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99. Q. What does God decree in the third commandment? • A. That not only by cursing, or forswearing, j but also by rash swearing,k we should abstain from using his name despitefully or irreverently; neither should, by silence or connivance, be partakers of those horrible sins in others; but that we should always use the sacred and holy name of God with the greatest devotion and reverence; m that he
the work of errors; in the time of visitation they shall perish. The portion of Jacob is not like them; for he is the former of all things; and Israel is the rod of his inheritance; the Lord of hosts is his name. Jer. x. 14-16.
i Whosoever curseth his God shall bear his sin. And he that blasphemeth the name of the Lord, he shall surely be put to death. Lev. xxiv. 15, 16.
i And ye shall not swear by my name falsely, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the Lord. Lev, xix. 12. Thou shalt not forswear thyself. Matt. v. 33.
k But I say unto you, Swear not at all; but let your communication be, Yea, yea; nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil. Matt. v. 34, 37. But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath ; but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation. James v. 12. Love no false oath. Zech. viii. 17.
1 And if a soul sin, and hear the voice of swearing, and is a witness, whether he hath seen or known of it; if he do not utter it, then shall he bear his iniquity. Lev. v. 1. Whoso is partner with a thief hateth his own soul; he heareth cursing, and bewrayeth it not. Prov. xxix. 24.
m Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God, and the Father by him. Col. iii. 17. Give thanks unto the Lord; call upon his name. Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him; glory ye in his holy name. Ps. cv. 1-3. I will praise the name of God with a song,
may be worshipped and honoured by us with a true and constant confession, and invocation of his name,' and lastly, in all our words and actions. P
100. Q. Is it then so grievous a sin by swearing, to take the name of the Lord in vain, that God is also angry with those, who, in as much as they are able, do not forbid or hinder it?
A. Surely most grievous. For the profanation of his holy name must be highly offensive to God;
and magnify him with thanksgiving. Ps. lxix. 30. Let them praise thy great name, for it is holy. Ps. xcix. 3. Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever. Dan. ii. 20. For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy. Isa. lvii. 15. The Lord's name is to be praised. Ps. cxiii. 3.
n Whosoever, therefore, shall confess me before men, him .will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. Matt. x. 32. That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness: and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Rom. x. 9, 10.
• And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me. Ps. 1. 15. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved. Rom. x. 13. I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting. 1 Tim. ii. 8. 1 Pet. iii. 15.
p Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. Col, iii. 17. 1 Tim. vi. I. Rom. ii. 24.
9 And if à soul sin, and hear the voice of swearing, and is a witness, whether he hath seen or known of it; if he do not utter it, then he shall bear his iniquity. Lev. v. 1. Prov. xxix. 24.
wherefore he threatens punishment to all who use it with irreverence."
101. Q. May any one swear also religiously and lawfully by the name of God?
A. Yes; either when the magistrate exacts it, or when necessity requires, by this means, the faith and truth of any man or thing to be ratified and established, whereby both the glory of God may be advanced, and the safety of others procured,s and
Whosoever curseth his God shall bear his sin. And he that blasphemeth the name of the Lord, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him ; as well the stranger as he that is born in the land, when he blasphcmeth the name of the Lord, shall be put to death. Lev. xxiv. 15, 16. Zech. v. 3, 4.
Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God; bim shalt thon serve, and to him shalt thou cleave, and swear by his name. Deut. x. 20. And I made them swear by God. Neh. xiii. 25. Hear ye this, ( house of Jacob, which swear by the name of the Lord. Ixa. xlviii. 1. He that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the God of truth. Isa. Ixv. 16. I will make thee swear by the Lord, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell. Gen. xxiv. 3. And he said, Swear unto me by God, that thou wilt neither kill me, nor deliver me into the hands of my master, and I will bring thee down to this company. 1 Sam. xxx. 15. I swear by myself, saith the Lord, Jer. xxii. 5. For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself. For men verily swear by the greater; and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife. Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the iminutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath. Heb. vi. 13, 16, 17.
therefore was well used by the fathers both of the old and the new covenant.t
102. Q. Is it lawful to swear by saints, or any other creatures ?
• Now therefore swear unto me here by God, that thou wilt not deal falsely with me, nor with my son, nor with my son's son; but according to the kindness that I have done unto thee, thou shalt do unto me, and to the land wherein thou hast sojourned. And Abraham said, I will swear. Gen. xxi. 23, 24. The God of Abraham, and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge betwixt us. And Jacob sware by the fear of his father Isaac. Gen. xxxi. 53. And I will make thee swear by the Lord, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell. Gen. xxiv. 3. And Joshua made peace with them, and made a league with them to let them live ; and the princes of the congregation sware unto them. Joshua ix. 15. The Lord judge between me and thee, and the Lord avenge me of thee : but mine hand shall not be upon thee. 1 Sam. xxiv. 12. And when all the people came to cause David to eat meat while it was yet day, David sware, saying, So do God to me, and more also, if I taste bread, or ought else, till the sun be down. 2 Sam. iii. 35. And the king sware, and said, As the Lord liveth, that hath redeemed my soul out of all distress, even as I sware unto thee by the Lord God of Israel, saying, Assuredly Solomon, thy son, shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne in my stead: even so will I certainly do this day, 1 Kings i. 29, 30. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers. Rom. i. 9. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said. Matt. xxvi. 63, 64. I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my con. science also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow at my heart. Rom. ix. 1, 2. I call God for a record upon my soul, that to spare you I came not as yet unto Corinth. 2 Cor. i. 23.
A. No. For a lawful oath is an invocation of God, in which, as the only searcher of hearts, he is called upon to give his testimony to the truth, and to punish the swearer, if he wilfully speaks false. But this honour can suit no created being.
103. What does God enjoin in the fourth commandment ?
A. First, that the ministry of the gospel, and public service of God, should be perpetually maintained ; * and that I, both at other times, and especially on holy days, should studiously frequent religious assemblies, hear the word of God dii
- Romans ix. l. Moreover I call God for a record upon my soul, &c. 2 Cor. i. 23.
But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath ; but let your yea, be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation. James v. 12. Matt. v. 34-37.
v Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine ; continue in them; for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee. I Tim. iv. 13-16. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. 2 Tim. ii. 2. For this cause I left thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee. Titus i. 5.
• Bless ye God in the congregations. Psalm lxviii. 26. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellow