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3. For it is here very observable, that in intercourses of this nature we are to regard a double duty—the matter of justice, and the rights of charity; that is, that good be done by lawful instruments: for it is certain it is not lawful to abuse a man's understanding, with a purpose to gain him sixpence; it is not fit to do evil for a good end, or to abuse one man, to preserve or do advantage to another. And therefore it is not sufficient that I intend to do good to my neighbour ; for I may not therefore tell a lie and abuse his credulity, because his understanding hath a right as certain as his will hath, or as his money; and his right to truth is no more to be cozened and defrauded, than his right unto his money. And therefore such artificial intercourses are nowise to be permitted, but to such persons over whose understandings we have power and authority. Plato said
Plato said it was lawful for kings and governors to dissemble, because there is great necessity for them so to do; but it was but crudely said, so nakedly to deliver the doctrine: for in such things, which the people cannot understand and yet ought to obey, there is a liberty to use them as we use children, who are of no other condition or capacities than children; but in all things where they can and ought to choose, because their understanding is only a servant to God, no man hath power to abuse their credulity and reason, to preserve their estates and peace. But because children, and mad people, and diseased, are such whose understandings are in minority and under tuition, they are to be governed by their proper instruments and proportions : Tò γαρ αγαθών κρείττόν έστι της αληθείας, said Proclus ; “A good turn is to be preferred before a true saying.” It is only true to such persons who cannot value truth, and prefer an intellectual before a material interest. It is better for children to have warm clothes than a true proposition, and therefore, in all senses, they and their like may be so treated; but other persons, who have distinct capacities, have an injury done them by being abused into advantages; and although those advantages make them recompense, yet he that is tied to make a man recompense, hath done him injury, and committed a sin, by which he was obliged to restitution: and therefore the man ought not to be cozened for his own good.
4. And now, upon the grounds of this discourse, we may more easily determine concerning saving the life of a man by
telling a lie in judgment. Δεί με συμπράττειν τους φίλους, αλλά Méxşı bewv, said Pericles of Athens, when his friend desired him to swear on his side; “ I will assist my friend, so far as I may not dishonour God.” And to lie in judgment is directly against the being of government, the honour of tribunals, and the commandment of God; and therefore by no accident can be hallowed; it is καθ' αυτό φαύλον και ψεκτόν, as Aristotle said of a lie, it is “a thing evil in itself ;" that is, it is evil in the whole kind, ever since it came to be forbidden by God. And therefore all those instances of crafty and delusive answers which are recorded in Scripture, were extra-judicial, and had not this load upon them, to be deceiving of authority in those things where they had right to command or inquire, and either were before or besides the commandment, not at all against it. And since the law of Moses forbade lying in judgment' only, by that law we are to judge of those actions in the Old Testament, which were comunitted after its publication : and because in the sermons of the prophets, and especially in the New Testament, Christ hath superadded or enlarged the law of ingenuity and hearty simplicity, we are to leave the old Scripture-precedents upon the ground of their own permissions, and finish our duty by the rules of our religion : which hath so restrained our words, that they must always be just, and always charitable; and there is no leave given to prevaricate, but to such persons where there can be no obligation, persons that have no right, such with whom no contract can be made, such as children, and fools, and infirm persons, whose faculties are hindered or depraved. I remember that Secundus extremely commends Arria for deluding her husband's fears concerning the death of his beloved boy. She wiped her eyes, and came in confidently, and sat by her husband's bed-side; and when she could no longer forbear to weep, her husband's sickness was excuse enough to legitimate that sorrow, or else she could retire; but so long she forbore to confess the boy's death, till Cacinna Pætus had so far recovered, that he could go forth to see the boy, and need not fear with sorrow to return to his disease. It was, indeed, a great kindness and rare prudence, as their affairs and laws were ordered; but we have better means to cure our sick; our religion can charm the passion, and enable the spirit to entertain and master a sorrow. And when we have such rare
supplies out of the storehouses of reason and religion, we have less reason to use these arts and little devices, which are arguments of an infirmity as great as is the charity; and therefore we are to keep ourselves strictly to the foregoing
“Let every man speak the truth to his neighbour, putting away lying, for we are members one of another," and, “Be as harmless as doves,” saith our blessed Saviour in my text; which contain the whole duty concerning the matter of truth and sincerity. In both which places, truth and simplicity are founded upon justice and charity; and, therefore, wherever a lie is in any sense against justice, and wrongs any man of a thing, his judgment and his reason, his right, or his liberty, it is expressly forbidden in the Christian religion. What cases we can truly suppose to be besides these, the law forbids not; and therefore it is lawful to say that to myself which I believe not, for what innocent purpose I please, and to all those over whose understanding I have, or ought to have, right.
