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who, in the act of swearing, so involves in perplexity his words, that the sense of the oath is not perceived. Against which fraud, we will this rule always to be observed,-that a man shall be reputed to have sworn that which he to whom the oath was addressed understands it to signify, according to the common mode of speech.

Exceptions in the crimes of Perjury and broken Faith. Chap. 10.

The above laws ought, however, to admit of two exceptions. The one is, that they ought not to be deemed guilty of perjury, or of breaking faith, who, when they have done their utmost to keep their oath and good faith, are yet prevented by some obstacle which they cannot avoid. It will be sufficient for them to prove their will and endeavour to the judges. In the second place, they are not to be ranked among the perjured and violaters of faith, who have, without thought and consideration, hastily promised things sinful, dishonest, or impracticable in themselves; even if they have begun rightly but have subsequently fallen into this dilemma. This, however, is to be laid down and recollected as a maxim, that he who knowingly and wilfully has sworn or promised to do a dishonest, unjust, or impossible thing, is not answerable for the crime if he do not perform his oath. But, nevertheless, before an ecclesiastical judge he deserves punishment for his temerity.

General Oaths and Promises, what they ought

He who swears summarily, or promises that he will keep the statutes or customs of churches, chapels, universities, or other places of a similar description, cannot be compelled by the authority of this oath or promise to undertake any thing that is either sinful or impracticable. For no proper intention in the mind of the person who swears or promises can have regard to such a perversion of the object of the oath. Wherefore to the conclusion of such oaths and promises this form is to be annexed: I will keep these in all their parts in which they are consistent with Holy Scripture, with the civil and ecclesiastical laws of this kingdom; and so far as lies in my power.


Of the Fourth Commandment.


The last precept among those which teach our duty towards God, enjoins the setting apart, and the religious observance, of a certain day-one in every seven-for the especial performance of those outward acts of worship, and for that absolute internal dedication of the heart and soul to the one true God, which are specifically prescribed in the foregoing portion of the First Table.

The Fourth Commandment is affirmatively expressed; and contains the positive injunction: "Remember the Sabbath-day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God;"'-a decla ration of the manner in which it is to be distinguished from other days: "in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates;"-and a reason for the original institution of the Sabbath,-for the consecration of a seventh part of time to sacred pur

poses: "For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the seventh day, and hallowed it.”

§ 2. In the terms of the Commandment are to be observed the following particulars: The emphatical word, "Remember," seems intended to impress upon us a point, which not being so strongly and manifestly enforced by reason and conscience, as some other obligations of the Moral Law, is, therefore, less likely to meet with due attention and strict observance ;-namely, the necessity of calling to mind at certain stated periods the spiritual concerns which are too frequently forgotten or overwhelmed amidst the pleasures and occupations of the world, and of devoting a regular division of life to the service of Him from whom we have received the great comprehensive blessings of creation, preservation, and redemption.

The Sabbath-day, or season of rest from all earthly pursuits, is appointed to fall on every seventh day, which is thus claimed by the Lord our God as his peculiar property.

The command is addressed immediately to the heads of families, because it is through their influence and example that persons of all denominations, (for all must have some relative connexion with their natural superiors,) will be induced to treat either with attention or neglect a Law which directly regards the welfare of society, no less than the honour of God. By those who hold the greatest authority, and on whom consequently rests the greatest responsibility,

the incalculable benefits to be derived from such a season of bodily and mental refreshment, will most effectually be secured to every individual member of the church of God.

At the time the Moral Law was given; and, indeed, from the very creation of the world till after the resurrection of the Saviour of mankind, the seventh, or last day of the week, was consecrated to the purposes of the Sabbath: but in honour and commemo, ration of the great event on which the Christian's hope is mainly founded,-the triumph which Christ obtained over death and the grave, by rising again to life after the separation of the human soul and body; in perpetual acknowledgement of this wondrous proof of divine power and mercy, the Sabbath was transferred from the last to the first day of the week: this Christian Sabbath was denominated the Lord'sday, and will remain so consecrated until the end of time. The former day was sanctified in remembrance of the creation; the latter, of the redemption of the world. It must now continue unchanged for ever; for none but the same Divine authority which imposed the Law at Sinai, and subsequently confirmed it by the words and actions of the incarnate Son, could sanction the change, and assign one seventh part of every week, instead of another, for a holy rest. The alteration was made under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and as we are not to expect any further revelation of the will of God, the practice of the inspired Apostles, and primitive Fathers, must be binding on the Christian Church so long as it shall endure.

This Commandment is not merely ceremonial, though it be of a ritual nature; and it is one of per

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