withall, he giveth sound answers to the severall vain Apologies that are made for it, and addeth sundry motives against it; for the better observing whereof, he addeth prudent dire­ctions: yea, and to strike the greater terrour into mens souls against this sin, fearfull judgements of God upon false and rash swearers: The like is done about cursing. This treatise affords such soveraign remedies against those Epidemicall maladies, as it is worthy to be published for all that stand in aw of Gods judgements to read it. It is a fit Treatise to be commended not only to common swearers themselvs, but also to others, who may hereby be directed, how to prevent those sins in such as have not been accu­stomed thereunto, and also to redress them in such as are too much addicted to the same.

March 24. 1644.
William Gouge.

I Have seen a Tract intituled, A Summons for Swearers, and a Law for the Lips in reproving them. I think there is not any English Author extant, that contains more plain, pithy, perti­nent disswasives from this sin of swearing, or more variety of examples of Gods judgements upon swearers, for swearers, cursers; with rules of direction for the reprehension of such sin­ners, for the matter, manner, time; with sundry arguments to prove the truth of the Scrip­tures against all prophane Atheisticall deniers of the same; all easie for capacity, and various for delight.

I wish the Book were countenanced by Au­thority, that every Parish, if not Family, might enjoy one to be helpfull to them, for their in­formation and reformation, necessary for these times wherein the Land mournes in re­spect of this of swearing, as of any other sinne. I beleeve the little expence in procuring the Book, would be abundantly recompenced to the soules both of these sinners, and to all such whose dutie it is to reprove the same.

Edmund Calamy.

TO THE HONO­rable Sir WILLIAM LENTHALL, Speaker of the House of COMMONS.
To the right Worshipfull Sir Robert Harley, Sir Arthur Haselrigge, Sir Iohn Wilde, Knights, Mr. Edmund Prideaux, Mr. Na­thanael Stephens, Mr. Edward Stephens, Mr. Edward Bainton, Esquires, Mem­bers of the House of Commons: Sir Gyles Overbury, Knight, John Stevens, Edward Rich, Isaac Bromage, Anthony Clifford, Es­quires, Members of the Committee for Gloce­ster, Hereford, &c. W. P. wisheth sanctity in life, comfort in death, glory in Heaven.

GOOD Wine is not the worse for wanting, nor bad wine the better for having a green bush before the Doore. Cu­stome claimes by prescripti­on, that such Books as come under the Presse to be made publick, should be ushered with an [Page]Epistle: which if it want, it calleth into sus­pition, that either the Author hath no friends of worth, or that the worke is not worthy patronage. There are two principall ends (Right Worshipfull) of Dedicati­on; either that the Patrons should counte­nance the subject, or that the subject should work upon the Patrons.

That I may bee assured to bee exempted from flattery, I exclude my selfe from neither of these ends: Seeing swearing is a sinne, whereunto both religious and irreligious are too prone, the one by their common, rash, and wilfull swearing, the other by their care­lesse, cold, cowardly reproving the same: therefore cannot wholly be unfitting you, in which side soever you are to be ranked. The subject being a sinne so universally spread in Court, Citie, Countrey, it hath need finde some that may countenance and patronize it from the biting tongues of those, whose wounds it labours to discover and cure. I know very few who need not to have the edge of their zeale sharpened by the whetstone of Gods holy word, and mens daily remembran­ces, the Ministers of the Lord. In many things we sinne all, and in all things some: If you be free from this Epidemicall disease, [Page]both in the active and passive part, blesse God for it, who hath wrought this admi­rable cure upon you, seeing by nature eve­ry one is so propine unto it, which occa­sioned God to bound this precept with so sharp thornes and threats, saith Muscu­lus. In Loc. If you are not yet fully free, the Au­thor intreats the work may have leave to doe its best to make you free. Neither doe I de­dicate this Tract unto you, onely that you might shelter it (being a subject of this na­ture) from the many stormes of malevolent tongues: for I know it is sit, that whosoever publisheth any thing unfit, should beare the whole burthen of his own fault; and who­soever ventureth to appeare in print, must expect the common lot of all Writers, to bee variously censured of various dispositions: Some (as Nebuzaradan burnt the Temple, but kept the Gold) will be content to take the matter, yet blame the Author.

Others will happily (or rather unhappily) read it, not out of conscience, to make them­selves good, but out of curiosity to censure o­thers to be bad. In all these I would never desire friends to defend, nor feare enemies to deprave me: for what is good will de­fend it selfe; and to flatter others (fearing [Page]their censure for what is bad) were rather impiety towards them, then policie towards my selfe.

To feare any mans censure (in so censori­ous an age) were imbecillity; and to think so to speak or write as to please all, were to aime at an impossibility and either to endevour, were meer folly.

But your names in a selected sort I make bold to prefix, and that the rather, seeing all of you by office and place, I know should be, and most of you by affection and practice, I be­leeve, are professed enemies to this soule-killing, heaven-daring, land-loading, peace-disturbing, and hell-hastening sinne.

If these poore and unexpected papers find such kinde and expected entertain­ment in your hearts, as the Author oft hath undeservedly found in many of your houses, I doubt not but your publicke weekly pra­ctice in life, will be as powerfull as my pul­pit Sabbath precepts by voyce, to work upon your Servingmen in houses, your Tenants and many other inferior inhabitants in your Parishes, that have necessary recourse unto, and daily dependance on you.

Touching the Treatise it selfe, I confesse my manner of handling things therein, is [Page]like my selfe, plain and homely, without any gorgious garment of Rhetoricall Orna­ments, because I hold it a Maxime (for my selfe ever to keep unto) to desire rather to speak to the edification of the hearers and readers, then for the ostentation of my selfe in speaking or writing: yet I dare pro­mise the matter to be like them from whom I received it, sound and good, fit to feed all those Christians that desire rather to have their hungry soules fed with the sincere milk of Gods word, then their itching eares tickled with the enticing speech of mans wisedome.

I say no more concerning it,Deut. 25.13. but Non sit in vobis nec mensura major, nec mensura minor, that is, as some inter­pret it, and as I here apply it, substract not from this much, little, old, new nothing, what is due unto it; nor ascribe unto it what it doth not deserve.

As God doth, so men should esteeme of the labours of Ministers, not according to the e­vent of the work, but according to the in­tent of the Author.

Thus fearing to make the windowes or gates too wide, when the house and Citie is but little, I commit you heartily to the [Page]Lords undeceivable direction, and this Treatise humbly to your favourable constru­ction, willing application, needfull pro­tection, and doe rest

Your Worships to be commanded, And By you to be relieved, WALTER POWELL.

TO THE READER; Especially the Inhabitants of Hard­wick, Standish, Saule, and Ranwicke, the Author desireth sorrow for this sin, freedome from this punishment, speedy and perfect obedience to this powerfull COMMANDEMENT.

TO the Reader, I say: both, Tibi, to thee that art ig­norant, that thou maist be instructed;

And tibi, to thee that hast knowledge, that thou maist be confirmed.

Tibi, to thee that art great, that thou think not to bee flattered, but that thy greatnesse may be garnished with good­nesse;

And tibi, to thee that art poore, that thy soule by thy selfe be not neglected, though thy body by others bee not re­garded.

[Page] Tibi, to thee that hast zeale, that the same further may be sharpned;

And tibi, to thee that hast not zeale, that presently it may be procured.

Tibi, to thee that art young, that thou maist be restrained from swearing;

And Tibi, to thee that art old, that thou continue no longer in swearing.

Tibi, to thee that art curious, that thou expect not to be humoured, and yet by brevity and variety to bee kept from being cloyed;

And tibi, to thee that art a plaine and a down-right Reader, that thou mayst be as well profited as pleased.

Tibi, to thee that art a Minister, that thou maist informe, to make way for the Magistrates sword;

And tibi, to thee that art a Magi­strate, that thou maist reform, to coun­tenance and confirme the Ministery of the word.

Tibi, to thee that art a Parent or Mai­ster, that thou practise thy duty in re­proofe or punishment;

And tibi to thee that art a son, or ser­vant, that thou learn thy duty in submit­ting to the censure, & forfaking the sin.

[Page] Tibi, to thee that sleepest, that thou maist be awakened;

And tibi, to thee that watchest, that thou maist rowse up him that sleepeth.

Tibi, to thee that art sick of this sinne, that thou maist be healed;

And tibi, to thee that thinkest not thy selfe sick, that thou mayest not die in thy lethargy.

Tibi, to thee that weepest for this sin, that thou maist be directed and comfor­ted;

And tibi, to thee that yet scornest this caveat, that thy conscience once may be touched, or thy mouth for ever stopped.

Tibi, to thee that writest, that thy own direction may keep thee from aberrati­on, and thou fulfill in practice what thou dost deliver in precept;

And tibi, to thee for whose sake it is written, that it may not bee as a sealed letter, or as a clasped book, Isai. 29.11.Isa. 29.11.

Tibi, to thee that lookest on, that thou maist be encouraged;

And tibi, to thee that lookest off, that thou maist be invited.

Tibi, to thee that sellest, that thou maist have gain in thy purse;

[Page]And tibi, to thee that buyest, that thou maist have gain in thy soule.

Tibi, to thee that hast many books, that hereby thou maist have occasion to read and peruse them;

And tibi, to thee that wilt have few books, that hereby thy purse may be ea­sed, and thy larger pains spared.

Tibi, to thee that stoppedst thy ears in hearing, that thou maist open thine eyes in reading it;

And tibi, to thee that diligently atten­dedst with the out man of the eare, that thou maist as carefully apply it to the hid man of the heart.

Tibi, to thee that reprovest, that thou be not wearied in well doing;

And tibi to thee that art reproved, that thou repell not the salve from the soare.

Tibi, to thee that art not converted by it, that thou blame thy selfe;

And tibi, to thee that art converted by it, that thou blesse thy God.

Tibi, to thee that dwellest far, that thou maist construe all things charitably;

And tibi, to thee that dwellest nigh, that thou maist quickly bee resvoled in thine ambiguities.

[Page] Tibi, to thee that swearest,

And tibi, to thee that hearest swearing.

Tibi, to thee that fearest,

And tibi, to thee that fearest not an oath, in what place soever thou inhabi­test of this County, Kingdome, World, doe I propose to be observed, &c.

Especially Vobis, to you the inhabi­tāts of Lidney, Newnham, Elmore, Hasfield, Ashelworth, and Chaselye, (by whom with divers worldly favours I have been en­couraged, among whom for a little while since my return from the University, I lived; and to whom by these spirituall admonitions, I doe desire my thankful­nesse to be acknowledged) do I propose to be observed, &c.

Also, vobis, to you the inhabitants of Saule & Randwick, who have by reason of annexion, some relation to my charge, but in respect of distance of dwelling, and proper provision, did not heare ma­ny of these things spoken to the eares, yet now may see them all obvious to the eye, doe I propose to be observed, &c.

Lastly, and more especially, vobis, to you the Parishioners of Hardwick and Standish (among whom I now inhabit, [Page]and to whom I often doe speak) doe I propose to be observed, the cautions and councels in the ensuing Tract contained: To you do I commit them printed, that heard them preached.

Quia, segniùs irritant animos demissa per aures,
Quam, quae sunt oculis subjecta fidelibus.

Hearing for the present is more prosi­table: Reading for the future is more permanent.

Vox audita perit, litera scripta manet.
Speaking is oft thought ambiguous:
Writing to all is conspicuous:
In that another spake to you,
In this you may speak to your selves.

That was in generall, this will be in particular: that was with many intermis­sions, this with one uniform connexion: that was at the will of the speaker, when to end, and this at will of the reader when to begin.

If in presence and speaking, the matter or man seemed base unto you, yet in ab­sence and writing,1 Cor. 10.1. let both bee bold to warn you.

Now lest you should say that this is Furtivis nudata coloribus, Furtivis. Horat. & every bird ha­ving [Page]fetched her own feather, it will ap­peare wholly naked and white paper on­ly: therefore have I annexed the names of the Authors whereunto I have been beholding.

1. First, that I might not derogate from what hath been invented by them.

2. That these things might have the more credit and respect (here briefly touched) in regard of the good & great account of the Authors wherein the points more fully are to be observed.

Some things here are, you shall know, that elsewhere are not to be found; and many things here are, I acknowledge, that among others by search more large­ly are to be seen.

Theirs it was in respect of matter, foun­dation, invention; mine it is in respect of method, building, application.

That which some of them have written,Nildictum quod non fuit prius. in respect of others, was not their own: That which I have written in respect of them, is not mine: if they have not been blamed being beholding to others be­fore them, why should I fear censuring, selecting from them before me?

The flowers are not to be disliked, that [Page]are fetcht from many gardens, especial­ly if the gardens bee acknowledged whence they have been gathered. But whether it be mine or theirs, sure I am, it shall be yours, if rightly you do make use of it: if for uttering every tenth oath you will but read the twenty several dis­swasives from swearing. If for hearing every tenth oath, you will but read the many motives to the reproofe of swea­ring. If you bestow but the tenth part of your spirituall pains upon your selves, as some of you do the twentieth part of your temporal profit upon me, I dare be bold confidently to avouch, that you shall find more profit by the perusal and application, then I expect credit by the publishing and dedication. Though ma­ny have written of this subject, yet I be­leeve, not in any one are so many several particulars,Quibus aut non va­cat propter alia nego­tiz, aut non valetis ra­tione lin­guae, vel sumptuum in multis tam multa legere & cognoscere. as herein touching this one point, are delivered.

And I know (to allude to Augustines phrase) that some of you want skill and light to understand, some of you want time and leasure to search, many of you want wils and minds to read, most of you want wealth and money to procure so [Page]many severall Authors (as here I have quoted and used) for the accumulating from so many sundry places and per­sons, sufficient ample store of Cannon­shot for the battering in pieces, if it bee possible, this mouth-desiling, car-infect­ing, soul-killing, land-shaking sin.

And it may be when this comes unto you, it shal not find you such as it would,2 Cor. 12.20. that is, free from this sin; and when you come unto it, you shall find it such as you would not, sharply censuring the same.

As for any carping criticall Censurer, that is apt to cōdemne all, before he hear or read the one halfe, I say no more but as the Poet, — Si quid novisti rectius istis, Candidus imperti; si non, his utere mecum.

If thou thy selfe canst better make,
Impart, or else these friendly take.

Now in conclusion, to joyn tibi, mibi, vobis and vestris together: To thee, to me, to you and yours, do I commit the whole, and every particular thereof: that God that works all in all, may be in us all, that the unmeasurablenesse of his mercies may cover all our miseries, the light of his truth inform our understandings, the [Page]power of his Spirit bear sway in our af­fections, the line of his law over-rule all our actions, that so his word may be o­beyed, his Spirit not grieved, his bles­sings continued, his judgments diverted, his Ministers encouraged, his Magi­strates eased, our persons protected, our warres ended, our peace procured, our consciences comforted, and our selves, bodies and souls changed from Goats to Sheep, from Serpents to Doves, from Lions to Lambs, from idle, rash, sinfull prophaners, into due, sober, and reverent sanctifiers of the great, glorious & fear­full Name of the Lord our God. To whose gracious goodnesse, that is able and ready to speak as powerfuly to the heart, as man is to the eare, I commit and commend you all, the Author and the work, that God alone may have the praise for what it hath, and the Authour your praiers for what he wants; who ever remains yours in all Christian du­ties,


Read, consider, practise, and the Lord begin, go on, and end with you in all things.

Accept in it what is good: Except against what is bad. Guide thou my Pen, O Lord, and it shall publish thy praise.


EXOD. 20.7.‘Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vain: for the Lord will not hold him guiltlesse that taketh his Name in vain.’

THE Word of God is honoured with many Titles, that men with feare, love and reverence might attend unto the same.

It is, the Acts and Statutes of the highest Parliament:

  • The Ark of truth:
  • The Auchor of hope:
  • The Antidote against poyson:
  • The Armour of proofe:
  • The alarm to the loyterer:
  • The Aqua vitae of the languishing:
  • The answer of all questions:
  • The A. B. C. of Christians.
  • [Page 2]It is, The bane of the wicked:
  • The bewrayer of vanities:
  • The beauty of the Spouse:
  • The Bay-bush of blessednesse:
  • The Beacon of the Soule:
  • A Bible for Bishops:
  • The Balm from Gilead:
  • The breath of the holy Ghost:
  • The check of conscience:
  • The conduit of comfort:
  • The conduct to Canaan:
  • The cubit of the Sanctuary:
  • The covenant of promise:
  • Christ his Aphorismes:
  • The Court-roll of his fines and amercia­ments:
  • The Diadem of Princes:
  • The Day-star of righteousnesse:
  • The Day-book for all our doings:
  • The desire of the godly:
  • The down-fall of doubting:
  • The dolour of the Devil:
  • The dread of the drunkard:
  • The doom of the damned.
  • It is, The Elephants river to swim in, the Foord for the Lamb to wade through:
  • The exercise of the mind to muse on:
  • The eye-bright of the understanding:
  • The eare-mark of Christs sheep to be known by:
  • The earnest of Salvation:
  • The Epistle of God to the world:
  • The Evidence for heaven:
  • [Page 3]It is, The fulnesse of knowledge:
  • The fire of the Sanctuary:
  • The freedome for captives:
  • The fortresse of Faith:
  • The fountain of felicity:
  • The food of the hungry:
  • The glasse of our life:
  • The glory of Israel:
  • The great Goliahs confusion:
  • Gods covenant with man:
  • The grave of all ungodlinesse:
  • The garden of all graces:
  • The gate unto glory.
  • It is, The hammer of hypocrites:
  • The haven of health:
  • The hive of the distressed:
  • The hope of the heavie:
  • The high-way to happinesse:
  • The Jewell for the eare:
  • The Judge of controversies:
  • The joy of Jerusalem:
  • The key of the Sheep-fold:
  • The keeper of conscience.
  • It is, The life of learning:
  • The leader of the lame:
  • The light of the blind:
  • The Lanthorn of Israel:
  • The land-star of the faithfull Pilgrime:
  • The Library of the holy Ghost:
  • The Lambs book:
  • The Lords Legacie:
  • The Lords Treasurie:
  • The lightning & thunder of the most-High.
  • [Page 4]It is, Mans mirth in his misery:
  • The Mint of the Church:
  • A main Mast for Mariners:
  • A make-peace for Magistrates:
  • A meditation for mourners:
  • A memento for mortalitie:
  • Milk for the weak:
  • Meat for the strong:
  • Musick for the melancholy:
  • The Mystery of godlinesse:
  • The mirror of Martyrs:
  • The map of the next world:
  • The mouth of the Lord Jehovah:
  • The nurse of vertue:
  • The newes from Canaan:
  • The non-such for the soul and body:
  • The net to draw mens souls out of the wa­ters of wickednesse.
  • It is, The Oracle of God:
  • The oldest way of life and truth:
  • The plea of the poore;
  • The pain of the rich:
  • The physick of the sick:
  • The preservative against the plague:
  • The priviledge of Christians:
  • The pearle without price:
  • The Pilot to pietie:
  • The path-way to Paradise:
  • The pledge of Gods love:
  • The promise of perfection:
  • The proof of professors:
  • The Palace of Protestants:
  • The prison of Papists:
  • The pull-down of Purgatory:
  • [Page 5]The plat-forme for all pastime:
  • It is, The quiver of Gods arrows against Atheists:
  • The quench-coale of lust:
  • The root of religion:
  • The rock of Gods Church:
  • The refuge of the righteous:
  • The rule of mans actions:
  • The riches unperishable:
  • The revealed will of God.
  • It is, The staffe of the feeble:
  • The sting of finne:
  • The Sling of David:
  • The Spring of pleasure:
  • The salve for the soare:
  • The Sea-mans compasse:
  • The spirituall Manna:
  • The Sword of the Spirit:
  • The School-master of Mankind:
  • The Seed of the new birth:
  • The Sea of Gods mercies:
  • The Signet of Gods right hand:
  • The Sampler of Saints sufferings:
  • The Scepter of Christs Kingdome:
  • The search for the sinner:
  • The safety for the sorrowfull:
  • The solace of the soul:
  • The summons to judgement.
  • It is, The tidings of salvation:
  • The treasure of gladnesse:
  • The triall of truth:
  • The testimony of Gods favour:
  • The touch-stone of error:
  • The two-edged sword:
  • [Page 6]The Testament and Tenure of our Free­hold:
  • The Tradesmans balance:
  • The young mans task:
  • The Vsurers hell:
  • The wine for the wounded:
  • The woe for the worldling:
  • The way for to walk in:
  • The
    Ulysses (saith Ho­mer) cau­sed him­self to bee bound to the Mast of the ship, and every one of his fellowes eares to be stopped with wax, that they might not hearken to the songs of these Monsters, the Syrens, and so be drowned in the Sea.
    wax for the Sailers cars against the Syrens songs on the sea:
  • The whetstone of zeal:
  • The watch-bell of Christians:
  • The wisdome of the crosse:
  • The well of the water of life.

And so from the Preface to provoke your at­tentions, I come to the Decalogues division, and Texts explication, to inform your judgments.

Christ divided the Law into two Tables: The love of God, and the love of our Neighbour.

Now the foure first Commandments contain our dutie to God; the fix last, to our Neighbour.

Josephus divides and allots five unto the first, and five unto the last Table.

August. Quaest. 71. on Exod. saith, there be three precepts contained in the first table, and seaven in the last, making the first and second commandment but one, and the tenth two pre­cepts.

But what is his Reason?

[Page 7]A childish reason, saith Zanchius, that the my­stery of the Trinity might hereby be specified.

Him hath Aquinas and the Schoolmen follow­ed: So Luther, and those that follow him.

This was brought to passe by the subtilty of the Devill, as the event it selfe doth sufficiently declare; seeing by little and little it came to passe, that the second Precept was by the Papists blotted out; or if added, then either joined with, or hid under the first, that it might not appeare that God did absolutely and of set purpose con­demne Images, but such as whereby God him­selfe is represented; and to make up the number of ten, they divide the tenth into two precepts, as a man having stollen one of ten baggs, divides the ninth into two, that none of the number might be wanting.

This then you see, we rightly are to account the third precept belonging to the first table.

And in it, at the first glimpse, you may discern,Two parts. first, a Prohibition: secondly, a Reason to re­gard it.

First, the Prohibition, Thou shalt not take, &c.

Secondly, the Provocation, or Reason to in­force it, For the Lord will not hold him guilt­lesse, &c.

This word Name, when it is referred to man, hath these significations in Scripture.

1. It is taken for that whereby his person is known and distinguished from another, as Peter, Paul, &c. Thou shalt call his name Jesus: He shall be called John. Mat. 1.21 Luke 1.16.

2. The testimony or report wch is given of any [Page 8]man; which if it be for good things, and given to good men, then it is a good name, otherwise it is an evill name.Pro. 22.1. A good name is better then riches. This is that wherby we are made known unto others, as men are by their names.

3. Our selves;Luk. 10.20 Rev. 21. ult. our own persons. Rejoyce that your names are written in the book of life. That yet are known and loved of God from everlasting.

4. Honour,Deut. 26.18. Job. 30.8. renown, praise, or glory. To make thee high above all Nations in name. As vile per­sons are said to be men without names.

5. Appearance,Rev. 3.1. shew, or seeming. Thou hast a name to live.

6. Memory,Prov. 10.7. mention. His name shall be put out.

7. The most noble and powerfull creatures in heaven and earth.Act. 4.12. Eph. 1.21. There is given no other name under heaven. Above all names.

The word Name, when it is referred to God, hath these Acceptions.

1. It is taken for God himselfe.Psa. 116.13.

2. The properties and speciall attributes of God. Properties; as, Strong, Almighty, Exod. 6.2, 3. & 15.3. Jealous, Exod. 34.14. Attributes; as, Justice, Mercy, Power, Goodnesse, Truth.

3. Our affiance in God, Psal. 44.5.

4. It is taken for his holy mysteries, as Word, and Sacraments,1 Sam. 7.45. Mic. 4.5. Acts 9.15, 16.

5. For all the holy worship of God, and of Christ.

6. Gods holy Will and Commandments,Acts 21.13 Deut. 18.19. Psal. 8.1. 1 Sam. 17.45.

7. For the glory of God, Psal. 16.1.

By the word Name is here meant any title, as [Page 9] God, Jehovah; or Attribute of God, as Mercie, Goodnesse, Truth, &c. whereby he is made known or discerned from the creatures.

We cannot say properly, that God hath a Name, because plurality (for which names are used) falleth not into the simple and undivided nature of God.

Thou] Whether King or Subject, Pastor or people, rich or poore, young or old.

Shalt not take) A metaphor taken from preti­ous vessels, which are not to be touched without warinesse and leave given; men are unworthy, yet they take this name of God into their mouths without leave or reverence.

The Name] Taken for everything whereby God may be known, as men by their names, viz. by his Titles, Word, Works, Judgments, Crea­tures.

Of the Lord thy God] Who by the greatnesse of of his power, hath shewed himselfe Lord uni­versally; and by the goodnesse of his mercie hath shewed himself thy God particularly, by saving and delivering thee from troubles with­out, and terrors within; from brick and bonds of the hands of men, externally; from errors and feares by the motions of sin, and suggestions of Satan, internally; from the punishment due to both, eternally.

In vain] By rash, common, sinfull thinking on, speaking of, or swearing by, any the fore­mentioned names, titles, creatures, without a­ny reverend regard of Gods Majesty, before whom, or the manner how, or the end where­fore [Page 10]thou thinkest on them in heart, speakest of them in word, or swearest by them in oath.

For the Lord] Who is great in power, as in the first Commandement; jealous in nature, as in the second commandement, is also just in rewarding the wicked, as here.

Will not hold] He will not (though Parents, or Masters, or Magistrates doe) let such fin­ners escape scot-free, live and die unpunished; but will surely punish them. For the Hebrewes expresse that by the negative, which we doe by the superlative.

Him guiltlesse] Whom the eye of the Magi­strate cannot see, nor the hand of the Magistrate will not touch, nor the tongue of the Minister dare not reach or reprehend; him, whatsoever he be; Cedar, or Shrub; high, or low; Master, or servant; noble, or ignoble; Court, Citie, Coun­trey, will the eye of the Lord see, and hand of the Lord reach.

That taketh his Name] Reiterating what be­fore was named, to denotate the grievousnesse of this sinne; the abuse of his Name; and the certainty, universality, severitie, and eterni­tie of the punishment threatned to bee infli­cted.

In vain] By abusing any of Gods creatures, judgments, workes, word, either by uttering rash, idle, hellish oathes, perjuries, cursings, with their lips; or by hearing with the eare any such abuse, or cursed speeches, without wise, zealous, constant reprehending; or, if within the com­passe of our calling, punishing the faultie for [Page 11]the same. So much for the Exposition.

Let us not think that God (as some cockering Fathers and Magistrates doe) doth with pith­lesse words, or for a countenance only, fear his people; farre be such lightnesse from the terrible Majesty of God. Farre also be it from us to think, but that the threatnings of Gods wrath, shall al­so be as certain, as the promises of his grace.

Gods Name, besides by swearing, forswea­ring, cursing, is also taken in vain many wayes. All which wayes it had not been meet for the Lord in specialties to expresse, lest hee should have passed the mean of his Decalogue: And which I will not endevour so much to discourse of, as to point out.

Gods Name is taken in vain, By

1. Irreverent mention of his Titles and At­tributes upon any occasion.

2.Levit. 22.32. 1 Tim. 6.1 Not walking as becommeth the Gospel of Christ, and profession of Gods Name, Rom. 2.24. This is to play the Gentiles under the name of Christians: to professe God in word, and to deny him in work. Tit. 1.16.

3. An unsanctified use of any of Gods crea­tures, or of any thing we doe without thankes­giving and prayer. A good servant will adven­ture on nothing but what pleaseth his Master; we do not take any mans goods out of his house, without asking him leave, neither do we return home any borrowed thing without thanking our neighbour.

4. Heedlesse admiration; as,Phil. 2.10. Good Lord! Oh Jesu! O mercy! God, &c.

[Page 12]5. Vain supplications; as, For Gods sake, not thinking on God.

6. Jangling or wrangling speech of any good thing, meerly for contention, ostentation, vi­ctorie.

7. Using jestingly any phrase or place of Scrip­ture,Jer. 23.34. 2 Pet. 3.4. Mark. 4.6. or misalledging or misapplying the same, Esay 22.13.

8. Serving the Devils turn with any part of the Scriptures, in Spells and Charmes, thus ma­king them, as it were, the Sacraments of the De­vill.

9. Oppugning the truth, though it be through blindnesse or ignorance; but most of all, if it be wittingly and wilfully.

10. Denying the truth, through fear or lucre, against ones conscience.

11. Maintaining, defending, disputing for, and gracing of falshood.

12. A wicked scandalous mocking of them that professe Religion, Esay 35.21, 25.

13. By persecuting any for rightcousnesse sake, Mat. 5. Psal. 44.22.

14. Putting holinesse or unholinesse, or neces­sity of religion in a thing indifferent, which is superstition.

15. Defending there is no God, desiring con­stantly there were no God, inwardly hating God, or exalting ones self above all that is called God.

16.Zeph. 1.12 Saying or thinking that God will doe nei­ther good nor evill. Esa. 29.15.23.

17.Job. 21.14. Saying or thinking there is no profit in serving the Almighty.

[Page 13]18.2 King. 6.33. & 7.2. Saying or thinking that in affliction it is impossible to be delivered.

19.Job 33.13. Deut. 29. ult. Rom. 9.20. Nourishing inward boylings about such things as God sheweth not the reason of.

20. Conceiving rebellious thoughts about the decrees or providence of God.

21. Saying or thinking in adversitie,Esay 40.27, 28, 29. & 49.14, 15. that God cares not for him, or hath fortaken him.

22. Asking wherein God hath loved us, Ma­lach. 1.2.

23. Abusing Gods blessings, Hos. 10.1. & 11.2, 3, 4. & 4.7.

24. Not beleeving Gods promises, through neglect or despaire, Psal. 48.22.

25. Blessing our selves in our heart, against Gods threatnings, Deut. 29.19.

26. Scoffing at the signes of Gods mercies and goodnes, Esay 7.12, 13. hereby wearying the Lord.

27. By sacrisicing to our own net, Hab. 1.16.

28. Attending our own pleasure, and disre­garding Gods works, Esa. 5.12. Luk, 13.1, 2.

29. Limiting God,2 King. 7.2 and speaking basely of his power, Psal. 78.19. 2 Kings 7.2. alluding to Noahs flood. If the Lord did rain corn now, as fast as he did water then, this could not be so.

30. Not answering when God calleth.Esay 50.2.

31. Not performing what he promiseth in his sicknesse, adversities, and at the Sacraments, Psal. 50.14. & 56.12. & 60.13, 14. & 116.13, 14.

32. Falling away from the formerly professed truth, Matth. 13. Rev. 2.4, 9, 10.

[Page 14]33.Job 1.9. Fearing God either only for reward or for punishment, Hos. 3.5. and 5.15. Psal. 78.34.

34. Sinning because God suffereth, or for­beareth to punish, Eccles. 8.11. Psal. 50.21.

35. Trusting in men, money, carnall helps and means, Jer. 17.5. Psal. 20.7.

36. Rejoycing in the miseries,Psa. 35.25. & 137.7. afflictions, and disgraces of Gods children, Esa. 57.1. Ezek. 25.6. Job. 31.29. as the Papists in these dayes doe, against England, the Palatinate, clapping their hands,Ezek. 25.6 stamping with their feet, and rejoycing in heart with all despight against these Lands.

37. Rejoycing in baptisme,2 Chro. 29.6.7. and caring not to perform our vow, or to come to the Church.

38. Offering the blind and lame for the main­tenance of Gods service, Mal. 1.8.14.

39.Pro. 20.25. Devouring things sanctified that should be imployed for the furtherance of Gods ser­vice.

40. Disswading from Gods worship, upon pretence that it is either polluted, Mat. 1.17. or vain, Mal. 3.14.

41. Serving God after the old manner of our Forefathers, Jer. 9.13. Amos 2.4.

42. Serving God after the precepts of men, ra­ther then of God, Esay 29.13.

43. Urging mens traditions, with opinion of necessity, and neglect of Gods Law, as Matth. 15.2, 3. worshipping God in vain, v. 9.

44. Vrging the lesser things of the Law, neg­lecting the greater, Mat. 23.23.

45. Borrowing Rites and Observations from the professed enemies of God, to adde them as [Page 15]part of Gods worship, Deut. King. 17 33, 34.

46. Desiring to be taught vain things, that may rather tickle and please the eare, then touch and profit the soul, Esay 30.9, 10, 11.

47. Doing the work of a Minister and no Mi­nister, upon pretence of necessity, or devotion, 2 Chron. 26.16. as Midwives baptizing.

48. Conceiving of God in the likenesse of any thing created, or worshipping images, or God in them; as in the preceding precept.

49.Luke 9.62. Rev. 2.10. Serving God without delight or reve­rence of his Majesty, or constancie to the end of our life.

50. Hearing without attention, for custome, Ezek. 33.31. and without practice, Jam. 1.22.26.

51. Praying not in his family, as well as in the Temple, Mat. 6.6. Jos. 24.15. Acts 10.2. 1 Cor. 11.22. If men will have houses to eate in, then also should they have houses to pray in.

52. Praying not with understanding, or power of the Spirit, 1 Cor. 14.15.

53. Regarding wickednesse in his heart,Psa. 66.18 Pro. 21.17 1 Cor. 11.28. when he prayes against it with his lips.

54. Not preparing himselfe before receiving the Sacraments.

55. Giving power to the Sacraments to conferre grace, or holding them absolutely ne­cessary to salvation; or giving them divine ado­ration, as the Papists doe.

56. Perverting them to such ends and uses as God hath not appointed them; as baptism to the consecration of bells, to drive away Devils, &c.

[Page 16]57. Thinking or speaking basely of any of Gods creatures, or discommending them and their goodnesse.

58. Deriding Gods workmanship in any of Gods creatures, especially man or woman, in re­gard of some naturall deformity, or infirmity of body or mind.

59. Beholding any of Gods creatures with­out acknowledging Gods wisedome and power appearing in them, Psal. 19.1. and 139.14.

60. Stealing from others to enrich them­selves, not depending on Gods allowance, Prov. 30.9.

61. Praying for things not agreeable to Gods will, as for the dead, or to spend it on our lusts, Jam. 4.3.

62. Vsing prayer to unlawfull ends; as to sorceries, inchantments, &c.

63. Praising God when the Devill is to be praised. For the Devil made the Pharisee not be as the Publican was, Luke 18.11. So Saul praised God for the evill treason of the Ziphites 1 Sam. 23.21. So gamesters when they cousen and rob one another unjustly of their money, without conscience or warrant; then in all hast God must be thanked for their thee very: I thank God I have spedwell; I have had good luck.

64. Murmuring in affliction against the work of Gods providence, either directly, Deut. 1.27. or under the name of Chance or Fortune.

65 Saying our prayers, or reading the word cursorily without fruit, not being bettered by them in knowledge, faith, repentance, &c.

[Page 17]66. Abusing lots (an ordinance of God) casting them in light or trifling matters, and in sport;

This is an nbusing of Gods Name.

67. Perverting these Lots to wrong ends: as to search our fortunes, or to know what success.

68. Vsing them either ignorantly, without in­formation of their nature; or prophanely, with­out any regard of Gods providence in disposing them; or with chasing against the events mani­fested by them.

69. Vsing them in such things, when in na­ture no such things do need to be, God already having put the matter out of controversie (as the case is in all lotteries.) And surely God will not allow us to make a knot for him to untie.

70. Vsing them without praying to God, to use his power and wisdome in ordering this ca­suall accident for the ending of this present Controversie.

71. Saying or thinking we have no fin.1 Jo. 1.8.

72. Not using Christ as our own and only Ad­vocate, 1 Jo. 2.1.

73. Making often repetirion of the Lords Prayer, without the endeavouring to practice what wee pray for; calling him father, and not demeaning our selves like children:Mal. 1.6. saying, Hallowed be thy Name, and yet daily propha­ning and suffering it to be prophaned; Thy Will be done, and yet fretting and murmuring at every thing that crosseth our nature; and so through­out.

74. Esteeming Christ our Saviour, and not obeying him as our Lord; when in the Text it is, Lord thy God.

[Page 18]75. Harbouring Christ in our heads, not in our hearts and houses,Mat. 25. by clothing the naked, feeding the hungry, visiting the sick, &c.

76. Receiving the grace of God in vain,2 Cor. 6.1. Tit. 2.11. or turning it into wantonness, Jude 4.

77.B. Hooper. Bulla, as much as to say, Bubble; sitly so cal­led, saith Bulling. Prefixing holy and glorious Titles before lewd, lying and prophane books, or before wicked instruments: as before Popes* Buls & sentence of condemnation against Martyrs, was prefixed, In the name of God, Amen.

78. Wrong using of Gods creatures, Moon, Stars, &c. See Bishop Hooper in loc. at large. contrary to the right use of them; wch was not to the reading of Fortunes, or fore­telling the things to come, Esa. 47.13. but to di­stinguish Nights, Dayes, Moneths and Yeers, Gen. 1.14.

79. Rash or covetous intrusion,Muscul. in Loc. or admission into the Ministery, Mal. 1.11. ad finem, Ps. 50.16. The roofs of the churches (saith Jerome) glister with Gold, the Temple shineth with Marble, but there is no choyce made of the Ministers of Christ, whether they be Gold, or whether they be Cray; whether worthy or unworthy. And (Theodor. Basil) in an invective against Swea­rers observeth that St August. affirmeth, That bee is no Priest that hath no knowledge in the Law of God.

It is happy that Augustine is gone, and a Saint (quoth he▪) For if he were now alive, and a Bi­shop again, as he was in time past, and should go on visi [...]tion through the Diocess; I think sure­ly hee would depose a great sort of Priests, as [...]n more fit for the Cart then for the Church; [Page 19]for he measured all Priesthood by knowledge.

Yee offer unclean bread on my Altar, and so do not only despise, but prophane my name: yee al­so offer the blind for sacrifices; Mal. yee offer the lame and the sicke. The Priests offered defiled bread in coming unpreparedly and unworthily unto the Altar, in presuming by giving of gifts, in evill bestowing the Word among the people, by ho­nouring the mighty, and despising the poor.

They offered blind sacrifices, setting unlearned men in the place and room of the learned, and making them Masters, who were scarce able to be scholars.

They offered the halt and the lame, placing and promoting them that seek only the riches of the earth, treading their feet two contrary wayes, the one in godly matters, the other in carnall causes.

They offered the weak and faint, when in stead of the Devout they placed the Vicious,Bullinger. in stead of the godly zealous, the cold and worldly min­ded Prelates.

80. Not reprehension of such as do break this Commandment by any means whatsoever, Levit. 5.1. &c.

81. Not entertainment of, nor amendment by a reproof for this or any other sins, but accounting such reprehension precise curiosity, and such oaths bare affirmations,

82. Vnprofitable using of the means which the Lord hath given us, for our conversion from evill, or confirmation in good.

83. Often receiving, seldome praising God [Page 20]for, his benefits, Luke 17.17.

84. Making vowes of perpetuall chastity, and of such things as are not in our own power; and of wilfull poverty, contrary to Gods Ordi­nance that there should be no beggar in Israel. Deut. 15.4.

85. Giving feigned titles; as, servus servorum Dei, 2 Thes. 2.4. when men exalt themselves above all things that is called God.

86. Committing wickedness under colour of Religion; as the sonnes of Jacob, when they slew the Seebemites, Gen. 34.13.15. The Scribes and Pharisees under pretence of long Prayers, de­voured widows houses, Mat. 23.14.

All which egregiously abuse Gods Name, making it a mask to cover such bloody impie­ties, and earthly desires under.

87. Going to Conjurers, Witches, Sorceres, Destiny readers, to have their children or cattel unbewitched, to know who hath stolen their horse, or any way hurted them; as Amaziah his messengers went to Baalzebub, 2 King. 1.5. They manifest they desire acquaintance with the Devil, and say in their hearts, there is no God in England.

Object. But many have been holpen, and got health by such means?

Sol. That help or health that hath been gotten by any means contrary to Gods Word and Will, hath been obtained from the Devill; now is he our friend or so? will hee ever do us any good, but to the end thereby to infer a greater plague? temporall ease he is content to bestow upon us, that endless wo and miserie he may procure un­to us.

[Page 21]Shall a Christian man or woman so hunt for health of body, or goods, that they will lose for it body and soul eternally?

Satan never did us any good, but to the end to hurt us more by it, and the breach of Gods com­mandment will ring our souls a passing peal from the face and favour of the Lord.

88. Accounting some dayes luckie, and some unluckie; as Shipmen dare not put out of their port, and begin their voyage on certain dayes: as upon Tuesdayes or Fridayes: and therefore they are often carefull to make choice of a luckie day, even the Lords Day, that by breaking the Lords Sabbath, in the beginning, they may have good luck in their whole voyage afterwards.

89. By reading or singing any thing that is part of Gods Word, or appertaining to his wor­ship in an unknown tongue,Psa. 47.17. so that it cannot be understood.

90.Psa. 58.10. Judg. 5.31. Not magnifying Gods Justice in the pu­nishment of the wicked.

91.Luk. 13.3. Dan. 5.22. Not being warned by Gods Justice and Judgement upon others.

92. Not being humbled or obedient under the cross, Jer. 5.3. Esa. 22.12.

93. Envying Gods Gifts and Graces upon others.

94. Pretending impossibility of performing the vow in Baptisme, when it is want of will and care.

95. Vsing delayes in performing vows law­full, which argues unwillingness, Hag. 1.2.4.

96. Performing them by halfes, which argues [Page 22]doubling, as in Ananias and Sapphira, Act. 3.2.

97 Calling themselves Christians, when men live like Atheists,Jer. 7.8.10. making Gods House a de [...] of thieves, Mat. 21.13.

For he takes upon him the name of a Christi­an in vain (saith St. Augustine) that followeth not Christ.

98. Calling themselves Jesuits, when they serve Antichrist, and refuie the direction of the word of Jesus.

99. Interposing Gods Name or Titles in our salu [...]ations, when it is not from the heart: as, God give you good morrow, or, good night, &c.

100. Vsing kinde salutations to wicked pur­poses; as Joab to Am [...]sa, 2 Sam. 20.9.

101. Graving the Name and Image of God in money, badges, and rings; which men would never do (saith Bullinger) if either they judged reverently nough, or not superstitiously of the Name of God. The wise men of the Gentiles ac­knowledged that men ought to judge more highly of God then to use his Name in every thing and unadvisedly. Thence came that say­ing [...] Pythagoras, No man ought to carry about the Image of God in a ring.

