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To the Editor of the Christian' the christian sanctuary, may Disciple.

our time, but cannot Dear Sir,

improve our piety. To medHAVING endeavoured to itate on things, that are above imbibe the spirit of a disciple the sphere of our comprehenof Christ, to cherish senti- sion, and on which, if we livments of peace and love, and ed for a thousand years, we to promote the cause of "pure could never form any distinct religion" to the extent of my ideas, only serve to bewilder abilities and opportunities, the understanding without with a lively interest in the mending the heart. The rea "Christian Disciple," I feel ligion of Jesus consists more desirous of adding my mite to in beneficent actions, than in llie advancement of a cause I contemplative raptures; more have long since espoused. In in the calm and serene sensadoing this, I shall, at this time, tions of meekness, gentleness, begleave to offer a quotation and forgiveness, than in the from a valuable work, which wild emotions of enthusiasm." few have seen, and which, “ I feel a firm, unshaken perhaps, few will ever have conviction, that it is the vital the pleasure and benefit of bencvolence of the heart and perusing. Should it ineet affections, and not the mere your approbation, you will assent of the mind to any mys. gratify a constant reader, by tery of doctrine, which coninserting it in the “Christian stitutes that religion which is Disciple." Your's, &c. most pleasing in the sight of

AMANDER. God. There cannot be a more This author, after showing concise and just description the danger, the strange and fa- of religion than that by St. tal inconsistencies, and bewil. James, i. 27. “Pure religion dering tendency of many doc- and undefiled before God and trines, which have long dis- the Father, is this : To visit turbed the christian church, the fatherless and widows in says, “ If, knowing our duty their afflictions, and to keep here, we perform it to the himself unspotted from the best of our power, we shall world.” There are, certainly, certainly be accepted of God. good and bad men among all Whether we square our faith sects; and perhaps, it would by the precepts v. Athanasius, be difficult to say, on which or Arius, or Socinus, we shall side the sum of moral worth enter into life, if we keep the preponderates. Hence, ought commandments; and follow, we not to learn that what o. as nearly as possible, the steps pinions'we entertain about cerof Jesus, whjch points the way tain dark and inexplicable 10 immortal light. Vainly to matters, not religion ? attempt to pierce the clouds And ought they to kindle any and darkness that surround animosity between us ? Ought


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ve to behold the splinter in BUT ONE God. When there. our brother's eye, and to ne- fore we worship three persons, glect the beam in our own ? we can evidently worship onHow LONG WILL Christians ly one and the same God uncontinue to HATE EACH OTH.. der these different personal ER ?

appellations. Ånd if the “ It is the doctrine of the Church had adopted the word Trinitarian Church of Engappellation instead of person, land, in her first article, that the whole dispute about the THERE IS BUT ONE GOD, WITH. Trinity, and which is rather a OUT BODY, PARTS, OR PAS- dispute about words than a

bout things, might have been “ It is plain, therefore, that avoided. Arians and Sociniwhen we talk of three persons ans, undoubtedly worship the in the Godhead, the word per- same God as the Trinitarians, son has no relation whatever without body,' paris, of farto those ideas of corporeal figa sions. What then should ure which we annex to it in keep them asunder, if they common use, and which, from differ only about expressions ? the grossness of our concep- And it is clear to me that their tions, we can hardly help as- greatest difference is nothing sociating with any term ex- more than a difference, 'not in pressive of personality. But the substance, but in the phrasit is certain, that though the eology of their adoration: Church of England worships Trinitarians, Arians, and So- ' what are, for the want of a bet- cinians, consider this, and ter word, or from the choice learn charity and forbearance of a bad one, called “ three towards each other !'s person8," IT ACKNOWLEDGES




- LV.

cause thou canst not make one Matth. v. 33, 7, Again, ye hair white, or black. But let have heard that it hath been your communication be, yea, said by them of old time; thou yea ; nay, nay; for what&Qshalt not forswear thyself, but ever is inore than these, com, shalt perform unto the Lord eth of evil. thine oaths. But I say unto The precept, (Exod. xx.'79) you, swear not at all ; neither “ Thou shalt not take the name by heaven, for it is God's of the Lord thy God in vain,". throne ; nor by the earth, for was rendered by the Jews, it is His foot-stool ; neither by " thou shalt not swear in vain, Jerusalem, for it is the city of or falsely, by the name of the *the great king. Neither shalt Lord thy God.” It was con thou swear by thy head ; be- sidered particularly as a proVol. VI. No. 9.



hibition of perjury. But still cle of vain oaths, that a mair more explicit is the command, might sware a hundred thou.' (Lev. xix. 19.) “ Thou shalt sand times, and yet not transnot swear by my name false. gress the limits of the cau. ly."

The Jews were also ex. tion against vain swearing. pressly forbidden to swear by Care was indeed taken to false gods. But Jewish sen- give great solemnity to the timents, both of an oath and judicial administration of an perjury, as far as we can learn oath.. He who was to make them, appear to have been ve- it, was seriously exhorted to ry loose ; and we have at least consider and weigh the cir. very ancient testimony, that cumstances, concerning which the forms of swearing to which he was to swear; having beour Lord alludes, in the text, fore his eyes the fear of God,

common among Jews.' that he might not swear rasha "A man," says Maimonides, ly. “ Know thou," said the

