DE MENDACIO Translated by H. Browne. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, Vol. 3. Edited by Philip Schaff. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1887.)
Materiae pertractandae difficultas.
[1.1] Magna quaestio est de mendacio, quae nos in ipsis quotidianis actibus nostris saepe conturbat: ne aut temere accusemus mendacium, quod non est mendacium; aut arbitremur aliquando esse mentiendum, honesto quodam et officioso ac misericordi mendacio. Quam quaestionem tam sollicite pertractabimus, ut quaeramus cum quaerentibus: utrum autem aliquantum inveniamus, nihil nobis temere affirmantibus, lectori bene attendenti satis indicabit ipsa tractatio: latebrosa est enim nimis et quibusdam quasi cavernosis anfractibus saepe intentionem quaerentis eludit; ut modo velut elabatur e manibus quod inventum erat, modo rursus appareat, et rursus absorbeatur. Ad extremum tamen sententiam nostram velut certior indago comprehendet. In qua si ullus error est, cum ab omni errore veritas liberet, atque in omni errore falsitas implicet; nunquam errari tutius existimo, quam cum in amore nimio veritatis et reiectione nimia falsitatis erratur. Qui enim seuere reprehendunt, hoc nimium dicunt esse: ipsa autem veritas fortasse adhuc dicat: Nondum est satis. Sane quisquis legis, nihil reprehendas, nisi cum totum legeris; atque ita minus reprehendes. Eloquium noli quaerere: multum enim de rebus laboravimus, et de celeritate absoluendi tam necessarii quotidianae vitae operis; unde tenuis, ac prope nulla fuit nobis cura verborum. 1. There is a great question about Lying, which often arises in the midst of our every day business, and gives us much trouble, that we may not either rashly call that a lie which is not such, or decide that it is sometimes right to tell a lie, that is, a kind of honest, well-meant, charitable lie. This question we will painfully discuss by seeking with them that seek: whether to any good purpose, we need not take upon ourselves to affirm, for the attentive reader will sufficiently gather from the course of the discussion. It is, indeed, very full of dark corners, and has many cavern-like windings, whereby it oft eludes the eagerness of the seeker; so that at one moment what was found seems to slip out of one's hands, and anon comes to light again, and then is once more lost to sight. At last, however, the chase will bear down more surely, and will overtake our sentence. Wherein if there is any error, yet as Truth is that which sets free from all error, and Falsehood that which entangles in all error, one never errs more safely, methinks, than when one errs by too much loving the truth, and too much rejecting of falsehood. For they who find great fault say it is too much, whereas perhaps Truth would say after all, it is not yet enough. But whoso readest, you will do well to find no fault until you have read the whole; so will you have less fault to find. Eloquence you must not look for: we have been intent upon things, and upon dispatch in putting out of hand a matter which nearly concerns our every day life, and therefore have had small pains, or almost none, to bestow upon words.
Ioci non sunt mendacia.
[2.2] Exceptis igitur iocis, quae nunquam sunt putata mendacia: habent enim evidentissimam ex pronuntiatione atque ipso iocantis affectu significationem animi nequaquam fallentis, etsi non vera enuntiantis: quo genere utrum sit utendum perfectis animis, alia quaestio est, quam modo enodandam non suscepimus: exceptis ergo iocis, prius agendum est, ne mentiri existimetur qui non mentitur. 2. Setting aside, therefore, jokes, which have never been accounted lies, seeing they bear with them in the tone of voice, and in the very mood of the joker a most evident indication that he means no deceit, although the thing he utters be not true: touching which kind of discourse, whether it be meet to be used by perfect minds, is another question which we have not at this time taken in hand to clear; but setting jokes apart, the first point to be attended to, is, that a person should not be thought to lie, who lies not.
Quid sit mendacium. Ad mendacium an in loquente voluntas fallendi requiratur vel sufficiat.
[3.3] Quapropter videndum est quid sit mendacium. Non enim omnis qui falsum dicit mentitur, si credit aut opinatur verum esse quod dicit. Inter credere autem atque opinari hoc distat, quod aliquando ille qui credit, sentit se ignorare quod credit, quamvis de re quam se ignorare novit omnino non dubitet, si eam firmissime credit; qui autem opinatur, putat se scire quod nescit. Quisquis autem hoc enuntiat quod vel creditum animo, vel opinatum tenet, etiamsi falsum sit, non mentitur. Hoc enim debet enuntiationis suae fidei, ut illud per eam proferat, quod animo tenet, et sic habet ut profert. Nec ideo tamen sine vitio est, quamvis non mentiatur, si aut non credenda credit, aut quod ignorat nosse se putat, etiamsi verum sit: incognitum enim habet pro cognito. Quapropter ille mentitur, qui aliud habet in animo, et aliud verbis vel quibuslibet significationibus enuntiat. Unde etiam duplex cor dicitur esse mentientis, id est, duplex cogitatio: una rei eius quam veram esse vel scit vel putat, et non profert; altera eius rei quam pro ista profert sciens falsam esse vel putans. Ex quo fit ut possit falsum dicere non mentiens, si putat ita esse ut dicit, quamvis non ita sit; et ut possit verum dicere mentiens, si putat falsum esse et pro vero enuntiat, quamvis reuera ita sit ut enuntiat. Ex animi enim sui sententia, non ex rerum ipsarum veritate vel falsitate mentiens aut non mentiens iudicandus est. Potest itaque ille qui falsum pro vero enuntiat, quod tamen verum esse opinatur, errans dici et temerarius: mentiens autem non recte dicitur; quia cor duplex cum enuntiat non habet, nec fallere cupit, sed fallitur. Culpa vero mentientis est, in enuntiando animo suo fallendi cupiditas; sive fallat cum ei creditur falsum enuntianti; sive non fallat, vel cum ei non creditur, vel cum verum enuntiat voluntate fallendi, quod non putat verum. Quod cum ei creditur, non utique fallit, quamvis fallere voluerit: nisi hactenus fallit, quatenus putatur ita etiam nosse vel putare ut enuntiat. 3. For which purpose we must see what a lie is. For not every one who says a false thing lies, if he believes or opines that to be true which he says. Now between believing and opining there is this difference, that sometimes he who believes feels that he does not know that which he believes, (although he may know himself to be ignorant of a thing, and yet have no doubt at all concerning it, if he most firmly believes it:) whereas he who opines, thinks he knows that which he does not know. Now whoever utters that which he holds in his mind either as belief or as opinion, even though it be false, he lies not. For this he owes to the faith of his utterance, that he thereby produce that which he holds in his mind, and has in that way in which he produces it. Not that he is without fault, although he lie not, if either he believes what he ought not to believe, or thinks he knows what he knows not, even though it should be true: for he accounts an unknown thing for a known. Wherefore, that man lies, who has one thing in his mind and utters another in words, or by signs of whatever kind. Whence also the heart of him who lies is said to be double; that is, there is a double thought: the one, of that thing which he either knows or thinks to be true and does not produce; the other, of that thing which he produces instead thereof, knowing or thinking it to be false. Whence it comes to pass, that he may say a false thing and yet not lie, if he thinks it to be so as he says although it be not so; and, that he may say a true thing, and yet lie, if he thinks it to be false and utters it for true, although in reality it be so as he utters it. For from the sense of his own mind, not from the verity or falsity of the things themselves, is he to be judged to lie or not to lie. Therefore he who utters a false thing for a true, which however he opines to be true, may be called erring and rash: but he is not rightly said to lie; because he has not a double heart when he utters it, neither does he wish to deceive, but is deceived. But the fault of him who lies, is, the desire of deceiving in the uttering of his mind; whether he do deceive, in that he is believed when uttering the false thing; or whether he do not deceive, either in that he is not believed, or in that he utters a true thing with will to deceive, which he does not think to be true: wherein being believed, he does not deceive though it was his will to deceive: except that he deceives in so far as he is thought to know or think as he utters.
[3.4] Quamquam subtilissime quaeratur utrum cum abest voluntas fallendi, absit omnino mendacium. 4. But it may be a very nice question whether in the absence of all will to deceive, lying is altogether absent.
Mentiri num aliquando prosit aut liceat.
[4.4] Quid enim si quisque falsum loquens, quod falsum esse existimat, ideo tamen facit, quia putat sibi non credi, ut eo modo falsa fide absterreat eum cui loquitur, quem sentit sibi nolle credere? Hic enim studio non fallendi mentitur, si mendacium est enuntiare aliquid aliter quam scis esse vel putas; si autem mendacium non est nisi cum aliquid enuntiatur voluntate fallendi, non mentitur iste, qui propterea falsum loquitur, quamvis noverit vel putet falsum esse quod loquitur, ut ille cui loquitur non ei credendo non fallatur, quia eum sibi non crediturum vel scit vel putat. Thus, put the case that a person shall speak a false thing, which he esteems to be false, on the ground that he thinks he is not believed, to the intent, that in that way falsifying his faith he may deter the person to whom he speaks, which person he perceives does not choose to believe him. For here is a person who tells a lie with studied purpose of not deceiving, if to tell a lie is to utter any thing otherwise than you know or think it to be. But if it be no lie, unless when something is uttered with wish to deceive, that person lies not, who says a false thing, knowing or thinking it to be false, but says it on purpose that the person to whom he speaks by not believing him may not be deceived, because the speaker either knows or thinks the other will not believe him.
Unde si appareat fieri posse ut aliquis propterea falsum dicat, ne fallatur ille cui dicitur; existit aliud e contrario genus, propterea verum dicentis ut fallat. Qui enim verum ideo loquitur, quia sentit sibi non credi, ideo utique verum dicit ut fallat; scit enim vel existimat propterea falsum putari posse quod dicitur, quoniam ab ipso dicitur. Quamobrem cum ideo verum dicit ut falsum putetur, ideo verum dicit ut fallat. Quaerendum ergo est, quis potius mentiatur: utrum ille qui falsum dicit ne fallat, an ille qui verum dicit ut fallat; cum et ille sciat vel putet falsum se dicere, et iste sciat vel putet verum se dicere. Iam enim diximus eum qui nescit falsum esse quod enuntiat, non mentiri, si hoc putat verum; eumque potius mentiri, qui etiam verum enuntiat, cum falsum putat: quia ex animi sui sententia iudicandi sunt. Whence if it appear to be possible that a person should say a false thing on purpose that he to whom it is said may not be deceived, on the other hand there is this opposite case, the case of a person saying the truth on purpose that he may deceive. For if a man determines to say a true thing because he perceives he is not believed, that man speaks truth on purpose that he may deceive: for he knows or thinks that what is said may be accounted false, just because it is spoken by him. Wherefore in saying a true thing on purpose that it may be thought false, he says a true thing on purpose to deceive. So that it may be inquired, which rather lies: he who says a false thing that he may not deceive, or he who says a true thing that he may deceive? The one knowing or thinking that he says a false thing, and the other knowing or thinking that he says a true thing? For we have already said that the person who does not know the thing to be false which he utters, does not lie if he thinks it to be true; and that that person rather lies who utters even a true thing when he thinks it false: because it is by the sense of their mind that they are to be judged.
De illis itaque non parua quaestio est, quos proposuimus: unum qui scit aut putat se falsum dicere, et ideo dicit ne fallat; velut si aliquam viam noverit obsideri a latronibus, et timens ne per illam pergat homo cuius saluti prospicit, et eum scit sibi non credere, dicat eam viam non habere latrones, ad hoc ut illac non eat, dum ideo credit latrones ibi esse, quia ille dixit non ibi esse, cui non credere statuit, mendacem putans; alterum autem qui sciens aut putans verum esse quod dicit, ad hoc tamen dicit ut fallat; tamquam si homini non sibi credenti dicat latrones in illa via esse ubi reuera eos esse cognovit, ut ille cui dicit per illam viam magis pergat, atque ita in latrones incidat, dum putat falsum esse quod ille dixerit. Quis ergo istorum mentitur; ille qui elegit falsum dicere ne fallat, an ille qui elegit verum dicere ut fallat? ille qui falsum dicendo egit ut verum sequeretur cui dixit, an iste qui verum dicendo egit ut falsum sequeretur cui dixit? An forte ambo mentiti sunt; ille quia voluit falsum dicere, iste quia voluit fallere? An potius neuter eorum mentitus est; ille quia voluntatem habuit non fallendi, et ille quia voluntatem habuit verum dicendi? Non enim nunc agitur quis eorum peccaverit, sed quis mentitus sit. Cito enim videtur ille peccasse, qui verum dicendo egit ut homo incideret in latrones: ille autem non peccasse, vel etiam bene fecisse, qui falsum dicendo egit ut homo perniciem devitaret. Concerning these persons therefore, whom we have set forth, there is no small question. The one, who knows or thinks he says a false thing, and says it on purpose that he may not deceive: as, if he knows a certain road to be beset by robbers, and fearing lest some person for whose safety he is anxious should go by that road, which person he knows does not trust him, should tell him that that road has no robbers, on purpose that he may not go by it, as he will think there are robbers there precisely because the other has told him there are none, and he is resolved not to believe him, accounting him a liar. The other, who knowing or thinking that to be true which he says, says it on purpose that he may deceive: for instance, if he tells a person who does not believe him, that there are robbers in that road where he really knows them to be, that he to whom he tells it may the rather go by that road and so fall among robbers, because he thinks that to be false, which the other told him. Which then of these lies? The one who has chosen to say a false thing that he may not deceive? Or the other who has chosen to say a true thing that he may deceive? That one, who in saying a false thing aimed that he to whom he spoke should follow the truth? Or this one, who in saying a true thing aimed that he to whom he spoke should follow a falsehood? Or haply have both lied? The one, because he wished to say a false thing: the other, because he wished to deceive? Or rather, has neither lied? Not the one, because he had the will not to deceive: not the other, because he had the will to speak the truth? For the question is not now which of them sinned, but which of them lied: as indeed it is presently seen that the latter sinned, because by speaking a truth he brought it about that a person should fall among robbers, and that the former has not sinned, or even has done good, because by speaking a false thing he has been the means of a person's avoiding destruction.
Sed possunt exempla ista converti, ut et ille aliquid gravius eum pati velit quem falli non vult; multi enim vera quaedam cognoscendo sibi intulerunt perniciem, si talia fuerunt ut eos latere debuerint: et iste aliquid commodi velit adipisci eum quem vult falli; nonnulli enim qui sibi mortem intulissent, si aliquid mali quod vere contigerat de caris suis cognovissent, falsum putando sibi pepercerunt; atque ita falli eis profuit, sicut aliis obfuit vera cognoscere. But then these instances may be turned the other way, so that the one should be supposed to wish some more grievous suffering to the person whom he wishes not to be deceived; for there are many cases of persons who through knowing certain things to be true, have brought destruction upon themselves, if the things were such as ought to have continued unknown to them: and the other may be supposed to wish some convenience to result to the person whom he wishes to be deceived; for there have been instances of persons who would have destroyed themselves had they known some evil that had really befallen those who were dear to them, and through deeming it false have spared themselves: and so to be deceived has been a benefit to them, as to others it has been a hurt to know the truth.
Non ergo id agitur, quo animo consulendi aut nocendi, vel ille falsum dixit ne falleret, vel iste verum dixit ut falleret: sed exceptis commodis aut incommodis eorum quibus locuti sunt, quantum ad ipsam veritatem falsitatemque attinet, quaeritur quis eorum, an uterque, neuterue mentitus sit. Si enim mendacium est enuntiatio cum voluntate falsum enuntiandi, ille potius mentitus est qui falsum dicere voluit, et dixit quod voluit, quamvis ne falleret dixerit: si autem mendacium est quaelibet enuntiatio cum voluntate fallendi, non ille, sed iste mentitus est, qui etiam verum dicendo fallere voluit: quod si mendacium est enuntiatio cum voluntate alicuius falsitatis, ambo mentiti sunt; quia et ille suam enuntiationem falsam esse voluit, et ille de vera sua falsum credi voluit: porro si mendacium est enuntiatio falsum enuntiare volentis ut fallat, neuter mentitus est; quia et ille habuit voluntatem falsum dicendo verum persuadere, et iste, ut falsum persuaderet, verum dicere. Aberit igitur omnis temeritas atque omne mendacium, cum et id quod verum credendumque cognovimus, cum opus est enuntiamus, et id volumus persuadere quod enuntiamus. Si autem vel quod falsum est verum putantes, vel quod incognitum est nobis pro cognito habentes, vel quod credendum non est credentes, vel cum id non opus est enuntiantes, tamen non aliud quam id quod enuntiamus persuadere conamur: non abest quidem temeritatis error, sed abest omne mendacium. Nulla enim definitionum illarum timenda est, cum bene sibi conscius est animus, hoc se enuntiare quod verum esse aut novit, aut opinatur, aut credit, neque velle aliquid, nisi quod enuntiat, persuadere. The question therefore is not with what purpose of doing a kindness or a hurt, either the one said a false thing that he might not deceive, or the other a true thing that he might deceive: but, setting apart the convenience or inconvenience of the persons spoken to, in so far as relates to the very truth and falsehood, the question is, whether both of them or neither has lied. For if a lie is an utterance with will of uttering a false thing, that man has rather lied who willed to say a false thing, and said what he willed, albeit he said it of set purpose not to deceive. But if a lie is any utterance whatever with will to deceive; then not the former has lied, but the latter, who even in speaking truth willed to deceive. And if a lie is an utterance with will of any falsity, both have lied; because both the former willed his utterance to be false, and the latter willed a false thing to be believed concerning his utterance which was true. Further, if a lie is an utterance of a person wishing to utter a false thing that he may deceive, neither has lied; because both the former in saying a false thing had the will to make a true thing believed, and the latter to say a true thing in order that he might make a false thing believed. We shall be clear then of all rashness and all lying, if, what we know to be true or right to be believed, we utter when need is, and wish to make that thing believed which we utter. If, however, either thinking that to be true which is false, or accounting as known that which is to us unknown, or believing what we ought not to believe, or uttering it when need is not, we yet have no other aim than to make that believed which we utter; we do not stand clear indeed of the error of temerity, but we do stand clear of all lying. For there is no need to be afraid of any of those definitions, when the mind has a good conscience, that it utters that which to be true it either knows, or opines, or believes, and that it has no wish to make any thing believed but that which it utters.
Utrum sit utile aliquando mendacium, multo maior magisque necessaria quaestio est.
[4.5] Sed utrum sit utile aliquando mendacium, multo maior magisque necessaria quaestio est. Utrum ergo mentiatur quisquis fallendi non habet voluntatem, vel etiam id agit ne fallatur cui aliquid enuntiat, quamvis enuntiationem ipsam falsam habere voluerit, quia ideo voluit ut verum persuaderet; et utrum mentiatur quisquis etiam verum volens enuntiat causa fallendi, dubitari potest. Nemo autem dubitat mentiri eum qui volens falsum enuntiat causa fallendi: quapropter enuntiationem falsam cum voluntate ad fallendum prolatam, manifestum est esse mendacium. Sed utrum hoc solum sit mendacium, alia quaestio est. 5. But whether a lie be at some times useful, is a much greater and more concerning question. Whether, as above, it be a lie, when a person has no will to deceive, or even makes it his business that the person to whom he says a thing shall not be deceived although he did wish the thing itself which he uttered to be false, but this on purpose that he might cause a truth to be believed; whether, again, it be a lie when a person willingly utters even a truth for the purpose of deceiving; this may be doubted. But none doubts that it is a lie when a person willingly utters a falsehood for the purpose of deceiving: wherefore a false utterance put forth with will to deceive is manifestly a lie. But whether this alone be a lie, is another question.
Opinio affirmans mentiendum esse nonnunquam.
