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served them. Lamen. v. 7. Our fathers have sinned, and are not; and we have borne their iniquities.
13. Q. May this be, in any wise, applied to us now?
A. Thus far it may, to teach us how heinous the sin of idolatry is; how odious in the sight of God; how worthy of his vengeance! The Jews were, in their whole estate, a figure to us: as therefore God threatened that he would, with the utmost severity, require this sin of them; so most certainly he will require it of us; it may be in this present life, but without all controversy, in the life which is to come.
PROOFS SUBJOINED.-1 Cor. vi. 9. Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor extortioners, nor revilers, shall inherit the kingdom of God. Gal. v. 20, 21. Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you times past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Rev. xxi. 8. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone. xxii. 15. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.
Of taking God's name in vain ; and therein of Swear
ing, Vowing, and Praying.
A. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain, &c.
2. Q. What is the design of this commandment?
A. To secure that honour we ought to pay to God, by a reverend esteem of whatsoever relates to him.
3. Q. What do you mean by the name of God?
Ą. I understand thereby God himself, and whatsoever has any immediate relation to him. Psalm xxix. 2. Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name. Deut. xxviii. 58. If thou' wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are 'written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, the Lord thy God; then the Lord will make thy plagues wonderful.
4. Q. When may we be accounted to take God's name in vain ?
A. When we make mention of God, or of any thing which belongs to him, rashly and irreverently, in a way that is not suitable to his divine honour and majesty; nor to that deference we ought to pay to his sovereign power and authority over us.
5. Q. Upon what occasions, especially, may God's name be made use of by us?
A. Chiefly on these three; in *swearing, ing, * praying : and in all these it may be, and oftentimes is, taken in vain.
6. Q. When may we be accounted to take God's name in vain, by using it in swearing ?
A. When we swear falsely. Lev. xix. 12. And ye skall not swear by my name falsely. Whether it be by a positive asserting of what is untrue; bor by tricking and equivocating, in what is in some respect true; though not in that in which we would be understood to swear. Secondly, when we swear needlessly, where either the matter was not of moment enough to justify the solemnity of an oath, or might have been sufficiently determined without one. Of which kind are the greatest part of those voluntary oaths which are so frequently used by profane persons in their common discourse. Thirdly, when we swear rashly, but especially in matters of promise ; in which we are most exposed to the danger of perjury. And, fourthly, when we swear irreverently; whether we take an oath carelessly and lightly, and without due regard to the honour of God's name ourselves, or administer it so to others.
PROOFS SUBJOINED.— * Isaiah, xlviji. 1. Hear ye this, O house of Jacob, which are called by the name of Israel, and are come forth out of the waters of Judah, which swear by the name of the Lord, and make mention of the God of Israel, but not in truth, nor in righteousness. Mal. iii. 5. And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the Lord of Hosts.
Psalm xxiv. 4. He that hath clean hands, and a
pure heart; who hath not lift up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully: he shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. Matt. v.34. But I say unto you, swear not at all; neither by heaven, for it is God's throne ; nor by the earth, for it is his footstool ; 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.
7. Q. What think you of those who swear not only by the name of God, but by that of some creature, such as the blessed Virgin, or the like saint ?
A. I think it to be, without all controversy, sinful; as giving that honour to the creature, which is due only to the Creator. And so God himself declares that he accounts it. Deut. vi. 13. Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and serve him : and shalt swear by his name; ye shall not go after other gods. And again, Deut. x. 20. Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God; him shalt thou serve, and to him shalt thou cleave, and swear by his name.
And when, in process of time, that people began to do otherwise, the prophet Jeremy tells us how heinously God resented the affront, that was thereby put upon him. Jer. v. 7. How shall I pardon thee for this? Thy children have forsaken me, and swore by them, that are no gods. And again, Amos, viii. 14. They that swear by the sin of Samaria, and say, Thy God, O Dan, liveth; and the manner of Beersheba liveth: even they shall fall, and never rise up again. Compare Josh. xxiii. 7. Jer. xii. 16. Zeph. i. 5. Josh. That ye come not among these nations, these that remain among you ; neither make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause to swear by them,
neither serve them, nor bow yourselves unto them. Jer. And it shall come to pass, if they will diligently learn the ways of my people, to swear by my name, the Lord liveth; as they taught my people to swear by Baal; then shall they be built in the midst of my people. Zeph. I will cut off the remnant of Baal from this place, and the name of the Chemarims with the priests; and them that worship the host of heaven upon the housetops, and them that worship and that swear by the Lord, and swear by Malcham.
8. Q. How does it appear that to swear by any creature, is to give to that creature by whom we swear the proper honour of God?
A. The very nature of an oath declares it; which supposes the person whom we swear by to be capable both of discerning the truth or falsehood of what is sworn, and the sincerity or insincerity with which we swear; and also of punishing us for our perjury, if we swear otherwise than we ought to do. All which are actions proper to God alone, and above the capacity of any creature: and therefore being ascribed to one who is not God, must needs give the honour due to God alone, to that person by whom we swear.
9. Q. Is it lawful to swear in any matter of moment, if we take care to swear in such a manner as we ought to do?
A. It has been the opinion of many good men that we should decline all voluntary swearing, even in matters of moment, as much as may be: and that for fear of perjury, which is a sin of a very heinous nature. Yet if we are required to do it by such, whom we ought not to disobey, and do it faithfully and reverently, in truth, in judgment, and in righ