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“I have sworn by myself, the word is ed upon, in the sacrament of the gone out of my mouth in righteous. Lord's supper, to bind themselves ness, and shall not return, that to sacramentally, i. e. with an implied me every knee shall bow, every oath, to Christ and to the careful tongue shall swear ;" Isaiah xlv. 23. observance of his precepts ? See also Jer. xii. 16, and a multi Yet some persons refuse to take tude of other passages, that might an oath, on any occasion, alleging, be cited. Now the design of God's as the ground of their scruples, two using oaths was, manifestly, to se passages in the New Testament, cure the faith and obedience of his viz.: Matt. v. 33–37, and James v. people, and to afford them strong 12. The latter of these texts is consolation, by giving them the most taken from the former; and the de.. positive assurance of his faithful sign of the apostle, evidently is, to ness and truth. But this implies guard Christians against making that men had an understanding of rash vows or promises, in seasons of the nature, lawfulness, and obliga- | peculiar affliction. We shall con tion of an oath; otherwise it would fine our observations, therefore, to not be likely to have the intended what our Saviour says on the subeffect.
ject. Let us keep the whole passage It is well known also, that holy in our eye, and attend carefully to men, under the special guidance of its scope, connexion, and bearing: Providence, were in the habit of it forms a part of what is called his using solemn oaths, when occasion Sermon on the Mount; and is as folrequired, even before the giving of lows: “ Again, ye have heard that the law, at Mount Sinai. Thus, it hath been said by them of old Abraham sware to Abimelech, (Gen. time, thou shalt not forswear_thy: xxi. 24,) and administered an oath self, but shalt perform unto the Lord to his servant. Gen. xxiv. 3-9. So thine oaths: but I say unto you Jacob sware with Laban, (Gen. xxxi. swear not at all: neither by heaven; 52,) and Joseph to his father. (Gen. for it is God's throne: nor by the xlvii. 31.) In these, and many
simi. earth; for it is his footstool: neither lar instances, the oath was used re by Jerusalem; for it is the city of ligiously, and under the divine sanc the great King: neither shalt thou tion; which shows that the practice swear by thy head; because thou was accordant, with the immutable canst not make one hair white or principles of morality.
black. But let your communicaUnder the Mosaic dispensation, tion be yea, yea; nay, nay: for whatoaths were required of the people soever is more than these cometh of on frequent occasions, as a part of evil.” their duty to one another, and to The learned Dr. John Owen, in their heavenly King. Thus, the his admirable “Exposition of the Lord made his people enter into an Epistle to the Hebrews,” remarks, “oath to serve him, and to keep his “That all things prohibited by our covenant.” Deut. xxix. 12, 14. King Saviour, in this sermon to the Jews, Asa made all“ Judah swear that were in themselves, and by virtue they would seek the Lord with all of the law of God, antecedently untheir hearts.” 2 Chron. xv. 14. Ne lawful. Our Saviour rends the veil of hemiah called the priests, and “took their pharisaical hypocrisy, discovan oath of them, to do according to ers the corruptions of tħeir traditheir promise,” (Neh. v. 12); and tions and interpretations of the law, he, moreover, engaged the nobles declares the true nature of sin, and and people to “enter into an oath in sundry instances, shows how, by that they would walk in God's law, these false glosses, the body of the and do his commandments;" chap people had been drawn into soulX. 29. And are not Christians call. ruining sins; whereby he restored
the law, so to speak, to its pristine “Woe unto you, ye blind guides! glory. Let any one of the particu who say, whosoever shall swear by lars mentioned by our Saviour be the temple, it is nothing; but whoconsidered, and it will be found, soever shall swear by the gold of that it was before unlawful in it. the temple, he is a debtor. Ye fools, self, or declared so in the positive and blind! for whether is greater, law of God."
the gold, or the temple that sanctiThis observation, we believe is fieth the gold ? And whosoever shall just and weighty. Let us apply the swear by the altar, it is nothing ; principle which it embodies, to the but whosoever sweareth by the gift case now before us.