[5.5] Interim de hoc genere, in quod omnes consentiunt, inquiramus: utrum aliquando sit utile falsum aliquid enuntiare cum voluntate fallendi. Nam qui hoc sentiunt, adhibent testimonia sententiae suae, commemorantes Saram cum risisset, angelis negasse quod riserit; Iacob a patre interrogatum, respondisse quod ipse esset Esau maior filius eius; Aegyptias quoque obstetrices, ne infantes Hebraei nascentes interficerentur, etiam Deo approbante et remunerante mentitas; et multa eiusmodi exempla eligentes, eorum hominum mendacia commemorant, quos culpare non audeas, atque ita fatearis aliquando esse posse non solum reprehensione non dignum, sed etiam dignum laude mendacium. Addunt etiam, quo non solos premant divinis Libris deditos, sed etiam omnes homines sensumque communem, dicentes: Si quis ad te confugiat, qui mendacio tuo possit a morte liberari, non es mentiturus? Si aliquid aegrotus interroget quod ei scire non expedit, qui etiam te non respondente possit gravius affligi; audebisne aut verum dicere in perniciem hominis, aut silere potius quam honesto et misericordi mendacio valetudini eius opitulari? His atque talibus copiosissime se arbitrantur urgere, ut si consulendi causa exigit, aliquando mentiamur. Meanwhile, taking this kind of lie, in which all agree, let us inquire, whether it be sometimes useful to utter a falsehood with will to deceive. They who think it is, advance testimonies to their opinion, by alleging the case of Sarah, who, when she had laughed, denied to the Angels that she laughed: of Jacob questioned by his father, and answering that he was the elder son Esau: likewise that of the Egyptian midwives, who to save the Hebrew infants from being slain at their birth, told a lie, and that with God's approbation and reward: and many such like instances they pick out, of lies told by persons whom you would not dare to blame, and so must own that it may sometimes be not only not blameworthy, but even praiseworthy to tell a lie. They add also a case with which to urge not only those who are devoted to the Divine Books, but all men and common sense, saying, Suppose a man should take refuge with you, who by your lie might be saved from death, would you not tell it? If a sick man should ask a question which it is not expedient that he should know, and might be more grievously afflicted even by your returning him no answer, will you venture either to tell the truth to the destruction of the man's life, or rather to hold your peace, than by a virtuous and merciful lie to be serviceable to his weak health? By these and such like arguments they think they most plentifully prove, that if occasion of doing good require, we may sometimes tell a lie.
Opinio negans esse unquam mentiendum.
[5.6] Contra, illi quibus placet nunquam mentiendum, multo fortius agunt, utentes primo auctoritate divina, quoniam in ipso Decalogo scriptum est: Falsum testimonium ne dicas; quo genere complectitur omne mendacium: quisquis enim aliquid enuntiat, testimonium perhibet animo suo. Sed ne quis contendat non omne mendacium falsum testimonium esse appellandum; quid dicturus est ad id quod scriptum est: Os quod mentitur occidit animam? quod ne quis arbitretur exceptis aliquibus mentientibus posse intellegi, alio loco legat: Perdes omnes qui loquuntur mendacium. Unde ore suo ipse Dominus: Sit, inquit, in ore uestro: Est, est; Non, non; quod autem amplius est, a malo est. Hinc et Apostolus cum exuendum veterem hominem praeciperet, quo nomine omnia peccata intelleguntur, consequenter ait, in primis ponens: Quapropter deponentes mendacium, loquimini veritatem. 6. On the other hand, those who say that we must never lie, plead much more strongly, using first the Divine authority, because in the very Decalogue it is written You shall not bear false witness; under which general term it comprises all lying: for whoso utters any thing bears witness to his own mind. But lest any should contend that not every lie is to be called false witness, what will he say to that which is written, The mouth that lies slays the soul: and lest any should suppose that this may be understood with the exception of some liars, let him read in another place, You will destroy all that speak leasing. Whence with His own lips the Lord says, Let your communication be yea, yea; nay, nay; for whatsoever is more than these comes of evil. Hence the Apostle also in giving precept for the putting off of the old man, under which name all sins are understood, says straightway, Wherefore putting away lying, speak ye truth.
Exempla pro mendacio ex Veteri Testamento allata discutiuntur.
[5.7] Nec illis quae de ueteribus Libris mendaciorum exempla prolata sunt, terreri se dicunt; ubi quidquid gestum est, figurate accipi potest, quamvis reuera contigerit: quidquid autem figurate fit aut dicitur, non est mendacium. Omnis enim enuntiatio, ad id quod enuntiat, referenda est. Omne autem figurate aut factum aut dictum hoc enuntiat quod significat eis quibus intellegendum prolatum est. Unde credendum est illos homines qui propheticis temporibus digni auctoritate fuisse commemorantur, omnia quae scripta sunt de illis, prophetice gessisse atque dixisse: nec minus prophetice eis accidisse, quaecumque sic acciderunt, ut eodem prophetico Spiritu memoriae litterisque mandanda iudicarentur. 7. Neither do they confess that they are awed by those citations from the Old Testament which are alleged as examples of lies: for there, every incident may possibly be taken figuratively, although it really did take place: and when a thing is either done or said figuratively, it is no lie. For every utterance is to be referred to that which it utters. But when any thing is either done or said figuratively, it utters that which it signifies to those for whose understanding it was put forth. Whence we may believe in regard of those persons of the prophetical times who are set forth as authoritative, that in all that is written of them they acted and spoke prophetically; and no less, that there is a prophetical meaning in all those incidents of their lives which by the same prophetic Spirit have been accounted worthy of being recorded in writing.
De obstetricibus autem, quia non eas possunt dicere prophetico Spiritu significandi futuri veri gratia, aliud pro alio renuntiasse Pharaoni, etiamsi aliquid ipsis nescientibus quod per eas actum est significavit, pro gradu suo dicunt approbatas et remuneratas a Deo. Qui enim nocendi causa mentiri solet, si iam consulendi causa mentiatur, multum profecit. Sed aliud est quod per se ipsum laudabile proponitur, aliud quod in deterioris comparatione praeponitur. Aliter enim gratulamur cum sanus est homo, aliter cum melius habet aegrotus. Nam in Scripturis ipsis iustificata etiam Sodoma dicitur in comparatione scelerum populi Israel 9. Et ad hanc regulam dirigunt omnia mendacia quae proferuntur de ueteribus Libris, nec reprehensa inveniuntur, vel reprehendi non possunt, ut aut indole proficientium et spe approbentur, aut significationis alicuius causa non sint omnino mendacia. Mentiendi exemplum ex Testamento Novo nullum suppetere. Timothei circumcisio non per simulationem facta. Petrus libenter correctus a Paulo. As to the midwives, indeed, they cannot say that these women did through the prophetic Spirit, with purpose of signifying a future truth, tell Pharaoh one thing instead of another, (albeit that Spirit did signify something, without their knowing what was doing in their persons:) but, they say that these women were according to their degree approved and rewarded of God. For if a person who is used to tell lies for harm's sake comes to tell them for the sake of doing good, that person has made great progress. But it is one thing that is set forth as laudable in itself, another that in comparison with a worse is preferred. It is one sort of gratulation that we express when a man is in sound health, another when a sick man is getting better. In the Scripture, even Sodom is said to be justified in comparison with the crimes of the people Israel. And to this rule they apply all the instances of lying which are produced from the Old Books, and are found not reprehended, or cannot be reprehended: either they are approved on the score of a progress towards improvement and hope of better things, or in virtue of some hidden signification they are not altogether lies.
[5.8] Et ideo de libris Novi Testamenti, exceptis figuratis significationibus Domini, si vitam moresque sanctorum et facta ac dicta consideres, nihil tale proferri potest, quod ad imitationem prouocet mentiendi. Simulatio enim Petri et Barnabae non solum commemorata, verum etiam reprehensa atque correcta est. Non enim, ut nonnulli putant, ex eadem simulatione etiam Paulus apostolus aut Timotheum circumcidit, aut ipse quaedam ritu Iudaico sacramenta celebravit; sed ex illa libertate sententiae suae, qua praedicavit nec Gentibus prodesse circumcisionem, nec Iudaeis obesse. Unde nec illos astringendos ad consuetudinem Iudaeorum, nec illos a paterna deterrendos censuit. Unde illa verba eius sunt: Circumcisus quis vocatus est? non adducat praeputium. In praeputio quis vocatus est? non circumcidatur. Circumcisio nihil est, et praeputium nihil est; sed observatio mandatorum Dei. Unusquisque in qua vocatione vocatus est, in ea permaneat. Quomodo enim potest adduci praeputium quod praecisum est? Sed non adducat dixit, non ita vivat, quasi praeputium adduxerit; id est, quasi in eam partem quam nudavit, rursus tegmen carnis attraxerit, et quasi Iudaeus esse destiterit; sicut alibi dicit: Circumcisio tua praeputium facta est. 8. For this reason, from the books of the New Testament, except the figurative pre-significations used by our Lord, if you consider the life and manners of the Saints, their actions and sayings, nothing of the kind can be produced which should provoke to imitation of lying. For the simulation of Peter and Barnabas is not only recorded, but also reproved and corrected. For it was not, as some suppose, out of the same simulation that even Paul the Apostle either circumcised Timothy, or himself celebrated certain ceremonies according to the Jewish rite; but he did so, out of that liberty of his mind whereby he preached that neither are the Gentiles the better for circumcision, nor the Jews the worse. Wherefore he judged that neither the former should be tied to the custom of the Jews, nor the Jews deterred from the custom of their fathers. Whence are those words of his: Is any man called being circumcised let him not become uncircumcised. Is any called in uncircumcision? Let him not be circumcised. Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God. Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called. How can a man become uncircumcised after circumcision? But let him not do so, says he: let him not so live as if he had become uncircumcised, that is, as if he had covered again with flesh the part that was bared, and ceased to be a Jew; as in another place he says, Your circumcision has become uncircumcision.
Et hoc non tamquam cogens dixit Apostolus, aut illos manere in praeputio, aut Iudaeos in consuetudine patrum suorum: sed ut neutri in alteram cogerentur; potestatem autem haberet quisque manendi in sua consuetudine, non necessitatem. Neque enim si vellet Iudaeus, ubi nullum perturbaret, recedere a Iudaicis observationibus, prohiberetur ab Apostolo; quandoquidem consilium in eis permanendi ad hoc dedit, ne superfluis perturbati Iudaei, ad ea quae saluti essent necessaria non venirent. Neque ab illo prohiberetur si vellet quisquam Gentilium ideo circumcidi, ut hoc ipsum ostenderet non se detestari quasi noxium, sed indifferenter habere tamquam signaculum, cuius utilitas iam tempore praeterisset: non enim, si salus ex eo iam nulla esset, etiam exitium inde metuendum fuit. Ideoque et Timotheus cum in praeputio vocatus esset, tamen quia de Iudaea matre ortus erat, et ostendere cognatis suis debebat ad eos lucrifaciendos, non hoc se didicisse in disciplina christiana, ut illa sacramenta quae Legis ueteris essent abominaretur, circumcisus est ab Apostolo: ut hoc modo demonstrarent Iudaeis, non ideo Gentes non ea suscipere, quia mala sunt et perniciose a patribus observata; sed quia iam saluti non necessaria post adventum tanti sacramenti, quod per tam longa tempora tota uetus illa Scriptura propheticis figurationibus parturivit. And this the Apostle said, not as though he would compel either those to remain in uncircumcision, or the Jews in the custom of their fathers: but that neither these nor those should be forced to the other custom; and, each should have power of abiding in his own custom, not necessity of so doing. For neither if the Jew should wish, where it would disturb no man, to recede from Jewish observances, would he be prohibited by the Apostle, since the object of his counselling to abide therein was that Jews might not by being troubled about superfluous things be hindered from coming to those things which are necessary to salvation. Neither would it be prohibited by him, if any of the Gentiles should wish to be circumcised for the purpose of showing that he does not detest the same as noxious, but holds it indifferently, as a seal, the usefulness of which had already passed away with time; for it did not follow that, if there were now no salvation to be had from it, there was destruction to be dreaded therefrom. And for this reason, Timothy, having been called in uncircumcision, yet because his mother was a Jewess and he was bound, in order to gain his kindred, to show them that he had not learned in the Christian discipline to abominate the sacraments of the old Law, was circumcised by the Apostle; that in this way they might prove to the Jews, that the reason why the Gentiles do not receive them, is not that they are evil and were perniciously observed by the Fathers, but because they are no longer necessary to salvation after the advent of that so great Sacrament, which through so long times the whole of that ancient Scripture in its prophetical prefigurations did travail in birth withal.
Nam et Titum circumcideret, cum hoc urgerent Iudaei, nisi subintroducti falsi fratres ideo fieri vellent, ut haberent quod de ipso Paulo disseminarent, tamquam eorum veritati cesserit, qui spem salutis euangelicae in circumcisione carnis atque eiusmodi observationibus esse praedicarent, et sine his nemini Christum prodesse contenderent: cum contra nihil prodesset Christus eis qui eo animo circumciderentur, ut ibi esse salutem putarent; unde est illud: Ecce ego Paulus dico vobis, quia si circumcidamini, Christus nihil vobis proderit. Ex hac igitur libertate Paulus paternas observationes observavit, hoc unum cavens et praedicans, ne sine his salus christiana nulla putaretur. Petrus autem simulatione sua, tamquam in Iudaismo salus esset, cogebat Gentes iudaizare; quod verba Pauli ostendunt dicentis: Quomodo gentes cogis iudaizare? For he would circumcise Titus also, when the Jews urged this, but that false brethren, privily brought in, wished it to be done to the intent they might have it to disseminate concerning Paul himself as a token that he had given place to the truth of their preaching, who said that the hope of Gospel salvation is in circumcision of the flesh and observances of that kind, and that without these Christ profits no man: whereas on the contrary Christ would nothing profit them, who should be circumcised because they thought that in it was salvation; whence that saying, Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if you be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. Out of this liberty, therefore, did Paul keep the observances of his fathers, but with this one precaution and express declaration, that people should not suppose that without these was no Christian salvation. Peter, however, by his making as though salvation consisted in Judaism, was compelling the Gentiles to judaize; as is shown by Paul's words, where he says, Why do you compel the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?
Non enim cogerentur, nisi viderent eum sic eas observare, quasi praeter illas salus esse non posset. Petri ergo simulatio libertati Pauli non est comparanda. Et ideo Petrum amare debemus libenter correctum, non autem astruere etiam de Pauli auctoritate mendacium: quia et Petrum coram omnibus in rectam viam reuocavit, ne Gentes per eum iudaizare cogerentur; et ipse suae praedicationi attestatus est, qui cum putaretur hostis paternarum traditionum, eo quod nolebat eas imponere Gentibus, non aspernatus eas ipse more patrio celebrare, satis ostendit hoc in eis Christo adveniente remansisse, ut nec Iudaeis essent perniciosae, nec Gentibus necessariae, nec iam cuiquam hominum salutares. For they would be under no compulsion unless they saw that he observed them in such manner as if beside them could be no salvation. Peter's simulation therefore is not to be compared to Paul's liberty. And while we ought to love Peter for that he willingly received correction, we must not bolster up lying even by the authority of Paul, who both recalled Peter to the right path in the presence of them all, lest the Gentiles through him should be compelled to judaize; and bore witness to his own preaching, that whereas he was accounted hostile to the traditions of the fathers in that he would not impose them on the Gentiles, he did not despise to celebrate them himself according to the custom of his fathers, and therein sufficiently showed that this has remained in them at the Coming of Christ; that neither to the Jews they are pernicious, nor to the Gentiles necessary, nor henceforth to any of mankind means of salvation.
Auctoritatem mentiendi non magis communis vitae quam Scripturarum exemplis astrui posse.
[5.9] Quod si auctoritas mentiendi nec de antiquis Libris proferri potest, vel quia non est mendacium quod figurate gestum dictumue recipitur, vel quia bonis ad imitandum non proponitur quod in malis, cum proficere coeperint, in peioris comparatione laudatur; nec de Novi Testamenti libris, quia correctio potius quam simulatio, sicut lacrymae potius quam negatio Petri est imitanda. 9. But if no authority for lying can be alleged, neither from the ancient Books, be it because that is not a lie which is received to have been done or said in a figurative sense, or be it because good men are not challenged to imitate that which in bad men, beginning to amend, is praised in comparison with the worse; nor yet from the books of the New Testament, because Peter's correction rather than his simulation, even as his tears rather than his denial, is what we must imitate:
Mendacium esse iniquitatem, et mortem animae afferre, nec proinde admittendum pro cuiusquam salute temporali.
[6.9] Iam illis exemplis, quae de communi vita proferuntur, multo confidentius asserunt non esse credendum. Prius enim docent iniquitatem esse mendacium, multis documentis Litterarum sanctarum, et eo maxime quod scriptum est: Odisti, Domine, omnes qui operantur iniquitatem; perdes omnes qui loquuntur mendacium. Aut enim, ut solet Scriptura, sequenti versu exposuit superiorem; ut quoniam latius solet patere iniquitas, intellegamus nominato mendacio tamquam speciem iniquitatis significare voluerit: aut si aliquid interesse arbitrantur, tanto peius est mendacium, quanto gravius positum est perdes, quam odisti. Forte enim odit aliquem Deus aliquanto mitius, ut eum non perdat: quem vero perdit, tanto uehementius odit, quanto seuerius punit. Odit autem omnes qui operantur iniquitatem: at omnes qui loquuntur mendacium etiam perdit. Quo constituto, quis eorum qui haec asserunt commovebitur illis exemplis, cum dicitur: Quid si ad te homo confugiat, qui mendacio tuo possit a morte liberari? then, as to those examples which are fetched from common life, they assert much more confidently that there is no trust to be given to these. For first they teach, that a lie is iniquity, by many proofs of holy writ, especially by that which is written, You, Lord, hatest all workers of iniquity, you shall destroy them that speak leasing. For either as the Scripture is wont, in the following clause it expounds the former; so that, as iniquity is a term of a wider meaning, leasing is named as the particular sort of iniquity intended: or if they think there is any difference between the two, leasing is by so much worse than iniquity as you will destroy is heavier than you hate. For it may be that God hates a person to that degree more mildly, as not to destroy him, but whom He destroys He hates the more exceedingly, by how much He punishes more severely. Now He hates all who work iniquity: but all who speak leasing He also destroys. Which thing being fixed, who of them which assert this will be moved by those examples, when it is said, suppose a man should seek shelter with you who by your lie may be saved from death?
Illa enim mors quam stulte timent homines, qui peccare non timent, non animam, sed corpus occidit, sicut Dominus in Euangelio docet; unde praecipit ne ipsa timeatur: os autem quod mentitur, non corpus, sed animam occidit. His enim verbis apertissime scriptum est: Os autem quod mentitur, occidit animam. Quomodo ergo non peruersissime dicitur, ut alter corporaliter vivat, debere alterum spiritaliter mori? Nam et ipsa dilectio proximi ex sua cuiusque terminum accepit. Diliges, inquit, proximum tuum tamquam te ipsum. Quomodo ergo quisque diligit tamquam se ipsum, cui ut praestet vitam temporalem, ipse amittit aeternam? quandoquidem si pro illius temporali vita suam ipsam temporalem perdat, non est iam diligere sicut se ipsum, sed plus quam se ipsum: quod sanae doctrinae regulam excedit. Multo minus igitur aeternam suam pro alterius temporali mentiendo amissurus est. Temporalem plane vitam suam pro aeterna vita proximi non dubitabit christianus amittere: hoc enim praecessit exemplum, ut pro nobis Dominus ipse moreretur. For that death which men are foolishly afraid of who are not afraid to sin, kills not the soul but the body, as the Lord teaches in the Gospel; whence He charges us not to fear that death: but the mouth which lies kills not the body but the soul. For in these words it is most plainly written, The mouth that lies slays the soul. How then can it be said without the greatest perverseness, that to the end one man may have life of the body, it is another man's duty to incur death of the soul? The love of our neighbor has its bounds in each man's love of himself. You shall love, says He, your neighbor as yourself. How can a man be said to love as himself that man, for whom that he may secure a temporal life, himself loses life eternal? Since if for his temporal life he lose but his own temporal life, that is not to love as himself, but more than himself: which exceeds the rule of sound doctrine. Much less then is he by telling a lie to lose his own eternal for another's temporal life. His own temporal life, of course, for his neighbor's eternal life a Christian man will not hesitate to lose: for this example has gone before, that the Lord died for us.