102. Lastly, to stand upon repetition of no more (for to set down all the wayes, how Gods Name is taken in vain [saith the Author of the [...]ord against swearing] were a work infinite,) Gods name is taken in vain,

By swearing, for swearing, cursing; for if the [...] transgress Gods Precepts, that by idle words only do take his name in vain, then do [Page 23]they more egregiously sin that by wicked hel­lish oaths, perjuries and cursing do abuse the same. If sinners in the former kinds are subject to punishment, then much more those that of­fend by any of these wayes. If the lesser are condemned, much more are the greater intima­ted to be forbidden, and signified more severely to be punished. If the father said unto his sonne, Look that thou ray not thy coat with any spot, though it be never so small; it may easily be understood that it may, and will be worse taken, if it be cast into the dirt and mire of the streets; but yet it will be worst of all taken, if he tumble himself into a most filthy sink, which his father cannot abide to be spotted with never so little a wemb.

The lesser sins of taking Gods name in vain, are forbidden, to the intent wee should beware and abstain from the greater. Gods Name is then also taken in vain by swearing either lightly, rashly, &c.

As wickedly to swear is to take Gods Name in vain; so rightly to swear is to sanctifie the same.

Before therefore wee speak of the abuse in the negative, let us briefly touch the lawfull use of swearing in the affirmative part of this com­mandement.

Rightly to swear, is to sanctifie Gods Name, Doctr. 1. is plainly by God approved, and certainly by him shall be rewarded.

This swearing is a part of Gods worship as well as prayer, yea, such a part as is put for the [Page 24]whole service of God, Psal. 63.11. Esa. 48.1. For the full knowledge of which conclusion let us consider,

  • 1. The Definition of an Oath.
  • 2. The Ends of— an Oath.

What an Oath is, we need not define, it is so well known and used (saith Musculus) that it needs no declaration.

An Oath is a speech confirming the truth by it selfe.Definition of an oath. Greg. Gregor. Or,

A saying void of strife with divine worship. So Aristot. Or,Aristot.

A calling of God to witnesse. So Aquinas. Aquin.

A solemne invocation of God, whereby we desire him, as the only seer of our hearts, to wit­nesse the truth of our speech, and to punish us if we sweare falsly.Vrsin.

Where the testimony of men is wanting, we flie unto God as a witnesse by oath, especially when that is to be averred which in the consci­ence lies concealed.

The reason of Oathes is grounded upon this point, that forasmuch as it is presumed upon by all men, that they doe believe that there is a God, unto whom all secrets are open, and of whom faith and truth is well liked: And that on the other side he is much offended with lies, and hath so great regard of justice, that he will in­flict worthy punishment on such as forsweare themselves: It was received by a common con­sent and custome of all men, to use and take the name of God (the God of all men) for witness, when we would have men credit those things which we ascertaine and confirme by oath to be [Page 25]true; and appoint God to be the revenger there­of, in case we doe sweare any thing that is false.

Seeing all nations were accustomed to swear by the names of their Gods: therefore the Isra­elites here were accustomed to sweare by the glorious name of the Lord their God.

The Ends of an Oath, are

  • 1. That doubts may be cleared.
  • 2. Good causes furthered, and bad suppressed.
  • 3. Authority obeyed, Divine and Humane.
  • 4. Gods glory in all, much promoted.

Such an Oath when we publickly take,Why men swear, lay­ing hands on a book. 4. Causes. we doe it by laying our hand upon the Bible, or E­vangelists.

1. That the Swearer remembring the benefit of the redemption by Christ, might be the more afraid to sweare that which is false. This love of Christ should constrain us to love him againe, by speaking nothing but the truth.

2. That the Swearer might know the multi­tude of witnesses, Father, Sonne, and holy Ghost, that abide beholders of his oath: and therefore his offence in swearing falsly, to be so much the greater, by how many the more behold it.

3. That the swearer might deliberate what to speak, and might not afterwards say, that he was suddenly and unadvisedly taken, and urged to testifie what he did.

4. That as the Scriptures are true, so is what he sweareth free from falshood.

1.Ʋses. 1. For the justification of the godly from time to time, that have taken oathes; and of the Lawes of the Land herein, that doe maintain the [Page 26]same, as lawfull to decide many controversies, which otherwise could not be decided, Heb. 6.16.

2.Ʋse 2. Anabaptist For confutation of the Anabaptists, which utterly condemne all kind of swearing as utterly unlawfull, because of Christ his words, Matth. 5.34. Sweare not at all, but let your Yea, be Yea, and your Nay, Nay.

So the Manichees utterly rejected the old Te­stament,Manichees Deut. 6.13. because it commanded to sweare by the name of God, Deut. 6.13.

Yea, Jerome, Hieron. in Matth. a learned Father, held that the liberty of swearing by the Name of God, was only granted unto the Jewes, as unto little chil­dren, lest they should sweare by Devils; even as (saith he) God would have sacrifices offered unto him rather then to Idols, Homil. 7. in Matth.

The error of the Anabaptists is so stiffly main­tained, because of the ill understanding of the fore-mentioned words, Matth. 5.34. Hereby they would make Christ contrary to his Father, as though he had been sent down upon the earth to abrogate the decree of his Father,Exo. 22.11 seeing his Father doth not only permit, but also command an Oath.

But Christ affirmes that He is one with the Fa­ther, affirming what he doth; and his Doctrine not his own: Joh. 10.18.30. Now should God disallow what he once enjoyned, and abrogate what at first he ab­solutely commanded?

If we look into the text we shall perceive, that the purpose of our Saviour was not to restrain [Page 27]oathes, but only to purge the Law from the false Glosses of the Scribes and Pharisees; not wholly condemning oathes, but such only as transgresse the rules of the Law.

It appears that the people then only feared and shunned Perjuries, when as the Law did not on­ly inhibit perjuries, but all idle, vain and super­fluous oathes. For Christ, the best expositor of the Law, informed and admonished them, that not forswearing, but also vain swearing was a sin, and a breach of the Law. Vain swearing, I say: For other Oathes by the Law commanded, or commended, he leaves untouched, as safe and free.

Whereas they (the Anabaptists) dwell so un­removeably upon the word, Non omnino, not at all, we must know, that it is not to be restrained unto the word Swearing, but to the subjected formes of swearing by heaven, earth, &c. For that was the error of the Jewes, that they thought when they sware by heaven, earth, or such like oathes, they took not Gods name in vain, nor transgressed this third Precept, if they named not God in their oathes. Therefore our Saviour took away all colour of excuse or objection; seeing when they sware either by heaven, or earth, the light, Baptisme [never naming the name of God] they notwithstanding did indirectly take Gods name in vain, seeing all these benefits are pledges of his liberality, and on every of them his name remains engraven.

Not at all (saith Aug. Augustine.) not because to sweare is a sin, but because to forsweare is a great sin.

[Page 28]Christs meaning then is, Sweare not at all, that is, not at all by any creature, upon what pre­tence soever; or not at all by God himselfe falsly or unadvisedly, neither disorderly for affection, nor childishly for imitation, nor desperately for custome, nor cunningly for deceit; Oher oathes which fail not in the conditions required in Jer. Jerem. 4.2. 4.2. S. Iames mislikes not, Christ condemneth not.

If Christs meaning had been to allow of no swearing at all, why should that addition be made, neither by heaven nor earth, &c? to have said, Sweare not at all, had been sufficient. And Christ himselfe, who was a pattern of perfection, would not have sworn so often; neither his A­postles would so frequently have assumed God as their witnesses, Rom. 1.9. 2 Cor. 1.23. And the Apostle, Heb. 6 16. acknowledgeth an Oath to be the last remedy and means for the ending of controversies. If it be lawfull, it doth not dero­gate from, but advance Gods glory, as we see by the Prophets position,Jerem. 4.2. Thou shalt swear, The Lord liveth in truth, judgement, and righteousness; and the Nations shall bless and praise him.

How doe the Nations praise the Lord? For that the Nations doe sweare by his Name, they doe praise him, (i.) they doe make his Name glorious, when they doe give credit to them that doe sweare by it, and doe find so great obser­vance and reverence thereof in the Swearer, that he doth alwayes perform the same which he hath sworn.

By the fore mentioned place of Heb. 6. it is [Page 29]cleare, that an oath is not evill; for as he that doth begin strifes among other, or hinder their atonement, is reputed anoysome enemy, a peace­breaker,Matth. 5.9. a child of the Devill, and therefore cur­sed: so that must needs be a commodious matter, whereby contentions are suppressed, truth ma­nifested, and peace established.

In the place, Matth. 5.34.Mat. 5.34. so much insisted on by the Anabaptists, not the letter of the words, but the meaning of the speaker is to be conside­red. For if the words were to be inforced with­out weighing the sense, great errors would ap­peare by that and other places easily to ensue, Christ saith in the same Chapter, Resist not revill. Therefore Magistrates, Parents, Ministers, should not oppose sin. Again,Luke 14. If any man come to me, and forsake not father and mother, &c. Therefore the precept of honouring father and mother, should be abrogated.

Again, touching the Scribes and Pharisees, Whatsoever they say unto you, doe. Matth. 23. Therefore ac­cording to the letter, their doctrine should of all men be embraced, contrary to Matth. 16.6.Mat. 16.6. Be­ware of the leven of the Pharisees. Again, Christ saith, Whosoever came before me, Joh. 10.8. were theeves and robbers, Joh. 10.8. Therefore the Prophets and John Baptist were theeves and robbers, if the shew of the words were to be taken. Again, Paul saith, I became all unto all men, 1 Cor. 10.33.23 therefore an ido­later with idolaters. And, all things are lawfull for me, therfore whoredome and adultery not sin­full for him.

Lastly, the Anabaptists reply out of Matth. 5.37. [Page 30] Whatsoever is more then Yea, Yea, Nay, Nay, commeth of evill.

Whatsoever commeth of evill,Syllogisme is unlawfull.

But swearing being more then Yea and Nay, commeth of evill.

Therefore it is unlawfull.

The Major proposition we deny:Gen. 3. For tillage is of evill, yet good, holy, and necessary. Phy­sick is of evill,1 Cor. 12. yet by the Apostle commended, 1 Cor. 12.

Good Lawes and Magistracie are of evill man­ners.Gualt.

The use of many things is pure and good,Marlorat. ex c. the originall whereof is corrupt and vitious.

So much for the second use of the first point.

For Caution,Ʋse 3. to be carefull to sweare in truth, in justice, in judgment. The copulation of man and woman is good,Jer. 4.2. as appointed by God; but so that it be in lawfull wedlock, and it is not so, if it be out of matrimony. It is good to sing, so it be to the Lord, but it is not so in ban­quetings or wantonnesse, or in the Church for gain, when men sing without understanding or devotion.Musculus. An Oath likewise is good which is made by the Name of God, so that it be done in Truth, Righteousnesse, Judgement; Jer. 4.2. expounded it is other­wise if it be done perversly, rashly, customarily.

1.1. In truth. In truth; i. our mind must agree with our mouth, which confutes Papisticall equivocati­ons, and mentall reservations. It is naught of it selfe to lie; but this naughtinesse is doubled by putting to an oath, saith Musculus.

2. In justice; 2. In ju­stice. that what we promise by oath, [Page 31]be just and lawfull: for those oathes are laudably broken which are unlawfully made.

An example hereof we have in David, 1 Sam. 25.32.22. who thanked God, and blessed Abigail and her ad­vice, for that he had not wickedly performed what inconsideratly he had sworne.

The contrary we see in Herod, who performed a wicked oath with greater wickednesse, in gi­ving John Baptists head, which was more worth then all his Kingdome, doing a work of super­crogation to merit Hell, seeing he promised to keep his oath only to the losing of half his King­dome.

3. In judgment; i. reverently, holily, deliberate­ly,3. In judg­ment. sparingly, with a serious due consideration of Gods high Majesty before whom, of his dreadly Name by which we swear, and of the cause for wch we swear, that it be not concerning things already out of doubt, and certain, as that it will be day to morrow, &c. or to one that will be­leeve a bare affirmation without any oath at all, but that it be concerning such things that tend either to Gods glory, or our neighbours good. For seeing an oath is not absolutely good, but when necessarily it is required; therefore to sweare rashly is upon no pretence to be allowed; Which occasioned Pagnine to observe, that the Hebrew word for swearing, is passive, and signi­fieth to be sworn, rather then to sweare: to in­timate that we are not to take an oath as volun­tary Agents, but as inforced Patients.

The Romans had an use that he that would sweare by Hercules, should go forth of the doores [Page 32]and be well advised, and take some pause before he swear: For they held that Hercules did swear but once in all his life, and that was to the son of King Augeas.

This deliberation in their Idolatrous oaths, should admonish Christians to be well advised in swearing by the Name of God.

An oath was brought in among men for ne­cessity, and at first to be laid on men as a punish­ment, when one could not be believed by ano­ther upon his bare word; yet now it is not re­strained so much for it self, as for the evills that do ensue thereby.

And so little shall suffice to have been spoken concerning the truth and use of the first Doctrine: Rightly to sweare, is to sanctifie Gods name, and shall by him certainly be rewarded; gathered out of the affirmative part of this third Precept.

Now we are to consider this second Position (as the chiefe aim and end of my meditations, op­posing the bent of this sinfull swearing age) that,

Sinfull swearing, Doctr. 2. though by man it be not, yet by God shall it severely be punished.

If prophane, Pharisaicall, Hypocriticall per­sons shall be punished, then also shall swearers; but prophane, &c. shall, &c. Ergo. Swearers are prophane persons, Eccles. 9.2. Pharisaicall per­sons, Matth. Mat. 5.33. & 23.29.33. 5.34.20. which only shunned for­swearing: Hypocriticall persons; If any among you seeme to be religious, and refraineth not his tongue (as no rash swearer doth) that man de­ceives himself, and his Religion is in vain. Jam. 1.26.

Where there is such a beginning as sinfull [Page 33]swearing, there cannot but follow such a bitter conclusion, as shall severely be punished.

Now before it comes by God to be punished, it comes among men to be questioned, what is sinfull swearing, and what is not.

You have heard in the former Doctrine, what is not sinfull swearing; to swear in truth, righte­ousnesse, judgment. Jer. 4.2.

Now to sweare sinfully, is to sweare, either

  • 1. Lightly, without colour of cause.
  • 2. Rashly, without regard of the matter what, or the Majesty of God before whom.
  • 3. Falsly, in favour to another, or for profit to our selves, without respect to truth; where­unto we should be most favourable, because this alone in the end will prove to be most profi­table.
  • 4. Commonly, without distinction of oathes from words.
  • 5. Vnlawfully, by either
    • 1. Leaving Gods Name.
      Jer. 5.7.
    • 2. Joyning another with it.
      Zeph. 1.5.
  • 6. Slavishly, by the creatures, making them Lords which are but servants, Heb. 6.16. As, by this light, Sun, fire, bread, drinke, heaven, earth, &c.
  • 7. Heathenishly, by the gods of the Gentiles,
    Deut. 6.14
    which to name in oathes were forbidden.
  • 8. Superstitiously, as, by the Rood, Masse, Saint Mary, Saint Anne, &c.
  • 9. Ridiculously, as by Lakin, Cock and Pye, &c.
  • 10. Hellishly, as by Gods Body, Blood, Heart, Soule, Wounds, Armes, Nails, Fast, life, Iesus, Lord, Passion of God, &c.

[Page 34]The uses that we may make of this second doctrine, shall be:

  • 1. For the reproof of the offenders.
  • 2. For the removall of the objections usually alledged for swearing.
  • 3. For direction, to use the means for the a­bandoning of the same.
  • 4. For incitation, to hearken to the motives for the abhorring this sin.
  • 5. For exhortation to Ministers and Magi­strates, to oppose chiefly this sin.
  • 6. For imitation, to imitate God in the reproof and punishment thereof.

Of all these in order, with the change of the fourth into the place of the third.

1. This may justly be for a reprehension of,Ʋse 1. & a commination against all such as offend in any the former kinds, without any awfull regard of Gods dreadfull Majesty, in so much that if ever the land did mourn in Jeremies time,Jer. 23.10. then much more in ours, by reason of sinfull swearing, Jer. 23.10. The earth mourneth for bearing of sinners, because man mourneth not for broach­ing of sin.

If ever, in Hoseabs time the Lord had, then much more now hath the Lord a controversie with the inhabitants of the land, Hos. 4.1, 2, 3. both for defects and for superfluities: defects of Truth, Mercie, Know­ledge; superfluities of swearing, lying, &c.

  • 1. No truth; in heart or tongue.
  • 2. No mercie; in hand or work.
  • 3. No knowledge; in head or will.
    Hesca 4.1.

Therefore they breake forth for want of [Page 35]truth, by swearing and lying: For want of mer­cie, by killing and stealing: For want of know­ledge, by adultery: and one bloody sin toucheth another.

The foundation of all these sinnes is want of truth, and the first head of this monster of the body of sin that appeareth, is swearing. And this Serpent having got in her head by swea­ring, the rest of the body will easily glide in after.

Neither is there care of making and execu­ting Lawes, either publickly in the land,Magi­strates. or pri­vatly in the family against this sin.

1. For fear the Housholders, Masters, Parents, or Magistrates should make a net to catch them­selves.

2. Or for feare there are not enough innocent to punish the offenders: so great is the multi­tude of them.

So farre are the Magistrates from drawing the sword of justice and punishment against swea­rers, that they scarce dare touch them with the scabbard of reprehension.

Sanpaulinus but for reproving a man for swea­ring,Saupauli­nus. D. Iackson ex Fox Martyr. p. 904. Gentry. was by the Papists suspected to be a Luthe­ran, and thereupon examined, condemned, burned.

The Gentry also are much infected with this sin, and why?

1. It is a grace unto their speech.

They thus gracing themselves, to disgrace their creator, doe glory in their shame, and their end will be damnation.

[Page 36]2. Or it is an argument of their valour,Obj. Phil 3.19. seeing they dare to provoke God himselfe, therefore men may dread them.

For indeed it falls out oft,Sol. that where solid magnanimitie of heart is wanting, that it must be supplied by the valour of the tongue. It will appeare commonly by the least triall, that under this hideous vizard, they hide their cowardize. If the Lion-like skin of fury be once plucked off, they will appeare to be Asses, onely fit to bear blows, and only valorous to leap out of the [...]uburbs here, into the fire of hell it selfe, there perpetually to remain the Devils bond-slaves in torments remedilesly.

If any of the Gentry, or serving-men do ab­stain from swearing, hee is among his outward equals, and daily associates, accounted a shallow fellow, a sober, dry, plain, down-right Civilli­an, an enemy to gallantry, a crosser of the times, an unconformitant to the custome of great men, and in a word, as an Owle among birds wondred at; look what an Asse is among a sort of Apes, the same is he among his equalls and fellowes. They think that serving man not worthy to wear a Livery, that cannot face out the matter with plentie and variety of oathes: He that can soo­nest sweare, and give the first blow, is thought fittest to doe the best service to a Gentleman.

Whereas there are three wayes to confirme our speech, scil. Affirmation, Asseveration, and an Oath; Men commonly make that the first, which the Lord hath appointed the last bound of speech, and resuge for upholding the truth.

[Page 37]I have knowne (saith Musculus, Musculus. then publick Reader of Divinity in the Citie of Berna in Hel­vetia) some Common-wealths so well ordered before these troublesome years, that if any of the Citizens did offend through lightnesse of swea­ring, he should be chastened by order of the laws made in that behalf. But now, saith he, we see that all lawes of holy Discipline be broken amongst us, and all liberty given to whoredome, adultery, drunkennes, usury, and rash swearing: coupling swearing wth usury, drunkennes, whoredom, the three most common banes of Common-wealths. And yet men are punished sharply if they abuse the Majesty of Magistrates never so lightly. Whith things well weighed (saith he) we must look for the extream wrath of God to be kindled and fall upon our contrey ere long, which will be so great, that it will especially plague noble and great personages (such as think they stand upon a most sure and quiet ground) in that they have forsaken the yoak of the Lord, in shifting off the anger and displeasure of that man whose breath is in his nostrils, that they may sall into the wrath and displeasure of God, by whose breath the whole world is shaken and crushed together.

So farre Musculus in his tract of oathes.

As no person almost; so no place is free from Oathes.

Goe into the Court, you would think you are come into a schoole of blasphemy.

Goe into the Citie, you will imagine you are come among their scholars, who having learned [Page 38]this lecture of impiety, are now repeating it o­ver, that they may grow more perfect.

Come into the Countrey, and you shall see the silliest are wise enough to this evill, and that the rudest in speech can be eloquent in blasphemy: As though howsoever they are excelled by Courti­ers in bravery of apparell, and by Citizens in a­bundance of wealth, yet they disdain they should surpasse them in bravery of swearing, and in variety of new fashioned oathes.

Thirdly, no time seems exempt from this hi­deous sin.

Are men merry? Oathes flie out as the musick of their mirth. Are they earnest in gaming, or in bargaining? Oathes are the period, if not the preface to their speeches, and thesealers to e­very bargain; seeking to gain the world, and to lose their souls. Are they purposed to perpetrate any wickednesse? They confirm their purpose with bloody oathes, as if God were a surety for their sin.

As by much labour the hand is hardened, that it hath no sense of labour: so much swearing causeth such a brawny skin of senselesnesse to over-spread the memory, heart and conscience of the swearer, that he swears oft-times at un­awares; and having sworn, hath no remem­brance of his oath, much lesse repentance for his sinne.

Fourthly as there is universality, so also va­riety of new fashioned oathes.

As men take pride in strange kinds of appa­rell, so also of new fashioned oathes. As some [Page 39]try their wits in the invention of new-fangled attires; so many limbs of Satan devise unheard­of oathes, that by this varietie they may take a­way all saciety of swearing, & keep themselves unglutted wth the common use of the same oaths: Sometime swearing, and that commonly by the dreadfull name of God himselfe, by his life, soule, body, heart, wounds, blood: Sometime by the Lord Jesus, by Christ, heaven, aire, Sun, light, Masse, Rood, our Lady, Saint Mary, Saint Anne: Sometime by my soule, this silver, crosse of the coin, by these ten bloody bones, hand, bread, drinke, faith, troth: Sometime mincing their oathes, at if God could not espy them, when as men may; as, by Dic­kins, Maskins, s'lid, burlady, s'foot, by my fay, by St Tan, yea Mary, by yea and by nay: Perkins. A volume will scarce contain the multitude of their oathes, and therfore the Lord hath in store for them a whole volume of his plagues,Zach. 5.2. the vials whereof being poured downe upon them, in the end they shall be inforced to confesse,Psa. 56.11. Doubtlesse there is a God that judgeth the earth. Swearing is now in the eare, which before was in the blade: the regions being now white, and this sin grown to be ripe and yellow, what remaineth, but that we look for the Angel of the Lord shortly to thrust in his sickle?

Ministers they may take up the complaint of children in the market-place, Luke 7.32. We have piped unto you, and yee have not daunced; wee have mourned unto you, & ye have not wept: the joyful promises have beene proposed, whereby you might be allured; the dolefull threatnings have [Page 40]been delivered, whereby you might be deterred from this sin, and yet all in vain.

And what then? Is the whole body of this Land full of sores and corruptions, and shall we cease to use more and sharper corrasives to cure? Do men lie, continue and delight in sleeping in this sin, and shall not wee sound out the trumpet of Gods threatnings the more loudly? shall we with the false Prophets, speak pleasing things, sowing pillows under mens arm-holes, saying, Swearing is no sin; or but a small one? no sure­ly, for this is neither good for us, nor for them; not for us, saith St Paul, There is a woe to us, if we preach not the Gospel, 1 Cor. 9.16 1 Cor. 6.16. not for them, saith the Lord, their hurt is not cured by sweet words, Jer. 6.14. when the Prophets shall cry Peace, Peace, Jer. 6.14. and there shall be no peace at all.

The calmest sunshine doth less purifie the aire then the terriblest thunder and lightening: the pleasantest potion doth seldom purge so kindly, as the bitterst pill: so words that to the ear are the sweetest, are not alwayes to the heart the whol­somest. Therefore every one of us that are Chi­rurgions of souls, have need to cut and launce this festred sore of swearing: though patients are impatient, and smart at the quick; and wee our selves indure with Moses murmuring, with Micaiah smiting, with Jeremy imprisoning, with John Baptist beheading, even for the striking at the root of this sin, of many other most haynous, of all other most common, as a general Leprosie, over-spreading the whole body of this Nation from the Cedar to the Shrub, from the highest [Page 41]to the lowest, from the richest to the poorest, from the mightiest to the meanest.

If the Cards run against them, they will be a­venged, their tongues shall run as fast against God: if they are crost in drinking of healths, in dice, in hawking, in hunting, or any other plea­sures that are dearest to them, they will curse God in his honour, which is dearest to him. What mind can but grieve to conceive it? What heart but bleed to think upon it? What eye but weep to see it? What eare but tingle to heare it?

But let them continue to set their tongues a­gainst heaven, heaven will send down thunder­bolts against them; if they often dash against Christ, and will take no warning, at length Christ will fall upon them,Mat. 21.44 and grind them to powder.

If they escape the hands of men, the Lord surely will not hold them guiltlesse that take his Name in vain. And,Hebr. 10. it is a fearfull thing to fall into the hands of God.

Though the lawes of men have but meanly provided against this transgression, and doe slowly punish it, men being scarce so much of­fended when Gods name is abused, as when their own credit is questioned; Yet when the Lion hath roared, who will not feare? Amos 3.8. When the Lord hath threatned certain vengeance, who will not be terrified from this unpleasing, unprofita­ble sin; seeing though other sinners grow bold on Gods patience, and their heart is fully set in them to doe evill, because sentence against an evill work is [Page 42]not executed speedily, Eccles. 8.11. yet their judg­ment sleepeth not that offend in this kind, but vengeance is against them on the way? The zeal of the Lord will hasten, and bring this thing to passe.

  • 1. That honour thereby may bee given to God.
  • 2. That the mouth of all wickednesse may be stopped.
  • 3. That others might feare because of the judgement; because by their cursed and hellish oathes they have been the occasions of,
    • 1. Great griefe to the godly.
    • 2. Great scandall to the weak.
    • 3. Great hardening to the wicked.

Therefore doth he so severely threaten those that in this kind so sacrilegiously rob him of his glory. Which he will perform though the wic­ked dream otherwise:

  • 1. Surely: For the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it in thunder and lightning, Exod. 19.16.
  • 2. Swiftly: For he will be a swift witnesse a­gainst all such impiety, Mal. 3.5.
  • 3. Severely: for he will not spare in the day of vengeance.

God will make his plagues wonderfull against this sin: his curse shall overtake the Swearer and Blasphemer in their souls, and in their bo­dies, in their persons and posterity,Zach. 5.3.4. in their goods, and in their houses; when he begins with them in vengeance, he will not spare; when hee begins he will also make an end, and he will doe [Page 43]a thing unto them, at which both the eares of them that heare, shall also tingle, 1 Sam. 3.11. as is verified,1 Sam. 3.11.

  • 1. In many examples contained in humane writings.
  • 2. In many examples recorded in the word.
  • 3. In many examples obvious in the world.

But what hath the swearer nothing to say for himselfe, why sentence of condemnation should not passe against him? Let him speak for him­selfe whether guilty or not guilty.

The particulars of which justification, deniall, or excuse, let us in the next use heare, and see, whether laid in the balance of the Sanctuary, they prove weighty enough to weigh downe the force and solidity of this sentence defini­tive, The Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

The second use then is to remove the light and slight objections all edged for this sin;Ʋse 2. which if we seriously view, try, and weigh in the balance of Gods Sanctuary, we shall find sandy and not solid, bark without body, bone without mar­row, shells without kernels, shadowes without substance.

I sweare that which is true. Object. 1. Sol. See Com­bis Com­pendium.

Swearing either by the body of God, which tempts to blasphemy; or by the wounds of Christ, to irreverence; are mortall sins, though it be true which is sworn.

We are commanded not only not to take up Gods name falsly, but not vainly, idlely, when the matter is not worth proving by oath. And he [Page 44]that usually sweareth vainly, shall now and then swear falsly.

I forbeare great oathes, Obj. as by the name of God, or by the blood or wounds of Christ, I sweare but little oathes; by this light, by this bread, by mackins, by my troth, our Lady, &c.

As the begger is alwayes peecing and men­ding his garments there where is the greatest breach;Sol. 1. so should the swearer, I acknowledge, be careful to cure first the most dangerous oaths, to stop first the widest holes, to cast out first the greatest Devils, to banish first the most pestilent enemies, to leave first the most hurtfull, fearfull, and abominable oathes: yet as he that sweareth by the Temple, sweareth by him that dwelleth therein:Matth. 23.20. So he that sweareth by the creatures, sweareth by him that created them, and yet will not be heard to sweare by the name of God, or Christ; as if a child abhorring any bitter potion, or poison, should notwithstanding take the same under a little sugar, or the pap of an apple.

He that useth to pilser small things,2. by Gods judgement will be brought to steale greater things: so he that accustometh to utter small, will by Gods just judgment, be brought to broach great, horrid, hellish oathes, that justly may cause the break-neck of his soule.

Again,3. thy oathes are but little sins, thou say­est; then they are sins thou grantest, and the wa­ges of sin, Rom. 6. ult even of every sin, is no lesse then death, internall, externall, eternall. If thou allowest thy selfe in any one known sin, thou hast no assu­rance of any saving grace at all. Thou hast not a­ny [Page 45]good grace, if thou remainest obstinate in any one of the least sins.

He that abuseth Gods Saints, hath not humili­ty; he that refuseth the manifest truth of Gods revealed will, hath not knowledge, as the bles­sing of God. He hath not zeal or desire of Gods glory, that blasphemeth Gods name, nor Reli­gion, that refraineth not his tongue, James 1.26. & 2.10.

A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump of pure dough; a little fire kindleth a great flame; a little Colloquintida spoileth a whole pot of pot­tage; little wedges make way for great; small thieves enter to open doors for great; a little leak unstopped, drowneth the whole Ship and passengers therein.

He that commonly sweares small oaths, sel­dome maketh conscience of greater oaths.

I have been accustomed so long to swear, Object. 3. that I cannot easily leave it.

Then every sin might be excused.Sol.

Any sin, the more common and continuall it is, the more liable it is to punishment.Guals.

Thou hast been accustomed to it, its all one, as if a thief should desire to be excused, because he hath been accustomed to steal, and he cannot al­ter his custome herein. Would an earthly Judge excuse such a shameless malefactor?

If thou canst not alter thy custome by repen­tance, God can, and will alter it by punishment.

Prescription is no plea against the King: much less can long customes plead for vain swearing with the Lord, to whom a thousand [Page 46]yeers are but as yesterday. Yea,

Time which pleads voluntarily for continu­ance of things lawfull, will take no fee to plead for an evill use. Hath this custome lasted long? it's more then time it were abrogated; age is an aggravation to sin. If it be once gray-headed, it deserveth sharper opposition, & speedier expul­sion. To say, I will swear, because I have done so, is perilous and impious presumption; Continu­ance can nomore make swearing lawfull, then the author of sin, no devill.

If thou hast once sinned, it is too much; if oft, wo be to thee, if the iteration of thy offence cause boldness, and not rather sorrow, more de­testation; wo be to thee and thy sin, if thou be not the better because thou hast sinned.

I shall not be believed unless I sweare; Object. 4. therefore it is for the maintenance of my credit.

Wilt thou go to hell, and deprive thy self of heaven,Sol. 1. to please men upon earth? Better un­dergo mans unjust supposition, then Gods just damnation. Wilt thou get or keep thy credit with man by swearing, and lose it with God by so offending? Whether is it better, with men for the present to be believed, or with God for ever to be abhorred? It is much creditable with men to abide a little deniall, that by obedience to Gods commandment we may of him for ever be believed.

Thou shalt not be believed?

Because there is in thy tongue no trust,2. in thy talk no truth, thy words are but wind, and thy promises without performance, therefore thou swearest, and art not believed.

[Page 47]If thou wilt be believed without an oath, ob­serve the Apostles practice; Endeavour to keep a good conscience towards God and man, Act. 24.16.Act. 24.16.

If wee walk unblameable in our lives; if wee so highly value truth, that we sell it at no rate; if we keep touch, and observe promises, though to our hinderance; our word, even in our weigh­tiest bufinesse will be credited, and need no superiour confirmation: for it is not the oath which gives credit to the man, but the man to the oath.

Vse but a while to speak the truth without an oath, and thou shalt finde no lack of thy oaths, for thy bare word shall be taken by it self; other­wise thou art like an ill credited borrower,Licentia jurandi fa­cit, ut jus­jurandum quo (que) vi­lescat, & fides rara sit: Gualt. Object. 5. that ridest up and down the countrey with sureties, because thy own bond will not be taken.

And surely such banckrupt security, rather disgraceth then helpeth thee: oaths being the common sureties of the basest people, even the scum of highwayes, Alehouses and Taverns.

I presently knock my breast and say, God forgive me to swear.

Oh blindness, worthy to be pityed, were it not wilfully affected!

Is this the mends thou makest, hypocritically to smite thy breast for piercing thy Saviour? Is this a Prayer acceptable to God, or like to return wth fruit into thybosome, when thou askest for­giveness with a purpose still to offend?

Thou desirest this pardon as a priviledge, by verte whereof thou mayst securely go on in thy sin. Is this repentance, to smite the breast, when [Page 48]in the mean while the heart is not smitten? Then and there is true contrition for sin, when and where there is stedfast resolution against, and speedy reformation from the same.

I mean no mischief, Object. 6. I think no harm in my ordinary swearing, and therfore I hope God wil pardon me for it.

There was sometimes a controversie betwixt Scotland and Ireland for a certain Isle between them both,Sol. 1. after much ado, they put the matter to the dermination of a wise French-man, whose judgement was, that they should put a Snake in­to it, and if it lived, the ground belonged to Scotland; if it died, it belonged to Ireland: I apply it thus; If poisoned and venomous oaths do live in our heart, and crawle out of our mouths, its a sign our heart, our bodie and soul appertain to that countrey that these hellish oaths appertain unto.

Thou thinkest no hurt thou sayest, yet thou dost hurt in grieving Gods Spirit, offending the godly, hardening the wicked, and kindling Gods wrath. Thou denyest God, and servest Satan, and yet is no man hurt?

Thou undoest thy self, soul and body, house and posterity; and yet is no man hurt?

How possibly can he be guiltless that is cause of his own condemnation?

Thy meaning is good thou sayest. Out of the abundance of the heart the mounth speaketh: Mat. 12.34 If thy words be prophane, thy heart is polluted: if thy heart were a good Treasury, thou wouldst bring out of it good things, and not vent nothing but drosse and filth. If thy heart were a good tree, [Page 49]it would never bring forth evill fruit. If it were a pure fountain, it would never bring forth such bitter streams. If thou didst bless God in thy heart, thou wouldst never blaspheme him in thy tongue, James 3.10.

When God cometh to judge the world, hee will pass the sentence not according to our se­cret thoughts, but according to our words and works. By thy words thou shalt be justified, Mat. 12.37 and by thy words condemned, Mat. 12.37.

That excuse which would seem frivolous to a mortall man, will never go currant with the just Judge of heaven and earth. Now what Prince hearing himself abused to his face by the reprochfull words of his base subjects, would ad­mit of such an excuse, Whatsoever hee spake with his mouth, yet he thought no ill in his heart? And will not God, think we, be as jealous of his glory, which is most deare to him, as an earthly King? doth not he say, He will not hold them guiltless that taketh his name in vain?

I do but as the most do, Object. 7. its the common custome of all, some few excepted, who are more precise then wise, and but too scrupulous about every trifle.

By this thou mayst excuse any sin,Sol. seeing no­thing is more common then to lie in sin: But God hath forbidden to follow a multitude in that which is evill, or to fashion our selves like to this world, Exod. 23.2. if at least we be spirituall inhabitants of the eter­nall heavenly Jerusalem.Rom. 10.2.

Common use in any sin doth not extenuate, but aggravate Gods wrath, and increase mans punishment: Broad is the way that leadeth to de­struction; [Page 50]narrow is the way that leadeth to life, and Christians may yet walk in it without crowding, the company is so small.

After the doings of the land of Egypt, or after the doings of the land of Canaan, yee shall not do. Be yee not as your forefathers, Zach. 1.4.

A custome without truth, saith Cyprian, is an old errour; therefore leaving the errour, let us follow the truth.

If Christ alone is to be heard, Mat. 16. wee ought not to mark what any man before us thought best to be done, but what Christ did first, who is before all men.

When the truth, is once come to light, saith St. Augustine, Let the custome give place to the truth: for Peter also, who did circumcise, gave place to Paul, preaching the truth.

Seeing then Christ is the truth, wee ought rather to follow Christ, then the custome and ex­amples of others.

If thou laiest against me the custome of others, saith St. Gregory, I lay against thee Christ, who is the way, the truth, and the life, Joh. 14.

I confess it to be a sin, Object. 8. only I am moved now and then thereto through anger, when I am thus and thus crost, offended, wronged, which would make a very Saint to swear?

Thou mightest better say a mad man,Sol. or a fool to swear; for they, if they be stricken, stike their next fellows; thou for wrongs received from men, dost revenge thy self upon God: for the least errour in the Dice, or rub of the Bowle, shall God the Father, or Christ the Son endure a [Page 51]stab; as if they were the cause of any disorder, di­sturbance, wrong, reall or imaginary?

If I do evill, thou sayest, the fault is theirs that do provoke mee, I am but the Instrument: their fault is the greater that have made me faulty. True, they are in fault for provoking thee, yet in mat­ters of offence, the accessary is liable to offence and punishment as well as the principall. The Serpent was but the Instrument, abused by Satan to deceive man, yet in the punishment the Ser­pent hath his doom as well as the devill.

If wicked men cross thy humour, do not thou in revenge set up the flag of defiance against heaven; Suffer rather, oh suffer the fire of thy surious passion to be quenched by the water of this godly meditation, saying thus with thy self; Am I greater then Philip that mighty Macedo­nian? yet he was wronged by the rongue of a Peasant, and would not take notice of it. Am I greater then Augustus, who had the taxing of the whole world? yet he was content to winck at the tongue that taxed him. Why should I be incensed with a few evill or idle words? Many have pardoned their enemies, shall I not forgive these that may be my friends?

If hee be a youth, or an old man that hath thus crossed or provoked mee, his age may ex­cuse him; if a woman, her sex; if a stranger, his liberty; if a familiar, his acquaintance may seem to priviledge him. Hath he thus once offended? it may be he hath often pleased: Hath hee thus often offended? we may the more better endure that to which wee have been long inured. Is he [Page 52]a friend? hee did that the would not; is hee an enemy? hee hath done no more then we might well expect. If he be wise, let me yeeld to him; if a fool, let mee pardon him; the very best are not without blemishes, none so faultless but may fail; let me not do this great evill against my God, for a little imaginary evill offered me by man.

If man have wronged mee once, let mee not wrong my self again; If man have wronged me in my name, let me not wrong my self more by avenging on God, in wronging him in his name, which is so precious, great and fearfull: so should I adde sin to sin, my sin to the sin of mine adver­sary; so should I derogate from Gods preroga­tive; Vengeance is mine, and I will repay; so should I disobey Gods Precepts, Bless those that curse, pray for those that persecute, overcome evill with goodness, sinfulness with suffering; so should I hasten mine own destruction, in pulling down vialls of wrath upon mine own head, in stead of lastening mine enemies salvation, by heaping coals of fire upon his head; so shall I not only retain man to be mine enemy, who could do no­thing without Gods speciall permission, but pur­chase God also mine adversary, who is a consu­ming fire, able to destroy body and foul, and cast both into destraction.

It's a grace to my speech, Object. 9. it seems more eloquent, and my self the greater gallant.

It is Pharasaicall to desire the praise of men more then the praise of God. Sol.

That credit is deare bought that is gained in [Page 53]pawning thy soul unto the Devill: It is sorie re­putation that is gained by transgression.

Woe be to that eloquence which robbeth God of his glory and preheminence, it's loathsome in his eyes, harsh in his cares, stinking in his no­strills.

It is a grace to thy speech to disgrace him that gave it? Thou manifestest thy self to be no gal­lant, but a servant and slave to Satan the Prince of darknesse. By swearing thou settest these things as Lords above thee, which God hath ap­pointed as servants to thee, as the Sun, light, fire, bread, drink, &c. For men sweare by him that is greater then themselves, Heb. 6.16. Therfore swearing by the creatures, thou inthrallest thy selfe to thy very servants.

Faith and troth likewise are the chiefest jewels of a Christian; thou therefore swearing by these, dost not hereby gain credit, but pro­claimest thy selfe a very bankrupt in grace, in laying thy best Jewell to pawn for everie trifle.

I find swearing enjoyned by God himselfe as a part of his worship: [Thou shalt feare the Lord thy God, Obj. 10. Deut. 6.13. Psa. 63. ult. and serve him, and sweare by his Name: Every one that sweareth by him shall glory.]

Hereby thou shewest thy selfe a grosse hypo­crit,Sol. covering thy foule sin under the faire vizard of Scripture, whereas by swearing in the Scrip­ture mentioned in the Psalm, is meant the whole worship of God; Thou swearing ordinarily dost now and then sweare falsly: Now it is there added, That mouth that speaketh lies shall be stopped, [Page 54]if not by man, yet surely by God himselfe.

As for that in Deut. 6.13. the Text is no com­mandment to sweare; for then they that sweare most, should be most holy and religious men (as many of the Jewes thought and taught by occa­sion of that place, as Willet on Exod. noteth) but loyuitur expermissione, by way of permission, that when one is to sweare,Ex Tostato hee may a [...]d must sweare by the name of God only. The reason of which permission Chrysostome unfoldeth thus:

When evil things, saith he, began to increase in the world, when there was a confusion in every place, when all faith was lost, & unfaithfulness reigned, then began the Infidels (seeing one would not trust or beleeve another) in matters of controversie to call upon their Gods for witnesses, protesting they spake the truth, see­ing they called their Gods to witnesse in the matter (whom to name they thought it not law­full, but in grave and weighty matters) and by this means obtained they faith one of another.

Now for a smuch as God had selected the Is­raelites from the Gentiles, to be his peculiar people, and would by no means that in any point they should follow the wickednesse of the Gen­tiles, he gave a commandement unto them, that in all matters of controversie, and in such affairs as should make for his glory, they should not call any of those false gods whom the Ethnicks worshipped, unto witnesse, as to sweare by their names: But to call him to witnesse, and to sweare by his name, and so every one to be­leeve another for the reverence and honour that [Page 55]they owe to his most great, fearfull, holy, bles­sed, glorious name.

I sweare by good things, Obj. 11. as by God the creator of all, by Christ the Redeemer of Man: our Lady the mother of the Messias, Sunne, the light of the world, Fire, Gods Angel, &c.

This makes thy sin the greater;Sol. for the good­nesse of the thing doth aggravate the offence in the abuse thereof. As the sweetest wine proves the sowrest vinegar, being once corrupted.

I see others doe worse, that are yet so precise, Obj. 12. that they will not sweare an oath.

Thou shouldst not be so much glad that others are bad,Sol. as grieved and sorrow that thy selfe art no better.

