THE LANDS Mourning, FOR vaine Swearing: OR The downe-fall of Oathes. Declaring how this Land groneth vnder the burthen of this Sinne, and of Gods fearefull Iudgements that attend it. A Sermon preached at Paules Crosse, the 11. of Iuly. 1613. BY Abraham Gibson, M r. of Arts.

LONDON: Printed by T. S. for Ralph Mab, and are to be solde in Paules Church-yard, at the signe of the Angell. 1613.

TO THE RIGHT HONORABLE SYR John Swinnarton, KNIGHT, Lord Maior of the renowned Citie of LONDON.

AND To the right VVorshipfull,

  • M r. Edward Rotherum.
  • M r. Alexander Prescot.


WITH The rest of the right VVorshipfull ALDERMEN, AND Other worthy Citizens of London.

A. G. Dedicateth these his poore Labours, which lately were of them most

  • Diligently attended.
  • Graciously accepted.
  • Earnestly desired.

TO The Christian Reader, all Christian Graces.

CHristian Reader, for my selfe al­ready to be seene in the Presse, will be to some as great a wonder, as Saul among the 1 Sam. 19. 24. Prophets. I must confesse, that in regard of the small number of my yeres, (being so few moneths aboue the age 24 required to our calling,) I might iustly haue incurred the censure of presumption both to Preach at the Crosse, and to [Page] come into the Presse, had I not to the former beene inioyned by Au­thoritie, and to the latter pressed by importunitie. After many de­nials I was forced to yeeld to the continuing requests (and no lesse earnest, then godlie) of such Ho­norable, Worshipfull, and worthy intreaters: Whose liking thereof, had it beene no better then my owne, the place of Birth had bene the place of Burial; and the Crosse had beene the Graue, wherein to leaue it. But the rather haue o­thers desires for publishing this Sermon, at length preuailed and ouercome me, because the good ac­ceptance, & incouragement, which it had of the hearers giueth mee hope that some benefit may ensue to the Readers, and that it shall be profitable to some, hurtfull to [Page] none. It layeth open a sinne very dangerous and detestable; and yet (the more pitty) too com­mon and customable. If here­by I may reclaime but one from it, I haue my reward: that is the one­ly marke I ayme at, not affectation not ostentation. Plaine it was in the Preaching, more plaine it is in the Printing: some Quotati­ons I haue omitted, and interposed in the Margent, to the end it may no way be obscure, but plaine to the plainest. Thus (with Wise­dome) Pro. 9. 2. 5. I haue prepared cheare for thy soule; and now (with her also) I inuite thee to eate of it. When I can prouide better thou shalt haue it. In the meane time accept this, and welcome to it. If thy sto­macke be curious, it is not for thee: If otherwise, much good doe [Page] it thee. If any good hereby re­dound to thy Soule, let God haue thy prayse, and mee thy prayers.

Thine in Christ Iesus, A. G.

THE Lands Mourning, FOR Ʋaine-Swearing. OR, THE DOWNE-FALL of OATHES.
A Sermon preached at Paules-Crosse, the 11. of Iuly. 1613.

IEREM. 23. 10. ‘Because of OATHES, the Land mourneth.’

RIght Honourable, right Worshipfull, and Well-beloued, Men, Brethren, and Fathers, if euer there were a time [Page 2] when, if euer a place where, Gods Ministers and Watch-men, as Esay Esay 56. 10. calleth them; his Stewards and Am­bassadours, Tit. 1. 7. 2 Cor. 5. 20. as Paul nameth them; his Angels and Messengers, as Malach. 2. 7. Malachy tearmeth them, had need to cry aloud and not to spare, to speak Esay 58. 1. boldly and not to feare, to shew the people their transgressions, and to the House of Iacob their sinnes; then now is the time, here is the place: the time is now, in this our age, the place is here, in this our Land. That which the Heathen man spoke in former times, is much more veri­fied in these times: [...], Hesiod. [...]. Both Land and Sea is full of euill: such generall forwardnesse on the one side to that which is bad, such frowardnesse there is on the other side to that which is good; we may truly say with Paul, the dayes are euill. Ephes. 5. 16. Notwithstanding, the sound of the Word hath gone into all the Land, the bright beames of the Gospell [Page 3] haue gloriously shined vpon vs, and the bels of Aaron beene long rung amongst vs; yet how many proud Pharaohs, that doe not sticke to say in their hearts, Who is the Lord that I should heare his voyce? how many Exod. 5. 2. vngodly Ahabs, that haue solde themselues to worke wickednesse in 1 Kings 21. 25. the sight of the Lord? how many wicked Ieroboams, that cause others to sinne? and, to vse the Apostles 1 Kings 22. 52. words, [...], Rom. 1. 32. not onely doe such things them­selues, but fauour and delight in them that doe them? On the other side, how little is the Flocke of Christ? Luke 12. 32. how few amongst vs Faithfull, as Abraham was? Righteous, as Lot was? Zealous, as Iosiah was? Reli­gious, as Dauid was? True harted, as Ionathan was? Couragious, as Paul was? and Deuout as Cornelius was? These, and such like, are ga­thered to their Fathers; few, or none, are left of them: they are like the Summer gatherings, as Micah. 7. 1. [Page 4] Micah speaketh. This gate is straite, Mat. 7. 14. this way narrow, and few there be that finde it.

God hath offered vs his Spirit, but that wee haue quenched: hee hath sent vs his Prophets, but them wee haue despised: hee hath giuen vs his Mercies, but these wee haue abused: hee hath warned vs by his Iudgements, but those wee haue neglected. Sathan neuer more bu­sie, Reuel. 12. 12. for his time is short: Sinne ne­uer so common, as in these last dayes: men draw it with Cords, as Esay 5. 18. Esay speaketh: drinke it like water, Iob 15. 16. as Iob speaketh: they lie, they con­tinue, and sleepe in it: and it is sa­fer to commit it then to reproue it. Gods Ministers may say of this Na­tion, as the Prophet, of Israel, From Esay 1. 6. the sole of the foote vnto the head, there is nothing whole therein, but wounds, and swelling, and sores full of corruption. Wee may take vp the complaint of the Children in the Market place, Wee haue piped vnto Luke 7. 32. [Page 5] you, and yee haue not daunced; wee haue mourned vnto you, and yee haue not wept.

And what? must wee then be si­lent, and cease to speake at all? or must wee, with the false Prophets, Ezech. 13. 18. speake pleasing things, sowing Pil­lowes vnder mens arme-holes, and flattering them in their sinnes? No, this is neyther good for vs, nor them: Not good for vs, saith Paul, 1 Cor. 9. 16. there is a woe to vs, if wee preach not the Gospell: not good for them, saith the Lord by Ieremiah, Their Iere. 6. 14. hurt is not healed with sweet words. The calmest Sunne-shine doth lesse purifie the aire, then the terriblest thunder and lightning. The plea­santest Potion doth seldome purge so kindly as the bitterest Pill. So words that to the care are sweetest, are not alwayes to the heart the wholesomest. And therefore E­say must Cry aloud, and lift vp his Esay 58. 1. voyce like a Trumpet. Ieremiah must Iere. 1. 17. trusse vp his loynes and not feare their [Page 6] faces. Euery one of vs (that are the Surgeons of soules) had neede to cut and lance these festered sores, and by sharpe Corrasiues make them smart at the quicke, though our Patients be impatient, and our selues endure, with Moses, murmu­ring; Exod. 5. 21. with Michaiah, smiting; with 1 Kings 22. 24. Ieremiah, imprisoning; nay, vvith Ierem. 32. 2. Iohn Baptist, beheading. Marke 6. 27.

In which respects, and vpon The Apologie for choise of the Text. which considerations, (Right Ho­nourable, right Worshipfull, and deare Brethren) when being called by commandement vnto this place, I meditated with my selfe what at this time to entreate of, as best be­fitting the estate of our times, I re­solued to decypher out some dan­gerous wound, to lay open vnto you some capitall crime, some no­torious impietie, some generall sin, for which God may haue a iust con­trouersie with the Inhabitants of the Land: choosing for this time & in this place, to be (with Iames and [Page 7] Iohn) The sonne of Thunder, rather Marke 3. 17. then (with Barnabas) the sonne of Consolation. Amongst other the Acts 4. 36. sinnes of our Land and crimes of our age, I finde, as none more hay­nous, so none more common then the abuse of Gods holy Name, by prophane Swearing. A sinne most odious in the sight of the immor­tall God, and yet so small in the eyes of mortall men, that like a Leprosie Swearing, a ge­neral sinne, and spread ouer the vvhole Nation. it hath ouer-spread the whole bo­dy of our Nation, from the Cedar to the Shrub, from the highest to the lowest, from the richest to the poorest, from the mightiest to the meanest. And therefore giue mee leaue in this Honourable assembly plainely to entreat of these words I haue made choise of: and out of them to shew the haynousnesse of this sinne, which in Ieremialas time caused the Land to mourne, for so faith our Prophes in this my Text.

[Page 8] Because of Oathes the Land mour­neth.

NOt to stand eyther vpon the Author, or Occasion, or Con­nexion, or Exposition of this por­tion of Scripture, which of it selfe is plaine and easie, but to come (without any Circumstance) to the Text it selfe, it containeth (you see) The Contents of the Text. a complaint of the Prophet Iere­miah, laid in against the Iewes for not forsaking, and against their false Prophets, for not reprouing their vaine, idle, and wicked Swearing; whereby they both dishonoured God, and caused his heauy Iudge­ments to fall vpon them.

In a word it sheweth vnto vs the The revvard of vnlavvfull Oathes. reward of vnlawfull Oathes, which is first (as you may consider it) sim­ply propounded, Mourning: and 1 then aggrauated by the generalitie 2 of it, in that it extendeth to the whole Land, so saith the Prophet, [Page 9] The Land mourneth. In the first, we are to note two things; first, the The parts. cause: secondly, the effect.

  • The cause, Swearing.
  • The effect, Mourning.

The cause, in the former words, Be­cause of Oathes: the effect, in the next, the Land mourneth. And well may Oathes cause mourning, and swearing end in sorrowing. For as to those that doe now mourne in Sion, there is a blessing pronounced, Matth. 5. 4. and comfort promised, They shall Isa. 61. 3. haue beautie for ashes, ioy for mour­ning, and the garment of gladnesse for the spirit of heauinesse; their Aprill showers bring May flowers, they that Psal. 126. 5. sow in teares shall reape in ioy. So to those, that heere passe their time in iollitie, and neuer thinke vpon the affliction of Ioseph, but make Oaths their pastime, and swearing their musicke in their greatest merriment, there is a woe denounced and iudge­ment threatned, their laughing shall Luke 6. 25. end (saith Christ) in wailing and [Page 10] weeping: their Oathes, saith my Text, shall conclude in mourning.

Because of Oathes the Land mourneth.

FIrst, of the cause, and then of the The first part. effect. The cause is expressed in the first words, Because of Oathes. The cause. I know indeed, the Hebrew word here vsed, [...], is diuersly read of Interpreters vpon this place. But I take our common translation to be the most proper, and therefore read it: not, because of cursing, as Hierome A facie maledi­ctionis. Hieron. Propter execra­tionem. Treme. Arbitrer notari hic periur. Cal. Propter iu­ramentum fal­sum. Chal. Paraph. and Tremellius: nor, because of per­iurie, as Caluin and the Chaldee Pa­raphrase; but because of Swearing, as our late translation; or, because of Oathes, as our Geneua readeth it. Which notwithstanding wee must not with the Anabaptists take to be vnderstood of all kinde of Swearing whatsoeuer, but onely of vaine Oathes, and no other. For an Oath An Oath in it selfe good, but may be abused, as Prayer. in it selfe is good, and warranted by God, but yet may be abused as euery [Page 11] other good thing. Praier which is an excellent part of Gods Seruice, is di­uersly vsed and performed: Some­time well, and then it is acceptable: sometime ill, and then abhomina­ble. In like manner an Oath, which is a kinde of Prayer, is in some cases lawfull, in other vnlawfull. Lawfull it is when rightly vsed: vnlawfull it is when Gods worship is abused: For the better explaining whereof I shall thinke it not amisse to insist vpon these two things. First, that there is 1 a lawfull vse of Oathes. Secondly, what Oathes are lawfull, what vn­lawfull. 2

For the first. That there is a 1 That there is a lavvfull vse of Oathes, ap­peareth, 1 by precept. lawfull vse of Oathes, it may appeare both by precept and by patterne. First, by precept from the Lord himselfe, as Deut. 6. 13. Thou shalt feare the Lord thy GOD, and serue him, and shalt sweare by his Name. So, Thou shalt sweare the Lord li­ueth, &c. Ierem. 4. 2. And he doth not onely command it, but promise [Page 12] to reward it, Ierem. 12. 16. The end Ier. 12. 16. why an Oath is thus ordained and The end of ordaining an Oath. required, is two-fold:

  • 1 The glory of God.
  • 2 The good of Man.

And first, it maketh much for the glory of God, when hereby he is ap­pealed vnto, 1 The glory of God. as the chiefe Iudge of the whole World, and men flee to his Name, as to a strong Tower, Prouerb. 18. 10. In this regard saith Prou 10. 18. one, an Oath is a diuine thing; for it Diuina res est iusiurandum: sacra enim an­chora est, ad quā confugitur, quum humana sapiētia progredi non po­test. Huld. Zvvin. Elench. in Catabap. Strophas. is a holy Anchor-hold, to which we flee when mans wisdome can goe no further.

And surely herein wee giue vnto God, first, the glory of omniscience, when wee call him to testifie of our secret thoughts, and so acknow­ledge him [...], Acts 1. 14. The knower of hearts. Secondly, the glory of Truth, when he is appealed vnto, as Truths witnesse and maintainer, and falshoods reuenger. Thirdly, the glory of Power, whereby hee [Page 13] can; and of Iustice, whereby he will take vengeance of those that sweare Muscul. append. ad Psal 15. de Iuramen. Quare plane insani ho­minis esse opor­tet, si quis iura­menti vsum, modo leuit as & mendacium ab­sent, non agno­uerit tam non derogare quic­quam gloriae Dei, vt illam etiam illustret. falsely. Wherefore in these respects we may conclude with Musculus, that certainly he can be iudged no bet­ter then a madman, who will not ac­knowledge that the vse of an oath, being taken neither lightly nor falsly; is so far from any whit derogating from the glo­ry of God, that it doth euen much ma­nifest, and set it forth.

2 The good of man. The second end why an Oath is of necessitie required, is the good of Man, it being (as Melancthon calleth it) Praecipuum vinculum ordi­nis politici, Phil. Melanct: in Mat 5. the chiefe bond of ciuil order: for hereby is Propter iusti­tiam conseruan­dam, veritatem astruandam, a­micitiam confir­mandam; &c. Bonaueh. cen­tiloq. pars 1. cap. 12. Right and Iu­stice maintained, Truth and Verity preserued, Peace and concord esta­blished, discord & dissention ended: There must be an end of strife, who doth not grant it? An end of strife there cannot be, till confirmation on the one side be stronger then on the other. To this end in the first place reasons must be vsed: when these faile, then by witnesses must [Page 14] the matter be stablished: when wit­nesses faile, an Oath must be vsed: Deut. 19. 15. and this is [...], the end of strife, as the Apostle calleth it: An Oath for confirmation is the end of all strife, Heb. 6. 16. So we see that an Oath is ordained by God, and that to very good end and purpose.

Now secondly, as wee haue pre­cept to command it, so patterne to 2 By patterne. commend it. It is commended by example and patterne without ex­ception; and that,

First, of the Saints of GOD.

Secondly, of the Angels of GOD.

Thirdly, of GOD himselfe.

First of the Saints of God, both in the Old Testament and New. In the 1 Of the Saints of God. Old Testament, of Abraham to the King of Sodom, Gen. 21. of Iacob to his Vncle Laban, Gen. 31. of Ioseph Gen. 21. 24. to his Father Iacob, Gen. 47. So of Gen. 31. 53. Dauid to Ionathan, of Elias to Oba­diah, Gen. 47. 31. 1 Sam 20. of Elisha to Iehoram, and diuers others. And from the Old 1 King. 18. 15. 2 King. 3. 14. Testament come wee to the New, [Page 15] Paul doth it in diuers Epistles; as to the Romanes, God is my witnesse, Rom. 1. 9. To the Corinthians, I call Rom. 1. 9. God for a record vnto my soule, 2 Cor. 1. 23. 2 Cor. 1. 23. To the Galathians, I witnesse before God that I lye not, Gal. 1. 20. Gal. 1. 20. To the Philippians, God is my re­cord, Phil. 1. 8. Thus wee haue the Phil. 1. 8. patterne of the holy men of God.