Ad hoc enim et ait: Hoc est mandatum meum, ut diligatis invicem sicut et ego dilexi vos. Maiorem dilectionem nemo habet, quam ut animam suam ponat pro amicis suis. Non enim quisquam est ita desipiens, ut dicat aliud quam saluti sempiternae hominum consuluisse Dominum vel faciendo quod praecepit, vel praecipiendo quod fecit. Cum igitur mentiendo vita aeterna amittatur, nunquam pro cuiusquam temporali vita mentiendum est. Enimuero isti qui stomachantur et indignantur, si nolit aliquis mendacio perimere animam suam, ut alius senescat in carne; quid, si etiam furto nostro, quid, si adulterio liberari possit aliquis de morte? ideone furandum est, aut moechandum? Nesciunt enim ad hoc se cogere, ut si laqueum ferat homo et stuprum petat, confirmans quod sibi collum ligabit, nisi ei concedatur quod petit, consentiatur propter animam, sicut ipsi dicunt, liberandam. Quod si absurdum et nefarium est, cur animam suam quisque mendacio corrumpat, ut alter vivat in corpore; cum si suum corpus propterea corrumpendum daret, omnium iudicio nefariae turpitudinis damnaretur? To this point He also says, This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. For none is so foolish as to say that the Lord did other than consult for the eternal salvation of men, whether in doing what He has charged us to do, or in charging us to do what Himself has done. Since then by lying eternal life is lost, never for any man's temporal life must a lie be told. And as to those who take it ill and are indignant that one should refuse to tell a lie, and thereby slay his own soul in order that another may grow old in the flesh; what if by our committing theft, what if by committing adultery, a person might be delivered from death: are we therefore to steal, to commit whoredom? They cannot prevail with themselves in a case of this kind: namely, if a person should bring a halter and demand that one should yield to his carnal lust, declaring that he will hang himself unless his request be granted: they cannot prevail with themselves to comply for the sake of, as they say, saving a life. If this is absurd and wicked, why should a man corrupt his own soul with a lie in order that another may live in the body, when, if he were to give his body to be corrupted with such an object, he would in the judgment of all men be held guilty of nefarious turpitude?
Proinde non est in ista quaestione attendendum, nisi utrum iniquitas sit mendacium. Quod cum supra commemoratis documentis asseratur, videndum est ita quaeri utrum pro alterius salute mentiri aliquis debeat, ac si quaereretur utrum pro alterius salute iniquus esse aliquis debeat. Quod si respuit animae salus, quae non potest nisi aequitate servari, et se ut praeponamus non solum alterius, sed etiam nostrae saluti temporali iubet; quid restat, inquiunt, quo dubitare debeamus nunquam omnino esse mentiendum? Non enim dici potest esse aliquid in temporalibus commodis, salute ac vita corporali maius aut carius. Unde si nec ipsa praeponenda est veritati, quid obiici potest propter quod mentiendum esse contendant, qui aliquando putant oportere mentiri? Therefore the only point to be attended to in this question is, whether a lie be iniquity. And since this is asserted by the texts above rehearsed, we must see that to ask, whether a man ought to tell a lie for the safety of another, is just the same as asking whether for another's safety a man ought to commit iniquity. But if the salvation of the soul rejects this, seeing it cannot be secured but by equity, and would have us prefer it not only to another's, but even to our own temporal safety: what remains, say they, that should make us doubt that a lie ought not to be told under any circumstances whatsoever? For it cannot be said that there is anything among temporal goods greater or dearer than the safety and life of the body. Wherefore if not even that is to be preferred to truth, what can be put in our way for the sake of which they who think it is sometimes right to lie, can urge that a lie ought to be told?
Nec pudicitiae corporalis causa mentiendum. Libido quid sit.
[7.10] Pudicitia quippe corporis, quia multum honorabili persona videtur occurrere, et pro se flagitare mendacium, ut si stuprator irruat qui possit mendacio devitari, sine dubitatione mentiendum sit: facile responderi potest, nullam esse pudicitiam corporis, nisi ab integritate animi pendeat; qua disrupta cadat necesse est, etiamsi intacta videatur; et ideo non in rebus temporalibus esse numerandam, quasi quae inuitis possit auferri. Nullo modo igitur animus se mendacio corrumpit pro corpore suo, quod scit manere incorruptum, si ab ipso animo incorruptio non recedat. Quod enim violenter non praecedente libidine patitur corpus, uexatio potius quam corruptio nominanda est. 10. As concerning purity of body; here indeed a very honorable regard seems to come in the way, and to demand a lie in its behalf; to wit, that if the assault of the ravisher may be escaped by means of a lie, it is indubitably right to tell it: but to this it may easily be answered, that there is no purity of body except as it depends on integrity of mind; this being broken, the other must needs fall, even though it seem intact; and for this reason it is not to be reckoned among temporal things, as a thing that might be taken away from people against their will. By no means therefore must the mind corrupt itself by a lie for the sake of its body, which it knows remains incorrupt if from the mind itself incorruptness depart not. For that which by violence, with no lust foregoing, the body suffers, is rather to be called deforcement than corruption.
Aut si omnis uexatio corruptio est, non omnis corruptio turpis est; sed quam libido procuraverit, aut cui libido consenserit. Quanto autem praestantior est animus corpore, tanto sceleratius corrumpitur. Ibi ergo servari potest pudicitia, ubi nulla nisi voluntaria potest esse corruptio. Certe enim si stuprator corpus inuaserit, qui nec vi contraria possit, nec ullo consilio vel mendacio devitari, necesse est fateamur, aliena libidine pudicitiam non posse violari. Quapropter quoniam nemo dubitat meliorem esse animum corpore, integritati corporis integritas animi praeponenda est, quae in aeternum servari potest. Quis autem dixerit integrum animum esse mentientis? Etenim libido quoque ipsa recte definitur: Appetitus animi quo aeternis bonis quaelibet temporalia praeponuntur. Nemo itaque potest conuincere aliquando esse mentiendum, nisi qui potuerit ostendere aeternum aliquod bonum obtineri posse mendacio. Sed cum tanto quisque ab aeternitate discedat, quanto a veritate discedit; absurdissimum est dicere, discedendo inde posse ad boni aliquid aliquem pervenire. Aut si est aliquod bonum aeternum quod non complectatur veritas, non erit verum: et ideo nec bonum erit, quia falsum erit. Or if all deforcement is corruption, then not every corruption has turpitude, but only that which lust has procured, or to which lust has consented. Now by how much the mind is more excellent than the body, so much the more heinous is the wickedness if that be corrupted. There, then, purity can be preserved, because there none but a voluntary corruption can have place. For assuredly if the ravisher assault the body, and there is no escaping him either by contrary force, or by any contrivance or lie, we must needs allow that purity cannot be violated by another's lust. Wherefore, since no man doubts that the mind is better than the body, to integrity of body we ought to prefer integrity of mind, which can be preserved for ever. Now who will say that the mind of him who tells a lie has its integrity? Indeed lust itself is rightly defined, An appetite of the mind by which to eternal goods any temporal goods whatever are preferred. Therefore no man can prove that it is at any time right to tell a lie, unless he be able to show that any eternal good can be obtained by a lie. But since each man departs from eternity just in so far as he departs from truth, it is most absurd to say, that by departing therefrom it is possible for any man to attain to any good. Else if there be any eternal good which truth comprises not, it will not be a true good, therefore neither will it be good, because it will be false.
Ut autem animus corpori, ita etiam veritas ipsi animo praeponenda est; ut eam non solum magis quam corpus, sed etiam magis quam se ipsum appetat animus. Ita quippe erit integrior et castior, cum eius potius immutabilitate, quam sua mutabilitate perfruetur. Si autem Loth cum ita iustus esset, ut angelos etiam hospites suscipere mereretur, stuprandas filias Sodomitis obtulit, ut feminarum potius ab eis corpora quam virorum corrumperentur; quanto diligentius atque constantius animi castitas in veritate servanda est, cum verius ipse corpori suo, quam corpus virile femineo corpori praeferatur? But as the mind to the body, so must also truth be preferred to the mind itself, so that the mind should desire it not only more than the body, but even more than its own self. So will the mind be more entire and chaste, when it shall enjoy the immutability of truth rather than its own mutability. Now if Lot, being so righteous a man that he was meet to entertain even Angels, offered his daughters to the lust of the Sodomites, to the intent, that the bodies of women rather than of men might be corrupted by them; how much more diligently and constantly ought the mind's chasteness in the truth to be preserved, seeing it is more truly preferable to its body, than the body of a man to the body of a woman?
Neque mentiendum studio servandi alios ad vitam aeternam.
[8.11] Quod si quisquam putat, ideo cuiquam pro alio esse mentiendum, ut interim vivat, aut in his rebus quas multum diligit non offendatur, quo possit ad aeternam veritatem pervenire discendo: non intellegit primo nullum esse flagitium, quod non eadem conditione suscipere cogatur, sicut iam superius demonstratum est; deinde ipsius doctrinae auctoritatem intercipi et penitus interire, si eis quos ad illam perducere conamur, mendacio nostro persuademus aliquando esse mentiendum. Cum enim doctrina salutaris, partim credendis, partim intellegendis rebus constet; nec ad ea quae intellegenda sunt perveniri possit, nisi prius credenda credantur: quomodo credendum est ei qui putat aliquando esse mentiendum, ne forte et tunc mentiatur cum praecipit ut credamus? Unde enim sciri potest utrum et tunc habeat aliquam causam, sicut ipse putat, officiosi mendacii, existimans falsa narratione hominem territum posse a libidine cohiberi, atque hoc modo etiam ad spiritalia se consulere mentiendo arbitretur? 11. But if any man supposes that the reason why it is right for a person to tell a lie for another is, that he may live the while, or not be offended in those things which he much loves, to the end he may attain unto eternal truth by being taught: that man does not understand, in the first place, that there is no flagitious thing which he may not upon the same ground be compelled to commit, as has been above demonstrated; and in the next place, that the authority of the doctrine itself is cut off and altogether undone if those whom we essay to bring thereunto, are by our lie made to think that it is somewhiles right to lie. For seeing the doctrine which brings salvation consists partly in things to be believed, partly in things to be understood; and there is no attaining unto those things which are to be understood, unless first those things are believed, which are to be believed; how can there be any believing one who thinks it is sometimes right to lie, lest haply he lie at the moment when he teaches us to believe? For how can it be known whether he have at that moment some cause, as he thinks, for a well-meant lie, deeming that by a false story a man may be frightened and kept from lust, and in this way account that by telling a lie he is doing good even in spiritual things?
Quo genere admisso atque approbato, omnis omnino fidei disciplina subuertitur; qua subuersa, nec ad intellegentiam pervenitur, cui capiendae ista paruulos nutrit: atque ita omnis doctrina veritatis aufertur, cedens licentiosissimae falsitati, si mendacio velut officioso alicunde penetrandi aperitur locus. Aut enim temporalia commoda, vel propria vel aliena, veritati praeponit, quicumque mentitur; quo quid fieri potest peruersius? aut cum veritati adipiscendae opitulante mendacio vult facere idoneum, intercludit aditum veritati; volens enim cum mentitur esse aptus, fit cum verum dicit incertus. Quamobrem aut non est credendum bonis, aut credendum est eis quos credimus debere aliquando mentiri, aut non est credendum bonos aliquando mentiri: horum trium primum perniciosum est, secundum stultum; restat ergo ut nunquam mentiantur boni. Which kind of lie once admitted and approved, all discipline of faith is subverted altogether; and this being subverted, neither is there any attaining to understanding, for the receiving of which that discipline nurtures the babes: and so all the doctrine of truth is done away, giving place to most licentious falsehood, if a lie, even well-meant, may from any quarter have place opened for it to enter in. For either whoso tells a lie prefers temporal advantages, his own or another's, to truth; than which what can be more perverse? Or when by aid of a lie he wishes to make a person fit for gaining the truth, he bars the approach to truth, for by wishing when he lies to be accommodating, it comes to pass that when he speaks the truth, he cannot be depended upon. Wherefore, either we must not believe good men, or we must believe those whom we think obliged sometimes to tell a lie, or we must not believe that good men sometimes tell lies: of these three the first is pernicious, the second foolish; it remains therefore that good men should never tell lies.
Mendacium censent quidam adhibendum quo removeat homo stuprum quod ipse ab alio pateretur.
[9.12] Sic ista quaestione ex utraque parte considerata atque tractata, non tamen facile ferenda sententia est: sed adhuc diligenter audiendi qui dicunt, nullum esse tam malum factum, quod non in peioris devitatione faciendum sit; pertinere autem ad facta hominum, non solum quidquid faciunt, sed quidquid etiam cum consensione patiuntur. Unde si exstitit causa ut eligeret christianus thurificare idolis, ne consentiret stupro quod persecutor ei, nisi faceret, minabatur; recte videntur quaerere cur non etiam mentiretur, ut tantam illam turpitudinem devitaret. Ipsam enim consensionem, qua se stuprum pati mallet, quam thurificare idolis, non passionem dicunt esse, sed factum: quod ne faceret, elegit thurificare. Quanto igitur mendacium proclivius elegisset, si mendacio posset a sancto corpore tam immane flagitium removere? 12. Thus has the question been on both sides considered and treated; and still it is not easy to pass sentence: but we must further lend diligent hearing to those who say, that no deed is so evil, but that in avoidance of a worse it ought to be done; moreover that the deeds of men include not only what they do, but whatever they consent to be done unto them. Wherefore, if cause have arisen that a Christian man should choose to burn incense to idols, that he might not consent to bodily defilement which the persecutor threatened him withal, unless he should do so, they think they have a right to ask why he should not also tell a lie to escape so foul a disgrace. For the consent itself to endure violation of the person rather than to burn incense to idols, this, they say, is not a passive thing, but a deed; which rather than do, he chose to burn incense. How much more readily then would he have chosen a lie, if by a lie he might ward off from a holy body so shocking a disgrace?
Refellitur argumentum illorum, et exemplum.
[9.13] In qua propositione ista sunt quae merito quaeri possunt: utrum talis consensio pro facto habenda sit; aut utrum consensio dicenda sit quae non habet approbationem; aut utrum approbatio sit, cum dicitur: Expedit hoc pati potius quam illud facere; et utrum recte ille fecerit thurificare quam stuprum pati; et utrum mentiendum esset potius, si ea conditio daretur, quam thurificandum. Sed si talis consensio pro facto habenda est, homicidae sunt etiam qui occidi maluerunt quam falsum testimonium dicere; et quod est homicidium gravius, in se ipsos. Cur enim hoc pacto non dicatur, quod ipsi se occiderint; quia elegerunt hoc in se fieri, ne facerent quod cogebantur? 13. In which proposition these points may well deserve to be questioned: whether such consent is to be accounted as a deed: or whether that is to be called consent which has not approbation: or whether it be approbation, when it is said, It is expedient to suffer this rather than do that; and whether the person spoken of did right to burn incense rather than suffer violation of his body; and whether it would be right rather to tell a lie, if that was the alternative proposed, than to burn incense? But if such consent is to be accounted as a deed, then are they murderers who have chosen rather to be put to death than bear false witness, yea, what is worse, they are murderers of themselves. For why, at this rate, should it not be said that they have slain themselves, because they chose that this should be done to them that they might not do what they were urged to do?
Aut si gravius putatur alium occidere quam se ipsum, quid si haec conditio martyri proponeretur, ut si nollet de Christo falsum testimonium dicere atque immolare daemonibus, ante oculos ipsius alius non quilibet homo, sed pater eius occideretur, rogans etiam filium ne id perseuerantia sua fieri permitteret? Nonne manifestum est, illo in testimonii fidelissimi sententia permanente, solos homicidas futuros fuisse, qui patrem eius occiderent, non illum etiam parricidam? Sicut ergo huius tanti sceleris particeps iste non esset, cum elegisset patrem suum potius ab aliis interfici, etiam sacrilegum, cuius anima raperetur ad poenas, quam fidem suam falso testimonio violare: sic talis ille consensus non eum faceret tanti flagitii participem, si male facere ipse nollet, quidquid alii propterea fecissent, quia ipse non faceret. Or, if it be accounted a worse thing to slay another than himself, what if these terms were offered to a Martyr, that, upon his refusing to bear false witness of Christ and to sacrifice to demons, then, before his eyes, not some other man, but his own father should be put to death; his father entreating him that he would not by his persevering permit that to be done? Is it not manifest, that, upon his remaining steadfast in his purpose of most faithful testimony, they alone would be the murderers who should slay his father, and not he a parricide into the bargain? As therefore, in this case, the man would be no party to this so heinous deed, for choosing, rather than violate his faith by false testimony, that his own father should be put to death by others, (yea, though that father were a sacrilegious person whose soul would be snatched away to punishment;) so the like consent, in the former case, would not make him a party to that so foul disgrace, if he refused to do evil himself, let others do what they might in consequence of his not doing it.
Quid enim tales persecutores dicunt, nisi: Fac male, ne nos faciamus? Qui si vere, nobis facientibus, non fecissent, nec sic eis nostro scelere suffragari deberemus. Nunc vero quando iam faciunt, cum ista non dicunt, cur nobiscum potius, quam soli turpes atque nocentes sint? Non enim consensus ille dicendus est; quia non approbamus quod faciunt, semper optantes, et quantum in nobis est prohibentes ne faciant, factumque ipsorum non solum non committentes cum eis, sed etiam quanta possumus detestatione damnantes. For what do such persecutors say, but, Do evil that we may not? If the case were so, that our doing evil would make them not to have done it, even then it would not be our duty by doing wickedness ourselves to vote them harmless; but as in fact they are already doing it when they say nothing of the kind, why are they to have us to keep them company in wickedness rather than be vile and noisome by themselves? For that is not to be called consent; seeing that we do not approve what they do, always wishing that they would not, and, as much as in us lies, hindering them that they should not do it, and, when it is done, not only not committing it with them, but with all possible detestation condemning the same.
Aliena peccata non ei imputanda qui illa posset leviore suo peccato impedire. Peccantibus non consentire qui eos non vult peccando cohibere. Vitare peccatum quisque debet levius potius quod suum, quam quod gravius alienum.
[9.14] Quomodo, inquis, non cum eis facit, quando illi hoc non facerent, si ipse illud faceret? Hoc modo frangimus ianuam cum effractoribus, quia si non eam clauderemus, illi non frangerent: et occidimus homines cum latronibus, si scire contingat hoc eos esse facturos; quia si nos praevenientes eos occideremus, illi non occiderent alios. Aut si fateatur nobis aliquis parricidium se facturum, nos cum eo facimus, si cum possumus eum priusquam faciat, non interficimus, quando aliter eum vel cohibere vel impedire non possumus. Totidem enim verbis dici potest: Fecisti cum eo, quia hoc ille non fecisset, si tu illud fecisses. Ego utrumque malum fieri nollem: sed id tantum cavere potui ne fieret, quod erat in mea potestate; alterum autem alienum, quod meo praecepto exstinguere non potui, meo malefacto impedire non debui. 14. How, do you say, is it not his doing as well as theirs, when they would not do this, if he would do that? Why, at this rate we go housebreaking with house-breakers, because if we did not shut the door, they would not break it open: and we go and murder with highwaymen, if it chance we know that they are going to do it, because if we killed them out of hand, they would not kill others. Or, if a person confess to us that he is going to commit a parricide, we commit it along with him, if, being able, we do not slay him before he can do the deed when we cannot in some other way prevent or thwart him. For it may be said, word for word as before, You have done it as well as he; for he had not done this, had you done that. With my good will, neither ill should be done; but only the one was in my power, and I could take care that this should not be done; the other rested with another, and when by my good advice I could not quench the purpose, I was not bound by my evil deed to thwart the doing.
Non ergo peccantem approbat, qui pro alio non peccat; et neutrum placet ei qui utrumque nollet admitti: sed illud quod ad se pertinet, etiam potestate non perpetrat; quod autem ad alterum, sola voluntate condemnat. Et ideo proponentibus illam conditionem atque dicentibus: Si non thurificaveris, hoc patieris; si respondisset: Ego neutrum eligo, utrumque detestor, ad nihil horum vobis consentio: inter haec verba atque talia, quae certe quoniam vera essent, nulla eius consensio, nulla approbatio teneretur; quaecumque ab eis passus esset, illi deputaretur iniuriarum acceptio, illis commissio peccatorum. Debuitne igitur, ait quispiam, stuprum perpeti potius quam thurificare? Si quaeris quid debuerit, neutrum debuit. Si enim dixero aliquid horum debuisse; aliquid horum approbabo, cum improbem utrumque. Sed si quaeritur quid horum potius debuit evitare, qui utrumque non potuit, sed alterutrum potuit: respondebo, suum peccatum potius quam alienum; et levius potius quod suum, quam gravius quod alienum. Ut enim salua diligentiore inquisitione interim concedam gravius esse stuprum quam thurificationem: illa tamen ipsius erat, illud alienum factum, quamvis id ipse perpeteretur; cuius autem factum, eius et peccatum. It is therefore no approving of a sinner, that one refuses to sin for him; and neither the one nor the other is liked by him who would that neither were done; but in that which pertains to him, he has the power to do it or not, and with that he perpetrates it not; in that which pertains to another, he has only the will to wish it or not, and with that he condemns. And therefore, on their offering those terms, and saying, If you burn not incense, this shall you suffer; if he should answer, For me, I choose neither, I detest both, I consent unto you in none of these things: in uttering these and the like words, which certainly, because they would be true, would afford them no consent no approbation of his, let him suffer at their hands what he might, to his account would be set down the receipt of wrongs, to theirs the commission of sins. Ought he then, it may be asked, to suffer his person to be violated rather than burn incense? If the question be what he ought, he ought to do neither. For should I say that he ought to do any of these things, I shall approve this or that, whereas I reprobate both. But if the question be, which of these he ought in preference to avoid, not being able to avoid both but able to avoid one or other: I will answer, His own sin, rather than another's; and rather a lighter sin being his own, than a heavier being another's. For, reserving the point for more diligent inquiry, and granting in the mean while that violation of the person is worse than burning incense, yet the latter is his own, the former another's deed, although he had it done to him; now, whose the deed, his the sin.