We have seen that is upon it, he is guilty. Ye that oaths were in use before the fools and blind! for whether is giving of the law; that Jehovah greater, the gift, or the altar that himself employed them, and re sanctifieth the gift? Whoso, therequired his people to swear on sun fore, shall swear by the altar, sweardry occasions; we have seen, that eth by it, and by all things thereon: the moral law sanctioned the use of and whoso shall swear by the temthem, as means of maintaining ple, sweareth by it, and by him that truth, and of binding men to the dwelleth therein: and he that shall faithful discharge of duty. We are swear by heaven, sweareth by the not to suppose, therefore, that when throne of God, and by him that sit
“Swear not at all," he teth thereon." intends to forbid the proper use of If our Lord meant to prohibit all judicial oaths, or religious vows; swearing, in all possible cases, we for “he came, as he solemnly af think, (and we desire to say firms, not to destroy the law, but to verently, for sake of the argufulfil it," and establish its sanc ment, he violated his own precept; tity. What sort of swearing then which no Christian can admit. In did he mean to prohibit? We an the viii. 12. of the gospel by Mark, swer; all swearing in our
we find this expression, used by him, munication," or ordinary conversa in reference to a presumptuous detion and intercourse with one ano mand of the Pharisees, of a sign ther ; especially, such as was coun from heaven, to demonstrate his tenanced by the frivolous distinc Messiahship: “Verily I say unto you, tions of the Pharisees, and other un there shall no sign be given unto inspired expounders of the law. this generation." By a more literal These “blind leaders of the blind," translation the passage would read, taught the people that they might Verily I say unto you, if a sign swear by the Almighty as often shall be given to this generation : as they pleased, provided they which, as that eminent critic, Dr. complied with their oaths. They Daniel Whitby remarks, is a Hetaught, also, that if men swore by brew form of swearing, and imports heaven, earth, Jerusalem, or their thus much : “Let God punish me, own heads, such oaths were not or let me not live, if a sign be given binding. This was a manifest vio to this generation.” The words are lation of the third commandment; exactly
parallel to several other exand, in this way, it is extensively pressions in scripture, which are and shockingly violated still, and expressly called oaths, and may be that too, by many who have been fairly regarded as a form of swearbetter taught, than were the disci ing. In the xxvith chap. of Matt. ples of the Pharisees. Mark, how 63d verse, we are informed that the our Divine Teacher from Heaven high priest addressed our Lord thus: reproves these miserable expositors, "I adjure thee by the living God, and unveils their silly glosses, in
that thou tell us whether thou be the xxiiid chap. of Matt. 16-22. the Christ the Son of God.” This
was the form used at that time, in some contend it is, he would not putting men on oath ; and crimi have encouraged others by his exnals and witnesses were required to ample to transgress it.” answer, as in the
of God. Christians are warranted in the It is perfectly plain, therefore, that use of oaths, then, provided they our Lord here answered upon oath ; use them lawfully; i. e. when rewhich he certainly would not have gularly called upon by ecclesiastidone, had he, in his discourse on the cal or civil authority to give testimount, intended to forbid swearing mony, for the maintenance of truth in a judicial and solemn manner. and justice, and for the terminating If the use of the oath was to be en of strife. The manner of taking tirely discontinued, under the gos an oath, has been various in differpel dispensation, why did the Re ent periods and nations of the deemer countenance its continu world. The kissing of the Bible, ance by his own practice? And why requiring the witness to swear upon did the angel, in the Apocalypse, X. the holy evangelists, and the ad5 and 6. “ lift his hand to heaven, mission of simple affirmation, inand swear by him that liveth for stead of an oath, are usages which ever and ever ?” Why did the pri we cannot approve of. We would mitive Christians make no scruple prefer, in every instance, the lifton the subject? And why does the ing up of the hand, with a direct apostle Paul so frequently make appeal to the omniscient Searcher use of expressions which are unde of hearts. The oath is an awful soniably equivalent to oaths ? Take a lemnity, and it ought never to be few instances; and let it be remem resorted to lightly or needlessly. bered that Paul is the amanuensis The two most common abuses of of the Holy Spirit: “God is my wit this divine rite, are perjury and ness, that without ceasing, I'make profaneness. These, indeed, are mention of you in my prayers;" nearly allied. The man, who Rom. i. 9. “Now the things which swears falsely, imprecates upon his I write unto you, behold, before God, soul the infinite and insupportable I lie not;" Gal. i. 20. « The God displeasure of the Almighty God: and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ and he who swears in common conknoweth that I lie not;" 2 Cor. xi. versation cannot fail to perjure him. 31. “I call God to record upon my
self. What foolhardiness,—what soul, that to spare you, I came not
infatuated temerity,what a gross yet to Corinth;" 2 Cor. i. 23. “God outrage upon the laws of decency is my record, how greatly I long af and religion, for an intelligent and ter you in the bowels of Jesus accountable creature to invoke his Christ;" Phil. i. 8.
