Page images

Lastly, out of Cajetan. - The Lord perfecteth this s precept of not Forswearing, by taking away not only · Perjury, but the Occasion of it, and taking away r the care : for where there is no Swearing, there is no need of care of Rendering.' "O! how sincere and true would the Lord make his

Christians, that all Affirmations should be included in . Three Letters only; all Denials in other Three, that " the Truth should be so fainiliar to us, as to be in<cluded in the compendium of Three Letters.)

XCIX. Franciscus de Mendoca, Olyfiponensis, Dr. Theol. in Eburenf. Academia, Sacr. lit. Interpres, in 4 lib. Reg. Tom. 3. Speak,' saith he, of me,' &c. ' in the Hebrew it is jy i. e. testify, from the verb ' nay which not only signifieth to speak, but also to 'bear testimony, as it is to be seen Exod. xx. n. 14. 'Deut. xix. n. 15. Job xvi. n. 9. et pafim alibi, and many other places; as if there were no difference

with the Hebrews of Speaking and testifying, nor ' without cause; for there ought to be so much vera

city of good men, that their simple speech may be accounted sworn, and their private conference bę accounted a public teftimony; which was to be accounted the fidelity of Cato, who was believed in a

court case even Unsworn; which also S. Jerom, in his ( Epistle to Celantia, inculcates ;' " Let there be," ' faith he, « so much love of truth in thee, that us whatsoever thou sayest, thou mnayest think to be « sworn." "The same Jerom to that of Mat. v.

Swear not, &c.' " The Gospel Truth,” saith he,' " doth not receive an Oath, sith every Faithful Speech sis for an Oath.” To which opinion is agreeable the s doctrine of Philo Alex. in his book of the Decalogue,' " It will be most profitable,” saith he,' « and most « agreeable to the rational nature, to abstain Alto“ gether from Swearing; and be so accustomed to “ Truth, that one's single Word may have the force " of an Oath.” “The like relateth Josephus, in the « second book of the Jewish War, chap. 7. De bis Esenis, most sincere worshippers of truth (vericultoribus): VOL. II.



cc indeed,”

saith he: lichtness or falleness Count The

• the Hebrew Elders also, when they would make their

innocency appear about the man killed by an un. • known person, testified with an Oath, as the Rabbins, · Solomon, and Moses, in Lyran, affirm, Deut. xxi. • Nevertheless, they are brought in by the scriptures, ' asseverating it only with simple Speech ;' « And they « Ihall say," "faith he,' “ Our hands have not shed • this blood, nor our eyes seen it.” “Because the simple S and naked Speech of a wise man, is equivalent to an

oath; which St. Bernard vehemently commended in Comite Tbeobaldo, in Epist. 38. to the same,' “ And « indeed,” saith he,' “ in other princes, if at any time " we take a word of lightness or falseness, we account so it neither new nor wonderful : but with Count The. • obald, we do not impatiently hear Yea and Nay, to “ whom, as it is said, simply to speak is to swear; and « a light lie is accounted an heavy Perjury; for among s very many ensigns of virtue, which do very much “ ennoble your dignity, and make your name renown(ed and famous throughout the world, the constancy of « truth is especially praised in you.” 13. Certainly

God himself hath (tantundem) so much, to speak s nakedly, and to swear by himself holily: for that he

promised with an Oath an offspring to David, which « should fit on his throne, is read nowherein the scripture: " and yet Abner, 2 Kings iii. n. 9. acknowledges an " offspring sworn to David,' “ The Lord do so to " Abner,” saith he,' « and add these things to him, « unless as the Lord hath sworn to David, so I do with « him.” "And in Psalm lxxxviii. God himself faith,' « Once have I sworn in my holiness, if I lie to David," &c. Also the land of Canaan is no-where found in " the holy scriptures promised to the ancient fathers I with an Oath; but God promised it simply to Abra.

ham, Gen. xii. 13 and 17. to Isaac, Gen, xxvi. to < Jacob, Gen. xxviii. Yet Moses, in Deut. i.' “ Possess,” « faith he,' “ the Land, for which the Lord sware to « your fathers.” “Philo Alex. in the book of Abra

ham, at the end looses the knot notably;' « That " therefore the simple Promife of God in those places



" is called an Oath, because it hath the Force of an « Oath.”