Quamvis enim gravius sit homicidium quam furtum; peius est tamen facere furtum, quam pati homicidium. Itaque si cuiquam proponeretur, ut si furtum facere nollet, interficeretur, hoc est, committeretur in eum homicidium; quia utrumque evitare non posset, id evitaret potius quod suum peccatum esset, quam quod alienum. Nec ideo et illud eius fieret, quia in eum committeretur, et quia id posset evitare, si suum vellet admittere. For though murder is a greater sin than stealing, yet it is worse to steal than to suffer murder. Therefore, if it were proposed to any man that, if he would not steal he should be killed, that is, murder should be committed upon him; being he could not avoid both, he would prefer to avoid that which would be his own sin, rather than that which would be another's. Nor would the latter become his act for being committed upon him, and because he might avoid it if he would commit a sin of his own.
Annon mentiendum ut vitetur immunditia corporalis.
[9.15] Totus itaque huius quaestionis nodus ad hoc adducit, ut quaeratur utrum alienum nullum peccatum, quamvis in te commissum, tibi imputetur, si leviore tuo peccato id possis evitare, nec facis; an excepta est omnis immunditia corporalis. Nemo enim aliquem immundum fieri dicit, si occidatur, aut mittatur in carcerem, aut in vinculis habeatur, aut flagelletur, caeterisque tormentis et cruciatibus affligatur, aut proscribatur damnisque afficiatur gravissimis usque ad ultimam nuditatem, aut spolietur honoribus atque ingentes accipiat contumelias per quaecumque conuicia: quidquid horum quisque iniuste passus fuerit, nemo est tam demens qui eum immundum fieri dicat. At si fimo perfundatur, aut si tale aliquid ei per os infundatur vel inculcetur, patiaturue muliebria; omnium fere sensus abhorret, et constupratum atque immundum vocant. 15. The whole stress, then, of this question comes to this; whether it be true universally that no sin of another, committed upon you, is to be imputed to you, if, being able to avoid it by a lighter sin of your own, you do it not; or whether there be an exception of all bodily defilement. No man says that a person is defiled by being murdered, or cast into prison, or bound in chains, or scourged, or afflicted with other tortures and pains, or proscribed and made to suffer most grievous losses even to utter nakedness, or stripped of honors, and subjected to great disgrace by reproaches of whatsoever kind; whatever of all these a man may have unjustly suffered, no man is so senseless as to say that he is thereby defiled. But if he have filth poured all over him, or poured into his mouth, or crammed into him, or if he be carnally used like a woman; then almost all men regard him with a feeling of horror, and they call him defiled and unclean.
Ita igitur concludendum est, ut quaecumque aliena peccata, exceptis iis quae immundum faciunt in quem committuntur, non evitet quisque peccatis suis, neque pro se, neque pro quoquam, sed ea sufferat potius fortiterque patiatur; et si nullis peccatis suis ea debet evitare, neque mendacio: illa vero quae ita committuntur in homine, ut eum faciant immundum, etiam peccatis nostris evitare debeamus; ac per hoc nec peccata dicenda sint, quae propterea fiunt ut illa immunditia devitetur. Quidquid enim ita fit, ut nisi fieret, iuste reprehenderetur, non est peccatum. Ex quo conficitur ut nec illa immunditia vocanda sit, quando evitandi eam nulla facultas est: habet enim etiam tunc quod recte agat qui eam patitur, ut patienter ferat quidquid non potest evitare. Nullus autem recte agens immundus fieri potest quolibet contagio corporali. Immundus est enim ante Deum omnis iniquus. Mundus ergo est omnis iustus; etsi non ante homines, tamen ante Deum, qui sine errore iudicat. Proinde nec cum ea patitur, data evitandi potestate, contactu ipso immundus fit; sed peccato, quo ea cum posset noluit evitare. Nullum enim peccatum esset, quidquid propter illa evitanda factum esset. Propter haec igitur evitanda quisquis mentitus fuerit, non peccat. One must conclude then that the sins of others, be they what they may, those always excepted which defile him on whom they are committed, a man must not seek to avoid by sin of his own, either for himself or for any other, but rather he must put up with them, and suffer bravely; and if by no sins of his own he ought to avoid them, therefore not by a lie: but those which by being committed upon a man do make him unclean, these we are bound to avoid even by sinning ourselves; and for this reason those things are not to be called sins, which are done for the purpose of avoiding that uncleanness. For whatever is done, in consideration that the not doing it were just cause of blame, that thing is not sin. Upon the same principle, neither is that to be called uncleanness when there is no way of avoiding it; for even in that extremity he who suffers it has what he may do aright, namely, patiently bear what he cannot avoid. Now no man while acting aright can be defiled by any corporal contagion. For the unclean in the sight of God is every one who is unrighteous; clean therefore is every one who is righteous; if not in the sight of men, yet in the sight of God, Who judges without error. Nay, even in the act of suffering that defilement with power given of avoiding it, it is not by the mere contact that the man is defiled; but by the sin of refusing to avoid it when he might. For that would be no sin, whatever might be done for the avoiding of it. Whoever therefore, for the avoiding of it, shall tell a lie, sins not.
Mendacia quae alios laedunt, non admittenda ut immunditia corporalis vitetur.
[9.16] An aliqua etiam mendacia excipienda sunt, ut satius sit hanc pati, quam illa committere? Quod si ita est, non quidquid factum fuerit ut illa immunditia devitetur, non est peccatum: quandoquidem sunt quaedam mendacia quae gravius sit admittere, quam illam pati. Nam si aliquis ad stuprum quaeratur, qui possit occultari mendacio, quis audet dicere nec tunc esse mentiendum? At si tali mendacio possit latere, quod alterius famam laedat, eius immunditiae falso crimine ad quam patiendam ille quaeritur; tamquam si dicatur quaerenti, nominato aliquo casto viro atque ab huiusmodi flagitiis alieno: Vade ad illum, et ipse tibi procurabit quo libentius utaris, novit enim tales et diligit; atque ita iste ab eo quem quaerebat, posset averti: nescio utrum alterius fama mendacio violanda sit, ne alterius corpus aliena libidine violetur. Et omnino nunquam pro aliquo mentiendum est, eo mendacio quod alterum laedat; etsi levius laeditur, quam ille, nisi ita mentireris, laederetur. Quia nec panis alienus inuito, quamvis valentiori, auferendus est, ut alatur infirmior; nec innocens inuitus virgis caedendus est, ne alius occidatur. Plane si velint fiat; quia nec laeduntur, cum ita volunt. 16. Or, are some lies, also, to be excepted, so that it were better to suffer this than to commit those? If so, then not every thing that is done in order to the avoiding of that defilement ceases to be sin; seeing there are some lies to commit which is worse than to suffer that foul violence. For, suppose quest be making after a person that his body may be deflowered, and that it be possible to screen him by a lie; who dares to say that even in such a case a lie ought not be told? But, if the lie by which he may be concealed be one which may hurt the fair fame of another, by bringing upon him a false accusation of that very uncleanness, to suffer which the other is sought after; as, if it should be said to the inquirer, Go to such an one, (naming some chaste man who is a stranger to vices of this kind,) and he will procure for you one whom you will find a more willing subject, for he knows and loves such; and thereby the person might be diverted from him whom he sought: I know not whether one man's fair fame ought to be violated by a lie, in order that another's body may not be violated by lust to which he is a stranger. And in general, it is never right to tell a lie for any man, such as may hurt another, even if the hurt be slighter than would be the hurt to him unless such a lie were told. Because neither must another man's bread be taken from him against his will, though he be in good health, and it is to feed one who is weak; nor must an innocent man, against his will, be beaten with rods, that another may not be killed. Of course, if they are willing, let it be done, because they are not hurt if they be willing that so it should be:
[10.16] Sed utrum etiam volentis fama falso stupri crimine laedenda sit, ut ab alterius corpore stuprum avertatur, magna quaestio est. Et nescio utrum facile reperiatur quomodo iustum sit volentis famam falso stupri crimine maculari, quam ipso stupro corpus inuiti. but whether, even with his own consent, a man's fair fame ought to be hurt with a false charge of foul lusts, in order that lust may be averted from another's body, is a great question. And I know not whether it be easy to find in what way it can be just that a man's fair fame, even with his consent, should be stained with a false charge of lust, any more than a man's body should be polluted by the lust itself against his will.
Mendacium in doctrina religionis nunquam adhibendum.
[10.17] Sed tamen si talis optio proponeretur ei qui thurificare idolis, quam muliebria perpeti maluit, ut si illud vellet evitare, famam Christi aliquo mendacio violaret; insanissimus esset, si faceret. Plus etiam dico, quia insanus esset, si alienae libidinis evitandae causa, ne id in eo fieret quod nulla sua libidine pateretur, Christi Euangelium falsis Christi laudibus infalsaret; magis evitans alienam corruptionem in corpore suo, quam in doctrina sanctificationis animarum atque corporum corruptionem suam. Quamobrem a doctrina religionis, atque ab eis omnino enuntiationibus, quae propter doctrinam religionis enuntiantur, cum illa docetur et discitur, omnia penitus mendacia removenda sunt. Nec ulla omnino causa inveniri posse credatur, cur in rebus talibus mentiendum sit: quando nec ideo in ea doctrina mentiendum est, ut ad eam ipsam quisque facilius perducatur. Fracta enim vel leviter diminuta auctoritate veritatis, omnia dubia remanebunt: quae nisi vera credantur, teneri certa non possunt. Licet igitur vel dissertori ac disputatori atque praedicatori rerum aeternarum, vel narratori vel pronuntiatori rerum temporalium ad aedificandam religionem atque pietatem pertinentium, occultare in tempore quidquid occultandum videtur: mentiri autem nunquam licet; ergo nec occultare mentiendo. 17. But yet if the option were proposed to the man who chose to burn incense to idols rather than yield his body to abominable lust, that, if he wished to avoid that, he should violate the fame of Christ by some lie; he would be most mad to do it. I say more: that he would be mad, if, to avoid another man's lust, and not to have that done upon his person which he would suffer with no lust of his own, he should falsify Christ's Gospel with false praises of Christ; more eschewing that another man should corrupt his body, than himself to corrupt the doctrine of sanctification of souls and bodies. Wherefore, from the doctrine of religion, and from those utterances universally, which are uttered on behalf of the doctrine of religion, in the teaching and learning of the same, all lies must be utterly kept aloof. Nor can any cause whatever be found, one should think, why a lie should be told in matters of this kind, when in this doctrine it is not right to tell a lie for the very purpose of bringing a person to it the more easily. For, once break or but slightly diminish the authority of truth, and all things will remain doubtful: which unless they be believed true, cannot be held as certain. It is lawful then either to him that discourses, disputes, and preaches of things eternal, or to him that narrates or speaks of things temporal pertaining to edification of religion and piety, to conceal at fitting time whatever seems fit to be concealed: but to tell a lie is never lawful, therefore neither to conceal by telling a lie.
Mendacia etiam removenda quae aut alteri obsunt, aut ipsi mentienti. Mentiens et mendax differunt.
[11.18] Hoc primitus et firmissime constituto, de caeteris mendaciis securius quaeritur. Sed consequenter etiam videndum est, removenda esse etiam omnia mendacia quae aliquem laedunt iniuste: quia nulli est iniuria vel levior inferenda, ut ab alio gravior repellatur. Nec illa sunt admittenda mendacia, quae quamvis non obsint alteri, nulli tamen prosunt, et obsunt eis ipsis qui gratis mentiuntur. Ipsi enim proprie mendaces dicendi sunt. Interest enim inter mentientem atque mendacem. Nam mentiens est etiam qui mentitur inuitus: mendax vero amat mentiri, atque habitat animo in delectatione mentiendi. Iuxta ponendi sunt et qui de mendacio volunt placere hominibus, non ut alicui faciant iniuriam vel inferant contumeliam; iam enim supra hoc genus removimus; sed ut suaves sint in sermonibus suis. Isti ab illo genere in quo mendaces posuimus, hoc differunt, quod illos mentiri delectat, gaudentes de ipsa fallacia: istis autem placere libet de suaviloquio, qui tamen veris mallent placere; sed quando non facile inveniunt vera quae grata sint audientibus, mentiri eligunt potius quam tacere. 18. This being from the very first and most firmly established, touching other lies the question proceeds more securely. But by consequence we must also see that all lies must be kept aloof which hurt any man unjustly: because no man is to have a wrong, albeit a lighter one is done to him, that another may have a heavier kept from him. Nor are those lies to be allowed, which, though they hurt not another, yet do nobody any good, and are hurtful to the persons themselves who gratuitously tell them. Indeed, these are the persons who are properly to be called liars. For there is a difference between lying and being a liar. A man may tell a lie unwillingly; but a liar loves to lie, and inhabits in his mind in the delight of lying. Next to such are those to be placed who by a lie wish to please men, not that they may do wrong or bring reproach upon any man; for we have already before put away that kind; but that they may be pleasant in conversation. These, differ from the class in which we have placed liars in this respect, that liars delight in lying, rejoicing in deceit for its own sake: but these lust to please by agreeable talk, and yet would rather please by saying things that were true, but when they do not easily find true things to say that are pleasant to the hearers, they choose rather to tell lies than to hold their tongues.
Difficile est tamen ut isti totam narrationem falsam aliquando suscipiant; sed plerumque veris falsa contexunt, ubi suavitas eos deserit. Haec autem duo genera mendaciorum non obsunt credentibus, quia nihil de doctrina religionis veritatisque falluntur, aut de ullo commodo vel utilitate sua. Sufficit enim eis ut iudicent fieri potuisse quod dicitur, et fidem habeant homini quem non debent temere existimare mentientem. Quid enim obest, si credo patrem aut auum alicuius virum bonum fuisse, etiamsi non fuit; aut usque ad Persas militando pervenisse, etiamsi a Roma nunquam recessit? Ipsis autem mentientibus valde obsunt: illis quidem, quia sic deserunt veritatem, ut fallacia laetentur; istis, quia se malunt placere, quam verum. Yet it is difficult for these sometimes to undertake a story which is the whole of it false; but most commonly they interweave falsehood with truth, where they are at a loss for something sweet. Now these two sorts of lies do no harm to those who believe them, because they are not deceived concerning any matter of religion and truth, or concerning any profit or advantage of their own. It suffices them, to judge the thing possible which is told, and to have faith in a man of whom they ought not rashly to think that he is telling a lie. For where is the harm of believing that such an one's father or grandfather was a good man, when he was not? Or that he has served with the army even in Persia, though he never set foot out of Rome? But to the persons who tell these lies, they do much harm: to the former sort, because they so desert truth as to rejoice in deceit: to the latter, because they want to please people better than the truth.
Mendacium quod et nulli obest et alicui prodest an adhibendum.
[12.19] Istis generibus sine ulla dubitatione damnatis, sequitur genus mendacii tamquam gradatim ad meliora surgentibus, quod beneuolis et bonis uulgo tribui solet, cum ille qui mentitur, non solum alteri non obest, sed etiam prodest alicui. De isto genere est tota contentio, utrumne sibi obsit, qui sic prodest alteri, ut faciat contra veritatem. Aut si veritas illa sola dicenda est, quae ipsas mentes intimo atque incommutabili lumine illustrat; facit certe contra aliquod verum, quia etsi falluntur corporis sensus, contra verum tamen facit, qui dicit aliquid ita esse, vel non ita, quod ei nec mens nec sensus nec opinatio sua fidesue renuntiat. Utrum ergo non sibi obsit, qui hoc modo alteri prodest; an illa compensatione non obsit sibi, qua prodest alteri, magna quaestio est. Si ita est, consequenter etiam sibi prodesse debet per mendacium quod nulli obest. Sed ea connexa sunt, et istis concessis necessario trahuntur quae multum conturbant. Si enim quaeratur quid obsit homini copiis superfluis redundanti, si de innumeris millibus frumentorum amittat unum modium, qui tamen modius possit ad necessarium victum prodesse furanti; consequens erit ut et furtum sine reprehensione fieri possit, et falsum testimonium sine peccato dici. Quo quid dici potest peruersius? An vero si alius furatus esset illum modium, et tu videres, interrogatusque esses, mentireris honeste pro paupere, et si id pro tua paupertate facias, culpaberis? quasi amplius alium quam te diligere debeas. Utrumque ergo turpe atque vitandum est. An mendacia quaedam honesta, quae nonnulli prosunt et nulli obsunt. 19. These sorts of lies having been without any hesitation condemned, next follows a sort, as it were by steps rising to something better, which is commonly attributed to well-meaning and good people, when the person who lies not only does no harm to another, but even benefits somebody. Now it is on this sort of lies that the whole dispute turns, whether that person does harm to himself, who benefits another in such sort as to act contrary to the truth. Or, if that alone may be called truth which illustrates the very minds of men with an intimate and incommutable light, at least he acts contrary to some true thing, because although the bodily senses are deceived, yet he acts contrary to a true thing who says that a thing is so or not so, whereof neither his mind nor senses nor his opinion or belief gives him any report. Whether therefore he does not hurt himself in so profiting another, or in that compensation not hurt himself in which he profits the other, is a great question. If it be so, it should follow that he ought to profit himself by a lie which damages no man. But these things hang together, and if you concede that point, it necessarily draws in its train some very embarrassing consequences. For should it be asked, what harm it does to a person rolling in superfluous wealth, if from countless thousands of bushels of wheat he lose one bushel, which bushel may be profitable as necessary food to the person stealing it; it will follow that theft also may be committed without blame, and false witness borne without sin. Than which, what can be mentioned more perverse? Or truly, if another had stolen the bushel, and you saw it done, and were questioned, would you tell a lie with honesty for the poor man, and if you do it for your own poverty will you be blamed? As if it were your duty to love another more than yourself. Both then are disgraceful, and must be avoided.
[12.20] Sed fortassis exceptionem addendam quis putet, ut sint quaedam honesta mendacia, quae non solum nulli obsunt, sed etiam nonnullis prosunt, exceptis his quibus crimina occultantur et defenduntur: ut ideo sit illud turpe mendacium, quod quamvis nulli obsit, et prosit pauperi, furtum tamen occultat; si autem ita nulli obesset et prodesset alicui, ut etiam nullum peccatum occultaret atque defenderet, turpe non esset. Velut si quispiam pecuniam suam te vidente absconderet, ne per furtum aut vim amitteret, atque inde interrogatus mentireris; neque obesses cuiquam, et ei prodesses cui opus erat illud occultum, et nullum peccatum mentiendo texisses. Non enim quisquam peccat abscondendo rem suam, quam timet amittere. Sed si propterea non peccamus mentiendo, quia nullius peccatum tegentes, et nulli obsumus, et alicui prosumus, quid agimus de ipso peccato mendacii? Ubi enim positum est: Ne furtum feceris; ibi positum est: Ne falsum testimonium dixeris. Cum ergo singula prohibeantur, cur falsum testimonium tunc est culpabile, si furtum tegat, vel aliquod aliud peccatum; si autem nulla defensione peccati per se ipsum fiat, non est culpabile, cum ipsum furtum per se culpabile sit, et caetera peccata? An occultare peccatum mentiendo non licet, facere licet? 20. But haply some may think that there is an exception to be added; that there be some honest lies which not only hurt no man, but profit some man, excepting those by which crimes are screened and defended: so that the reason why the aforesaid lie is disgraceful, is that, although it hurt no man, and profit the poor, it screens a theft; but if it should in such sort hurt nobody and profit somebody as not to screen and defend any sin, it would not be morally wrong. As, put the case that some one should in your sight hide his money that he might not lose it by theft or violence, and thereupon being questioned you should tell a lie; you would hurt no man, and would serve him who had need that his money were hidden, and would not have covered a sin by telling a lie. For it is no sin if a man hide his property which he fears to lose. But, if we therefore sin not in telling a lie, for that, while covering no man's sin, we hurt nobody and do good to somebody, what are we about as concerning the sin itself of a lie? For where it is laid down, You shall not steal, there is also this, You shall not bear false witness. Since then each is severally prohibited, why is false witness culpable if it cover a theft or any other sin, but if without any screening of sin it be done by itself, then not culpable, whereas stealing is culpable in and by itself, and so other sins? Or is it so that to hide a sin is not lawful; to do it, lawful?