Secondly, not onely so, but of 2 Of the An­gels of God. the Angels of GOD. So wee read, Dan. 12. 7. that the Angell held vp both his hands, and sware by him Dan. 12. 7. that liueth for euer: so we read, Rene. 10. 5. 6. The Angell life vp his Reuel. 10. 5. 6. hand to Heauen, and swore by him that liueth for euermore.

Thirdly and lastly, of God him­selfe, the patterne of patternes. He 3 Of God himselfe. is recorded in Scripture to haue sworne diuers Oathes: sometime by his holinesse, Psal. 89. sometime by his right hand, Esa. 62. sometime by Psal. 89. 35. his great Name, Ierem. 44. some­time Isa. 62. 8. by his soule, Ier. 51. Not that Ier. 44. 26. his saying needed confirming, Ier. 51. 14. [Page 16] whose bare word is Yea and Amen: 2 Cor. 1. 20. Propter homi­num socordiam Deus iurat. Cal. but to conuince the infirmitie of our nature, and to comfort it being con­uicted. He hath done it, as the A­postle saith, (ex àbundanti) willingly prael. in Ier. Cur Scriptura iurantem indu­cit Deum, nimi­rum vt infirmi­tatem naturae nostrae coargue­ret, & conuictā consolaretur. Philo. in libel. de sacrif. Cain & Abel. more abundantly to shew the sta­blenesse of his counsell, Heb. 6. 17. For this cause he swore to Abraham euer to blesse him, Gene. 22. 16. to Dauid neuer to forsake him, Psal. 132. 11. to the Gentiles not to be angry with them, Esa. 54. 8. Thus by all that hath beene said, it is eui­dent that there is a lawfull vse of Oathes, which God hath not onely 2 What Oaths are lavvfull, vvhat vnlavv­full. by precept inioyned, but also by his owne practise approued. Now it re­maineth that I come to shew vvhat Oathes are lawfull, what vnlawfull.

For the first: A lawfull Oath, I call 1 The descrip­tion of a lavv­full Oath. that when wee sweare in a waighty matter, by IEHOVAH, in truth, in righteousnesse, and in iudgement. Of these things in order.

And first, it must be in a wàightie 1 It must be onely in a vvaighty mat­ter. matter, when all proofes and testi­monies [Page 17] faile, and when the contro­uersie cannot be decided, nor the truth discerned, nor the matter de­termined, but onely by Iehouah; for Reason. then onely it maketh for the glory of God, when he is appealed vnto in a matter of moment & importance, and so acknowledged all-seeing and all-powerfull: and on the contrary the name of God is much dishono­red, when called to witnesse in euery trifle which is not worth an Oath. Plaine by a si­militude. It were (we know) a disgrace, and so it would be taken to disturbe and disquiet the Kings Maiestie vvith such a cause, as the lowest and basest Officer might determine. How then can God take it, to be made so bolde with, as to be called out of his Throne in Heauen to decide trifles? It is to make lesse reckoning of him Guiliel. Tripolit. then the Turkes of their Mahomet, by whom they will not sweare light­ly and vainely, but vpon occasion of great necessitie.

Secondly, it must be by Iehouah 2 It must be by Iehouah. [Page 18] as is plaine by the Word of God, and reason.

First, by the word of God, Thou shalt sweare by his Name, Deut. 10. 20. Euery tongue shall sweare by me, Deut. 10. 20. Esai. 45. 23. And he that sweareth Isa. 45. 23. in the Earth, shall sweare by the true God, Esai. 65. 16. Isa. 65. 16.

Secondly, by reason: for first, to him we sweare by, we giue diuine Reason. honour, and attribute omniscience, 1 Hee onely is omniscient. and the discerning of thoughts: for an Oath is taken in vncertaine, and vnknowne matters, of which hee onely can iudge that knoweth the heart. Now this is proper to God alone, hee discouereth the deepe and secret things, Dan. 2. 22. and he know­eth the hearts of all the children of Dan. 2. 22. men, 1 Kin. 8. 39. Therefore he one­ly to be sworne by. 1 King. 8. 39.

Secondly, to him we sweare by, 2 He onely is omnipotent. we attribute omnipotence, and the reuenging of falshood. This also is proper to God; therefore he onely Mihi vindicta. to be sworne by, for vengeance is Deut. 32. 35. [Page 19] mine, saith the Lord, Rom. 12. 19. Rom 12. 19. and he is able to destroy body and soule in hell fire, Matth. 10. 28. Matth. 10. 28.

Thirdly, God onely is to be inuo­cated, 3 Hee onely to be inuocated. and prayed vnto. Now an Oath is a kinde of inuocation, wher­in wee desire God to vvitnesse the truth of our speech, and to punish vs if wee speake falsely. Therefore we are to sweare neither by Angell, Saint, nor any other creature, but by God alone.

All these are his royal Titles, and Not the least of these Titles must be de­nied him. not the least of them must be de­nied him. He is not as the Gods of the Heathen, which (like good fel­lowes) would part stakes: but the true God is a iealous God, & will not giue his glory to another, Esa. 48. 11. Exod. 24. 5. Hence arose the vse which was a­mong Esa. 48. 11. the Iewes, (and is obserued Gloriam meam non dabo alteri. in these our times in the taking of publike Oaths) to touch the Bible, when we sweare not by it, but the contents of it, which is God, and the summe of it, which is Christ, vvho [Page 20] because hee is the subiect of the vvhole Word, is therefore called [...] Iohn 1. 1. the Word, Iohn 1. 1. And so much for the second condition of a law­full Oath.

To proceed: as it must be in a 3 It must be in veritate. waightie matter, and by Iehouah, so in Truth, in Righteousnesse, and in Iudgement. Which three last pro­perties are set downe by our Pro­phet, D. Hieron. in Ierem. Tres comites iura­menti, sine qui­bus non iura­mentum, sed periurium fiat. Chap. 4. 2. and they are tear­med by a Father, the three Compa­nions of an Oath; without which it becommeth no Oath, but periurie. We must sweare,

  • 1 In Truth; not falsely.
  • 2 In Righteousnes; not wickedly.
    Iudicio caret iu­ramentumincau­tum: veritate iuramentum mendax: iusti­tia iuramentum iniquum & illi­citum. Aquin.
  • 3 In Iudgement; not rashly.

By the first are condemned false and fraudulent Oathes: by the se­cond, sinfull and vnlawfull Oathes: by the third, rash and vnaduised Oathes. To speake of them in or­der: And first, that an Oath must be in Truth, is a knowne truth, and needeth no proofe; you see the [Page 21] God of Truth requireth it. Now, An Oath tvvo-fold. vvhereas an Oath is two-fold, either Assertorie, or Promissory: by the Assertorium de facto: promis­sorium de fu­turo. one affirming something done; by the other, promising something to be done; we are to know that in both Truth necessa­rie in both. Truth is necessary.

And first, in a Promissory Oath we 1 In an Oath promissorie. are commanded first to sweare what vvee meane to performe, and after 1 to performe vvhat we haue sworne. 2 Not breaking our promise, Numb. 30. 3. Deus dicitur iu­rasse sermone Metaphorico 1. quoad similitu­dinem iurantis immobiliter ali­quid delibera­uit, per quod de­claratur, non so­lum quae promit­tuntur Deum decreuisse, sed omnimoda im­mobilitate defi­n [...]sse. Caietan. in Cap 2. Gen. but performing our Oathes, Mat. 5. 33. And for this we haue the ex­ample of God himselfe; he remem­breth the Oath to Abraham, Lu. 1. 37. So must wee, if the sonnes of God, and such as will rest in his holy Mountaine, not change our Oath, though to our hinderance, Psa. 15. 4. Nay, Cic. offi. lib. 3. Tully the Heathen Oratour telleth vs, that an Oath must be sa­credly kept toward our enemies: as Dauid made conscience of keeping his Oath to Shimei, that before had cursed him, 2 Sam. 19. 23. And [Page 22] therefore the Latine vvord (Iura­mentum, Valla. lib. 6. eleg. cap. 37. quae enim iuramus firma et immota debent esse. à iure manente) plainely signifieth vnto vs, that our Oathes must be stedfast and constant. And so much the Greeke word impor­teth vnto vs ( [...]) whether wee Ioan. Scap. ex Eust. pag. 1194. vnderstand it, (quasi [...]) a hedge, or (quasi [...]) a bound, or limit: be­cause the Swearer hath hedged himselfe about with Gods truth, and is so brought within bounds and limits, that hee cannot but per­forme what hee hath sworne. And so much for truth in an Oath pro­missorie.

Secondly, in an Oath assertorie 2 In an Oath Assertorie a tvvo-fold truth. there is a double truth required: Logicall, and Morall, as the Schoole­men speak. The one, the truth of the thing: the other, the truth of the minde. The first, vvhen vve speake as it is: the second, when we thinke as we speake. In a lawfull Oath both are requisite. First, that our tongue 1 Veritas Logica. goe according to the thing, and that not vpon Coniectures, and [Page 23] probabilities, but vpon a truth, and a truth vndoubted, for which wee haue good ground, proofe, and warrant. Secondly, that our minde accord with our tongue: not mea­ning 2 Veritas mora­lis. one thing, when wee sweare another, but according to the sim­ple and plaine vnderstanding of the Oath, being in conscience per­swaded of the truth of it. Thus in euery particular it standeth vs in hand to haue our laynes girt about with veritie, Ephes. 6. 14. and good Ephes. 6. 14. Reason. reason: for otherwise wee eyther make God a lyer, or else easie to be deceiued, when wee call him to wit­nesse a falshood: both which are impious, and very iniurious, both to God our Creator, who is The God 1 of truth, Psal. 31. 5. and to Christ Psal. 31. 5. our Redeemer; who is Truth it selfe, 2 Iohn 14. 6. and to the holy Ghost Iohn 14. 6. our Sanctifier, who is the Spirit of Truth, Iohn 14. 26. And so much 3 for the third condition of a lawfull Iohn 14. 26. Oath.

[Page 24] Fourthly, it must be in Righte­ousnesse 4 It must be, in Iusticia. according to Iustice. And here wee must chiefely looke to two things:

  • 1. That the Occasion
  • 2. That the Matter

be iust.

First, that there be iust cause and And here vvee must looke to tvvo things: occasion to take an Oath, eyther in respect of God, or Man. First, in respect of God, when thereby his do­ctrine 1 That there be iust cause and occasion to take an Oath, in re­spect: is confirmed, his honour ad­uanced, his seruice furthered: thus Dauid swore to binde himselfe to his worship. I haue sworne and will performe it, Psal. 119. 106. thus 1 Of God. Psal. 119. 106. 2 Chron. 15. 14 did Asa and his people, 2 Chro. 15. thus Iosiah & his people, 2 Chro. 34. 2 Chron. 34 31 Secondly, in respect of Man, when Nehem. 10. 29 thereby eyther publikely or pri­uately, 2 Of Man. Exod. 22. 10 11 necessary Leagues and Co­uenants 1 are confirmed; homage 2 and Allegiance to Princes testified; the life, goods, or good name ey­ther of our selues, or our neigh­bour 3 preserued, the truth in doubt­full matters discerned; and in a 4 [Page 25] word, brotherly loue furthered. 5

Secondly, as the occasion, so the Matter it selfe must be iust and law­full: 2 That the mat­ter it selfe be iust and lavvful. not onely true for substance, but righteous: which is then, when it doth stand with Pietie and Cha­ritie. And reason there is it should Reason. doe so; for wee must sweare accor­ding to the rule of godlinesse: God will be worshipped with his owne worship, and hee will not be a wit­nesse of his owne dishonour, and of harming our neighbour. There­fore hee that sweareth to doe a He that svvea­reth a thing vniust, maketh God, eyther the vvitnesse of a lie, or an ap­prouer of sinne. thing vniust, eyther sweareth not as he meaneth to doe, and so maketh God the witnesse of a Lie: or else sweareth with resolution, and so ma­keth God an approuer of Sinne: both wayes contemning his power, as though he were vnable to reuenge. And so much for the fourth condi­tion of a lawfull Oath.

The fist and last followeth; it must be in Iudgement. Now, that is 5 It must be, in Iudicio. an Oath in Iudgement (vvhether [Page 26] publike or priuate) which is done with vnderstanding of the Law of An Oath in iudgement. vvhat. God, and of the Country wherein wee liue, therewith concurring. Iudgement then requireth Discreti­on, Perk. Cas. of Consc. Lib. 2. cap. 13. sect. 2. quaest. 2. Vnderstanding, Consideration; and that of fiue things principally: First, of the thing in question, which is to be confirmed: Secondly, of 1 the nature of the Oath that is taken: 2 Thirdly, of the minde and true mea­ning 3 of him that sweareth: Fourth­ly, 4 of the particular circumstances, of time, place, and persons, when, where, and before whom hee swea­reth: Lastly, of the euent and issue of the Oath. All these are duely to 5 be regarded. The reason is, because Reason. God is the God of order, and in matter of truth and righteousnesse will haue all things done according to the rule of Policie and Iudge­ment. And surely this Iudgement Iudgement of great vse in an Oath: and vnderstanding is of great vse in an Oath: for, it will guide vs to take it, neuer but vpon ne­cessitie, [Page 27] and then aduisedly.

First, onely vpon necessary occa­sion: For it vvil cause vs to take it, 1 Onely vpon necessarie oc­casion. and so much is implyed in the Hebrew word [...], which (being vsed in the Passiue) signifieth to be sworne, rather then to sweare: to shew, that wee are to doe it sparing­ly, being drawne thereunto by ne­cessitie. For, an Oath being a ne­cessarie good, is not good, but when Bonum necessariū extra terminos necessitatis non est bonum. it is necessary: as a Potion not good, but in time of sicknesse.

Secondly, when necessarie to doe it aduisedly: not rashly, but discreet­ly 2 When neces­sary, to doe it aduisedly. with due deliberation, with reue­rence, and feare of so glorious a Maiestie. It is the precept of an Heathen man, [...], reuerence an Oath: and the Childe of God Venerare Iura­mentū. Pytha. is described to feare an Oath, Eccles. Eccles. 9. 2. 9. 2. whence wee read that the Is­raelites swore with all their hearts, 2 Chron. 15. 15. that is, all their vn­derstanding, all their affections, all 2 Chron. 15. 15 the powers of their minde were em­ployed, and set on worke, in a due [Page 28] consideration, and reuerent feare of the Oath and Couenant made vnto the Lord. And so much for the last condition of a lawfull Oath.

Now from Oaths lawfull I come 2 vnto vnlawfull, which what they are will appeare from that which hath beene said, being such as faile in the former rules. An vnlawfull The descrip­tion of an vn­lavvful. Oath. Oath therefore I call that: when we sweare in a matter whether waightie or light vpon euery little occasion, or by any other thing then God, or not in truth, righteousnesse, and iudge­ment: of which in order.

And first, it is vnlawfull in a mat­ter 1 Vnlavvfull vvhen vpon e­uery little oc­casion. waightie or light, when vpon euery little occasion. Wee reade of Moses, Exod. 18. that hee had in­feriour officers to iudge the smaller Exod. 18. 26. causes, and the people came not to him, but vpon some great occa­sion, when the causes were difficult and hard to be decided. How much It is much to debase God. then is the supreame Iudge of hea­uen and earth debased, when called [Page 29] from heauen to giue iudgement vp­on small or no occasion? It is to And to set lesse by him, then by an earthly Iudge: set lesse by him then by an earthly Iudge, whom we count it a disgrace to trouble in a trifle. Nay, it is to deale worse by him then by a good Nay, then by a good suite of apparrell. suite of apparrell, vvhich vvee vvill not vveare euery day, but lay it vp for speciall dayes: And yet the Name of God, how is it vvorne and torne, euery day of the vveeke, eue­ry houre of the day, (I had almost said) euery minute of the houre. Luke. 23. 34. Oh Father forgiue them: for they know not what they doe. They know not vvhat it is to sweare. For what is an Oath? not onely (as Iuramentum est cum diuina vene­ratione dictio probationis ex­pers. Arist. Rhet. Aristotle defineth it) Asaying voide of proofe, with diuine worship: nor onely (as Iurare nihil aliud est, quam Deum testem in­uccare. Aquin. Aquinas) A calling of God to wit­nesse: (and yet if it were no more, it were not to be taken idly) but an Oath properly, Iuramentum est inuocatio Dei, qua petitur, vt is tanquam vnicus cordūs inspector, testimonium det veritati, & iu­rantem puniat, si sciens fallat. Vrsinus Catec­pars 3. quaest. 102. Is a solemne inuo­cation of the holy Name of God, whereby we desire him, as being the onely seer of hearts, to witnesse the [Page 30] truth of our speech, and to punish vs, if wee speake falsely. And yet as though God vvere vnworthy to haue reuerence, or vnable to take vengeance, how doe men pollute his Name by daily and hourely Oathes, vvherby they turne (Asy­lum in domum communem) the San­ctuarie of Veritie into a common house of vanitie. So vve see in the first place Oathes are vnlawfull, vvhen taken vpon euery little occa­sion.

