CHAP. VIII. Of the bondes of Truth.
THus much of grace in speech. Now followeth bonds of truth, whereby the truth of our talke is testified and confirmed.
There are three: A simple assertion, an asseueration, an oath.
A simple assertion, is either a simple affirmation, as yea, yea: or a simple ne∣gation, as nay, nay. And they are to be vsed onely in our familiar and common talke.*Let your communication be yea, yea: nay, nay: and whatsoeuer is more, commeth of euill.
If the trueth which wee affirme or denie be doubtfull or contingent, then such clauses as these [It is so, or, it is not so as I thinke, as I remember, as I take it] are to be added. If one shall say, It is so, and afterwards it prooue otherwise, he receiueth discredit, because he spake an vntruth. But if he shall say, I thinke it is so, though it fall out otherwise, yet he saueth his credit, because he deceiueth not, but onely is deceiued.
An asseueration is a forme of speech, wherby one doth vehemently affirme or denie any thing: as when a man shall say, Verily, in truth, in very truth, with∣out all doubt, &c. These and such like are not to be vsed at euery word: but then onely when a truth of greater importance is to be confirmed. When the false prophets among the Iewes and the Priests would not beleeue that Ieremie was sent of God: what saith he? not simply, The Lord hath sent me: but, In truth the Lord hath sent me. Our Sauiour Christ, when he vsed to speake any weigh∣tie matter, vsed to say, Amen, Amen, Verily, verily, which is a plain asseueration: for Amen is more then a simple affirmation, and it is lesse then an oath, as the very sense of the word doth import: which is no more, but truly, certenly.
The third is an oath, which must not be made by any thing in heauen or earth, but onely by the Name of God alone.
It must be vsed as the last refuge and remedie of all. For when any truth of great importance is to be confirmed, and all signes, euidences, proofes, witnes∣ses, faile among men on earth: then we may lawfully fetch the Lord as a wit∣nesse from heauen, who is the knower of all truth.
And in this case an oath may be taken; either publikely before a Magi∣strate, Page 730 or priuately among priuate persons, if it bee done with reuerence and consideration,* as it was betweene Iacob and Laban.