The Philadelphia Confession, 1742
A lawful oath is a part of religious
worship, wherein the person swearing in truth, righteousness and judgment, solemnly
calleth God to witness what he sweareth,1 and to judge him
according to the truth or falseness thereof.2
The name of God only is that by which
men ought to swear; and therein it is to be used with all holy fear and reverence;
therefore to swear vainly or rashly by that glorious and dreadful name, or to swear at all
by any other thing, is sinful, and to be abhorred;3 yet as in
matter of weight and moment, for confirmation of truth, and ending all strife, an oath
being imposed, by lawful authority, in such matters, ought to be taken.4
Whosoever taketh an oath, warranted by
the Word of God, ought duly to consider, the weightiness of so solemn an act, and therein
to avouch nothing but what he knoweth to be truth; for that by rash, false, and vain
oaths, the Lord is provoked, and for them this land mourns.5
An oath is to be taken in the plain and
common sense of the words, without equivocation or mental reservation.6
A vow, which is not to be made to any creature, but to God alone, is to be made and performed with all religious care and faithfulness:7 but popish monastical vows, of perpetual single life,8 professed poverty,9 and regular obedience, are so far from being degrees of higher perfection, that they are superstitious and sinful snares, in which no Christian may entangle himself.10
1. Ex 20:7; Dt 10:20; Jer 4:2.
2. 2Ch 6:22-23.
3. Mt 5:34,37; Jas 5:12.
4. Ne 13:25.
5. Lev 19:12; Jer 23:10.
6. Ps 24:4.
7. Ps 76:11; Ge 28:20-22.
8. 1Co 7:2,9.
9. Eph 4:28.
10. Mt 19:11.
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