Secondly, vnlawfull, when not 2 Vnlavvfull, vvhen by any other thing then God, be it eyther pro eo, or cum eo. by Iehouah. And here men offend against God two wayes: first, when they leaue his Name, and take ano­ther for it: secondly, vvhen they vse it, but adde another with it: both are forbidden by God: both are 1 threatned of God. The first, Iere. 5. 7. Ierem. 5. 7. How should I spare thee for this? thy Amos. 8. 14. children haue forsaken me, and sworne by them that are no Gods. The se­cond, 2 Zeph. 1. 5. where hee threat­neth Zeph. 1. 5. to cut off those, that sweare [Page 31] by the Lord, and sweare by Mal­cham. Hence then come to be re­proued Hence are re­proued diuers kindes of Oathes. diuers kindes of Oathes, chiefely these:

  • 1. Heathenish.
  • 2. Ciuill.
  • 3. Supersticious.
  • 4. Impious.
  • 5. Ridiculous.

First, all Heathenish Oathes: by their 1 All Heathe­nish Oathes by their Gods. Gen. 31. 53. Gods, as Laban, by the God of Te­rah, an Idolater, Gen. 31. 53. and as Iezabel by her Gods, 1 Kings 19. 2. These Oathes are expressely forbid­den by God himselfe, Exod. 23. 13. Exod. 23. 13. Yee shall make no mention of the name Iosh. 23. 7. of other Gods, neyther shall it be Psal. 16. 4. heard out of thy mouth. Hos. 2. 17.

The second kinde here reproued, Zach. 13. 2. are Ciuill Oathes. Giue me leaue so 2 All Ciuill Oathes, by the Creatures. to tearme them for distinction sake, because among carnall men they passe vvithout controulement, as readily and freely, as ciuill speech from their mouthes. As, how com­mon a thing is it, among the pro­faner [Page 32] sort, to sweare by the light, Heauen, Sunne, fire, meate, drinke, mo­nie: so, by their hand, soule, and such like: by which kinde of Oathes they are very iniurious both to God By vvhich Oathes they are 1 iniurious to God. and to themselues. First, iniurious to God, in that they inuocate the crea­tures, vvhich is onely proper to the creator: and so they place them Iurare est ali­quid dicere cum inuocatione Dei Ergo non iuran­dum per creatu­ras quia non sunt inuocandae. in the seate of God, making them corriuals vvith the Monarch of hea­uen and earth, and matching them with him in greatnesse, both of Wisedome to know secrets, and of Power to reuenge falsehood, both Melancth. in vvhich GOD requireth as due to Mat. 5. 34. himselfe alone. Isa. 48. 11.

Secondly, iniurious to themselues, 2 Iniurious to themselues. calling those things to iudge them, vvhich God hath made to serue them. And surely, it is worth the They much disgrace them selues. marking and obseruing how a num­ber (that in other cases stand vpon their credit) doe heerein much dis­grace themselues, setting those things as Lords aboue them, that are [Page 33] as seruants subiect to them; for men Psal. 8. 6. sweare by him that is greater then themselues. Heb. 6. 16. Heb. 6. 16.

The third kinde here reproued 3 All supersti­tious Oathes, by Saints, or Idols. are superstitious Oathes, that sauour of superstition, and nothing else. Such are the Oathes of the Popish sort by their Idols, as Masse, Rood, Crosse, Christendom, Testament, Euan­gelists: So by our Lady, by the Vir­gine Mary, and other Saints. By which kinde of Oathes they shew By the vse of vvhich Oathes is shevved 1 Great folly. 2 Grosse Ido­latrie. both great folly and grosse Idolatrie. Their folly, in calling them to wit­nesse, vvho can neither heare them, nor helpe them. Their Idolatry, in forsaking the true God, and making creatures their God. For, when a man sweareth by any other thing then GOD, hee maketh that his Chryst. Hom. 12 oper. imper. super Matth. Idolatriam ab eo committi dicit, qui iurat per ali quid. quod Deus non est, eo quod illud deifi­cet per quod iu­rat. God, and himselfe an Idolater, as Ierome and Chrisostome vpon the fift of Matthew doe both affirme: therefore we may conclude, that in an Oath there is no mention to be made of Saints. The reason is gi­uen [Page 34] by Melancthou, Because they Ne facienda mentio sancto­rum in iuramen­to, quia nec sunt omnipotentes, nec inspectores cor­dium, nec execu­tores poenae. Me­lancth. in Mat. 5. are neither emnipotent, nor seers of the heart, nor executioners of punishment.

4 All impious and fearefull Oathes by the parts or ad­iuncts of Christ. The fourth kind here reproued, are impious and fearefull Oaths, which (me thinketh) I am afraid to menti­on, blasphemous, horrible, terrible, by the parts or adiuncts of Christ, as by his life, death, passion, flesh, heart, wounds, blood, bones, armes, sides, guts, nailes, foote, with many hundred more, vvhich a gracious heart can­not but melt to heare, tremble to speake, quake to thinke, and yet (good Lord) how common are they in the mouthes of the pro­phane Common in the mouthes of the sonnes of Belial. Whereby they deale vvith Christ, 1 Worse then Iudas, Matth. 26. 15. sonnes of Beliall, whereby they peirce the sides, wound the heart, teare the soule, and rend in pieces the body of our blessed Saui­our; worse then Iudas, who betraied him to be crucified for mony: these crucifie him themselues meerely vpon vanitie: worse then the Soul­diers, 2 Worse then the Souldiers, Matth. 27. 35. that diuided his garments; these diuide his person, his natures, his [Page 35] members: worse then the Iewes, who cryed to Pilate, Crucifie him: these instead 3 Worse then the Iewes, Mat. 27. 23. of Crosse & Nailes, do between their owne teeth grinde him, and 1 teare him. They did it ignorantly, 2 these wilfully: they but once; these Acts 3. 17. often: they in his humiliation; these 3 after his exaltation. Wherefore as 4 these commit the greater sinne, so they must expect the greater con­demnation. Thinke vpon this, oh impious blasphemer, and be pricked Let svvearers ruminate vpon this. vvith remorse for this crying sinne, as at Peters Sermon many Iewes Acts 3. 37. were for their sinne: otherwise know and be assured, that it shall be easier for those that crucified Christ at the day of iudgement, then for thee.

The fift and last kinde heere re­proued, 5 All ridicu­lous and nevv fangled Oaths. are ridiculous Oaths: too fre­quent in the mouthes of simple Ide­ots in the Country; as, by my fey, lakin, bodikin, by Cock and Pie, and diuers such like Oathes (which I am not much acquainted with) foo­lish, trifling, toyish, childish. Many [Page 36] there are, that inuent such as these, and thinke they may haue a License and Pasport for them, when the Name of God is not expressed: but, saith Caluin, While men will bee so Atqui dum in­geniosi esse ho­mines volunt, vt fucum faciant Deo, nihil quam friuolis cauilla­tionibus se ipsos deludunt, Calu. in Iacob. 5. 12. witty as to deceiue God, by their vaine cauils they deceiue themselues. They must not looke for this ere the more to be excused, since it is no other thing but a mocking of God, and pro­phaning of his name in these ridicu­lous toyes secretly insinuated. Know therefore, that in a trifle, thou must not sweare at all. In a matter of im­portance that requireth an Oath, thou mayst, and must vse the name of GOD reuerently and religiously. So we see in the second place Oathes are vnlawfull, when by any other thing then God.

Thirdly, vnlawfull, when not in 3 Vnlavvfull vvhen not in truth. Truth: and in this kinde we may of­fend two wayes. First, when our tongue disagreeth with the thing. Secondly, when our mind disagreeth with our tongue. First, vvhen [Page 37] our tongue disagreeth with the thing, not speaking as it is, or as it is vpon And that, 1 When our tongue disa­greeth vvith the thing. certainety, but too sodainely and rashly, as we imagine & coniecture.

And herein a number are very faultie, who being carryed away A common fault. with their owne imagination, when they haue no sure ground for what they speake, yet aduenture to con­firme it with an Oath.

Secondly (which is vvorse) when 2 When our minde disa­greeth vvith our tongue. our Minde disagreeth with our Tongue, not thinking as we speake, but entending to deceiue those to vvhom vvee sweare. The former of it selfe may be frailtie and infir­mitie: but being ioyned with this This is flat per­iurie, vvhich God abhorreth, forbiddeth, reproueth. latter it becommeth flat Periurie. And this is an horrible and grie­uous sinne, which the Lord abhor­reth, Zach. 8. 17. and straitly for­biddeth, Leuit. 19. 12. and sharply Zach. 8. 17. reproueth, Iere. 7. 9. Leuit. 19. 12.

And this is the cause (saith Saint Ier. 7. 9. Augustine) wee are forbidden to sweare at all, not because all Swea­ring [Page 38] is a sinne, but because forswea­ring Non quia iurare peccatum est sed quia peierare im­mane peccatum est, à quo longe nos esse voluit, qui omnino ne iu. remus admonuit. is an horrible sinne, from which hee would haue vs to be very farre, who hath warned vs not to sweare at all. And that not vvithout speciall cause and reason. For it is a sinne in the highest degree, and containeth in it many capitall sinnes. If there­fore Aug. in Mat. 5. as Christ saith, Mat. 12. wee Mat. 12. 36. shall giue an account of euery idle word, much more of euery false word: and if of euery false word, much more of euery false Oath. To lye, of it selfe, is a sinne, saith Mus­culus. Mentiri per se malum est. Ma­lum hoc accessi­one iuramenti duplicatur. To adde an Oath to it is a double sinne. The Prophet complai­neth of those that speake deceit­fully. Psal. 12. 2. how much worse Wolf. Muscul. append. ad Psal. 15. de Iu­ram. are they that sweare deceitfully? their sinne must needes be very dange­rous. Psal. 12. 2.

Now, of this false Swearing there Of Periurie there are diuers kindes. are diuers kindes, all which are very haynous: for an Oath being two­fold (as I shewed before) promissorie and assertorie, vvee are to know, [Page 39] that this sinne may be in eyther of 1 In an Oath promissorie tvvo vvayes. them. First, in a promissorie Oath, and that two wayes: first, when by Oath wee promise that vve neuer 1 When vvee promise by Oath that vvee intend not. meane to performe. Secondly, when hauing meant it simply at the Oath taking, wee afterward vnconstantly 2 When vvee intend at the Oath taking, but after change. change our purpose, the thing be­ing neyther vnlawfull nor impos­sible, but onely inconuenient: both these are no small sinnes, whether done in plaine or cunning manner.

What shall vvee say then to that impious doctrine of the Church of Hence is re­proued, Rome, which teacheth that a man ought not to hold faith with Here­tikes, 1 The impious doctrine of the Church of Rome. whom they stile such as pro­fesse the Apostolike faith, reiect their idle inuentions, and renounce that Antichristian Synagogue? by the en­tertaining of which doctrine, Gods Name and Maiestie is abused, fraud and treacherie maintained, and con­tracts betweene Nation and Nation ouer-turned.

And vvhat shall wee say to that [Page 40] impious practise of the Pope of 2 The impious practise of the Pope of Rome. Rome, who making himselfe equall vvith God, challengeth to him­selfe power to dispense vvith a law­full Oath, and to discharge Subiects from their sworne Allegiance to Christian Princes? What is it else, but a direct crossing of Gods sacred Maiestie, vvho hath giuen expresse charge to performe our Oathes, as Mat. 5. 33. being made not onely to man but Exod. 22. 11. to God: and therefore called, An 1 Sam. 20. 8. Oath of the Lord, Exod. 22. 11. So 2 Sam. 21. 7. that our Oath must be performed Ezek. 17. 19. Iuramentum eti­am hosti seruan­dum: non enim considerandum est cui, sed per quem iuras. Hierom. to our very enemie. And Ierome giueth the reason, for you must not consider to whom, but by whom you sweare.

Whence vvee may boldly con­clude, that notwithstanding the Popes relaxation, who hath no li­bertie to loose, when GOD hath bound; no power to seperate, when Mat. 19. 6. God hath coupled; no authoritie to release any lawfull Oath, vvherein is not onely a bond of man to man, [Page 41] but of man to God: notwithstan­ding (I say) this, our Iesuites, Priests Iesuites, Priests and other Pa­pists, vvho breake their Oath of Alle­giance (not­vvithstanding the Popes Di­spensation) are guiltie of per­iurie. & other Papists, who hauing sworne Allegiance to the Kings Maiestie, (as next vnder God) in these Domi­nions Supreame Gouernour) doe af­terward violate this lawfull Oath, denying his Supremacie, and main­taining the Popes, are guiltie of this horrible sinne of periurie. Where­fore it vvere to be vvished, they vvould herein follow the patterne of the auncient Romanes, though Heathens, vvhose integritie was The fidelitie of auncient Ro­manes. such, that they would not breake Oath vvith their deadliest Ene­mies.

Amongst the rest, memorable is the Example of A [...]tilius Re­gulus, Tit. Liu. Aul. Gel. Valer. Max. vvho to keepe his Oath made to the Carthaginians, his A rare Exam­ple. mortall enemies, returned Prisoner to Carthage. And though not com­pelled for any other cause but his Oath: yet (as Tully saith of him) the loue neyther of his Country, nor of [Page 42] his owne, with-held him, when withall Ne (que) eum cha­ritas Patriae reti­nuit, nec suorum: neqùe vero tum ignorabat, se ad crudelissimum hostem, & ad exquisita suppli­cia proficisci. hee knew hee should goe to a most cruell enemie, and to exquisite Tor­ments; which afterward hee sustai­ned till hee dyed, in the cruellest and bloudiest manner that could be inuented. A shame then is it for Cic. de Offic. Lib. 3. Christians to come short of Hea­thens, whose onely guide vvas the light of Nature. And so much for Periurie in the first kinde.

The second kinde of Periurie 2 In an Oath assertorie, tvvo vvayes. is in an Oath assertorie: and that when wee sweare eyther a knowne vntruth: or an vnknowne truth. The first is, when vvee sweare that to be 1 When vvee svveare a knovvne vn­truth. truth, which is certainly knowne to be vntruth. The second, when vve sweare that for truth which for the 2 When vvee svveare an vn­knovvne truth. present wee surely imagine a false­hood, though in time to come it proueth to be truth.

So then it is plaine and manifest that in an Oath whether promising What Periurie is properly. or affirming, Periurie is not so much swearing a thing false as swearing it [Page 43] falsely, when heart and words agree not, and when the end thereof is Non enim fal­sum iurarc, peie­rare est: sed quod ex animi tui s [...] ­tentia iuraueris. Cic. de Offic. Lib. 3. deceit.