If others goe to hell one way, it may not ex­cuse thee to goe to hell another way: they must answer for their sin, and thou for thine.Ezech. 18. That soule that sinneth, shall die.

It should be a small encouragement unto thee to leap into the fire or water, because thou seest another burnt or drowned before thy face. Their and thy sin must be forsaken, before their or thy soul can be saved.

Thus have you heard and seen the many seve­rall objections and excuses for the maintaining or extenuating of rash and ordinary swearing, and the same also taken away, that the ship of thy soule may not be splitted by falling upon a­ny of the former rockes.

Now to the end thou mayest wholly be won, and prevailed withall to the loathing in thy heart, and the leaving in thy lips, this no more [Page 56]common then dangerous and damnable vice of swearing; suffer, oh suffer, these ensuing argu­ments and motives not onely to swim in the shallownesse of thy eares, but also to dive into the depth and bottome of thy heart; that they may not be as water spilt upon the ground, or as stones cast against the wind; but may effect that to which they are sent, preached and printed, to wit, the informing of thy judgement, and the recovering and pulling thy soule out of the fire of this fearfull threatning, The Lord will not (by any man, money, means, be perswaded to) hold him guiltlesse that taketh his Name in vain; assu­ring thy selfe that if thou wilt not suffer them to further thy conversion to thy comfort, they will (whether thou wilt or no) hasten the grea­ter measure, and heavier loads of the vials of Gods wrath for thy finall subversion to thy remedilesse torment; A quo libera nos, Domine.

To perswade by motives to hate and eschew this sin of swearing.Ʋse 3.

1.Motive The Devill is the authour of it: Whatsoe­ver is more then yea and nay, 1 commeth of evill, that is,Mat. 5.37. of the Devill. Now he is our friend or foe, did any ever receive any good from him the ene­my of mankind?

We agree with the Pharisees and are hypo­crites:Mot. 2. The Pharisees forbid not swearing by smaller oathes, Matth. 5.33.

Again, If any man among you seem to be religious, (as many seem which are not) and refraineth not his tongue (as I am sure no vain swearer doth) he deceiveth his own heart, Jam. 1.2. and his religion is in vain. [Page 57]Now shall we hate the names of Pharisees & hy­pocrites in our profession, and practice their deeds in conversation? Absit.

3. It is an argument of a prophane person.Mot. 3. Eccles. 9.2. As is the good, so is the sinner, and he that sweareth, as he that feareth an oath.

It is a great indignity offered to Gods Maje­sty,Mot. 4. to call him to witnesse for every triffing matter: no man will offer the same to his fami­liar friend, lesse to his Landlord, least of all to his Prince,Exod. 18.22. presuming to appeale to him in every slight businesse, which any under-officer may decide.

Nay, herein we deale worse with God, then with a good suit of apparell, which we will not weare everie day, but pretious garments we will reserve to be used on high dayes;Theodoret. much more should Gods great and pretious name be reser­ved to be used in great and speciall matters.

Tiberius brought up this custome of speaking to the Prince by writing, to the end that nothing might escape the mouth that were not well con­sidered of before in the mind.

It was accounted and punished as sacriledge for any man to anoint himselfe with the holy oyle appointed for the Tabernacle: And can they hope to escape scot-free that sacrilegiously meddle with the sacred name of God?

The Jewes had the name of God in such reverence,Willet on Exod. Buxtorf. Heb. Lex. verb. Ieho­vah. that they held it lawfull for the high Priest onely to pronounce the same, and that on­ly in the Temple, and then only when he blessed the people.

[Page 58]Yea, among them the name of God was so reverenced, that being written in plates, it was lawfull for none to carry it but the high Priest: But now as a thing most common,Chrysest. wee every where carry about the name of God.

It was an use among the heathen to keep se­cret such names as they would have in reve­rence. There was a hidden and secret name of the Citie of Rome, which is not now known, which they say by the decree of the gods is kept secret, and one Marenus Soracius for naming the same but once, was adjudged to death.

The name Demogorgon, which the Gentiles held to be the first God, was not uttered; they thought when he was named, the earth would tremble. And Lucan writeth how Erito the Sor­ceresse would thus adjure the Furies, that if they would not consent, shee would name Demo­gorgon.

Thus the name of the true God among the Jewes, the names of false Gods among the Gentiles, were highly reverenced: And if the Gentiles were thus curious in not profaning the names of their Idols, it teacheth that it is a shame among Christians irreverently to name and sweare by the name of the great God of hea­ven and earth.

Mercurius Trismegistus was in such respect a­mong the Egyptians, that in reverence of him it was not lawfull to pronounce his name common­ly or rashly.

Augustus the Emperour gave charge to the Praetors of Rome, Sueton. in Vit. that they would not suffer his name (obsole fieri) to be worn threed-bare.

[Page 59] Haro, Duke of Normandy, would have his name so terrible, that at the very hearing of it, men should crouch.

Now if the names of sinfull men have been had in such respect and reverence, what reve­rence may we think due to the name of God, which is, as one saith, a name to bee feared for power, admired for wisedome, praised for good­nesse: For this is a great God, and therefore to be feared; a wise God, and therefore wonderfull; a good God, and therefore praise-worthy.

It was death among the Egyptians, in case that any person swore by the health of Pharaoh; and how can he be reputed guiltlesse that sweareth by the heart, life, blood of God?

It was a forsaking of the true God to sweare by any other.Mot. 5. How shall I pardon thee for this? (arguing not any impossibility in God to remit, but a difficultie in man to repent for this sinne) thy children have forsaken me, Jerem. 5.7. and sworn by them that are no Gods. Now, is the Rood, Masse, our Lady, Faith and Troth, a God? Shall we goe under the name of Protestants, and yet by such swearing proclaim our selves Papists? Shall we wear King James his livery on our backes, and the Popes badge upon our bosoms?

He can be no true subject to the King on earth, that is a Traytor to the King of heaven.

They that sweare by the sinne of Samaria, Amos 8.14 (by the sinne of Rome and Spaine) they shall fall and never rise again: A fearfull doom against swearing by the Masse, Rood, &c. For, Qui jurat, aut vene­ratur aut diligit eum, per quem jurat, Aquinas. saith Thomas [Page 60]Aquinas, either we worship, or love that by which we swear.

I will cut off the remnant of those that sweare by the Lord, and that swear by Malcham; and them that are turned back from the Lord: Intimating, that they that swear by any other but by God only, doe more offend then they that sweare by God; and that swearing by another, they doe forsake the Lord, and make Masse, Lady, Light, Fire, Gods instead of him.

It is to play the Traytors not onely against Christ,Mot. 6. but also the Kingdom and Nation where­in we live, when as by swearing, or by conni­vence against it, we pull down Gods judgements upon the same.Hos. 4.2. Jer. 23.10. By swearing men break forth, there­fore shall the land mourn.

It is in vain to make lawes for the punishing of foraine foes, when in the mean time wee hatch, harbour, and leave unpunished these home-bred Traytors. These secretly, though in­sensibly, are powerfull blasts to blow up Par­liament-houses, are sharp swords to pierce the bodies of Prince and people. Shelomiths sonne, Levit. 24.11. is said by his blasphemies to pierce through the name of God: So Rabshakeh, Esay 37.23.

If it be in the common law treason to coun­terfeit the Kings seal,Henry 8. Anno 33. and to abuse his name to the prejudice of his Lawes; then to counterfeit the privie Seale of the King of Kings, and abuse his name to countenancing of a lie, is surely treason against the King of heaven, making here­in also our own tongue, either as an Herald to [Page 61]proclaim this treason, or a Doctor to teach it, or a Proctor to plead for it.

It is an argument, wee are bastards,Mot. 7. and not the true sons of God.

The Author of Destructorium vitiorum tells of an Harlot who had three sons,Part. 4. cap. 7. and told her husband that only one of them was his; where­upon at his death hee bequeathed his estate to him who should be found out to be his naturall son; the sons fell at contention, the Judges to decide it, commanded that their fathers dead body should be set against a tree, and hee that could shoot neerest his heart should be his heire; The two bastards shot, the third refused it, and was much offended with the other for doing it. By which naturall love, they concluded him the naturall sonne, and gave him the Inheritance. Those wretches that pierce and wound the name, yea, the heart of God, and teare him in pieces with oaths, and stab him, as it were, with arrows, that cry with the Harlot, Divide him, 1 King. 3.26. di­vide him, are not sons, but bastards; not Sheep, but Goats; not servants of God, but slaves of Satan; not heires of heaven, but fire-brands of hell.

It is an argument of great ingratitude against the Lord our God:Mot. 8. who having powred down his multitude of blessings upon thee, thou spuest forth multitude of blasphemies against him.Hos. 4.7. As Gods blessings were increased, so thyblasphemies were increased: For great men, that seem most to partake of Gods blessings, commonly do most abound in this sin; Therefore will I change their glory into shame, their health into sickness, liber­ty [Page 62]into thraldome, plenty into penury, mirth into mourning; sinning in tongue, into suffering in tongue. The tongues of such mighty men shall mightily be tormented, and with Dives scorched in that fiery lake of brimstone, that were in their life set on fire of hell it self,Jam. 3.6. by their oft, eager wilfull, and despitefull blaspheming of the glo­rious name of God.

The rich man in hell torments, complained most of the torments of his tongue; hee was cloathed gorgeously,Luke 16.24. and fed diliciously, and that every day, but these things are not so much noted to be recompensed, as his little (All in all) unruly tongue, as if hell flames were most fiery against that, and that most sure to endure the same.

He equalizeth the Devill, and in some respect exceedeth him;Mot. 9. for the devils believe and tremble at this fearfull name of God, but swearers do not so.

In this respect the swearer offereth as great injury to God, as the Devill himself, because he commits Idolatry against God, and adultery with the soul of man, and hereby endeavours to make a divorce betwixt God and her maker.

Hee that forsakes the Lord by swearing by those that are not Gods, committeth adultery and Idolary against the Lord: But the swearer forsakes the Lord, swearing by those that are not Gods; Rhoods, Mass, Mary, Faith, Troth, &c. Therefore hee commits adultery and Idolatry against the Lord,Jer. 5.7. Jer. 5.7.

He that turns from the Lord, and worshippeth [Page 63]the hoast of heaven in stead of worshipping the Lord, commits adultery and Idolatry: But the swearer worshippeth the hoast of heaven, swea­ring by St. Mary, Peter, Paul, Sun, Light, Star, Fire: Therefore he forsakes the Lord, and com­mits adulterie and Idolatry against the Lord.Zeph. 1.5.6.

For in swearing, either Gods holy name is polluted by the fleshly tongue of a prophane, carnall and sensuall man; or if some other thing it sets in stead thereof to sweare by, it is spiritu­all Idolatry.

Now Adultery is known to be spirituall Ido­latry, Hos. 1.2. and adultery is known to make adivorce between God and the soul of man, yea,Hos. 2.2, 3.10.13. between God and the nations.

Swearing then can be no friend to the soul of man, making such enmity between her and her maker.

Hee offereth by swearing great wrong to his best friend, as also to himself.Mot. 10.

To his friend. I prove it thus:Reas. 1. He that gives cause to the world to believe that his friend will not believe him in trifles without an oath,Arg. 1. doth greatly wrong his dearest friend: But the swearer that often sweareth to his friend in trifles, gives cause to the world to believe that his friend will not believe him without an oath: There­fore he swearing in trifles, doth greatly wrong his best friend.

Wee know there is no greater scandall to friendship, then want of trust, yet by swearing this scandall unhappily lights upon the swearers sworn-brother.

[Page 64]Here it may be the swearer flies in the face of the minor or yonger proposition by a strong de­niall,Object. that hee sweareth not, because he distrusts his friends belief, but to procure grace to his words in the eare of his friend.

A filthy grace,Sol. 1. and a beastly friend in whom such a grace hopes for entertainment.

Howsoever his friend may take it,2 yet the greatest part of the world will not be perswaded that hee can have any other probable cause but fear and distrust, and so among wise men his friend is subject to scandall still.

Hee that needlesly puts his friend to a great deal of pains,Arg. 2. without any profit procured to himself, doth greatly wrong his friend: But the swearer puts an honest man to a great deal of pains, of grief, and reproof without any profit procured to himself.

But an honest man is in the middle proposition, and the swearers friend in the major proposition, which will not be one in the conclusion; if there­fore the swearers friend were an honest man, it might happily save the life of the Syllogisme, and the swearer too.

He greatly wrongs himself,2 because he pro­claimes unto the whole world, that he is a lier, and a fool.

A lier;1. Lier. for if thou mayest be believed, why dost thou swear? and if thou canst not be be­lieved (which thy swearing imports) then thou goest for a common lyer.

A rotten tree must have a leaning post, and a lying man must be kept up in credit and be­lief [Page 65]by swearing; Thou must then leave thy swea­ring, that thou mayst be thought to have left thy lying; For if thou art not an ordinary lier, thou hast no reason to be a common swearer.

A fool he proclaims himself to be:2. A Fool. Arg. 1.

  • 1. Hee is a speciall fool that falls into the company of friends that are met together for honest society and comfort, and throwes stones, cups, or candlesticks in the midst of the com­pany, he is surely thought to be a mad man or a fool: But the Swearer is such a one, striking not so much the head as the heart of a Religious man. And surely it's no point of wisdome to bring vexation to them, and hatred from them upon himself.
  • 2. He is a fool that speaks before there is need,
    Arg. 2.
    or more then is needfull; but the Swearer doth so: therefore he is no wise man.

Swearing is for confirmation of things doubt­full, Heb. 6.16. But our ordinary Swearer is commonly imployed about things plain and fri­volous, wherein can be no doubt at all; as often times about what a clock it is, or that he drunk so many under board, or that he was at such a play, such a Whore-house, &c. Now what greater foolishness, then for a man to bumbast his spee­ches continually with unnecessary, impertinent, superfluous, very sparable words, and for which a man may chance to be damned? unless thou leavest such words, such oaths, thou unavoidably proclaimest thy self a fool to the whole world.

It is punished with many other sins; as lying,Mot. 11. drinking, filthy talking, quarrelling, murther, [Page 66]neglect of Prayer, and many other religious du­ties, yea, most commonly insensiblness of all sin. Therefore, Hos. 4.2. wee read that lying and swearing, and many other sins are yoked toge­ther; and indeed swearing and lying for the most part are inmates, they dwell both under one roof, and walk hand in hand, like the thief and the re­ceiver, or as the Vsurer and the Broker.

It's to be feared that a common swearer is a lyer; hee that feareth not the one, feareth not the other; hee that will dishonour God, will deceive his neighbour; hee that will make no conscience of the first, will make no conscience of the second Tatble.Mot. 12.

God forbidding it after a speciall manner, The Lord will not hold him guiltless, &c. Let your yea be yea, nay, nay, for whatsoever is more cometh of evill, Mat 5.37. But I say unto you, sweare not at all, vers. 34. Above all things swear not, lest yee fall into condemnation, Jam. 5.12.

Thus it's prohibited by God the Father in the Law, Christ the Son in the Gospell, the Holy Ghost the sanctifier in the Epistle. By the first it was inacted, by the second ratified, by the third renewed: Sweare not at all, lest swearing beget facility,Mot. 13. facility coustome, custome perjury.

Because we can name no sinners whom we do not out-strip by swearing; Judas betrayed Christ for thirty pieces of silver, but swearers without any inducement of credit, pleasure, profit.

The souldiers sinned grievously in parting the garments of Christ; these divide his glo­rious and indivisible person, his manhood from [Page 67]his Godhead, his soul from his body, and all his members one from another.

Many think it no great offence if they take the name of God in vaine,Rabbi A­ben Ezrain Dec. but surely this sin is more grievous then the breach of any of the Com­mandments that follow. The murtherer and adulterer cannot sin alwayes, because they are in feare; but the customable Swearer uttereth an hundred oaths, and perceiveth not when hee sweareth; being reproved he sweareth hee did not sweare.

They sin no less that blaspheme Christ raign­ing in heaven,Argum. then they which crucified him wal­king upon earth.

  • 1. The Jewes sinned of ignorance, not know­ing Christ to be the promised Messias: these of knowledge, after they have confessed Christ the Saviour of mankinde.
  • 2. They called upon Pilate to have Christ crucified: these crucifie him themselves.
  • 3. They with cross and nails: these rend him in pieces between their teeth.
  • 4. They comitted this sin but once: these eve­ry moneth in the yeer, every week in the moneth, every day in the week, every houre in the day.
  • 5. They sinned against him in the state of hu­miliation, being in form of a servant: these in his exaltation, sitting as Judge of heaven and earth.
  • 6. Many of them did rend their garments when they heard Gods name blasphemed; which if we should do in our dayes, we should seldome go in whole apparell; yea, the wealth of the land were scarce enough to cloth the people; [Page 68]the rich would want clothing for their backs more then the poore do now want bread for their bellies.
  • 7. Many of them were pricked in conscience, and repented at the hearing of one Sermon:
    Act 2.37.
    these have no feeling or remorse, though injoyed means of conversion for many yeers together.

As therefore the Swearers pass them in sin, so shall they in puuishment: and as it shall be ea­sier for Tyre and Sidon, Sodom and Gomorrah, at the day of judgement then for the Jewes; so shall it be easier for the Jewes at that day, then for blasphemers.

The Sodomites and Gomorrians finned against nature, and therefore were they punished, con­sumed with fire and brimstone from heaven: Swearers sin against the God of nature; and is it to be thought that they shall escape unpunished? If they that commit the less sin be punished, how can they then escape that offend in the greatest?

It is much discreditable to Christian profes­sion;Mot. 14. for a Christians speech should be po [...]dered with salt, Col. 4.6. and not with oaths; it should not be unsavory, much less stinking and noisome; it should minister grace unto the hearers, and not like a contagious Leprosie infect the weak; or like thorns and swords, vex and grieve the strong.

God hath given thee the use of thy tongue, without whose gift and help thou couldest not move hand or foot, tongue or finger: Now wilt thou make this which should be the trumpet of Gods praise, the trumpet of Satan, to proclaime war against heaven, God and all goodness? God, [Page 69]heaven, and all good men disswade thee from such ingratitude.

It is an argument of want of faith,Mot. 15. or trust in Christ. For how can we believe that Christ his body was crucified for us, which we so often and despitefully crucifie afresh; or that his blood should wash away our sins, which by impious swearing wee have so often trampled under our feet as an unholy thing?

It overthroweth our affiance in him as our Sa­viour, whom we daily despite, as though he were our enemy. How can we with assurance hold up our heads at the Tribunall of Christ, when our conscience shall tell us, we seldome remem­ber him but to blaspheme him, and have more often named him in our oaths then in our prayers?

If you do believe in God, why do you so dishonour the glory of his name? If you do not believe in God why would you have mee to believe in you, when you sweare by that God in whom your self do not believe?

It is a fore-runner of perjury:Mot. 16. He that often sweareth, often forsweareth; because custome of swearing taketh away all reverence of an oath, and so followeth forgetfulness, and by consequence perjury.

Saul being the greatest wee reade of in the Scripture, made as little account of perjury, as is exemplified, 1 Sam., 15.

The very occasion of perjury is to be shunned: feare an oath we must, though we may justly take it; for, put out the fire, there can be no flame; [Page 70]Take away the sword, there can be no murther, so sweare not at all, there can be no perjury.

Perjury, (saith Augustine in Jam. 5.) is a dan­gerous pit, hee that sweareth is nigh to it, hee that sweareth not, is far from it.

As Salomon speaketh concerning suretiship,Prov. 11. Prov. 11.5. Suretiship for any is dangerous, suretiship for strangers sharp and cutting, sureti­ship for none is safe and sure: so may wee say, concerning swearing; any swearing is dange­rous, forswearing damnable, no swearing secure.

As wine is to be used warily, not for that it is evill, but because being used it procureth drun­kenness; so the frequent use of an oath is not good, because it makes way for perjury.

It is altogether unprofitable;Mot. 17. other sins have their several baits to allure us, some of pro­fit, some of pleasure, some of honour: This sin of vain swearing is destitute of all, and be­ing no profit, but loss, even the loss of Gods favour, of a good conscience, the assurance of salvation, and of our reputation among the faithfull: shame and utter destruction shall at­tend all those, who either through custome, wantonness, or maliciousnness fall into this sin, having no reason, in respect of credit, pleasure, profit, to perswade them thereunto, according to the Prayer of the Psalmist,Psal. 25.3. Let them be con­founded that sin without a cause.

Were it not for feare of humane Lawes, they would as easily commit adultery, theft, or any other sinne, when the baits of pleasure, profit, or preferment did provoke it: For he that will not [Page 71]stick to offend God gratis, and for no benefit, will much more doe it when he is hired with pleasure or profit. He that will sin for nothing, will sin for something.

It is severely threatned in the Word:Mot. 18. The second and third commandement above all other, have severe threats subjoyned unto them, to manifest how great the sinnes of idolatry and swearing are in Gods [...]ght above all other sins. This Text shewes how in a speciall manner the Lord sets himslfe against the same.

In the 5. of Matthew, the 5. of James, the 5. of Jeremy, and the 5. of Zacharie, as in a clear glasse we may behold the fierie face, and fierce wrath of God against this custom of vain swearing. The beginning of it is from the Devill, Mat. 5.37. The end of it is damnation, Jam. 5.12. Jer. 5.7. How shall I pardon thee for this? Zach. 5.2.3. Though our oaths, which being regi­stred,Zach. 5.2, 3, 4. ex­pounded. would fill a volume, by the Swearer and Magistrate, are buried as soon as broached, yet by God are they registred in a book.

In which place the Prophet describing the pu­nnishment laid up for Swearers, sers down,

  • 1. The nature of it; it is a Curse;
    Deut. 29.19.
    and the Swearers being liable to Gods curse, they doe enjoy but small benefit by the Devils bles­sing.
  • 2. The truenesse of it; it is recorded in a book; one tittle of which truth shall not be left unac­accomplished, but as certainly performed as if it were already inflicted.
  • 3. The neernesse of it; it is in a flying book; [Page 72]oathes flie up to heaven, and the Swearers souls with posting speed hast towards hell.
  • 4. The greatnesse of the punishment; filling a book of twenty cubits long, and ten cubits broad; this book being as fully fraught with their. woes, as the world is with their oathes.
  • 5. The universality of it; it goes over the face of the whole earth: every one (without respect to any one) that sweareth, shall be cut off accor­ding to it.
  • 6. The invincibility or irresistiblenesse of it; it is brought forth, immediatly, very often, even by the Lord of Hosts himself.
  • 7. The perpetuitie or durablenesse of it; it takes possession of the midst of his house, with re­solution to abide, as having commanding autho­ritie; and enters not into remote roomes or cor­ners of the house, as a forrainer, or stranger, quickly to be gone.
  • 8. The severitie of it; it shall consume it, and every part of it, with the timber and stones thereof, to signifie the greatnesse of the sin, and grievous­nes of the punishment due to the same, seeing the very house that harboured, the timber that shel­tered, the stones that heard the hideous Swearer, shall also partake of Gods judgements, because they did not presently take up armes and flie a­bout the ears of the Swearer:
    Ribera in Zach. 5.2. Ex Chry­sost. hom. 15.19. Ad pop. Anti­ochen.
    or (as Ribera well observeth) the timber and stones shall bee consu­med, that the memory of the punishment may not be blotted out, but whosoever passeth by that house, and sees the ruines thereof, may be admonished how greatly God hates this sinne [Page 73]of swearing, and how certainly, suddenly, se­verely, he doth punish the same.

If thou wilt not feare this glorious and fearfull name, The Lord thy God, Deut. 28.58. (as no vain Swearer doth feare it) then the Lord will make thy plagues wonderfull, and the plagues of thy seed, even great plagues, and of long continuance, and sore sicknesses, and of long continuance.

Accustome not thy mouth to swearing, for in it are many falls, neither take up for a custome the na­ming of the holy One, for thou shalt not be unpu­nished for such things. For as a servant that is oft punished, cannot be without some scarre: so hee that sweareth, and nameth God continually, shall not bee faultlesse. A man that useth much swearing, shall be filled with wickednesse, and the plague shall never goe from his house; when he shall offend, his fault shall hee upon him; and if he acknowledge not his sinne, hee maketh a double offence; and if he sweare in vain, he shall not bee innocent, but his house shall bee full of plagues. Ecclus. 23.9, 10, 11.

Many are of opinion, (which judge without discretion) that it is evill to doe any thing for feare of punishment, but all for love; and if we abstain from any evill for feare, wee are in a wrong course; But we see here in this Text, and in lam. 5.12. the Lord is content to use this as a reason good and strong, and will be behol­ding to us, if we feare to sweare because of his wrath and our condemnation. Heare what Augustine saith, Fac, fac, veltimore poenae, si nondum potes amore justitiae; leave 'this sinne, if not for love of obedience, (enjoyned in the first part) [Page 74]yet for feare of punishment (threatned in the latter part of this precept.)

Love of obedience indeed doth allure the best, but feare of punishment doth compell the most.

We know that fire will burn, and because we know it, by no meanes almost can bee brought to put our finger in the fire; and doubtlesse, if we were perswaded that finne would burn as a fire, we would not so easily act it with our hands, utter it with our tongues, or hatch it in our hearts.

The discourse between Esops Fox and Goat will informe us, that it is easie to fall into sinne, but hard to come out; The Fox perswaded and prevailed with the Goat to goe down with him into a pit to drink; having done, the Fox by the help and height of the Goats back, got out a­gain: The Goat requiring help to come up, the Fox replied, If thou hadst as much wit in thy head, as thou hast haire on thy beard, thou woul­dest have looked not onely how to goe in, but also before-hand how to come out.

Let the dungeon of darknesse cause us to walk and talk as the children of light.

The great account to be made by swearers at the day of judgement.Mot. 19.

Although he seem to live, yet is he dead al­ready, having received his deadly wound as soon as he hath uttered a sinfull oath. As hee that taketh an halter before he goeth out of the Citie, and commeth unto the place of executi­on, having the Hangman following him, is dead so soon as he goes out of the place of judg­ment: [Page 75]So likewise the Sweaeer, the oath is no sooner gone out of his mouth, but he is come to the place of judgement, hee is condemned straight-wayes unto eternall condemnation, wearing the halter ready to be hanged.

Though he be freed from Gods plagues, as the thiefe is till he comes to the gallows, yet he may be as sure to endure them, as if already they were inflicted. And the longer their punishment is deferred, the sorer will it be when they come to be judged.

Swearers think, seeing they take no notice of God, that God will take no notice of them. But I say unto you, that every idle word they shall speake, Matth. 12.36. they shall give account thereof at the day of Iudge­ment. If of every idle word, then much more of every idle, horrid, abominable oath.

As they have dishonoured Gods name on earth, so will he glorifie it again in the fearfull punishment of swearers at the day of judge­ment.

But if the punishment, say they, bee forborne so long, we doe not so greatly care, therefore consider lastly,

The present punishment of Swearers even in this life: God taking them in the manner,Mot. 20. as it were, in the very act of their sin, which might be examples to other offenders, and an entrance and a full assurance of the eternitie of the pu­nishments hereafter to be indured.

Charilaus the Ethnick or Pagan, being asked, why the Images of the the Gods in Lacedemonia were armed: To the end, saith hee, that men [Page 76]might feare to blaspheme the gods, knowing that they are armed to take vengeance.

Swearing hath been punished by men; by God. By men, heathen and Christians.

It was punished of the Romans with throwing down from the rock Tarpeius: Therefore when they did sweare, they held a stone in their hand and protested; If I lie or swear ought but truth, cast me downe from the hill violently, as I fling this stone from me.

Of he Egyptians with loss of head, of the Gre­cians with loss of ears, of the Scythians with loss of goods, of the Turks with no admission of go­vernment, of Maximilian the Emperour with forfeiture of money, of Justinian the Emperour with putting to death, of Lewis King of France with searing the lips, of Henry the first King of England, with a payment to the poore for every oath vainly uttered, who caused within his Pa­lace a Duke to pay 40. shillings, a Lord 20. shil­lings, a Knight or Gentleman ten shillings, a yeoman three shillings foure pence, a Page or Servant to be scourged. A good Law to banish oathes out of a Land, Court, Citie, Countrey, lest oathes banish men out of all.

Josephus counselleth, that the Blasphemer should be stoned, and then hanged up one whole day, afterwards being taken down he should be throwne into a pit, without any solemne bu­riall.

And our late King James, the first of that name (and for ever to be eternized) for learning and liberality) confirmed the Parliament Act a­gainst [Page 77]this sinne, though under the mulct of a small purse penalty, yet questionlesse with great effect, if the same were as rightly executed as it was religiously enacted; especially if Mini­sters would more frequently and fervently by their exhortations labour to inflame the Magi­strates zeale unto a punctuall imposing the said penalty upon the parties delinquent.

Thus by men hath swearing been punished, so also by God hath it been punished. And this our little Island hath not been barren of exam­ples in this kind.

Fox in his Acts and Monuments makes men­tion of one John Peter, that being an horrible swearer and blasphemer, usually was wont to say, If it be not true, I pray God I may rot ere I die: which though it was not an oath, yet was it ta­king Gods name in vain, and so directly comes within compasse of this Text. Thus, I say, com­monly he took Gods name in vaine, and yet not in vaine, his wish was not frustrate; for he rot­ted away indeed, and so died in misery. A fear­full caution to such that by wishing pull downe Gods judgements, which by wishing they can­not remove again.

In the time of King Edward the 6th. a young Gentleman of Cornwall, who in the company of other Gentlemen, began to use ribald talk; be­ing reproved for it, hee sweareth more, and rageth worse and worse; unto whom one of the company answered with gentle words, he should one day give an account for that: the yonker taking snuff thereat, Why, said he, takest [Page 78]thou thought for mee? take thought for thy winding-sheet. Well, quoth the other, amend, for death giveth no warning; assoon comes a Lambs skin to the Market as an old Sheeps. Gods wounds (said hee) care not thou for mee; still raging on this manner, worse and worse, till at last, passing on their journey, they came riding over a Bridge, (transporting over an arme of the Sea) upon which this Gentleman-swearer spur­red his horse in such sort, that hee sprang clean over with the man on his back, who as hee was going, cryed, Horse and man, and all to the De­vill.

This terrible History Bishop Ridley preached at Pauls Cross, and one Haines a Minister in Cornwall, the reprehender of this Swearer, was the reporter of it to Mr. Fox, who records it in his Acts and Monuments, whence others have extracted it.

Perkins in the government of the tongue tels of a serving-man in Lincolnshire, who for every trifle had an use to sweare no less oath, then Gods precious blood; He would not be warned by his friends to leave it; at last he was visited with grievous sickness, in the time whereof he would not be perswaded to repent thereof, but hearing the Bell to toll, he did very hardly, in the anguish of death,Stubs Ana­tomy. start up in his bed, and swore by his former oath, That Bell tolled for him, or, (as others relate it) Gods wounds he shall not have me yet; whereupon the blood abundantly from all the joynts of his body (as it were in streams) did issue out most fearfully, from mouth, nose, wrests, [Page 79]knees, heels and toes, with all other joynts, not one left free, and so dyed.

Oh consider these fearefull examples, yee Gentlemen, serving men, and all men that hereto­fore have, and still do, offend in this kinde; con­sider them, I say, and learn by them to forsake your sinfull swearing, lest God (that will not hold you guiltless) suddenly and severely teare you in pieces, and there be none to deliver you. Psa. 50.22.

Let these be examples to you, lest you be ex­amples to others.

Thus you have heard how swearing hath been punished here in this life, and it shall be puni­shed also in the life to come. There is no middle between these two extremes; they that will not amend their swearing by perswasion, God will end it and them by destruction: their judgement was here threatened in thunder and lighten­ing, and will be inflicted there with fire and brimstone.

If Railers and Revilers of men shall be ex­cluded heaven, 1 Cor. 6.10. then much more swearers and blasphemers of God. The Devill that set them on work, will hereafter pay them their wages; howling and cursing shall be their chief ease in hell, to whom blasphemy was a speciall recteation on earth: Gall and Worm­wood shall be their meat and drink; as swearers like these dishes, so let them feed on, wallow­ing in their sordid sin, which will be seconded with sowrer sawce.

Hee that soweth to the flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption: and hee only that soweth to the spi­rit, [Page 80](as no common swearer doth) shall of the spi­rit reap life everlasting. Gal. 6.8.

As their tongues while they lived were set on fire of hell it self, so being dead, they shall be for ever tormented in that flame that first inflamed them,James 3.6. Jude 23. the least finger of them (whose helping hands they refused to pull them as brands out of the fire of this their sin) shall not be procured for one time to be dipped in water to cool their tormented tongue,Luke 16.14. for the least intermission of time from being scorched in this fire which ever burneth, and never will be consumed.

Thus with many Motives wee may be disswa­ded (if we be reclaimable) from this horrid, hide­ous, heaven-daring sin of swearing; considering that,

  • 1. It defileth Gods Name, which wee must honor.
  • 2. It diminisheth Gods reverence which we must increase.
  • 3. It obscureth Gods glory, which above all things we must advance.
  • 4. It breaketh faith and credit with men, which we must maintain.
  • 5. It increaseth infidelity, and makes way to perjury, which we must abhor.
  • 6. It is wholly unprofitable, and never did good unto any, which we must do unto all.
  • 7. It is the work of the Devill, which Christ came to destroy.
  • 8. It deprives of salvation, which in our whole life we should study to attain.
  • 9. It discrediteth our profession, which wee should sdorn.
  • [Page 81]10. It increaseth Satans kingdome, which we should extenuate.
  • 11. It makes us accord with the Pharisees and Hypocrites, whose deeds wee say we allow not of.
  • 12. It proclaims us propha [...] which we are loth to be called.
  • 13. It's a [...] of the true God, whom we have vo [...] [...] Baptisme constantly to serve.
  • 14. It arg [...] [...] traytors and bastards, which we see [...] [...] count the greatest danger and disgrace.
  • 15. It shewes our ingratitude to God for the great gift and blessing of the tongue, with which we should labour most to publish our thanks and Gods praise.
  • 16. It equalizeth the Swea [...] with, and exceeds the [...] of the Jewes, yea, of the Devill himself, which we do seem to hate and defie.
  • 17. It's an offering of great wrong to our best friends, and to our selves, all whose welfare wee say we labour daily to provide.
  • 18. It proclaims us liars and fools to all wise men in the world, which we shun they should see to bring us to shame.
  • 19. It's punished with many other sins, the least whereof deserves death.
  • 20. It's forbidden, and threatned in a speciall manner, that we might chiefly avoid it.
  • 21. It's punisht severely both here & hereafter, the least part of wch punishment wilbe more then we can indure. With all which Motives, he that will not be disswaded from this unpleasing, un­profitable, dangerous, damnable sin of swearing, [Page 82]to him a thousand arguments more will be in­sufficient.

And so much be spoken concerning the third Vse containing the twenty severall Motives to disswade from [...]earing.

The fourth Vse containing the means to be used for the avoiding of this [...] followeth to be briefly prosecuted.

For Direction:Ʋse 4. [...] that means to use, whereby this poison may be expelled, this traytor beheaded, this disease cured, and thereby this commandment obeyed.

1.Means 1 Pray often against this vice: for, Eccl. 9.2. hee is noted to feare an oath, that useth to sacrifice (i.) to pray. And Psal. 141.3. Set a wach be­fore my mouth, keep the door of my lips.

2. Heare and meditate much on Gods Word, a preservative as against all sin in generall, so against this sin of swearing in speciall.Psal. 119.11. 2 Cor. 7.11

3. Be avenged on our selves for oaths, by ab­staining even from speech in such company and cases wherein we have been so much overseen.

4. Be ready to admonish one another of this sin, if we would be thought to shew any love to our neighbour offending: The Swearer hath the Devill in his tongue,Levit. 19.17. the non-reprover in his eare.

If we see our neighbours sheep straying, wee tell him of it; and shall we see his soul ready to drop into hel, and not admonish & bring and pul him (as a brand) out of the fire? Heb. 3.13. Ju. 23.

5. Feare the glorious and fearefull name of the Lord thy God, Deut. 28.58. & 6.13. Feare it so, that you name it not, or thinke of it but with reverence.

[Page 83]6. Be sparing in the use of asseverations: for these are the hedges and utmost fences, as it were, of Gods name from being prophaned.

For as it is good policy, not only to avoid the plague, but to eschew every little rag that might seem to carry the plague with it: so it's heaven­ly policie, not only to avoid gross oaths, but al­so all such vain asseverations and vain protesta­tions, that through custome would easily draw on swearing.

Asseverations are the brink of the water, as it were, and swearing a deep pit to swallow us in it; now if wee be still leaping and dauncing carelesly upon the brink, it is a thousand to one we shall slip in and perish also, unless wee reco­ver our selves by speedy repentance.

7. Avoid the company of Swearers, because our corrupt nature is easily infected.

If we do but breath in the contagious aire of Pharaohs sinfull Court, we may be infected with Joseph: If we inure our selves to the company of those Edomites, we shall quickly leave off to speak the pure language of Canaan. There is little hope that wee shall stand in such slippery places, but that we shall fall either by swearing our selves, or not reprehending others: The tinder of our corruption is easily set on fire with the touch of the least spark of an evill president, if it be not moistned by the water of Gods holy Spirit.

Meditate often on those threatnings recorded in the word, and denounced against Swearers, that these thunderbolts may restrain thee from [Page 84]setting a flag of defiance against heaven.

9. Let custome of swearing be broke with contrary custome; Let us, if we cannot break it off at once, bring it into a consumption by disin­uring our tongues from the use thereof.

10. Take away the causes thereof, as,

1. Impatiency or anger, revenging our selves on God for injuries done by man.

2. Pride or vain-glory, making men under­value their oaths, lest they should be underva­lued themselves.

3. Greedy covetousness; men not depending on Gods allowance, but thinking by lying and swearing to buy or put off their wares at cheaper or dearer rates: imitating commonly in their tra­dings Lysander, that fraudulent treacherous Greek, whose saying was, That if the Lions skin would not serve, the Foxes must be sowed to it: and that children were to be cousened with trifles, as Dice and Cockalls, and men with oaths.

So covetous worldlings think if strength of words will not, then slives of oaths shall pre­vail with the buyers: children will be deceived with smooth words, but old men must have deep oaths.

Yet that Fox Lysander was taken in the trap, for all his force by sword, or fraud by oaths, and was slain at the foot of the Theban walls: so these swearers with their wares sell away their souls, the Devill catching them in that whereby they catch others.

Coverousness the cause being taken away, swearing the effect will not ensue.

[Page 85]4. Breach of promise, which men will indea­vour to make up with swearing, thinking to pay debt with oaths.

Pull up these four roots of swearing, so shall swearing it self be pulled up by the roots:

  • 1. If in thine anger thou sinnest not by being avenged on God.
  • 2. If humility attend on all thy actions.
  • 3. If thou dependest on Gods allowance.
  • 4. If thou be thy words master, perform by hand what thou promisest by tongue.

Apply particularly to thy self,Mot. 11. the punish­ments from time to time inflicted on other sin­ners in generall, and on swearers in particular.

Many have been taken tripping in their wic­kedness; Baltashar in his mirth; Herod in his pride; the Philistims in their banquetting; the men of Ziglag in their feasting; the Israelites in their rioting with Manna and Quails in their mouthes; Jobs children in their drunkenness; the Sodomites in their filthiness; the old world in their marrying; the Steward in his security, and the Churl in his plenty: judgment receiving them where sin left them: & many wretched swearers have bin surprized wth the sleep of death, when they were rock't asleep in the cradle of their sin.

Socrates in his Ecclesiasticall History relates concerning Michael a Jewish Rabbin, who brake his neck as he was swearing and blaspheming the name of Jesus. Three souldiers passing through a wood in the Countrey of Samartia; there arose a tempest of thunder and lightning, which, though commonly it maketh the greatest [Page 86]Atheist to tremble, yet one of them to shew his contempt of God and his judgements, burst forth into blasphemie and despightings of God: But the Lord soon tamed his unruly and rebelli­ous tongue; for he caused the wind to blow up by the root a huge tree that fell upon him and crushed him to pieces, the other escaping to te­stifie unto the world of his destruction.

At a Village called Benavides in Spain, two young men being together in a field, there sud­denly arose a terrible rempest, and withall so violent a whirle-wind, that it amazed those that beheld it; The two young men seeing the fury thereof coming amain towards them, to avoid the danger, ran as fast away as possibly they might, but make what hast they could, it over­tooke them; who fearing lest the same should swing them up into the aire, fell flat down on the earth, where the whirle-wind whisking round about them a pretty while, and then pas­sing forth, the one of them arose so altered and changed, and in such an agony, that he was scarce able to stand on his feet; the other liyng still, and not stirring, some others afar off that stood un­der an hedge, went to see how hee did, and found him to be stark dead; for all his bones were so crushed, that the pipes and joints of his armes and legs were as easie to be turned the one way as the other, as though his body had been made of Moss: and besides, (which is princi­pally to be noted) his tongue was pulled out by the roots, which could not by any means be found, though they sought for it diligently; [Page 87]and this was the miserable end of this wretched man, who was noted to be a great outragious swearer and blasphemer of Gods most holy Name: The Lord chose him out, saith the wri­ter Anthonio de Torquemeda, to make him an ex­ample to the world, of his justice against Swea­rers.

I my selfe knew two most notorious Swea­rers (whose names I conceale in reverence to the living) that brake their necks as the common fame filled all mens eares; the one from a paire of staires, the other from off his horse: Their lives were sinfull, their deaths fearfull, and their now present estate, as onely known unto God, I leave as doubtfull.

The author of the Arraignment of an unruly Tongue, relates of a swearing Courtier at Mans­field, who in the midst of his blasphemous oaths was taken up, and carried away by the De­vill.

Philip Stubs tells us of one whom he knew for a dozen (for that is his own word) or sixteen years together, whose usuall and common oath was to sweare by Gods Armes; In the end his arm being hurt by a knife, could never be hea­led by any meanes, but still wrankled and festred from day to day, and at last so rotted, that it fell away peece-meale, and he himselfe through an­guish and pain thereof died. As he offended by swearing by Gods arms, so the Lord plagued him in his arm also.

The German histories tell us, that at Tabinga, a desperate boy devised new oathes as were not [Page 88]common in use; but the Lord sent a Canker, or some worse disease, that ate out his tongue, even the very instrument wherewith hee blasphemed God.

Thinkest thou, as Christ spake concerning those Galileans and Silonions (Luke 13.) that these punished were greater swearers then thou thy selfe? I tell thee nay, &c. If thou marchest with them in their sinnes, how canst thou but smart in their punishments? Happy art thou if their falls cause thee by repentance to rise from this sin of swearing.

The last, though not the least means to be used against swearing, for the prevention and expul­sion of the same, is, Ministers to use the spiritu­all, and Magistrates the temporall sword for the striking at the root of this sinne, so common, so hurtfull.

In an universall and contagious sicknesse, a wise Physitian would leave the study of all other diseases to find out the cure of the present raging evill: no sinne so common as swearing and drunkennesse; Magistrates and Ministers should joyn hand in hand for the cutting downe of these predominant sins, and that the rather, because herein they resemble and imitate God, who in a speciall manner threatens to punish and not suffer to scape scot-free, those that take his Name in vain: which is the fifth use against common swearing.

Of exhortation,Ʋse 5. for Magistrates and Mini­sters, to set themselves against this sinne, because God doth in a speciall manner; and seeing it is [Page 89]grown to such strength, that it will not in hast be repressed by both.

Magistrates are not to judge for man, but for the Lord, and as the Lord, with whom is no iniqui­ty, nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts, 2 Chron. 19.6.

They are the Ministers for the good of his people, and the punishment of evill doers; and therefore if they oppose not this and other sins, they beare the sword in vain, Rom. 13.4.

1. Ministers are Gods spirituall watch-men, who must lift up their voyces like Trumpets, Isai. 58.1. they must be severe in preaching against it, that the commonnesse of preaching it, may overcome the practice of it.

The wisedome of these watchmen must be, not onely to foresee enemies, but also to discern which are most strong, neerest approching, most dangerous, and first to be encountred.

2. They are Stewards of Gods family, who must not only have liberty, but also discretion to give to every one his portion in fit time, and see that they that have most need, be first re­lieved.

3. They are Gods Gardiners, whose know­ledge must be not only to discerne weeds from flowers, but also to pluck up those that are most noy some and over-spreading, with the first care and grea [...] [...].

4. They are Gods Orators and Ambassadors, who are not onely to be furnished with wise in­structions, but also with judgement and circum­spection to deliver them, with respect to time, person occasion and place.

[Page 90]5. They are Bonaerges, sonnes of thunder, whose properties must be not only to bruise and batter stony hearts by denouncing Gods fearfull judgements, but also by applying them to such sins, as the people and present auditors are most infected with.

For if chiefly among the covetous we should reprehend prodigality, or pride among the sor­ddious, or superstition among prophane and ir­religious swearers, this were not to reprove, but to backbite sin, to fight valiantly in the absence of an enemy, with a strong arme to beat the aire, and to contend against a shadow, which may sprain a joynt, and for reward move scornfull laughter, rather then admiration of any true va­lour, or expectation of victory.

That Shepheard that doth not rebuke those that offend, without doubt, he slayeth them by holding his peace; we doe put to death so many as we see goe to death and are silent.

Chrysostome whiles hee was at Antioch, spent most of his Sermons or Homilies against swea­ring, that if not the fear of God, yet his impor­tunitie might make them weary of the sin: the report of whose practice in preaching, hath en­couraged me to insist the longer about this sinne of swearing, especially seeing the bent of this swearing Age hath, and still doth invite me to make it the bent of my preaching against this hideous monster, and never to [...] reprove it, till in some of the members thereof it may be so mangled and wounded, that at length for feare, or shame, or importunity; feare of the pu­nishments, [Page 91]shame of the unprofitablenesse, or importunity of Gods Ambassadours; it may so langui [...] [...] consume, till it hath breathed its last breath.

But alas! some cannot preach against this or a­ny other sinne, some doe not, some dare not, some though they can, d [...]e, and dare, yet doe all to no purpose at all.

1. Some cannot, because they want skill.

2. Some doe not, because they want will.

3. Some dare not, because they want cou­rage.

4. Some do to no purpose, because they want carriage, endeavouring to reform others, but are not reformed; they speak, but they do not; teach others, but not themselves, Rom. 2.

Making their hearers thin [...] [...]ere is some great mysterie of Atheisme, [...] ever yet impar­ted unto them, seeing they [...] your to disswade others from that which the [...] [...] themselves; or that something did over-slip them in the Pul­pit, which now by their corrupt swearing they do retra [...]

Poysoning the peck of their holy admonition with the infectious leaven of their swearing and corrupt communication; like Ponelope, weave and unweave in the night of their hellish oaths as much as they wove in the day of their golden words; they say and unsay, do and undo again.

They are like him that carried Triacle in the one hand to resist death, and poison in the other hand to take away life; or like a painted fire without heat; or like a fair vizard put on a de­formed [Page 92]face; or like an Ideot, standing by the Sea side, and seeing strangers pass [...] danger of the tide, cryeth out unto them, Away, away, the tide cometh; who looking back, and seeing thee fool stand still, begin to say one to another, Surely this fellow doth but jest, if it were so dangerous as he faith, hee would certainly make more hast away himself.

They are as the Bels that call others to the place, where they come not themselves; or as the whetston, sharpening other things, it selfe continuing blunt; or as Soap, whitening other things, it selfe remaining black and foul; or the stalk bearing flowers, it selfe continuing un­savoury.

Like Spittle [...], skilfull in the wayes they never went, or [...] go.

Like Heralds [...], or dering others to fight, themselves not [...] a stroke.

Like to the statues of Mercury by high wayes, pointing to others which way to travell, them­selves rotting away.

Like to ragged files, smoothing other things, themselves remaining rough and unchanged.

Like to Scribes and Pharisees, laying heavie burthens on other mens shoulders, they them­selves not touching the same with their least finger.

Like Noahs Ship-wrights, that made the Ark, but themselves were not saved in it.

But oh! Tell it not in Gath, lest the uncircum­cised rejoyce, 1 Sam. 1. r. 20. Esa. 58.1. &c. They should indeed not only lift up their voyces, but also lift them up like [Page 93]trumpets, Esa. 58.1. Now the mouths of the trumpets are not only blown into by the mouth of the Trumpeter; but also lifted up with his hand: So should Gods Orators do themselves, what they perswade others to; yet if they do not, suffer, oh suffer thou their voyces to draw thee to thy duty: the Whetstone of their re­prehension to sharpen thine affection, the Soap of their admonition to scowre off the filth of thy pollution, the point of their tongues to shew thee the right in many cross wayes.

Take the comforts of their flower-like ex­hortations to thy self, and leave the stalk of in­fectious swearing and filthy communication to remain, wither, or fall to themselves.

Refuse thou not their good and timely di­rection to keep thee from aberration, though they be creeples and stirre not themselves, take their counsel, and goe thy wayes.

Thus having with the Cock clapped my wings upon mine own breast, that so more bold­ly I might crow towards, cry and call upon you, even upon you that are either Magistrates over subjects, Masters over servants, Governours over families, Parents over children, and in all these respects, as Gods over his people and inheritance: Suffer, O suffer the words of exhortation, and work of imitation; imitate God in your dutie, whom you doe imitate in­dignity.

Swearing is a sin of such insolent growth, that it scorns to be queld by the tongue, or slain by the pen, but like the Princes of Midian, it cals for a [Page 94] Gideon himself, the power of the Magistrate to fall upon it.

If ever then, I would to God that in this time, and in this point, my voyce were like the voyce of some thundring Pericles, my sides brass, and my tongue as the pen of a ready writer, that my words were tipt with an Adamant, to make deep impressions in your souls, touching this point.

Oh that I had the silven Trumpet of Hilarie, the golden mouth of Chrysostome, the mellifluous speech of Origen, that my prayers might bee powerfull, and words effectull to perswade and prevail with you, that this dutie of oppressing the growth of swearing, might not onely float upon the fugitive streames of the eare, but also be landed upon the solid shore of your hearts.

Suppose there could not be found any other sin in the land, suppose swearing had not any o­ther sinne to beare it company, suppose there were not any forraine enemy in the world to invade us, yet the frequent use of this infernall language of the Devill would prove an Engine strong enough to batter our walls, a sword keen enough to martyr our flesh, an arrow swift e­nough to drink up our blood, a plague over­spreading enough to make a flaw in our State, a breach in our peace, a scar in our Church, a hot Feaver, a shaking ague, sure enough to shake our land from one end to another, and make all to quiver and tremble from the lowest Shrub to the tallest Cedar.

Doe you therefore that have conscience and [Page 95]calling, in your severall persons and places, re­sist, oppose, suppresse this proud sin, that scornes to quarrell with any under God; this stout sinne, that is alwayes heaving at the founda­tion and strength of our Lord: Oh suffer not this crafty Sinon to be lodged and suc­coured within the cabinet of your own souls, to sit at your boards, to jet in your streets, to dwell in your houses, to nestle in your eares without any check or controll: why should this above all other sinnes submit it selfe to no cen­sure or sharp reproofe?

If common Swearers (saith Bishop Hooper) bee suffered to sinne without punishment, the sinne is so abominable, that surely the Magi­strates and whole common-wealth are like in time to smart for it.

The gangrene hereof not cut off in the Toe, it spreads forwards till it putrifie the whole body.

The Persians made them slaves that could not be rulers of their own tongues.

Philip, King of France, ordained, that who­soever by swearing blasphemed God, yea, if in a Taverne, he should be drowned straight­wayes.Turneb. in Ja.

Maximilian the Emperour decreed, that whosoever should bee deprehended for a vaine swearer, should pay 13. shillings foure pence; which money whoso refused to pay, and re­pented not of the wickednesse, should lose his head.

Henry the first of this land, appointed the pay­ment [Page 96]of fourty, twenty, ten, three shillings four pence, according to the degrees of the swearers, to be imployed for the poore.

The Romans, Egyptians, Grecians, Scythians, Turkes, Justinian the Emperour, Lewis of France, appointed and inflicted severall pu­nishments (as you heard before) upon the heads, eares, lips, goods, bodies, lives of Swea­rers.

And now after so many dehortations from this sinne, and severall judgements upon the sinners, what cause or reason have our rash, fearfull Ruf­fian-like swearers, to expect freedome from the like punishment from the hands of men, seeing they deserve greater at the hands of God, then either with the Roman Swearers to be thrown down from an high rock, that have endeavou­red by their continuall cursed swearing for every trifle, to pull down God from the height of heaven.

Or with the Grecian Swearers to lose their eares, since by their swearing they have infected the eares of others.

Or with the French Swearers to bee scared in their lips, that have not been a bridle to their words.

Or with the Egyptian swearers to lose their heads, because it harboured such bloody Tray­tors against God and man, heaven and earth.

Or with the Scythian swearers, to be punished with losse of goods, because oft by their swea­ring they have wronged others in their e­states.

[Page 97]Or with the Turkish swearers, to have no ad­mission to the government of others, that could not guide their own unruly tongues.

Or with the Persian swearers to be made slaves to other, because they could not be masters over themselves and their sayings.

Or with Philip of France his swearers, to be drowned in water, because by their sinne they have caused the fish to be destroyed in the Sea:

Or with Maximilian and King Henry the first their swearers, to be punished in purse for the good of the poore, because for their swearing the land hath not yeelded like food and aliment for their bellies, or cloathing and indument for their backes, as otherwise it would.

Or with Justinian his swearers, to be put to death, because they have assayed afresh to crucify the Lord and giver of life.

Or with the English King his servant-swearers, to be whipped in their body, for making it a cage of unclean birds, a stie of filthy hogges, and a den of Hellish theeves which should have been preserved as first it was created, an Habitation for God, a member of Christ, and a Temple of the holy Ghost, 1 Job. 4.15. 1 Cor. 6.15.19.

Oh that some good Phineas, who is zealous of the name of God, would break us the ice, and take in hand to purchase and procure from our Senate, the now assembled Court of Parliament, some sharp and cutting Statute, if purse penalty onely, (to preserve the poore from perjury, and rich from impiety) that might snap the growth, [Page 98]and stanch the bloody issue of this heynous sinne, the taking of Gods name in vain: Verily, God would say of such a man as he did of Phineas, This good man that was zealous for my glory,Numb. 25.11. hath turned away my anger from you.

Surely, happy should bee that day, immor­tall should be that memory, and renowned ever should be the name of that man, by whose zea­lous endevour so good a work should be effe­cted; his memory should never perish, but wheresoever there should bee mention of his name, there also should the good work that he had done, be spoken of for a memoriall of him, and every man would say: Oh that was the man that first hindered the blaspheming, and furthe­red the sanctifying of Gods glorious name, that was carefull to banish swearing, first out of his own heart; secondly, out of his house; third­ly, out of the countrey, before swearing banish­ed him out of all.

Oh that we were so happy as once to see that day, that so our wayes might be prosperous, our sorrow easie, our comforts many, our life holy, our peace permanent, and our salvation cer­taine.

That this may be so, all yee that desire to rest with David in Gods Tabernacle, aime to attain to his courage and resolution, He that telleth lies, and blasphemeth Gods name, shall not tarry in my sight, Psal. 101.7. or dwell in my house; I will hasten soon to be rid of all such wicked persons, lest they should bring Gods judgments upon mine house, and plagues upon the whole land, whose wrath [Page 99]already seems to be incensed against the same; the coals whereof no otherwise can bee quench­ed, then by having courage and resolution a­gainst this & other sins, and by making our hearts springs, our heads fountaines, and our eyes rivers of teares; nay, let us turn our fountaine of teares into a stream, our streame into a flood, and that flood into an ocean, and let that ocean be bottomlesse, and that spring boundlesse, that God may be pleased to forgive all our sinnes, and remove all his fearfull judgements which hee hath threatned, and crown us with those Myri­ads of blessings which he hath promised to all those that love him, and leave their sins, and san­ctifie the great, holy, and glorious Name of God, in giving laud, honour, and praise to the same for ever.

So much be spoken of the fifth use.

The sixth and last followeth, scil. of imitati­on, God holds not swearers guiltilesse;Ʋse 6. For imita­tion. Psa. 39.1. So must not we.

I will keep my mouth with a bridle, I will take beed unto my way, that I off end not in my tongue, saith the sweet Singer of Israel: which one lesson Pambus, a famous professor in the primi­tive Church, plying hard nineteen whole years together, (as Socrates in his Ecclesiasticall hi­story speakes out of his own mouth) yet could not learne it so perfectly, as to take out anew; which the author imputes not so much to the dulnesse of the scholar, as to the difficultie of the lesson, insomuch that if there be any man that offends not in his tongue, the same is a perfect [Page 100]man, and able to bridle his own body. But be­cause this difficultie of bridling this little-great unruly member, is so great, and the danger brea­king forth by neglect, so manifold, therefore am I willing, and as it were, inforced to stand the longer, and with Pambus, to bestow the grea­ter pains about the same.

God will not hold them guiltless that take his name in vain, saith the Text. Therefore we imitating God, after whose image we were created, must oppose this sinne to the uttermost of our power, by setting our selves against the sin of them that set themselves against God himselfe.

The wicked fact of Jezabel, covering bloo­dy impietie in proclaiming a Fast, when she would have Naboth slain for blasphemy,1 King. 21.9, 10. shewes the custome of those times was both to punish and have publick humiliation for such sins, lest the wrath of God should come upon the land for the same.

And when good King Hezekiah heard the blasphemy which Rabshakeh uttered against the Lord, he fell to his prayers, and to humble him­selfe before God. Shall this good King doe this for another mans blasphemy, and shall not wee doe the like for our owne, but continue in swea­ring, and suffer others to continue therein, with­out any redresse of others, and remorse for our own sins?

We must resemble God in our zeale here, or else not reigne with him in glory hereafter.

  • God, 1. Reproves and punisheth swearing.
  • 2. Is himself pure from it.
  • [Page 101]3. Absents himselfe from the company of such.

We must be holy, as he is holy; pure, as he is pure; just, as he is just.

In the application of this last use. I will pro­pose and prosecute these particulars:

  • 1. The matter what we must doe.
  • 2. The men whom we must reprove.
  • 3. The time when.
  • 4. The manner how.
  • 5. The motives why.

And when I have run through these particular passages, you may expect a period to this dis­course of swearing, and reproving the same.

1. The matter what: We must reprove and punish this sin of swearing,1 The mat­ter what. if ever we expect the suppression thereof.

Reprove and punish, for I joyn them both to­gether, because reproofe is a verball punishment, and punishment a reall reproof: herein follow­ing the method of Mr. Perkins, that judicious Di­vine, who on Mat. 7.5. confounds reproof and correction together.

And to some it appertains to reprove only according to their conscience and calling, and to others both to reprove and punish: such are Ma­gistrates in respect of subjects, Masters in respect of servants, Tutors in respect of scholars, Pa­rents in respect of children, and housholders in respect of their families.

For every King or mighty Monarch, is but Magnus Paterfamilias, a great housholder, and every housholder is parvus Rex, a little King in [Page 102]his family: And therefore if Kings may, and ought to make lawes for the suppressing of this Gangren-like disease, that hath fearfully alrea­dy over-spread Court, Citie, Countrey, King­dome; then also may and ought every Magi­strate, Parent, Master, Housholder, make some lawes, and take some sharp course, that this hor­rid, hellish sinne may at length be banished from our lips, eares, and land.

Some sharp course, I say, some having power and authority to deale herein more sharply then others, that so privat men privatly in their owne families, may in time effect that which by a more publick law and sharp punishment were to be wished to be enacted for the whole land.

Till some such sharp course and generall law by some godly Phineas be procured, let us in our severall callings goe so farre as Gods word doth enjoyn, and mans law permit for the suppressing this sinne, which being so directly and imme­diatly practised against God himselfe, cannot bee too much preached against by his ministers.

For if you say to me, Why doe you harp so long upon this string?

I say to you, Why do you continue so long in this sinne? Your practice, your practice, which hath been evill, hath occasioned my preaching, which then hath been good, if by this great pains and long labour, you are at length brought to the sight of the greatnesse of this your sinne, and the severity of Gods judgements against the same, that so you may endeavour to perform for the good of others also, which I endevour [Page 103]now to perswade you unto; namely, to reprove and punish swearers.

Reprove, I say, and punish; for I told you ere-while, that in this discourse I confound both together, and you in the application may be plea­sed to take them asunder.

You who are Masters, Parents, Governours, whose calling is to punish, when I name reprove understand you punish: And you whose calling is to reprove onely, when I name punish, under­stand you reprove; that so my speech may not be misapplied that is rightly intended, but that the fish of your soules may be caught by one of those baits, you performing one of these du­ties; reproving, or punishing swearers.

And so relying upon Gods good blessing for successe, I lanch into the deep, intreating you to suffer this net of Gods word, not to swim in the shallownesse of your eares alone, but also to sink into the depth of your hearts, that so at length you may have true cause to say and sing with Za­cheus, O God I thanke thee, this day is salvation come into my house. I that before blasphemed thy name by my vain, rash, hellish oathes, now am perswaded, resolved, to endevour to sanctifie thy name by reproving, punishing others that do blaspheme the same, that so hereby my repen­tance to others may be manifested their conver­sion to themselves assured, the former negligence of either by the future diligence of both requi­ted and countervalued.

And so from the wide gates, I make haste into the little Citie, for feare you should imagine my [Page 104]gates to be greater then the Citie, the windowes then the house, the circumstance then the sub­stance of this ensuing discourse.

That this duty of reproving and punishing swearers, is to be performed, is proved by the Prophet, the only meanes to divert Gods venge­ance from a land, is to hinder sinne, that men break not forth by swearing, lying, whoring, stealing, &c. For these sins breaking forth, Gods judge­ments break in.

But how shall I hinder either judgements or sinne?Quest.

Verse 4. is added a cause why men break forth into this sinne,Answ. because they are not reproved; Yet let no man strive nor rebuke one another: inti­mating that the means that will hinder the brea­king forth into this sinne, is striving against, by reproving and punishing the swearer. For this people are as they that strive with the Priest; sh [...]wing that Satan strives by the sinne of the swearer, to overcome the admonitions of God in the mouth of the Minister: And should not the Minister and every Reprover strive as much for the enlargement of the Lords King­dome, as the Swearer doth for the enlargement of the Devils?

There must be striving you see betweene the Swearer and the Reprover: Think not (saith our Saviour) that I am come to send peace; Matth. 10.34. I came not to send peace, but warre. We must have war with sinners, before wee can have peace with God, or our own souls.

If by our timely admonitions we plead not [Page 105]for Christ, by our dumb silence we really plead against Christ.

He that gathereth not with me, scattereth a­broad. If God be God, let us cleave to him: but if Baal be God, and the sons of Belial true saints, let us say nothing against, but cleave unto them.

Yee cannot serve two masters, Gog and Ma­gog, Christ and Antichrist; your delight cannot be in the Saints, and those that doe excell in vertue, and your eares sheathes for those that break forth with swearing.

Therefore there must be no silence, but stri­ving, contending.

And why should we refuse the combat, and doubt of the victory? Swearers have the world on their side, we have the word; They custome, we conscience; They men, we God; They dark­nesse, we light; They error, we truth, which is strongest of all. Through Gods mercie, and the might of Christ, we shall be more then Con­querours.

But if wee refuse to strive for the Lord of Hosts, then hath he a controversie, and will strive against us. Therefore shalt thou fall in the day, and the Prophet also shall fall in the night, both the swea­rer and the sufferer; scil. the non-reprover of him.

And will the Lord strive, plead,Iob. 12. 1 Sam. 15.22. Levit. 26.24. Psal. 18.26. and have a controversie with us? If hee come to wrastle with man, though with the stoutest of men, the commander of heaven and earth with dust and ashes, it cannot but prove impar congressus, an un­meet [Page 106]match, as the wrastling of a Giant with a Dwarfe. We can make no match with him who powreth contempt upon Princes if they contemne him.

Now looke how severe the Cedar would be towards the Shrub resisting him, the mighty towards the meanest; ten thousand times more will the Lord be in opposing and stri­ving against those that oppose and strive against him.

Doth he in any wise command thou shalt re­buke thy neighbour? Levit. 19.17. And shall I see and heare him swear, and not open my mouth to sanctifie when his is open to pollute the glo­rious name of the Lord; knowing herein what God commands, and what I my self practice? Shall I not herein professe my selfe an enemy to God, by rejecting his word, by hating his soule, whose body I seem to love?

Doth God command,Ephes. 5.12. Have no fellowship with the unfruitfull workes of darknesse, but rather re­prove them? And shall I sit with the swearer, and drink with the drunkard, plead not a word for God, when others spue forth many oaths against him; knowing herein what God commands, and I my selfe practice? Shall I not herein pro­fesse my selfe a striver against the Lord himselfe, a hearer of his name taken in vain, and therefore not to be held guiltlesse; a lover of darknesse, and therfore not a child of light, Ephes. 5.12. seeing I approve in not reproving the workes of darknesse? which is the means the Apostle professeth for the frustra­ting this, and all other works of darknesse.

[Page 107]When the Ark was present, Dagon fell down, they could not both stand together: When the Ark of Reprehension comes in place, the Dagon of darknesse will fall down.

Have no fellowship of needlesse, long, and daily familiarity with them, by sitting, lodging, dwel­ling with such unfruitful works, i. workers of dark­ness, by approving, defending, countenancing, extenuating their finfull swearing, but rather re­prove them for it: as God the Fatther here doth, Christ the Sonne, Matth. 5. God the holy Ghost, Jam. 5.12. Above all things, &c.

Shall that which S. James above all things commands to be regarded, least and last of all things be heeded, remembred, and observed?

Or was it needfull in his time, and is it not in ours?

We are they that live in the last and worst dayes, wherein it seemes to be a lesser offence to sweare ordinarily, rashly, falsly, then to reprove men for their so swearing.

The first thing that our Saviour teacheth us to pray, is, that Gods name may be hallowed; and shall it be our last care, or rather no care at all, to re­prove such as doe dishonour the same?

Thus out of the Prophet and Apostle, wee have heard what we must doe, scil. reprove, pu­nish swearers, by all means possible, striving a­gainst this sin that causeth God to strive against a whole land.

Secondly, the men whom wee must reprove:2. The men whom The object is Swearers; the extent is all Swea­rers. The Lord will not hold him guiltless.

[Page 108]The greatnesse of the Oke, the talnesse of the Cedar, the smoothnesse of the Popler, the green­nesse of the Lawrell, or the lownesse of the Shrub, shall not exempt themselves from the blast and fiercenesse of this censure. The great­nesse of the wealthy, the meannesse of the poore, the ignorance of the simple, the knowledge of the learned, the passions of the angry, the min­cing of oathes, the unpunishing by the Magi­strates, shall not be placcards to defend men from this definitive sentence: The Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

With him there is no respect of persons, Acts 10. neither must it be with us.

The soule that sinneth must die: Ezek. 18. Therefore that man that sinneth by swearing, must be reproved, that he may live.

Sinne is sinne wheresoever it is; the bodies of great and rich men shall become the like preyes to wormes and rottennesse; and their souls shall undergoe like strict examination, as the bodies and soules of the meanest persons: When this great game at Chesse is here ended, they must with others be laid up together in the common bagge of nature, and then there shall be no diffe­rence betweene their dust, and that of the poore begger. They all proceed from the same lamp, and they all without envying either the other, shall be content to lodge in the same Inne.

Great men may need admonition, and why should not they have it, if they need it? For else were they more miserable then common men; [Page 109]and Solomons woe were especially upon them, be­cause when they fall, there is none to help them up again, Eccles. 4.10.

It being granted that they may fall, and that falling they are to be raised by reprehension and admonition, if they are so fast rocked asleep, that a soft speech of admonition will not, they are then to be roused by the thundring trumpet of louder reprehension.

The matter of admonition it is to be fitted to the fault, but the manner is to be framed to the best advantage of prevailing, with a regard to the dignitie of his person, and the remainder of his vertues.

Let it appeare that, that which speaks is love, and that for which it speaks, salvation. And how can any heart shut it self against love, bring­ing with it salvation?

Miror, si aliqu is rectorum potest salvari, It is a wonder if any great man be saved (saith Chry­sostome) alledged by Bishop Latimer before King Edward: The reason is ready, because there are so few to tell and admonish them of their faults, the greatnesse of the one much daunteth the goodnesse and courage of the other, that it dares not so freely and fully reprove their saults.

If Swearers be so great that Ministers dare not reprove, or that the Magistrates will not lay hold on them; or so cunningly mince their oaths, that the Law cannot reach them; yet then, and there will Gods Law begin, when and where mans law doth leave and end: where Ministers and others dare not speak vocally, there God [Page 110]dares and will speak really. Though they dazle the eye, stop and seal the lips, and manicle the hands of men, yet of God they cannot; and the lesse they feele at the hands of men, the heavier shall they feel the hand of God, either in their estates, or in their bodies, or in their souls, or in their posterities, or in all.

Though before men they refuse to come to shame, by submitting themselves to reproofe, yet God will not forget them, but bring them to it, either in this life to their conversion, or in the world to come to their full and finall con­fusion.

David, Hezekiah, Jehosophat, Peter, were re­proved; therefore great men, if sinners, if swea­rers, may, must be reproved; yea be they other­wise good and wise, Prov. 9.9. Rich garments require brushing, fine linnen washing, pleasant gardens watring.

All men will grant that a child or servant ought willingly to be reprehended of a father or master, but few will in practice grant that a father or master should listen to the reprehensi­on of a sonne or servant: Job therefore may bee a good president to all such, either masters or fathers: He durst not open his mouth, as himselfe witnesseth of himselfe, to contemne the judge­ment of his servant, or maid, when they did con­tend with him; because in a dutie of pietie, we must looke to them, not as servants, but as bre­thren, not to the speakers so much, who in respect of calling may be our inferiours, as to the things spoken in the ordinance of God, unto whom e­very [Page 111]man is an inferiour, and with whom there is no respect of persons.

As great and good men, so kindred and friends as well as strangers and foes, must be reproved, if by their swearing they presume to take Gods Name in vaine.

Many offend against this rule, who will ne­ver rebuke this or any other sinne, untill God revenge it from heaven. But such are not pro­perly friends, because whereas they might by ad­monition in time prevent the judgement of God upon them (whom they in shew, and not in sub­stance, in tongue, and not in truth love most dear­ly) they doe not admonish them. But what sin, whether swearing or the like, they doe mislike in strangers, or neighbours, the same sin they doe allow and not mislike by reproving, when it comes to kindred, wife, children, parents, as though the diversitie of subjects could make that to be sinne in some, which is not sinne in other some. But to end this point, let not the glit­tering beames of any outward respect either of great men or kindred, so dazle or blind our eyes, as that we shall not espie sin in either to reprove it. He loveth most naturally, that hath loveth most spiritually; and he in goodnesse comes nee­rest to God, that hath no respect of persons with men in matter of sin, Psal. 82.2. 1 Tim. 5.21.

3. The time when we must reprove Swearers;3. The time when. as it must be universally without exception, so presently without delay, whiles this sin is ten­der, a plant of little growth, and most easily to be plucked up, whiles it is shamefast, whiles [Page 112]it hath blood with blushing in the face.

David wounded the Philistine in the forehead, 1 Sam. 17. We must endevour to kill this Ser­pent in the egge: this sin, not come to full ripe­nesse, is easier cut downe, then in its height: Words spoken in due season, are like apples of gold with pictures of silver, Prov. 25.11.

When timely opportunitie is neglected, faci­litie in dispatch is seldome attained unto.

When thou perceivest the Devil by oaths to roll upon the tip of the tongue of the Swearer, he thereby endevouring to enter into the heart through the wicket of the ear of thee the hearer, let oathes no sooner drop into the eares, but let them as soon drop out of thy mouth by repro­ving the swearer.

Be thou impatient till thou be delivered of them, as a woman great with child, or as a sto­mach that is full of wind.

As soon as occasion and opportunity is offe­red, as soon as reason and religion doth require, let us endevour to apply the salve to the soare, the wine of reprehension or correction to the wound of sinne and transgression; Correction, I say, if we be parents, and have children, or masters and have servants; Let us, to shew our detestation of this sinne, and our love to their soules, endevour to banish oathes from them, or (to shew the feare of Gods judgements) themselves from us and our habitation, and that speedily.2 Reas. for spe d.

  • 1. For generall uniformity in one family.
  • 2. Because of delayes inutility.

[Page 113]1. For dost thou thy self sanctifie Gods name, and shall thy sonnes or servants blaspheme it? What communion should righteousnesse and unrighteousnesse have? What fellowship light and darknesse? What concord Christ and Be­lial? 2 Cor. 6.

Shall thy house be of divers dispositions, as Hamibals Armie was of divers Nations? Shall thy houshold, which should be as the Church of God, be like a Motley cloath, or a Medly co­lour, some of thy house of one die, and some of another?

God will have all his family weare one and the same Livery; herein must thou imitate God, let all thy family be uniforme and suteable, that all agreeing and according together, they may all look, walk, and draw in the service of God their maker, and thee their master.

How then should my businesse be performed,Quest. if I should have no such sinful swearing servants in my family?

And how can Gods service be performed by thee, or them, if thou keep such?Answ.

Turpius ejicitur quam non admittitur— It is lesse shame not to admit, then to cast out such a servant; but it is as true, Tutius ejicitur, like a raw morsell that sits ill in the stomach, he is more safely cast out, then retained; or if hee bee a re­tainer, yet not to dwell under thy roof, hee should not setup his rest there.

If David will not have a lier tarry in his sight, (Psal. 101.) then much lesse a swearer sit, sup, lodge, yeare and day with him: Hee will not [Page 114]have his family a mingle-mangle to confist pell-mell of men of all sorts and conditions.

If men know that any have been in that place where the plague reigneth, and would come into their houses, they presently barre the gates against him, they shut him out, by no meanes will they suffer him to enter; and why? verily because they would not have the plague brought in amongst them, lest they should bee infected and die. But alas! why should not the death of the soule be much more feared? Why should not masters banish out of their services and fa­milies, such pestiferous caitiffes, which through their assiduous and abominable swearing, infect all their houshold, not onely their bodies, but also their souls, on which alone and wholly de­pends the woe and weal of their bodies?

Awake therefore yee Knights, Gentlemen, Yeomen, all men; suffer, oh suffer no swearers in your houses, eschew them more then a vene­mous serpent; entertain a Dragon sooner in your houses, then any such one that hath pleasure in swearing: the former only hurt the body, the o­ther destroy both body and soule of such as are infected by them. Maintain none of them that shall bring the plague of God upon your houses.

Suffer not the tender breasts of your children to be poysoned in their youth, with the pesti­lent communication of these abominable Swea­ters.

If you cannot alwayes prevent the entrance, yet prevent their continuance. Search them out, (for they wil not easily manifest themselves) and [Page 115]being manifested, reprehended, and not amen­ded, cast them out. A bird may light upon, or flie into a mans house, but he may chuse whether he nestle and breed there. If their seeming san­ctitie drew servants into thy house and service, yet let their impiety, daily blasphemy, drive them out again.

Nay, if sonnes be disobedient to parents,Deut. 21.18. & 13.6. the parents themselves are to bring them out to the Judges, and the people to stone them.

Nay, a brother, a daughter, a wife offending, in some cases are not to be spared.

Nay, Asa King of Judah is commended for his uprightnesse in this respect, that, when Maa­cha his own mother committed idolatry,1 King. 15.13. would not spare her, but deposed her from her Regency: And is not continuall swearing a great sinne, breaking this great commandement of our great God?

Henry the fourth of that name, King of Eng­land, when his eldest sonne the Prince was by the Lord chiefe Justice for some great misdemea­nour commanded and committed to prison, hee thanked God that he had a sonne of that obedi­ence, and a Judge of such unpartiall and undaun­ted courage. For indeed, Religion or Justice, Non novit patrem, non novit matrem, veritatem novit, neither knoweth father or mother, but onely the truth.Jer. 22.24. Though Coniah were as the Signet of Gods finger, yet would hee plucke him thence.

Governours, Masters, Housholders, as they communicate with God in his name;Psa. 82. I said ye are [Page 116]Gods: so should they in his nature, who judgeth without respect of persons, 1 Pet. 1.17. not bolding any guiltlesse that taketh his name in vain.

2.Reas. 2. Delayes inutility: Delayes in other things are not good, but in this of reprehension and pu­nishment, stark naught.

1.Evils ensu­ing are 3. Because the Swearer not presently repro­ved, doth against another time his next swea­ring, get the examples of others swearing in his company for his protection, as favourers and actors of this sinne, and so consequently makes them the means of evasion.

2. Because petty oathes (if a man may call any little that are commited against the great God) by our silence, and not punishment, grow to hel­lish oathes. A little fire which at first might have been put out with a spoonfull of water, being let to burne, in short time turneth Towns and Cities into ashes.

Reproofs and punishments are like medicines, which being kept too long, hazard the patient, and lose their vertue.

Magistrates, Parents, Masters, must not let this disease goe too long, lest by suffering, that proves incurable, which might have been holpen by timely administring. The ulcer is to be lanced betime, before it grow to a Gangrene; the Tet­ter to be killed, before it spread to bee a Ring­worme.

God commands Fathers, if they love their children,l ro. 1 3.24 to correct them betimes, and to chastise them while there is hope.

Artaxerxes said to Ezra, Ezra 7.26. Whesoever will not doe [Page 117]the Law of thy God, and the Law of the King, let judgement be executed speedily upon him, &c. And the reason is given, Eccles. 8.11. Because sentence against an evill worke is not executed speedily, there­fore the heart of the sonnes of men, is fully set in them to doe evill.

3. Because he that should reprove, many times in tract of time proves colder in his zeale of re­proofe and punishment: for if thou wilt not ad­venture to passe through at low water, how wilt thou doe at full sea? If thou durst not pull up a twig, how wilt thou doe when it comes to a tree? If thou fearest the skirmish with a single, how wilt thou endure to incounter with an host of hellish enemies? If thou art silent at the hearing of one, how wilt thou be embolde­ned to reprove many horrid oathes?

Thus you see the spurs for speedinesse in re­proving Swearers.

  • 1. For generall uniformity.
  • 2. Because of delayes inutility: as,
    • 1. The examples of others will be al­ledged.
    • 2. The Swearers sins increased.
    • 3. The edge of our zeale abated.

If David had good cause to destroy all the wicked in the land early, Ps. 101.8. then have we no colour to rebuke or correct black-mouth'd swearers, lately: yet let there bee no more hast then good speed; If thou in the company of Swearers art an inferiour, and there be other su­periours, thou art a private, and other are pub­lick persons, Magistrates or Ministers, then ex­pect [Page 118]one of them to performe the dutie of repre­hension, that so from the gravitie or greatnesse of the person reproving, the reproof it selfe may the more piercingly work, and ungainsay­ably be entertained in respect of the authority, calling, and estimation of the person whence it proceeds: as a man suddenly falling sick, rather takes the prescription of an experienced Physiti­an there present in the company, then of an ordi­nary meaner person standing by. But if such a Physitian be carelesse in prescribing a remedy, better it is for any to put to his helping hand, then the suddenly sick Patient to sink away in a swound.

If thou perceivest such superiours, Magistrates or Ministers; to be slack, (as very few are for­ward enough in this dutie) then others cold­nesse must put an edge to thy zeale, their silence untie the strings of thy tongue, to stand for the honour of thy God, endevouring by thy due ad­monition to remove the Devill from possessing the heart and tongue of the swearer, and to raise his siege from assaulting the heart and eare of the hearer, which otherwise for want of wise re­proofe might endanger the body and soule of ei­ther: And so Satan should with Caesar trium­phantly say with change of one of his three words, veni, dixi, vici, I came to the heart and lips of the Swearer, I spake to the eare and heart of the non-reprover, and without any op­position have in an instant obtained the victory against one and the other.

When thou perceivest this office of admoni­tion [Page 119]to be sleighted by those which for place and abilitie might in better manner, more fitly and to better purpose performe it, be not overman­nerly by straining curtesie who shall begin first: for some one must strike, some must strive, how else can there be a combat, how else a conquest? The Devill himselfe first making the assault, some one must as speedily counterpoyse his as­sault: That our celeritie may answere his sedu­litie, and the Lord beholding our zeale for him, may assist us in the combat, and crown us with the victory; so shall such as are as strong as we, by our pious examples be confirmed; such as are as yet colder, shall be encouraged; we our selves shall have more heart to resist Satan, and he lesse power to assault us.

Being, I hope, by this time animated to perform this biparted dutie of reprehension, or corre­ction of Swearers, let us listen to the direction in the fourth particular, to wit, the manner how we must perform it.

4. part, the manner how.4. The manner how.

  • 1. By our works towards them.
  • 2. By our words with them.
  • 3. By our departure from them.

1. Reprove swearing and Swearers we must, by our deeds, our own purity, and freedome from the sinne.

As we must be holy, because God is holy, so we must be pure, as he is pure, 1 Joh, 3.9.

That thou mayst have the more comfortable successe in banishing this sinne from thy Family, thou must be sure that thou banish it first from [Page 120]thine own heart. Thou being a Magistrate, Mi­nister, Father, Master, must cause thy practice to bee as powerfull as thy naked precept. For if thou practice thy selfe what thou reprovest in a­nother, thou hereby bluntest the edge of thy re­prehension, and emboldenest him in his sinne and tansgression.

Lesser Planets look to those that bee greater,Regis ad ex­emplum to­tus compo­nitur or bis. A bove ma­joridiscit arare mi­ner. and the meaner sort look to those that be higher, from whom there is great force to draw inferi­ours either to good or evill. Great men are like to great stones in the wall, if they stand, the wall stands; if they fall, many of the little stones soon clatter after.

They are like to a garden full of sweet Flow­ers, if they be well ordered,Labans sheep con­ceived ac­cording to the rods laid before their eyes, Gen. 30, 37, &c. their examples yeeld much good savour, prosperity, counsell, com­fort, encouragement to inferiours beholding them; but they are like dunghils, if they bee ill ordered, they be contagious and noysome to such as are about them, their poyson is strong, and their infection dangerous.

Men desire to find occasion whereupon to re­fuse the means ordained for their good. If they can espy any fault in those that reprove or admo­nish them, then they presently imagine, that such should neither reprove nor punish, repel­ling all their sayings with the proverb, Medice, cura teipsum, heale first thy selfe.

And to say the truth, we can have no counte­nance to reprove, or courage to punish swearing in others, when we our selves make no consci­ence to commit the same.

[Page 121]The Pharisees lost their authority, because they taught and did not.

He that wil have others do what he commands,Judg. 9. must speak in the stile of Abimeleeh, What thou hast seen me doe, make haste, and doe like me.

I and my house, (sayth Josuah, 24.15.) will serve the Lord; I first, then my house; not first my house, and then I.

A small fault in Magistrates, Ministers, Pa­rents, Masters, is as a Wart or Mole, in the midst of the face, which cannot be hid. It is as a spot on a Ruffe, or a Beacon on the top of an hill.

If the eye bee darke, how great will that darknesse be? Matth. 6.23.

Men most greedily gaze on the Sunne when it is eclipsed; so the multitude and inferiours more willingly discourse of the imperfections and vices of their governours and superiours, then of their vertues, thereby hoping to justifie themselves, and so to escape unpunished, un­controlled.

The best rule then, to have this law against swearing well executed, is, for Superiours first to keep it themselves in their owne persons, it being the nature of man rather to be led by rea­son and example, then by precept, penaltie, or force of Law; the lives of their superiours be­ing by them esteemed the fairest and safest copie they can rule their actions by.

They doe more good by their godly practice, then by their vertuous precepts; and more harme by their bad example, then by their sin; because [Page 122]being swearers themselves, they convey the poi­son of their corruption into the bowells of the beholders.

Amend it in thy selfe, or else endeavour it not in others.

2.2. By words. Reprove Swearers we must by our words. It is the most thanklesse office in the world, to be a mans Pandar unto sin; In other wrongs one man is a wolfe to another, in this a Devill.

And though at first this damnable service car­ry away a reward, yet in conclusion it is requi­ted with hatred and curses; For the Conscience once soundly detesting sin, loaths the meanes that induced him to commit it: As Amnons love was not so great to his sister Thamar before the Incest,2 Sam. 13.15. as his hatred was after it was committed. Contrariwise, he that withstands a man in the prosecution of this or any other sin, beares away frowns and heart-burnings for a time, but when the offending partie comes to himselfe and to his right reason, he recompenseth his former dislike with so much more love, and so many more thanks.

The frantick man returning to his wits,Greenh: thinks him his best friend that beare and bound him most.

Let us learne this as a Rule of our life, never to trust him, that will promise to conceale a sin in us.

If thou dost the best to crosse any man in his sin; if thou have not thanks of him, yet of thine owne Conscience thou shalt. For if where there is matter given, there reproofe should be deni­ed, [Page 123]this were to encourage diseases, and to for­bid Physick, to discover a sore, and apply no salve.

Why should there not be as well a libertie, as a necessitie of reproving?

Yet there is a wisdome as well as a libertie, and it were to be wished that they that have this wisdome, would also make use of this libertie, and if take the libertie, then to take this wis­dome with it. The wise manner of reproving, of­tentimes makes the reproofe it selfe effectuall.