Mentiri annon semper sit falsum testimonium dicere.
[12.21] Quod si absurdum est, quid dicemus? An falsum testimonium non est, nisi cum quisque ita mentitur, ut aut crimen confingat in aliquem, aut alicuius crimen occultet, aut quoquo modo quemquam in iudicio premat? Videtur enim testis iudici necessarius ad causae cognitionem. Sed si hactenus testem Scriptura nominaret, non diceret Apostolus: Invenimur et falsi testes Dei, si testimonium diximus adversus Deum, quia excitaverit Christum, quem non excitavit. Ita enim ostendit falsum testimonium esse mendacium, etiamsi in cuiusquam falsa laude dicatur. 21. If this be absurd, what shall we say? Is it so, that there is no false witness, but when one tells a lie either to invent a crime against some man, or to hide some man's crime, or in any way to oppress any man in judgment? For a witness seems to be necessary to the judge for cognizance of the cause. But if the Scripture named a witness only so far as that goes, the Apostle would not say, Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ: whom He raised not up. For so he shows that it is false witness to tell a lie, yea, in falsely praising a person.
Falsum testimonium et mendacium.
[13.21] An forte tunc dicit falsum testimonium qui mentitur, cum aut peccatum alicuius vel fingit vel tegit, aut alicui obest quoquo modo? Si enim mendacium quod adversus vitam cuiusquam temporalem dicitur detestabile est; quanto magis quod adversus vitam aeternam? sicuti est omne mendacium, si in doctrina religionis fiat. Et ideo falsum testimonium vocat Apostolus, si quis de Christo, etiam quod ad eius laudem videtur pertinere, mentiatur. Si autem mendacium sit, quod neque cuiusquam peccatum aut confingat aut tegat, nec a iudice quaeratur, et nulli obsit et prosit alicui; nec falsum testimonium esse, nec reprehensibile mendacium? Or perhaps, does the person who lies then utter false witness when he either invents or hides any man's sin, or hurts any man in whatever way? For, if a lie spoken against a man's temporal life is detestable, how much more one against eternal life? As is every lie, if it take place in doctrine of religion. And it is for this reason that the Apostle calls it false witness, if a man tell a lie about Christ, yea, one which may seem to pertain to His praise. Now if it be a lie that neither invents or hides any man's sin, nor is answered to a question of the judge, and hurts no man, and profits some man, are we to say that it is neither false witness, nor a reprehensible lie?
An mentiendum ne prodatur vel homicida, vel innocens quaesitus ad mortem.
[13.22] Quid ergo, si ad christianum homicida confugiat, aut videat quo confugit; et de hac re interrogetur ab eo qui ad supplicium quaerit hominem hominis interfectorem? mentiendum est? Quomodo enim non tegit peccatum mentiendo, cum ille pro quo mentitur, peccatum sceleratum admiserit? An quia non de peccato eius interrogatur, sed de loco ubi lateat? Ergo mentiri ad tegendum cuiusquam peccatum, malum est; mentiri autem ad tegendum peccatorem, non est malum? Ita sane, ait quispiam: non enim tunc peccat quisquam, cum evitat supplicium; sed cum facit aliquid dignum supplicio. Pertinet autem ad disciplinam christianam, ut neque de cuiusquam correctione desperetur, neque cuiquam poenitendi aditus intercludatur. Quid, si ad iudicem ductus de ipso loco ubi se ille occultet interrogeris? dicturus es, aut: Non ibi est, ubi eum scis esse; aut: Non novi et non vidi, quod nosti et vidisti? Dicturus ergo es falsum testimonium, et occisurus animam tuam, ne occidatur homicida? An usque ad conspectum iudicis mentieris, iudice autem quaerente iam verum dices, ne sis falsus testis? Ipse igitur hominem proditione occisurus es. 22. What then, if a homicide seek refuge with a Christian, or if he see where the homicide have taken refuge, and be questioned of this matter by him who seeks, in order to bring to punishment a man, the slayer of man? Is he to tell a lie? For how does he not hide a sin by lying, when he for whom he lies has been guilty of a heinous sin? Or is it because he is not questioned concerning his sin, but about the place where he is concealed? So then to lie in order to hide a person's sin is evil; but to lie in order to hide the sinner is not evil? Yea, surely: says some one: for a man sins not in avoiding punishment, but in doing something worthy of punishment. Moreover, it pertains to Christian discipline neither to despair of any man's amendment, nor to bar against any man the way of repentance. What if you be led to the judge, and then questioned concerning the very place where the other is in hiding? Are you prepared to say, either, He is not there, when you know him to be there; or, I know not, and have not seen, what you know and hast seen? Are you then prepared to bear false witness, and to slay your soul that a manslayer may not be slain? Or, up to the presence of the judge will you lie, but when the judge questions you, then speak truth that you be not a false witness? So then you are going to slay a man yourself by betraying him.
Etiam proditorem quippe divina Scriptura detestatur. An forte proditor non est, qui iudici interroganti verum indicat; esset autem proditor, si quemquam ad exitium ultro deferret? Quid, si de iusto atque innocente ubi lateat sciens a iudice interrogeris, qui tamen ad mortem a maiore potestate iussus est rapi, ut ille qui interrogat exsecutor sit legis, non conditor? an ideo non erit falsum testimonium quod pro innocente mentieris, quia nec ille iudex, sed exsecutor interrogat? Quid, si ipse conditor legis interroget, aut quilibet iudex iniquus ad supplicium quaerens innocentem? quid facies? falsus testis, an proditor eris? An ille erit proditor, qui iusto iudici latentem homicidam ultro detulerit; et ille non erit, qui iudici iniusto ubi lateat innocens quem quaerit occidere, interroganti indicaverit eum qui se fidei eius commiserat? An inter crimen falsi testimonii et proditionis dubius incertusque remanebis? An tacendo, vel profitendo te non esse dicturum, certus utrumque vitabis? Cur ergo non hoc facias, priusquam ad iudicem venias, ut caveas etiam mendacium? Evitato enim mendacio, omne testimonium falsum effugies; sive omne mendacium sit falsum testimonium, sive non omne: evitato autem falso testimonio quod tu esse intellegis, non effugies omne mendacium. Quanto ergo fortius, quanto excellentius dices: Nec prodam, nec mentiar? Surely the betrayer too is one whom the divine Scripture detests. Or haply is he no betrayer, who in answer to the judge's interrogation gives true information; but would be a betrayer, if, unasked, he should delate a man to his destruction? Put the case with respect to a just and innocent man, that you know where he is in hiding, and be questioned by the judge; which man, however, has been ordered to be taken to execution by a higher power, so that he who interrogates is charged with the execution of the law, not the author of the sentence? Will it be no false witness that you shall lie for an innocent man, because the interrogator is not a judge, but only charged with the execution? What if the author of the law interrogate you, or any unjust judge, making quest of an innocent man to bring him to punishment? What will you do? Will you be false witness, or betrayer? Or will he be a betrayer, who to a just judge shall ultroneously delate a lurking homicide; and he not so, who to an unjust judge, interrogating him of the hiding-place of an innocent man whom he seeks to slay, shall inform against the person who has thrown himself upon his honor? Or between the crime of false witness and that of betrayal, will you remain doubtful and unable to make up your mind? Or by holding your peace or professing that you will not tell, will you make up your mind to avoid both? Then why not do this before you come to the judge, that you may shun the lie also? For, having kept clear of a lie, you will escape all false witness; whether every lie be false witness, or not every: but by keeping clear of all false witness in your sense of the word, you will not escape all lying. How much braver then, how much more excellent, to say, I will neither betray nor lie?
Firmus episcopus Thagastensis, nec vult mentiri, nec ut hominem quaesitum prodat tormentis adigi potest.
[13.23] Fecit hoc episcopus quondam Thagastensis Ecclesiae, Firmus nomine, firmior voluntate. Nam cum ab eo quaereretur homo iussu Imperatoris per apparitores ab eo missos, quem ad se confugientem diligentia quanta poterat occultabat; respondit quaerentibus nec mentiri se posse, nec hominem prodere, passusque tam multa tormenta corporis (nondum enim erant Imperatores christiani), permansit in sententia. Deinde ad Imperatorem ductus, usque adeo mirabilis apparuit, ut ipse homini quem servabat, indulgentiam sine ulla difficultate impetraret. Quid hoc fieri potest fortius atque constantius? Sed ait quisquam timidior: Paratus esse possum ad quaelibet ferenda tormenta, vel etiam mortem obeundam, ne peccem: cum autem peccatum non sit ita mentiri, ut neque cuiquam obsis, neque falsum testimonium dicas, et prosis alicui; stultum est et grave peccatum, voluntaria frustra sustinere tormenta, et fortassis utilem salutem ac vitam incassum saevientibus proiicere. 23. This did a former Bishop of the Church of Thagasta, Firmus by name, and even more firm in will. For, when he was asked by command of the emperor, through officers sent by him, for a man who was taking refuge with him, and whom he kept in hiding with all possible care, he made answer to their questions, that he could neither tell a lie, nor betray a man; and when he had suffered so many torments of body, (for as yet emperors were not Christian,) he stood firm in his purpose. Thereupon being brought before the emperor, his conduct appeared so admirable, that he without any difficulty obtained a pardon for the man whom he was trying to save. What conduct could be more brave and constant? But perhaps some more timid person may say, I can be prepared to bear any torments, or even to submit to death, that I may not sin; but, since it is no sin to tell a lie such that you neither hurt any man, nor bear false witness, and benefit some man, it is foolish and a great sin, voluntarily and to no purpose to submit to torments, and, when one's health and life may haply be useful, to fling them away for nothing to people in a rage.
A quo quaero cur timeat quod scriptum est: Falsum testimonium non dices; et non timeat quod de Deo dictum est: Perdes omnes qui loquuntur mendacium? Non, inquit scriptum est: Omne mendacium; sed ita intellego, ac si sit scriptum: Perdes omnes qui loquuntur falsum testimonium. At nec ibi dictum est: Omne falsum testimonium. Sed ibi positum est, inquit, ubi caetera quae omni modo mala sunt. Numquid et illud quod ibi est: Non occides? Quod si omni modo malum est, quomodo ab hoc crimine excusabuntur iusti, qui post legem datam multos occiderunt? Sed respondetur quod non ipse occidat, qui iusti alicuius praecepti minister est. Horum ergo timorem sic accipio, ut tamen illum laudabilem virum, qui nec mentiri voluit, nec hominem prodere, et melius arbitrer intellexisse quod scriptum est, et intellectum fortiter implevisse. Of whom I ask; Why he fears that which is written, You shall not bear false witness, and fears not that which is said unto God, You will destroy all them that speak leasing? Says he, It is not written, Every lie: but I understand it as if it were written, You will destroy all that speak false witness. But neither there is it said, All false witness. Yes, but it is set there, says he, where the other things are set down which are in every sort evil. What, is this the case with what is set down there, You shall not kill? If this be in every sort evil, how shall one clear of this crime even just men, who, upon a law given, have killed many? But, it is rejoined, that man does not himself kill, who is the minister of some just command. These men's fear, then, I do accept, that I still think that laudable man who would neither lie, nor betray a man, did both better understand that which is written, and what he understood did bravely put in practice.
Quid respondeat interrogatus et sciens ubi sit ille qui ad mortem quaeritur.
[13.24] Sed venitur aliquando ad huiusmodi articulum, ut non interrogemur ubi sit ille qui quaeritur, neque cogamur ut eum prodamus, si sic occultatus est, ut inveniri facile nisi proditus nequeat: sed quaeritur a nobis utrum illo loco sit, an non sit. Ubi si eum esse scimus, tacendo eum prodimus; vel etiam dicendo nequaquam nos esse dicturos, utrum ibi sit, an non sit: ex hoc enim colligit ille qui quaerit, ibi eum esse, ubi si non esset, nihil aliud ab eo qui mentiri nollet, nec hominem prodere, nisi eum non ibi esse responderetur. Ita per nostram vel taciturnitatem vel talia verba homo proditur, ut intret qui quaerit, si potestatem habet, et inveniat eum: qui tamen ab eius inventione mendacio nostro posset averti. Quapropter si nescis ubi sit, nulla est causa occultandae veritatis, sed te nescire fatendum est. Si autem scis ubi sit, sive ibi sit ubi quaeritur, sive alibi; non est dicendum, cum quaesitum fuerit utrum ibi sit, an non sit: Non dico quod quaeris; sed dicendum: Scio ubi sit, sed nunquam monstrabo. Nam si de uno loco non respondeas, et te non esse proditurum fatearis; tale est ac si eumdem locum digito ostendas: movetur enim certa suspicio. Si autem primo fatearis te scire ubi sit, sed non dicere; potest fortasse ab illo loco inquisitor averti, et tibi iam incumbere, ut ubi est a te prodatur. Pro qua fide atque humanitate quidquid fortiter tuleris, non solum non culpabile, sed etiam laudabile iudicatur: exceptis duntaxat his quae si passus fuerit homo, non fortiter, sed impudice ac turpiter pati dicitur. Hoc est enim ultimum mendacium, de quo diligentius tractandum est. 24. But one sometimes comes to a case of this kind, that we are not interrogated where the person is who is sought, nor forced to betray him, if he is hidden in such manner, that he cannot easily be found unless betrayed: but we are asked, whether he be in such a place or not. If we know him to be there, by holding our peace we betray him, or even by saying that we will in no wise tell whether he be there or not: for from this the questioner gathers that he is there, as, if he were not, nothing else would be answered by him who would not lie nor betray a man, but only, that he is not there. So, by our either holding our peace, or saying such words, a man is betrayed, and he who seeks him has but to enter in, if he have the power, and find him: whereas he might have been turned aside from finding him by our telling a lie. Wherefore if you know not where he is, there is no cause for hiding the truth, but you must confess that you know not. But, if you know where he is, whether he be in the place which is named in the question or elsewhere; you must not say, when it is asked whether he be there or not, I will not tell you what you ask, but you must say, I know where he is, but I will never show. For if, touching one place in particular you answer not and profess that you will not betray, it is just as if you should point to that same place with your finger: for a sure suspicion is thereby excited. But if at the first you confess that you know where he is, but will not tell, haply the inquisitor may be diverted from that place, and begin now to ply you that the place where he is may be betrayed. For which good faith and humanity whatever you shall bravely bear, is judged to be not only not culpable, but even laudable; save only these things which if a man suffer he is said to suffer not bravely, but immodestly and foully. For this is the last description of lie, concerning which we must treat more diligently.
Mendaciorum octo genera.
[14.25] Nam primum est ad evitandum capitale mendacium longeque fugiendum, quod fit in doctrina religionis: ad quod mendacium nulla conditione quisquam debet adduci. Secundum autem, ut aliquem laedat iniuste: quod tale est, ut et nulli prosit, et obsit alicui. Tertium, quod ita prodest alteri, ut obsit alteri, quamvis non ad immunditiam obsit corporalem. Quartum, quod fit sola mentiendi fallendique libidine, quod merum mendacium est. Quintum, quod fit placendi cupiditate de suaviloquio. His omnibus penitus evitatis atque reiectis, sequitur sextum genus, quod et nulli obest, et prodest alicui: velut si quispiam pecuniam alicuius iniuste tollendam, sciens ubi sit, nescire se mentiatur quocumque interrogante. Septimum, quod et nulli obest, et prodest alicui: excepto si iudex interrogat: velut si nolens hominem ad mortem quaesitum prodere, mentiatur; non solum iustum atque innocentem, sed et reum; quia christianae disciplinae sit, ut neque de cuiusquam correctione desperetur, neque cuiquam poenitendi aditus intercludatur. De quibus duobus generibus, quae solent habere magnam controversiam, satis tractavimus, et quid nobis placeret ostendimus: ut suscipiendis incommoditatibus, quae honeste ac fortiter tolerantur, haec quoque genera devitentur a fortibus et fidelibus et veracibus viris ac feminis. Octauum est genus mendacii, quod et nulli obest, et ad hoc prodest, ut ab immunditia corporali aliquem tueatur, duntaxat ea quam superius commemoravimus. Nam etiam non lotis manibus manducare, immunditiam putabant Iudaei. Aut si et hanc quisquam immunditiam vocat; non tamen talem, pro qua evitanda mentiendum sit. Si autem mendacium tale est, quod alicui faciat iniuriam; etiamsi ab hac immunditia, quam omnes homines abhorrent ac detestantur, muniat hominem; utrum et hoc genere mentiendum sit, si talis fiat iniuria per mendacium, quae non sit in eo genere immunditiae, de quo nunc agimus, alia quaestio est: non enim iam de mendacio quaeritur; sed quaeritur utrum alicui facienda sit iniuria etiam non per mendacium, ut illa ab altero immunditia depellatur. Quod nullo modo putaverim: quamquam proponantur levissimae iniuriae, veluti est illa quam de uno modio amisso supra commemoravi; et multum perturbent, utrum non debeamus facere cuiquam vel talem iniuriam, si ea potest alius, ne stuprum patiatur, defendi aut muniri. Sed, ut dixi, alia quaestio est. 25. For first to be eschewed is that capital lie and far to be fled from, which is done in doctrine of religion; to which lie a man ought by no consideration to be induced. The second, that he should hurt some man unjustly: which is such that it profits no man and hurts some man. The third, which so profits one as to hurt another, but not in corporal defilement. The fourth, that which is done through only lust of lying and deceiving, which is an unmixed lie. The fifth, what is done with desire of pleasing by agreeableness in talk. All these being utterly eschewed and rejected, there follows a sixth sort which at once hurts nobody and helps somebody; as when, if a person's money is to be unjustly taken from him, one who knows where the money is, should say that he does not know, by whomsoever the question be put. The seventh, which hurts none and profits some: except if a judge interrogate: as when, not wishing to betray a man who is sought for to be put to death, one should lie; not only a just and innocent, but also a culprit; because it belongs to Christian discipline neither to despair of any man's amendment, nor to bar the way of repentance against any. Of which two sorts, which are wont to be attended with great controversy, we have sufficiently treated, and have shown what was our judgment; that by taking the consequences, which are honorably and bravely borne, these kinds also should be eschewed by brave and faithful and truthful men and women. The eighth sort of lie is that which hurts no man, and does good in the preserving somebody from corporal defilement, at least that defilement which we have mentioned above. For even to eat with unwashen hands the Jews thought defilement. Or if a person think this also a defilement, yet not such that a lie ought to be told to avoid it. But if the lie be such as to do an injury to any man, even though it screen a man from that uncleanness which all men abhor and detest; whether a lie of this kind may be told provided the injury done by the lie be such as consists not in that sort of uncleanness with which we are now concerned, is another question: for here the question is no longer about lying, but it is asked whether an injury ought to be done to any man, even otherwise than by a lie, that the said defilement may be warded off from another. Which I should by no means think: though the case proposed be the slightest wrongs, as that which I mentioned above, about a single measure of wheat; and though it be very embarrassing whether it be our duty not to do even such an injury to any man, if thereby another may be defended or screened from a lustful outrage upon his person. But, as I said, this is another question:
Quaestio utrum mentiendum sit, si etiam inevitabilis conditio proponatur.
[15.25] Nunc illud quod instituimus, peragamus: utrum mentiendum sit, si etiam inevitabilis conditio proponatur, ut aut hoc faciamus, aut stuprum patiamur, vel aliquam exsecrabilem inquinationem; etiamsi mentiendo nulli faciamus iniuriam. at present let us go on with what we have taken in hand: whether a lie ought to be told, if even the inevitable condition be proposed that we either do this, or suffer the deed of lust or some execrable pollution; even though by lying we do no man harm.
Auctoritates divinae, quibus mendacium prohibetur, aliaque praecepta ex factis sanctorum intellegenda.