Vpon vvhat ground then is that Doctrine founded of Equiuocation, and Mentall reseruation, which our double harted Aduersaries do both Against the do­ctrine of Equi­uocation. teach and practise in time of dan­ger. Whereby they iustifie that wic­ked speech in Euripides, detested of the very Cic. Lib. 3. de Offic. Heathen themselues. [...]. Iuraui lingua, mentem iniura­tam gero. Eurip. I haue sworne with my tongue, but not with my minde. Like the fraudulent Oath of Plutar. in La­con. Cleomenes, with his ene­mies, who sware a Truce for three dayes, and when they least thought on him, hee set vpon them and de­stroyed them in the night. Such are the Oathes of our periured Priests and Iesuites; (I can tearme them no better) who haue a tongue for the Prince, and an heart for the Pope, desiring diuellishly to deceiue those to whom they sweare. Which opinion and practise being admitted and receiued, doth not onely ouer­throw [Page 44] the end of a lawfull Oath, Which opinion and practise be­ing admitted, takes avvay the end of a lavvfull Oath. (which is the deciding of strife, and confirming of truth) but excludeth the Authors of it from Gods holy Mountaine: For, hee onely shall rest there, saith the Prophet Dauid, And excludeth the Authors of it out of Gods Kingdome. Psal. 24. 4. Exhortation. who hath not sworne deceitfully, Psal. 24. 4. But speaketh the truth in his heart.

For our selues therefore that de­sire to pertake of the ioyes of hea­uen, let vs be exhorted in the feare of God, to follow the truth in loue, Ephes. 4. 15. and to beware of this sinne of Per­iurie, in what kinde soeuer. And be­cause it is a sinne:

  • 1 Iniurious to God.
  • 2 Pernicious to our Neighbour.
  • 3 Dangerous to our selues.

First, iniurious to God, and that in diuers Reason 1. Iniurious to God. respects:

First, in Lying, vvhich God ha­teth, Pro. 6. 17. And in defrauding 1 vvhich God reuengeth. 1 Thes. 4. 6. In Lying and defrauding. Prou 6. 17. 1 Thes. 4. 6.

Secondly, in defiling his blessed [Page 45] Name, by making that a shelter for 2 In desiling his blessed Name. lyes: vvhich is as much as if the Keeper of the Kings Seale, should seale therewith Letters of Treason: so is it no lesse treason to the King of Which is trea­son to the King of Kings. Kings, to seale and confirme a lye vvith his name, vvhich of it selfe is a Tower, and Sunctuary of veritie, Prou. 18. 10. Prou. 18. 10.

Thirdly, in abusing his glorious 3 In abusing his glorious Maiestie. Maiestie, by making him a partie in the sinne, and so contrarie to himselfe, as though hee were like the Diuell, the father of lyes, Iohn Iohn 8. 44: Quid enim re­stat Domino, vbi sua veritate fue­rit spoliatus? Iam Deus esse desinet. Cal. In­stit. lib 2. Cap. 8. Sect. 24. 8. 44. And vvhat doe they herein, but ouerthrow his very essence? for, take away his truth, hee ecaseth to be God.

Fourthly, in contemning his feare­full threatnings, denounced against all that offend in this sinne: for what doth the periured person, but despe­rately 4 In contem­ning his feare­full threat­nings. tempt God, and (as it were) out-face him, prouoke, and dare him, according to his Word to in­flict The periured person dareth God. vpon him the deserued venge­ance, [Page 46] which in his Oath hee calleth for, if he sweare falsely.

So we see in how many respects this sinne is a dishonour to GOD. Whence Ioshua to bring Achan to confession of the truth, saith, My sonne, giue glory to the Lord God of Iosh. 7. 19. Israel, Iosh. 7. 19. Intimating, that by periurie God is greatly dishono­red.

Secondly, as it is iniurious to Reason 2 Pernicious to our neighbour. God, so pernicious to our neighbour. For hereby is the end of an Oath frustrated; discord preserued, false­hood erected, iniustice maintained. And it is yet more pernicious, if in And most of all, vvhen in publike place of Iudgement, for there is vvrong done 1 To the Iury. publike place of iudgement: for there the periured person doth wrong to diuers. First, to the Iurie, in drawing them to giue wrong ver­dict. Secondly, to the Magistrate, in drawing him to giue wrong iudg­ment. 2 To the Ma­gistrate. Thirdly, to his Neighbour, who is hereby much wronged and 3 To our Neighbour. iniured.

[Page 47] Either:

  • In his state, and goods.
  • Or, In his name, and credit.
  • Or, In his body and life.
  • Or, In his soule and saluation.

Thirdly, and lastly, it is a sinne, as Reason 3. Dangerous to ourselues. iniurious to God, and pernicious to our Neighbour, so dangerous to ourselues. For, by periurie men becomming Diuels incarnate; nay, in this regard Periured per­sons, Diuels incarnate, beyond the diuel himselfe (of whom vve haue not heard that euer he abu­sed the name of God to confirme his lyes, but fathers them himselfe) they Iohn 8. 44. must needs draw downe the punish­ments of God vpon them. In the midst whereof (as one saith) they finde and feele that that God whom Experiuntur enim periuri in medijs poenis, Deum quem in­uocarunt, vere esse iratum te­stem, ac vindi­cem ipsorum per­fidiae. Thesaur. Theol. Matth. Vogel. they haue inuocated is a sore angry witnesse, & reuenger of their false­hood: for so hee threatneth to be a swift witnesse against false swearers, Mala. 3. 5. and that very iustly: for an Oath consisting not onely of inuocation, whereby they call God to witnesse, but also of imprecation, [Page 48] whereby they call him to reuenge, and binde themselues to punish­ment if they sweare falsely; iustly Iustly doth God punish periured per­sons, may God take them at their word, and execute vpon them the desired and deserued vengeance. Whence it 1 Here, and that. is, that he punisheth them both here and hereafter. First, here, and that 1 Invvardly. Introspice in mentem illius, qui sit satso iu­raturus: vide­bis enim illam non posse acquies­cere, sed tumul­tuari, pertur­bari, seipsam in crimen vocare, omni contumeli­arum & co [...]iti­orū genere vex­ari. Phil. Iu. de dec praec. both inwardly, and outwardly.

First, inwardly, with a wounded conscience (and that at the very act) which whosoeuer feeleth, nee­deth no other Iailor or Hang-man. Doe but looke (saith Philo) into the minde of him, who is about to sweare falsely, you shall see that it cannot be at quiet, but vexed, troubled, of it selfe accused, and tormented with all kinde of checkes and rebukes.

Secondly, outwardly; and that diuers wayes: as 2 Outvvardly. with losse

  • 1 Of estate.
  • 2 Of good name.
  • 3 Of libertie.
  • 4 Of life.

[Page 49] First, sometime with losse of E­state. 1 Sometime vvith losse of Estate. Zach. 5. 4. And so much the Lord threat­neth, Zach. 5. 4. where hee saith that the curse shall enter into the house of him that falsely sweareth by his Name; and it shall remaine in the midst of his house, and shall consume it with the Timber the cof, and stones thereof.

Secondly, sometime with losse of good Name; which the Wise man 2 Sometime vvith losse of good Name. telleth vs, is to be chosen aboue riches, Prou. 22. 1. Yet this hath beene so Prou. 22. 1. stained by Periurie, with such a blot and blemish of infamie, as could ne­uer be wiped out vntill death; nay, hath often remained long after death. And surely it stands with And it stan­deth vvith great equitie. great equitie, that those who get cre­dit to their falshood by dishonou­ring God, should haue the disho­nour turned vpon their owne heads.

Thirdly, sometime with losse of Libertie. And thus was King 3 Sometime vvith losse of Libertie. Zedechiah punished for the Oath broken with Nebuchadnezar: in [Page 50] regard whereof, saith the Lord, Ezech. 17. 19. As I liue, I will sure­ly bring mine Oath that hee bath de­spised, Ezek. 17. 19. and my Couenant that he hath broken, vpon his owne head. And so it came to passe, for Nebuchad­nezar by an Armie ouer-tooke him, 2 Kin. 25. 5. 6. 7 slew his Sonnes before him, put out both his eyes, and carryed him to Ba­bell, as it is in 2 Kings 25.

Lastly, sometime with losse of 4 Sometime vvith losse of Life. Life. Thus did God punish the Oath broken with the Gibeonites, not onely with famine three yeeres together, but with the death of Sauls seauen sonnes, who were hanged vp 2 Sam. 21. 1. 9. openly in the Mountaine, 2 Sam. 21.

And to this purpose vvee may reade of, and it vvere not amisse Examples here­of haue beene in this our Land. to mention some examples of latter times in this our Land. As of Earle Godwine, who vvishing at the Kings Table, that the Bread might choake Earle Godwine. him, if hee were guiltie of Alphreds death, vvhom he had before slaine, was presently choaked, and felldowne [Page 51] dead. So of a Widdow in Cornehill, who hauing sworne to Wid. Barnes, Corn. in Lond. 1574. deceiue a poore Orphane of her right, within foure dayes after, cast herselfe out at a window; and brake her necke. So of the Woman with­out Aldersgate, who hauing for­sworne her selfe for Flaxe bought Anne Aueris, Wid. Feb. 11. 1575. in Wood-streete, had (as shee desi­red) Gods iudgement shewed vpon A pittifull ex­ample. her, vvas sodainely stricken, con­tinued some few dayes in grieuous torments, and so wretchedly dyed. Many such examples might be al­ledged; but to these giue me leaue onely to adde one more, of which wee reade in Ecclesiasticall Historie, and it is worthy here to be recorded.

Eusebius reporteth of three lewd Three levvd varlets that falsely accused Narcissus, Eus. Eccles. Hist. lib. 6. cap. 8. varlers, that charged Narcissus, Bi­shop of Ierusalem, with a grieuous accusation, and the better to per­swade it, confirmed it with Oaths. The first, (if it wore not true) wished to be burnt to ashes: the second, to be tarmented with some cruell disease: [Page 52] the third, to be smitten with blind­nesse. Innocent Narcissus, being too weake to resist them, remoued, and hid himselfe in desart places for ma­ny The iustice of God against periured per­sons. yeres. In the meane time, this hapned to those periured persons. The first by the fall of one spark 1 of fire in the night, had himselfe, house, and familie consumed to ashes: The second was tormented in his 2 whole body, with the same disease hee wished. The third, seeing their 3 ends, and fearing vengeance, con­fessed the mischiefe, and for it mour­ned and wept, till hee lost both his eyes. A lamentable spectacle for false Witnesses, and periured per­sons. So we see how God punisheth them here.

Secondly, much more seuerely 2 Hereafter. hereafter: if he doe not punish them temporally, then (which is worse) eternally. Vnlesse here they appease his anger (as Peter did) with Re­pentance Mat. 26. 75. and Teares, they may as­sure themselues of it, they cannot [Page 53] auoide it. Let them in this life e­scape the Wound of Conscience with­in; and without, losse of Estate, Vnlesse they repent, they incurre losse of Heauen. Name, Libertie or Life: they can­not escape the losse of Heauen. But as they by this sinne haue renounced God, and giuen vp They shall be giuen vp into the hands of Sathan: themselues vnto Sathan: so for this sinne God shall renounce them, and giue them vp into the hands of Sathan, the Prince of darkenesse. And no maruell: for they farre sur­passe Lyers in iniquitie, and there­fore And haue their portion vvith lyers in the Lake, &c. may well looke for the same portion and that I, in the Lake that burneth with fire and Brimstone. Reuel. 21. 8.

And yet notwithstanding, how Application. A sinne com­mon. common a sinne? and how largely spread, ouer euery part of this Na­tion and euery corner of this Citie, the eye of the Land, and beautie of the Kingdome? In publike Courts of Iudgement, may not mony hyre In Courts of Iudg ment. In shops and houses. it▪ in priuate Shops, and Houses doth not the drosse of the vvorld [Page 54] cause it? In open Faires and Mar­kets, In Faires and Markets. doe not our couetous Caitifes vse it? In euery trifling Bargaina, In euery tri­fling bargaine. will not many a wicked wretch (to make good sale of wares) by Per­iurie sell his soule to Hell? In a word, may wee not finde in Hea­thens more certaintie, lesse periu­rie, More certainty in Heathens, svvearing by false Gods: then in Chri­stians, svvea­ring by the true God. Whence iustly may God be at controuer­sie vvith this Land, Citie. swearing by Iupiter, Apollo, and other false Gods, then in Christians swearing by the true God? How iustly then may God proclaime a Controuersie with this Land in ge­nerall, with this Citie in speciall, which is become a Denne for these Wolues to lurke in, a Cage for these vncleane Birds to keepe in, (giue mee leaue to say) a Stie for these filthy Swine to lye in, which vval­low in this sinne, and will not part with it; eyther for God, to whom it is so iniurious: or for their Neigh­bour, to whom so pernicious: or for Themselues, to whom so dangerous. So wee see in the third place, Oaths are vnlawfull, when not in truth.

[Page 55] Fourthly, vnlawfull when not in righteousnesse; and that is, when we 4 Vnlavvfull, vvhen not in righteousnesse. sweare eyther without iust occasion, or when the Matter it selfe is not 1 iust and lawfull: but forbidden by 2 God, or else not in our power. And 1 this is a great and grieuous sinne, 2 for a man to sweare not in a religi­ous He that svvea­reth must take heede of tvvo things, said So­phocles, ne laedat amicos, ne peccet in De [...]. minde, to the glory of God, and good of Man, but that which is con­trary to Pietie and Charitie. So did Iezabel: shee swore the death of Elias, 1 Kings 19. 2. So did Ahab: hee swore the death of Elisha, 1 Kings 19. 2. 2 Kings 6. 31. So did the Iewes: they 1 Kings 6. 31. Acts 23. 12. Thus do those that svveare re­uenge. swore the death of Paul, Act. 23. 12. Thus also doe many in these dayes, who vpon euery little wrong, sweare to be reuenged of their neighbour, and to recompense euill for euill, Rom. 12. 17. 21 which they should ouercome with goodnesse.

And in this kinde also doe offend The Monkish sort also offend in this kinde. those of the Monkish profession, who sweare:

  • [Page 56] 1 Perpetuall Chastitie.
  • 2 Voluntary Pouerty.
  • 3 Regular Obedience.

All vvhich offend against the rule of righteousnesse.

The first, Perpetuall Chastitie, be­cause it is not in their power, nor Who svveare, 1 Perpetuall Chastitie, vvhich depen­deth vpon the gift of God. dependeth vpon their vvill, but vpon the gift of God. And in this regard, saith Paul, If they can­not abstaine, let them marry. 1 Cor. 7. 9. 1 Cor. 7. 9.

The second, voluntary Pouertie, 2 Voluntary pouertie, vvhich is a breach of Gods ordi­nance. and wilfull beggerie, because it is a breach of Gods ordinance, which is, that there should be no beggar in Is­rael, Deut. 15. 4. Deut. 15. 4.

The third, Regular Obedience to 3 Regular O­bedience, vvhich is a thraldome of the conscience. Marke 7. 7. the will of Superiours, because it is a thraldome of the Conscience to the ordinances of men, when in regard thereof vvee are onely bound vnto GOD: in vvhich sence, saith the Apostle, Bee not 1 Cor. 7. 23. the Seruants of Men, 1 Corinth. 7. 23.

[Page 57] All these kindes of Oathes are against Righteousnesse: and as in As the making so the keeping of these Oaths are against righteousnesse. Quod male iura­tur, peius serua­tur. the making, so in the keeping: Nay, that which is ill sworne, is worse obserued. If the thing sworne bee eyther vnlawfull, or impossi­ble, (vvhether it appeare so at the first, or be discerned after­ward) Vnlavvfull Oathes binde not. it is of no effect, and can­not binde vs.

And here that rule of Isidore is to be remembred: In euill promi­ses In malis promissis rescinde fidem: in turpi vot [...] [...] decretum: & quod in [...]aute vo­uisti, [...] impia est promis­sio, quae scelere impletur. Isid Well did Dauid in breaking his Oath. breake thy faith: in a dishonest vow change thy decree: and doe not that thou hast rashly vowed: wicked is the promise, that is performed with weekednesse.

Well therefore did Dauid, who (in his rash passion) hauing sworne the death of Nabal, did after, by the aduise of Abigail, breake it: 1 Sam. 25. And vvic­kedly 1 Sam. 25. 32. did Herod, (that Murtherer and no Iudge) vvho swore not so Wickedly did Herod in kee­ping his Oath. Marke 6. 26. rashly, but performed it as wickedly, Marke 6. 26.

[Page 58] It standeth vs then in hand to Iusiurandū vin­culum iniquita­tis esse non opor­tet. Pet. Mart. loc. commun. beware of swearing irreligiously, or vnrighteously: (for an Oath must not be the bond of iniquuie) as also hauing sworne so, to craue pardon for it, and not to performe it: for that is, first, to make God an ap­prouer To keepe vn­righteous Oathes is: of sinne: secondly, to breake our Oath of Allagiance, made to 1 To make God an appro­uer of sinne. God in Baptisme, whereby we haue bound our selues to obay his will. So vvee see in the fourth place, 2 To breake our bond in Baptisme. Oathes are vnlawfull, when not in righteousnesse.

Lastly, vnlawfull, when not in 5 Vnlavvfull, vvhen not in Iudgement. When neyther called thereto by order of Iudgement: nor able vvith Iudgement to discerne the nature of an Oath. iudgement, but rashly and vnadui­sedly: when neyther called thereun­to by order of Iudgement, nor able to discerne with Iudgement, and vn­derstanding, vvhat wee doe when wee sweare. Whence it commeth to passe wee take it in hand so fre­quently, so irreuerently. A thing de­tested of the very Heathen. And therefore it was an auncient Decree Plut. Quaest. Roman. obserued of the Romanes, that [Page 59] when young men would sweare by Hercules, they should first goe out of the house, vvherein they A commend­able order ob­serued of the Heathen. vvere. A good meanes to keepe them from swearing lightly, when they had such time and leasure to bethinke themselues. And surely, these Heathen may rise vp in Iudgement against the men of They may condemne the men of this generation, this generation, & condemne them, who take no space at all to delibe­rate, but with lesse regard and reue­rence to the true God, then they had to their false Gods, audaciously take his Name in their mouthes, filling Who haue lesse regard to the true God then they had to their false Gods. vp ouery sentence in ordinary com­munication vvith idle, vaine, and vnnecessary Oathes. So wee see in the last place, Oathes are vnlawfull, when not in Iudgement.

And so much shall serue to haue showed what Oathes are lawfull, what vnlawfull.

Now come vvee to the vse of Novv follovv­eth the vse of all the former doctrine. the vvhole former doctrine con­cerning Oathes, both lawfull and [Page 60] vnlawfull. And it affordeth to vs a two-fold vse:

  • 1 For information.
  • 2 For caution.

For infor­mation Vse 1. For informa­tion.

  • 1 Of our knowledge.
  • 2 Of our practise.

And first, it serueth to informe our knowledge, that in some cases 1 Of our knovvledge, that in some cases vve may svveare. Against the er­rour of the Manichees and Anabaptists, vvho altoge­ther take avvay the vse of an Oath. Their allega­tions, Iam. 5. 12 Matth. 5. 34. The ansvvere. we may sweare. Contrary to the o­pinion of the Manichees, since re­newed, and taken vp by the Ana­baptists, who altogether reiect the vse of an Oath, and refuse it, euen vvhen authoritie requireth it: for the vpholding of which heresie, they cite for their authorit [...]e, not onely the precept of Saint Iames, Before all things, my brethren, sweare not, Iam. 5. 12. but of Christ himselfe, Sweare [...]o [...] at all, Matth. 5. 34. Whereas both S. Iames in the for­mer and so Christ in the latter doth nor forbid it, but restraine it. So that we may not therein vnderstand The true mea­ning of our Sauiour. the prohibition of euery kinde of Oath, but onely of idle Oathes, and [Page 61] collusion of Oathes (as Bucer,) or swea­ring lightly and loosely (as Gualther,) Bucer in Mat. 5. Gual. in Mat. Zanch. in ter­tium praecept. Vrsin. Catechis. pars 3. or swearing in common talke (as Zan­chius,) or rash and vnnecessary Oathes. (as Vrsinus,) or priuate and ordinary swearing, (as Ar [...]tius, and Melancthon,) or swearing by the creatures (as Beza, and Pellican.) In a word, it is plaine that the scope of our Saui­our is onely to taxe the corruption of the Pharisees, vvho thought in their iudgement, and taught in their doctrine, that in the third Comman­dement vvas onely forbidden Per­iurie: and no Periurie but vvhen 1 there vvas expressed the name of 2 God, or some other thing, immedi­atly Matth. 23. 16. 17. 18. pertaining to his seruice. Other­wise, to sweare and forsweare by the creatures, they thought no defiling Leuit. 19. 12. his Name, nor taking of it in vaine. Exod. 20. 7. Our Sauiour chargeth them of a three-fold crime:

But our Sauiour herein layeth to their charge both Idolatrie, Periurie, and impietie. First, Idolatrie, in swea­ring by them, whereby they much 1 Idolatrie. Hil. 4 Can. on Matth. dishonoured God, in giuing his wor­ship [Page 62] to the creatures. Secondly, Per­iurie, in confirming a falsehood by 2 Periurie. Ne (que) enim Deus haret in ver­bio, sed mentem iurantis spectat, nec tam in sylla­bis, quam in sen­tentijs, honor & contumelia no­minis diuini con­sistit. Vrsin. Catechis. pars. such an Oath, of it selfe no true Oath; yet so, in the opinion of him that sweareth, who in this respect is counted guiltie. 3 Impietie. Thirdly, impietie, in Colligimus nul­lam creaturam tam paruo nobis estimari debere, vt ipsam vano iuramento pollu­amus. Pell. in Matth. polluting the creatures, by rash and false swearing, and so (though not directly, yet indirectly) pollu­ting the name of God: in asmuch as Tantum opifi­cem designant a suis operibus, Caluin. in Iac. 5. 12. by these workes of his (saith Cal­uin) 3. quaest. 102. they point out the workeman, whose glory and Maiestie shineth in them, and thus the dishonour rea­cheth to God himselfe.

Now whereas he saith [...], Sweare not at all, the word [...] (at all) is to haue reference to the formes rehearsed, as by Hea­uen, Earth, Ierusalem, and such like, approued of the Pharises, reproued of Christ.

Wherefore, his meaning is, Omnino 1. per vllam rem crea­tam, Beza An­not-Maio. in Matth. 5. Sweare not at all, that is, not at all by any creature, vpon vvhat pretence soeuer: nor at all by God himselfe, [Page 63] falsely or vnaduisedly; neither disor­deredly, Nec affectu, vt perturbati: nec imitatione, vt parvuli: nec consuetudine, vt scelerati: nec fictitie, vt de­ceptores, Pell. in Matth 5. for affection: nor childishly, for imitation: nor desperatly, for custome: nor cunningly, for deceit: other Oathes, which faile not in the con­ditions required, Saint Iames disli­keth not, our Sauiour condemneth not, vvhither they be publike Oaths, inioyned by authoritie: or Priuata iura­menta, quae so­brie, sancte, re­uerenter, neces­sarijs rebus ad­hibentur, dam­nare nimis peri­culosum fuerit. Caluin. Instit. lib 2. cap. 8. sect. 27. priuate Oathes, vsed vpon necessitie, soberly, religiously, and reuerently, as is plaine by the examples of Gen. 31. 53. Iacob to Laban, of 1 Sam. 20. 12. Ionathan to Dauid, of Ruth 3. 13. Booz to Ruth, and diuers other.

Wee may say then to the Anabap­tists, as Christ to the Sadduces, they are deceiued, not knowing the Scrip­tures. Were that misinterpretation of theirs allowed, Christ should haue condemned what his Father had or­dained, and destroyed the morral law, which hee came to fulfill, Matth. 5. 17.

In the second place therefore, it serueth to informe our practise: and it doth instruct and teach vs, not to Matt. 22. 29. Christus dam­nare nec voluit, nec potuit, quod pater instituit. Pel. Mat. 5. 17. 2 For infor­mation of our practise: it teacheth vs not to feare to take an Oath vpon iust occa­sion. Reason [Page 64] feare to take an Oath, (when neces­sitie requireth) both publike and priuate: but willingly to doe it, when there is sufficient warrant for it: so shall

  • 1 A good cause be furthered.
  • 2 Authoritie obayed.
  • 3 God himselfe much honoured.

For it is a part of his seruice, and such a part as is 1 King. 8. 31. sometime put for his whole seruice: and therefore to Psal. 63. 11. be refused no more then Prayer, or Esa. 48. 1. any other worship of God. Rightly to sweare is to sanctifie his Name, for which the religious swearer shall The religious svvearer shall be revvarded. be rewarded, as surely as the pro­phane swearer shall be punished. And so much of the vse for information.

Now as it serueth to informe vs, so withall to warne vs: to warne vs Vse 2. For caution. To bevvare of vaine Oathes. to beware of vaine Oathes, and to take heed of vnlawfull swearing. And the rather for these considera­tions.

First, because it is a transgressing Reason 1. It is a trans­gressing of the Commande­ment: of Gods Commandement. it is a sta­tute [Page 65] enacted in the high Court of Parliament in Heauen, by the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords: Thou 1 Of God the Father. shalt not take the Name of the Lord Exod. 20. 7. thy God in vaine. Nay more: there is also a threatning annexed there­vnto, Reason. For the Lord vvill not holde him guiltlesse, that taketh his Name in vain. vvhich there is to no other law, saue onely to the second: to shew, that as Idolatry, so the abuse of his name of all other sinnes shall not escape iudgement. And from the Father come we to the Sonne, who in his Gospell will not haue vs to 2 Of God the Sonne. sweare at all, but to let our commu­nication Matt. 5. 34. 35. 36. 37. Reason. For vvhatso­euer is more, commeth of euill. be yea, yea; nay, nay. And he is not without his reason: for whatsoeuer is more commeth of euill. And Saint Iames the Penman of the holy Ghost, is very earnest in the same precept: before all things, my bre­thren, 3 Of God the holy Ghost. Iam. 5. 12. Reason. Least you fall into condem­nation. sweare not. And he also giueth a good reason, least yee fall into con­domnatiō. It behoueth vs then to ab­staine from it, in regard of this Law, and Statute, confirmed with such strong reason, both by God the Fa­ther, [Page 66] of whom it was enacted; and by God the Sonne, of whom ratified, and by God the holy Ghost, of whom renewed.

Secondly, it is a great vilifying of God: be it either by other things, or Reason 2. It is a great vilifying of God. by his Name: If by other things, wee debase him, in preferring them be­fore him, and making him inferiour Be it either by other things, Or by his Name, to them. If by his name, wee doe also debase him, in making him a common witnesse, and so prophaning him. The Name of God is to be Which is not to be polluted by common vse. had in high account, and great reue­rence; and therefore not to be pollu­ted by common vse. Mercurius Trismegistus was in such respect a­mongst Mercu. Trisme. Nomen eius pro prium ob reue­rentiam quan­dam pronunciare vulgo, & temere non licebat. the Egiptians, that in reue­rence of him it was not lawfull to pro­nounce his name commonly and rash­ly. Claud. Min. com. in Alciat. Haro, Duke of Normandy, would haue his name so terrible, that Marsil. Ficin. at the very hearing of it men should croutch. If the names of sinfull men haue beene had in such respect, what reuerence may wee thinke due to the name of God?

[Page 67] The Name of God (as one saith) is a name to be feared, a name to be Nomen terribile, admirabile. lau­dabile, terribile, quantum ad pa­tentiam: admi­rabile, quantum ad sapientiam: laudabile, quan­tum ad bonita­tem. Bonauent. expos. orat. Domin. admired, a name to be praised:

  • To be feared for power.
  • To be admired for wisedome.
  • To be praised for goodnesse.

And therefore let this name be con­tinually in thy mouth, but (ad pre­candum, non iurandum) to pray to it, not to sweare by it; for that is to debase, and vilifie his Name, vvho is Lyra in his Glosse, on Ec­cles. 23. 13. a great God, and therefore fearefull: a wise God, and therefore wonderfull: a good God, and therefore praise­worthy. Deut. 28. 58. So saith that sweet Singer, Psal. 8. 1. His Name is to be praised, from the Psal. 113. 3. rising of the Sunne to the going downe of the same, Psal. 113. 3.

Thirdly, it peruerteth the vse of Reason 3. It peruerteth the vse of our speech, Which vvas gi­uen vs to glo­rifie God. our speech: for that was giuen of God to no other end but to speake the language of Canaan, and to glo­rifie our Creatour. Now when it passeth these bounds, limited there­unto by creation, and taketh his Name in vaine: this faculty of speech [Page 68] is abused to the dishonour of him By this, it is a­bused to the dishonour of him that gaue it. that gaue it. For, a wicked thing is it (saith Philo) to speake filthily with that mouth, wherein is vttered the most sacred name of God. It defileth Est namque im­pium eo ore tur­pia loqui, quo sacratissimum nomen Dei pro­fertur. Phi. Iud. de dec praecep. Reason 4. It is the cog­nisance of Sa­than, & badge of prophanesse. the mouth, it peruerteth the speech; it abuseth the tongue, which by right of creation should serue as a Trum­pet to sound forth his glory.

Fourthly, it is the very cognisance of Sathan, and badge of prophane­nesse. And such a one as vseth it, may well be termed a wretched person: for hee will make no conscience of any sinne, that maketh no con­science of this sinne, this vaine sinne, Svvearing, a more vaine sinne then any other. for excuse whereof he hath not any shew of outward good to pleade: nei­ther credit, as the malicious reuen­ger: nor profit, as the couetous Vsu­rer: nor preferment, as the dissem­bling flatterer: nor pleasure, as the vncleane adulterer. Wee may well Hee that ma­keth no con­science of this, vvill make no conscience of other. thinke then that the common swea­rer will not sticke at any of these sinnes, vnlesse more for disgrace [Page 69] and danger, then for any feare of God. Hee that will sinne for nothing, vvill sinne for something: and what dare not hee doe, that dare pro­phane Gods holy Name, wearing it, and tearing it like his old cloathes? It is therefore a sure signe, setdowne by Salomon, as of a godly Eccles. 9. 2. man, to feare an Oath, so of a wicked man not to respect it. Eccles. 9. 2.

I haue read of an Harlot, vvho hauing three sonnes, tolde her hus­band, Destruct. vitiorū pars 4. cap. 17. that one of them onely vvas A fit example for this pur­pose. his: whereupon at his death he be­queathed his estate to him, vvho should be found out to be his na­turall sonne. The Sonnes fell at con­tention: the matter came to tryall: The Iudge to decide it, commanded that their Fathers dead body should be set against a tree, and hee that could shoote nearest his heart, should be his Heyre. The two Ba­stards shot, the third refused it, and was much offended with the other for doing it. By which naturall loue [Page 70] they concluded him the naturall sonne, and gaue him the inheritance, So they that truely loue God, and cannot endure but grieue to heare Those that grieue at the abuse of Gods name, shevv themselues the sonnes of God. his Name abused, shew themselues to be the true Sonnes of God, Cho­sen in Christ, called to Christ, iusti­fied by Christ, and to be glorified with Christ: but those wretches that feare not to wound Christ, and Those that feare it not, no sonnes, but ba­stards, and Sa­thans slaues. 1 Kings 3. 26. to shoote at his heart with Oathes, as with Arrowes, crying with the Har­lot, diuide him, diuide him, are no Sonnes, but Bastards; no Sheepe, but Goates; no Seruants of God, but Slaues of Sathan; no heyres of Hea­uen, but fire-brands of Hell.

Fiftly and lastly, it is a sinne, that maketh vs lyable to the wrath and Reason. 5. It maketh vs lyable to the vvrath & iudge ment of God. Iudgement of God. It is the Word of Almightie God himselfe; The Lord will not hold him guiltlesse that taketh his Name in vaine. And as surely as it is threatned, so it shall Exod. 20. 7. be executed. A Sword of vengeance hangeth ouer their heads, and they [Page 71] draw downe Iudgements vpon themselues, both in this life, and in the life to come.

First, in this life, the Lord denoun­ceth many, great, wonderfull, and long 1 In this life. plagues, against those that feare not his glorious Name, Deut. 28. 58. And Deut. 28. 58. 59. 60. 70. Zach. 5. 1. 2. 3. this the Prophet Zachariah in his fift Chapter saw in the vision of the flying Booke, in length, twenty cubits, in bredth, tenne cubits, vvherein A Booke of curses against the Svvearer. were vvritten the curses that goe forth against the Swearer: which shall neuer be forgotten, for they are They shall be remembred: recorded in a Booke: they are not few, but many; for it is a long and broad Booke: they come swiftly, They are many. They come svviftly. not slowly: for, it is a flying Booke. And what the Prophet saith, hath The flying Booke hath beene seene a­mongst vs, in this Land. not Experience found true? hath not this flying Booke beene seene amongst vs? Beloued, this our Land hath not wanted Examples.

Witnesse the Example of Iohn Peter, Fox. Act. & Mon. one Examples. (of whom vvee may reade in the Acts and Monuments) that being [Page 72] a horrible swearer and blasphemer, it was vsuall with him to say, if it be not true, I pray God I may rotere I dye. Thus commonly hee tooke Gods Name in vaine, and yet not in vaine: his wish was not fru­strate; for hee rotted away indeede and so dyed in miserie.

Witnesse the Example of the A Gentleman of Cornewall. Ibid. young Gentleman of Cornewall, who in company with other Gen­tlemen, beganne to sweare and vse ribauld speech: being reproued for In the time of King Edward. it, hee swoore the more, and raged worse and worse. At length, passing A vvarning for Gentlemen. ouer a great Bridge, and an arme of the Sea, he so spurred his horse, as that hee sprang cleane ouer vvith the man on his backe, vvho as hee was going, cryed, saying, Horse, and man, and all to the Diuell.

Witnesse lastly, the Example (to A Seruingman in Lincolneshire. Perk. Gou. of Tongue. name no more) of a Seruingman in Lincolne-shire, who for euery tri­fle had an vse to sweare no lesse Oath, then Gods precious bloud: [Page 73] hee would not be warned by his friends to leaue it. At last, hee A vvarning for Seruingmen. was visited vvith grieuous sicknesse; in the time whereof hee could not be perswaded to repent of it; but hearing the Bell to toll, hee did most hardly, in the very anguish of death, start vp in his bed, and swore by his former Oath, that Bell tolled for him. Whereupon immediately, A lamentable spectacle. the bloud abundantly from all the ioynts of his body, as it were in streames, did issue out most feare­fully, from mouth, nose, wrests, knees, heeles, and toes, with all other ioynts, not one left free, and so dyed.

Mee thinketh, these, and such Fearefull vvar­nings. like fearefull warnings from heauen should sinke into the hearts of those, whose tongues being set on fire of hell, speake nothing without an Oath.

Oh then consider of these, yee Psal. 50. 22. that forget God, least he teare you in pieces, and there be none to deliuer you. Let these be Examples to you [Page 74] least you be made Examples to o­thers.

And yet alas, here is not all. Might the Swearer here stay, and 2 In the life to come. dye like a bruit beast, well were the case with him: but here is onely the beginning of his woe. At the houre of death vengeance waiteth at the doore: and when his body shall be without life, his soule shall be with­out God. In this life God is patient toward him, to lead him to Repen­tance. 2 Pet. 3. 9. But if his long suffering be abused, GOD, setteth it vpon the God setteth vpon the score. score, and will one day call him to a fearefull reckoning, the word is passed out of his mouth, hee shall not be held guiltlesse. He may here happily passe without punishment; Exod. 20. 7. nay, without controulement. But The Svvearer may passe vvith­out punishment here: if Magistrates (as Gods Iury on earth) forgetting the Iudges charge, giue vp false verdict, and cannot finde him guiltie, the chiefe Iudge of the world, when at his great ge­nerall But not here­after. Assise of the whole earth, he [Page 75] sitteth in his Iudgement Seate vpon life and death, will not hold him guil­lesse, but conuict him, condemne him, The chiefe Iudge shall condemne him and commit him to perpe­tuall imprison­ment in the dungeon of darknesse. Marke 9. 44. pronounce sentence against him, com­mit him close Prisoner to Sathan: Take him Iaylor, binde him hand and foot, cast him into the Dungeon of darknesse, there to remaine (with­out baile or mainprize) in perpe­tuall torments, where their worme di­eth not, and their fire neuer goeth out. There shall be the portion of vngodly Swearers.

I speake not of those, that may seldome slip therein by infirmitie, but of those that practise it conti­nually. In the one sort, it is as a rebellious Seruant: in the other, as a Lordly Tyrant. In some it is as a bad Tenant, that will not depart 1 after many warnings; and as an vn­bidden Svvearing is in some as a bad Tenant. Or as an vn­bidden Guest. guest, that intrudeth himselfe, and wanteth a roome to sit in: these though they fall, rise by repentance, and so escape Iudgement. In others, it sitteth as a King in his Throne, [Page 76] it raigneth, it ruleth, and continueth. Their hardnesse of heart is such, 2 In others, as a King in his Throne. they make euen a trade of blasphe­ming God, and grieuing his Spirit by Hellish Oaths: and for these Hell gapeth, the Diuell wayteth. Hell ga­peth They make a trade of it. ready to consume them: the Diuell waiteth ready to deuoure them. If here (while God offereth grace) And these vvithout Re­pentance fall into condem­nation. they quench not the flame of his wrath with the teares of Re­pentance, it shall burne hotte a­gainst them, and that in hell Fire: their tongues, and whole bodies shall for euer be tormented; they shall continue to blaspheme God among the damned; their portion is perdi­tion; their end is condemnation, Iames Iames 5. 12. 5. 12.

These Reasons then may cause vs to beware of vaine swearing; which transgresseth Gods Law, vilifieth his Name, peruerteth our speech, is the Cognisance of Sathan, and fore-run­ner of Iudgements both temporall and eternall.

[Page 77] Now, because notwithstanding Novv follovv to be ansvvered the chiefe ob­iections al­ledged in ex­cuse of com­mon svvearing. all this against it, Swearers thinke they haue something to pleade for it, vvhereby (if not to defend it, yet) to excuse it: I shall here by your patience, not thinke it amisse, to take away the chiefe obiections alledged in behalfe of it. To let passe their Scriptures, vvhich make not for them, but against them, allowing onely (as hath beene shewed) of a lawfull, and religious Oath:

It will first be obiected, that it graceth their speech, and is an orna­ment Obiect. 1. It is a grace to their speech. Ansvvere. Cursed be such grace, as rob­beth God of his glory. to their phrases. But is it a grace to thy speech, to disgrace him that gaue it? Is it an ornament to thy tongue, to dishonour him that made it? Cursed bee such grace, woe to such eloquence, as rob­beth God of his due glory. It is loathsome in his eyes, harsh in his eares, stinketh in his nosthrils. And such gaine no credit, but lose reputation: lose it with God, lose it 2 Such gaine no credit but lose it. [Page 78] with those that feare God, and shew themselues to be no Gallants, but slaues and seruants, euen to Sathan himselfe the Prince of darkenesse.

It will secondly be obiected to be a generall custome; the most part vse Obiect. 2. It is a generall custome. it, few or none refraine it, vnlesse a few singular spirits, too nice and curi­ous. But these must consider the precise charge of God himselfe, Ansvver. Exod. 23. 2. Thou shalt not follow a multitude to doe euill. For by multi­tude Exod. 23. 2. Multitudo pec­cantium pecca­tum exaggerat, non extenuat. Musc. app. ad Psal. 15. de Iur. Gen. 37. 20. 1 King. 18. 22. Ierem. 44. 15. Acts 7. 57. Matth. 27. 22. of sinners, the sinne is aggraua­ted, not extenuated. It excused not the inhumanitie of Iosephs brethren, nor the Idolatrie of Baal Prophets, nor the obstinacie of those that with­stood Ieremiah, nor the crueltie of those that stoned Steuen, nor the impietie of those that crucified Christ. In euery one of these, most voices carried it, yet was not the of­fence any whit the lesse.

And as it excuseth not from sinne, so it exempteth not from iudgement. It saued not the olde World from Prou. 11. 21. Gen. 7. 23. [Page 79] drowning, nor Sodome from burning, Gen. 19. 24. Numb. 15. 9. nor the Israelites from perishing. Nay, the number in all these kindled Gods indignation, and cryed the lowder in his eares for vengeance. In this case then, that counsell of one is good, Liue as a few, that with a few thou mayst walke worthy of Gods Viue vt pauci, vt cum paeucis inueniri merea­ris in regno Dei, Cassian. Matt. 7. 13. Kingdome. And that of our Sauiour, Enter in at the straight gate. Alleadge not the number of Swearers to iusti­fie thy swearing: though it be the broad way, walke not in it. Colde comfort is it to goe to hell for com­panie: happier shall it be for thee to be one of those few, that had rather haue their soules drop out of their bodies, then a vaine Oath out of their mouthes.

But it will thirdly be obiected; they Obiect. 3. They haue no euill minde or intent. do it from no bad mind, no wicked in­tent: but their hearts are good, they meane vvell, and therefore to be borne with. But this excuse is both Ansvver. This excuse is 1 Friuolous. friuolous, and false. First, friuolous, and that to no purpose: for by thy [Page 80] words thou shalt be iustified, and by Matth. 12. 37. thy words thou shalt be condemned, Matth. 12. 37. And if of euery idle word, then much more of idle Oaths must wee giue account at the day of Iudgement. Secondly, it is not onely friuolous, but false: for our Sauiour 2 False. telleth vs plaine, that out of the abundance of the hart the mouth spea­keth, Matth. 12. 34. Matth. 12. 34. The Treasure will be knowne by the Mettall; He that feareth God in heart, cannot abuse him in vvord. the Fountaine by the Water; the Fire by the heate; the Sunne by the light, the Tree by the fruit. Canst thou feare God in heart, and abuse him in word? Can thy minde blesse him If the minde blesse him, the tongue can not blaspheme him Iam. 1. 26. Obiect. 4. They svveare no deepe but little Oathes. Ansvvere. All vain Oaths are condem­ned, be they great or small. and thy tongue blaspheme him? No, If thou refrainest not thy tongue, thy religion is in vaine, Iam. 1. 26.

But it will fourthly be obiected, they sweare no deepe Oathes, as by God himselfe, or by the parts and ad­iuncts of Christ, but little Oathes, as by the Masse; or, by our Lady; or, by faith, troth, and such like. But euen these Oathes will not excuse: for [Page 81] in a matter of importance, that requi­reth Matt. 5. 37. [...]. Basil. concion. in Psal. 15. Svvearing by Faith and Troth, a vaine thing. an Oath, wee must (as hath beene shewed) vse the Name of God. On the other side, in a trifle vvee must not sweare at all: our Yea and Nay, (saith Christ) must serue the turne. All vaine Oathes are con­demned, be they deepe Oathes, or little Oathes. And for these, if thou beest not sorrowfull, & God mercifull, thou wilt finde none so little, but deep enough; none so light but heauy enough, none so small, but great e­nough to send thee down into hell.

And as for that common swea­ring by our Faith and Troth; how vaine a thing is it vpon needlesse oc­casion? For, our Faith and Troth, (as one saith) are the most precious Iewels we haue. Now there is none A. Dent. but a banquerupt that vvill lay the best Iewell in his house to pawne for euery small trifle. So when wee lay It shevveth vve are banque­rupts in truth, and of very small credit. these to gage for euery vvord vvee speake, it sheweth we are banquerupts in truth, and that we are of very small [Page 82] credit. Otherwise wee would not bring forth these precious Iewels but vpon some waightie occasion.

But it will fiftly be obiected, they sweare no lye, but that which is true, Obiect. 5. They svveare no lye, but truth. Ansvver. and they know to be certaine. To vvhich I answere: first, if it be so, it needeth no Oath: our faithfull word may serue in stead of an Oath. Euangelica ve­ritas non recipt iuramentum, cum omnis sermo fi­delis pro iureiu­rando sit. Hier. in Mat. 5. 34. Zach. 5. 4. Exod. 20. 7. For God hath threatned, as to pu­nish him, that sweareth by his name falsely, so not to hold him guiltlesse that taketh his name vainely. So that there is a curse for him that swea­reth, Siue mendaci­ter, siue inutili­ter. Lyra in his Glosse on Eccl. 23. 10. whither falsely, or to no pur­pose.

Secondly, I answere with Ex saepe, mul­tumque iurando, nascitur & per­iuriū, & impie­tas, Phil. lib. de dee. praec. Philo Iudaeus, that of much and often swea­ring commeth both periurie and impie­tie. And with that learned Father, S. Nemo est qui frequenter iurat, qui aliquando non peierat: sicut qui consueuit multa loqui, aliquando loquitur importuna. Au. in Mat. 5 August. none there is that often sweareth, but sometimes hee forswea­reth: euen as hee that is wont to speake much doth sometime speake out of sea­son. [Page 83] And therefore the safest course in this case is, to follow the pre­cept of a very Menander. [...] Peri [...]nder. Heathen Poet, [...], Shunne (saith he) an Oath when thou mayst iustly take it. For swearing be­getteth Aug. ad cons. de mend. c. 15. facilitie, facilitie custome, custome periurie: the very Non penitus iurare prohibuit sed occasionem periurij euitare docuit. Greg. in Mat. 5. occasion whereof we should shunne, saith one. Now, Cesset ignis, & incendium non fit subtrahe gla­dium, & hornici­dium non permit­titur sic tolle iu­ramentum, & periurium non fit. Chryl. om. 12. op. imp. cap. 52. put out the fire there can be no flame: take away the sword, there can be no murther: so sweare not at all, there can be no periurie. Periurie is a dange­rous pit, saith a Periurium praecititium est: qui iurat iuxta est, qui non iurat, longe. Falsa iuratio exitiosa, vera periculosannulla secura. August in Iacob. 5. 12. Father, He that swea­reth is nigh to it, he that sweareth not farre from it: false swearing is deadly, true swearing dangerous, no swearing secure: vvee see it true in 1 Sam. 19. 6. 15. Saul, a horrible swearer, a damnable forswea­rer, 1 Sam. 19.

But it vvill Obiect. 6. They svveare to be beleeued. sixtly be obiected, they are vrged thereunto by necessitie, they shall not otherwise be beleeued.

[Page 84] I answere: first, shall there bee Ansvvere. any necessitie to moue thee to grieue 1 and displease thy Creatour? doest Rather losecre­dit vvith men, then reputati­on vvith God. thou preferre thy credit with men, before thy reputation with God? Surely, in this case thou shouldest rather chuse not at all to be cre­dited. Better that men vniustly su­spect thee, then God iustly con­demne thee. 2

But secondly, in saying they will Aut parum bene sentit qui iurat, de eo cui iurat, aut diffidit is, qui iuramentum exigit. Pellic. super. Matth. not else beleeue thee, thou art vncha­ritable to others, and shamest thy selfe. Ʋncharitable to others, in censuring them as distrustfull and suspicious of thee, which argueth themselues also to be guiltie of falsehood. 1 Shamest thy selfe, in that thy credit 2 is so crackt, thy word is not any It is a shame to our selues, that vve are not beleeued. thing vvorth without an Oath. For therefore thou swearest, because thy simple vvord is of no credit. And what is the cause men are so in­credulous The cause of others in cre­dulitie is our falsehood. and suspicious of thee? It is thy wauering in thy words, thy de­ceit in thy dealings, thy vnfaithfulnes [Page 85] in thy promises, thy falsehood in thy sayings, thy inconstancy in thy speeches. No maruell then, thy saying is so little respected: vvouldest thou on the other side haue thy vvord cre­dited? I shall tell thee a farre better The best vvay to be credited, is to be true & vnblamable in all our dea­lings. way then swearing. Be true and vn­blamable in all thy dealings, and fol­low the rule Saint Ierome giueth (quae dixeris, putes iurata) that which thou hast spoken, suppose it as Hieron. ad Celan. Be true in Heart, Words, Workes. sworne. Meane not cunningly, speake not dissemblingly, deale not deceit­fully: but be sincere in heart, true in words, faithfull in workes. So shall men credit thy bare saying, more then anothers swearing: for it is not the Oath (saith one) that gineth I. D. credit to a man, but a man to his Oath.

So then, thy common swearing 1 is to no purpose at all: for if thou Quid enim opus est iuramento, vnoquo (que) de alio optime & senti­ente & sperante. Pellic. beest knowne to be vpright in words, and deeds, thy word shall goe currant, and decide any mat­ter, inasmuch as thou makest more [Page 86] account of that, then another of his Oath.

If on the other side, to vse dou­ble An honest mans vvord is better respect­ed then a dou­ble-dealers Oath. dealing, that causeth thy very Oath to be suspected, and not so much respected as an honest mans Word. And surely wee may vvell suspect a common Swearer: for (qui deierat, peierat) Hee that often Ioh. Dow. sweareth, often forsweareth. And wee haue little cause to beleeue such a one: for (as W. W. on Hos. 4. 2. Svvearing and Lying are In­mates. one saith well to this purpose) Swearing and Lying for the most part are In-mates, and dwell both vnder one roofe, and walke hand in hand, like the Theefe and the Receiuer; or as the Vsurer and the Broker. It is to be feared, that a common Swearer is a Lyer: he that feareth not the one, feareth not the other: hee that will dishonour God, Hee that vvill dishonor God, vvill deceiue his neighbour. will deceiue his neighbour: hee that maketh no Conscience of the first Table, will not make any Conscience of the second. If thou beest not then beleeued, the more is thy shame, [Page 87] the disgrace is thine owne, and blame thy selfe for it.

