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Angel, which I Saw stand upon the Sea and проп the Earth, lifted up his hand to Heaven, and Sware by him that liveth for ever and ever. And our Bleffed Maker is pleased to deliver himself after the fame manner above Seventy times in the Old Teftament. But from all these Places of Scripture, I fay, 'tis abundantly evident, that the Prohibition in my Text is not exclufive of all Swearing whatsoever, but that 'tis to be understood with fome Limitations and Restrictions. For undoubtedly it can be no Sin to walk in that Path, which the Patriarchs, the Prophets, the Apoftles, 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 engag'd themselves in their pub lick Affemblies (as (p) Pliny tells Trajan) (P) Ep. lib. 10. Ep.9. by Oath, not to commit any trespass either against God or Man. And though they could not be induc'd to Swear by the Emperors Genius, because they knew it to be a Damon or Evil Spirit ; yet they (9) Vid. (q) (Bafilides, a new Convert in SeveEuf. Ecc. rus's time, excepted) never refus'd, when Hift. lib.6. commanded by the Imperial Laws, to

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Swear

Swear either by the Name of God, or
by the Emperors Safety. This (fays (r) (1) Apol.
Tertulian) they were always ready to cap. 32.
do; and for this they were never con-
demn'd, by any of the Bishops and Pa-
ftors of their Souls. St. Bafil indeed,
and his dear Friend Gregory Nazianzen,
feem in some places to interdi& all'
Swearing whatsoever. But then 'tis plain
from the Canonical Epiftles of the (s) (5) Vid.
One, and the Treatife Пpds Toλvognes of Can. S. Ba-
the Other, that they never intended fil. 10, 29,
thofe Expreffions of theirs fhould be u- pud Bal.
niverfally understood, but that they still
allow'd the taking of an Oath, when
commanded by Lawful Authority, and
piously performed. Nay, they were
To far from cenfuring or reproving their
Flocks for this, that they both authoriz'd
it by their Practice, and also forc'd some
Men to it by their own Constitutions.
Thus the Ephefine Council caus'd Nefto-
rius and Victor to Swear: Athanafius did
it voluntarily and most vehemently in
his Apology to the Emperor Constantius :
and the Fathers at Chalcedon by the
Health of their Princes. But now is it
poffible for
any Judicious, Sober, Intel-
ligent Perfon to conceive, that these Fa-
thers and Councils, fome of which were
advanc'd

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advanced to their Seas by the immediate appointment and Direction of the Holy Ghost, and who were all profefs'd, abfolute, irreconcileable Enemies to all Heretical and Unchriftian Doctrines fhould either allow themselves, or countenance others in a Practice any ways repugnant to the Laws and Principles of their most Holy Religion.

If it be faid, (as by à late () Au(1)Dr.thor 'tis more than fuggested) that they his pract. did, because they fcrupled not to Swear Difcoufe of by the Health or Safety of their EmpeSwearing, pag.61.62, Tours, as well as by the Name of God; 63,70,71. I answer, that in this they followed the

Examples, not only of good Jofeph, and of Davids faithful Soldier and Servant Uriah the Hittite, as you may fee Gen. 42. 15, 16. and 2 Sam. 11. 11. but allo of the great Apostle St. Paul, and of the Prophet Elisha; both which, to affure us, that where we are allow'd to Swear by the Name of God, there (tho' only there we may lawfully exprefs our Oath in the Form of advocating the Creature, as it relates to God, (fuch an Oath by Implication calling, as our Lord declares in the 23d of St. Matthew, the God of that Creature himfelf to witness)

have plainly deliver'd themselves in fuch Forms of Swearing. As the Lord liveth, and as thy Soul liveth, (u) fays the Lat-(u) 2 King. (ter no less than three times to his Mafter2. Elijah, I will not leave thee. And the (w)(w) x Cor. former to his Corinthians, Kal' hμéëän1s.

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αποθνήσκω, νὴ τὴν ὑμετέραν καύχησιν, ἦν ἔχω εν χρις Ιησὲ τῷ Κυρίῳ ἡμῶν. 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 fame Rule, when taking an Oath in the Courts of Judicature, we lay our hand (as the (x) Primitive) Vid. Chriftians did before us) upon the Holy Hift. lib.6. Bible, and fay, So help me God, and cap. 30. the Contents of this Book. And let any Annotatio. Man,who duly confiders it, impugn this in locum. Rule, if he can.

4. This doth farther appear from the Cultom of the Jews, which occafion'd the Prohibition in the Text. Their Do&tors allow'd them to Swear upon any trifling, inconfiderable occafion, provided the subject Matter of their Oath was true yea, if they Sware not by the Name of God, nor by any Gift immediately confecrated to him, they permitted

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them not only to Swear Commonly, but Falfly too. Qui jurat per Cælum & Terram liber est, fed qui jurat per Dei Nomi na tenetur, fays their Talmud. Now our Lord came to rescue the Law from their falfe Gloffes and Comments, and to fill it up, or to restore it to its full fense and meaning. Accordingly we find him in the fore-cited Chapter of St.Matthew severely upbraiding and threatning them for this Custom. Wo unto you, says he, ye blind Guides, who fay, Whosoever shall fwear by the Temple, it is nothing; but whofoever shall fwear by the Gold of the Temple, he is a Debtor. And, whosoever Shall fwear by the Altar it is nothing; but whofoever fweareth by the Gift that is upon it, he is a Debtor. And in my Text he exprefly forbids it. I fay unto you, fays 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 swear by thy Head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. For that he levels this Prohibition, not fimply and abfolutely against all Swearing whatsoever, but against this Sophiftical and impious, this Common and perjurious Custom of the Jews, the

Forms

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