may forswear himself four Judge to him, “when God ways. For example, he may speaks, the world trembles. swear he hath not cast a stone Take not therefore the name into the sea, when he hath cast of thy God in vain. Better is it ; that he hath cast it, when it that thou shouldst not vow, he hath not; that he will not than that thou shouldst vow eat, and yet eats ; that he will and not paý." For other ofeat, and yet eats not.” But, fences against the law, he was says the Talmud, he that told, punishment was inflicted swears that he will not eat, only on the transgressor ; but and yet eats that which is not the punishment of perjury cxproper to be caten, is not guil. tended to his family and friends. ty. The distinction was also Ộf other transgressions, punmade of a vain, or a rash oath. ishment might be deferred to As, Ist; when one swore of another generation. But of what was impossible, and con- perjury, it would begin with tradictory, as that a pillar of him who committed it. stone was a pillar of gold ; or When a question arose of 2dly, when one swore of that great and peculiar concern, which could not be doubted, the ark which contained the as that a stone is a stone ; or,

book of the laws was opened ; 3dly, when one swore that he

and he who was to swear, was: could do, what was impossi- required to put his hand inte ble to be done, as that he would the ark, and to lay it upon the not take food for a week ; or, book of the law. If the affair 4tbly, when one swore that he of which oath was to be made could abstain from things was not of the most solemn plainly commanded, as that he nature, the books might be would not wear phylacteries. substituted, in which the name Against him who made a vain, of God were written. Bat or a rash oath, beating and they who carried phylacteries cursing were denounced. Yet upon their hands, upon which SQ narrow was made the cir. the words of the law of the names of God were șritten, this temple I will not rest this as they knew, and were sups" night, if they be not sold for a posed to feel the solemnity of penny of silver." an oath, were excused from There is indeed in the trathese forms. Of their most ditionary law,-or rather in distinguished wise men and the commentary upon it,ma doctors, an oath was not re. çaytion against excess in swearquired; their affirmation be. ing, and is laughter. But R. ing deemed sufficient. He Solomon iriterpreted it to who made oath was required mean, "indulge not much in also to stand while he made it, swearing, even in things that that he might feel and ex- are true ; because in much press greater reverence of the swearing, it is impossible not majesty of God. But the Rabo to be profane." bins made oath while sitting, Cicero defines an oath to be, because it was presumed that & religious affirmation. Clethey constantly feared Cod ; mens Alexandrinus, a direct and could neither be enticed, assertion, with an appeil to nor terrified from duty. And God. Philo, the testimony of an oath was always made in God concerning a thing double the presence of the adverse ful in itself. Grotius has party.

brought together a great mass But even Maimonides has of learning, in illustration of said, that to swear by heaven, the sentiments of Jews, heathby the earth, by the sun, &c. ens, and early christians, coneven if the swearer in his cerning oaths ; and it would mind refers to Hin who crea. be grateful to spread before ted the object by which he our readers, who have not acswears, yet it is not an oath. cess to it, this interesting disOr if any one swears by a play of the actions of so many prophet, or by either of the minds, upon a subject of such books of scripture, though it vital interest to the security of be understood that he swears society, and to the cause of by Him who sent the prophet, piety and virtue. But our obor who gave the book, yet this ject is, as


we can, to is not an oath.

ascertain prevailingsentiments It appears by the Talmuds of Jews in the time of our that it was

common, and it' Lord, and to understand his seems to have been allowed, relcrences to these sentiments, to swear by heaven, by the that we may comprehend the temple, by, Jerusalem, by the whole import, and feel the full altar, by the head, and by oth- force of his instructions, as far er things. So, it is said, was as this particular course of ilthe custom in Israel. So did 'lustration will lead to these even doctors in Israel swear. consequences. When turtles and young pig.

With the sentiments then, eons were sold at Jerusalem and the custom to which we for a penny of gold, R. Sime. have referred, compare the inon Ben Gamaliel said, “ by structions of our Lord in the


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text. Even in the most une should pronounce their judg; restrained interpretation of his ment. words, they forbid us from But in answering the inmaking oath, and from every quiry, may an oath be lawfully form of swearing, except in administered to christians, and cases of imperious duty. 'The made by them, we refer to the precept, "swear not at all," repeated examples in the eis generally supposed to refer pistles of Paul, of very solemn only to voluntary oaths; and it appeals to God; but above all is understood that an oath may to the example of our Lord. be required by, a magistrate, This is decisive. When ar. when the affair concerning raigned before " the chief which it is demanded is either priestş, and elders, and all the the glory of God, the security council of the Jews," he heard, of our neighbour, or our own without answering, the allega- ! greatest good. The primitiye tions of the false witnesses, christians howeyer, it is said, who were suborned to bear understood and observed this testimony against him. But command in a literal sense; as when the high priest said, “ I do the Quakers, or the Socie. adjure thee by the living God ty of Friends, at this day. And that thou tell us whether thou happy would it be for the be the Christ, the Son of God : christian world, if cyery dis. Jesus said unto him, thou hast ciple of Christ should obtain said." The answer was as di, that estimation and confidence rect, as well understood, as if among men, that his simple he had said, I am. In giving affirmation or negation should this answer, he made oath that have the force of an oath from he actually was, what he proanother.

sessed to be. Can we doubt Who can remember but then whether an oath may with strong and delightful e- lawfully be administered, and motions, ihe honour which made among christians; more was paid by the Athenians to than it can whether swearing Zenocrates ;

a, man distin. in common conversation is forguished alike by his wisdom bidden by the christian laws ? and his sanctity? When he But while our Lord thus came into court to give his teaches us that an oath may public testimony, and ap- be made, he demands that the proached the altars for the occasion be most solemn and purpose of making oath, he peculiar , and that swearing, was stopped by the unanimous except in such a case, be redecision of his judges, that his ligiously avoided. The Jews simple assertion should be indeed, in swearing by the taken instead of an oath ; thus temple, by Jerusalem, by heave conceding that to his integri. en, or by their own heads, were ty, which they were not after. . understood to have a great refwards to allow even to them- erence to God. But because selves; for they were require this reference was only implied 10 make oath, before they ed, they taught that an oath

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