These cases are intricate enough; and therefore I shall return plainly to press the doctrine of simplicity, which ought to be so sacred, that a man ought to do nothing indirectly, which it is not lawful to own; to receive no advantage by the sin of another, which I should account dishonest, if the action were my own; for whatsoever disputes may be concerning the lawfulness of pretending craftily in some rare and contingent cases, yet it is on all hands condemned, that my craft should do injury to my brother. I remember, that when some greedy and indigent people forged a will of Lucius Minutius Basilius, and joined M. Crassus and Q. Hortensius in the inheritance, that their power for their own interest might secure the others' share; they suspecting the thing to be a forgery, yet being not principals and actors in the contrivance, 'alieni facinoris munusculum non repudiaverunt,'' refused not to receive a present made them by another's crime";' but so they entered upon a moiety of the estate, and the biggest share of the dishonour. We must not be crafty to another's injury, so much as by giving countenance to the wrong; for tortoises and the ostrich hatch their eggs with their looks only; and some have designs which a dissembling face, or an acted gesture, can produce: but as a * Ephes. iv. 25.
n Cicer. Off. iii. 13. 4. Hens.
man may commit adultery with his eye, so with his eye also he may tell a lie, and steal with one finger, and do injury collaterally, and yet design it with a direct intuition, upon which he looks with his face over his shoulder; and by whatsoever instrument my neighbour may be abused, by the same instrument I sin, if I do design it antecedently, or fall upon it together with something else, or rejoice in it when it is done.
7. One thing more I am to add, that it is not lawful to tell a lie in jest. It was a virtue noted in Aristides and Epaminondas, that they would not lie, oid tv wardiãs Tivi TFÓMW, ‘not in sport.' And as Christian simplicity forbids all lying in matter of interest and serious rights; so there is an appendix to this precept, forbidding to lie in mirth; for “of every idle word a man shall speak, he shall give account in the day of judgment.” And such are the jestings' which St. Paul reckons amongst things uncomely. But among these, fables, apologues, parables, or figures of rhetoric, and any artificial instrument of instruction or innocent pleasure, are not to be reckoned. But he that, without any end of charity or institution, shall tell lies only to become ridiculous in himself, or mock another, hath set something upon his doomsday book, which must be taken off by water or by fire, that is, by repentance or a judgment.
Nothing is easier than simplicity and ingenuity: it is open and ready without trouble and artificial cares, fit for communities and the proper virtue of men, the necessary appendage of useful speech, without which, language were given to men as nails and teeth to lions, for nothing but to do mischief. It is a rare instrument of institution, and a certain token of courage; the companion of goodness and a noble mind; the preserver of friendship, the band of society, the security of merchants, and the blessing of trade; it prevents infinite of quarrels, and appeals to judges, and suffers none of the evils of jealousy. Men, by simplicity, converse as do the angels ; they do their own work, and secure their proper interest, and serve the public, and do glory to God. But hypocrites, and liars, and dissemblers, spread darkness over the face of affairs, and make men, like the blind, to walk softly and timorously; and crafty men, like the close air, suck that which is open, and devour its portion, and destroy its liberty: and it is the
guise of devils, and the dishonour of the soul, and the canker of society, and the enemy of justice, and truth, and peace, of wealth and honour, of courage and merchandise. He is a good man with whom a blind man may safely converse ; “ dignus quícum in tenebris mices",” to whom, in respect of his fair treatings, the darkness and light are both alike: but he that bears light upon the face, with a dark heart, is like him that transforms himself into an angel of light, when he means to do most mischief. Remember this only; that false colours laid upon the face besmear the skin and dirty it, but they neither make a beauty nor mend it.—“For without, shall be dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie P.”
THE MIRACLES OF THE DIVINE MERCY.
For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive, and plenteous
in mercy to all them that call upon thee.-- Psal. lxxxvi. 5.
Man having destroyed that which God delighted in, that is, the beauty of his soul, fell into an evil portion, and being seized upon by the Divine justice, grew miserable, and condemned to an incurable sorrow. Poor Adam, being banished and undone, went and lived a sad life in the mountains of India, and turned his face and his prayers towards Paradise ; thither he sent his sighs, to that place he directed his devotions, there was his heart now, where his felicity sometimes had been: but he knew not how to return thither, for God was his enemy, and, by many of his attributes, opposed himself against him. God's power was armed against him; and poor man, whom a fly or a fish could kill, was assaulted and beaten with a sword of fire in the hand of a cherubim. God's eye watched him, his omniscience was man's accuser,
o Cic. Off. iii. 19. 10.
P Apocal. xxii, 15.