Mr. Greeneham, whose body quietly endured much launcing at the hand of the temporall Chi­rurgeon, and therein manifested himselfe a Mir­rour of patience, and who himselfe in the curing of the wounds of mens souls was an expert Chi­rurgeon, gives this Advice: Pag. 101. As it falls out (saith he) in soares, so it commeth to passe in sinnes; We cannot away to have our wounds oft launced and grated on the quicke, but to be fed with healing salves, bathed in the mercies of God, and plaistered over with sweet promises rather then ripped up to the bottome; whereas it is far safer before incarnative and healing me­dicines, to use corrasive and mundifying waters, without which, though some soares may seeme to close and skin apace, yet they prove worse, being rotten still at the coare, and having above a thin skin, and beneath nothing but dead flesh.

It is more sound Chirurgery (saith he) to prick and pierce the Conscience with the burn­ing Iron of the Law, and to cleanse the wounds of our soules by the sharpe threatnings thereof, [Page 124]least the skin pulled over the Conscience for a while, wee leave the rotten corruption uncured underneath. Much more see at large in the same Author, in Pag. 106.

Yet (with submission to the judgement of the learned) in this particular of reproving Swear­ers, who are so hardned and wilfull in this feare­full sinne, I account it better to deale with them mildly at the first in reproving them, till wee finde some shew of contrition, and afterwards endeavour by sharpe threats to humble them, to worke a through reformation in them. For so in another place of his Workes, (to wit, Pag. 631.) I finde the same Author advising thus; In admo­nition (whether of Swearers, or any other sin­ners) wee must use discretion and degrees; as good Physitians, wee must not at the first urge the most forcible medicines, but use them in their degree and place, when and where more favou­rable meanes prevaile not: not applying too strong purgations at the first with Rehoboam, lest our impatient patients be notable to beare them; especially seeing man by nature is unwilling to receive any reprehension, notwithstanding it be gentle: When a spot is shewed to be in our gar­ment, wee are ready to take up mire, and to cast it on his coate that poynted at our spot; or see­ing somewhat in our face by a glasse, wee are ready to break the glasse that first shewed us our blemish.

Those admonitions are most commendable and effectuall, which ayme at the good of the repro­ved, and not those which fit most with the hu­mor of the Reprover.

[Page 125]If they be splenatick and over-eager, they har­den those affections which they pretend to sof­ten.

And in his 28. Page, wee must rather winne men with a loving admonition, then goare them with a sharpe reprehension: Considering (saith he) how you must put on you the person of the offender, that as you spare not his sin, because of the zeale of Gods glory, so you presse it not too far, because of compassion to a brother.

In curing therefore this soare and sin of Swear­ing,3. Proper­ties of a Chirurge­on. thou must be carefull to have the properties of a wise Chirurgeon: to wit,

  • 1. An Eagles eye.
  • 2. A Ladies hand.
  • 3. A Lyons heart.

1. An Eagles eye; to discerne afarre off the nature of a wound, whether fresh or inveterate,1. An Ea­gles eye. whether of weaknesse or of wilfulnesse, whe­ther a Thorn or a Nettle: There must not be one uniforme proceeding with all men in the repre­hension of this sinne; but that must varie ac­cording to the disposition and condition of the reproved.

The Apostle, Heb. 10.24. commands every Christian to observe his brother; Observe first, the circumstance of the time,1 Sam. 25.36. so did Abigail to­wards churlish Nabal, suffering the sheep-shea­ring first to be ended, and the wine to be gone out of his head.

When men are so drunk that they cannot see, and therefore blind; so drunk that they cannot stand, therefore lame; so drunk that they can­not [Page 126]speak, therefore unlesse it be to spue forth blasphemy against the Lord, it is no fit time to bestow any great pains to reclaim them from this sin. I think, to endevour much with them at such times, is to cast Pearls amongst Swine, and holy things amongst Dogs.

Observe secondly, whether an Elder or No­vice; The Apostle bids Timothy, Exhort an El­der, 1 Tim. 5.1. If the party be an Elder, though reproof be not unlawfull, yet it is not so fit as exhortation.

Observe thirdly, by this quick, judicious Ea­gles eye, before thou take any Swearer in hand, to discern whether he be a Thorn or a Nettle, seeing some Swearers as thornes, which easily touched, hurt not, doe not much gainsay; but if hard and unwarily, fetch blood of the hand; others as Nettles, which if they be nicely handled, sting and prick; but if they be roughly handled, and pressed, are pulled up without any harme.

Secondly,2. A Ladies hand. a Ladies hand: most commonly it is best to deale gently at the first, as I shewed be­fore: For David requested his Captains to deale gently, and intreat Absolom kindly (though a traytor) for his sake, 2. Sam. 18.5. So deal cur­teously with them at first, for our own sakes, re­membring our selves, what wee were in our sinnes, till God opened our eyes, and touched our hearts.

Perhaps he offends in frailty, ignorance, and custome onely, then the Apostles precept must be our practice;Gal. 6.1. Yee which are spirituall, restore such a one with the spirit of meeknesse: borrowing [Page 127]the phrase from Chyrurgions, who handling La­dies hands, being to deale with a broken joynt, handle the same tenderly. Nathan seems to doe so, when first in a parable hee reproved David, till hee brought him to condemne and passe sentence against himselfe, and then hee knew hee might the more boldly and succesfully reiterate what he had sentenced, 2 Sam. 12.1, 2, &c.

And Paul reproving the Corinthians, includes himself and Apollos in the same reproofe, 1 Cor. 4.6. as though hee had been guilty of the same crime.

On some have compassion, putting a difference, saith Jude, vers. 22.

Use the greater mildnesse in the work of re­stauration, saith the Apostle,Gal. 6.1. Considering your selves, that yee may fall into the like temptation and offence.

Even as having a wheale on the hand, be it never so little, we will not suffer another to let it out, but are willing to doe it our selves: So when we deal with men for sinnes committed by ignorance and infirmitie, let us doe it with great tendernesse, lest they desire rather to admonish themselves, then to be admonished by us.

Catch these birds, the Souls of the Swearers, with the nets of gentlenesse, rather then drive them away with the noyse of thundring judge­ments at the first a ssault.

Iron is first heated red-hot in the fire, and after beaten and hardned with cold water.

Thus must thou deal with an offending friend, first heat him with the praise of his deserved [Page 128]vertue, (you are very conscionable in your dea­lings towards man, and carefull for avoiding o­ther sinnes against God) and then beat upon him with the hammer of reprehension, (and why should you not be as carefull to obey God here­in also?) being first prepared with praise.

Good Nurses when their children are fallen, first take them up and speak them faire, after­ward chide them.

Gentle speech is a good preparative to rigor; Let the building of reproofs for faults, bee fra­med on the foundation of praise for vertues, that men may see that thou lovest him by thy apro­bation, and that thou lovest not his fault by thy reprehension.

If he love himselfe, he will love those that mislike his vices; and if he love not himselfe, it makes no matter whether he love thee or no.

A true friend will resemble hony, the sweetest of all liquors, nothing so sweet to the tast, no­thing more sharp and cleansing when it meen with an exulcerated soare.

As I will bee sweet in the praises and encou­ragements of friends, so also sharp in their cen­sure: either let them abide me no friend to their faults, or no friend to themselves, saith elegant Hall.

If thou desirest by thy reprehension to doe good, thou must be endued with Courage, Fide­lity, Discretion, Patience.

  • 1. Fidelitie, not to bear with,
  • 2. Courage, to reprove them.
  • 3. Discretion, to reprove them well.
  • [Page 129]4. Patience to endure the leasure of amend­ment, making much of good beginnings, putting up many repulses, taunts, raylings, disgraces, and bearing with many weaknesses, as knowing that they that have been long used to fetters, cannot but halt a while when they are taken off.

Still hoping, I say, still solliciting, still wait­ing with patience; for conversion (much lesse perfection) is not the fruit of a moment; we must having oft told them of this sin with patience, expect, proving if God at any time will worke repentance and reformation in them.

Many faile and offend herein; if men be not presently reclaimed from this sinfull custome of Swearing with one or two admonitions, they leave admonishing further, and break forth into sury and despight against them, as if they were appointed to be Authors of mens salvation, and not waiters on God for his rich blessings upon their poore paines of admonishing: Thinking when they have spoken, it must be done; when as it shall not be done, till God speakes.

If God will have the Swearer called at the twelfth houre, think him not a cast-away if he be not converted at the ninth houre.

Wee must not give over, notwithstanding the little seeming successe of this dutie; perhaps wee sinned in the manner of reproving for want of wisdome, or wee would too much have gloried in our selves if wee had done good, or wee did convince Judgement generally, and not apply things to their circumstances particularly, or we did all without love, or without prayer, and so [Page 130]though we plant and sow, God denieth the first and the latter rain to blesse our labours: or last­ly, we are to be comforted and encouraged un­der hope of God in time to come.

For experience proveth that some at the first, receiving of an admonition most hardly, have afterwards much profited by it: And others receiving an admonition very gently, have lost the fruits of it afterward very negligently.

For many courteous natures are as soft wax, sooner able to receive the impression of an ad­monition, but less able to retain it. Again, a more heroical nature is as harder wax, not so soon ad­mitting, as keeping the print being made.

As a furious or phreneticall brain can by no means away with him that shall lay hands on him, though it were for his profit; so, so long as we are in impatience, we perhaps may suffer no man to speak unto us, though it be for our good; but the lethargie of our mind being cured, wee marvell at our former impatience, and are ready to shew our selves thankfull to him that would have a care to draw us out of such a sin.

Therefore we ought not to faint or be weary of well speaking, though successe be not answe­rable to our present expectation.

Mans pleasure presently is not to be satisfied; but Gods pleasure patiently to bee attended, 2 Tim. 2.25. In which place as the Apostle per­swades to patience towards opposers, so also to instruct those whom we reprove for sin.

Be sure thy admonition be backed with Do­ctrine and Instruction. I charge thee before God, [Page 131]to reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all long suffering and doctrine, 2 Tim. 4.1, 2. delivering the admoni­tions in the name of God, and not in thine own, that the reproved may have occasion to say, he is reproved of God himselfe rather then of man, and so the reproofe shall never fall to the ground.

Now when these two generall means, scil. Puritie from it in life, and Reprehension of it by word, and these two speciall means of the se­cond generall, 1. An Eagles eye, 2. A Ladies had, i, all meek, loving, wise, patient courses, with the opportunity of the season, and advan­tages of circumstances, have been accordingly used, and nothing yet will prevaile; a shame and curse must needs light on that man, who being thus friendly sought by love to bee reclaimed from his sinfull swearing, doth return hatred for the good will and love of his friend. Most com­monly to such a one belongeth the speech of the Prophet to Amaziah: I know that the Lord will destroy thee, because thou hast refused my counsell; 2 Chro. 25 16. which is the 3. particular means of this second general, to wit, in reproving of swearers to have a Lions heart.

When Swearers are wilfully bent, and will not be reclaimed by the spirit of meeknesse;3. A Lions heart. Gal. 6.1. then thou art not to bee discouraged by their fearfull oathes, and taunting disgraces, but oughtest to bee bold as a Lion, Prov. 28.1.Pro. 28.1. lifting up thy voyce as a Trumpet, which must bee held forth with the hand, as well as blown into with the mouth.

[Page 132]If Swearers souls will not be caught with the net of gentle admonition, yet endevour to kill their sinne with the thunder-bolt and piercing Cannon of Gods judgements, that so their souls (if by no other means) may violently be taken as brands out of the fire, Jude 23.

Saint James his method of admonition is an excellent patterne for our imitation;Iam. 5.12. Brethren, above all things sweare not, but let your yea, be yea, nay, nay, lest yee fall into condemnation.

1. He doth, captare benevolentiam, endevou­ring to win them, by giving them a loving title, Brethren.

2. He doth informe the judgement what to speak, But let your yea be yea, your nay, nay; briefe for memory, plain for capacity, and doubled for the greater certainty.

3. Then he rounds them in the eare with the downfall of damnation, thereby to prevaile, if by no other means he could, because the whole counsell of God is to be delivered.Act. 20.27.

He is first a Barnabas, a sonne of consolation, before a Boanerges, a sonne of thunder; the first assayes to allure by love, before hee restrain or compell by feare.

He first informes the mind with the matter what, before he workes upon the affection with the motive why?

Being first tied unto him, with the title of Love, they will be the more fearfull of the down­fall of damnation.

For should wee instantly at first flye into the Swearers face with the cudgell of damnati­on, [Page 133]he would think we assaulted him with the weapon of malice, or revenge, and that would make him stand upon his guard, and fall to the defence of his sin.

It is a more charitable, and probably prevai­ling course to deale with him upon confessed grounds, and on those to build that which is not confessed, as,

1. Tell the Swearer at first,Instances. Gods law must be the rule of our lives; hee presently contesseth this; by obeying it, we are made the sonnes of God the Father, the brethren of Christ, the Temples of God the holy Ghost; Why should you then by this one base subtility of Satan, bee so much wanting to your selfe, as to endevour the losing of these dignities (that you by Christ are made capable of) by breaking so needlesly the Law of your maker?

2. Above all things sweare not; shall we above all things forget that which above all things we are commanded to remember, and that not by men, but by the holy Ghost himself?

This above all sinnes is primarily prohibited, & shall this by us most freqently be committed? This were to give Christ vineger and gall, in stead of wine and oyle; to forget what we should remember, and to remember what wee should forget; to make choyce of the cursed language of Edom, in stead of the pure language of Cana­an; to desire stones in stead of bread, Serpents in stead of fish, rough husks in stead of sweet nuts, the Devils flesh-pot in Egypt rather then Gods Manna in the wildernesse, or durable dainties in [Page 134]the land that floweth with milke and hony.

Again,Mat. 5.31. Christ tells you, what must bee the manner of your speech, Let your yea be yea, nay, nay. The words are plain, you cannot but un­derstand them; short, you cannot forget them; delivered by the pattern of perfection, the Way, the Trutb, the Life, you cannot doubt of the cer­tainty of them.

Will you bee seduced in the labyrinth of er­rout, when you may walk in the plain way of truth?Deut. 30.19. Will you chuse death by rash swearing, when you may gain life by sober speaking? This direction comes from Christ our fast friend, the other suggestion from Satan our professed ene­my: O hate this oathing, a work of the flesh, for the Authors sake the Prince of darknesse.

4. Lest you fall into condemnation: Look into hell before you leap into it; is it a sport to bee damned for ever?

Be not deceived, Gal. 6.8. God is not mocked, as a man sow­eth, so shall be reap; he that soweth to the flesh, shal of the flesh reap corruption.

He that sets you on work, (unlesse you repent, unlesse you renounce his service) will pay you your wages: you cannot work a foes desert, and yet expect a friends reward.

The Grapes and Figges of Come yee blessed, are not to be expected from the Thorns and Thistles of swearing by Gods Soule, Blood, Mass, &c.

By your words you shall bee justified, Matth. 12. and by your words you shall be condemned.

The Lord reproved Gain for his wrath, and by his sad countenance, before he slew his brother, [Page 135] Gen. 4.6. But Caein not yeelding to the Lords reproofe, came unto the grievous sin of murder it selfe.

I must needs tell you, by this your customary cursed speaking, you are in the very suburbs of hell, look unto it, consider of it,Psa. 4. Stand in aw and sinne not, lest you plunge your selfe into the gulfe of hell it selfe; for, qualis vita, finis ita; as men live, so most commonly they die.

Having so great a journey to travell, as from earth to heaven, will you goe quite out of the way all the former and greater part of the day, your life, and yet in the last and least part thereof, at the houre of your death, hope, imagine, or presume to return into the way, and attain un­to an happy end of your journey?

Doe you desire happinesse in the end, and not seek after holinesse in the way?

Will you in an instant presse and leap in at the narrow gate, that leadeth to heaven, and through the generall course of your life, with posting speed run in the broad way that leadeth to hell and destruction?

Be not deceived, Grace must goe befote Glory; God never gives Glory, but first he gives Grace.

He that will be blessed must be holy, hee must be partaker in the first resurrection, on whom the second death shall have no power. Rev. 20.6.

He must be a Priest of Christ that will reign with him a thousand yeares: He must crucisie the deeds of the flesh, banish rotten words, and hellish oathes, and offer up sweet smelling sacrifices, words powdred with salt, yea, yea, nay, nay, that [Page 136]may administer grace; and not by wounds, Blood, Saint Mary, Light, &c. that pierce the soul, and bring griefe unto the heart: Without holinesse no man shall see the Lord to his comfort, Hebr. 12.14. No unclean thing shall enter there; without shall be Dogges, Rev. 21.17. & 22.15.

A King will not suffer Dogges to enter into his privie Chamber; or to have any abode in his dining roome; and shall cursed Swearers that teare Gods name with their teeth (as Dogges doe flesh from the bones) that doe, notwithstan­ding all gentle admonitions and sharp objurga­tions, still with the Dogreturn to their vomit, to lick up afresh the same gastly oathes which before they vomited forth, as it were some sweet mor­sel and desirable dainty; that doe with the Sow, seeming once to be washed, return unto their wal­lowing in the mire of ear-infecting & soul-killing swearing; shall these have entrance and admissi­on into the privie Chamber of God, the mansion of Christ, and all the host of Saints? God first must cease to be true, and Satan the authour of a lie.

Doe we expect to see God face to face? Every man that hath this hope, purifieth himselfe even as he is pure, 1 John 3.3

Thus in the discharge of your duty, must you admonish him of his finne, whether he amend thereby, or no.

If thou have leasure and opportunity to be­stow some pains and time with thy friend pri­vatly, for the casting out of this long-lodged In­mate from his soule; (for it may be this evill spirit [Page 137]hath so long possessed him, that it will not be driven out with a breath, but requires grrater pains, Prayer, Fasting) then be sure not to forget Jerem. 5. Zach. 5. Mat. 5. and Jam. 5.12. the me­thod that Christ, the Apostles, the Prophet, use for the removing this Devill from the soule of man.

Among all, let these two cautions or memen­toes, be firmly treasured up in thy memory for the Swearers profit.

First, be sure to work upon his judgement,1 by informing him in the truth, before thou wrest his affection by the rack of reprehension, by the golden bait of profit, or by the Iron reason of necessitie, from the pursuit of this errour and sinne.

2. Be sure to insist upon that sinne alone,2 with­out falling into discourse of other at the same time; for if thou runne unto other at the same instant, he may forget being a common swearer for what he was reprehended at first.

Good occasions of reformation have been lost, because too many faults together have been brought to amendment.

I account it much better to reclaim from one effectually, then to glance at one promiscu­ously.

Thus endevour thou (by all these forementio­ned wayes of information and reprehension, lo­vingly, discreetly, boldly, patiently) to become with Paul, all unto all, that thou mayst win some, 1 Cor. 9.22. and pull them as brands out of the fire of this quick burning sin.

[Page 138]Be carefull to observe all advantages, oppor­tunities, and circumstances of person, time, place, manner, that thou mayst finde the more speedy and desirable successe; but yet beare this in thy bosome, that it is far better to offend in some one of these three last mentioned circumstances, then in the substance, and not reprove at all.

Now when after such due manner wee have exercised this faithfulnesse, gentlenesse, wise­dome, boldnesse, figured out unto us by an Ea­gles eye, a Ladies hand, and Lions heart, in re­proving this vain, finfull, sensuall swearing. When all is done, yet nothing is done towards the ex­pelling this poyson, towards the beheading this Traytor, towards the curing this disease, unlesse we be mindfull to pray for the Lords blessing upon our pains, that he that gives the word of wisedome, love and boldnesse to the mouth of the speaker, will vouchsafe to give a willing in­clination, and resolute reformation to the heart of the hearer.

Lord perswade Iaphet, Gen. 3.25. prayed Noab, for he knew his speaking to the eare was in vain, unlesse the Lord spake also unto the heart.

Paul may plant, and Apollos may water, yet both in vain, unlesse the Lord give the increase.

Except the Lord build the house, Psal. 127.102. they labour in vain that build it; Except the Lord keep the Citie, the watchman waketh but in vain. It is in vain to rise up early in thy reprehensions, to sit up late in thy ex­hortations, to eat the bread of sorrowes in they ex­pectation of successe, unlesse the Lord say the word Ephphatha.

[Page 139]If Paul preach unto Lydia, as long as he did to Eutychus, Acts 20.7. even till midnight,Acts 16.4. yet all is nothing till the Lord openeth the heart.

If Peter fish all night,Luke 5. yet shall hee catch no­thing, till Christ bring him to the place of spee­ding.

The Minister, or private Reprover, speakes but to the eare; he that speaketh to the heart, his Chair and Pulpit is in heaven.

Close therfore up thy counsel to the Swearers eare, with this short secret Centurions prayer, in thine own heart, Lord, speak thou the word onely, Matth. 8.8. and this thy servant shall be bealed.

3. The 3d manner how to reprove swearers, 3. By de­parture from their company. is by our departure from their company and society, if by our words and workes, our purity from, and our reprehension of it, we cannot prevail.

The first way or meanes was by purity of life, 1 and freedom from this sinne, and this is a secret re­proving.

The second way was by reprehension in our speech, and this is a privat reproving.


The third way is by departure from the company and society of Swearers; 3 this is a more publick re­proving them.

The first is Reall, the second verball, the third Intimated, or intentionall.

If none of the other two can prevail, yet this may.

If the two former will doe the Swearer no good, yet this third will keep thee from much hurt; if by them the Swearers soule is not bette­red, yet by this thy own dutie is discharged, and thy conscience setled.

[Page 140] Have no fellowship with the unfruitfull workes of darknesse, Ephes. 5.11. but rather reprove them. As rash, idle, common swearing, doth plainly discover it selfe to be a work of darkness, and altogether unfruit­full, as was shewed before, so this is the last way to reprove it, by departing from the society of such as are delighted with it.

When thou perceivest them to be obstinate a­gainst reproofes, and canst doe no good by admo­nition upon them; then be thou sure to have no further fellowship with them, entertaine them not in thy house, nor countenance them in thy company; for these ensuing hazards thou art likely to incur by their society:

  • 1. Suspition.
  • 2. Infection.
  • 3. Malediction.

The first, of suspition from others.

The second, of infection in our selves.

The third, of malediction from God.

1. Hazard of Suspition from others, inasmuch as we commonly ghess at a mans inclination, by the disposition of his company: Birds of a fea­ther, most commonly will flock together. Noscitur ex alin, qui non cognoscitur ex se. The Lacedemoni­ans enquiring after the behaviour of their chil­dren, demanded very wisely, with what play­fellowes they were linked; not doubting, but that they would be like to such whose fellow­ship they fancied.

Amicitiae ut pares quaerunt, ita & faciunt: Friend­ship as it seeks, so it makes men alike in condi­tions. [Page 141]The Apostlewilleth us, to Abstain from all appea­rance of evill, 1 Thess. 5.22. Wherefore this is one certainly, and that not a little one, when daily, familiarly, delightfully, we converse with notorious swearers, without any minde, heart, conscience, to reprove them.

The second hazard is of Infection, 2 since such is the corruption of our nature, and nature of our corruption, that if the good and bad meet, the good is rather soyled by the bad, then the bad any way bettered by the good.

Commisti sunt inter gentes, they were mingled amongst the heathen, saith David of the people of God: and what was the issue? They learned their works.

If we be companions of Ostriches, wee shall favour of their wildnesse, as they who sleep with Dogges, shall swarme with Fleas.

One Corah did but kindle the fire of conspira­cie, and presently two hundred and fiftie Cap­tains brought sticks to increase it: so venemous is wickednes, that one dram of it is able to cor­rupt the whole lump of Israel.

Sin among men, like the rot among sheep, is of a catching and infectious quality; many have fallen into the fashion of swearing out of the ill practice of Swearers.

It is an hard matter for the Soule not to fall in­to those vices, unto which the eyes and eares are invited.

Swallowes would not flie within Thebes, be­cause their walls were so often besieged: Let not men put on wings to flie into the company of [Page 142]those men whose manners are corrupted, for fear both of corruption and destruction.

The reason why our Saviour would not give that Disciple leave to goe bury his dead Father, was, (as some judge) lest his unbeleeving kin­dred, who would be present at his Fathers fune­rall, should corrupt him again, and so he should die with them.

Bad men keep others from goodnesse, as those dead carkasses did the Raven from Noabs Ark.

From these let us run, as Moses did from his Rod turned into a Serpent.

For if with the Israelites we joyne our selves to Baal-Peor, Numb. 25.2, 3. to the company of swaggering Swearers, we will eat the offerings of the dead, and bow down to their gods.

It is written of Mezentius the Tyrant, Corpora corporibus jungebat mortua vivis, hee bound the dead and the living together; but the dead did not revive by the living, the living putrefied ra­ther by reason of the dead.

The fresh waters running into the Sea, doe not sweeten it, but are made brackish by the same.

Even in Paradise the woman, whom God himselfe gave to man, being infected by the Serpent, infects the man, and that at the first assault; And shall any man now, being shut out of Paradise, and stript of those supernaturall helps and graces wherewith Adam was invested, think himselfe more able to resist then hee? No, no,1 Cor. 15. Evill words corrupt good manners, much more doe blasphemous horrid oathes.

The long playing of the Cannon, batters the [Page 143]Wall, and a continuall dropping pierceth the stone. Peter by standing long by a fires side in Caiaphas Hall, is dangerously infected. Joseph living in Pharaobs Court, is at length taught and brought to sweare by the life of Pharaob Chil­dren hearing their Parents to sweare so oft, learn to be perfect in swearing, before they can go up­right; and take Gods name in vain, before they can rightly tell, or pronounce their own.

The Physitians rule touching persons infected with the plague, is good to be observed towards persons presumptuously remaining in this sinne, Cito, longe, tarde:

  • 1. Speedily flie from their company.
  • 2. Flie farre away.
  • 3. Return slowly to their company again.

Now the plague is not more contagious then the Swearers are; the plague doth not more infect the aire, then the wicked Swearers the per­sons and places among whom they live.

Therefore if we regard our health, we should be carefull when wee perceive them resolute in their sin.

  • 1. Speedily to flie from them.
  • 2. Flie far away from them.
  • 3. See them amend before wee returne to them.

The third hazard is of Malediction: 3 For as the blessing of God falls many times upon a whole societie for one mans goodnesse, as it did with all that sailed with Paul for his sake,Act. 27. Gen. 39.5. and upon Poti­phars house for Josephs sake; so the plague and justice of God sometimes pursues a whole com­pany [Page 144]for one mans offence, as it did all that sailed with Jonah for his rebellion;Ionah 1.7. Ios. 7.27. and the whole host of the Isaaelites for Achans theft; and the house, walls,Zach. 5.3 and timber, (senslesse creatures) much more are the persons & inhabitants in the house for the Swearers sake, as the Prophet averreth.

Saint John could not abide under the same roof with Ebion and Cerinthus, for feare it should fall upon him.

And touching Babylon he heard a voyce,Rev. 18.4. Come out of her my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues: for her sins have reached unto heaven: And doth not the swea­rers sinnes reach to heaven, when so neerly they touch God himselfe? will he then forget or passe by them?Num. 26.23.

God commanded Moses to speak to the Con­gregation of Israel, saying, Get you up from about the Tabernacle of Corah, Dathan and Abiram; and Moses did speak,Vers. 26. Depart, I pray you, from the ta­bernacle of those wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest yee be consumed in their siunes. The com­mandment was no sooner obeyed by their depar­ture, and Moses his speech ended, but the punish­ment was presently inflicted.Vers. 31. The earth clave a­sunder that was under them, and swallowed them up, their houses, goods, and all that appertained to them. Verse 34. And what did the rest of the Israelites do? And they that were round about them, fled at the cry of them; for they said, Let us bee gone quickly, lest the earth swallow us up also. Surely they made a good application, lest God seeing their connivence at their sinnes, by their abode in the place, should [Page 145]have made them also to have shared in the like punishments.

Seeing many horrible blasphemers have been taken away (as the Coruwall Gentleman, the Lincolnshire Serving-man) in the midst of their swearing; the one crying, Horse and man and all to the Devill, the bloud of the other breaking out of all his members, as he swore by Gods bloud; Michael the Jewish Rabbine breaking his neck, even in the act of his blasphemy; and the Courtier at Mansfeild carried away by the Devill in the midst of his oathes; (as before was shewed) why may not we feare the like judge­ments upon such, that are like swearers, & light­ing upon them (we approving their curses by our silence at their swearing, and delighting in their company) may justly feare to share in some part of their punishment, if not in soule, yet in body; if not in the next life to our destruction, yet in this life for other mens admonition.

See (Numb. 16.3.13.) what the sin of Korah, Numb. 16.3.13. Dathan, and Abiram was, and then compare the sin of our swaggering swearers, and contemners of reproofe for their swearing, and marke what difference there is between them. Yee take too much upon you, (said they) seeing all the Congrega­tion are holy every one of them, vers. 3. So say our ruffian-like swearers, You take too much upon you, all are as holy as you your selfe; Wilt thou make thy selfe altogether a Prince, and a Ruler over us? ver. 13. The sayings of these in contempt of admonishing, besides their swearing, are very fearfull, sinfull.

[Page 146]Their company then cannot be so profitable, should not be pleasing. For it is not injustice in God, if we encourage or countenance swearers, by our presence, silence, approbation, (though wee sweare not with them) to wrap us up in the same vengeance. A qua libera nos, Domine.

Yet such as are delighted in the company of such finfull swearers, have I thinke somewhat to say for themselves, why they have so much de­light in, and so little hast out of their company.

1.Objectiōs to cōtinue in obstinate Swearers company, answered. Objection. Wee see in our judgements no such danger in the company of swearers.

Sol. A Master seeing his servant playing at dice, may put out the Candle. God justly may put out the light of your judgements in this par­ticular, because you have abused your judge­ments in many other generalls: And seeing you have more delighted in the favour of sinfull swearers, then in the favour of God your hea­venly Creator, it is just with him to punish sin with sin, sins of practice with sins of opinion; to have eyes, and not to see; eares, and not to heare; hearts, and not to understand with them.

The Sunne may equally shine upon all men, and yet those that are blinde, see nothing by the light thereof.

The light of the Word is cleare against this sin, Mat. 5. Exod. 20. yet carnall purblinde men, will not benefit by this open universall light.

The naturall man perceiveth not the things that are of God, neither indeed can he, because they are spi­ritually discerned, 1 Cor. 2.14 1 Cor. 2.14.

[Page 147]Men (though of much reading, and filled with a lowd sound of generall knowledge) are as emptie barrells floating on the Sea, close shut, there is water enough if they could open them­selves; Their judgements might easily see the danger in sinfull swearers company if they would, or rather if God were pleased to boare a hole in their close caskes with the whimblet of his Word, and pierce them through by the power of his grace and Spirit.

Objection 2. I should be thought to be singu­lar, if I should absent my selfe unmannerly from their company.

Sol. It is better to be thought to be singular, then to be knowne to be sinfull.

It is a commendable pietie to affect fingulari­tie among those that are vicious.

It is better to doe, or thinke well alone, then to follow a mublitude in that which is evill. Exod. 23.

Objection 3. It is hard for a man to leave the company of all such his ancient familiar ac­quaintance.

Sol. All our old garments may willingly be cast away, when better are given in the roome of them.

Lot was better pleased with his new associates, Angels, Messengers from God, then with his old acquaintance the Inhabitants of Sodome, rebells against Heaven.

His wife had a longing after, though merci­fully pulled from them, therefore shee is turned into a pillar of Salt, for to season us and our car­nall affections. Have no fellowship with the un­fruitfull [Page 148]workes of darknesse; our own flesh and bloud is not to be followed, but Gods com­mandement to be obeyed.

It is better having one eye to goe to life, Mat. 18.9. then having two to be cast into hell-fire. Better have the conduct of God, and a good Conscience, to cheare us in our journey to heaven, then to have a multitude of old companions, the sonnes of Belial, to ring a passing peale to our soules, and hast us to hell.

Objection 4. I finde their company much profi­table; I sin not against the Apostles rule, E­phes. 5.Ephes. 5.

Sol. He means there, such workers and actors of darknesse, are no whit profitable to thy soule, how soever they may seeme to be to thy bodie. Now thy soules profit thou chiefly art to ayme at, seeing the welfare of the body wholly de­pends thereon.

If thou by their company dost gain in the flesh, I am sure thou losest in the Spirit. How canst thou account that gaine, which is had with the losse of Faith, God, and a good Conscience?

How canst thou rejoyce in the bargaine, when thou givest pearles, and receivest pebbles; gold, and receivest dung; buyest earth, which is tran­sitory, and sellest heaven, which is eternall? This is Glaucus his change, Copper for gold; Esaus purchase, pottage for a birth-right.

I had rather hunger (saith one) then willing­ly dip my hand in a wicked mans dish.

Objection 5. Being in the company of swea­rers, if rashly I should rush out of their compa­ny, I should be much hated and spoken of by them.

[Page 149] Sol. If evill men like thee, its because they spie some evill qualitie in thee like their owne. If they saw nothing but goodnesse in thee, they could not love thee, and be bad themselves.

When the people praised Phocion, he doubted somewhat, and said, What evill have I done? Strive to deserve ill of none, but not deserving ill, let it not grieve thee to heare evill of those that are evill themselves.

There is no greater Argument of goodnesse, then the hatred and dispraise of a wicked man.

Objection 6. I keepe my tongue from swear­ing with them, though for societie I sit in their company, my heart and my soule are kept pure from such pollutions, they shall not defile mee.

Sol. Then thou art as pure as Christ Jesus him­selfe, in whose Spirit alone there was found no guile; All other Saints had an inclination to evill, and many of them by evill company dangerous­ly foyled.

If such tall Cedars, as Joseph, Job, Sampson, Solomen, Peter, have been shaken, which had so fast footing, what will be thy estate, that standest upon such slippery ground, having more apti­tude to fall, more provocation to sin?

Thou prayest, to be delivered from temptation, Mat. 6. and yet dost thou run into temptation by thy willing associating thy selfe to the company of sinfull swearers? This is not to stay till the De­vill finde thee, but a seeking of him, because the Devill should not lose thee.

[Page 150]It is but a madnesse for a man to presume up­on an Antidote in going to the Pest-house, when he may keepe himselfe from it.

It is indeed the propertie of oyle, being pow­red into other Liquors, to swim on the top, and keepe it selfe unmixt: And of the Salamander, to lie in the fire, and not be burnt; And of the fishes, to retaine their fresh taste, and yet live in the salt waters; But these qualities are rare, and not easi­ly matched, seeing every thing else participates of the nature of the place wherein it abides.

Waters varie their savours, with the veines of the soile through which they slide. Brute creatures also (many of them) altering their regi­on, do alter also their cōdition. Men are as apt to be altered by the corrupt manners of men, with whom they converse, breeding in them an insen­sible inclination to evill, and working in them, if not an approbation, yet a lesse dislike of those sins to which their eyes and eares are so much inured. Thou maist have a bad acquaintance, but never have thou a wicked companion, but such a one as may teach thee somewhat, or learne somewhat of thee.

If thou canst not stop his mouth from speak­ing of evill, and uttering of oathes, yet either open thy mouth to reprove them, or stop thy eares from hearing of them, that so he may see by turning thy backe, that they have no roome in thy heart.

Object. Me thinkes something yet may be said against the departure from swearers com­pany.

[Page 151] Sol. They that dwell neere to the River Ni­lus, wheresoever they are from it, yet they think they still heare the noise thereof in their eares: So thou hast so long been inured to their compa­nie, which have seemed to be so pleasing or pro­fitable to flesh and bloud, and so long wedded to the examples and fashions of others, upon whose sleeve thou art almost resolved to pin thy salva­tion or damnation; The noise, I say, of these Ni­lusses, profit, pleasure, custome, company, pra­ctice, example, doe sound so lowdly, so strongly in thy eares, that thou thinkest thou shouldest not be from their company at all.

Therefore let us heare this thy somewhat, or rather nothing that thou wilt further object.

Objection 7. Many great and learned men would neither sweare so oft, or reprehend other so sel­dome for swearing, if either the one or the other were so sinfull.

Sol. But what saith the Scripture herein?1 Cor. 1.20. Where is the wise? where is the Scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdome of this world? Yee see your calling, brethren, Ver. 26. how that not many wise after the flesh, not many mighty, not ma­ny noble are called. Ver. 30. But of him yee are in Christ Je­sus, who of God is made unto us wisdome, righteous­nesse, &c. Intimating unto us that they have no true wisdome that are not taught by Christ Je­sus: Now Christ his wisdome was, Mat. 5.Mat. 5.34. But I say unto you, sweare not at all.

Si Christum discis, nihil est, sicaetera nescis:

Si Christum nescis, est, si eatera discis.

If an Angel from heaven speake any other do­ctrine Gal. 1.8. [Page 152] which is contrary to Christ, let him be accur­sed.

Many have great light in respect of Contro­versies, Schoole Divinitie, &c. and yet too lit­tle in respect of sanctitie and devotion.

No one man porfectly discovereth all things.

To the Law, Isa. 8.20. to the testimany; if they speake not ac­cording to this Word, it is because there is no light in them. Jer. 2.13. They doe commit two evills: they doe for­sake Gods Word, the fountaine of living waters, and do dig unto themselves broken pits that will hold no water, in preferring mens practice before Gods precepts.

This is my beloved Soune, Mat. 17.5. beare yee him. The Word alone it is that must approve, or reprove our courses.

Touching all such great Clerkes, we may say with Aristotle, [...], &c. Plato is my friend, and so is Socrates, but Truth is my dearest friend. I like this Doctor and that Preacher, but Christ speaking I like best of all.

Now if some such great ones be as maimed Creeples, sometimes lame in their feet or tongue, yet pointing out which way thou shalt walke, take their direction in what is good, and leave it in the bad; respect their sayings in the maine, and leave both their sayings or doings in the bye.

Objection 8. I my selfe am book-learned, there­fore I know what to doe in things appeartaining to my soule, without your direction.

Sol. But—Aliquandobonus dormitat Homerus. Bernardus non videt omnia, Even Bernard seeth [Page 153]not all things. The seeming sweetnesse of the swearers companie perchance maketh thee pur­blind in that, wherein thou shouldest be Eagle­eyed.

The children of this world are wiser in their gene­ration, then the children of light. The Physitian, whose Art hath been healthfull to others, be­ing himselfe fallen into sicknesse, contents not himselfe with his own knowledge: The skilfull Lawyer having commendably handled the cau­ses and controversies of many Clients, will not in his own Purchase and proper case, trust to his own practice, but will take advice of the best ex­perienced: And shall we in the great sicknesse of the soule, and purchase of salvation, thinke our owne mother-wit is good enough, that heaven can be got with ease, and sinne soone plaistered, that since swearing is so exceeding sinfull, yet the company of swearers is very little dangerons?

Objection 9. I have heard even such as are ac­counted godly, that have sometimes reproved o­thers, yet now and then to sweare themselves.

Sol. Have such loftie Cedars been moved? then maist thou scorning their sanctitie, feare to be overwhelmed in the blast of Gods displeasure, through the violence of Satans assault in the dai­ly breach of this Commandement of thy Crea­tor.

They have been very cold, I thinke, in repro­ving others, if in the same sinne they have been, and oft still are overtaken themselves.

But tell me, whether they hate or looke big to be reproved, or thankfully rather receive repre­hension. [Page 154]Our ordinary swearers sweare at every word, and thinke those that reprove them to be in far greater fault then themselves, that so free-quently and fearefully have sinned, and given the occasion of reproofe: But the godly over­slipping, thanke the [...] for telling them, and will not easily, or speedily be brought to sweare a­gaine.

A man having sold an house, may come into it againe, but he is as a stranger, not as the owner or dweller in the house, So such as have promised to renounce this sinne, doe and may sometime fall into it againe (as they that have been long used to carry heavie fetters, may halt for a while af­ter) yet they excuse not, they defend not them­selves in this sinne.

As the Serpent cut in pieces, hath but certain reliques of poison in the mangled members thereof: So this sin of the godly penitent person once maimed by resolution against it, hath not the like violence, as when it was whole, and right membred in them, or as it hath still in the wicked, in whom it hath daily and sole regi­ment, primary and perfect Monarchy.

Objection 10. I must then depart the world, if I will have no societie with sinners, saith the Apostle,1 Cor. 5.10 1 Cor. 5.10.

Sol. It is one thing to lodge a stranger, as in an Inne for a night, and another thing to let him lodge, eate, drinke, dwell, yeare and day with thee, as if he were the owner of the house.

Having a lawfull calling to converse with swearers, and reproving them for it, the oath [Page 155]passeth away, as a stranger, as a traveller, slideth in at one eare and out at the other, as water through a seive; It hasteth as a rebell through thy eares, and raigneth not as a Prince in thy heart. It is one thing to fall into their compa­ny, as travellers drinke at an Inne together, and another thing to dwell & delight in their com­pany: It is one thing to speake with them, and another thing to approve of their sinne.

The Apostles meaning is, that sometimes wee shall have a lawfull occasion to converse and commerce with wicked persons, but that must onely be, when a lawfull calling doth warrant us, and then must wee shine as lights in the midst of a crooked generation, that we by our silence be not infected with them, but they by our dislike of their sinne reclaimed from the same.

Sparing societie there must bee with them, when by our admonition wee finde no amend­ment, and others that are not so offensive and vexatious in their communication, must be re­sorted unto,Psal. 16.3. that so all our delight may be in the Saints, and those that excell in vertue, Psal. 16.3. If all our delight must be in the Saints then must wee all labour to be Saints, and never have any setled delight in the societie of any obstinate, fearfull, heaven-daring, & hell-hastening swea­rers, that alwayes stop their eares, and hate to be reformed, charme the charmer never so wisely, never so daily. And so much for answer to those severall Objections, why men are loath to de­part the company of such resolute and notorious swearers.

[Page 156]Now though I have so earnestly perswaded to the avoyding the daily societie and familiaritie with those swearers, because of infection, suspi­tion, malediction, and have endeavoured to re­pell what might seeme to be alledged to the contrary; yet doe I wish, deeme, and desire, that they be not quickly and willingly negle­cted by us, and left in this their sin, and the dan­ger thereof, eternall condemnation, but that (before wee depart and wholly abandon their company) wee use all possible meanes of and for their conversion, considering that such were some of us, though now by Christs bloud we are washed, cleansed.

Let us leave no course unassayed, whether of reprehension or correction, according to our calling and conscience, which is the fifth and last particular of this sixth and last use of Imitation, the motives why wee must be so carefull and constant to imitate God in due reproving and sharpe punishing of this sinne. And when here­unto your zeale hath been heated, and the edge of your affections somewhat sharpened, I shall be ready to take my worke from off the Loome, turne my pinnace into the harbour, by making a conclusion of this my second observation.

Sinfull swearing, though by man it be not, yet by God shall severely be punished.

Therefore, Let man see by the light of this Sunne, and light his Candle at the largenesse of this fire, endeavouring to reprove and punish this sinne, because God our heavenly Father hath commanded us as deare children to be followers of him.

[Page 157]Wee are to reprove sinners, all sinners in ge­nerall, and (in our calling punish them) there­fore swearers also in particular. For many will acknowledge sinne in the bunch to be reproved, but not in the berry.

Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thy heart, Levit. 19.17. but in my wise rebuke him, and not suffer sinne upon his soule.

Wilt thou with Joab, kisse with thy mouth, and in the same instant stab thy brother to the heart? Wilt thou hold him up in his rotten words, and rayling oathes, approving the same by thy silence, and so be ready to cut the throat of his soule? Wilt thou pretend such great kindnesse to him superficially, and practice so little effectually? or seeme to regard his bodie, and in the meane time suffer the Milstone of sin lying heavie on his soule?

Wilt thou shew greater respect to the haire, then to the head; to the bone, then to the mar­row; to the bark, then to the tree; to the shell, then to the fish; to the house, then to the inha­bitant; to the body that is subject to vanity, then to the soule that is to continue to eternity?

By this shall all men know that yee are my Disciples, Joh. 13.35 if yee love one another. Now what doth manifest our love? Not inviting to board, not speaking smoothly to the face; but a studious endevour to consider what is profitable to our neighbours soule, that so when he falls, he may be raised up by the tongue of Admonition, or hand of correction.

Admonish, or exhort, one another daily, Heb. 3.13. lest any [Page 158]of you at any time bee hardened through the deceit­fulnesse of sinne. For the heart of man through the cold climate of custome, through the want of zeale and devotion, through sinnes deceit­fulnesse and Satans subtilty, will quickly deeply bee frozen, and through hardned, if the like heat of daily admonition doe not thaw the same.

The water beginning to freeze, will scarcely beare a peny weight, afterwards it will beare a shilling, then a man, at length horse and man, cart, load and all: Perhaps the swearer at first, through tendernesse of conscience, or Gods re­straining power, will utter and broach but petty oathes, as by my fay, our Lady, Cock and Pye, &c. after through custome and evill societie, slavish oathes, as by this Light, Bread, Drink, fire, crosse of coyn, &c. At last, if the Devill hath long sate in the chaire of his heart, it will be so deeply frozen, that he will make no bones of the grea­test hellish oathes, Wounds, Nailes, Blood, Heart, Life, Soule of God, &c.

Let therefore opportune admonition, at least the hammer of correction, break the Ice, dissolve the hardnesse, dislodge Satan, and dash this cu­stome into shivers.

Save such friends, as brands out of the fire, Jude 23. and look not doubtfully upon them, staying till other men come to help thee pull them out; For so, being in the fire, they may be burned be­fore they be delivered, because this is wild fire, yea hell fire,James 3.6. set on fire of Hell it selfe, James 3.6.

[Page 159]And in Chap. 5.12. He speakes of a sudden falling into condemnation: ‘—Facilis descensus Averni.’

All sin in generall wee are invited to reprove, in respect

  • 1. Of precept,
    • 1. In the Law, Leviticus 19.17.
    • 2. In the Gospel, Mat. 7.5. and 18.17.
    • 3. By the Apostle, Col. 4.17. 1 Tim. 5.20.
  • 2. Of practice,
    • 1. By God the Father, Gen. 4.6.
    • 2. By Christ the Son, Mat. 4.7. Io. 8.44
    • 3. By God the holy Ghost, Io. 16.8, 9.
    • 4. By the Apostles, Luk. 3.7. Gal. 2.11
  • 3. Of praise: We should pull out a moat,
    Mat. 7.5.
    and so preserve the whole body. He shall hide a multi­tude of sinnes, and save a soule from death, Iam. 5.20. by removing the milstone of sinne, that lay so fast upon the heart of his soule, Levit. 19.17. When as he that neglecteth this duty, discove­reth himselfe; First, to be an hypocrite; second­ly, to murder soules, even of neighbours, whom they would be thought to love, Prov. 11.9.
  • 4. Of profit, both the good of the
    • Admonished,
    • Admonisher.

1. The good and profit that comes to the re­proved. David accounted it a speciall Balm on his head, Psal. 141.5. a great kindnesse.Ps. 141.5. Nature doth teach us, it is better justly to bee reproved of an enemy, then unjustly praised of a friend. [Page 160] Open rebuke is better then secret love, Pro. 27.5. Prov. 27.5. Friendly wounds, endevouring to convert the soule, argue great faithfulnesse in such a reprover; but the smiling kisses of him that winkes at our faults, and is silent at our sinnes, argues him to be both deceitfull, Pro. 27.6. and a deadly enemy, Pro. 27.6. It is better to heare the reproofe of a wise man, then the song of a fool. Eccles. 7.5 It may be the song of a foole will more delight, but sure it is the rebuke of the wise will more profit us.

2. The good and profit that comes to the re­prover: He shall have by this his reproving,

  • 1. Credit on earth.
  • 2. Comfort at death.
  • 3. A Crown in heaven.

And is this mans labour like to be in vain, which is n and for the Lord? 1 Cor 15.1 Cor. 15. last. Pro. 15.4. last.

1. Credit, because he is a wealthy, a wise, a merry, and a healthfull man.

  • 1.
    verse 6.
    In this Dispersers house is much Trea­sure.
  • 2.
    verse 7.
    He is wise, as knowing when to disperse knowledge.
  • 3.
    verse 15.
    He is merry, because his heart is so settled in the discharge of his dutie.
  • 4. He is healthfull, his cheerfull countenance doth proclaim,
    vers. 13.15
    because fed with the feast of a good conscience.

2. Comfort at death: because he being a righteous person,Pro. 10.21 his lips fed many. Therefore al­so he shall have hope (when it is most needfull and available,Prov. 14.32. even) in his death, Prov. 14.32. so that it shall not be the haler to hell, but the [Page 261]very gate to make entrance into glory; hee is without distraction or distrust, confidently as­sured, that that God, whose glory and name he advanced in life, will also support, comfort, and confirm him in death, against all dread of it, Sin,Rom. 8.1. Satan, Hell, Damnation.

He by reproving sin, confessed God to be his Father; God by the evidence of his Spirit,Job 13.15. will assure him to be his Son.

A Crown in heaven,3 because hee spake a word of reprehension, in due time. Prov. 15.23, 24. How good is such a word spoken in such a time? surely so good, that it delivers from hell heneath, and promotes unto the way and life that is above: there shining as stars for ever and ever, Dan. 12.3. because they turned many to righteousnesse.

Not withstanding all which great and match­lesse provocations, of credit, comfort, glory, ma­ny are still of Cains condition: Am I my brothers keeper? Yes, that thou art,Gen. 4.9. Prov. 12.9. Jam. 5.20. Tit. 3.11. Prov. 10.17. & 15.10.23. or else thou art his killer. And he that refuseth to be kept, instru­cted, admonished, he condemnes and murthers his own soul.

The mouth of the righteous bringeth forth wise­dome, therefore surely his tongue shall be preser­ved, and soul saved,Prov. 10.31. but the mouth of the froward rejects wisdome, therefore surely their tongues shall be cut out, and souls destroyed; Vers. 14. Fooles shall he destroyed, but such obstinate scorners are fooles.

First, because they make it a sport to commit sin.

Secondly, because they forsake the Lord, and take part with the Devill.

Thirdly, because to retaine a customary, short, [Page 162]unprofitable sin, they put over their bodies and soules, to suffer a severe, certain, eternall pu­nishment.

As Dogs and Swine were excluded the Lords Tabernacle and congregation under the Law; so such are to be debarred from the Word and Sacraments under the Gospel; because living and dying in such swinish conditions, and dog­gish properties, all to rending the reprovers, trampling the pearles of their admonition under their feet Matth. 7.Ma. 7.6. 2 Pet. 2. ult. Rev. 21.27 & 22.15. and returning to their old vomit, and wallowing in the mire again; they shall never have admission into the beauty of the Lord, but shall finde Paradise shut against them.

If our brothers body is to be regarded, that it perish not for want of sustenance, then much more his soule,Deut. 15.8. that it perish not for want of admonition.

The life of the beast is not to be neglected; much lesse the soul of our neighbour,Prov. 12.10. our bro­ther. There is scarce any but is glad, if he hath preserved his neighbours sheep, or his Ox that it die not in a pit; how much more glad should we be, if wee can preserve his soul from dropping into, from damning in hell?

Thus, touching the reproving of all sins in ge­nerall, and the prvocations thereto.

Now, as we are to reprove; and (if that stand within the compasse of our calling) punish all fins in general, so also by consequence, swearing in particular.

The Motives then that may sharpen and put an edge to our zeale herein, may be drawn: [Page 163]

  • 1. From our Calling.
    4. Motives to reprove and pu­nish swea­ters. 1. From our Cal.
  • 2. From Caution.
  • 3. From Discredit.
  • 4. From Danger.

The first motive to animate us to performe this two branched dutie of reproof and pu­nishment, is from our calling and duty so to do.

If God denounce war against any man, all the creatures are ready to serve him in their course.

When hee fought against the Amorites, Jos. 10.10. the Sun took his part:

When hee fought against Idolatrs,Dan. 3. the Lions took his part:

When against mockers,2 Kin. 2.24 the Beares tooke his part:

When against the Sodomites, Gen. 16. the fire tooke his part:

When against the Egyptians, Exod. 14. the water took his part:

When against the murmurers,Numb. 26. the earth took his part:

When against the blasphemers,Deut. the stones took his part:

When he fighteth against the Swearers, the stones, wood, earth, ayr, Sea, fish, fowle,Zach. 5.3. Hos. 4.3. with the beasts of the field, all are strongly united to take his part.

How therefore caust thou expect comfort that thou art Gods servant, if thou standest not to thy Masters quarrell?

How canst thou taste the fruit of that Vine, which thou never plantedst?

[Page 264]How canst thou look to come to the reaping, that wast, not at the sowing?

  • Or, to the prize, that rannedst not in the race?
  • Or, to the victory, that wast not at the battell?
  • Or, to the kernell, that brakedst not the shel?
  • Or, to the conquest, that foughtest not in the combate?

Those that the Lord proclaims war against, as rebels;Hos. 4.1, 2, 3. as here he doth against Swearers, the least that we can do (if we would shew our selves good and faithfull Subjects) is to professe that we may not, we must not suffer them unre­proved; or, if it be in our power, unpunished: in as much as to lodge a known Traitor in our house, or to give him countenance, or to con­verse familiarly with him, and then to give out, that we carry as sound and loyall a heart to our Soveraigne as the best, is a matter that rather de­serves laughter then beliefe.

2.2. Motive from Cau­tion. From Caution; Parents, Masters, Magi­strates, punishing or reproving, some of their children, servants, subjects, for their lewd and rash swearing, others thereby are advised care­fully to endeavour the sanctifying of the glo­rious name of God.

As the Thunderbolt falls with the danger of few, but with the feare of all: So, poena ad paucos, metus ad omnes, the shame and punishment rea­cheth but to a few, but the feare of the shame and punishment unto all:Etsi melio­res allicit a­mor, plure; tamen cogit timor.

For the better are directed by love, the grea­ter are corrected by shame or feare.

A man that stands by and sees another seared, [Page 265]launced, beheaded, hanged, is thereby made more carefull of his own health and life.

The men addicted to swearing, seeing others smart by punishment, or ashamed by reprehen­sion, are made more wary how they blaspheme the great, fearfull, and glorious name of God.

3. The third motive is from Discredit.Motive 3. From the Discredit. It is a shrewd signe that a man is addicted to swearing himselfe, when he gives way to others without check or controll. And it is a generall rule, He that heareth the swearer quietly where he may reprove him, he is become guilty of the same offence. To sweare, or to listen to swearing, which of these two is the worst, cannot easily be defined; the one having the Devill in his tongue, the other in his eare: and that quickly enters in at the eare, that cleaves as fast to the soule as skin and bones together.

It is the receiver that makes the thiefe, and a faire countenance, and open eare to swearing, that makes and maintaines the swearer.

The ground hereof is, Rom. 1. last verse:Rom 1. last verse. Not onely they which commit such things, are worthy of death; but they also that doe consent to them that doe them.

Now consent is direct or indirect; direct by advising and enticing to doe a thing, or by de­fending or delighting in it being done: indi­rect, when a man reproves or resists it not, be­ing in his power so to doe.

Wherefore, wouldest thou be free from hea­ting reproofe, and so from bearing of shame? let thy little unruly tongue be bridled, and set a [Page 266]watch before the doore of thy lippes, Disce non libenter dieere, quod non vis libenter audire: speak not that wickedly, which thou wilt not heare reproved willingly: for hee that speakes what he should not, must heare that hee would not, and good reason: for else the hearer to please him, should discredit himselfe, and dishonour his maker by his silence.

The fourth motive from the Danger:4. Motive from the Danger. The swearer not reproved, or punished, his sinne is made the sinne of those that should reprove or punish the same.Perk. ma­keth 8. par­ticular wayes how men doe communi­cate with other mens sins. See ca­ses of Con­science, l. 1 p. 1. By coun. sell. 2. By com­mand­ment. 3. Con­sent. 4 Provo­cation. 5. Silence. 6. Slight­ing. 7. Flattery 8. Defend­ing.

They by and for neglect thereof, doe draw down the wrath of God upon a whole land: God seeing none reprove, or by sharp courses strive against this sinne, comes downe himselfe to take the matter into his owne hands, by ha­ving a just and sharp controversie with the inhabi­tants of the land, the beasts of the field, and fishes of the sea.

And why with the inhabitants of the land? Be­cause qui non vetat peccare cum potest, jubet: hee that doth not restrain a man (when it is his duty, and lies in his power) doth command him to sinne; he that hinders not, doth further him to sinne. Judex damnatur dum nocens absolvitur; loosing the guilty, he ties fast himselfe.

I may invert the Apostles words, 1 Tim. 5. Lay hands suddenly one no man, neither be partaker with other mens sinnes, lay suddenly the words of admonition to oathes transgression, lest thou be partaker of their sinnes, lest by thy secret si­lence, thou be partaker of their open sinfulnesse, [Page 267]lest by thy not reproving, thou bee as though thou hadst sworn. Though their sinne through swiftnesse hath taken flight into the eare, yet let it not by connivence take footing in the heart. Apply soule-saving reproofe as often to his oathes, as hee doth soule-killing oathes to thy eare, that so preventing his sinnes infection, thou mayst escape his sinnes malediction. Hee that saith to the wicked, Pro. 24.24. Thou art righteous, him shall the people curse, Prov. 24.24.

They then that hearing Gods name blasphe­med by swearing, his creatures abused by drink­ing, his Sabbaths prophaned by dancing, his word contemned by peoples absenting, his poor starved by not relieving them, and hath his mouth muzled, lips sealed, tongue tied, doe in a manner by their silence say they are righteous, and do approve their courses;Pro. 17.15. and so by justify­ing them in their sins, are an abomination to the Lord, Prov. 17. whereas by their connivencie they seek and think to have credit and love with men, they make themselves odious both to God and man.

Thus you see many severall motives why the swearer must be reproved; because of our Cal­ling, Caution; as also the Diseredit and Danger that is consequently to ensue, doe call all upon us for the performing this duty.

Now thou that hearest or readest these pro­vocations, suffer, oh suffer them not to be as wa­ter spilt upon the ground, or stones cast against the wind; but being free thy selfe from this sinne, by the meanes proposed in the fourth [Page 268]use, labour to make others under thy roofe and regiment, to bee free by the motives alledged in this fifth and last use, that thou mayst bee wise, not for thy selfe alone, but for others also. For be thou well assured, it is in vain for thee being a Parent, a Master, or an Housholder, to ab­stain from swearing, unlesse others under thee abstain also: The goodnesse of a Master, Parent, or Ruler, profiteth not so much in the right in­stitution of a Family, as the wickednesse of a swearer destroyeth. It is well when one plant­eth and another watereth; but it is evill when one planteth and another plucketh up.

Yet (notwithstanding all that hath or may be spoken) our people still practice what the Pro­phet prophesied,Hos. 4.4. Hosea 4.4. Let no man strive or reprove one another, Objecti­ons alled­ged why men re­prove not, or punish swearers. no, though it be his brother: For this heaven-daring sin, to a man of this hu­mour, to range him into order, it is as burning coles cast upon flax, it sets on fire within or without, his heart being kindled within, that breaks forth into some of these severall flames at his mouth.

Who made you a Judge or Controller? Object. 1. as an Isra­elite spake to meek Moses reproving him, Exod. 2.14. God I hope will not be so severe in pu­nishing, as you are severe and frequent in re­prehending; for hee is patient and full of com­passion.

There is nothing so cold as lead,Sol. nothing so scalding, if it bee heated; nothing so blunt as Iron, nothing so piercing, if it be sharpened; nothing so calm as the Sea, in a boysterous wea­ther, [Page 269]nothing so tempestuous; nothing so milde as the Elephant, nothing so cruel, if once inta­ged; nothing so mercifull as God, and if still provoked nothing so terrible to sinfull swearers, that continue to take his name in vain, hee will not hold them guiltlesse. Now will God not spare, but certainly punish such persons; and shall man that was created after his Image in righteousnesse and true holinesse, and must be just, holy and pure, as God is, 1 Joh. 3.9.1 Joh. 3.9. Shall a man, I say, refuse to reprehend with tongue, whom God will severely punish with hands? God forbid. If we are afraid to touch them with the scabbard of reprehension, we would be much more a fraid to smite them with the sword of pu­nishment, the sharp edge of correction.

If wee confesse God before men, wee shall be confessed before him at the last day; but if wee deny him here, we shall be denyed before him there, Matth. 10, 32, 33.Mat. 10.32, 33. Parents would not take it well at their children, if they should heare them abused, and evill spoken of by other slanderous persons, and would not open their lips to reprehend the slanderer, and stand in the defence of the credit and name of their wronged Father. When Croesus (as Herodotus relates) was assaulted in the sight of his dumb Son, they say, the force of nature wrought so forcibly with him, that it loosed the strings of his tongue, and he cryed out, Homo ne perdas Croesum, O man, kill not Croesus. The story I leave to be defen­ded by the Authour: this is certain, no outward action more cleares our inward grace of adopti­on, [Page 270]arguing us indeed to be the sons of God, then when wee are truly sensible of dishonour offered to our heavenly Fathers name, wee im­bark our selves in his quarrels: Do not I hate them that hate thee? and am not I grieved with them that rise up against thee? yea, I hate them with a perfect hatred, Psal. 139.21. as though they were mine enemies, Psal. 139.21.

How many have vainly spilt their blood, for the defence of their Mistresses beauty, or their own imaginary reputation? which had they done in the defence of God and his Religion, against blasphemous swearers, and hellish cursers, they had undoubtedly purchased both the renown and the reward of martyrdome.

I finde this duty of reprehending Swearers but rawly performed,Object. 2. therefore I forbear also.

If one Judge in one Circuit hath spared the hanging of a malefactor,Sol. must another Judge in the next Circuit therefore forbeare to punish him? Shine thou as a light in the midst of a crooked and dark nation; If thou refuse to do it also, then thou increasest the number of wicked and crooked persons.

By Precepts we are to be directed which are good, and not by examples which are bad. Per­forme it thy self, then shalt thou cause others to imitate thee, and so make many where none were sincerely zealous before. Wee say the Gardner is the cause that weeds do grow, be­cause he letteth them grow: and so it may be said in Church and Commonwealth, of them that will not rebuke sin, because they will not [Page 271]be medlers; but if we do but stand by,Act. 7.5, 8. & 8.1. and look on, as Saul did, wee are made allowers of the fact. When thou sawest a thiefe thou consentedst, Psal. 50.18. Peter makes the Jews murtherers,Psal. 50.18. Acts 4. because they were allowers of it.

I finde such ill successe, when I do reprove,Object. 3. as that few have been bettered or amended thereby.

Though it be said of the belly,Sol. Psal. 58.4. Venter non habet aures; yet it may be as truly said of the tongue of the Swearer, Lingua non habet aures, the tongue hath no eares; for as the Swearer doth imitate the poyson of the Adder in his tongue; so hee the deafnesse of the Adder in his eare, stopping his earelike the Adder, and will not hearken to the voyce of the charmer; yet discharge thou thy duty, and leave the successe to God.

No man doth cast away (as it were) and spend in vain, so much as the Lord doth; how many Sermons spends he in vain? how many promises in vain? how many threatnings in vain? how many things commandeth and forbiddeth he in vain? men nothing esteeming them, and yet he ceaseth not; Shall we herein expect to fare bet­ter then the Lord? Shall we not as good chil­dren of so good a Father, still labour in dischar­ging our duty; though by our admonition, or correction we find little amendment? consider­ing, we shall receive a reward, not according to our successe, but according to our labour.1 Cor. 15.

Thou by Gods blessing, many times shalt find such good successe, even beyond hope and ex­pectation, as that thou wilt have just cause to re­joyce in the performing of thy duty, and to [Page 272]praise God for his blessing upon it.

Naturall motions gather strength in moving: do thou begin this duty, whether of reprehen­sion or punishment (as thy calling and consci­ence shall round thee in the eare) and then see whether, though thou find some rubs, opposi­tions and gain-sayings at the first, yet the further thou wadest in this duty, the more easie thou shalt find the passage, and the means more ready to compasse thy intended purpose.

Thou shalt have greater comfort in thy con­science, more respect to thy person, more power in thy words (by Gods blessing) to prevail with them, and they lesse power in their actions, and their courses to gainsay thee.

They by this thy diligence may be converted, and thou shine gloriously in heaven; thou with­out this, canst not have thy duty discharged, or ever live comfortably on earth.

I believe,Object. 4. that they in their ordinary swea­ring mean no ill, do it but in jest, and for fashi­on; I should but seem to shame them, and seeke my own glory in reproving them.

If they are not ashamed to utter ill oathes, will they be ashamed to heare good words?Sol.

If it be discredit to wander out of the way, is it not a credit to return into the right way againe?

It is wonder, that the imputation of a com­mon swearer should be so odious, and the pra­ctice so frequent amongst men, wherefore ei­ther seem to be as thou art, or else to be as thou wouldest seem: either make care and conscience, [Page 173]that thou rashly utter not oathes, or else be con­tent that a man call a Spade a Spade, a Swearer a Swearer.

When Thespis the first Stage-player was as­ked, if he were not ashamed to utter so many untruths in so worthy an audience, he answered, he did it in sport. To whom wise Solon replied, if we approve and commend this sport, we shall finde it in earnest in our contracts and affaires: Even so, if we sweare in our ordinary speeches and communications jestingly, we shall get an habit of swearing in all our dealings: if we usu­ally swear for nothing, then are we apt to sweare for somtehing.

Whereas thou sayest, thou shalt be thought to seek their shame and thy own praise and glo­ry in reproving swearers: Be thou therefore sure that thy reproofes bee in sincerity, and not in bravery; Doe not think to grace thy selfe by dis­gracing of others, or to make thy selfe white by shewing their blacknesse. Goe not about to pur­chase thee eredit and opinion of religion in the world, by raising it out of the dunghill of thy neighbours corruptions, but do it wth all sobrie­ty and inward compassion of spirit, that thy love first appearing, thy labour may not be lost.

Thou then (howsoever thou be censured by men) mayst be assured in thy owne conscience, (that will speak more for thee then the whole world can doe against thee) that thou seekest not the praise which is of men, which vanish­eth, but that which is of God, which abideth for ever.

[Page 174]He is a great person, and I may displease him by my reproofe,Object. 5. and shall doe little good upon him.

Plato indeed could say,Sol. that the Common­wealth is like a fish, that perisheth first at the head, and like a Coney-skin, that strips off easie untill it come to the head, and there it stayeth. Reformation from this sinne is hardest alwayes at the head, at great persons, which commonly scorn reproof. Yet none should think that his greatnesse may bee any placard to defend wic­kednesse. Whereas thou thinkest, thou mayst offend such a great person, I answer, though he be a great person, and may be displeased, God is a greater, and will certainly be offended by thy silence. It is but perbaps in the one, and without all peradventure in the other. Wilt thou feare a doubtfull dislike, to incurre a certaine dam­nation?

Nay, it commonly proves true, that hee who reproves (not out of vain affectation & singula­rity,Prov. 27.6. but out of conscience & in sincerity) shall find more favour certainly, more comfort at the last, then he who flattered with his lips, ma­king the swearer once truly touched for his sin, to say, Surely his words were not as arrowes, but as a pretious balm, Psal. 141. James 5. that hath not broken but refreshed my head: his timely admonition and sharp re­proofe hath saved my soule, and pulled it as a brand out of the fire, Jude 23.Jude 23. I have often found saith Bernard, that those which by godly reproof have recovered themselves, have more firmly loved me, then those that needed no such me­dicine at all.

[Page 175]If I use to reprove men,Object. 6. I shall bee hated of them.

If thou use not to reprove sinfull swearers,Sol. thou shalt be abhorred of God.

To hate those that hate us, is heathenish;

To hate those that are harmlesse, is brutish;

But to hate those that love us, by telling us the truth, is Devilish.

If thou shouldst not feare the hatred of the Devill, then not of Devilish men.

Am I therefore become your enemy, Gal. 4.16. because I tell you the truth, saith Paul? Gal. 4.16.

Seeking his profit, it is no great matter if thou offend his pleasure.

And why should he be like the borse and mule that have no understanding? Yet if hee bee like them, fret not, faint not, but expect his curing: The horse and mule bite with the teeth, and strike with the heeles, yet the Farrier refuseth not to dresse their soares, and procure their health. The swearer spareth not to offend God, why shouldst thou spare to offend him?

He is against the truth, thou art against error: he resisteth light, thou darknesse. The strife makes you equall, but the cause doth not.

He is, inimicus medico, tu morbo: ille diligentiae tuae, tu pestilentiae illius. Hee opposeth thy pain­fulnesse, thou his his sinfulnesse; God fighteth for theel, thou needst not feare the victory. Muse not so much that thou art hated, as for what cause thou art hated. If justly thou art hated, thou hast nocause to complain, thou hast deserved it; if unjustly, thou hast lesse cause, because thou art [Page 276]not hurt by it. As the Philosopher replied to the woman that wept for the death of her hus­band that was hanged, saying, that if be had just­ly suffered such a death, it would not so much have grieved her. Thou hast lesse cause to grieve now hee hath suffered such a death undeser­vedly; then if hee had deservedly suffered the same. If thou knowest that thou hast not justly deserved any hatred, reproches, taunts, scoffes, scornes, the more they are, the lesse they hurt thee, and the more the Agents. They prove to be but so many severall pearles set on thy glori­ous garment of patience. Blessed are yee when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all man­ner of evill against you falsly for my sake: rejoyce and be glad: for great is your reward in beaven. It is beyond all comparison better to bee hated for that which is good, then to bee loved for that which is evill.1 King. 21.20.

Ahab said to Eliah, Hast thou found mee, O thou mine enemy? 1 Kings 21.20. yet this enemy of his, was that at last brought him to an outward and seeming repentance, at least and conse­quently, to the turning away of Gods wrath in his dayes.

David, a man after Gods own heart, was so farre from hating Nathan for telling him the truth, that he honoured and loved him the bet­ter all his life time after:1 King. 1. [...] 33, 34. for afterward hee ap­pointed him a Commissioner for the naming of his successors, 1 Kings 1.33.34.

This is one of the three bad daughters born of three good mothers: Idlenesse of Peace, Con­tempt [Page 277]of Familiarity, and Hatred of Truth: Men hating others indeed, because they thinke others hate them in words, by reproving them for their sins, whereas the reprover, though hee hates sin, yet he loves the person still.

As we are not to love the vice for the mans sake, so neither are we to hate the man for the vice sake; wee hate the manners, but love the man; we hate the action, but love the person.

God made man righteous, but they have found out many inventions to make themselves crooked, Eccles. 7.29. Eccles. 7.29.

Love that in him which God made, but hate that in him which he himselfe hath made. And thou hating his sinne, and loving his person, if thou again art bated of him, then consider, that as the curse that is causlesse shall not come nigh thee, Prov. 26.2. Prov. 26.2. so the hatred that is for thy love, shall not hurt thee.

God being able and ready (thou pleasing him by standing for the defence of his glory, and sanctifying of his name) to make thy deadliest enemies to be at peace with thee, if it be for thy good, and his glory.

As it is better to obey God then man, and to be beloved of God then man: So it is better to undergoe mans unjust hatred, then Gods just condemnation.

Feare not the hatred of him that can but hurt the body, but endevour to keep his love, who in his wrath is able to destroy body and soule eternally, Mar. 10.28 Marth. 10.28.

The love of God, and of such an unreclaime­able [Page 278]sinfull swearer, thou canst not keep toge­ther, ponder which is most likely to bee most profitable, whether that which is transitory, or that which is for ever durable; whether that which standeth on a sandy, or that which stand­eth on a rocky foundation, and then chuse which thou wilt.

O but who can endure to be delighted in such strict punishment as you have rehearsed, to have been inflicted upon some swearers,Object. 7. in the third and fourth uses, or who could endure to see, to shew much lesse, severity upon our friends, fa­miliars, neighbours, and kindred?

The punisher of sinne, whether Magistrate, Master,Sol. or Parent, delighteth not so much to see the swearer punished, as to see justice duly ex­ecuted, Gods wrath appeased, and his word o­beyed.

Justitia non novit patrem, non matrem, sed veri­tatem novit. Justice hath no respect of father or mother, but of the truth. Disobedient children were to be brought by the parents themselves to the Judges, and to be stoned of the people, Deu. 21.18.Deut. 21.18. Are children to bee punished that are disobedient to earthly parents, and must they escape scot-free that set themselves so obstinare­cly, audaciously, impiously against God our hea­venly father? By man they may unjustly bee spared, by God they shall justly bee condem­ned.

Saul was punished with the losse of his King­dom, for not punishing Agag with death,1 Sam. 15. 1 Sam. 1.15. The blasphemer, according to the Law, [Page 279]was to be punished, even ftoned to death, Levit. 24.16. Ahab for sparing Benbadad, Lev. 24.16. 1 Kings 20. had a sharp greeting sent him, 1 Kings 20. Because thou hast let goe out of thy hand, a man whom I ap­pointed to die, thy life shall goe for his life, and thy people for his people. And indeed the swearer and drunkard not severly punished, prove to be the bane of the land where they live. As the Canaa­nites not cast out by the Israelites (as God com­manded) became by Gods just judgement, a snare and destruction unto them,Judg. 2.3. Jos. 23.13. a whip on their sides, and a thorn in their eyes.

The swearer not punished, his own soule is indangered, his neighbour infected, Gods name abused, Christs death contemned, Gods Spirit grieved, and many other wicked associates in their sinnes hardned: Many evill streames flow from this one fountaine, neglect of punishment of the common rash obstinate swearer; foolish pity marres the City: which gave occasion to that saying of Domitius, that he had rather seem cruell in punishing, then dissolute in sparing: Cursed be he that keepeth back his sword from blood, Jer. 48.10. Jer. 48.10.

Bloody sinnes must have bloody prinish­ments; but swearing is, Hos. 14.2. stiled a bloody sinne, therefore severely to be punished.

An house being on fire, if it may be quenched, it is best to use water onely; but if it be like to endanger, and set on fire the houses round about it, it is best to pull down the house quickly. If swearing may be quenched with the water of reprehension, onely use water, and let the house [Page 280]stand still: but if fire continue fearsully to burn out on every side, then pull downe the house with the town-hook of sharp correction.

When the Viper still will be a Viper, and re­tain his poyson, though the Charmer charm ne­ver so wisely, the Apothecary takes him and makes Triacle of him to expell poyson out of others. If the swearer will not bee admonished or reclaimed, make Triacle of him, that he that would not take heed of others, may be made a preservative for others to beware of him: Qui non corrigit seipsum, alii carrigent se per ipsum: If evill cannot be taken away from one in Israel, then take away evill from all Israel. Ense rescin­dendum, &c. If wee must needs see somewhat dead, it is better to see a dead arme then a dead body. Melius ut pereat unus, quam unitas: he that spares one bad, endangers many good. Though therefore thou mayst not rejoyce in be­holding severity inflicted, yet mayst thou,Justinian. and must thou rejoyce in seeing justice without par­tiality executed.

I shall be accounted singular,Obj. 8. more precise then wise in so doing.

It is the Ministers office to tell men of their sins in the pulpit;Obj. 9. he must advise in matters con­cerning the soule.

Every tub must stand upon his own bottome, every man must answer for his own sinne.Obj. 10. That particular soule that sinneth, shall die: and hee is acquainted with, and can discourse of the words of God (wth must be the rule of all our actions) as well as any other can inform him, and there­fore [Page 281]knowing his fathers will, and not doing it, he shall be beaten with many stripes: With ma­ny other sleight and frivolous objections, which I might remember unto you, if they were worth the answering, that flesh and blood cast as bars in the way, why they will neither punish real­ly, nor reprove sincerely this sin of swearing. But whatsoever they do, or might alledge, I know they are but meere put-offs, doubts, diffi­culties, devices, Satan-sleights, and humane eva­sions, which prove as weak and uncertain as the brain wherein they are forged, and therefore little to be regarded. When once thou art per­swaded in conscience, and thy heart telleth thee, that swearing is a sin, and the action of repre­hending is good, just, necessary and profitable, and the chiefest means appointed by God, to preserve the hearer from sinne, and to reco­ver the speaker out of the suburbs of hell to make him first see his sin, that afterwards hee may loath it, and at last leave it; Let not the throng and thicknesse of any, or all such Objections and Difficulties daunt or discourage thee from imitating God, in discharging thy duty, but rather make thee the more stoutly to pluck up thy spirits, and buckle thee to this bu­sinesse; which by how much the more obstacle it shall finde amongst men, so much the more in­couragement shall it receive from, and accep­tation with the Lord, that thy labour, though it alwayes prove not for the welfare of the swea­rer, for whom it was intended, yet it shall turne ever to the glory of God that first set thee on [Page 282]work, whose Name (as it is by vain swearers dai­ly abused) so among all that call on the same, let it be more and more hallowed, now and ever, Amen.

Gods Judgements upon Forswearers.

VAin swearing in this Commandment is for­bidden, much more false, and forswear­ing; False swearing is,False swea­ring. Zach. 5.4. An oath is assertory. Joh. 8.44. For swear­ing. Perkins. Mat. 5.33 Doct. 3. when wee call God to witnesse a lye, making him herein like the De­vill, Zach. 5.4. Job. 8.44. Forswearing is, when a man performs not what deliberately he swears: even of old it hath bin said, Thou shalt not forswear thy selfe, but shalt perform unto the Lord thy oaths.

Forswearers, because they take Gods Name in vain, shall not by God be left unpunished. In one and the self-same breath you hear the truth and doctrine, with the Reason and con­firmation thereof.

The Doctrine,Reason. that forswearers shall be pu­nished.

The Reason, because they take Gods Name in vain.

Let us come presently to the Vse in the Appli­cation,Ʋse. and suffer that to be pressed on our af­fections, which at the first hearing, we conceive in our apprehensions.

By all that hath already been spoken against ordinary and rash swearing, I shall be eased of [Page 283]the labour to speak much of false & forswearing; for if the Motives be so many against rash swear­ing, and the puishments so fearfull on the same, much more are the same to be thought powerfull against false or forsswearing, which are more egregiously finfull in the fight of God, and more fearfull in the ears of men.

Let us then be diswaded from this sin, by the censideration of these two severall Motives and iton arguments:

  • 1. The greatnesse of the sin.
  • 2. The greatnesse of the punishment on the sinners.

First, the greatnesse of the sin, because hereby,1. Mot. Greatnesse of the sin.

1. Gods Name is polluted and prophaned, it being made a Sanctuary to shrewd lyers and de­ceitfull persons.

2. Gods Majesty is abused, being brought as a witnesse to confirm a known lye, and as a surety for their sinfull fact, they daring avouch that to be true, which they know to be false, and that to be false which they know to be true, in either calling upon God, as a just Judge and Avenger of falshood, do in a manner contemn Gods all­seeing knowledge, justice, power, anger, threat­nings, herein desperately making triall, whe­ther God can or will, according to his power, punish their sin: herein like bandogs, flying in Gods face, and daring him to do his worst in the execution of his vengeance.

3. The Devill himself herein is outstripped; for wee never read or heard that he ever came to that desperate audaciousnesse, that hee durst [Page 284]presume to confirm his lyes by oath, or oft to abuse Gods Name for the patronizing and coun­tenancing his untruths.

4. The Lords great Seale and Scepter of his Kingdome, whereby hee ruleth amongst men, hereby are overthrown, Truth and Justice, the perjurers using Gods forces against himself for the maintaining those hellish pieces of falshood, and injustice,5. The Word ree­kons it amongst great sins. Jer. 7.9. 6. Hatefull to men. 1. To Chri­stians. 2 To Hea­thens. which he so much abhorreth.

5. The word reckons that amongst the grea­test crimes, Theft, Murther, Adultery, Idolatry, and to be abominable to God, Zach. 8.17.

6. It is most hatefull to men.

First, to Christians: the false swearers losing the reputation of Religion, and the fear of God; yea, of civility and common honesty.

Secondly, to Heathens, and Turks, and Pa­gans, accounting it worthy of the severest pu­nishment.

Amurath the Turk spared none of the army of Ʋladiflaus, Amurathes against Vladistaus. King of Hungaria, who had broken his oath concerning Articles of truce concluded between them.

The Egyptians reputed perjury so capitall a crime,Egyptians punish it with death The Ro­mans had a Temple dedicated to Faith. Attilius Regulus a­gainst the Carthagi­nians. that whosoever was convinced thereof was punished with death.

The Romans so highly esteemed of Faith in all their publique affaires, that in their City they had a Temple dedicated to it, and did (for more reverence sake) offer sacrifices to the Image of Faith.

Hence it was, that Attilius Regulus, chief Captain of the Roman army against the Cartha­ginians, [Page 285]was so highly commended of all men, because, when he was overcome, taken prisoner, and sent to Rome, hee did only for his oath sake which he had sworn, return to his enemy, albeit he knew what grievous torments were provided for him at his return.

Others also that came with him, though they were intreated, and by their parents, wives, allies instantly urged, not to return to Hannibals camp, could in no wise be moved thereunto: but be­cause the Romans their friends did not accord to their proffered conditions, therefore they would perform their oathes to the Carthagi­nians their enemies.

But two of the ten (for so many were they) falsified their oath, and did not return, yet were they among all men accounted and condemned for cowards, and faint-hearted traytors, in so much, that the Censors noted them with infamy for the fact: whereat they took such grief and inward sorrow, that being weary of their lives, they slew themselves. Thus the Heathen not only teach by precept, (Cicero lib. 1. Offic.) but also performed by practice (lib. 3. Offic.) that an oath is so sacred, that it is to be kept with our greatest enemies, and most wicked people.

The Gibeonites, though they were so exe­crable a people,The Gibe­onites. that they might well be esteemed for Heretiques, yet the Princes of Israel would not retract the oath made with them (albeit they were deceived by them) for feare of incur­ring the wrath of God, that suffereth not per­jury unpunished.

[Page 286]7. The use and end of lawfull oathes,7. The end of lawfull oaths de­stroyed. which are to put an end to all strife, are by perjury de­stroyed, causing the Jury to give a false verdict, and the Judge an unjust sentence, whereby in­nocency is suppressed, falshood maintained, the oppressor strengthened in his malicious courses, humane society baned, suspitious jealousie disco­vered, and contention nourished; and the whole course of justice, the Pillar of the common­wealth, and bond of humane societie utterly dis­solved and subverted; yea sometimes with one and the same false oath the perjurer puts a true mans neck into the halter and his own soul into hell.

8.8. The conscience of the per­jurer tor­mented. The conscience of the Perjurer daily is tormented with restlesse feares and affrighting terrors, and the same hardly recured, unlesse his sin with Pater be bewailed with bitter reares, and the balm of Christs precious blood truly ap­plied by the hand of a lively faith.

9.9. God of his glory is robbed. The innocent is not only robbed of his right, but God also of his glory, when to gain credit to a lie, man call the true God to witnesse, this is even to make him a false witnesse like our selves, and in as much as in us lieth, to set the Devill himself, the father of lies, in the room and stead of God the author of truth.

10.10. An ut­ter enemy to himself. He is an utter enemy to himself, and the instrument violently hastning his own destructi­on, praying for a curse upon himselfe, wishing God to revenge if hee sweare falsly; and there­fore cryeth and calleth upon God by his false swearing, to take and cast body and soule into [Page 287]hell fire; when he reacheth out his hand to the book, he reacheth it out to the Devill, when he kisseth the book he kisseth the Devill, when he bringeth water or drink to his mouth, with that hand hee feedeth the Devill, nay, rather re­maineth a devill incarnate: So much of the first Motive.

Secondly,Mot. 2. Grievous­ness of the punish­ment. wee are to be disswaded from this sin, by the greatnesse of the punishment inflicted on the same.

It is punished with,

  • 1. Eternall Punishment.
  • 2. Spirituall Punishment.
  • 3. Corporall Punishment.

Perjury is punished with

1. Eternall punishment, though yet in the last place and time, shall be inflicted, to wit, Extrusion from heaven, and Intrusion into hell,Psal. 15.4. Rev. 21.8. & 22.15. proved by Psal. 15.4. Rev. 21.8. & 22.15.

2. Spirituall punishment, to wit, Infamy amongst men, terror in his conscience, and a re­probate sense, most commonly, to commit all sin and wickednesse.

3. With corporall and temporall punish­ment, which amongst men is chiefly feared: the house, timber and stones of the false swearer are threatned to be consumed.Zach. 5.4.

Zedechias, the last King of Judah, for break­ing his oath with Nebuchadnezzar, had his king­dome spoyled, his sonnes before his face slaugh­tered, his owne eyes boared out, and after­wards in chaines carryed into Babylon.

Osee, the last King of Israel,2 Chro. 36 for breach of his [Page 288]faith plighted to Salmaneser, King of Ashur, was taken, imprisoned, and carryed with his whole nation captives to Assyria.2 King. 17. Thus both the Kingdomes of Israel and Judah, were for falsifying their oaths, quite razed and extin­guished.

Ponfinus, in his Hungarian historie, records a notable example of the punishment of perjury, in Ʋladislaus and his army destroyed by the Turks, as before was briefly touched.

This Ʋladislaus behaved himself so valiantly against the Turks, that Anurath was glad up­on unequall conditions to conclude a peace with him, which league being made, and the Articles thereof ingrossed in both languages, with a so­lemn oath taken on both parties for the confir­mation of the same; the Cardinall of Florence (according to the accustomed pofition of the Pa­pists, No oath to be kept with Heretiques) by letters disfwaded Ʋladistius from keeping their new accorded peace. Cardinall Julian the Popes Legate in Hungaria helped forward this project and practice: both which wrought so effectu­ally with the King, that hee falsifying his oath, broke the peace, sent to Constantinople to de­nounce war afresh, and set forward his army to­wards the Turks with all expedition. Thus the Turkes secure and misdoubting nothing, were unawares set upon by the King; yet put­ting themselves in defence, there grew a long and sharp battell; till Amurath perceiving his souldiers to decline, and almost to be overcome, pall'd out of his bosome the Articles of the afore­said [Page 289]concluded peace, and lifting up his eyes to heaven, uttered these speeches: O Iesus Christ, these are the leagues that thy Christians have made, and confirmed by swearing by thy Name, and yet have broken them again; if thou beest a God, as they say thou art, revenge this injury that is offered both to thee and me, and punish Truce-breaking Varlets. He had scarce ended his speech; but the Chri­stians battell and courage began to abate, Ʋla­dislaus himselfe was slaine by the Janisaries, his whole Army discomfited, and put to the Sword.

Pausanias noteth this to bee one of the chiefe causes why Philip King of Maccdon, with all his progeny, so quickly came to destruction; because he made no reckoning of keeping his oathes, but sware and unsware them at his pleasure, and for his commodity.

Gregory Tours makes mention of a wicked var­let in France (among the people called Averns) that forswearing himselfe in an unjust cause, had his tongue presently so tied, that he could not speake, but roare, and so continued till by his earnest inward prayer and repentance, the Lord restored to him the use of that unruly mem­ber.

Alberius Duke, of Franconia, having slaine Conrade, brother to Lewis the fourth, then Em­perour, and finding the Emperours wrath incen­sed against him, betcoke himselfe to a strong Castle at Bramberge, from whence the Em­perour neither by force nor fraud, could re­move him for seven yeares space, untill Atto [Page 290]Bishop of Mentz delivered him into his hands.

This Atto under shew of friendship repai­red to the Castle, and gave his faith to Albertus, that if he would come down to parley with the Emperour, hee should safely returne into his hold. The Duke mistrusting no fraud, went out of the Castle gates with the Bishop towards the Emperour; but Atto (as it were suddenly re­membring himselfe, when as indeed it was his devised plot) desired to return back again and dine ere he went, because it was somewhat late; so they dine and returne. Now the Duke was no sooner come to the Emperour, but he caused him to be put to death, notwithstanding hee al­ledged the Bishops promise and oath for his safe return.

For it was answered, his oath was quit by re­turning back to dine, as he had promised. Thus the Duke was wickedly betraied, though justly punished.

As for Atto the perjured traytor, within a while after hee was strucken with a thunder­bolt, and as some say, carried into mount Aema, with this noyse, (sie peccata lues atque ruenas rues:

Thus didst thou sinne in breaking thy oath,

Thus shalt thou suffer in soule and body both.

The History concerning the three false accu­sers of the Bishop of Jerusalem, is no lesse fear­full then common, they accused him of uncha­stity, [Page 291]and bound their accusations with oathes and curses on this wise:

The first said, If I lie, I pray God I may perish with fire.

The second said, If I speake ought but the truth, I pray God I may be consumed by some filthy and cruell disease.

The third said, If I accuse him falsly, I pray God I may be deprived of my sight, and become blind.

The honesty of the Bishop was so wel known, that they beleeved none of their oathes; yet hee partly for griefe, partly for ease from worldly affaires, forfook his Bishoprick, and lived in the desart for many years.

The first, his house, being on fire, perished with his family and progeny.

The second languished with a fearfull disease, that bespread his body all over:

The third seeing Gods judgements on his companions, confessed all their villany, lamen­ted his crime and case so long weeping for the same, till both his eyes were put out.

Thus God plagued them for their perjury, sent upon them their wishes, and thereby clea­red his servant from shame and opprobry.

Thesdor Beza records what happened upon a perjurer that forsware himselfe to the end to hurt and prejudice another thereby: He had no sooner made an end of his false oath, but a grie­vous Apoplexie assailed him: so that without speaking any word, he died within few dayes after.

[Page 292] Anno Dom. 925. when King Ethelstane, alias Adelstane, reigned here in England, there was one Elfred a Noble man who with a faction of seditious persons, conspired against the King, and at Winchester went about to put out his eyes; but by Gods providence the King was perserved, and Elfred being accused thereof, fled to Rome, to the end to purge himselfe of the crime by oath before the Pope, who being brought to the Church of Saint Peter, and there swearing, or rather forswearing himself to be clear, when indeed he was guilty, behold the Lords hand up­on him suddenly; as soon as his oath was pro­nounced, he fell down in a strange sicknesse: and from thence being brought to the English house in Rome, within three dayes after departed this life.

Anno Dom. 1055. Goodwin Earle of Kent, sitting at Table with King Edward, it happened that one of the Cup-bearers stumbled, and yet sell not; whereat Goodwin laughing, said, that if one brother had not holpen the other (mea­ning his legges) all the wine had been spilt: with which words the King calling to mind his brother which was slain by Goodwin, answered, So should my brother Alfred have holpen me, had not Goodwin been; who fearing the Kings new kindled displeasure, excused himselfe with many words, and at last eating a morsel of bread, wished it might choke him, if hee were not guiltlesse of his brothers blood. But hee was forthwith choked in the presence of the King, ere hee stirred one foot from the [Page 293]place, though some say, that hee recovered life again.

In the reigne of Queen Elizabeth, one Annis Averies, in the Citie of London, widow, for­swore her selfe for a little money which shee should have paid for six pounds of Tow at a shop in Woodstrest: for which cause being suddenly surprized with the justice of God, she fell down speech lesse forthwith, and cast that matter up­wards, which should by nature have been voi­ded downwards; and so died to the terrour of all perjured and forsworne wretches that take Gods name in vain.

In Saxony a young maid that was very rich, promised marriage to a proper young man, but poore. He foreseeing that wealth and incon­stancy might alter this maids resolution, freely opened his mind unto her about it. Whereupon she made a thousand imprecations to the contra­ry, and among the rest, this that ensueth: If ever I marry another, let the Devill take me away on the wedding day. Afterwards the fickle wench was betrothed and married to another. At dinner on the wedding day, 2 men on horseback came & lighted at the house where the feast was kept, who were presently entertained at the Feast. And after dinner, when they fell to dancing, one of them (as the manner of the countrey is, to ho­nour strangers which happen to bee at such Feasts) was desired to lead the Bride a dance. He tooke her by the hand, and walked her a turn or two: Then in presence of all her kinsfolks & friends, he caught her crying out for help, and [Page 294]went out at the gate, where he hoysed her up in­to the aire, and vanished away with his compa­nion and horses. Her sorrowfull friends having sought her all that day, and continuing so next morning, hoping to find her where she had fal­len some where or other, to the end they might have buried her body, met the two Cavaliers, which restored to them the maidens wedding apparrell, & all her jewels, saying, that God had given them power over her, but not over her ap­parell, and so vanished away. Read this story in the Sword against Swearers.

It would be too long to repeat the history of an Inne-keeper in the town of Rutlinguen, who receiving a budget of money from a passenger to keep for him, forswore the same before the Judge, giving himselfe to the Devill if he swore falsly, and was (by two that testified against him, which indeed were two Fiends of Hell) presently in the presence of the Judge, hoysted up into the aire, where he vanished with them, and was never found more.

Or to relate the large history of Burghard, Archbishop of Magdeburg, who thrice broke his promise and oath with his own Citizens, the Senate and people of Magdeburg; and being twice delivered out of prison, notwithstanding his perfidy: and being the third time caught and imprisoned, whilst his friends sought means to redeem him, the Jaylor beat him to death with a doore barre, or as some say, with an Iron rod taken out of a window.

Or to speak largely of the judgement of God [Page 295]upon Radulph, King of Suevia, who after hee had sworn Fealty to the Emperour Henry the fourth, was by the Pope perswaded to take the Empire, and to oppose the Emperour by Arms, even in four unjust battels. In the last whereof he lost his right hand; and being ready to die, one bringing to him his hand cut off in the bat­tell, he in detestation of the Popesvillany, burst forth into these termes, many Bishops standing by, Behold here the hand wherewith I swore fealty to the Emperour, this will bee an argu­ment of breach of faith before God, and of your impulsion thereto. Justly punished even by his own confession, for perjury.

Or of Cleomenes, King of Lacedemonia, who making truce with the Argives for seven dayes, oppressed them in the third night at unawares, thinking thereby to avoid perjury: But the Ar­give women (their husbands being slain) tooke up Armes (like the Amazons) and repelled Cleomenes; who afterwards was banished into E­gypt, and there miserably and desperately slew himselfe.

Most of which examples, and many more, more largely the Reader may at his Iust and lea­sure peruse in the Theater of Gods judgments, Fox his Acts and Monuments, and Camerorius his Library; all storehouses of this treasure, necessary to be collected, because all have not money to procure the said Authors, or not minds to per­use them if procured.

This one ensuing shall suffice for all other at this time for me to be selected. One hearing per­jury [Page 296]condemned by a learned Preacher, and how it never escaped unpunished, said in a bravery, I have often forsworn my self, and yet my right hand is not a whit shorter then my left: Which words hee had scarce uttered, when such an in­flammation arose in that hand, that he was con­strained to goe to the Chirurgion and cut it off, left it should infect his whole body; and so his right hand became shorter then his left in re­compence of his perjury, which hee so lightly esteemed of.

By all which examples (because examples most move in every matter) wee have seen and may learn to beleeve how greatly God doth detest, how severely and suddenly he doth punish all those who by this fearfull sin of per­jury, doe take Gods name in vaine, swearing that to be true which they know to be false, and hellishly breaking their vow and promise, whereto so holily they bound themselves by oath.

King Edmund made this Law, that they that were once proved false forsworne, should for ever bee separated from Gods Congregation, whether they were of the Spiritualty or Tem­poralty: yet the world in these dangerous and evill dayes, is full of such that make no care to forsweare themselves, so it bring never so little advantage to their purses or posterity, who no­thing care what shall become of their soules, so as they may have profit here, and leave their chil­dren rich behind them. But what profit doth it prove in the end? The son is counted a Gentle­man [Page 297]before the world, for the goods sake, and the Father is reckoned before God and his holy Angels, a fire-brand in hell. The sonne is Lord of many possessions, the father is a wretch and hath nothing. The sonne is replenished with dainties, joy and pleasure, the father is filled full of bitter sorrowes and intolerable torments. The sonne singeth, playeth, danceth, and ma­keth merry, the father weepeth, sorroweth, and wisheth himselfe never to have been born. Be­hold how Dame Perjury rewardeth her servants at the later end.

Mark what Claudianus the heathen Poet concludeth touching perjury:

In prolem dilata ruunt perjuria patris,
Et poenam merito filius ore luit:
Et quas fallacis collegit lingua parentis,
Has eadem nati lingua refudit opes.

The perjuries of the Father escaping punish­ment in this world, fall upon the sonne, and look what riches the tongue of the deceitfull father hath gathered together, even the very same hath the tongue of the sonne paid home a­gain, and wast fully spent.

The Jurers or witnesses (through rashnesse and want of admonition by the Magistrate) are suddenly brought to this fearfull sinne of per­juty, for want of sober advice and mature deli­beration through hast, and in affection to the one party, are prone to slide into this dangerons pit. Whereas (at the taking of their oath) they [Page 298]should be exhorted so uncorruptly to look up­on the matter, to deale so truly and uprightly, and to give so just a verdict, even as though it should be presented and offered up to the high and everlasting Judge Jesus Christ.

Magistrates likewise, that promise with a so­lemne oath, to doe all things accordingly to e­quity and justice, and to accept no person in judgement, but to maintain the good, and pu­nish the evill, to exalt vertue and to punish vice, if contrary to their oath, they deale unrighte­ously, oppresse the succourlesse, judge for fa­vour, condemne the good, save the evill, perse­cute the favourers of Gods word, maintaine the Papists, they are then forsworn, and shall not uscape the punishment of perjury.

Bishops and Pastors, that promise faithfulnes to be earnest preachers, to set forth Gods word, and live according to the same; if they doe not labour in the harvest of Gods word, doe not lead an honest and vertuous life, they are forsworne, and shall not be held guiltlesse.

The man and wife that promise faith and troth to each other, that they will in all estates and extremities, lean each to other, the man to love his wife as himselfe, and hold himselfe con­tented with her; the woman reverently to feare and obey her husband in the Lord; if they breake this promise, and one delight not in another; but each seek after strange flesh, they are then for­sworn, and shall not escape the punishment of perjury.

The subiects that promise obedience and [Page 299]willing service to their Rulers, if they breake their promise, and resist high Powers, are for­sworne, and shall not escape the plagues of per­jury.

As for all Knights of the Post, false and for­swearers, who (like Putiphars wife) doe onely shew the garments of honest men to prove their dishonest cause, I wish them no other punish­ment then that which Philip of Macedon infli­cted upon two of his subiects, in whom hee saw no hope of grace. Ʋnum à Macedonia fugere, alte­rum persequi jussit: he made the one of them to run out of Macedonia, and the other to drive him. A faire riddance of them both, (as is in the proverb) without a Sessions.

Isocrates the Orator, gives an excellent cau­tion to all those who for the least advantage ad­venture to take an oath. Take an oath (saith he) that is put unto thee for two causes, either that thou mayst deliver thy selfe from a filthy crime, or that thou mayst preserve thy friends that are in perill and danger: but for money see thou sweare by no God, although thou sweare righte­ously: For to some thou shalt seem to forswear thy selfe, and to some to bee desirous of money. Surely a divine saying of an heathen man, and worthy to bee written in Marble and brasse, yea in the hearts of men.

Wherefore if the thought of the shame before men, will not yet let thee feare, and danger of the punishment from God, restrain us from this so dreadfull and damnable a sin; Foelices faciant si aliena pericula cautos, It is well for us if the [Page 300]sufferings of others keep us from sinning.

Let no man think that God will leave that unpunished in us, which he hath not pardoned in other, that had not so many examples of pu­nishment before them, as are before us. Let us feare to partake in their sinnes, lest that we share also in their punishments: for where sinneis fra­med in the Antecedent, there punishment is in­ferred in the Consequent, unlesse Gods mercy and mans penitency make a separation between the cause and the effect, the beginnning and end.

And so I passe to the last of the wayes that at first I proposed, whereby Gods name is ta­ken in vaine, to wit, by cursing, wherein I dare passe my word, I will be very brief, lest this dis­course, that at first was intended but a narrow en­trance to bee passed through in the space of an houre, should swell into a wide Ocean, even not to be sailed over in the length of a Summers day.

Gods name is taken in vain by cursing. There is a certaine multiplicity,Doct. 4. severity of punish­ment attending all those that by cursing doe take Gods name in vain.

Because they transgresse against the precept of God in the Law,Reason. Exo. 22.28 Mat. 5.44. Rom. 12.14. Ʋse 1. Levit. 19.14. and the pre­cepts of Christ in the Gospel.

Let us then (men and brethren) bee exhorted to suffer the consideration of this truth, not onely to swim in our braines, but also to sink into our hearts, that wee bee carefull to prevent this hideous sinne, this uncharitable sin, [Page 301]that so directly aimes at mans hurt, and at Gods prerogative Royall, Vengeance is mine, Deut. 32.35. and I will repay it, Deut. 32.35.

The main motives that may preserve us from falling into, and recover us from sinking in this sin, are these two.

  • 1, The greatnesse of the sinne.
    Two mo­tives,
  • 2. The grievousnesse of the punishment, due to, and waiting on the same.

The greatnesse of the sin appeares, because

1. The curser breaks the first Table touch­ing God, in taking his name in vain;1 The greatnesse of the sin. hee hath no love or feare of God in him, seeing he makes God the executioner of his lust and revenge, Levit. 19.14.Lev. 19.14.

2. The curser breakes the second Table, touching man,Jam. 3.9. seeing hee discovers the inward malice of his heart, by the outward pollution of his hell-hatched words, in defiring his ruine, whose welfare (as bearing the image of God) he should aim at.

The grievousnesse of the punishment attend­ing upon cursers, we needs must acknowledge,2. The grievous­nes. of the punish­ment. 1. Threat­ned in the Word. Psal. 109.17. seeing it is known to bee, 1. Threatned in the word, As he loved cursing, so let it come unto him, as be delighted not in blessing, so let it be farre from him, prophesied by one that was (if ever any) inspired with the holy Ghost, because a man af­ter Gods own heart.

As the arrow shot against a brazon wall, re­bounds upon the shooter, so the curse cast a­gaiust the godly, recoyls back upon the head of the curser himself. [Page 302]Continuing in this sinne, he is liable to most of those curses desired by Satan, deserved by the sinner, revealed by God, recorded by Moses, pro­nounced by the Levits, and confirmed by the people,Deut. 27.15. Deut. 27.15.

1.1 He worshippeth this Image set up in his heart, with the greatest love and fervency bow­ing hereunto.

2.2 He setteth light by the precepts of God his Father in heaven, or of the Church his Mother on earth; all the people must confesse that hee is cursed.

3.3 Hee removeth his neighbours Land-marke, which is, to doe unto another as he would bee done unto: now he likes not that others should curse him.

4.4 He maketh the blind to goe out of the way, in driving him to desparation, when as hee was in the way of salvation.

5.5 He perverteth the judgement of the stranger, father lesse and widows; in judging and denoun­cing those evill that are good, in calling light darknesse, and darknesse light.

6.6 Hee uncovereth the skirt of his Father, and Sister, and Mother-in-law, laying open their na­kednesse and infirmities, which he should cover, and hastning their judgements, which he should endevour to avert.

7.7 He adjoynes himselfe to Beasts that have no understanding, in cursing those that curse him; beasts doe no more: yea many times in cursing those that blesse him; beasts doe not so much.

[Page 303]8. He smiteth his neighbour secretly, 8 stabbing him to the heart with the sharp sword, and ve­nomed arrow of his tongue.

9. He taketh reward of Satan,9 his professed enemy, to slay his neighbour, his known friend, and innocent person that minded no hurt.

10. He confirmeth not, 10 nor continueth not in all things that are written: For then hee should not take Gods name in vain,Esa. 42.8. Rom. 12.19. hee should not take his office of vengeance out of his hand: he should blesse those that curse him, and not curse those those that blesse him, Matth. 5.44.Mat. 5.44. Rom. 12.14. Deut. 27.26. Rom. 12.14.

And therefore hee is subiect to that last men­tioned curse, Deut. 27.26, &c. Looke but into the subsequent chapter, Deut. 28.16, 17, 18, 19, &c. we may behold the severall curses that this curser is subiect unto, as not continuing in all things that are written in the Law to doe them.

1. Cursed shall he be in the Citie and in the field, privately and publickly.

2. Cursed shall he be in his basket and his store: i. whether he hath much or little, the one as in a basket, the other as in a storehouse.

3. Cursed shall he be in the fruit of his body, children, and in the fruit of the land, corne or cattell.

4. Cursed shall he be (in his name and person) at his going out and his comming in; when he comes abroad, men shall wish him at home; when at home, men shall wish him abroad. Thus see­ing hee loved cursing, it shall come upon him, [Page 304]Psalm 109.17.Psal. 109.17. Curse upon curse. He set them abroad abundantly, and so they return abun­dantly with use, not ten for one hundred, but an hundred for ten, no place nor time shall bee exempted from them.

If an hypocrite is subiect to cursing & iudge­ment, then also is the curser.Mat. 23. But an hypocrite is, therefore a curser also: For a curser is an hypo­crite, because hee continucth not in all things that are written; 8 Woes. but curseth those whom he should blesse, Matth. 5. Because out of one and the selfe-same fountaine be sendeth forth bitter water and sweet, Jam. 3.11.Jam. 3.21. With one and the same tongue blessing God the Father, and cursing men which are made after the similitude of God; out of the same mouth pro­ceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, saith James, these things ought not to be so, Jam. 3.9.10. unlesse we bee content to bee censured, and to have the reward of hypocrites. For if any man seemes to be religious, and refraineth not his tongue, (as the curser doth not) he deceiveth his own heart, and this mans religion is in vain. Jam. 1.26. 2. Inflicted upon cur­sers in this world.

The former iudgements you finde threatned in the word; these ensuing have been known to be inflicted in this world, upon such as have a­bused Gods Name, Justice, Patience, making him to bee a speedy executioner of their lust and revenge, when they call for the pox, plague, murraine, death, Devill, all servants unto God, and means and instruments for the execution of his will in the world; and therefore vainly and uniustly taking them in their mouthes, men thereby take Gods name in vain.

[Page 305] Luther (on 1 Corinth. 15.) reports of one in Germany of a most wicked life,Luther of one in Germany carried a­way with the Devil. who at every word he spake, almost, the Devill was at one end. It happened on a time, as he was passing over a bridge, that he fell down, and in his fall gave these speeches, Hoist up with an bundred De­vils: which he had no sooner spoken, but the Devill whom he called for so oft, was at his el­bow to strangle and carry him away with him.

The same Luther hath left recorded unto us a notable example shewen upon a Popish Priest, that was once a professor of the sincere religi­on, and after fell away voluntarily unto Pa­pisme, whereof Adam Budissina was the reporter to Luther.

This man thundred out most bitter curses a­gainst Luther in the Pulpit, at a place called Buthnerwald; and among the rest, wished that if Luthers doctrine were true, a Thunder-bolt might strike him to death. Now three dayes af­ter, there arose a mighty tempest with thunder and lightning, whereat the cursing Priest, bear­ing in himself, a guilty conscience for that which he had untruly and maliciously spoken, ran hasti­ly to the Church, and there fell to his prayers be­fore the Altar most devoutly: but the venge­ance of God found him out and his hypocrisie, so that he was strucken dead with the lightning. And albeit they recovered life in him again, yet as they lead him homewards, through the Church-yard, another flash so set upon him, that it burnt him from the crown of the head to the sole of the foot, as black as a shooe, so that hee [Page 306]died with a manifest mark of Gods vengeance upon him.

Wierus reports, concerning an Host in Man­chia, a countrey of Almaigne, who being questio­ned before the Magistrate for detaining certain money which a traveller, a Souldier, delivered to his Hostesse to keep, impudently (against his own knowledge) denied the same, wishing the Devill might take him if hee had it. Then the Devill there pleading in the habit of a subtile Lawyer, in a blew cap, in the behalfe of the Soul­dier, and reckoning up every circumstance in the action; yea the very place where they had hid the money: hearing (I say) those words, (let the Devill take me) looking for no other ad­vantage, lest pleading, and fell to lay hold on the Host, and carried him out of the Sessions house; hoisted him into the aire so high, that hee was never after seen, or heard of to be seen.

Thus was Gods iudgements fully manifested upon the forsworn and cursing Host, to the a­stonishment of all the beholders, and the Souldi­ers innocencie cleared (for he by the Host was accused and imprisoned for assaulting to breake and rob his house) and so strangely from the ex­ecution of the law delivered.

The same author reports what happened in Megalapole neer to Voildstat, in the time of the celebration of the Feast of Pentecost, Anno 1051. The people being set on drinking and carrow­sing, a woman in the company commonly named the Devill in her oathes, till the Devil being so oft called upon carried her through the gate a­loft [Page 307]into the aire before them all, and hanging a while in the aire, they found her fallen dead up­on the ground without the town.

About the yeare 1551. there lived in a City of Savoy, one that was a monstrous swearer and curser, who put many good men to much fruitlesse pains, not so much as listning to their admonitions, much lesse reforming his maners. It fell out that the pestilence being in the Citie, he was infected with it, and therefore withdrew himselfe with his wife and a kinswoman, into a Garden which he had; neither yet in this extre­mity did the Ministers forsake him, but continu­ally exhorted him to repent, and laid before his eyes his faults and offences, to the end to bring him into the right way. But he was so farre from being touched and moved with these godly ad­monitions, that he strove to harden himself more and more in his sinnes. Therefore on a day, ha­stening forward his owne mishap, as hee was swearing, denying God, and giving himselfe to the Devill, and calling for him with vehemen­cie, behold even the Devill himselfe snatched him up suddenly, and heaved him up into the aire, his wife and kinswoman looking on, and seeing him flie over their heads. Being thus swiftly transported, his cap tumbled from his head, and was found at Rosne, but himselfe no man couldever after set eye upon. The Magi­strate advertised hereof, came to the place whence he was taken, to bee better informed of the truth, taking witnesse of the two women touching that which they had seen.

[Page 308]Such judgements doubtlesse are made manifest to strike a feare and terror into the heart of eve­ry curser, that are so inspired with Satan, that they cannot speake but they must name him, even him that is an enemy both to God and man, and like a roaring Lion runs to and fro, seeking no­thing but mans destruction. Yet too too ma­ny in any disquietnesse of mind, or anger of body, call upon him for aid, when it were needfull to call upon God, having both a com­mandment so to doe, and a promise adjoyned, that he will help us in our extremities, if by true repentance and hearty prayer we approach unto him.

Theodor Beza reports unto us in his 26. Ho­mily of the Passion, a notable history of his own knowledge, of the severity of Gods judgments upon a curser.

I knew (saith hee) in France a man of good parts, well instructed in religion, and a ma­ster of a family, who in his anger cursing, and bidding the Devill take one of his children, had presently his wish: for the child was possessed immediatly with a spirit; from which, though by the fervent and continuall prayer of the Church, he was at length released, yet ere hee had fully recovered his health, he died.

In the yeare 1557. the day before good Fri­day, at Forchenum, a Citie in the Bishoprick of Bamburg, there was a certain crooked Priest, both in minde and body, through age and evill conditions, that could not go but upon crutches, yet would needs be lifted up into the Pulpit to [Page 309]make a Sermon, his Text was out of the first of the Corinthians, the eleventh chapter, touching the Lords Supper; whereat taking occasion to commend the Papisticall errours, and the Masse, hee used these and such like blasphemous spee­ches, O Paul, Paul, if thy doctrine touching the receiving of the Sacraments in both kinds, bee true, and if it bee a wicked thing to receive it otherwise, then would the Devill might take me. And (turn­ing himselfe to the people) if the Popes doctrine concerning this poynt be false, than I am the Davils boud-slave, neither doe I feare to pawn my soule upon it. These and many other blasphemous speeches he used, till the Devill came indeed, transformed into the shape of a tall man, black and terrible, sending before him such a fearfull noyse, and roaring wind, that the people supposed that the Church would have fallen on their heads. But he not able to hurt the rest, tooke away the old Priest, being his devoted bond slave, and carri­ed him so farre, that hee was never after heard of.

At another time after, the like noyse was heard in the same Church, whiles they were baptizing an infant; and all this for the abominable cur­sing and blasphemy of the prophane Popish Priest.

The same Author Fincelius, in his second book of Miracles, reports of a certain man living in Helvetia, Anno 1556. who earned his living by making clean rough and foule linnen against the Sunne, who entred into a Tavern, tasted so much the grapes, that his wits were drowned, and his [Page 310]tongue so inspired, that he vomited out terri­ble curses against himselfe and others; amongst the rest, he wished that if ever he went into the field to his old occupation, the Devill might come and break his neck. But when sleep had conquered drink, and sobriety restored his sen­ses, hee went again to his trade, remembring in­deed his late words, but regarding them not. Howbeit the Devill, to shew his double dili­gence, attended on him at his appointed houre in the fields, in the likenesse of a bigge swarthy man, and asked him if he remembred his promise and vow which he had made the day before, and if it were not lawfull for him to break his neck, and withall strook the poore man (trembling for feare) over the shoulders, that his feet and his hands presently dried up, so that he lay there not able to stirre, till by the help of men he was carried home, the Lord not giving the Devill so much power over him, as he wished himselfe, but yet permitted him to plague him on this sort, for his amendment and our example.

The three that falsly accused Narcissus the Bi­shop, wishing that if their sayings and swearings were not true, they might the one consume with some fearfull disease, the other that he might be burned, the third that he might bee blind, had their wishes, according to their deserts and de­sires, as before touching perjurers, you have heard.

Henry Earle Schwarthurg, through a corrupt custome, used commonly to wish, that hee might be drowned in a privie. And as he wished, so it [Page 311]happened unto him, he was so served, and mur­thered at S. Peters Monastery in Erford, Anno 1148.

The like befell a young Courtier at Mans­field, whose custome was in any earnest assevera­tion, to say, The Devill take me, if it be not true, or if it be not so. The Devill indeed took him while he slept, and threw him out of an high window, where, albeit by the good providence of God, he took no hurt that was great, yet he learned by experience to bridle his tongue from all such cursed speeches: this being but a taste of Gods wrath that is to fall upon such wretches that live and die in their sins.

At Oster a village in the Dutchy of Megalapole, there happened a most strange and fearfull ex­ample upon a woman, that gave her selfe to the Devill both body and soule, and used most hor­rible cursings and oathes, both against her selfe and others; which detestable manner of beha­viour, as at many other times, so especially shee shewed it at a marriage at the foresaid village on S. John Baptists day, the whole people exhor­ting her to leave off her accustomed impietie: But she nothing bettered, continued her course til all the company were set at dinner, and very merry: Then lo the Devill having got full pos­session of her, came in person, and transported her into the aire before them all, with most hor­rible out-cries and roarings, and in that sort carried her round about the town, that the in­habitants were ready to die with feare; and by and by tore her in foure pieces, leaving in foure [Page 312]severall high wayes a quarter, that all that came by, might be witnesses of her punishment, and then returning to the marriage, threw her bowels upon the Table, before the Major of the Towne, with these words: Behold these dishes of meat belong to thee, whom the like destruction wai­teth for, if thou doest not amend thy wicked life.

The reporters of this history were John Her­man, the Minister of the said town, with the Ma­jor himselfe, and the whole inhabitants, being desirous to have it made known unto the world for example sake.

In Luthers conferences wee read, that divers noble men, striving together at a horse-race, cri­ed in their course, The Devill take the last. Now the last was a horse that brake loose, whom the Devill hoisted into the aire, and took cleane a­way.

Fincelius records concerning a man not farre from Gorlitz, that provided a sumptuous feast, a supper, and invited many guests unto it; who at the time appointed refusing to come, he in an an­ger and chafe cried, Then let all the Devils in bell come: neither was his wish frivolous, for a number of these hellish Fiends came forthwith, whom hee not discerning from men, came to welcome and entertain; and perceiving in stead of fingers, clawes, all dismayed, hee ran out of thedoores with his wife, and left none in the house, but an infant, with a foole sitting by the fire, whom the Devil had no power to hurt, nei­ther any man else, but the goodly supper which they quickly made away withall, and so depar­ted.

[Page 313]It is generally known at Oundell, a Towne in Northamptonshire, amongst all that were ac­quainted. with the party, namely, William Hac­ket, how he used in his earnest talk, to curse him­selfe on this manner, If it be not true, then let God send a visible confusion upon me. Now hee wanted not his wish: for hee came to a visible confusi­on, being (for calling himself Christ, and Judge of the earth) hanged on a Gibbet in Cheapside, 33, of Elizabeth.

These and such like speeches are too common in the mouthes of many people, The Devill take thee for thy labour. If I doe this, or his, God consume me body and soule: the plague or the pox take or rot thee, &c.

At Wittenberg, before Martin Luther, and di­vers other learned men, a woman whose daugh­ter was possessed with a spirit, confessed that by her curse that plague was fallen upon her: for being angry at a time, she bade the Devill take her; and she had no sooner spoke the word, but hee took her indeed, and possessed her after a strange sort.

At Neoburg in Germany, another woman in her anger cursed her sonne, saying and praying she might never see him return alive: And the same day the young man bathing himselfe in water, was drowned, and never returned to his mother alive, according to her wicked wish.

At the Citie of Astorga, another woman desi­red the Devil in hell to fetch her sonne out of her presence. The boy at last through feare, about ten of the clock the same night, went out [Page 314]into a little court behind the house; from which he was suddenly hoisted up into the aire, by men in shew of grim countenance, great stature, and loathsome gesture, but indeed cruell Fiends of Hell, and that with such swiftnesse, as hee him­selfe after confessed, that it was not possible to his seeming, for any bird in the world to flie so fast: And lighting downe among certaine mountaines of bushes and briers, was trailed through the thickest of them, and so torne and rent in his cloathes, hands, face, feet, and almost in all his body. At last the boy remem­bring God, and beseeching him for help and assistance, the cruell Fiends brought him back again through the aire, and put him in at a little window into a chamber of his fathers house, where after much search and griefe for him, he was found in that pittifull plight, and almost besides himselfe. And thus though they had not power to deprive him of life, as they had done the former, yet God suffered them to afflict the parents in the sonne, for the good both of pa­rents and sonne, if they belonged unto the Lord.

But above all this, is most strange which hap­pened in a town in Misnia, the eleventh of Sep­tember 1552. where a cholerick father seeing his sonne slack about his businesse, wished he might never stir from that place. It was no sooner said but done; his son stuck fast in the place, neither by any means possible could be removed, no not so much as to set or bend his body, till by the prayers of the faithfull, his pains were some­what mitigated, though not remitted; three [Page 315]yeares he continued standing with a post at his back for his ease, and foure yeares sitting, at the end whereof he died, nothing weakned in his understanding, but professing the faith, and not doubting of his salvation in Christ Jesus. When he was demanded at any time how hee did, hee answered most usually, that hee was fastned of God, and that it was not in man, but in Gods mercy for him to be released.

The strangenesse of the example should not discredit the truth hereof, seeing we read how Lots wife was turned into a pillar of salt, Gen. 19.Gen. 19. And Corah with his company swallowed up in­to the earth, Numb. 16.Numb. 16. Happy are we if the punishments inflicted upon others, doe make us repent, and leave our own known fins, and all such bitter cursings, & fearfull imprecations against our selves and others, such as are these, I pray God I may never stirre; or, I may rot alive; or, my eyes may drop out of my bead, I would I might never speak more if it bee not true; or, I may sink into the earth; or, that these hands may never open again; or, the Devill then take me, if I do this; or, I pray God this bread or drink may be my poyson; or, I may never enjoy good by any peny that ever I shal have; or being offended with others, The pox take thee, the plague consume thee, a murraine on thee, the Devill fetch thee alive; or, would to God thou never hadst been born, or seen the Sunne; or, I pray God I may never see thee again, with a world of such fearfull, sinfull, direfull wishes.

But wee read of some that wished such dangerous wishes to themselves,Object. and many [Page 316]fearfull curses upon others.

If David, Sol. Job, Jeremy, through violent passi­ons, and distempered perturbations, were over­taken with any such sinfull wishes and impreca­tions, yet they are no warrant for us to doe the like. They are not set as land-markes to lead us to the shore of safety and imitation; but as floating Boyes to cause us to avoid the rocks of like sinnes and inperfections.

David wee see in that dolefull Ditty upon the death of his deare darling Absolom, discovered much passion, and too much naturall affection, both blind and sinfull, in these words, Would to God I had died for thee, O Absolom, &c. If he had died for him, he should have died the death that he died withall. Now should it have been re­quisite that a faithfull King should have died for a rebellious subject, so loving a father for so un­naturall a sonne, a blessed father of all Israel, for a cursed sonne of Belial? Then would and might the Damosell singers have turned their joyfull melodies, Saul hath slain his thousand, and David his ten thousand, into mournfull Elegies, Saul was slain by the sword on his heart, and David was slain by the haire of his head, hanging by the boughes of an Oke, as a recompence of his haughty ambition, in the aire between heaven and earth, as unworthy to live, either with God above, or with men beneath; that being the cause of his destruction, which he had made the cause of his exultation; that should have pro­ved his griefe and shame at his death, which he accounted his glory and delight in the time of [Page 317]his life. See how many inconveniences and re­proches both to David in particular, and to the Israel of God in generall, would have ensued, if his sinfull wish had been granted unto him.

The occasion of Jobs and Jeremies distempe­red wishes, you may read Job. 2.13. Jerem. 12.15. and 20. and 14. and then easily untie the knot of ambiguity.

But David boasted of the hatred hee bare to some persons which hee wished not well unto:Object. Doe not I hate them that hate thee? Psalm 139.

This hatred was bred in David of the excee­ding love of God,Sol. and not properly of the love of himselfe, or the hatred of others.

Hee that loveth himselfe earnestly, doth sure­ly hate his enemies, but not the enemies of God.

Touching Moses and Pauls wishings,Moses and Paul. Exod. 32.32. Rom. 9.3. though some think them to be sinfull, as Calvin doth Moseses, yet most deem otherwise. Some think their speeches to be parabolicall, to shew the in­tention of their desire, such as was Rachels, Give me children, or else I die, Gen. 30.1.Gen. 30.1. Some ta­king the wishes to be conditionall (if it be possi­ble,) or (if it please God.)Calvin. Some thinking they preferred the safety of the people before their own souls. But this is against the rule of Chari­ty: for though other mens souls should bee dea­rer unto us then our owne bodily life, yet my soul should be dearer unto me, then all other mens souls in the world. Yea, Tostatus further addeth, if all the souls of the Saints, yea of the [Page 318]Virgin Mary, should perish unlesse my soul pe­rish, Citiùs eligcre deberem, omnes ill as perire, quam animam meam: I ought rather to make this choyce, that all their souls should, then my own soul should perish. But the meaning of Moses in that wish, was to preferre Gods glory above all things, his own name to be blotted out, rather then his enemies should have occasion to cast forth blasphemy against the Lord. He rather ai­med at Gods glory, then at his own salvation to be preferred. The salvation of our souls is pre­tious, but the glory of God ought to bee more pretious unto us, saith Simlerus.

So Pauls meaning (in wishing to be accursed) was,Rom. 9.3. rather then Gods glory should bee dimi­nished, or blemished by the scandalous imputa­tion of the Gentiles in the rejection of the Jews his chosen people, to whom pertained the pro­mises, the covenants, the services, adoption and glory of God.

Any other dreadfull wishes or imprecations that we read of by the Saints of God in the Scriptures, seeming to wish hurt or ruine to the persons against whom they are powred out, they are all either indefinite or propheticall. Indefi­nite, without naming any particular person; or if definite, naming some particular person, then are they conditionall, intending in the first place, if God have so ordained it, conversion; if not, in the second, confusion; or if they be both definite and absolute, then are they propheticall, Non tam vota, quam vaticinia, speeches of men inspi­red, not so much wishing what they foretell, as [Page 319]certainly foreseeing and foretelling that of themselves they wish not, Ʋt in verbis quasi ma­le optantis intelligamus praedict a prophetantis, saith Saint Augustine: or if they wish it, it is because they know by revelation, it is the will of God, or that it makes for the glory of God.

When David and Paul prayed for the destru­ction of their enemies, Psal. 109. from the sixth verse to the 21. or for false teachers to bee ac­cursed, Gal. 1.8, 9. and the wicked that trouble the godly, to be cut off, in the 2. Corinthians, they are predictions rather then maledictions: they wished destruction not as revengers upon them, but rather that their wickednesse might end thereby. They prayed not as private per­sons, wishing revenge on their enemies; but as publick persons, desiring Gods justice to be she­wed: which prayers are not unlawfull, yet very cauteously to be followed.

If we at any time pray for Gods plagues upon incorrigible sinners, it must bee in the generall supposition of their uncurable, unreclaimable impiety, saying indefinitely with Paul, 1 Cor. 16.22. If any man love not the Lord Jesus, let him be accursed. But it must not be in particular application, unlesse God reveal (which he doth seldome) their finall obstinacie unto us.

Wherfore (that I may at length put a period to this unpleasing discourse,) as we desire (bles­sed brethren) Gods blessing upon our selves, per­sons and posterity, goods, cattell, servants, so let us labour to be farre from desiring and wishing Gods plagues, pox, murrain, death, damnation [Page 320]upon our selves, sonnes, servants, or upon our neighbours persons, goods, cattell, considering how unseeming it is for us, how pleasing to the Devill, and how unacceptable to the Lord.

1.Induce­ments. Iam. 3.9, 10, 11. 1 Pet. 3.9. It is unbeseeming for us to curse, seeing we are heires of blessings, 1 Pet. 3.9.

2. It is most pleasing to Satan, as hereby pro­claiming we hasten to his kingdome: Whence the Ancients have observed, that when God gave the Devil leave to afflict Jobs body, he spa­red his tongue, that feeling his pain, hee might easily raile and curse:Iob. 3.1. so pleasing were Iobs cur­ses, as his vertues were vexatious unto the De­vill.

3. It is very unacceptable unto God, because this belongs to God and not to man. He saith to Abraham, Gen. 12.3. Gen. 12.3. I will curse them that curse thee. This prerogative he will reserve to him­selfe, because he knowes how to doe it without passion and inequality, this his glory he denies to give unto another. Esa. 42.8.

We for our parts in speciall (if we will suffer the example of Michael the Archangel to pre­vail with us) may not curse any, no not the De­vil, though the Devil deserves to be cursed, yet it must not goe out of the Archangels mouth a­gainst him,Iuds 9. Iude 9. Thine enemies deserve to be cursed, yet such speaking becomes not thy mouth: for surely it cannot be but the signe of a wretch, to use such hell-hatched language.

It may be some Goliah, some uncircumcised Philistine accustomes himselfe to such grievous fearfull curses, but the tongues of the children [Page 321]of God drop no such gall and poyson, but hony and oyle, words and prayers of blessing, powdred with salt, ministring grace unto the hearers, and glory to the speakers, and not (as cursing) griefe to the one, and damnation to the other.

How can we our selves think to be free from the plague, pox, and vengeance of God, when we cease not to wish these to others? For as the bird taking her flight from her nest, fetcher a compasse, and by and by returnes thither again: so curses come in where they goe out, and re­turn on our heads, as stones hurled against the wind.

As a man that takes up an Adder in his hand, or fire, to throw against his enemy, hurts himself most; so is it with those that curse their ene­mies, the danger is certain to the Agents, but uncertain to the patients: Wilt thou plunge thy selfe over head and eares in the waters of Gods plagues and judgements, that thou mayst thrust another up to the knees in the same? Wilt thou plucke out both thine own eyes, scil. body and soule, that thou mayst but endevour to plucke out one of thine enemies, scil. in calling for Gods vengeance to light upon his body, goods or house?

Leave off to use such cursed proverbiall diabolical speeches against others, or else bee content, and expect that the same recoyle backe upon thine owne head, which thou desirest should have fallen upon them: For how expect­est thou to be exempt from punishment, seeing thou dost continue to take Gods name in vain?

[Page 322]In vaine first, because by naming it, thou thoughtest to bring Gods curse upon another, and it was farre from him.

In vain secondly, because by praying to it, thou thoughtest to procure Gods blessing upon thy selfe, yet it was farre from thee.

Questions touching swea­ring and forswearing, With the Answers annexed.

VVHat is an Oath?Question Answer.

It is a necessary confirmation of things doubtfull, by calling upon God to bee a witnesse of truth, and a revenger of False­hood.

A necessary confirmation I say, because an oath is never to be used in way of confirmation, but onely in case of meere necessity, Heb. 6.16. For when all other humane proofs doe fail, then is it lawfull to fetch testimony from heaven, and to make God himselfe our witnesse. In this case alone,Perk Case pag, 222. and never else it is lawfull to use an oath.

In which God is called upon as a witnesse of the truth. By this clause an oath is distinguished from other kinds of confirmation, as the Affir­mation, the Asseveration, and the Obtestation; [Page 323]because in this we call upon God to give wit­nesse to the things avouched, but in the other three we doe not.

What bee the particular parts in every oath?Quest. 2.

