Orcos, in Latine Jusiurandum, is a forme of speech by which the speaker expresseth an oath for the better confirmation of something affirmed or denied, which doth necessarily require a sure and high testimonie.
An example of Moses: “I call heaven and earth to record against you this day, that you shal shortly perish from the land whereunto ye go over Jordan to possesse it.” Deut.4.2.20.
Another of Joab saying thus to David: “Now therefore up come out, and speake comfortable unto thy servants, for I sweare by the Lord, except thou come out, there will not tarry with thee one man this night, and that will be woorse unto thee, then al the evill, that fell on thee from thy youth hitherto.” 2.Sam.19.7.
Another of the Apostle Paul: “for God is my witnesse whom I serve in my spirit in the Gospell of his onne, that without ceassing I make mention of you alwaies in my prayers, & c.” Rom.1.9.
Somtime the speaker useth to confirme his saying by swearing by his faith, credit, and truth, or such like formes of confirmation.
The use of this figure.
The use of this forme of speech serveth most aptly & properly
to confirme matters either by high and divine testimonie, or
by the gage of the speakers faith and credit, and therfore it is best beseeming a grave man which is indued with age and credit.
The cheefe points of this caution are these: first to take heede
1. Not to swear by the creature, & omit the creator.
that we call not those things to witnesse with us, which cannot give witnesse, as to swear by creatures & to omit the testimony of the creator, as did Joseph when did sweare by the life of
Pharoah, and Nabucodonezer by his throne. Secondly that we
sweare not to perform wickednesse, as did Jezabel that she would
kill Ebas the Prophet. Thirdly, that we sweare not rashly, as did
2. Not to swear to perform iniquitie.
Herod the Tetrarch to the daughter of Herodias. Fourthly, that we swear not to deceive, or to confirme untruth, as did Antiochus to the Jewes, thereby to deceive them, as Peter did when he
sware he knew not the man.
Fifthly, that we use not this forme of confirmation often, for
4. Not with purpose to deceave.
often swearing cannot be without sinne, it becommeth odious to the hearer, and diminisheth the credit of the speaker.