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of a yow.
When men covenant with one another, and appeal to God by oath, they come under an engagement to him, and also an engagement to one another; or, they vow and swear to God, and promise and swear to one another. When men in secret swear to God, what they swear to do, or the matter of their oath, is a vow; and their oath is sworn in formally calling on him to witness the making of their vow, and to judge them should they not fulfil it. When men covenant with one another and vow also to God, their vow carries along with it an oath, or the calling of God to act as witness and judge. The apprehension that God will punish for not making fulfilment to him accompanies equally the oath and the vow. In both is implied what may be denominated not properly an imprecation, but rather an acknowledgment of the justice of God's procedure in punishing should the engagement not be fulfilled. Both the vow and oath are made to God. The oath, besides, is made in the use of the name of God.
When an oath is enjoined, so is a vow; for that which is promised to God in the oath is a vow.
And as every vow is addressed to Godwho is necessarily a witness and judge of the transaction and the offerer-every command enjoining it includes a mandate to use the oath.
The term CONFESS, and the corresponding word CONFESSION, are employed in reference to the subject of Covenanting. The former of these is sometimes used in regard to God as an object, and sometimes in reference to men. To confess to God, or to the name of God, means to perform services which include among them the exercise of Covenanting. In more than one passage of the prayer of Solomon, at the dedication of the temple,
it denotes to Covenant. He said, “When thy people Israel be smitten down before the enemy, because they have sinned against thee, and shall turn again to thee, and confess thy name, and pray, and make supplication unto thee in this house : then hear thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of thy people Israel, and bring them again unto the land which thou gavest unto their fathers.”54 The sin to which the people of Israel were peculiarly exposed was that of idolatry. For that they were afterwards carried away from the land that had before been promised in covenant to their fathers. In practising that they transgressed the covenant.55 When they should be restored they would take into their mouth, instead of the names of idols, the name of God, and that by taking hold upon his covenant.56 Besides, the passage is parallel to the following:—"In those days, and in that time, saith the Lord, the children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Judah together, going and weeping : they shall go, and seek the Lord their God. They shall ask the way to Zion, with their faces thitherward, saying, Come, and let us join ourselves to the Lord in a perpetual covenant that shall not be forgotten."57 Both passages refer to the same event—the restoration of Israel. The exercise of confessing the name of God, corresponds to that of joining to him in a perpetual covenant. The verb (779_opologéouas in the Hebrew, when connected with the name of God in different other passages, has the same import. An instance from the Psalms is found in these words: “ Save us, O Lord our God, and gather us from among the heathen, to give thanks (confess) unto thy holy name.”58 The ground of the Psalmist's encouragement to utter this prayer was, that the
54 1 Kings viii. 33, 34–See also ver. 35, 36. 55Josh. xxiii. 16. 56 Zech. xiii. 9_See ver. 2.
57 Jer. i. 4,5. 58 Ps. avi, 47, 45– See also Ps. xviii. 49.
Lord remembered for his people his covenant; and it could not be for less than that they should, after their recal, take hold on that covenant, that he made supplication that they should be gathered from the heathen. The verb in the Greek by which the Seventy translate the Hebrew term, we should conclude, must therefore sometimes have the same force. But that it frequently has in the New Testament that signification, is manifest from the connections in which it stands in portions of it that shall now be considered. We read, “ Now I say
that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers; and that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles ;'59 and conclude that the vow here quoted from the Psalms, which should be adopted by the people of God in the presence of the Gentiles, was, that they would Covenant with him. It was the promises of that covenant, of which circumcision was a sign, that Christ came to confirm. The Gentiles could not glorify God for his mercy without cleaving to it; and it was by believers making manifestations of attachment to that covenant, of which Covenanting was one, that the Gentiles should be brought, in a manner more or less explicit, to adbere unto it. Before proceeding farther, we take the record of the infamous transaction between the chief priests and captains, and Judas,—“And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money. And he promised (etwporóznos).”60° And we consequently infer that the word which designates Judas' conduct in completing his treacherous bargain, when used in a good sense, bears the construction to Covenant. Again, we read, “ God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the of Jesus
every 59 Rom. xv. 8, 9.
60 Luke xxii. 5, 6,
knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”61 And we remark, that to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, from this appears to be tantamount to an oath, and accordingly includes in it, to Covenant.
The passage is a manifest application to the Redeemer of the prophetic words, “ Unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.”62 The last words that remain to be considered are another quotation of the same Scripture :-“For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.”63 They follow the statement, “For we shall all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ;" but they do not refer exclusively to the final judgment. As the expression, "every knee shall bow to me,” cannot be confined to that alone, so neither can that which immediately follows. They appear to be used to show that he to whom such homage by men shall be paid, will preside at the future judgment; and accordingly intimate, that throughout all time that homage shall be given. There is no reason afforded in the whole passage to conclude, that the homage will include in it less than all the services connected with the use of the oath.
Another verb (ouoroyéw) in the Greek of the New Testament is also rendered to confess. It is that from which the former, by the addition of a prefix, which gives emphasis to the meaning, is derived. It is used in the passage which describes the wicked promise of Herod to Herodias—“ Whereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she would ask.”64 It therefore designates the act by which one enters into an agreement or a covenant with another. It has that import in classic writers
61 Phil. ii. 9_11. 62 Is. xlv. 23. 63 Rom. xiv. 11. 64 Matt. xiv, 7.
among the Greeks. It is used by the Apostle in writing to the Hebrews and to others, in such circumstances as to preclude the idea that that meaning he did not attach to it. One case may be selected. By him therefore, let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks (confessing) to his
Confessing here is manifestly parallel to the offering of the sacrifice of praise. The vow was frequently a sacrifice; and is the making of the vow not included in confessing to his name?
When either of these terms in the Greek, without limitation, is employed, and God is the object, it bears the meaning to Covenant. In the cases supposed, each must be viewed as capable, severally, of every interpretation that it bears in specific connections, and, consequently, of the import that is contended for. The former, in these cases, sometimes means to confess sins—at others, to confess gratitude, or to give thanks-at others, to covenant; and at others, considered apart from its connection, it may not appear to intimate specifically any one of these in preference to the others. When thus indefinitely used, it must be understood as designed to bear individually each signification. Thus, the passages, “I will confess to thee among the Gentiles,” « Every tongue shall confess unto God,” each intimate the acknowledgment of sin, the giving of God thanks, and the exercise of Covenanting with him. The latter of the terms is used indefinitely only when God is the object : it is in the passage, “ giving thanks (or confessing) to his name," the signification of which from the context, has been considered.
When the object of confession in any passages is not adverted to, and the subject of confession is not stated, to confess there means, to Covenant. That object must be either God, or men, or both.
65 Heb. xiii. 15.