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these words on the subject of Oaths are a part,
he inculcated into his Disciples a system of morality far exceeding that of the Jews; and therefore, in the verses which precede those upon this subject, he tells them, that whereas it was said of old, “Thou shalt not kill," he expected of them that they should not even entertain the passion of revenge. And whereas it was said of old, “ Thou shalt not commit adultery,” he expected that they should not even lust after others, if they were married, or after those in a married state. i Thus he brings both murder and adultery from act to thought. He attaches a criminality to unlawful feelings if not suppressed, -or aims at the subjugation of the passions, as the springs of the evil actions of men. Going on to show the further
superiority of his system of morality over that of the Jews, he says, again, “ Whereas it was said of old, Thou shalt not forswear thyself," he expects that they should not swear at all, not even by the name of God, which had been formerly allowed; for that he came to abrogate the antient law, and perjury with it. It was his object to make the word of his true Disciples equal to the ancient oath.
Thus he substituted truth for oaths. And he made this essential difference between a Jew and a Christian, That whereas the one swore in order that he might be believed, the other was to speak truth in order that he might not swear. Such was the intended advance from Jew to Christian, or from Moses to Christ.
The Quakers are further confirmed in their ideas upon this subject, by believing that Christianity would not have been as perfect as they apprehend it to have been intended to be, without this restriction upon oaths. Is it possible, they say, that Jesus Christ would have left it to Christians to imagine that their words were to be doubted on any occasion ? Would he have left it to them to think so dishonourably of one another, or of their new vocation, that their words were to be tried by the touchstone of oaths, when his religion was to have a greater effect than
former system of morality ever known, in the production of truth? Is it possible, when oaths sprung out of fraud and falsehood, as he himself witnesses (for whatever is more than Yea and Nay cometh of evil) that he would have left this remnant
of antiquity standing, as if his religion was pot intended to extirpate the very groundwork of it?
Finally, they are confirmed in their ideas upon this subject, from a belief that oaths were to cease either at the coming of Jesus Christ, or as men became Christians. For, in the first place, the oath" by the name of God” is considered by some, as I have before noticed, to have been permitted to the Jews during their weak state, that they might not swear by the idols of their contemporary neighbours, and thus lose sight of the only and true God. But what Christian stands in need of any preservative against idolatry, or of any commemorative of the existence and superintendence of an almighty, wise, beneficent, and moral Governor of the World ? Some, again, have imagined, that as the different purifications among the Jews, denoting the holiness of God, signified that it became men to endeavour to be holy,—so the oath by the name of God, denoting the verity of God, signified that it became men to devote themselves to the truth. But no true Christian stands in need of such symbols to make himi corisider his word as equivalent to his oath. Others, again, have imagined that the oath “ by the name of God” typified the Truth, or the Eternal Word. But as the type ceases when the antitype appears,-só the coming of Jesus Christ, who in the Gospel-language is called both the Truth and the Eternal Word, may be considered as putting an end to this, as to other types and shadows of the Jewish church.
War---Tenet on war- Quakers hold it unlawful for
Christians to fight-scriptural passages which they produce in support of this tenet-arguments which others produce from scriptural authority against itreply of the Quakers to these argu
ments. Tảe next of the great tenets, which the members of this Society hold, is on the subject of War. They believe it unlawful for Christians to engage in the profession of arms, or indeed to bear arms, under
any circumstance of hostility whatever. Hence there is no such character as that of a Quaker-soldier. A Quaker is always able to avoid the regular army, because the circumstance of entering into it is generally a matter of choice. But where he has no such choice, as is the case in the militia, be either submits, if he has property, to distraint upon ir; or, if he has not, to prison.