Maker to attest his hard speeches, the learned Whitby, “these exam his ribaldry, or his nonsense! ples prove that blessed Paul and We close our remarks, on this that good Spirit by which he was subject, by subjoining a solemn addirected thus to write did not con monition to profane swearers, from ceive all swearing to be forbidden the pen of the late Dr. Dwight, preby our Saviour's words; but that sident of Yale College, (Con.) it was still lawful, when the matter You, unhappily for yourselves, was of great importance to the wel are those who take the name of God fare of the souls of men, and could in vain ; and, of course, are now, not be confirmed
to or soon will be subjects of all the seal it with a voluntary oath. Now, guilt and danger, which I have speundoubtedly St. Paul well under cified. Now, therefore, thus saith stood the mind of Christ, in this, the Lord, consider your ways. Rehis prohibition; and, therefore, had member what you
doing; he conceived it so universal, as against whom your evil tongues Vol. I.
« Now,” says
are directed; who is the object of the footing of which God can be your contempt and mockery. Ask just, and yet justify the ungodly yourselves what you gain; what you who believe on his Son, has been expect to gain; what you do not presented, in such circumstances, lose. Remember that you lose your as to even solicit and urge its acreputation, at least in the minds ceptance by sinners, as the foundaof all the wise and good, and all the tion of their eternal felicity. The blessings of their company and inquiry then, is not about the exfriendship; that you sacrifice your istence of an atonement adequate peace of mind; that you break to all the purposes for which it was down all those principles on which designed. That has been admitted. virtue may be grafted, and with But the question is, was it designthem, every rational hope of eternal ed for all, or only for some of the life; that you are rapidly becoming rebels against JEHOVAH? A correct more and more corrupted, day by answer to this inquiry, will be deday; and that, with this deplorable cisive on the point at issue. We character, you are preparing to go
admit, without any hesitation, that to judgment. Think what it will if the atonement made by our Lord, be to swear and curse, to mock embraced every sinner, by it, every God and insult your Redeemer, sinner, either has been, or will be through life; to carry your oaths infallibly saved. The debt, in that and curses to a dying bed ; to en case, has been paid. Justice has ter eternity with blasphemies in
been satisfied. It has no farther your mouths; and to stand before demands against the sinner. All the final bar, when the last sound his sufferings are disciplinary and of profaneness has scarcely died medicinal. Justice would blush at upon your tongues.” • Thou shalt his enduring, either here, or herenot take the name of the Lord thy after, the smallest evil of a puniGod in vain; for the Lord will not tory or penal nature. This would hold him guiltless, who taketh his be equivalent to the demand of name in vain.”
