We must now consider those external acts of religion, whereby something Divine is taken by man: and this is either a sacrament or the Name of God.
The place for treating of the taking of a sacrament will be in the Third Part of this work: of the taking of God's Name we shall treat now.
The Name of God is taken by man in three ways.
First, by way of oath in order to confirm one's own assertion: secondly, by way of adjuration as an inducement to others: thirdly, by way of invocation for the purpose of prayer or praise.
Accordingly we must first treat of oaths: and under this head there are ten points of inquiry:
A What is an oath?
A Whether it is lawful?
A What are the accompanying conditions of an oath?
A Of what virtue is it an act?
A Whether oaths are desirable, and to be employed frequently as something useful and good?
A Whether it is lawful to swear by a creature?
A Whether an oath is binding?
A Which is more binding, an oath or a vow?
A Whether an oath is subject to dispensation?
A Who may lawfully swear, and when?