[15.26] De qua re patebit aliquis considerationi locus, si prius divinas auctoritates, quae mendacium prohibent, diligenter discutiamus: si enim ipsae nullum dant locum, frustra quaerimus qua exeamus; tenendum est enim omni modo praeceptum Dei, et voluntas Dei in iis quae tenendo praeceptum eius passi fuerimus, aequo animo sequenda: si autem relaxatur aliquis exitus, non est in tali causa recusandum mendacium. Propterea divinae Scripturae non solum praecepta Dei continent, sed etiam vitam moresque iustorum; ut si forte occultum est, quemadmodum accipiendum sit quod praecipitur, in factis iustorum intellegatur. Exceptis itaque his factis quae potest quisque ad allegoricam significationem referre, quamvis gesta esse nemo ambigat, sicuti sunt fere omnia in libris Veteris Testamenti: quis enim ibi aliquid audeat affirmare non pertinere ad figuratam praenuntiationem? 26. Touching which matter, there will be some place open for consideration, if first the divine authorities which forbid a lie be diligently discussed: for if these give no place, we vainly seek a loophole; for we are bound to keep in every way the command of God, and the will of God in all that through keeping His command we may suffer, it is our duty with an even mind to follow: but if by some relaxation any outlet be allowed, in such a case we are not to decline a lie. The reason why the Divine Scriptures contain not only God's commands, but the life and character of the just, is this: that, if haply it be hidden in what way we are to take that which is enjoined, by the actions of the just it may be understood. With the exception, therefore, of those actions which one may refer to an allegorical significance, although none doubts that they really took place, as is the case with almost all the occurrences in the books of the Old Testament. For who can venture to affirm of any thing there, that it does not pertain to a figurative foretelling?
Quippe cum Apostolus etiam filios Abrahae, quos utique naturali ordine propagandi populi editos esse atque vixisse facillime dicitur (non enim monstra et prodigia nata sunt, ut ad significationem aliquam ducant animum), duo tamen Testamenta significare asserat; et beneficium illud mirabile, quod Deus populo Israel praestitit ad eruendos eos de seruitute, qua in Aegypto premebantur, poenamque vindictae, cum in itinere peccassent, in figura contigisse dicat: quae facta invenies, quibus istam regulam deroges, et affirmare praesumas ad figuram aliquam non esse redigenda? His ergo exceptis, ea quae in Nouo Testamento a sanctis facta sunt, ubi morum imitandorum evidentissima commendatio est, valeant ad exempla intellegendarum Scripturarum, quae in praeceptis digesta sunt. Seeing the Apostle, speaking of the sons of Abraham, of whom of course it is most easily said that they were born and did live in the natural order of propagating the people, (for not monsters and prodigies were born, to lead the mind to some presignification,) nevertheless asserts that they signify the two Testaments; and says of that marvellous benefit which God bestowed upon His people Israel to rescue them out of the bondage in which they in Egypt were oppressed, and of the punishment which avenged their sin on their journey, that these things befell them in a figure: what actions will you find, from which you may set aside that rule, and take upon you to affirm that they are not to be reduced to some figure? Excepting therefore these, the things which in the New Testament are done by the Saints, where there is a most evident commending of manners to our imitation, may avail as examples for the understanding of the Scriptures, which things are digested in the commands.
Praeceptum praebendi alteram maxillam percutienti.
[15.27] Velut cum legimus in Euangelio: Accepisti alapam, para alteram maxillam. Exemplum autem patientiae nullum quam ipsius Domini potentius et excellentius invenimus: at ipse cum alapa percussus esset, non ait: Ecce altera maxilla; sed ait: Si male dixi, exprobra de malo; si autem bene, quid me caedis? Ubi ostendit, illam praeparationem alterius maxillae in corde faciendam. Quod etiam apostolus Paulus utique noverat: nam et ipse cum esset alapa percussus ante Pontificem, non ait: Percute maxillam alteram; sed: Percutiet te Dominus inquit, paries dealbate; et tu sedes iudicare me secundum legem, et contra legem iubes me percuti? altissime intuens sacerdotium Iudaeorum iam tale factum fuisse, ut nomine forinsecus niteret, intrinsecus autem luteis concupiscentiis sorderet; quod transiturum esse vindicta Domini videbat in spiritu, cum illud diceret: sed tamen cor paratum habebat, non solum ad alias alapas accipiendas, sed etiam quaelibet tormenta pro veritate patienda, cum eorum dilectione a quibus illa pateretur. 27. As, when we read in the Gospel, You have received a blow in the face, make ready the other cheek. Now as an example of patience can none be found than that of the Lord Himself more potent and excellent; but He, when smitten on the cheek, said not, Behold here is the other cheek, but He said, If I have spoken ill, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why do you smite Me? Where He shows that the preparation of the other cheek is to be done in the heart. Which also the Apostle Paul knew, for he, too, when he was smitten on the face before the high priest, did not say, Smite the other cheek: but, God, says he, shall smite you, you whited wall: and do you sit to judge me according to law, and contrary to law commandest me to be smitten? with most deep insight beholding that the priesthood of the Jews was already become such, that in name it outwardly was clean and fair, but within was foul with muddy lusts; which priesthood he saw in spirit to be ready to pass away through vengeance of the Lord, when he spoke those words: but yet he had his heart ready not only to receive other blows on the cheek, but also to suffer for the truth any torments whatever, with love of them from whom he should suffer the same.
Praeceptum non iurandi omnino.
[15.28] Scriptum est etiam: Ego autem dico vobis, non iurare omnino. Iuravit autem ipse Apostolus in Epistolis suis. Et sic ostendit quomodo accipiendum esset quod dictum est: Dico vobis, non iurare omnino; ne scilicet iurando ad facilitatem iurandi veniatur, ex facilitate ad consuetudinem, atque ita ex consuetudine in periurium decidatur. Et ideo non invenitur iurasse, nisi scribens, ubi consideratio cautior non habet linguam praecipitem. Et hoc utique a malo, sicut dictum est: Quod autem amplius est, a malo est; non tamen suo, sed eorum infirmitatis, quibus etiam sic fidem facere conabatur. Nam quod loquens iurasset, dum non scriberet, nescio utrum aliqua de illo Scriptura narraverit. Et tamen Dominus ait, omnino non iurare: non enim concessit ut id liceret scribentibus. Sed quia praecepti violati reum Paulum, praesertim in Epistolis conscriptis atque editis ad spiritalem vitam salutemque populorum nefas est dicere; intellegendum est illud quod positum est, omnino, ad hoc positum, ut quantum in te est, non affectes, non ames, non quasi pro bono cum aliqua delectatione appetas iusiurandum. 28. It is also written, But I say unto you, Swear not at all. But the Apostle himself has used oaths in his Epistles. And so he shows how that is to be taken which is said, I say unto you, Swear not at all: that is, lest by swearing one come to a facility in swearing, from facility to a custom, and so from a custom there be a downfall into perjury. And therefore he is not found to have sworn except in writing, where there is more wary forethought, and no precipitate tongue withal. And this indeed came of evil, as it is said, Whatever is more than these is of evil: not however from evil of his own, but from the evil of infirmity which was in them, in whom he even in this way endeavored to work faith. For that he used an oath in speaking, while not writing, I know not that any Scripture has related concerning him. And yet the Lord says, Swear not at all: for He has not granted license thereof to persons writing. Howbeit, because to pronounce Paul guilty of violating the commandment, especially in Epistles written and sent forth for the spiritual life and salvation of the nations, were an impiety, we must understand that word which is set down, At all, to be set down for this purpose, that as much as in you lies, you affect not, love not, nor as though it were for a good thing, with any delight desire, an oath.
Praeceptum non cogitandi de crastino.
[15.29] Sicut illud: Nolite cogitare de crastino; et: Nolite itaque cogitare quid manducetis, et quid bibatis, et quid induamini. Cum autem videmus et ipsum Dominum habuisse loculos, quo ea quae dabantur, mittebantur, ut servari possent ad usus pro tempore necessarios; et ipsos Apostolos procurasse multa fratrum indigentiae, non solum in crastinum, sed etiam in prolixius tempus impendentis famis, sicut in Actibus Apostolorum legimus: satis elucet illa praecepta sic intellegenda, ut nihil operis nostri temporalium adipiscendorum amore vel timore egestatis tamquam ex necessitate faciamus. 29. As that, Take no thought for the morrow, and, Take therefore no thought what you shall eat, or what you shall drink, or what you shall put on. Now when we see that the Lord Himself had a bag in which was put what was given, that it might be kept for necessary uses as the time should require; and that the Apostles themselves made much provision for the indigence of the brethren, not only for the morrow, but even for the more protracted time of impending dearth, as we read in the Acts of the Apostles; it is sufficiently clear that these precepts are so to be understood, that we are to do nothing of our work as matter of necessity, through love of obtaining temporal things, or fear of want.
Praeceptum ne Apostoli secum aliquid portent in via.
[15.30] Item dictum est Apostolis, ut nihil secum portantes in via, ex Euangelio viverent. Et quodam loco etiam ipse Dominus significavit cur hoc dixerit, cum addidit: Dignus est enim operarius mercede sua; ubi satis ostendit permissum hoc esse, non iussum; ne forte qui hoc faceret, ut in opere praedicationis verbi aliquid ab eis quibus praedicaret, in usus vitae huius sumeret, illicitum aliquid se facere arbitraretur. Posse tamen laudabilius non fieri, in apostolo Paulo satis demonstratum est; qui cum diceret: Communicet autem qui catechizatur verbum ei, qui se catechizat, in omnibus bonis; et multis locis id salubriter fieri ab eis quibus verbum praedicatur, ostenderet: Sed tamen ego, inquit, non sum usus hac potestate. Potestatem ergo dedit Dominus, cum ista diceret, non imperio constrinxit. Ita pleraque in verbis intellegere non valentes, in factis sanctorum colligimus quemadmodum oporteat accipi, quod facile in aliam partem duceretur, nisi exemplo reuocaretur. 30. Moreover, it was said to the Apostles that they should take nothing with them for their journey, but should live by the Gospel. And in a certain place too the Lord Himself signified why He said this, when He added, The laborer is worthy of his hire: where He sufficiently shows that this is permitted, not ordered; lest haply he who should do this, namely, that in this work of preaching the word he should take anything for the uses of this life from them to whom he preached, should think he was doing any thing unlawful. And yet that it may more laudably not be done is sufficiently proved in the Apostle Paul: who, while he said, Let him that is taught in the word, communicate unto him, that teaches in all things, and showed in many places that this is wholesomely done by them to whom he preached the word, Nevertheless, says he, I have not used this power. The Lord, therefore, when He spoke those words, gave power, not bound men by a command. So in general, what in words we are not able to understand, in the actions of the Saints we gather how it is meet to be taken, which would easily be drawn to the other side, unless it were recalled by an example.
Os duplex, vocis et cordis: de quo ore dictum sit: Os quod mentitur, etc.
[16.31] Sic ergo quod scriptum est: Os autem quod mentitur, occidit animam; de quo ore dixerit, quaeritur. Plerumque enim Scriptura cum os dicit, conceptaculum ipsum cordis significat, ubi placet et decernitur quidquid etiam per vocem, cum verum loquimur, enuntiatur: ut corde mentiatur, cui placet mendacium; possit autem non corde mentiri, qui per vocem aliud quam est in animo ita profert, ut maioris mali evitandi causa malum se admittere noverit, cui tamen utrumque displiceat. Et qui hoc asserunt, ita dicunt etiam illud intellegendum quod scriptum est: Qui loquitur veritatem in corde suo; quia semper in corde veritas loquenda est; non autem semper in ore corporis, si aliqua causa cavendi maioris mali aliud quam in animo est, voce proferri exigat. Et esse quidem os cordis, ex hoc iam intellegi potest, quod ubi locutio est, ibi os non absurde intellegitur; nec recte diceretur: Qui loquitur in corde suo; nisi et os in corde recte intellegeretur. Quamquam et eo ipso loco, ubi scriptum est: Os autem quod mentitur, occidit animam; si circumstantia lectionis consideretur, non accipitur fortasse aliud quam os cordis. Obscurum enim responsum ibi est, ubi homines latet, qui os cordis, nisi os corporis consonet, audire non possunt. Illud autem os dicit in eo loco Scriptura pervenire ad auditum Spiritus Domini, qui replevit orbem terrarum: ita ut etiam labia et vocem et linguam commemoret in eo loco; nec tamen omnia sinat intellectus nisi de corde accipi, quia Dominum dicit non latere quod dicitur: quod autem sono isto ad aures nostras pertinente dicitur, nec homines latet. Ita quippe scriptum est: Humanus est enim Spiritus sapientiae, et non liberabit maledicum a labiis eius: quoniam renum illius testis est Deus, et cordis illius scrutator est et verus, linguae illius auditor. 31. Thus then what is written, The mouth that lies, slays the soul; of what mouth it speaks, is the question. For in general when the Scripture speaks of the mouth, it signifies the very seat of our conception in the heart, where is approved and decreed whatever also by the voice, when we speak the truth, is uttered: so that he lies with the heart who approves a lie; yet that man may possibly not lie with the heart, who utters other than is in his mind, in such sort that he knows it to be for the sake of avoiding a greater evil that he admits an evil, disapproving withal both the one and the other. And they who assert this, say that thus also is to be understood that which is written, He that speaks the truth in his heart: because always in the heart truth must be spoken; but not always in the mouth of the body, if any cause of avoiding a greater evil require that other than is in the mind be uttered with the voice. And that there is indeed a mouth of the heart, may be understood even from this, that where there is speech, there a mouth is with no absurdity understood: nor would it be right to say, Who speaks in his heart, unless it were right to understand that there is also a mouth in the heart. Though in that very place where it is written, The mouth that lies, slays the soul, if the context of the lesson be considered, it may perhaps be taken for no other than the mouth of the heart. For there is an obscure response there, where it is hidden from men, to whom the mouth of the heart, unless the mouth of the body sound therewith, is not audible. But that mouth, the Scripture in that place says, does reach to the hearing of the Spirit of the Lord, Who has filled the whole earth; at the same time mentioning lips and voice and tongue in that place; yet all these the sense permits not to be taken, but concerning the heart, because it says of the Lord, that what is spoken is not hidden from Him: now that which is spoken with that sound which reaches to our ears, is not hidden from men either. Thus, namely, is it written: The Spirit of wisdom is loving, and will not acquit an evil-speaker of his lips: for of his reins God is witness, and of his heart a true searcher, and of his tongue a hearer.
Quoniam Spiritus Domini replevit orbem terrarum, et hoc quod continet omnia, scientiam habet vocis. Propter hoc qui loquitur iniqua, non potest latere, sed nec praeteriet illum corripiens iudicium. In cogitationibus enim impii interrogatio erit; sermonum autem illius auditio a Domino veniet, ad correptionem iniquitatum illius. Quoniam auris zeli audit omnia, et tumultus murmurationum non abscondetur. Custodite ergo vos a murmuratione, quae nihil prodest, et a detractione linguae parcite: quoniam responsum obscurum in uacuum non ibit. Os autem quod mentitur, occidit animam. Videtur ergo his minari, qui obscurum putant et secretum esse quod corde agitant atque versant. Tam vero clarum ostendere voluit hoc esse auribus Dei, ut etiam tumultum eum appellaverit. For the Spirit of the Lord has filled the whole earth, and that which contains all things has knowledge of the voice. Therefore he that speaks unrighteous things cannot be hid: but neither shall the judgment when it punishes pass by him. For in the thoughts of the ungodly shall there be interrogation; and the hearing of his words shall come from the Lord, to the punishment of his iniquities. For the ear of jealousy hears all things, and the tumult of murmurings will not be hid. Therefore keep yourselves from murmuring, which profits nothing, and from backbiting refrain your tongue: because an obscure response will not go into the void. But the mouth that lies, slays the soul. It seems then to threaten them who think that to be obscure and secret, which they agitate and turn over in their heart. And this, it would show, is so clear to the ears of God, that it even calls it tumult.
Os cordis etiam in Euangelio monstratum.
[16.32] Manifeste etiam in Euangelio invenimus os cordis; ut uno loco et corporis et cordis os Dominus commemorasse inveniatur, ubi ait: Adhuc et vos sine intellectu estis? Non intellegitis quia omne quod in os intrat, in ventrem uadit, et in secessum emittitur; quae autem procedunt de ore, de corde exeunt, et ea coinquinant hominem? De corde enim exeunt cogitationes malae, homicidia, adulteria, fornicationes, furta, falsa testimonia, blasphemiae: haec sunt quae coinquinant hominem. Hic si unum os, quod est corporis, intellexeris, quomodo intellecturus es: Quae autem procedunt de ore, de corde exeunt; cum et sputus et vomitus de ore procedat? Nisi forte tunc quisque non coinquinatur, cum edit aliquid immundum; coinquinatur autem, cum id euomit. Quod si absurdissimum est, restat ut os cordis intellegamus a Domino expositum, cum ait: Quae procedunt de ore, de corde exeunt. Nam et furtum cum possit, et saepe ita fiat, in silentio corporalis vocis atque oris perpetrari; dementissimum est sic intellegere, ut tunc putemus quemquam peccato furti contaminari, cum id fatetur aut indicat; cum autem id tacite committit, incoinquinatum arbitrari. At vero si ad os cordis quod dictum est referamus, nihil omnino peccati tacite committi potest: non enim committitur, nisi ex ore illo interiore procedat. 32. Manifestly also in the Gospel we find the mouth of the heart: so that in one place the Lord is found to have mentioned the mouth both of the body and of the heart, where he says, Are ye also yet without understanding? Do ye not yet understand, that whatsoever enters in at the mouth, goes into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart, and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: these are the things which defile a man. Here if you understand but one mouth, that of the body, how will you understand, Those things which proceed out of the mouth, come forth from the heart; since spitting also and vomiting proceed out of the mouth? Unless perhaps a man is but then defiled when he eats anything unclean, but is defiled when he vomits it up. But if this be most absurd, it remains that we understand the mouth of the heart to have been expounded by the Lord, when He says, The things which proceed out of the mouth, come forth from the heart. For being that theft also can be, and often is, perpetrated with silence of the bodily voice and mouth; one must be out of his mind so to understand it as then to account a person to be contaminated by the sin of theft, when he confesses or makes it known, but when he commits it and holds his peace, then to think him undefiled. But, in truth, if we refer what is said to the mouth of the heart, no sin whatever can be committed tacitly: for it is not committed unless it proceed from that mouth which is within.
An uetitum id tantum mendacium, quo alicui detrahitur.
[16.33] Sicut autem quaeritur de quo ore dixerit: Os autem quod mentitur, occidit animam; ita quaeri potest, de quo mendacio. Videtur enim de illo proprie dicere, quo cuiquam detrahitur. Ait enim: Abstinete ergo vos a murmuratione, quae nihil prodest, et a detractione linguae parcite. Fit autem ista detractio per maleuolentiam, cum quisquam non solum ore ac voce corporis profert quod confingit in aliquem, sed etiam tacitus talem vult credi; quod est utique ore cordis detrahere: quod dicit obscurum et occultum Deo esse non posse. 33. But, like as it is asked of what mouth the Scripture says, The mouth that lies, slays the soul, so it may be asked, of what lie. For it seems to speak of that lie in particular, which consists in detraction. It says, Keep yourselves from murmuring, which profits nothing, and from detraction refrain your tongue. Now this detraction takes place through malevolence, when any man not only with mouth and voice of the body does utter what he forges against any, but even without speaking wishes him to be thought such; which is in truth to detract with the mouth of the heart; which thing, it says, cannot be obscure and hidden from God.
Sensus triplex in loco Ecclesiastici (cap. 7, 14).
[16.34] Nam quod alio loco scriptum est: Noli velle mentiri omne mendacium; non ad hoc volunt valere, ut nullo mendacio quisque mentiatur. Itaque cum alius dixerit, ex isto Scripturae testimonio usque adeo generaliter omne mendacium esse detestandum, ut etiam si quis mentiri velit, etiamsi non mentiatur, iam voluntas ipsa damnanda sit; atque ad hoc interpretetur, quod non dictum est: Noli mentiri omne mendacium; sed: Noli velle mentiri omne mendacium; ut non solum mentiri, sed nec velle mentiri quisque audeat ullo mendacio. 34. For what is written in another place, Wish not to use every lie; they say is not of force for this, that a person is not to use any lie. Therefore, when one man shall say, that according to this testimony of Scripture we must to that degree hold every sort and kind of lie in detestation, that even if a man wish to lie, yea, though he lie not, the very wish is to be condemned; and to this sense interprets, that it is not said, Do not use every lie, but, Do not wish to use every lie; that one must not dare not only to tell, but not even to wish to tell, any lie whatever:
Psalmi 5 versiculus 7 tripliciter quoque intellectus.
