Confession of Faith (1617) - Article XXVI
Of the swearing of oaths, we confess:
That the people of the Old Testament were permitted to swear in various ways by the name of the Lord; either by lifting up their hand toward heaven, or by putting it on the thigh of someone, which was done in various ways, and into which practice, through the artifice of man, many abuses were introduced, so that they would swear by heaven and earth, by Jerusalem, by their head, the temple, the gold of the temple, the altar, and the sacrifice; on account of which the Lord Christ, who had come from God, and been sent to execute judgment and righteousness, being the only lawgiver, utterly abolished and prohibited all the aforesaid swearing, whether permitted or feigned and, in place thereof, referred all His hearers and followers, only to yea and nay, which is so in truth.
And we also find that the high apostles of Christ, as obedient sheep of their only Shepherd, followed the doctrine of Christ in this respect. Hence all believers are in duty bound obediently to follow this doctrine of Christ and the course of His apostles, putting away all lying, and dealing only in truth, and thus testifying in all true matters, whether before authority, or however the case may be, only with yea that which is yea, and with nay that which is nay, without adding anything more; and to keep these few words, little in sound, but great and strong in signification, as inviolable as an oath, thus showing themselves to be obedient followers of Christ and His apostles.
Of the rejection and abolishment of the ancient custom of swearing, and how Christ commanded yea and nay in place of it, read: "Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: but I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil" (Matthew 5:33--37; 23:21).
"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 5:12).
"When I therefore was thus minded, did I use lightness or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be yea, yea, and nay, nay? For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen" (2 Corinthians 1:17, 20).
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