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The Second Part of the Sermon of Swearing.
YOU have been taught in the sirst part of this Sermon against swearing and perjury, what gn at danger it is to use the name of God in vain; and that all kind of swearing is not unlawful, neither against God's commandment; and that there be three things required in a lawful oath. First, that it be made for the maintenance of the truth: secondly, that it be made with judgment, uot rashly and unadvisedly: thirdly, for the zeal and love of justice. Ye heard also what commodities come of lawful oaths, and what danger cometh of rash and unlawful oaths. Now, as concerning the rest of the lame matter, you shall understand, that as well they use the name of God in vain, that by an oath make unlawful promises of good and honest things, and perform them not, as they which do promise evil and unlawful things, and do perform the fame. Of such men that regard not their eodly Lawfut promises bound by an oath, but wittingly and wilfully oaihs and break them, we do read in holy Scripture two notable £r°TM<l"be punishments. First, Joshua and the people of Israel made beuer «a league and faithful promise of perpetual amity andKantiJfriendship with the Gibeonites: notwithstanding after-Josti"u" wards, in the days of wicked Saul, many of these Gibeonites were murdered, contrary to the faid faithful promise made: wherewith Almighty God was fore displeased, that he sent an univerfal hunger upon the whole country, which continued by the space of three years: and God would not withdraw his punishment, until the faid ofsence was revenged by the death of seven sons, or next kinsmem of king Saul. And whereas Zedechias, a Kings king of Jerufalem, had promised sidelity to the king of x*ivChaldea; afterward, when Zedechias, contrary to his oath xxv' and allegiance, did rebel against king Nebuchodonofor; this heathen king, by God's permission and sufserance, invading the land of Jewry, and besieging the city of Jerufalem, compelled the said king Zedechias to slee, and in fleeing took him prisoner, slew his Ions before his face, and put out both his eyes; and binding him with chains, led him prisoner miserably into Babylon.
Tbus doth God shew plainly how much he abhorreth unlawful breakers of honest promises bound by an oath made in his oaihs and name. And of them that make wicked promises by an Prom',,:s «ub, and will perform the fame, we have example in then'e ^pi. °
Scriptures. chiefly of Ik-rod, of the wicked Jews, and of Manh. xiv. Jephtha. Herod pronutul by an oath unto the damsel which danced before him, to give unto her whatfoever she would uik; when she was instructed before of her wicked mother, to ask the head of St. John Baptist. Herod as he took a wicked oath. so he more wickedly performed the lame, and cruelly slew the most holy Prophet. Actsxxiii. Likewise did the malicious Jews make an oath, curjfing themselves if they did either eat nr drink, until they heid Jlain Judges x\. St. Paul. And Jephtha, when God had given to him victory of the children of Ammon, promised (of a foolish devotion) unto God, to offer for a facrisice unto him, that person which of his own house mould sirst meet with him after his return home.- By force of which fond and unadvised oath, he did flay his own and only daughter, which came out of his house with mirth and joy to welcome him home. Thus the promise which he made (most foolishly) to God, against God's everlasting will, and the law of nature, moil cruelly he performed; so committing against God a double ofsence. Therefore, whosoever maketh any promise, binding himself thereunto by an oath, let him forelee that the thing which he promiseth be good and honest, and not against the commandment of God, and that it be in his own power to perform it justly: and such good promises must all men keep evermore affuredly. But isa man at any time (hall, either of igno-rance, or of malice, promise and swear to do any thing which is either against the law of Almighty God, or not in his power to perform, let him take it for an unlawful and ungodly oath. , Againft Now something to speak of perjury, to the intent you perjury. should know how great and grievous an offence against God this wilful perjury is, I will shew you what it is to An oaih be- take an oath before a judge upon a book. First, when foreajudge. thev, laying their hands upon the Gospel book, do swear trusy to inquire, and to make a true presentment of things wherewith they be charged, and not to let from faying the truth, and doing truly, for favour, love, dread, or malice of any person, as God may help them, and the holy contents of that book; they must consider, that in that book is contained God's everlasting truth, his most holy and eternal word, whereby we have forgiveness of our sins, and be made inheritors of heaven, to live for ever with God's angels and faints, in joy and gladness. In the Gospel bool; is contained also God's terrible threats to obstinate sinners, that will not amend their livesx nor be-