1. Asseveration of the truth avouched.Answer. Four parts in every oath.

2. Confession of the omnipotent wise­dome, justice, and truth of God, searching the heart.

3. Prayer and invocation, whereby God is alled upon to witnesse that hee speaketh the truth.

4. Imprecation, binding and devoting himselfe to Gods punishment if hee sweare salsly.

Now though these foure be the distinct parts of an oath, yet all of them are not expressed in the form of every oath, but sometime one, some­time two of the principall, as in Ier. 4.2. is ex­pressed onely confession, and in Ruths to Naomi onely an imprecation. So in Gods, Heb. 3.11. If they enter into my rest let me then be no God, but [...] deceiver. And in 2 Cor. 1.23. Invocation with imprecation onely is uttered with words.

Now though some one or more of these parts are concealed, yet all the parts in the minde of the swearer are to be understood, otherwise the oath is not formall and entire.

Whether all oathes are to be performed?Quest. 3. Answer.

They are, if lawfull and possible. If abso­lutely they be lawfull in respect of us, so that with a good conscience enlightned with Gods word, we may performe them: And withall, if [Page 324]they be possible, and in our power, so that wee can fulfill them: Whosoever sweareth an oath, het shall doe according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth, Numb. 30.3. Matth. Psalm 15.

But sinfull oaths are not to bee performed: for it was a sin in making them, and a double sin in keeping them. David did break, Herod kept his sinfull oath: But David did well in break­ing, Herod did ill in keeping his oath: for in all oathes there is a secret exception of the higher powers, and our former oathes to God: God is greater then men, and we have first bound our selves to him; therefore no oath is to be perfor­med that is against God or godlinesse.

Whether he be forsworn that sweareth ac­cording to the letter,Quest. 4. and not the meaning?

He is,Answer. because not in truth, Ier. 4.2. but in e­quivocation and fraud. Therefore Cleomenes sware fraudulently, that having made a truce wth his enemies for 7 days, set upon them in the night. And the woman that sware she was with child by Eustochius of Antioch, wch was not the Bishop, but another common person of the Citie of the same name. And the Captain in war that having taken away prisoners, should bind him­selfe by oath to the enemies, to deliver halfe the captives upon such a summe delivered for their ransome; having received the price, according to the covenant, should in stead of half the num­ber (as the other understood him) send half the bodies of the whole number, as hee in his oath guilefully intended. This cunning doth not lessen and extenuate the perjury in Gods sight, [Page 325]but rather much aggravate and increase the same, seeing thereunto is added fraud and de­ceit. And he that sweareth fraudulently, ma­keth a sport of sinne: he that sweareth falsly, be­leeveth either that God knoweth not the truth, or beleeveth a lie.

Whether he be forsworn that performeth not his oathes to his enemies, or thieves.Quest. 5.

He is: as a man swearing to a thiese to pay him such a summe of money, and to bee filent,Answer. that his life may be saved, it is necessary for the innocent party to keep his oath.

Object. But thieves escaping unpunished, the Common-wealth is thereby damnified.

Sol. This hurt is not to be redeemed with the losseof a mans life.

It is greater good to the Common-wealth, that the life of every honest and sound member should be preserved, then that a wicked and rot­ten member should be cut off. Ʋrsine and Willet are thus conjoyned in judgement, and Downam, pag. 60. & 161. doth at large confirme the same: Yet Perkins (on Matth. 5.33.) affirm­eth, that a man is not bound to fulfill his oath in concealing of a thiefe. And in his Cases of Con­science, pag. 231. he leaves the question in sus­pence, rather inclining to his foresaid opi­nion.

If the oath were touching treason against our Prince and countrey, it were not to be kept, be­cause the preservation of them is more highly to bee valued, then the preservation of our owne lives.

[Page 326]Whether oathes made to any manner of per­son, be to be performed.Quest. 6.

They are,Answer. though the Papists affirm, that no oathes made with heretickes are to bee kept.

This (were it generally allowed to bee pra­ctised) would overthrow all Contracts between Nation and Nation, and frustrate all covenants and conclusions of peace and truce; publicke scandall in causing others to abhorre our Re­ligion should be incurred, and Gods name (which is called upon to countenance falshood) should be dishonoured and abused.

Remember before to this purpose, the fore­mentioned judgement of God upon Ʋladislaus, King of Hungaria, for falsifying his oath with Amurath the Turk.

Whether oathes made through error,Quest. 7. do bind the conscience.

They do,Answer. if they be made of things lawfull, and in our power.

Iosuab and the Princes of Israel, performed their oath made to the Gibeonites; which oath being afterward by Saul violated, it was severe­ly punished by a grievous famine, and the de­struction of seven of Sauls posterity.

Whether an oath made by custome doth bind or no.Quest. 8.

The Papists say no,Answer. putting this example, If two men going out at a doore, or over a bridge, the one swearing by God that he wil not go first, the other swearing likewise, yet at last after con­tention, one of them goeth first: In this case, say the Papists, the oath binds not. But we say, [Page 327]that that custome cannot make that which is sinne, to be no sinne; or perjury to be no per­jury, but rather doubleth the sinne, and maketh it the more vile and abominable: and it is no marvell, that they which addict themselves to this customary swearing, become oftentimes guilty of flat perjury.

When doth a man commit perjury?

1. When a man sweareth that which he know­eth to be false.Quest. 9. Answer.

2. When he sweareth that which he meaneth not to doe.

3. When he sweareth to doe a thing which hee meaneth also to doe, but afterwards doth it not.

Whether a man by lending his money,Qu. 10. being oft deceived, vowing and swearing that he will lend no more money to any man, bee bound to keep his oath.

Such anoath is not to be kept, seeing it is ta­ken against the love of our neighbour,Answer. and Do­ctrine of Christ, Lend, looking for nothing againe, if there be not ability to pay.

Whether an oath made by an inferior, with­out or against the consent of superiors,Qu. 11. is to bee kept.

No, if it bee made by those that are not at their own liberty, it is to bee accounted void.Answer. Sonnes and daughters binding themselves in contract of marriage without their parents con­sent, that contract ought to be of no force; but if once married, not afterwards to be dissolved, Numb. 38.

[Page 328]Whether we are bound to swear oft.Qu. 12.

The Jewes thought they did well to sweat of­ten, induced to this opinion,Answer. and practised by them, Dent. 6.18. But they are confuted by our Saviour, Matth. 5. and by the Prophet, Jerem. 4.2.

Whether swearing vainly,Qu. 13. it be greater abuse to sweare by the Name of God, or of Jesus.

By the name of Jesits,Answer. because

1. God hath exalted the name of Jesus above all names, in respect of his great humiliation and obedience, even to the death of the Crosse, Phil. 2.

2. There is no other name whereby we are to be saved, Acts 3.

3. The name of God shewes him to bee our creator: the name of Iesus shewes him to bee both our creator and redeemer.

And that name which describeth God with more perfections, is the most honorable name. See more in Willet on Exod pag. 3, 4, 5.

Whether it bee lawfull to sweare by the Saints.Qu. 14.

No:Qu. 14. 1. Because God hath commanded us to sweare onely by his name, Deur. 6.13.

2. Because God reproveth those that sweare by any other but by him, Zeph. 1.5.

3. Invocation belongeth onely to God: but the taking of an oath is a kind of invocation, it is a service due onely to God, Psalm 50.

4. In an oath wee call God to bee a witnesse to our soule: but God onely, not Angels or Saints, knowes the secrets of our hearts, and [Page 329]therefore God onely to be sworne by.

5. He that sweareth, giveth him power to punish him, if he sweare falsly. But God onely it able to punish the soule, Matth. 10.28. there­fore we ought to sweare onely by him.

Read Willet his answer to what is objected to the contrary, pag. 35.1. on the 3d Com answering Matth. 23.21. with Matth. 5.34.

Whether it be lawfull to sweare by the crea­tures.Qu. 15.

If the creatures be placed in the roome and place of God, it is lawfull,Answer. say all Papists, and some Protestants. If the oath he directed to God in the mind of the swearer, under the name of the creature, it is taken for lawfull among the Papists, and many Protestants: But Mr. Perkins on Matth. 5.34. findeth no Scripture to warrant this kind of swearing by the creatures with di­rections to God in the minde of him that swea­reth, induced by Deut. 6.13. Heb. 6.16.

If a man might sweare by the creatures, and conceale the name of God, it would diminish his Majesty and Authority, and much deceit might beused: for the swearer might say, that he sware not by God, but onely used an obtestation by the creatures.

Read Perkins his answers to the objections on Matth. 5. and in Cases of Conscience, where this question somewhat largely is by him dis­enssed.

Whether an oath made by Creatures, Idols,Qu. 16. or false Gods, is to be performed.

It is: Hence Augustine saith,Answer. Hee that swea­reth [Page 330]falsly by a stone, is perjured. Though that be not holy by which he sweareth, yet the Lord is holy before whom hee sweareth. Though the stone heareth him not speake, yet God will pu­nish him if he deceive.

Though it be not lawful to swear by false gods, or Idols, yet whosoever hath sworn by them, as by true Gods, he is bound to performe his pro­mise; not for the Idols sake, but for Gods sake before whom he sweareth; not because they are true Gods indeed, but because they are so in the swearers opinion. Therefore the Turk swearing by Mabomet, is perjured if he doe not perform his promise. So are the Papists, swearing by the Idoll of the Masse, if they doe not performe their promise.

When Iacob made a promise and covenant with Laban, and Laban swore by the Idols of Nabor, Iacob accepted of the oath, though ten­dered unto him in the name of a false God, which he would not have done, had it been no oath at all.

A poore man being in extreame want, bor­roweth of the usurer upon interest: it is sinne in the usurer to take it, but it is not so in the poort man, who is compelled by the usurer to give it. Thus the poore man doth use well the iniquity of the usurer. So is it in an oath, a godly man may well use and take benefit by the wicked oathes of Idolaters, so farre forth as they shall serve for the ratifying and confirming of law­full covenants.

Doubtlesse it is a lesser offence to sweare by [Page 331]the false God truly, then to sweare by the true God falsly: it is a sin to lie, a double sin to swear and lie.

Whether he that voluntarily by oath before a Magistrate,Qu. 17. discovereth some secret offence of his brother, doth sin.

He doth: for though his oath be just,Answer. yet hee sweareth not justly, because not urged by the Magistrate so to sweare. See more in Willet on Exod.

Whether a man is bound alwayes to perform whatsoever was lawfully by oath promised.Qu. 18.

No: for some oathes may be lawfull in pro­mising,Answer. which may fall out to be unlawfull in performing. As if a man bind himselfe to assist his friend, and he afterwards prove an enemy and traytor to his countrey: Therefore in taking such an oath, he should sweare conditionally, to follow his friend only usque ad aras, so farre to aid him, as hee shall have the warrant of Gods word for his works.

Of what things is not a man to take his oath?Qu. 19.

(Of five things

1. Of things that are false:Answer. for hee that so sweareth, maketh God the witnesse of a lie.

2. Of things doubtfull: for this is presump­tion.

3. Of things unlawfull: for so they make God contrary to himselfe, in approving what he hath forbidden.

4. Of things impossible, and which are not in our power: for this were to mocke God, when [Page 332]he offers to sweare that which hee knoweth hee cannot doe.

5. Of things light and frivolous: for hereby he giveth not the due reverence that belongeth to God.

Whether it bee lawfull to impose an oath on him whom we think will forswear himselfe.Qu. 20.

It is unlawfull for a private man to impose such an oath for his owne private respect and gaine:Answer. for we ought rather to lose any worldly benefit, then by such an oath to suffer God to be dishonoured, and our neighbour to lose him­selfe.

Augustine accounteth such a person worse then a murtherer, because the murtherer killeth but the body, this the soule, yea, two soules at once, his whom hee provoketh to sweare, and his own.

Doest thou know that to be true which thou affirmest, and that false which thou avouchest, and yet urgest him to sweare? Bohold, he swea­reth, for sweareth, and perisheth; and what hast thou found hereby? yea, thou hast lost thy self, who wouldst no otherwise be satisfied, but by his destruction.

Yet the Magistrate, if the execution of law and justice do so require, may put such a one to his oath: for better it is that a private person should perish, then the publique administrati­on of justice should be hindred.

Yet all other means for the finding out of the truth, are first to be used, and the party that is to swear, gravely to be admonished of the weigh­tinesse [Page 333]of an oath, the heynonsnesse of perjury, and the fearfulnesse of the punishment at tending thereon, and so leave the party to himself and the event to God.

Such light persons, that seem by their evill courses, to be void of all truth, and the fear of God, if they have sworn, yet I think the Judge is to give little credit unto them; If the case did concerne himself hee would not much credit them. Whence pithy Parens upon those words of Paul, Rom. 9.2. [I speak the truth in Christ Jesus, I lie not, my conscience also bearing witnesse] hath this observation: Take his oath that hath a good conscience. As a prophane man makes no more account of his oathes then of a straw, so ought the Judge to account of them, and never to urge such to swear; for they will sweare any thing.

Whether an oath made to the Creator,Qu. 21. may be dispensable by the Creature.

It may not: For in every lawfull oath there is not onely a bond between man and man,Answer. of one man to another, but also of man to God. In­deed if in the oath taken, man were onely ob­liged to man, it might bee dispensed by man; but seeing the swearer is bound immediate­ly to God himselfe, hee cannot have release from the Pope, or any other inferiour Bishop, or creature. Thou shalt perform thy oathes. To whom? To the Lord, Matth. 5.33.

That which God bindeth, no creature can un­loofe, Matth. 19.6. When the Pope sheweth himselfe Antichrist, in that hee challengeth [Page 334]power to dispense with a lawfull oath, made without error or deceit, of things honest and possible.

Now that I may at length draw this worke off the Loome, and conclude, what letteth, but that the sinner should surcease by swearing, for­swearing, and cursing, to take Gods Name in vain? considering the threats denounced in the Word, are so many, and plentifull, and the judgements inflicted upon them in the world, have been so vilible and fearfull. What is the cause they should any longer stop their eares a­gainst these verball and reall charmes, and hate to bee reformed? I cannot imagine what they can alledge, why sentence presently be not exe­cuted upon them, unlesse they conceit, either that God will be more merciful unto them then Ministers promise, by the many threats against these their vain, vile, and abominable impieties proclaimed; or that these threats are not the words of God, but the politicke traditions of men, to hold men in aw in regard of humane so­cieties, and worldly affaires.

Indeed if these threats in the Scripture, and the whole Scripture it selfe, be not the word of God, there is some colour for them to continue in their sins: But if the Scriptures bee the word of God, there is weighty cause why by the threats recorded in the same, they should in­stantly resolve, now, even now, while it is cal­led to day, not to harden their hearts any lon­ger, but to hearken to the voyce of the Lord, and suffer his word to reclaim them from these hor­rid, [Page 335]hellish, dangerous, damnable sinnes of swea­ing, forswearing, cursing.

For the first of these their last and lewd obje­ctions, concerning Gods mercifulnesse, marke what the Lord speaketh (Deut. 29.19.) touching such presumptuous persons, whose root beareth nothing but gall and wormwood, If it come to passe when such a sinner heareth the words of this curse, that he blesseth himselfe in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I walke in the imagination of my heart, thus adding drunkennesse to thirst, the Lord will not spare him, but the Anger of the Lord, and his jealousie shall smoke against that man, and all the curses written in this booke shall lie upon him, and the Lord shall blot out his name from under hea­ven: certaine to beleeve, fearfull to heare, in­supportable to feele and indure.

Which being to all (save to Atheisticall per­sons) so true and fearfull, these swearers, cur­sers, and perjured persons, are so imboldned by long custome in their sinnes, that (when they heare their threats so many and grievous recor­ded in the Law) they blush not to call in que­stion the truth of the Scriptures themselves, say­ing, Who can tell whether these sayings and sentences be the words of God, or no?

Wherefore to convince them of this their A­theisticall conceit, that so if it be possible, they may be converted from these three vain and un­profitable sins; let them but resolve but to suf­fer these ensuing arguments to have passage in­to the innermost closets of their hearts and me­ditations, that so as I began with the Titles of [Page 336]the Word, to procure reverence and attention, I may end with the truth of the Word, to per­swade to faith and obedience; especially seeing it doth but a little precede my Text, and is the preface to all these ten precepts; God (himselfe) spake all these words, saying, Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain. For the preface, (saith Alstedius, a learned Writer) is to have re­lation unto, and prefixion before every one of the severall precepts.

That the Scriptures are the very word of God, these reasons doe shew.

1. The event answering the prophesies from time to time, though the intermission of many hundred of yeares interceded between the one and the other.

2. The purity of it forbidding all vice, and commanding all vertue. The Law is holy, inst, and good, Rom. 7.12.

3. The wonderfull agreement of the Word, notwithstanding it intrears of so many, and al­most infinite particulars, yet no contradiction found in the same, which in mens lawes usually is found.

4. Gods Spirit witnessing with the spirit of man. The things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. This Spirit of God we have received, that we might know the things that are freely given us of God: for by his Spirit God hath revealed them unto us, 1 Cor, 2.10, 11, 12.

5. The constant death of Martyrs for it: For Iohuibe Divine was in tribulation, in the patience of Christ, in banishment in the Ile Patmos, and all [Page 337]this for the word of God, and for the testimony of Je­sus Christ. I was periwaded constantly to suffer, because I knew the word comforting me, to be the word of God, and that to be most true which it testified concerning Christ Jesus, That the Scholar is not greater then his Master, That hee that will reigne with Christ, must suffer with Christ. And Rev. 6.9. the Saints slaine for the word of God,Rev. 6.9. Rev. 12.11 they loved not their lives to the death, because of the Word, whereby they over­came the Devil, Rev. 12.11.

6. The supernaturall mysteries,Arg. 6. and wonder­full matters revealed in it, Psal. 119.18. 1 Cor. 2.9. such things as the Angels themselves desire to look into, 1 Pet. 1.12.

7. The consent of the Churches in all ages to receive it, Peter that wrote it,Arg. 7. and the Saints to whom he wrote, did wel to take beed unto this most sure word, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day-starre arise in their hearts, and all this because they knew that this Word, this Voyce, came down from heaven, 2 Pet. 1.19.18.

8. The Antiquity of it,Arg. 8. being in its being (though not in delivery) as ancient as God him­selfe. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, Iohn 1.1. None ever had any light that spake not according to this Word, Esay 8.20.

9. The inward change it suddenly makes in men,Arg. 9. nothing being able to cure the wounded heart, but the Word alone: this being a plaister broad enough for any wound, Psal. 119.96. [Page 338]This being sweeter then hony, and restraining men from every evil way, Psa. 119.103.128. wch effect the sayings of the deepest politician are not able to effect for soule and body: This fire being able to pierce,Jer. 23.29 this hammer to break the strongest rock of mans heart into pieces.

The great power of it to cast down all the strong holds of sinne and Satan, Arg. 10. bringing into captivity e­very thought to the obedience of Christ, 2 Cor. 10.4. which mans law cannot obtain from man, but Gods alone, which is sharper then any two edged sword (cutting both wayes, killing and curing a­gaine) and discerning the very thoughts and intents of the bearts, Heb. 4.12.

Satans perswasion unto us, that it is not the word of God,Arg. 11. strongly proves the truth of it: for he is a lier, and the father of lien, Iob. 8.44. If it were forged he would contend for mainte­nance of it.

The practicer of it most wise and holy,Arg. 12. the neglecter of it most foolish and prophane: David by this word being made wiser then his ene­mies, Ancients, Teachers, Psalm 119.11, 98, 99, 100.

The miraculous preservation of it in all ages,Arg. 13. though Satan and his agents have laboured to suppresse it, it being burnt by Iehudi, Ier. 6.23. It was written more largely by Ieremiab and Ba­ruch, verse 32. If it had been of men, it would have come to nought, but being of God, it could not be overthrown, Acts 5.38.

The meeting with all new sins,Arg. 14. though writ­ten many hundred yeares agoe, and containing [Page 339]answers to whatsoever the carnall heart of man can object to the contrary.

The constant abiding of it in our hearts (when other knowledge vanisheth) at the houre of death to comfort our soules, and instruct others:Arg. 15. with this at that time Iacob comforted himselfe, Gen. 48.3, 4. with this at that time David in­structed his sonne Solomon, 1 Kings 2.3, 4.

The confirmation of it by many miracles from heaven by the hand of God himself,Arg. 16. as by raising the widow of Sarephaths sonne, whereby she confessed that the word of the Lord in the prophets mouth was truth,1 King. 17.24. Ier. 5.36. Heb. 2.3, 4.

The delivery of it by mean and unlearned men, and not by Rulers of the world,Arg. 17. who seeke their own glory.

Moses a Shepheard, Exod. 4. Amos a Heards­man, Amos 7. the Apostles Fishermen, Acts 10.

The aiming at mans ho linesse in this world,Arg. 18. and at his eternall happinesse in the next, and not at terrene things, as those writings doe that come from men.

The end of the Commandement is Charity, Purity, Faith, and a good Conscience, 1 Tim. 1.5.

All Scripture is surely given by inspiration from God, because it is profitable for doctrine, for reproofe, for correction, for instruction in righteousnesse, that the man of God may be per­fect, throughly furnished unto all good workes, 2 Tim. 3.16.17.

The Scripture brings not onely learning,Arg. 19. but [Page 340]patience, comfort, hope, Rom. 13.4. yea heaven and salvation, Rom. 1.16.

So that most certainly the Word is not from men,Arg. 20. for oun nature is contrary to it; nor from Satan, seeing he raiseth up instruments against it: therefore it is from God himselfe.

These reasons of the truth of the word, may convince the Atheist, and the threats contained in this word, should, may, (and shall, by Gods grace) convert the swearer, forswearer, curser; especially seeing the judgements included in this letter of the Law, is so plain, so peremptory, and free from partiality.

Which Decalogue, or ten words (though the whole Scriptures be equally holy, yet) doe in a principall manner challenge and call for reve­rence and obedience, and that

1. In respect of the Soverainty of this Deca­logue, given immediately by God.

2. The antiquity, the fountaine of all other lawes.

3. The generality, binding all men, high and low, which humane lawes doe not.

4. Immutability, admitting no dispensation, or exception.

5. The utility, presupposing and promising all sorts of blessings, Dent. 28.

6. The solemnity, delivered with the sound of Thunder and Trumpet, Exod. 19.18. In the very hearing and sight of the Israelites.

7. The brevity and order of it, looking to God on the right hand in the first Table, and to man on the left hand in the second Table. Vide [Page 341]hac fusius in Alstedio, pag. 171. A part of which law are the words of this Text, The Lord will not hold him guiltlesse that taketh his Name in vaine, which in the beginning, middle, end, cry and call for no more, nor lesse, then reverence, regard, faith, obedience, that so the pains of the Writer may not be misappli­ed, nor the time of the Reader mis­imployed, but the duty of both dis­charged, and the glory of God by both pro­moted.

Deo Ʋnico laus summa▪

A Prayer.

OLord and heavenly Father, who art incomprehensible in Maje­sty, great in power, fearfull in judgements, holy in workes, rich in mercy, true in promise, who hast commanded us to ask and we shall have, to seek and we shall find, to knocke, and it shall bee opened unto us: In confident assurance of which gracious promise to be performed, and in dutifull obedience to which powerfull commandement to be obeyed, we thy poore dust-creeping-creatures, wormes­meat rather then men, are emboldned to ap­proach unto thy throne of grace, acknowledge­ing that we are not worthy to name thy Name with our lippes, or to call upon it in our pray­ers, or to expect help from it in our need and distresse, considering that we have so often blas­phemed this thy great, fearful, & glorious name, by our thoughts that have been vaine, by our words that have been unprofitable, and by our works that have been abominable, by rash, com­mon, sinfull thinking on, speaking of, and swea­ring by thy Name, Titles, Attributes, Creatures, without any reverent regard of thy Ma­jesty, [Page 344]before whom, or the manner how, or the end wherefore we think on them in heart, speak of them in word, or sweare by them in oath. We often use, but as often abuse thy glorious Name, by not walking as becommeth thy name & Gos­pel, by unsanctified use of thy good creatures, without looking to thee from whom they came, by heedlesse admiration, vain supplication, op­posing thy truth through blindnesse, denying it through feare, scoffing at, and persecuting those that professe the same, by saying or thinking, that thou wilt neither doe good nor evill, that there is no profit in thy service, that in adver­sity thou carest not for us, or hast not power or will to deliver us: By sacrificing to our net, a­busing thy blessings, blessing our hearts against thy threatnings, not beleeving but neglecting the pretiousnesse of thy promises, by not per­forming what we vow and promise in sicknesse, adversity, and at the Sacraments; by sinning be­cause thou forbearest to punish, rejoycing in the miseries and disgraces of thy children, offe­ring the blinde and lame for thy service, trust­ing more in men, money, carnall helps and means, then in the strong Tower, the glorious Name of thee our Lord and God. But especial­ly and most frequently, and fearfully doe wee abuse thy Name by swearing lightly, common­ly, rashly, heathenishly, superstitiously, sla­vishly, without any cause moving us, or re­gard to thy Majesty: sometimes by lea­ving thy Name, sometimes by adjoyning o­thers [Page 345]with it, somtimes swearing by thy Crea­tures, making them to bee our Lords which thou hast appointed our servants onely; yea, without any distinction at all of our words from our oathes: By which one sinne of swearing, much more by all other our sinnes, (more in number then the haires of our heads, grasse in the fields, starres in the Firmament, or sands on the Sea shore) ad­joyned thereto, wee have transgressed thy Law, abused thy patience, grieved thy Spi­rit, discredited our profession, offended th [...] godly, hardened the wicked, wounded our soules, and made our selves liable to the certainty, severity, eternity of thy judge­ments; seeing the wages of every sin is death in it selfe, and in thy Law thou hast so plain­ly proposed, Thou wilt not hold them guilt­lesse that take thy Name in vaine. Such sin­ners, though the eye of the Magistrate cannot see, nor the hand of Master will not touch, nor the tongue of the Minister dare not reach or reprehend; yet every such a one whatso­ever he be, Cedar or Shrub, high or low, Ma­ster or servant, noble or ignoble: Thou, O Lord, with whom at this time we have to do, that art all eye, eare, hand, foot, in every place to heare, see and punish all sin, wilt not suffer to escape scot-free, live and die unpunished: for this sinne of swearing thou hast threatned to have a controversie with the inhabitants of land, and that it shall mourne, and every one [Page 346]that dwell therein, with the beasts of the field, and fowls of heaven, and fishes of the Sea; yea, the very timber and stones of the houses of the swearer, are threatned to bee consumed by the certaine and severe univer­sall curse recorded in thy long, broad, and fly­ing book.

Yet such, O Lord, hath been the ignorance in our understanding, the hardnesse of our hearts, the contempt of thy Word, and the neglect of thy threatnings, that we have not suffered thy precepts so to informe us, or thy menaces so to awaken us, as that wee have been reclaimed from this vaine, unprofitable, hell-hatched, heaven-daring, soule-killing, land-shaking impiety: Insomuch that it is thy meere mercy that wee are not every moment for this very sinne consumed, since many such sinners have tasted of the certainty of thy judgements, even in this life, thou visibly causing thy plagues to fall downe upon them even in the instant when their blasphemies have been powred out against thee.

We partaking (with them) in their sinfull premises, how can wee but expect sharing with them in their fearfull conclusions? True Lord, if in justice thou deale with us; but with thee there is mercy that thou mayst bee feared, much more to be beloved: Therefore behold us, wee humbly beseech thee, not with the eyes of rigor and severity, but of pitie and favour; pardon all other, pardon, O pardon [Page 347]this our daily impiety of abusing thy Name by swearing, of carelesse, cold reproving the a­buse of the same: open our eyes good Father, that we may every day more and more clear­ly see the greatnesse of this sinne, and the grie­vousnesse of the punishment attending there­on. Let us bee perswaded the rather to loath this sinne in our hearts, and leave it out in the speeches of our lippes, seeing the Devill our adversary is the author of it, we proclaim our selves hypocriticall and prophane persons; yea, rebels and traytors, not onely against thy sacred Majesty, but also against the King­dome and Nation wherein we live, our hel­lish oathes being secretly, though insensibly powerfull blasts to blow up Parliament Hou­ses, and sharp swords to pierce the bodies of Prince and people, wee making our owne tongues either Heralds to proclaime, or Do­ctors to teach, or Proctors to plead for this treason: Strengthen us, O thou that art the alone light of our eyes, and strength of our soules, that by thy holy Spirits, and heavenly power, wee may bee resolved to bee avenged on our selves for this sinne of swearing, by ab­staining even from speech in such company and cases wherein wee have been so often o­verseen: And because hee is said to feare an oath, that useth often to sacrifice, teach us to pray daily against this vice, that thou (which shuttest and no man or Devill can open) mayest bee pleased to set a watch before our [Page 348]mouthes, and to keep the doore of our lippes, give us grace that wee may meditate often on thy Word, that alone preservative against all sinne.

Le us be sparing in the use of asseverations, as being the hedges and outmost bounds of keeping thy Name from being prophaned, as we would be fearfull not onely of a deep pit, but also of dancing nigh the brink thereof; not onely eschewing the plague, but also eve­ry ragge that may seeme to carry the plague with it: Let us be carefull to avoid the compa­ny of such incorrigible sinners; because the tinder of our corruption is so easily set on fire by the least spark of their evill presidents and lewd company. Subdue and mortifie in us an­ger, pride, covetousnesse, and breach of pro­mise, which usually are the occasions of swea­ring, that the causes and roots being removed, the vanity of customary swearing may be pul­led up by the roots. The severall punishments that in thy justice (O Lord) thou hast in­flicted upon many that have in this kinde pro­voked thy wrath, record in our memories, that we may recall to our meditations, and learne by their punishments, to refraine this little great unruly member of our tongue, that their falls may cause us to rise by repentance, lest marching with them in their sinnes, wee also smart with them in their punishment, either in this life to our amendment, or in the next to our confusion. And sithence in thy Word [Page 349]thou hast so strictly and severely set thy selfe against this sinne, that in so palpable a manner sets it selfe against thee, informe, stirre up, and encourage the hearts, tongues, hands of all thy Ministers and Magistrates that are in thy room and stead, to see vertue maintained, and sinne suppressed, that they in their severall pla­ces may have care, conscience and courage to ioyn hand in hand for the suppressing this universall contagious sicknesse, this most com­mon sin of swearing.

And forasmuch as it is grown to such strength, as that it will not easily bee subdued, either by the pen of the writer, the tongue of the Minister, or the sword of the Magistrate, Paul planting, and Apollos watering both in vain, unlesse thou give the increase, they can but speak to the eare, and touch the body, thou alone must speak to the heart, and reform the tongue:

Blesse and prosper the endevour of one and other, that the sinne of swearing may have lesse power to affront them, and they more and more skill and courage to oppose and sup­presse it; that so thy great & bloody controver­sie with the inhabitants of the land, speedily may be ended, and they to thy Maty graciously reconciled, all thy judgements, especially of Popery touching the soule, warre and penury touching the body, may from this land bee a­verted, all thy blessings, especially of piety and peace, of preaching and professing thy Gospel [Page 350]in more power and purity in the same, may be reduced; our King, the breath of our nostrils; the Princely progeny, and the much opposed yet undaunted Parliament, may have their pretious soules preserved from the infection of Popery, their sacred persons protected from the danger of treachery, all their governments and hoped for work of reformation prospe­red, their dayes prolonged, the Nobles may be honoured, the Magistrates blessed, the Mini­sters comforted, the Commons defended, (thy name by each one of us being sanctified) their bodies and souls at the great day may bee saved, being brought unto thy celestiall king­dome, where they shall enjoy truth without error, day without night, peace without per­turbation, plenty without penury, joy without griefe, health without sicknesse, content with­out change, eternity without end, because they enjoy thee that art All in All; and all this in, by, and through the merits of thy Son Christ Jesus, our blessed Saviour, to whom with thee and thy holy Spirit be privatly and pub­lickly ascribed and rendred all worship and service, honour and glory, power and praise, might and majesty, dignity and dominion, from this time forth for all eternity, Amen, A­men.

Lord, speak thou the word onely, and these sinners, if thy servants, shall be healed, Matth. 8.8.

GREENHAM concerning Reproofe.

IF we think we may speake, we will speake too soon: If we think we may keep silence, we will hold our peace too long: when wee much love the persons to whom we speak, wee slack our zeale in reproving of sinne: If we be zealous against sinne, we slack our love to the person.

By admonition we win and save soules, and for want of admonition we lose and de­stroy soules.

If then by admonition you would not lose, observe carefully these Rules.

1. Look that you have a good ground out of the Word for reproving.

2. Look if it stand with your calling to re­prove.

3. Afterward consider, if any other man might doe it more profitably then you.

4. Look before whom you reprove, lest you hinder the credit of the party with his friends, and increase his discredit with his foes.

5. When you see your lawfull calling to re­prove this or any other sinne, then consider that you must put on you the person of the [Page 352]offender, that as you spare not his sinne, be­cause of the zeal of Gods glory, so you presse it not too farre, because of compassion to a brother.

6. Then look that your heart bee right in zeale and love, and so call for Gods assistance before you speak, his grace in speaking, and his blessing after your speaking.

7. If you remember any thing left out that might have been profitable, please not your selfe in it, but be humbled for it.

8. If you finde that some infirmities have been in you, yet shall they not doe so much hurt, as Gods blessing on his ordinance shall doe good. For though the party admonished doe many times either deny the thing, or quar­rell with the affection of the speaker, yet when he hath chafed with his owne shadow, and disputed with his own reason, it will come to passe that hee will speak reverently of him behind his back, whom hee much gainsaid before his face.

Sundry dehortations out of Scrip­ture against swearing.

THeem that sinne rebuke openly, that the rest may feare, 1 Tim. 5.20.
Rebuke not an Elder, but exhort him as a Father, and the younger men as brethren, 1 Tim. 5.1.
Sweare not at all, Matth. 5.34.
Thou shalt not forsweare thy selfe, Matth. 5.33.
Bless and curse not, Rom. 12.14.
He that heareth cursing, and bewrayeth it not, ha­teth his own soul, Prov. 29.24.
As the Swallow and Sparrow by flying escape, so the curse that is causlesse, shall not come, Prov. 26.2.
How shall I curse where the Lord hath not cursed? Numb. 23.8.
Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him, Levit. 19.17.

An Abstract or Epitome of the Contents handled in this Tract.

  • 1. THe Titles wherewith the word of God is hone­red, to allure mens affections to attend with love and reverence unto it, as a Preface or introdu­ction to the Text, page 1, &c.
  • 2. The Decalogues division, and Texts explica­tion, to informe the judgement, p. 6. &c.
  • 3. The severall acceptions of the word Name, p. 7. &c.
  • 4. Gods Name (besides swearing, forswearing, cursing) is taken in vain 102. wayes, p. 22, &c.
  • Doct. Rightly to sweare is to sanctifie Gods Name, wherein are handled,
  • 1. The definition of on oath,
  • 2. The ends of an oath, foure.
  • 3. Causes why men swearing lay their hands on a booke, foure.
  • Vses. 1. Iustification of the lawfulnesse of swearing,
  • 2. Confutation of Anabaptists, p. 23, &c.
  • 3. Caution in respect of the Rules, in Truth, Iustice, Iudgement, p. 30.
  • Doct. 2. Sinful swearing, though by man it bee not, yet by God shall severely be punished, page 33.
  • Ten wayes how men sweare sinfully, 33
  • [Page] Vses. 1. Reprehension and commination, p. 34, &c. where sundry objections are resolved.
  • 2. Removall of the twelve common objections for swearing p. 43, &c.
  • 3. Excitation by twenty motives to hate and es­chiew ibis sinne p. 36 &c.
  • Where is shewed how it hath been punished by God, by men, by the Romans, Egyptians, Turkes, French, Scythians, Persians; By Kings, Hea­then, Christian, from p. 56. ad p. 80.
  • Twenty severall in conveniences ensuing by swea­ring, p. 80.
  • Vse 4. Direction what means to use whereby this poy­son may be expelled, this traytor beheaded, this dis­ease cured, this Commandement obeyed, page 82. where twelve meanes are prescribed.
  • 5. Exhortation for Magistrates, for Ministers, to set themselves against this sinne, p. 88
  • 6. Imitation, God bolds not such sinners guiltlesse; so must not we, p. 99. seen by punishing, by re­proving it; where the Rules are, 1. the matter what: 2. the men whom we must reprove: 3. the time when: 4. the manner how: 5. the motives why, p. 101
  • 1. For generall uniformity, 2. because of delayes, inutility, p. 117.
  • In reproving them we must have, 1. an Eagles eye, 2. a Ladies hand, 3. a Liens heart, p. 125
  • Hereunto are required 4. graces, as most needfull, 1. Fidelity, 2. Courage, 3. Discretion, 4. Pa­tience. p. 28
  • If we can doe no good, then depart from their com­pany inregard of the danger of, 1. Suspition, 2. In­fection. [Page] 3. Malediction. Where ten objections to continue in swearers company, are answered, 146
  • An edge may be put to our zeale herein by Argu­ments drawn 1. from our Calling, 2. from Cau­tion, 3. from Discredit, 4. from Danger. 163
  • Ten objections alledged, (and the same answered) why men doe not reprove or punish swearers, 268 to 282.
  • Doct. 3. Forswearers, because they take Gods name in vain shall not by God be left unpunished. 282.
  • Vses. Where the Motives to disswade from this sin in regard of 1. the greatnesse of the sinne, 2. the grievousnesse of the punishment: 1. eternall: 2. spirituall: 3. corporall, exemplified by Gods many visible judgments, is manifested in ten par­ticulars. 282. 287
  • Doct. 4. There is a certaine multiplicity, severity of punishment attending all those that by Cur­sing take Gods name in vain. 300
  • Vse 1. Dehorts from this sin, because of 1. its great­nesse in regard of the breach of Gods Comman­dement.
  • 1. The Curser breaking the first, 2. the second Table. 301
  • 2. The greatnesse of the punishment:
    • 1. Threatned in the Word.
    • 2. Inflicted in the world. 301. to 315
  • Where obiections from the examples,
  • Of some mentioned in the Scriptures, that wi­shed dangerous wishes to themselves, are answe­red. 315
  • [Page] 21. Cases and questions touching swearing and for­swearing, are answered from page 322. to 334
  • Lastly, the swearers, forswearers, cursers common refuge touching Gods mercy to be expected by them, or the threats in the word proposed, doub­ted of by them, are briefly answered.
  • Where, to convince the prophane and Atheisticall sinners, twenty arguments are revealed to prove the Scriptures to be the word of God, and therefore the threats therein mentioned to be feared, to work repentance in those sinners, and faith and obedience to this commandement. 336
  • Which Decalogue (or Commandments) doe in a spe­ciall manner call for reverence and obedience in regard of
  • 1. The soveraignty, 2. Antiquity, 3. Generali­ty, 4. Immutability, 5. Ʋtility, 6. Solemnity, 7. Brevity of it. 340
  • A Prayer containing the summe of the whole Ser­mons. 343
  • Greenhams Rules concerning Reproofe. 351
  • The fearfull end of him who drank a health to the Devill.

The names of such Authors that I have read, and whence I have selected much of the ensuing subject.

  • AƲgust. in Epist.
  • Muscul, in Mat.
  • Gualt. in Hos. & in Mat.
  • Turneb. in Iam.
  • Perk. Aur. caten. and in Mat. and in government of tongues.
  • Downam in Hoseans, and four Treatises. Elt. in Loc.
  • Whateley.
  • Bishop Hooper.
  • Bifield.
  • Mayer.
  • Destructor: vitiorum.
  • Coopers Anatomy.
  • Arraignment of unruly tongue.
  • Doctor Hall.
  • Greenham.
  • Covenant between God and Man.
  • Ribera in min. Prophet.
  • Gorr in Mat.
  • Morla. in Mat.
  • Erasm. in Decal.
  • Rous discases of time.
  • Masons Essayes.
  • Musculus Com. Loc.
  • Latimer. Serm. before K. Ed.
  • Gorr. in Epist.
  • Zanch. in Decal. and in Hos.
  • Gibs. Lands mourning.
  • Down. Abstr. & Sum. Divin.
  • Bishop Babington.
  • Ʋrsin.
  • Calvin.
  • Dod.
  • Nider in Decal.
  • Stubs Anatomy.
  • Histor. of Adam.
  • Doctor Huckwel.
  • Theater of Gods judgements.
  • Polyanthea.
  • Life-of-Religion.
  • Gualt. in Prophet. Min.
  • Dialog. Graecolat.
  • Will. in Exod.
  • Sword against swearing.

Cum. multis aliis quos nunc perseribere longum est.

The fearfull end of him, who drank a Health to the Devill.

THat you may not doubt of the truth and se­verity of the forementioned judgements of God upon Swearers and Cursers, even in this life, may be added and remembred (if there be a­ny truth in common report) the example of that which lately was known to be executed in Sa­lisbury, upon a rude Ruffian companion in a Ta­verne there, a health-out drinking, or a life-out healthing wretch, who in the midst of his heal­thing and carrowsing, would attempt to drink a health to the Devill; and if the Devill would not come and pledge him, hee would not (hee said) beleeve there was any God or Devill. At which heaven daring blasphemy, and hell­hastening impious attempt, the rest of his com­panions (and it was high time) hasted out of the roome; and presently after hearing a hideous noyse, and smelling a stinking savour, the Vint­ner ran up into the chamber, as knowing that such a guest was there: But comming in, hee missed his guest, and found the window to bee broken, and the barre in the same to be bowed, with blood on the said batre. I heard this from the mouthes of many men, since this Tract was printed. I leave it by all drunken, swearing, and Devill-desiring wretches, to themselves to bee applied.


PAge 1. line 7. for Ark read Arch. p. 17. l. 3. for n busing r. abusing. p. 84. l. 22. for slives r. sliness p. 83. adde in marg. Mea. 8. p. 85. l. 12. for Mot. r. Mea. p. 88. l. 13. adde in Marg. Mea. 12. p. 126. l. 1. put out therefore. p. 12 [...]. l. 1. for handling read having. p. 131. l. 12. for had r. hand. p. 137. l. 26. for one read many. p. 141. l. 2. for where­fore r. whereof. p. 145. l. 15 for curses r. courses. p. 153. l. 24. for scorning r. nothwithstanding. p. 269. l. 30. for perdas r. perimas. p. 273. l. 14. put e before t p. 281. l. 6. for which r. why. p. 281. l. 27. read more opposition p. 318. l. 13. read Simlerus. p. 319. l. 12. read they are predictions. p. 321. l. 24. for out read one. p 333. l. 32 for when Pope r. wherein. p. 347. l. 23 dele s.

The misquotations of the Texts of Scripture (if any) the Author had not time to peruse. Therefore desires the Readers pains of perusall, or pardon in the same.

LONDON, Printed by Matthew Simmons, and are to be sold by Benjamin Allen, at the signe of the Crown in Popes-head Alley, 1645.

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