[17.34] Dicit alius: Imo quod ait: Noli velle mentiri omne mendacium; de ore cordis exterminandum atque alienandum esse mendacium voluit: ut a quibusdam mendaciis ore corporis abstinendum sit, sicut illa sunt maxime, quae pertinent ad doctrinam religionis; a quibusdam vero non sit ore corporis abstinendum, si maioris mali evitandi causa exigit; ore autem cordis ab omni mendacio penitus abstinere debeamus. Ubi oportet intellegi quod dictum est: Noli velle; voluntas quippe ipsa quasi os cordis accipitur, ut non pertineat ad os cordis, cum maius malum caventes mentimur inuiti. says another man, Nay, in that it says, Do not wish to use every lie, it wills that from the mouth of the heart we exterminate and estrange lying: so that while from some lies we must abstain with the mouth of the body, as are those chiefly which pertain to doctrine of religion; from some, we are not to abstain with the mouth of the body, if reason of avoiding a greater evil require; but with the mouth of the heart we must abstain utterly from every lie. Where it behooves to be understood what is said, Do not wish: namely, the will itself is taken as it were the mouth of the heart, so that it concerns not the mouth of the heart when in shunning a greater evil we lie unwillingly.
Est et tertius intellectus, quo sic accipias: Noli omne, ut exceptis aliquibus mendaciis mentiri te sinat. Tamquam si diceret: Noli velle credere omni homini; non utique ut nulli crederetur moneret; sed ut non omnibus, aliquibus autem crederetur. Et id quod sequitur: Assiduitas enim eius non proficiet ad bonum, ita sonat, quasi non a mendacio, sed ab assiduo mendacio, id est, a consuetudine atque amore mentiendi prohibere videatur. Quo profecto delabatur, quisquis vel omni mendacio putaverit abutendum, (ita enim nec illud cavebit, quod fit in doctrina pietatis et religionis; quo sceleratius quid facile invenias, non inter omnia mendacia, sed inter omnia peccata?) vel alicui mendacio, quamvis facili, quamvis innoxio, nutum voluntatis accommodaverit; ut non inuitus euadendi maioris mali causa, sed volens libensque mentiatur. There is also a third sense in which you may so take this word, not every, that, except some lies, it gives you leave to lie. Like as if he should say, wish not to believe every man: he would not mean to advise that none should be believed; but that not all, some however, should be believed. And that which follows, For assiduity thereof will not profit for good, sounds as if, not lying, but assiduous lying, that is, the custom and love of lying, should seem to be that which he would prohibit. To which that person will assuredly slide down, who either shall think that every lie may be boldly used (for so he will shun not that even which is committed in the doctrine of piety and religion; than which what more abominably wicked thing can you easily find, not among all lies, but among all sins?) or to some lie (no matter how easy, how harmless,) shall accommodate the inclination of the will; so as to lie, not unwillingly for the sake of escaping a greater evil, but willingly and with liking.
Ita cum tria sint quae in hac sententia intellegi possint: aut: Omne mendacium non solum mentiri noli, sed nec velle mentiri; aut: noli velle, sed vel inuitus mentire, cum fugiendum est aliquid gravius; aut: noli omne, ut exceptis aliquibus mendaciis caetera permittantur: unum hic pro his quibus mentiri nunquam placet, duo pro illis qui aliquando putant esse mentiendum, inveniuntur. Sed tamen quod sequitur: Assiduitas enim eius non proficiet ad bonum, nescio utrum possit primae harum trium sententiae suffragari: nisi forte ita ut perfectorum praeceptum sit, omnino nunquam non solum mentiri, sed vel velle mentiri; assiduitas vero mentiendi nec proficientibus permittatur. Tamquam si cum praeciperetur, nunquam prorsus non solum mentiendum, sed nec voluntatem habendam esse mentiendi, contradiceretur exemplis, quod aliqua sunt etiam magna auctoritate approbata mendacia: responderetur autem, illa quidem esse proficientium, quae habent secundum hanc vitam qualecumque officium misericordiae; sed usque adeo esse omne mendacium malum, et perfectis atque spiritalibus animis omni modo fugiendum, ut nec ipsis proficientibus assiduitas eius permittenda sit. Dictum est enim iam de obstetricibus Aegyptiis, quod de indole ad melius proficiendi mentientes approbatae sunt: quia nonnullus gradus est ad diligendam veram ac sempiternam salutem, cum quisque misericorditer etiam pro alicuius quamvis mortali salute mentitur. So, seeing there be three things which may be understood in this sentence, either Every lie, not only tell not, but do not even wish to tell: or, Do not wish, but even unwillingly tell a lie when anything worse is to be avoided: or, Not every, to wit, that except some lies, the rest are admitted: one of these is found to make for those who hold that one is never to lie, two for those who think that sometimes one may tell a lie. But yet what follows, For assiduity thereof will not profit to good, I know not whether it can countenance the first sentence of these three; except haply so, that while it is a precept for the perfect not only not to lie, but not even to wish; assiduity of lying is not permitted even to beginners. As if, namely, on laying down the rule at no time whatever not merely to lie but so much as to have a wish to lie, and this being gainsaid by examples, in regard that there are some lies which have been even approved by great authority, it should be rejoined that those indeed are lies of beginners, which have, in regard of this life, some kind of duty of mercy; and yet to that degree is every lie evil, and by perfect and spiritual minds in every way to be eschewed, that not even beginners are permitted to have assiduous custom thereof. For we have already spoken concerning the Egyptian midwives, that it is in respect of the promise of growth and proficiency to better things that they while lying are spoken of with approval: because it is some step towards loving the true and eternal saving of the soul, when a person does mercifully for the saving of any man's albeit mortal life even tell a lie.
Quod scriptum est: Perdes omnes qui loquuntur mendacium.
[17.35] Item quod scriptum est: Perdes omnes qui loquuntur mendacium; alius dicit nullum hic exceptum esse mendacium, sed omne damnatum. Alius dicit: Ita vero, sed qui loquuntur ex corde mendacium, secundum superiorem disputationem; nam veritatem loquitur in corde, qui odit mentiendi necessitatem, quam poenam huius vitae mortalis intellegit. Alius dicit: Omnes quidem perdet Deus qui loquuntur mendacium, sed non omne mendacium: est enim aliquod mendacium quod tunc insinuabat Propheta, in quo nulli parcatur; id est, si peccata sua quisque confiteri detrectans, defendat ea potius, et nolit agere poenitentiam; ut parum sit quia operatur iniquitatem, nisi etiam iustus videri volens medicinae confessionis non succumbat: ut et ipsa verborum distinctio non aliud intimare videatur: Odisti omnes qui operantur iniquitatem; sed non perdes, si poenitendo in confessione veritatem loquantur, ut faciendo istam veritatem veniant ad lucem; sicut in Euangelio secundum Ioannem dicitur: Qui autem facit veritatem, venit ad lucem. Perdes autem omnes qui, non solum operantur quod odisti, sed etiam loquuntur mendacium; falsam iustitiam praetendendo, nec in poenitentia confitendo peccata. 35. Moreover what is written You will destroy all that speak leasing: one says that no lie is here excepted, but all condemned. Another says: Yea verily: but they who speak leasing from the heart, as we disputed above; for that man speaks truth in his heart, who hates the necessity of lying, which he understands as a penalty of the moral life. Another says: All indeed will God destroy who speak leasing, but not all leasing: for there is some leasing which the Prophet was at that time insinuating, in which none is spared; that is, if refusing to confess each one his sins, he defend them rather, and will not do penance, so that not content to work iniquity, he must needs wish to be thought just, and succumb not to the medicine of confession: as the very distinction of the words may seem to intimate no other, You hate all that work iniquity; but will not destroy them if upon repenting they speak the truth in confession, that by doing that truth they may come to the light; as is said in the Gospel according to John, But be that does truth comes unto the light. You will destroy all who not only work what You hate, but also speak leasing; in holding out before them false righteousness, and not confessing their sins in penitence.
Praeceptum uetans falsum testimonium dici, quomodo intellegendum.
[17.36] Nam de falso testimonio, quod in decem praeceptis Legis positum est, nullo modo quidem contendi potest dilectionem veritatis in corde servandam, et proferendum falsum ad eum apud quem dicitur testimonium. Cum enim Deo tantum dicitur, tunc tantum in corde veritas amplectenda est: cum autem homini dicitur, etiam ore corporis verum proferendum est; quia homo non est cordis inspector. Sed plane de ipso testimonio non absurde quaeritur apud quem quisque testis sit. Non enim apud quoscumque loquimur, testes sumus; sed apud eos quibus expedit et debetur per nos cognoscere aut credere veritatem: sicuti est iudex, ne in iudicando erret; aut qui docetur doctrina religionis, ne erret in fide, aut in ipsa doctoris auctoritate dubius fluctuet. Cum autem ille te interrogat, aut vult ex te aliquid nosse, qui eam rem quaerit quae non ad eum pertineat, aut quam ei nosse non expedit; non testem, sed proditorem requirit. Itaque si ei mentiaris, a falso fortasse testimonio alienus eris, sed a mendacio profecto non eris. 36. For, concerning false witness, which is set down in the ten commands of the Law, it can indeed in no way be contended that love of truth may at heart be preserved, and false witness brought forth to him unto whom the witness is borne. For, when it is said to God only, then it is only in the heart that the truth is to be embraced: but when it is said to man, then must we with the mouth also of the body bring forth truth, because man is not an inspector of the heart. But then, touching the witness itself, it is not unreasonably asked, to whom one is a witness? For not to whomsoever we speak unto are we witnesses, but to them to whom it is expedient and due that they by our means should come to know or believe the truth; as is a judge, that he may not err in judging; or he who is taught in doctrine of religion, that he may not err in faith, or by very authority of the teacher waver in doubt. But when the person who interrogates you or wishes to know anything from you seeks that which concerns him not, or which is not expedient for him to know, he craves not a witness, but a betrayer. Therefore if to him you tell a lie, from false witness perhaps you will be clear, but from a lie assuredly not.
Quomodo accipiendus alius Scripturae locus.
[18.36] Salvo igitur eo quod falsum testimonium dicere nunquam licet, quaeritur utrum liceat aliquando mentiri. Aut si falsum testimonium est omne mendacium, videndum est utrum admittat compensationem, ut dicatur vitandi maioris peccati gratia; sicut illud quod scriptum est: Honora patrem et matrem, rapiente officio potiore contemnitur; unde ultimum sepulturae honorem patri prohibetur exsoluere, qui ab ipso Domino ad regnum Dei annuntiandum vocatur. So then with this salvo, that to bear false witness is never lawful, the question is, whether it be lawful sometimes to tell a lie. Or if it be false witness to lie at all, it is to be seen whether it admit of compensation, to wit, that it be said for the sake of avoiding a greater sin: as that which is written, Honor father and mother, under stress of a preferable duty is disregarded; whence the paying of the last honors of sepulture to a father, is forbidden to that man who by the Lord Himself is called to preach the kingdom of God.
Disquisitione praecedenti in utramque partem quid hactenus inventum.
[18.37] Item quod scriptum est: Verbum custodiens filius a perditione longe aberit; excipiens autem excipit illud sibi, et nihil falsi de ore ipsius procedit; dicit aliquis, non aliud hic accipiendum esse quod positum est: Excipiens verbum filius, nisi verbum Dei, quod est veritas. Ergo: Excipiens veritatem filius a perditione longe aberit, refertur ad illud quod dictum est: Perdes omnes qui loquuntur mendacium. Quod vero sequitur: Excipiens autem excipit illud sibi, quid aliud insinuat, nisi quod Apostolus dicit: Opus autem suum probet unusquisque, et tunc in semetipso habebit gloriam, et non in altero? Qui enim excipit verbum, id est veritatem, non sibi, sed ut hominibus placeat, non eam custodit, cum eis videt placeri posse mendacio. 37. Likewise, touching that which is written, A son which receives the word shall be far from destruction: but receiving, he receives it for himself, and no falsehood proceeds out of his mouth: some one may say, that what is here set down, A son which receives the word, is to be taken for no other than the word of God, which is truth. Therefore, A son receiving the truth shall be far from destruction, refers to that which is written, You will destroy all that speak leasing. But when it follows, Receiving he receives for himself, what other does this insinuate than what the Apostle says, But let every man prove his own work, and then he shall have glorying in himself and not in another? For he that receives the word, that is, truth, not for himself, but for men-pleasing, keeps it not when he sees they can be pleased by a lie.
Qui autem excipit sibi, nihil falsum de ore ipsius procedit; quia etiam cum placet hominibus mendacium, non mentitur ille qui veritatem, non de qua illis, sed de qua Deo placeret, excepit sibi. Itaque non est cur hic dicatur: Omnes quidem perdet qui loquuntur mendacium, sed non omne mendacium: quando universaliter omnia mendacia circumcisa sunt in eo quod dictum est: Et nihil falsi de ore ipsius procedit. Sed dicit alius ita esse accipiendum, sicut accepit apostolus Paulus quod ait Dominus: Ego autem dico vobis, non iurare omnino. Nam et hic omnis iuratio circumcisa est; sed ab ore cordis, ut nunquam voluntatis approbatione fieret, sed necessitate infirmitatis alterius, id est, a malo alterius, cui non aliter videtur persuaderi posse quod dicitur, nisi iurando fides fiat; aut ab illo malo nostro, quod huius mortalitatis adhuc pellibus inuoluti, cor nostrum non valemus ostendere: quod utique si valeremus, iuratione opus non esset. Quamquam etiam in hac tota sententia, si quod dictum est: Excipiens verbum filius a perditione longe aberit, de ipsa dictum est Veritate per quam facta sunt omnia, quae incommutabilis semper manet; quoniam doctrina religionis ad eam contemplandam perducere nititur, potest videri ad hoc esse dictum: Et nihil falsi de ore ipsius procedit, ut nihil falsi quod ad doctrinam pertinet dicat. Quod mendacii genus nulla omnino compensatione subeundum, penitusque ac praecipue devitandum est. Aut si quod dictum est, nihil falsi, absurde accipitur, si non ad omne mendacium referatur; quod dictum est, de ore ipsius, secundum superiorem disputationem os cordis accipiendum esse contendit, qui aliquando putat esse mentiendum. But whoso receives it for himself, no falsehood proceeds out of his mouth: because even when the way to please men is to lie, that man lies not, who receiving the truth not thereby to please them but to please God, has received it for himself. Therefore there is no reason why it should be said here He will destroy all who speak leasing, but not all leasing: because all lies, universally, are cut off in this saying, And no falsehood proceeds out of his mouth. But another says, it is to be so taken as the Apostle Paul took our Lord's saying, But I say unto you, Swear not at all. For here also all swearing is cut off; but from the mouth of the heart, that it should never be done with approbation of the will, but through necessity of the weakness of another; that is, from the evil of another, when it shows that he cannot otherwise be got to believe what is said, unless faith be wrought by an oath; or, from that evil of our own, that while as yet involved in the skins of this mortality we are not able to show our heart: which thing were we able to do, of swearing there were no need. Though moreover in this whole sentence, if the saying, A son receiving the word shall be far from destruction, be said of none other than that Truth, by Whom all things were made, which remains ever incommutable; then, because the doctrine of Religion strives to bring men to the contemplation of this Truth, it may seem that the saying, And no falsehood proceeds out of his mouth, is said to this purpose, that he speaks no falsehood that pertains to doctrine. Which sort of lie is upon no compensation whatever to be gone into, and is utterly and before all to be eschewed. Or if the saying, No falsehood, is absurdly taken if it be not referred to every lie, the saying, From his mouth, should, as was argued above, be taken to mean the mouth of the heart, in the opinion of him who accounts that sometimes one may tell a lie.
Error mala meties ex cupiditate et ex consuetudine. Vita nostra duplex.
[18.38] Haec certe omnis disputatio quamvis alternet, aliis asserentibus nunquam esse mentiendum, et ad hoc divina testimonia recitantibus; aliis contradicentibus, et inter ipsa verba divinorum testimoniorum mendacio locum quaerentibus: nemo tamen potest dicere, hoc se aut in exemplo aut in verbo Scripturarum invenire, ut diligendum vel non odio habendum ullum mendacium videatur; sed interdum mentiendo faciendum esse quod oderis, ut quod amplius detestandum est devitetur. Sed in hoc errant homines, quod subdunt pretiosa vilioribus. Cum enim concesseris admittendum esse aliquod malum, ne aliud gravius admittatur; non ex regula veritatis, sed ex sua quisque cupiditate atque consuetudine metitur malum; et id putat gravius, quod ipse amplius exhorrescit, non quod amplius reuera fugiendum est. Hoc totum ab amoris peruersitate gignitur vitium. Cum enim duae sint vitae nostrae; una sempiterna, quae divinitus promittitur; altera temporalis, in qua nunc sumus: cum quisque istam temporalem amplius diligere coeperit, quam illam sempiternam, propter hanc quam diligit, putat esse omnia facienda; nec ulla aestimat graviora peccata, quam quae huic vitae faciunt iniuriam, et vel ei commoditatis aliquid inique et illicite auferunt, aut eam penitus illata morte adimunt. 38. Certain it is, albeit all this disputation go from side to side, some asserting that it is never right to lie, and to this effect reciting divine testimonies: others gainsaying, and even in the midst of the very words of the divine testimonies seeking place for a lie; yet no man can say, that he finds this either in example or in word of the Scriptures, that any lie should seem a thing to be loved, or not had in hatred; howbeit sometimes by telling a lie you must do that you hate, that what is more greatly to be detested may be avoided. But then here it is that people err; they put the precious beneath the vile. For when you have granted that some evil is to be admitted, that another and more grievous may not be admitted; not by the rule of truth, but by his own cupidity and custom does each measure the evil, accounting that to be the more grievous, which himself more greatly dreads, not which is in reality more greatly to be fled from. All this fault is engendered by perversity of loving. For being there are two lives of ours; the one eternal, which is promised of God; the other temporal, in which we now are: when a man shall have begun to love this temporal more than that eternal, for the sake of this which he loves he thinks all things right to be done; and there are not any, in his estimation, more grievous sins than those which do injury to this life, and either take away from it any commodity unjustly and unlawfully, or by inflicting of death take it utterly away.
Itaque fures, et raptores, et contumeliosos, et tortores atque interfectores magis oderunt, quam lascivos, ebriosos, luxuriosos, si nulli molesti sunt. Non enim intellegunt, aut omnino curant, quod isti Deo faciant iniuriam; non quidem in illius aliquod incommodum, sed in suam magnam perniciem; cum dona eius in se corrumpunt, etiam temporalia, atque ipsis corruptionibus aversantur aeterna: maxime si iam templum Dei esse coeperunt; quod Christianis omnibus Apostolus ita dicit: Nescitis quia templum Dei estis, et Spiritus Dei habitat in vobis? Quisquis templum Dei corruperit, corrumpet illum Deus. Templum enim Dei sanctum est, quod estis vos. And so thieves, and robbers, and ruffians, and torturers, and slayers, are more hated of them than lascivious, drunken, luxurious men, if these molest no man. For they do not understand or at all care, that these do wrong to God; not indeed to any inconvenience of Him, but to their own pernicious hurt; seeing they corrupt His gifts bestowed upon them, even His temporal gifts, and by their very corruptions turn away from eternal gifts: above all, if they have already begun to be the Temple of God; which to all Christians the Apostle says thus: Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? Whoso shall corrupt God's temple, God will corrupt him. For the temple of God is holy: which temple are you.
Peccata minora et si non propter utilitatem temporalem, an saltem propter sanctitatem servandam admitti possint.
