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names of God were written, this temple I will not rest this
Solomon interpreted it to who made oath was required mean, “indulge not much in also to stand while he made it, swearing, even in things that that he might feel and ex• are true ; because in rauch press greater reverence of the swearing, it is impossible not majesty of God. But the Rab. to be profane." bins made oath while sitting, Cicero defines an oath to be, because it was presumed that a religious affirmation. Clethey constantly feared God ; mens Alexandrinus, a direct and could neither be enticed, assertion, with an appeal to nor terrified from duty. And God. Philo, the testimony of an oath was always made in God concerning a thing double the presence of the adverse ful in itself. Grotius has party.
brought together a great mass But even Maimonides has of learning, in illustration of said, that to swear by heaven, the sentiments of Jews, heathby the earth, by the sun, &c. ens, and early christians, con- . even if the swearer in his cerning oaths ; and it would mind refers to Him who crea, be grateful to spread before ted the object by which he our readers, who have not acswears, yet it is not an oath. cess to it, this interesting disOr if any one swears by a play of the actions of so many prophet, or by either of the minds, upon a subject of such books of scripture, though it vital interest to the security of be understood that he swears society, and to the cause of by Him who sent the prophet, piety and virtue. Bụi our obor who gave the book, yet this ject is, as far as we can, to is not an oath.
ascertain prevailingsentiments It appears by the Talmuds of Jews in the time of our that it was common, and it Lord, and to understand his seems to have been allowed, references to these sentiments, to swear by heaven, by the that we inay comprehend the temple, by Jerusalem, by the whole import, and feel the full altar, by the head, and by oth- force of his instructions, as far er things. So, it is said, was as this particular course of il. the custom in Israel. So did lustration will lead to these even doctors in Israel swear. consequences. When turtles and young pig.
With the sentiments then, eons were sold at Jerusalem and custom to which we for a penny of gold, R. Sime- have referred, compare the inon Ben Gamaliel said, “by structions of our Lord in the
text. Even in the most un should pronounce their judg; restrained interpretation of his ment." words, they forbid us from But in answering the inmaking oath, and from every quiry, may an oath be lawfully form of swearing, except in administered to christianis, and cases of imperious duty. The made by them, we'refer to the precept, “swear not at all," repeated examples in the e. is generally supposed to refer pistles of Paul, of very solemni only to voluntary oaths ; and it appeals to God;' bat above all is understood that an oath may to the example of our Lord. be required by a magistrate, This is decisive. When arwhen the affair concerning raigned before the chief which it is demanded is either priests; and elders, and all the the glory of God, the security council of the Jews," he heard, of our neighbour, or our own without answering, the allegagreatest good. The primitive tions of the false witnesses, christians however, it is said, who were suborned to bear understood and observed this testimony against him. But command in a literal sense; as when the high priest said, “ I do the Quakers, or the Socie. ądjure thee by the living God ty of Friends, at this day. And that thou tell us whether thou happy would it be for the be the Christ, the Son of God : christian world, if every dis. Jesus said unto him, thou hast ciple of Christ should obtain said.". The answer was as di. that estimation and confidence rect, as well understood, as if among men, that his simple he had said, I am. 'Io giving affirmation or negation should this answer, he made oath that have the force of an oath from he actually was, what he proanother.
sessed to be. Can we doubt Who can remember but then whether
an oath may with strong and delightful e- lawfully be administered, and motions, the honour' which made ainong christians; more was paid by the Athenians to than it can whether swearing Zenocrates ;
in common conversation is forguished alike by his wisdom bidden by the christian laws ? and his sanctity ?. When he But while our Lord thus came into court to give his teaches us that an oath may public testimony, and ap- be made, he demands that the proached the altars for the occasion be most solemn and purpose of making oath, he peculiar ; and that swearing, was stopped by the unanimous 'except in such a case, be redecision of his judges, that his ligiously avoided. The Jews simple assertion should be indeed, in swearing by the taken instead of an oath ; thus temple, by Jerusalem, by heavconceding that to his integri- en, or by their own heads, were ty, which they were not after. understood to have a great refwards to allow even to them- erence to God. But because selves; for they were requir- this reference was only implied to make oath, before they ed, they taught that an oath
was comparatively a light much credit by a simple afthing. Not says Jesus firmation, as by the most sol. Christ. For “ he that swear. emn oath ; and which tends eth by heaven, sweareth by ultimately to supersede the the throne of God, and by Him necessity of swearing at all. that sitteth thereon ;' and to The quakers, on this subject, swear by any work of God, without doubt, approach far incurs all the responsibility, nearer to the object of our of swearing directly by the Lord's injunction, than any othname of God its creator. How er part of the christian world ; heavy then is the guilt of and if christendom shall ever swearers ! How solemn this become, what the gospel teachadmonition of our Lord ! es us to hope that it will be,
But whether he intended, the practise concerning oaths, or not, utterly to. forbid the which now distinguishes the use of oaths, he without doubt Society of Friends, will bepresses upon his disciples the come the practise of the whole obligation they are under, of body of christians. teaching the world by their -[Buxtorfs Synag Judaic paexample, to use only mere ges 677, 682. Ainsworth on assertions; and thus of ad. Lev. xix. 12. Lightfoot, Walvancing society to that moral zogenius, and John Jones on dignity, which commands as the text.]
