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But the persons who scruple to swear, disclaim resistance also: and in this they are consistent at least, if they be not wise. It is written, If any man will suo thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.- Are they will. ing to deliver up their property always to the first invader? Of these rights they are sometimes, and with reason, a little more tenacious.
Let all wrath, and anger be put away Eph. iy. from you, says the Apostle Paul; yet he 35. himself had written but a few lines before, be ye angry, and fin not. And our Eph. iv. Lord himself, when they watched him, Mark iii. whether he would heal on the fabbath day, so looked round about on them with anger, bei ing grieved for the hardness of their hearts. Honour all men: love the brotherhood. Hul- 1 Pet. ii. bands love your wives, even as Christ also Eph.v.25. loved the Church. Children obey your parents ; honour thy father and mother. – and yet, If any man come after me, and hate not Luke_xiv.
his father and mother, and wife and childrer?, and brethren and fisiers, yer, and his own life also, he cannot be niy d:sciple. It is not the mere found of a word, that we can rely upon for the knowledge of what the Icripture teaches in any cale: the nature of the subject, the scope of the writer, the lights afforded from other parts of scripture, and from reason also, delerve all to be attended to. So that the true. interpretation of a paffage is sometimes very different from thai, which may be first suggested to a hafty heedless hearer.
The use of caths is not prohibited in the third commandment. The name of the Lord cannot be laid to be taken in vain, when it is used in the support of Truth, upon occasions of Importance. ,
Secondly, Nor is there any thing like such a prohibition in all the Old Testament: though it is certain, that oaths were in use among other nations, and
among the Jews, both before the giving of the Law, and under it.
Thirdly, On the contrary, there are many examples recorded in the book of Genesis, and other parts of scripture, of the best men, who made use of oaths, or exacted them of others; Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph, and many more.
Besides example, we meet with directions and precepts relative to the use of oaths, together with other marks of the approbation of them. If a man vow a Numb. vow unto the Lord, or swear an oath, to bind his foul with a bond; he shall not break his word: he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth. - Thou shalt fear Deut. vi. the Lord thy God, and serve him, and shalt13. fwear by his name. - Lord, who shall dwell Pl. sy. in thy tabernacle, or who shall rest upon thy hoły hill? Even he that leadeth an uncorrupt life — he that sweareth unto his neighbour, and disappointerh him not, — Unto me every. Ifai. Ixv. knee Mall bow, every tongue shall swear.
, XXX, 2.
He that sweareth in the earth, shall swear by Jer. iv..., the God of truth. - If thou wilt return, O
Ifraei, faith the Lord, return unto me — and thou shalt swear, the Lord liveth, in truth, in judgment, and in righteousness. —
And they sware unto the Lord with a loud 9 Chron. voice — and all Judah rejoiced at the oath; XY, 14, 15.
for they had sworn with all their heart, and sought him with their whole desire : and he was found of them; and the Lord gave them rest round about.
An oath indeed is justly considered as an act of Religion.
First, It is an acknowledgment of the power and divinity of the Being we invoke.
Secondly, It is an acknowledgment of his moral attributes, and providence; that he is a lover of truth and justice, that he marks our actions, and will call us to account for them.
Thirdly, Thirdly, It is an acknowledgment of this, made in a publick manner, before many witnesses, and with great solemnity. Oaths therefore are useful; or may be so, if the fault be not in ourselves; both by impressing sentiments of Religion, and by strengthening the fidelity, and mutual confidence of men in each other; and this in cases sometimes, to which no other bonds but these of Religion and consci. . ence can reach; in contracts of the very highest importance, among private persons, and between princes and kingdoms. Had our Lord designed to put an end to all oaths absolutely, would He not have forbidden us to swear by Almighty God himself? Of this oath He is silent. I say unto you swear not at all, neither by heaven, nor by the earth, nor by any other such like, vain, fantastic, absurd oath.