W. N. double payment of the same debt.
But, if Jesus was wounded for our
transgressions, and bruised for our On the Duration of Future Punish
iniquities; if himself bare our sins ment.
in his own body on the tree, that
we being dead to sin might live (Continued from p. 21.)
unto righteousness, and be healed We now proceed to the second by his stripes,” it would be the inquiry, viz. whether the extinction most flagrant injustice to distrain of penal evil, or, the termination of the insolvent, for the debt already future punishment, can ever result paid by the surety! “Shall not the from a vicarious atonement.
judge of all the earth do right?”-Is It is cordially admitted, that a there unrighteousness with God ? vicarious atonement has been made. God forbid! “ The law has been magnified and But as the scriptures do not aumade honourable." Jesus
thorize us to believe that the vicabrought in an everlasting righte rious atonement of the Redeemer ousness."
A righteousness com embraced every individual of the pletely adequate to all the demands human race, much less fallen anof law and justice, commanding the gels, I shall proceed to demonadmiration of the universe, has been exhibited to the contempla
strate the particularity of redemp
tion; or show that Jesus Christ tion of created intelligences. The died for a select number, and not angels desire to pry
for the whole of mankind. However rious origin. A righteousness, on ungracious this doctrine may ap
into its myste
pear to its opponents, we feel con if this sin be unpardonable, the pervinced, that it is the doctrine of the son guilty of it must for ever lie Bible, and can be satisfactorily es under the ban of vindicatory justablished. And,
tice, and consequently his punish1. From plain scripture declara ment must be eternal. We shall tions. That the persons for whom show hereafter, that an escape from Jesus laid down his life, are a selec penal evil by a return to the womb tion from among men, is evident of nonentity, is altogether incompafrom the epithets and names by
tible with claims of justice. Surely which they are designated, by the for such persons Jesus could not Spirit of God, in the sacred oracles. possibly have made an atonement. They are called Elect, according to How absurd would it be to suppose the foreknowledge of God- Re that our Redeemer, a God of infideemed from among men-Few, nite knowledge, should have volunwhen compared with the great tarily paid the price for sheep, he mass of mankind; many are called knew he was never to receivebut few are chosen. Jesus denomi whose condition he pronounces irnates them, his sheep, his friends, retrievable--and for whose salvahis brethren, as contradistinguished tion, prayers and intercessions may from the goats, enemies and aliens not be made! If there be any force - not of the world, but chosen in this reasoning, Jesus did not lay out of the world-given to him by down his life for all men. What! the Father--chosen in him before Die the cursed death of the crossthe foundation of the world; with drink the bitter cup of Jehovah's many other such characteristics of wrath, and endure the most exquipeculiarity as are utterly inconsist site agonies in the room of sinners, ent with universal redemption. while he bare their sins in his own
2. From the limitation of Jesus' body on the tree, all to bring them intercession. This intercession is to glory, and at the same time defounded on the propitiation for sin, clare, he would not so much as and coextensive with it: and the pray for them, but pronounce their propitiation is exactly commensu case to be utterly irremediable! rate with the extent of the Father's 3. If the foregoing arguments be donation for this purpose.
admitted to be conclusive, it will those whom the Father has given plainly follow, that the doctrine of unto me, shall come unto me; and a universal atonement involves an him that cometh unto me, will I in impeachment of the divine wisdom. nowise cast out.” For these he in Jesus declares the sin against the tercedes. “I pray not for the world, Holy Ghost to be unpardonable but for those whom thou hast given never to be forgiven, either in this me out of the world. Thine they world, or in the world to come. were, and thou gavest them me, Now it will be granted that our and they have kept thy word.” Lord did nothing in vain : but had Here they are manifestly distin he died to procure the pardon of guished as a selection from the sins, declared previously by himworld that lieth in wickedness. self to be unpardonable ; then, inThe intercessions both of our Lord, deed, the question respecting the and of his followers, have their limi manner of Abner's death, would tations. There is an unpardonable not be altogether inapplicable to sin, for which prayer would be alto his. What would be thought of the gether useless; and that for this mercantile talents of a man of buplain reason, it is declared to be siness, who, knowing with absolute irremissible, Our Lord has de certainty, that he should never reclared it so. It is the sin against ceive certain pieces of goods; yet, the Holy Ghost. Now, it is clear, notwithstanding, should purchase