litre the troth of God's holy word: and the everlasting pan prepared in hell for idolaters, hypocrites, for falle rain swearers, for perjured men, for falsa witness •xs, for false condemners of innocent and guiltless , and for them which for favour hide the crimes of evil-doers, that they should not be punished. So that whosoever wilfully forswear themselves upon Christ's holy Evangely, they utterly forfake God's mercy, eoodness, and truth, the merits of our Saviour Christ's nativity, lise, patlion, death, refurrection, and ascension ; they refuse the forgiveness of sins, promised to all penitent tinners; the joys of heaven, the company with angels and limits for ever: all which benesits and comforts are promised unto true Christian persons in the Gospel. And they, so being forsworn upon the Gospel, do betake themselves to theDevil's service, the master of all lies, falsehood, deceit, and perjury, provoking the great indignation and curlc of God against them in this lise, and the terrible wrath and judgment of our Saviour Christ, at the great day of the iaft judgment, when he (hall justly judge both the quick and the dead, according to their works. For wholoever forfaketh the truth, for love or displeasure of any man, or for lucre and prosit to himself, doth forfake Christ, and with Judas betray him. And although such perjured Though men's falsehood be now kept secret, yet it shall be opened perjury do at the last day, when the lecrets of all men's hearts shall u^^d TMd he manisest to all the world: and then the truth shall ap- unpimifhpear, and accuse them; and their own conscience, with ed. ii sliaii all the bleffed company of heaven, shall bear witness truly noi do so against them: and Christ, the righteous judge, shall then justly condemn them to everlasting shame and death. This sin of perjury Almighty God, by the Prophet Mai achy, doth threaten to punish fore; faying unto the Jews, J willMalaciii. to you in judgment, and I will he a swift witness and a
jbarj> judge upon sorcerers, adulterers, and perjured persons. Which thing to the Prophet Zachary God declareth in a vision; wherein the Prophet faw a book slying, which was twenty cubits long, and ten cubits broad; God faying then unto him, This is the curse thatshall go forth upon the face of the earth, for falsehood, false swearing, and perjury: arid this curse shall enter into the house of the false man, and into the house of the perjured man, and it /ball remain in the midsl of bis houje, consume him, and the timher andjlones of bis bouse. Thus you see, how much God doth hate perjury, and what punishment God hath prepared for false swearers and perjured persons.
. - Thus
Thus you have heard how and in what causes it is lawful for a Christian man to swear: ye have heard what properties and conditions a lawful oath must have, and also how such lawful oaths are both godly and necessary to be observed: ye have heard, that it is not lawful to swear vainly, that is, other ways than in such causes, and after such lort, as is declared. And sinally, ye have heard how damnable a thing it is, either to forswear ourselves, or to keep an unlawful and an unadvised oath. Wherefore let us earnestly call for grace, that, all vain swearing and perjury set apart, we may only use such oaths as be lawful and godly, and that we may truly without all fraud keep the lame, according to God's will and pleasure. To whom, with the Son, and the Holy Ghost, be all honour and glory. Amen.
Htnv dangerous a thing it is to fall from God.
OF our going from God, the Wise Man faith, that pride was the sirst beginning: for by it man's heart was turned from Cod his maker. For pride, faith he, is Eect. x. the fountain of all sin: he that hath it shall be full of cursings, and at the end it shall overthrow him. And as by pride and sin we go from God, so shall God and all goodness with him go from us. And the Prophet Hosea doth plainly assirm, that they which go away jli/l from God Hofea r. by vicious living, and yet would go ahout to pacify him otherwise by sacrijice, and entertain him th-reby, they lahour in vain. For, notwithstanding all their facrisice, yet he goeth still away from them. Forfomuch, faith the Prophet, as they do not apply their minds to return to God, although they go about with whole slocks and herds to seek the Lord, yet they shall not sind him ; for he is gone away from them. But as touching our turning to God, or from God, you shall understand that ir may be done divers ways. Sometimes directly by idolatry, as Israel and Judah then did: sometimes men go from God by lack of faith, and mistrusting of God; whereof Ifaiah speaketh on this wise, Woe to them that go down into E-Isa. xxxi. gjfit to seek for help, trujling in horses, and having confidence m the numher of chariots, and puijjance or power of horsemen. They have no confidence in the hoty God of Israel, nor seek for the Lord. But what followeth? The ljord shall let his hand fall upon them, and dow"n shall come hoth the helper end he that is holpen; they shall he defiroyed all together. Sometimes men go from God by the neglecting of his