But it will seauenthly be obiected of others, they confesse this ordi­narie Obiect. 7. They doe it onely in their anger. swearing to be haynous and grieuous: onely now and then they are moued thereunto in their anger, when they are crossed and offended, and then they cannot refraine them­selues.

But this is the worst excuse of all Ansvvere. Such as pleade this, are like fooles and mad-men. the former: and such as these I can compare to none so fitly as to fooles or mad-men, who (as wee say) if they be stricken, strike their next fellowes. These, in farre vvorse For the vvrongs they receiue of men, they re­uenge them­selues vpon God. manner, doe for the displeasure and wrongs they receiue of men, reuenge themselues vpon God. If vpon the least occasion they be moued and prouoked, then by a multitude of Oathes, they set vp (as it were) their Flagge of defiance against Heauen, and proclaime warre against Christ, it shall cost him a Stab, as though hee were the sole cause of their [Page 88] discontentment. The like they doe The like they doe in their sports and re­creations. in their sports and recreations: let them be crossed in their carding, dicing, bowling, or any other Pa­stime, they spit out their venome If they be cros­sed in them, God shall be crossed in his honour. against the Lord of glory: and if they indure any losse, they will make God himselfe pay for it. So prone and ready they are to dishonour Tam facile, & pronum est supe­ros contemnere testes. Iuuen. God.

But oh vile wretched Creature, whosoeuer thou art: why shouldest thou thus, like a mad Dogge, flye Like mad-dogs they flye in their masters face vvho fee­deth them. in the face of thy Master that fee­deth thee, easing thy stomacke vp­on his sacred Name, whensoeuer thou art grieued and offended? Hee neuer did thee hurt, but hath euer And neuer did them hurt, but good. Acts 17. 28. beene a gracious God vnto thee, in whom thou liuest and mouest, and from whom thou enioyest all things, and of whom, and whose mercy it is, that thou art not consu­med: Lamen. 3. 22. and wilt thou make him this requitall? Must others wrongs be reuenged on him? for by thy Hel­lish [Page 89] Oathes thou hurtest not them, By their hellish Oathes they hurt not others but God and their ovvne soules: thou hurtest thinc owne soule, thou hurtest and dishonourest God. Hee it is that is prouoked, and his holy Spirit is grieued, as thou shalt one day know, and feele to thy vvoe, without vnfained repentance.

But it will lastly be obiected, they vtterly detest it, and when they haue Obiect. 8. They svveare by reason of custome. done it at vnawares, they desire God to pardon it: but they haue got a foolish custome, and they cannot leaue it.

I answere first, in that they say 1 they detest it, it appeareth to be Ansvvere. Did they hate it, they vvould not continue in it. false. Were it so, they would not make a trade of such a knowne sinne; nay, they would neuer be at rest and quiet, vntill they were well wained from it. And what if (when Their asking forgiuenesse shall not excuse them. they haue sworne) they desire par­don; will God heare and accept such a Prayer? Can they hope, hee will forgiue it, when they still continue They are here­in like the Ievves. Mark. 15. 18. in it? what are they herein, but like the Iewes who despightfully cruci­fied [Page 90] Christ, and yet in words salute him, with Haile King of the Iewes. So for these, to make a Prayer like a flash of Lightening, and yet conti­nually It is no other thing but a mocking of God. Gal. 6. 7. without ceasing to grieue God by this sin; what is it else but a moc­king of God, who will not be mocked, Gal. 6.

Secondly, in that they pleade 2 long custome, they doe not at all Hoc est seipsum accusare, magis quam excusare, &c. Musc. app. ad Psal. 15. de Iur. excuse, but the more accuse them­selues. For, it is as if the Theefe should pleade at the Barre, that hee hath beene so long accustomed to robbing, that hee cannot leaue it. Would the Iudge take this excuse It vvill not ex­cuse a theefe, but the sooner condemne him. for good? or not rather the sooner condemne him, as more iustly deser­uing to be hanged? And can vvee thinke, that the Lord will acquit such notorious Fellones, as make it a daily practise to robbe him, and Hovv then can God acquit such as daily robbe him of his glory? to bereaue him of his dearest ho­nour? wee cannot thinke it. If cu­stome will not excuse the Theefe for his stealing, nor the Murtherer [Page 91] for his killing, nor the Adulterer for his whoring, how shall it excuse the Swearer for his swearing? for euery sinne, by how much the Euery sinne, by hovv much the more customa­ble, by so much the more dete­stable, more common and customable, by so much the more haynous and dete­stable. If once to sweare vainely be a sinne, then is customable Swea­ring a crying sinne, and must needs (being a higher trespasse) incurre And the more damnable. the higher condemnation. And so much for answere to such Obiecti­ons as are vsuall in the mouthes of prophane Swearers.

Wherefore seeing the Reasons Exhortation, To breake off this sinne. are so forcible on the one side, and the Excuses so friuolous on the o­ther side; let euery one endeuour to breake off this sinne by repen­tance, being carefull to leaue it, zea­lous to hate it, resolute to forsake it; to which end, vse the best meanes against it: as, Meanes to be vsed against it. 1 Bevvare of that vvhich may giue vvay to it, or cause it.

First, beware of any thing that may seeme to giue way to it, as the vse of earnest protestations, which is the [Page 92] next doore to it: or any thing that may seeme to cause it. As if it be from a proud spirit, desire of glo­ry; striue to subdue it: if from a co­uetous 1 spirit, desire of gaine; seeke to suppresse it: if from an impatient 2 spirit, outragious furie; labor to con­taine 3 it. Take Saint Iames coun­sell, Iames 1. 19. Be slow to Wrath. Take Saint Pauls counsell, Be angry, but sinne Ephes. 4. 26. not.

Secondly, to the end this 2 Bridle thy Tongue, and be vvary ouer it. Sinne may fall into a Consump­tion, Set a bit in thine owne mouth, and curbe in therewith thy tongue, that slipperie piece of flesh, that in this kinde thou offend not with Psal. 39. 1. it. If thou vvert in suite of Law, for any matter that concerneth thy estate, how vvary vvouldest thou be ouer thy words, least thou shouldest any vvay wrong thy selfe. In this matter that concer­neth thy Soule, bee as warie and Be as vvary as thou vvouldest be in a suite of Lavv. watchfull, least thou wrong both GOD and thy selfe: GOD, [Page 93] of his Glory, and thy selfe of Heauen.

Thirdly, haunt not the company of those that vse it; but make choise 3 Haunt not the company of those that vse it. of such company as vvill rather re­proue it, and not at any time re­quire it, vnlesse vpon vrgent ne­cessitie. It is a sinne not a little conta­gious, the plague it selfe not more infectious. The safest course to escape it, is not to come within the aire of it.

Fourthly, consider seriously the 4 Consider the grieuous punishments of it. grieuous punishments that haue fol­lowed vaine swearers in all ages, which (being Deut. 28. 58. 59. 60. 61. threatned alike to all) our selues also may feare without amendement. Some haue had their tongues swelling, others their mouths burning, some haue beene stroke madde, others suddainly dead. In a Of all other sinnes, it hath not escaped punishment. word, of all other sinners, they haue tasted iudgements, many in number, great in measure. And (which is vvorst of all) to make vp their Woe, they haue plunged Body [Page 94] and Soule into eternall condemna­tion.

Lastly, commend thy selfe by 5 Desire God to keepe the doore of thy lips. prayer vnto Almightie God, for the helpe and assistance of his holy Spi­rit. He it is, that worketh in vs both Phil. 2. 12. the will and the deed: and therefore let Dauids desire be euer thy desire, Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth, and keepe the doore of my lips, Psal. 141. 3. Psael. 141. 3. By these meanes wee shall be the better enabled to disin­ure our tongues from the common vse of Oathes.

And so much shall serue to haue spoken of the one part of my Text, Because of Oathes. It now remai­neth that I hasten to the other: The Land mourneth. In vvhich The second part; the effect, Mourning. vvordes, there is ministred an Ocean of matter, vvhich I shall swimme through as fast as I can, and briefe­ly runne ouer it, lest the time ouer­runne mee.

The Prophet telleth vs in this lat­ter part, that the effect of swearing The meaning. [Page 95] is mourning; by which hee vnder­standeth not onely Iudgément, but He vnderstan­deth not only iudgement, but the griefe, and bitternes that follovveth it. the very griefe and bitternesse that followeth of it; because wee are not so sensible of the iudgement it selfe, as of the paine that waiteth vpon it. The childe would not care for the rod, vvere it not for the smart that commeth after it. No more would vvee at all feare iudgements, but that they procure a feeling, which is the cause of mourning. In this terme then here vsed, he giueth vs to vn­derstand, It is such a iudgement, as leaueth a sting behind it. The doctrines. that it is such a iudgement as leaueth a sting behind it. Hence obserue the reward: first, of sinne in generall: secondly, of vaine Oathes 1 in particular. 2

First, the Prophet here sheweth 1 The revvard of sinne in ge­nerall. Sub adulterijs, & periurijs com­prehendit alia scelera Ioan Calu. praelect. in hunc locum. vnto vs the reward of all sinne: for vnder these (saith Caluin) are other sinnes contained: for which also hee might truely say the Land mourneth; for what euill euer befell eyther Per­son or Nation, but vvickednesse brought it, sinne caused it? This [Page 96] vvas it that caused the Gen 7. 23. Floud to destroy the old World, Gen. 10. 24. Fire and Brimstone to consume Sodome, Exod. 14. 28. the Sea to drowne Pharaoh, the Numb. 16. 32 Earth to swallow vp Chorah. This was it, that was the cause of Iosh. 7. 25. Achans sto­ning, Esth. 7. 10. Hamans hanging, Dan. 5. 6. Belshaz­zars trembling, Mat. 27. 7. Iudas despairing. This was it, that barred Dan. 4. 30. Nebuchad­nezzar out of mens presence, Gen. 4. 16. Cain out of Gods presence, Gen. 3. 24. Adam out of Paradise, 2 Pet. 2. 4. Angels out of Hea­uen. And how often did it cause God to punish his owne people, this people of Israel, vvho were as the apple of his eye, and signet vpon his right hand? In a word, vvhat need I trauell farre for examples? haue not our sinnes had the like effect? Sinne hath caused this our Land to mourne, diuers vvayes: haue not they caused this our Land many times to mourne?

Hath it not sometime mourned by the Sword, both (in time past) of enemies openly assaulting it, and 1 By Svvord. Openly. (since more lately) of enemies close­ly vndermining it, attempting by Closely. [Page 97] plots, treasons, and conspiracies, to subuert State and Religion, Church and Common-wealth.

Hath it not (a second vvay) mourned by Famine, as many a 2 By Famine. poore Country soule can vvitnesse? hath not GOD depriued them of the staffe of Bread, made our fruit­full Ezek. 4. 16. Land barren, and the Hearbs Psal. 107. 34. of euery Field to wither, for the Ierem. 12. 4. wickednesse of them that dwell there­in?

Hath it not (a third way) mour­ned 3 By Sickenes. by Sickenesse? euen by the Pe­stilence, that walketh in the darke­nesse, and the plague that destroy­eth Psal. 91. 6. at noone day, with diuers other strange diseases, which haue (as in Dauids time) swept away thou­sands, and tenne thousands in our streets?

Hath it not (a fourth way) mourned by Pouertie? What mea­neth 4 By pouertie. then such crying and com­plaining Psal. 144. 14. in our streetes?

Looke vpon the generall part of [Page 98] the Land, doe they not vvant that abundance, they haue formerly in­ioyed? and vvhat a number daily change, and fall from prosperitie to miserie, from plenty to penurie, from brauerie to beggerie?

Hath it not (a fift way) mourned by vnseasonable weather, quite con­trary to the course of nature? hath 5 By vnsea­sonable vvea­ther. not God one while made the Hea­uen as Iron, the Earth as Brasse, and the Clouds to denie their moysture? Leuit. 26. 19. hath he not another while (and that within the space of these few dayes) caused the Heauens to mourne, and shed teares by immoderate showers, because our hard hearts cannot mourne: and the earth to be ouer­whelmed with floods and invndati­ons, because of the vniuersall flood, and deluge of sinne?

Lastly, to let passe other iudge­ments, and onely to put you in mind By the death of hopefull Prince Henry. Nouemb. 6. 1612. of one more. Hath not the Land mourned euer since Nouember last, (my heart melteth to mention it) [Page 99] by the death of a Prince, the glory of Peeres, and patterne of Princes: Prince HENRY by name; a ver­tuous, a religious, a couragious Prince, the very ioy of our hearts, the hope of our Land, and our very securitie, for the continuance of our peace. Well, notwithstanding; the Lord hath taken him from vs, and for our sinnes vvee are of him depri­ued, For our sinnes he vvas taken from vs. as of him vnworthy. Thankes be vnto God, there is yet a remnant There is yet a remnant of that Princely progeny. of that Princely progenie, which the Lord long preserue, and (no doubt) he vvill preserue, if the cry­ing sinnes of the Land, doe not too And hope there is of the continuance of it. much prouoke the fire of his wrath, to kindle against vs. Hee hath giuen vs hope of it, by the late marriage of that Freder: the 5. Count Palatin of the Rheine, &c. Princesse Elizab. Febru. 14. 16 [...]2. But yet this is a faire vvar­ning. blessed couple, the noble Prince, and the ver­tuous Lady, whom the LORD increase and multiply. But how­soeuer (Men, Brethren, and Fathers,) this is a faire warning, and such a warning, as is not too lightly [Page 100] to be passed ouer, and already to be And to be layd to heart of vs. forgotten, as generally it is: but ra­ther to turne our feastes into mour­ning, and our songs into lamentation: Amos 8. 10. with Micah, lamenting like the Dra­gons, and mourning like the Ostriches: Micah. 1. 8. and taking vp Ieremiahs mourne­full complaint, in the last of his Lamentations. The ioy of our heart is gone: our daunce is turned into Lament. 5. 15. 16. mourning: the crowne of our head is fallen: woe now vnto vs that we haue sinned. Thus are wee to lay it to heart, and make right vse of it, that so God may be pleased to double, and trible his blessings vpon those So shall God multiply his blessings vpon those branches vvhich re­maine. goodly Oliue branches vvhich re­maine, and neuer proceed so farre at controuersie with vs, as to turne our Beth-el to Beth-auen, the house of his Seruice, to a house of va­nitie.

And thus wee see how sinne hath brought woe vpon the Land; and how it hath beene the cause of many a mourning, and is yet [Page 101] like (if it beare sway) to cause many more.

What should all this teach vs, Vse. but 1 to bewaile it: 2 to preuent 1 it: bewaile sinne past; preu [...]nt it 2 for time to come. Let all Estates, and Callings, from the highest to Exhortation to the lowest, leaue and forsake their darling sinnes: Magistrates their Magistrates. conniuence, and too much win­king: Iudges their partialitie, and Iudges. too much fauoring: Patrones their Patrones. theft, and Church-robbing: Mi­nisters Ministers. their soothing vp, and flat­tering: Lawyers their subtiltie, and Lavvyers. delaying: Courtiers their pollicie, and Courtiers. dissembling: Citizens their pride, Citizens. and deceiuing: Gentlemen their Gentlemen. wracking, and oppressing: Coun­try-men Countrymen. All. their lawyng, and conten­ding: and euery one of these their coueting.

So shall wee haue beautie for So shall vvee haue ioy for mourning, Isa. 61. 3. ashes, ioy for mourning, and the garment of gladnesse for the spirit of heauinesse.

[Page 102] If thus vvith Niniue wee repent of Ionan 3. 10. the euill against God, God will repent of the euill against vs. If now vvith the prodigall childe vve come to our Luke 15. 20. [...]o shall God imbrace vs, ac­cording to his promise vvith­out exception, selue by repentance, our Father will imbrace vs, and haue compassion vpon vs, according to his pro­mise, his promise without exception, either of time, or of persons, or of sinnes. Without exception of time; 1 Of time. Ezek. 18. 27. for hee is ready to doe it at what time soeuer, Ezek. 18. Without ex­ception of persons; for, come vnto me 2 Of persons. Matth. 11. 28. all heauie laden, Matth. 11. 28. Without exception of sinnes; though they be crimson sinnes, or scarlet 3 Of sinnes. Esa. 1. 18. sinnes, Esa. 1. 18.