C. Jacobus Faber; It is the part of a spiritual man, ( not only not to swear in a Vain thing, but also not in

any Serious thing; for you which are such, are true : runto true men it is sufficient that a true man gain . belief, if he say, that the Lord hath commanded

Yea, Yea, in affirming; Nay, Nay, in Denying*: but - if with incredulous and evil men a speech also he had ( concerning a serious and necessary matter, why shall i one swear for their badness, that he may gain belief

with them? Who ever spake more seriousy than our « Saviour ? Who more necessary things? Yet he never « used other speech than that,'- Verily, Verily, I say “ unto you," or some other such-like, which was a true

form or manner to them, that swore not. Therefore, " that now some swear, to gain belief concerning some " profitable and necessary things, which they think is s to be given rather to the Oath than to the Person;

perhaps also there is a danger when an oath is re«quired in judgment, lest he that exacteth it, fin: for <if it be manifest, that he that is called into judga • ment be verily good and true, it is enough to hear of

him Yea, or Nay; but if that be not evident, or that sit be evident that he is bad, perhaps that is required s of him which ought not to be required. What then? « It is lawful to Adjure: for the Lord made answer to an • Adjuration, but he did not Swear; and Adjurations o are found in the New Law: but if any one, being ad

jured of another, speak the truth, by answering Yea,

or Nay, or by declaring the thing required, neither " the one nor the other offendeth; but if he speak a

falsity, he offends, and incurs the offence of a false o testimony; but perchance he finneth less, than if by • Swearing he had also fallen into the guilt of Perjury: • for, as he that (being adjured) answereth in Truth, '" doth not Swear; so he that answereth in Falseness,

s doth not Forfwear, but he is a False Witness: but

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

. On Mat. V. p. 23, 24..

G g 2


" he also who hath adjured, is altogether guiltless; for • there is no doubt but he hath required that which ( was lawful to require. And although it is not my ( purpose to contradict the ordinances of judgment, ( yet I may think this to be more christian, both not to

fwear at all, neither to compel to swear, to be more • spiritual: but yet, if the badness of men would

permit it, although you would have this sentence of " the Lord concerning not swearing, to be applied to " the believers common and daily custom of speaking • (for he speaks to his disciples) which is very true, o especially if the Old Law, which the Lord declares, " Thou shalt not forswear, but shalt render to the « Lord thine oaths,” was given concerning common

and daily speech; but afterwards the Lord amendeth

another thing, which was written in the Old Law, " that the Law might be perfect, and that he might « shew he hath fulõlled it; and it may be fulfilled of

others, as Matthew shews.' CI. Suarez. He affirmeth, Christ did not swear ; because that which he could not lawfully do, he ? could not simply do: but he could not lawfully i swear, therefore he could not at all : but that he I never swore, is proved, because that he himself com

manded or counselled, " Not to swear at all; but « fimply to speak, Yea, it is; Nay, it is not,” &c. ( therefore ought to go before for an example. It is « spoken of him only sometimes that he said Amen, or "Truly, or Verily, which we have before shewed to be ( no particle of swearing *.'.

It is not only commanded in the New, but also in " the Old Testament,' " not to swear," as Hof. iv. Zach. v. quoted by Tertullian, lib. de Idololat. cap. II. saying, “ I am silent about Perjury, seeing that indeed “ it is not lawful to swear.

"And those very words of Christ,'«Swear not at all,” • signify this; seeing he subjoins,' “ Neither by hea" ven,” &c.: As if he had said, Not only greater

• De quæft. jur. Chrift. p. 306.

oaths, < oaths, but also these, which seem less, you are to take sheed of: and it is apparent from the reason which he ( adjoins, saying,' “ Neither by heaven." "If there<fore Christ forbiddeth to swear by Heaven, because "God dwells therein, much more he forbiddeth to < swear by God, &c*. Now he forbiddeth all manner

• of swearing by the Creatures, and every oath by .God himself, as Greg. Nyssen rightly argues, and . Christ himself hath plainly so declared, Mat. xxiii.'

Lastly, The following words of Christ are apposite,' “ Let your word be Yea and Nay;" for by them he < declareth, that he before forbad the addition of any

Oath. 2dly, Jerom answers,' “ Swearing was per“ mitted to the Jews, as to Children; but evangelical “ verity receives not Swearing, seeing every faithful « Word is for an Oath.” . The same doctrine and ex. position doth Chrysostom follow. Theophylact, after

Christ,' “ It is an evil to Swear, as to be Circumcised, rs and in brief, whatsoever is Jewish." "Beda; also Castro " and Druthmarus confess, and Bernard himself denies s not, that it is the counsel of Christ,' " not to swear :" cand precepts are not contrary to counsels.'

Libr. 1. cap. 14. 282. "Whether an Oath be an explicit A&t of Religious Virtue? 's There may be a reason of doubting, because every < act of religion is principally intended for the worship

of God: but an oath is not made primarily, and of • itself (per se) for the worship of God; but for conç firming, &c. as Heb. vi. from whence it seems s plainly to follow, that an oath is not an act of recligion.

It may be declared by reason, because,

First, It is imposible that man can bring God for ca witness, although he would never so fain: therefore < the name of God is taken in vain, as often as it is « taken to swear: therefore it is evil in itself (per fe.y'

< Secondly, Grant this were possible, to bring God < for a witness; it seems disorderly to bring the per

not, that if ts are not con. Whether

[merged small][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »