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Angel, which I Samo stand upon the Sea and
ироп the Earth, lifted up his hand to Heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever and ever. And our Blessed Maker is pleased to deliver himself after the fame manner above Seventy times in the Old Testament. But from all these Places of Scripture, I say, 'tis abundantly evident, that the Prohibition in my Text is not exclusive of all Swearing whatsoever, but that 'tis to be understood with some Limitations and Restri&tions. For undoubtedly it can be no Sin to walk in that Path, which the Patriarchs, the Prophets, the Apostles, the Holy Angels, our Lord himself, and God the Father have chalk'd out to us.
3. This is likewise evident from the Practice of the Primitive Christians.
They engagʻd themselves in their pubtimin.lick Assemblies (as (P) Pliny tells Trajan) 10. Ep.99. by Oath, not to commit any trespass ei
ther against God or Man. And though they could not be inducd to Swear by the Emperors Genius, because they knew
it to be a Dämon or Evil Spirit ; yet they (1) Vid. (9) (Bafilides, a new Convert in SeveEuf. Eicca rus's time, excepted) never refus’d, when commanded by the Imperial Laws, to
Swear either by the Name of God, or 1 by the Emperors Safety. This (says (r) (+) Apol. fi Tertullian) they were always ready to cap. 32. i do ; and for this they were never con
demn'd, by any of the Bishops and Pa1 stors of their Souls. St. Bafil indeed,
and his dear Friend Gregory Nazianzen,
advanced to their Seas by the immediate appointment and Direction of the Holy Ghost, and who were all profess'd, absolute, irreconcileable Enemies to all Heretical and Unchristian Doctrines, should either allow themselves, or countenance others in a Practice any ways repugnant to the and Principles of
their most Holy Religion.
If it be said, (as by à late (t) Auc) DE. thor "tis more than suggested) that they his pradt. did, because they scrupled not to Swear Discouíc of by the Health or Safety of their EmpeSwearing, róur pag.61.629
rours, as well as by the Name of God; 63,70,71. I answer, that in this they followed the
Examples, not only of good Joseph, and
Eat have plainly deliver'd themselves in such ol
Forms of Swearing. As the Lord liveth, b. and as thy Soul liveth, (x) says the Lat-(u) 2 King: (ter no less than three times to his Master2.
Elijah, I will not leave thee. And the (w)(w) 1 Cor. u former to his Corinthians, Kæd' ñueegee is. τ' αποθνήσκω, να την υμετέραν καύχησαν, ήν και έχω ώ χρισώ Ιησέ τω Κυρίω ημών. i.e.
By your Rejoycing, or by the Rejoycing, which upon your Account I have in Christ Jefus our Lord, I die daily. And by the way) we of this Nation act at this day by the same Rule, when taking an Oath in the Courts of Judicature, we lay our hand (as the (x) Primitive (+) Vid. Christians did before us) upon the Holy Hift. lib.6. Bible, and say, So help me God, and cap: 30.
the Contents of this Book. And let any Annotatio. 6
Man,who duly confiders it, impugn this in locum. Rule, if he can.
4. This doth farther appear from the Custom of the Jews, which occasion'd the Prohibition in the Text. Their Do&tors allow'd them to Swear upon any trifling, inconfiderable occasion, provided the subject Matter of their Oath was true : yea, if they Sware not by the Name of God, nor by any Gift immediåtely confecrated to him, they permitted
them not only to Swear Commonly, but Fallly too. Qui jurat per Cælum Ter. ram liber est, sed qui jurat per Dei Nomina tenetur, says their Talmud. Now our Lord came to rescue the Law from tbeir false Glosses and Comments, and to fill it up, or to restore it to its full sense and meaning. Accordingly we find him in the fore-cited Chapter of St. Matthew seo verely upbraiding and threatning them for this Custom. Wo unto you, says he,
blind Guides, who say, Whosoever fall swear by the Temple, it is nothing 3
but whosoever fall fwear by the Gold of the Temple, he is a Debtor. And, whosoever Shall wear by the Altar it is nothing ; but whosoever Sweareth by the Gift that is upon it, he is a Debtor. "And in my Text he expresly forbids it. I say unto you, says he, Swear not at all : neither by Heaven for it is Gods Throne ; neither by the Earth, for it is bis Foot-stool : neither by Jerusalem, for it is the City of the Great King. Neither shalt thou fwear by thy Head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. For that he levels this Prohibition, not simply and absolutely against all Swearing whatsoever, but against this Sophistical and impious, this Common and perjurious Custom of the Jews, che