But on the other side, if our Gen. 9. 22. On the other side. Chams continue their scoffing, our Heb. 12. 16. Esaus their prophaning, our Iosh. 7. 21. A­chans their theeuing, our 1 Sam. 25. 11. Nabals their coueting, our 1 Sam. 18. 9. Sauls their hart­burning, our 1 Kings 21. Ahabs their oppres­sing, our 2 Kings 9. 22 Iezabels their whoring, our Dan 4. 27. Nebuchadnezzars their vaunt­ting, and all of vs our sinning and [Page 103] rebelling against the King of Hea­uen: our Land shall continue mour­ning, If vve continue sinning, our Land shall continue mourning. God shall continue smiting: nay, hee vvill bring a greater plague vpon vs, which wee shall not be able to escape: his eye shall not spare vs, Ierem. 11. 11. Ezek. 8. 18. neither will hee pittie vs, and though wee cry aloud in his eares, hee will not heare vs. Pray vvee may vvith Diues, but not be heard: Weepe we Luke 16. 24. Heb. 12. 17. may with Esau, but not be pittied: Knocke wee may vvith the Virgins, Matt. 25. 12. but be denied: Call vvee may vpon him, but he will not answere: Earely Prou. 1. 28. may wee seeke him, but we shall not finde him. And so much for the first thing here obserued; the reward of sinne in generall.

The time being almost spent, whispereth in my eare to folde vp that which remayneth in a narrow compasse, and to wind vp in a word. Many other points there are be­hinde: I shall but onely name them.

From the reward of sinne in [Page 104] generall, vvee should haue come to consider the reward of Oathes 2 The revvard of vaine Oaths in particular. in particular, which is the very bitternesse of iudgement; they shall end in mourning.

Let swearers be as iolly and mer­rie, as they will, they must one Let svvearers be as merry as they vvill, they must one day mourne: Vnlesse they preuent it. Matth. 5. 4. day mourne for their mirth; and happy shall it be for them if in this life they may preuent it. Preuent it they may, if they mourne heere. Blessed are such, saith our Sauiour, for they shall be comforted. Let them then lament it for time past, let them auoyde it for time to come, and they that feare to taste of this mourning, let them feare to sweare.

Hence also vvee may note, Doct. The ground of true mirth is not sinne, but pietie. (and I shall but note it) that the ground of true mirth is not sinne, but pietie: for as sinne is the cause of mourning, so is godlinesse of true re­ioycing.

Whence it followeth; first, that Vse 1. Only the god­ly may be true­ly merry. onely the godly may be truely mer­rie: [Page 105] for, by Christ their debts are Psal. 103. 3. paid; their Bils are cancelled, and by Luke 12. 32. God (the best pay-master) they are sure to be rewarded; whence their ioy is 1 Pet. 1. 8. Phil. 4. 7. 2 The laugh­ter of the vvic­ked is as the crackling of Thornes. vnspeakeable, and passeth vn­derstanding. Secondly, that the laughter of the wicked is, but Eccles. 7. 8. like the crackling of Thornes, soone set on fire, soone put out: and that their Mirth is but Eccles. 2. 2. Their ioy like the ioy of a mad-man. madnesse, as Salomon tearmeth it: their ioy like the ioy of a mad-man, who laugheth when o­thers pittie him. Woe to such saith Christ: for they shall waile and weepe. Luke 6. 25. Luke 6. 25. The last thing, the generalitie of this mour­ning.

But to hasten from the Passion to the Patient, the last thing to be obserued, is, the generalitie of this Mourning. It extendeth to the whole Land, it is not personall but It is not perso­nall but natio­nall. nationall. Because of Oathes the Land mourneth.

The reason is, first, because the nature of this sinne is so horrible, that GOD thereby is highly pro­uoked to punish not onely those [Page 106] that commit it, but euen those that tollerate it, whose sinne also it is, be­ing Reason 1. Quatenus, the vvhole Land doth tolerate it, it is their sinne. appointed to reforme it. Se­condly, because where there is false Swearing; there the subiect, and so consequently the whole Land, is wronged: and thus Iustice b [...]ing 2 Where there is false svvearing the vvhole land is vvronged, & it cannot stand. subuerted, the Common-wealth can­not stand. Hence may be inferred two conclusions.

  • 1 The greatnesse of this sinne.
  • 2 The danger of suffering it.

The greatnesse of it appeareth: Obseruat. 1. The greatnesse of this sinne: vvhich appea­reth, 1 By Gods great hatred against it. 2 By the great pollution vvhich it vvor­keth. first, by Gods great hatred against it, whose punishment thereof ouer­taketh the whole Land: secondly, by the great pollution which it wor­keth, in that it maketh all obnoxi­ous, and is able to pull downe the vengeance of GOD, not onely vpon the Swearers themselues, but also vpon the vvhole Land: and the like doth it also vpon the It pulleth dovvne ven­geance on the Land, Familie wherein they liue: so saith [Page 107] the Sonne of Syrach: The plague And on the fa­milie vvhere it is vsed. shall neuer goe from the Swearers house.

Secondly, as great is the sinne, Eccles. 23. 11. so great is the danger of tollerating Obseruat. 2. The great dan­ger of tollera­ting this sinne in a Common-vvealth. this sinne in a Common-wealth: for it eateth like a Mothe, fretteth like a Canker, and is the ruine of the whole State and Kingdome. Hence it followeth,

First, that the Magistrate is by Whence it fol­lovveth: 1 That the Ma­gistrate is by sharpe lavves to represse it, Sueton in vita August. sharpe lawes to represse it Augustus the Emperour gaue charge to the Pretors of Rome (ne paterentur no­men suum obsolefieri) not to suffer his name to be worne thread-bare. Such care should Christian Magi­strates haue of the Name of God, and not permit it to be polluted by common Swearing, a Sinne vsually Notorious Svvearers pu­nished of the Romanes. punished of all Rulers in all Nati­ons: as of the Romanes with throw­ing downe from a Rocke: of the Egiptians with losse of head: of the Grecians, with losse of Eares: Egiptians. of the Scithians with losse of goods: Grecians. Scithians. [Page 108] of Maximilian the Emperour, with Maximilian. forfeiture of monie: of Iustinian the Iustinian. Emperour, with putting to death: K. Lewes. of King Lewes of France, with sea­ring Henry the first. their lips: lastly, of Henry the first of England, who ordained with­in his owne Palace, for euery Oath a A Duke, 40. shillings; a Lord, tvventie; a Knight, or Gentleman, tenne; a Yeo­man, three shil­lings, foure pence; a Page, to be scourged. payment to the vse of the poore. It were in like manner to be wish­ed some sharpe Law vvere now enacted against it, in euery both publike and priuate gouernment: that so our Senatours might banish it out of the Land, and our house­holders out of their Families, least themselues also come to smart for it.

Secondly, hence it followeth, that 2 Svvearers in this kinde are no good Sub­iects. Swearers in this kinde are no good Subiects. Good Subiects they can­not be, because they sinne against the whole Land, take away the peace of it, bring downe Iudgements vp­on it: and so commit Treason not They commit treason against the King and State. onely against Christ, but against the King and State: the whole [Page 109] Land and Kingdome fareth vvorse for their sakes. So saith the Pro­phet Ieremiah; Because of Oathes the Land mourneth.

And thus (Right Honourable, Right Worshipfull, and Well-be­loued Christians) you haue heard this Complaint of Ieremiah plainely handled vnto you: A Text very This Text is needfull to be handled in this Land. Citie. Place. needfull for these secure times. And therefore pardon mee for making choise to speake of no other; euen in this famous Land, the glory of Europe: and in this Mother Citie, the glory of the Land: and in this publike place of assembly, the glory of the Citie. And now giue mee leaue to conclude with Applica­tion.

Notwithstanding this sinne of Swearing, hath beene shewed to be Application. to our Soules a Dagger, to our Tongues a Canker, and both to our selues & the Land euery way so dan­gerous: yet if vve take a suruay of the state of our times, wee shall [Page 110] finde that herein we come not short Wee come not short of Israell in this sinne. Mat. 26. of Israel. Nay, contrariwise vvee finde, that it was vsuall with them to rend their garments when they heard Gods name blasphemed, which thing (as one saith) if wee should Ioh. Dow. lect. on Hos. 4. 2. doe in our dayes, wee should neuer goe in whole apparrell, and the whole wealth of the Land were scarce suf­ficient to cloath the people of it. So It is a sinne largely spread and common­ly vsed. largely is it spread, and so commonly is it vsed:

  • 1 In all Places.
  • 2 In all Businesses.
  • 3 Of all Persons.

First, in all Places: it aboundeth in 1 In all places. the Court, swarmeth in the Citie, raigneth in the Country. Secondly, 2 In all busi­nesses. in all Businesses: Men cannot meete and part, eate and drinke, buy and sell without it; it is the Seale of e­uery Bargaine. Thirdly, among all 3 Among all Persons. Persons, of all callings and conditi­ons whatsoeuer: Noble-men, vvho Noble men. should shew by their Vertue true [Page 111] Nobilitie, and shine by their exam­ple to many other, dishonour GOD, and debase themselues, becomming slaues to Sathan by this odious sinne. Magistrates doe not draw out the Sword against it; it walketh Magistrates. vnpunished, vncontrouled: nay, them­selues are guiltie of it, when as they should correct it. And herein the Turkes doe much out-strip vs, who Guliel. Tripol. admit no idle Swearer, of what qua­litie soeuer, to any office of Gouern­ment. From Magistrates I had like to haue come to blame the Tribe of Leuy; and I would to God Ministers. it were not to be found in some of vs: reformers of others; herein to be reformed; Oh tell it not in Gath, nor 2 Sam. 1. 20. publish it in the Streetes of Asskalon, least the Daughters of the Philistines reioyce, least the vncircumcised tri­umph. Passe we on to Gentlemen, it is Gentlemen. their greatest glory: the way to shew themselues generous and valorous, is by setting their Tongues against Heauen, and abusing that Name, at [Page 112] which they should tremble. Their Seruingmen herein math them, if Seruingmen. not exceede them: the multitude of Oathes (and that from the basest of them) pierceth the Heauens, and cryeth for vengeance in the Eares of the Lord of Hosts. Come wee from them to Trades-men both in Tradesmen. Citie and Country, how doe they seeke by this sinne to gaine the world, and to lose their owne Soules? Mar. 16. 26.

In a word, whom may not God All sorts of people. summon to his high Court for this sinne? yong and old, high and low, rich and poore, men and women, masters and seruants, fathers and Children, I, and that young Infants before Yong children. they can goe perfectly, or speake plainely, or scarcely tell their owne names, they can readily sweare by Gods Name; and in this they grew faster then in their stature. Thus all kindes of persons season their mouthes with Oathes: this plague is rife in euery part of the Land: Where shall a man passe, [Page 113] but hee shall hearethem sent forth out of mens mouthes (like a flocke A man cannot passe, but hee shall heare Oathes in eue­ry place. of Birds) by hundreds together? enough to make the ground to cleaue asunder, and the clouds to fall vpon their heads, were not God won­derfull in patience. If they were ga­thered together as the frogs of Egipt swept vp into an heape, the Land would stincke of them. Our Oaths, if they were registred would fill ma­ny volumes: no maruell, God hath Volumes of Oathes. for vs a volume of Curses. And how doth the Land abound with new Zach. 5. 2. 3. fashions of Oathes, as well as of cloathes: no maruell, we are puni­shed Nevv fashions of Oathes. with new and strange diseases. What should I say more of this sinne? Pardon mee if I cannot part with it. If we should hold our peace, the stones would speake. What good Minde can but grieue to conceiue it? what Heart but bleede to thinke vp­on it? what Eye but weepe to see it? what Eare but tingle to heare it?

[Page 114] Well, (to draw to a conclusion) let gracelesse Ruffins runne on in Exhortation. this finne, let the most part of men goe on this broad way, beloued (Bre­thren Mat. 7. 13. and Fathers) Wee haue not so Ephes. 4. 20. learned Christ. For vs then, that professe our selues Christians, let vs suffer the words of exhortation.

And you (my Lord, with your To the Lord Maior, Alder­men, and She­riffes of London. Honourable Fraternitie on the Bench) let mee the vnworthyest of Gods Messengers, in the feare of God exhort you: and let God and his ordinance preuaile with you for the Reformation of this sinne, which you haue heard to be no small sinne, but a Crimson Sinne, a Scarlet Sinne. First, be carefull to refraine it in your selues: then bend your Authoritie to restraine it in others. You are Gods Leiuetenants here on earth, whom God hath much aduanced, and highly Psal. 82. 6. ho­noured. Shew your selues truely zealous to honour him againe, in drawing the sword against such as [Page 115] dishonour him. So shall hee put vp his Sword drawne against the Land.

And you (Right Worthy Citi­zens) whom God hath wonderfully To the Citi­zens. blessed with meanes both for this life and a better; be exhorted to re­forme this haynous sinne: Cleanse it out of your Streetes: sweepe it out of your Shops: banish it out of your houses: and grieue not here­by Ephes. 4. 30. the holy Spirit of God, by which you are sealed vnto the day of Re­demption. To Courtiers.

In a word, Courtiers, Students, Students. Gentlemen. Gentlemen, Country men, All, let Country-men. All. mee beseech you in the Name of God, and in the bowels of Christ Iesus, as you tender the Glory of GOD, the Peace of the Land, and the Saluation of your Soules; doe not runne on head-long in this Sinne of Ʋaine Swearing: neyther Non libenter cum voluntate, frequenter cum assiduitate, men­daciter. cum fal­sitate, inutiliter sine necessitate, fallaciter cum arte verborum, praecipitāter sine discretione, ne­quiter ex liuere. wilfully, nor customa­bly, nor falsely, nor vainely, nor deceitfully, nor rashly, nor wickedly: Iacob. de Gor. [Page 116] but feare the Glorious Name of GOD, and vse your Tongues, as Trumpets of his Prayses. So shall the Land cease mourning, your selues escape punishing, and the Gates of Heauen shall be set open vnto you, to the vnchangeable happinesse of your soules. Which the Lord God grant vnto vs all, to our eternall ioy and comfort.

And wee beseech thee, O Lord, who workest in vs both the will and the deede, Set a watch before our Phil. 2. 13. Psal. 141. 3. Mouthes, keepe the doore of our Lips: Bridle our Tongues vvith the Bit of thy Feare: Cause vs to make account of thy holy Name, and in this Life to honour thee, that in the Life to come, vvee may be honoured of thee, in thy eternall Kingdome.

And Lord, be good vnto our Nation, visite thy Ʋine, thou hast planted amongst vs. Let not the Psal. 80. 3. wilde Bore out of the Wood destroy it, nor the wilde Beasts of the Field eate [Page 117] it vp: But spare vs, O Lord, spare vs, and lift vp the light of thy coun­tenance Psal. 4. 6. vpon vs. Poure out thy Ier. 10. 25. Wrath vpon the Heathen, that haue not knowne thee, and vpon the Fa­miles that haue not called vpon thy Name: but prosper them that seeke the prosperitie of Sion: heare those Psal. 122. 6. that pray for the Peace of Ierusa­lem: forgiue the crying sinnes of the Land, remoue thy Iudgements that hang ouer it: and walke thou Reuel. 1. 13. in the midst of the Golden Candle­stickes: let the Bels of Aaron ring long amongst vs: still continue 2 Thes. 3. 1. and inlarge the free passage of thy Gospell. Crowne with Blessings our Soueraigne, and his Seede for euer, that so thy Glory (O GOD) may rest in our Land, till wee all come to rest in the Land of Glory. Sancti­fie the Court, blesse the Citie, be good to the Country, be mercifull to vs all, that when wee come to the end of our dayes, wee may re­ceiue the end of our hope, the sal­uation [Page 118] of our Soules. These things wee begge in the Name of thy Sonne and our Sauiour, to whom, with thee, and thy holy Spirit, be ascribed all praise, ho­nour, and glory, now and for euermore. Amen.


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