[18.39] Et omnia quidem ista peccata, sive quibus iniuria fit hominibus in ipsis vitae huius commodis, sive quibus se ipsi homines corrumpunt, et nulli inuito nocent: omnia ergo ista peccata, etiamsi huic temporali vitae ad aliquam delectationem vel utilitatem videntur consulere (nam nullus aliquid horum alio proposito ac fine committit); tamen ad illam vitam, quae sempiterna est, implicatos omnibus modis impediunt. Horum autem alia sunt quae solos facientes impediunt, alia quae eos etiam in quibus fiunt. Nam illa quae utilitatis ad hanc vitam pertinentis gratia servantur, cum auferuntur ab iniuriosis; illi soli peccant, et a vita aeterna impediuntur, qui ea faciunt, non ii quibus faciunt. Itaque etiamsi ea sibi auferri quisque consentiat, vel ne faciat aliquid mali, vel ne in his ipsis maius aliquid incommodi patiatur; non solum non peccat, sed illud fortiter et laudabiliter, hoc utiliter et inculpabiliter facit. Quae autem sanctitatis religionisque causa servantur, cum haec violare iniuriosi voluerint; etiam peccatis minoribus, non tamen iniuriis aliorum, si conditio proponitur et facultas datur, redimenda sunt. Et tunc iam illa desinunt esse peccata, quae propter graviora vitanda suscipiuntur. Sicut enim in rebus utilibus, velut in pecunia aliove aliquo commodo corporali, non vocatur damnum, quod propter maius lucrum amittitur; sic et in rebus sanctis non vocatur peccatum, quod ne gravius admittatur, admittitur. Aut si et illud damnum dicitur, quod aliquis perdit ne amplius perdat; vocetur et hoc peccatum, dum tamen suscipiendum esse, ut amplius evitetur, ita nemo dubitet, sicut nemo dubitat cavendi maioris damni causa patiendum esse quod minus est. 39. And all these sins, truly, whether such whereby an injury is done to men in the comforts of this life, or whereby men corrupt themselves and hurt none against his will: all these sins, then, even though they seem to mean well by this temporal life to the procuring of any delight or profit, (for no man commits any of these things with any other purpose and end;) yet in regard of that life which is forever and ever, they do entangle and in all ways hinder. But there are some of these that hinder the doers only, others likewise those on whom they are done. For as to the things which people keep safe for the sake of utility to this life, when these are taken away by injurious persons, they alone sin and are hindered from eternal life who do this, not they to whom they do it. Therefore, even if a person consent to the taking of them from him, either that he may not do some evil, or that he may not in these very things suffer some greater inconvenience; not only does he not sin, but in the one case he acts bravely and laudably, in the other usefully and unblameably. But as to those things which are kept for the sake of sanctity and religion, when injurious persons wish to violate these, it is right, if the condition be proposed and the means given, to redeem them even by sins of lesser moment, yet not by wrongs to other men. And then do these things thenceforth cease to be sins, which are undertaken in order to the avoidance of greater sins. For as in things useful, for instance in pecuniary or any other corporal commodity, that is not called a loss which is parted with in order to a greater gain; so in things holy, that is not called sin which is admitted lest a worse be admitted. Or if that is called loss, which one foregoes that he may not forego more; let this also be called sin, while however the necessity of undertaking it in order to the eschewing of a greater is no more to be doubted, than that, in order to avoid a greater loss, it is right to suffer a smaller one.
Tria servanda sanctitatis causa: pudicitia corporis, castitas animi, et veritas doctrinae.
[19.40] Ista sunt autem quae sanctitatis causa servanda sunt: pudicitia corporis, et castitas animae, et veritas doctrinae. Pudicitiam corporis, non consentiente ac permittente anima nemo violat. Quidquid enim nobis inuitis nullamque tribuentibus potestatem maiore vi contingit in nostro corpore, nulla impudicitia est. Sed permittendi potest esse aliqua ratio, consentiendi autem nulla. Tunc enim consentimus, cum approbamus et volumus: permittimus autem etiam non volentes, evitandae alicuius maioris turpitudinis gratia. Consensio sane ad impudicitiam corporalem, etiam castitatem animi violat. Animi quippe castitas est in bona voluntate et sincera dilectione, quae non corrumpitur, nisi cum amamus atque appetimus quod amandum atque appetendum non esse veritas docet. 40. Now the things which are to be kept safe for sanctity's sake are these: pudicity of body, and chastity of soul, and verity of doctrine. Pudicity of body, without consent and permission of the soul, does no man violate. For, whatever against our will and without our empowering the same is by greater force done upon our body, is no lewdness. Howbeit, of permitting there may be some reason, but of consenting, none. For we consent, when we approve and wish: but we permit even not willing, because of some greater turpitude to be eschewed. Consent, truly, to corporal lewdness violates also chastity of mind. For the mind's chastity consists in a good will and sincere love, which is not corrupted, unless when we love and desire that which Truth teaches ought not to be loved and desired.
Custodienda est ergo sinceritas dilectionis Dei et proximi; in hac enim castitas animi sanctificatur: et agendum quibus possumus viribus, et pia supplicatione, ut cum violanda appetitur pudicitia corporis nostri, nec ipse animae sensus extremus, qui carne implicatus est, aliqua delectatione tangatur; si autem hoc non potest, vel mentis in non consentiendo castitas conseruetur. Custodienda est autem in animi castitate, quod ad dilectionem proximi pertinet, innocentia et beneuolentia: quod autem ad Dei, pietas. Innocentia est, qua nulli nocemus; beneuolentia qua etiam prosumus cui possumus; pietas, qua colimus Deum. Veritas autem doctrinae, religionis atque pietatis, nonnisi mendacio violatur; cum ipsa summa atque intima veritas, cuius est ista doctrina, nullo modo possit violari: ad quam pervenire, atque in illa omni modo manere, eique penitus inhaerere non licebit, nisi cum corruptibile hoc induerit incorruptionem, et mortale hoc induerit immortalitatem. Sed quia omnis in hac vita pietas, exercitatio est, qua in illam tenditur, cui exercitationi ducatum praebet ista doctrina, quae humanis verbis et corporeorum sacramentorum signaculis ipsam insinuat atque intimat veritatem: propterea et haec quae per mendacium corrumpi potest, maxime incorrupta servanda est; ut si quid in illa castitate animi fuerit violatum, habeat unde reparetur. Corru pta enim auctoritate doctrinae, nullus aut cursus aut recursus esse ad castitatem animi potest. We have therefore to guard the sincerity of love toward God and our neighbor; for in this is chastity of mind sanctified: and we must endeavor with all the strength in our power, and with pious supplication, that, when the pudicity of our body is sought to be violated, not even that outermost sense of the soul, which is entangled with the flesh, may be touched with any delight; but if it cannot this, at least the mind and thought in not consenting may have its chastity preserved entire. Now what we have to guard in chastity of mind, is, as pertaining to the love of our neighbor, innocence and benevolence; as pertaining to the love of God, piety. Innocence is that we hurt no man; benevolence, that we also do good to whom we can; piety, that we worship God. But as for verity of doctrine, of religion and piety, that is not violated unless by a lie; whereas the highest and inmost Verity Itself, Whose that doctrine is, can in no way be violated: which Truth to attain unto, and in It on every wise to remain, and to It thoroughly to cleave, will not be permitted, but when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality. But, because all piety in this life is practice by which we tend to that life, which practice has a guidance afforded unto it from that doctrine, which in human words and signs of corporal sacraments does insinuate and intimate Truth herself: for this cause this also, which by lying is possible to be corrupted, is most of all to be kept incorrupt; that so, if anything in that chastity of mind be violated, it may have that wherefrom it may be repaired. For once corrupt authority of doctrine, and there can be none either course or recourse to chastity of mind.
Pudicitiae corporalis causa non mentiendum. Fides unde dicta. Castitas animi.
[20.41] Conficitur ergo ex his omnibus haec sententia, ut mendacium quod non violat doctrinam pietatis, neque ipsam pietatem, neque innocentiam, neque beneuolentiam, pro pudicitia corporis admittendum sit. Et tamen si quisquam proponeret sibi sic amandam veritatem, non tantum quae in contemplando est, sed etiam in vero enuntiando quod in suo quoque rerum genere verum est; et non aliter proferendam ore corporis sententiam, quam in animo concepta atque conspecta est; ut fidei veridicam pulchritudinem non solum auro, et argento, et gemmis, et amoenis praediis, sed et ipsi universae temporali vitae omnique corporis bono praeponeret; nescio utrum sapienter a quoquam errare diceretur. Et si hoc suis omnibus talibus rebus recte anteferret, plurisque penderet; recte etiam temporalibus rebus aliorum hominum, quos innocentia beneuolentiaque sua servare atque adivuare deberet. Amaret enim perfectam fidem, non solum bene credendi ea quae sibi excellenti et fide digna auctoritate dicerentur, sed etiam fideliter enuntiandi quae ipse dicenda iudicaret, ac diceret. 41. There results then from all these this sentence, that a lie which does not violate the doctrine of piety, nor piety itself, nor innocence, nor benevolence, may on behalf of pudicity of body be admitted. And yet if any man should propose to himself so to love truth, not only that which consists in contemplation, but also in uttering the true thing, which each in its own kind of things is true, and no otherwise to bring forth with the mouth of the body his thought than in the mind it is conceived and beheld; so that he should prize the beauty of truth-telling honesty, not only above gold and silver and jewels and pleasant lands, but above this temporal life itself altogether and every good thing of the body, I know not whether any could wisely say that that man errs. And if he should prefer this and prize it more than all that himself has of such things; rightly also would he prefer it to the temporal things of other men, whom by his innocence and benevolence he was bound to keep and to help. For he would love perfect faith, not only of believing aright those things which by an excellent authority and worthy of faith should to himself be spoken, but also of faithfully uttering what himself should judge right to be spoken, and should speak.
Fides enim appellata est in latina lingua ex eo quia fit quod dicitur: quam manifestum est non exhibere mentientem. Quae etsi minus violatur, cum ita quisque mentitur, ut ei nullo incommodo nullaque pernicie credatur, addita etiam intentione vel salutis tuendae, vel pudicitiae corporalis; violatur tamen, et res violatur in animi castitate atque sanctitate servanda. Unde cogimur, non opinione hominum quae plerumque in errore est, sed ipsa quae omnibus supereminet atque una inuictissima est veritate, etiam pudicitiae corporis perfectam fidem anteponere. Est enim animi castitas, amor ordinatus non subdens maiora minoribus. Minus est autem quidquid in corpore, quam quidquid in animo violari potest. Certe enim cum pro pudicitia corporali quisque mentitur, videt quidem corrumpendo corpori suo, non suam, sed alienam imminere libidinem; cavet tamen, ne saltem permittendo sit particeps. Permissio vero illa ubi nisi in animo est? Etiam corporalis ergo pudicitia corrumpi nisi in animo non potest: quo non consentiente, neque permittente, nullo modo recte dicitur violari pudicitia corporalis, quidquid in corpore fuerit aliena libidine perpetratum. Unde colligitur, multo magis animi castitatem servandam esse in animo, in quo tutela est pudicitiae corporalis. Quamobrem quod in nobis est, utrumque sanctis moribus et conversatione muniendum est atque sepiendum, ne aliunde violetur. Cum autem utrumque non potest, quid pro quo sit contemnendum quis non videat? cum videat quid cui sit praeponendum, animus corpori, an corpus animo; animi castitas pudicitiae corporis, an pudicitia corporis castitati animi; et quid magis in peccatis cavendum, permissio facti alieni, an commissio facti tui. For faith has its name in the Latin tongue, from that the thing is done which is said: and thus it is manifest that one does not exhibit when telling a lie. And even if this faith be less violated, when one lies in such sort that he is believed to no inconvenience and no pernicious hurt, with added intention moreover of guarding either one's life or corporal purity; yet violated it is, and a thing is violated which ought to be kept safe in chastity and sanctity of mind. Whence we are constrained, not by opinion of men, which for the most part is in error, but by truth itself, truth which is eminent above all, and alone is most invincible, to prefer even to purity of body, perfect faith. For chastity of mind is, love well ordered, which does not place the greater below the smaller. Now it is less, whatever in the body than whatever in the mind can be violated. For assuredly when for corporal chasteness a man tells a lie, he sees indeed that his body is threatened with corruption, not from his own, but from another's lust, but is cautious lest by permitting at least, he be a party. That permission, however, where is it but in the mind? So then, even corporal chasteness cannot be corrupted but in the mind; which not consenting nor permitting, it can by no means be rightly said that corporal chasteness is violated whatever in the body be perpetrated by another's lust. Whence it is gathered, that much more must the chastity of the mind be preserved in the mind, in the which is the guardianship of the pudicity of the body. Wherefore, what in us lies, both the one and the other must by holy manners and conversation be walled and hedged round, lest from another quarter it be violated. But when both cannot be, which is to be slighted in comparison of which, who does not see? When he sees which to which is to be preferred, the mind to the body, or the body to the mind; and which is more to be shunned among sins, the permitting of another's deed, or the committing of the deed yourself.
Epilogus praedictorum.
[21.42] Elucet itaque discussis omnibus, nihil aliud illa testimonia Scripturarum monere, nisi nunquam esse omnino mentiendum: quandoquidem nec ulla exempla mendaciorum imitatione digna in moribus factisque sanctorum inveniantur; quod ad eas attinet Scripturas, quae ad nullam figuratam significationem referuntur, sicuti sunt res gestae in Actibus Apostolorum. Nam Domini omnia in Euangelio, quae imperitioribus mendacia videntur, figuratae significationes sunt. Et quod ait Apostolus: Omnibus omnia factus sum, ut omnes lucrifacerem; non eum mentiendo, sed compatiendo fecisse recte intellegitur; ut tanta caritate cum eis liberandis ageret, ac si ipse in eo malo esset, a quo illos sanare cupiebat. Non est igitur mentiendum in doctrina pietatis: magnum enim scelus est, et primum genus detestabilis mendacii. Non est mentiendum secundo genere; quia nulli facienda est iniuria. Non est mentiendum tertio genere; quia nulli cum alterius iniuria consulendum est. Non est mentiendum quarto genere, propter mendacii libidinem, quae per se ipsam vitiosa est. Non est mentiendum quinto genere; quia nec ipsa veritas fine placendi hominibus enuntianda est: quanto minus mendacium, quod per se ipsum, quia mendacium est, utique turpe est? Non est mentiendum sexto genere; neque enim recte etiam testimonii veritas pro cuiusquam temporali commodo ac salute corrumpitur. Ad sempiternam vero salutem nullus ducendus est, opitulante mendacio. Non enim malis convertentium moribus ad bonos mores convertendus est: quia si erga illum faciendum est, debet etiam ipse conversus facere erga alios; atque ita non ad bonos, sed ad malos mores convertitur, cum hoc ei praebetur imitandum converso, quod ei praestitum est convertendo. Neque septimo genere mentiendum est; non enim cuiusquam commoditas aut salus temporalis perficiendae fidei praeferenda est. Nec si quisquam in recte factis nostris tam male movetur, ut fiat etiam animo deterior longeque a pietate remotior, propterea recte facta deserenda sunt: cum id nobis praecipue tenendum sit, quo vocare atque inuitare debemus, quos sicut nosmetipsos diligimus; fortissimoque animo bibenda est apostolica illa sententia: Aliis quidem sumus odor vitae in vitam, aliis odor mortis in mortem; et ad haec quis idoneus? Nec octauo genere mentiendum est; quia et in bonis castitas animi, pudicitia corporis; et in malis id quod ipsi facimus, eo quod fieri sinimus maius est. In his autem octo generibus tanto quisque minus peccat cum mentitur, quanto emergit ad octauum; tanto amplius, quanto deuergit ad primum. Quisquis autem esse aliquod genus mendacii quod peccatum non sit putaverit, decipiet se ipsum turpiter, cum honestum se deceptorem arbitratur aliorum. 42. It clearly appears then, all being discussed, that those testimonies of Scripture have none other meaning than that we must never at all tell a lie: seeing that not any examples of lies, worthy of imitation, are found in the manners and actions of the Saints, as regards those Scriptures which are referred to no figurative signification, such as is the history in the Acts of the Apostles. For all those sayings of our Lord in the Gospel, which to more ignorant minds seem lies, are figurative significations. And as to what the Apostle says: I am made all things to all men, that I might gain all; the right understanding is, that he did this not by lying, but by sympathy; so that he dealt with them in liberating them with so great charity, as if he were himself in that evil from which he wished to make them whole. There must therefore be no lying in the doctrine of piety: it is a heinous wickedness, and the first sort of detestable lie. There must be no lying of the second sort; because no man must have a wrong done to him. There must be no lying of the third sort; because we are not to consult any man's good to the injury of another. There must be no lying of the fourth sort, that is, for the lust of lying, which of itself is vicious. There must be no lying of the fifth sort, because not even the truth itself is to be uttered with the aim of men-pleasing, how much less a lie, which of itself, as a lie, is a foul thing? There must be no lying of the sixth sort; for it is not right that even the truth of testimony be corrupted for any man's temporal convenience and safety. But unto eternal salvation none is to be led by aid of a lie. For not by the ill manners of them that convert him is he to be converted to good manners: because if it is meet to be done towards him, himself also ought when converted to do it toward others; and so is he converted not to good, but to ill manners, seeing that is held out to be imitated by him when converted, which was done unto him in converting him. Neither in the seventh sort must there be any lying; for it is meet that not any man's commodity or temporal welfare be preferred to the perfecting of faith. Not even if any man is so ill moved by our right deeds as to become worse in his mind, and far more remote from piety, are right deeds therefore to be foregone: since what we are chiefly to hold is that whereunto we ought to call and invite them whom as our own selves we love; and with most courageous mind we must drink in that apostolic sentence: To some we are a savor of life unto life, to others a savor of death unto death; and who is sufficient for these things? Nor in the eighth sort must there be lying: because both among good things chastity of mind is greater than pudicity of body; and among evil things, that which ourselves do, than that which we suffer to be done. In these eight kinds, however, a man sins less when he tells a lie, in proportion as he emerges to the eighth: more, in proportion as he diverges to the first. But whoso shall think there is any sort of lie that is not sin, will deceive himself foully, while he deems himself honest as a deceiver of other men.
Defensores mendacii quam caeci.
[21.43] Tanta porro caecitas hominum animos occupavit, ut eis parum sit si dicamus quaedam mendacia non esse peccata, nisi etiam in quibusdam peccatum dicant esse, si mendacium recusemus: eoque perducti sunt defendendo mendacium, ut etiam primo illo genere, quod est omnium sceleratissimum, dicant usum fuisse apostolum Paulum. Nam in Epistola ad Galatas, quae utique sicut caeterae ad doctrinam religionis pietatisque conscripta est, illo loco dicunt eum esse mentitum, ubi ait de Petro et Barnaba: Cum vidissem quia non recte ingrediuntur ad veritatem Euangelii. Cum enim volunt Petrum ab errore, atque ab illa in quam inciderat, viae pravitate defendere; ipsam religionis viam, in qua salus est omnibus, confracta et comminuta Scripturarum auctoritate, conantur euertere. In quo non vident, non solum mendacii crimen, sed etiam periurii se obiicere Apostolo in ipsa doctrina pietatis, hoc est, in Epistola in qua praedicat Euangelium; ibi quippe ait priusquam ista narraret: Quae autem scribo vobis, ecce coram Deo, quia non mentior. Sed iam sit huius disputationis modus, in cuius totius consideratione et pertractatione nihil prae caeteris cogitandum atque orandum est, quam illud quod idem apostolus dicit: Fidelis Deus, qui non vos sinet tentari supra quam potestis ferre; sed faciet cum tentatione etiam exitum, ut possitis sustinere. 43. So great blindness, moreover, has occupied men's minds, that to them it is too little if we pronounce some lies not to be sins; but they must needs pronounce it to be sin in some things if we refuse to lie: and to such a pass have they been brought by defending lying, that even that first kind which is of all the most abominably wicked they pronounce to have been used by the Apostle Paul. For in the Epistle to the Galatians, written as it was, like the rest, for doctrine of religion and piety, they say that he has told a lie, in the passage where he says concerning Peter and Barnabas, When I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the Gospel. For, while they wish to defend Peter from error, and from that pravity of way into which he had fallen; the very way of religion in which is salvation for all men, they by breaking and mincing the authority of the Scriptures do endeavor themselves to overthrow. In which they do not see that it is not only lying, but perjury that they lay to the charge of the Apostle in the very doctrine of piety, that is, in an Epistle in which he preaches the Gospel; seeing that he there says, before he relates that matter, What I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not. But it is time that we set bounds to this disputation: in the consideration and treatment whereof altogether there is nothing more meet to be, before all else, borne in mind and made our prayer, than that which the same Apostle says: God is faithful, Who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able to bear, but will with the temptation make also a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it.

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