VIEWS OF THE FRIENDS ON THE SUBJECT OF OATHS. Ir is, we believe, a general our readers may have the subopinion among men of serious ject more fully before them reflection, that oaths, by our for examination, we shall give Jaws, are unnecessarily multi. , a concise view of some of the plied that they have become reasonings of the Quakers in
as to diminish support of their opinion, and their solemnity and usefulness, in answer to the objections of and to render them an occa- their opponents. sion of immorality, profane. The passage of the Sermon ness, and irreverence for the on the Mount, Matt. v. 33-37, name of God. The writer of is regarded by the Quakers the Illustrations” has in the as containing an unqualified preceding article introduced prohibition not merely of prothe subject of swearing, and fane swearing but of all such given his opinion with exemp- oaths before a magistrate as lary meekness, and, candor. had been authorized by the He has also mentioned in a laws of Moses. Our Saviour very respectful manner the introduced the subject by sayopinion of the Society of ing. “Ye have heard that it Friends. We shall not as. hath been said by them of old sume the office of deciding the time, Thou shalt not for. question in dispute ; but that swear thyself, but shalt perforin unto the Lord thine us that Paul swore and that of Oaths." This was a prohibi- ten-saying, "For God is my tion of perjury or false swear- record'-_ As the truth of ing. Having quoted this, our Christ is. in me'- I call God Sivionr adds, " But I say unto for a record upon my soulyou 'rwear not at all, neither I speak the truth in Christ, by heaven, &c. But let your I lie not'- Behold before communication be yea, yea ; God I lie not'; And also renay, nay; for whatsoever is quires Oaths of others-! more than these coineth ofe. charge thee before God and vil." As the ļpohibition of our Lord Jesus Christ'- I perjury and the reference to charge you by the Lord, &c. oaths in thc 33d verse, evi- " To all which, says Barelçptly had respect to sweare clay, I answer, First, That the ing before a magistrate, the using of such forms of speakprohibition, “ swear not at all” ing is neither sweariog nor so must include that mode of esteemed by our adversaries. swearing which had been con. For when upon occasion, in sidered as lawful, as well as matters of great moment, we false and profane swearing, have said, We speak the truth
This opinion the Friends in the fear of God and before thivk is fully confirmed by the him, who is our witness, and language in James, v. 12, the searcher of our hearts “ But above all things, my adding such kind of serious brethren, swear not, neither allestations, which we never by heaven, neither by the refused to do in matters of conearth, neither by any other sequence ;
nevertheless oath." This last clause is re- oath hath moreover been regarded by them as extending quired of us, with the ceremo. the prohibition to every spe- ny of putting our hand upon cies of swearing without any' the buok, the kissing of it, the exception.
lifting up the hand or fingers, Whatever might have been together with the common the manner of the Jews in ad-form of imprecation, So kelsk ministering an oath, or the ins me God, or so truly let the tention of the high priest in Lord God Almighty help me. saying, “I adjure thce by the • Secondly. This contradicts living God, that thou tell us the opinion of our adyersaries, whether thou be the Christ, because Paul was neither be. the Son of God;" the Quakers fore a magistrate that was re, cannot believe that the simple quiring an oath of him, vor affirmation of Christ, « Thou did he himself administer the hast said," ought to be regard- office of a inagistiate, as ofed as an exaniple of swearing sering an oath to any other.
Robert Barclay, in his A- " Thirdly. The question is pology, has stated and answer. not what Paul or Peter did, ed the objection from the cgo but what their and our Master ample of Paulinom
taught to be done ; and if • They object,” he says, Paul did swear-which we be
lieve not he had sinned a. that their affirmation is admit. gainst the command of Christ, ted in our courts, as equiva. even according to their own lent to the oath of other Chris(the objectors) opinion, be- tians. But whether it be to cause he swore not before a the honour of other denominamagistrate, but in an epistle tions, that they are called upto his brethren.” p. p. 563—4. on lo swear, while the Qua
We have given only a spece kers are permitted 10 affirm, imen of the arguments of the is a question worthy of some Quakers on this subject ; but consideration. It must be the perhaps énongh to show, that duty of every inan to support their opinion is not of the such a character for veracity, most dangerous character, nor that his word will be received so destitute of support as some' by those who are acquainted have imagined ; and also, that with him as of equal weight there is less danger in adopt- with his, oath'; and that man ing this opinion from a cono whose veracity cannot be rescientious regard to a suppos. lied on, except he be under ed command of Christ, than the obligation of an oath, is at in becoming so familiar with best a suspicious witness, his oaths as to lose our reverence oath notwithstanding. “ For for God and regard for truth. what end,” says Chrysostom, Whether the opinion of the " wilt thou force him to swear, Friends be correct or not, it is when thout believest not that certainly much in their favor, he will speak the truth?”
REMARKABLE EVENTS IN THE TIME OF EUWARD III. A dreadful plague, which ac- pestilence raged in England cording to the most authentic from the beginning of August accounts first made its "ap- 1348, till Michaelmas the folpearance in the year 1346 in lowing year ; and during the China; or the castern part of time that it raged in Asia, Tartary, after inaking terrible Africa and Europe, more than rayages in Asia, spread its half of the human race is sufidireful contagion into Africa prosed to have perished !--Waland Europe. After almost de- , singham says that in many populating Greece and Italy, parts of England nine tenths of it passed into Spain and France, ihe people fell victims 10 this and from thence into England, drearlful disease. where it made such terrible " This tremendous visitation ravages, that, according to of heaven did not put a stop some, it swept away half of to the ambition of man. The the inhabitants. In London the pestilence made the mortality was so dreadful, that ravages in France as in Enge within the space of one year, land ; yet ainidst those scenes above fifty thousand persons of death and destruction, and were buried in the Charter during the continuance of a house yard. This terrible fruce, Philip formed a plan