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of my neighbour, can operate no farther than to justify me in being silent-it exempts me from all obligation to signify at all. But it, by no means, imparts to me a right to signify falsely. The two questions, whether I am bound to speak at all in a given case, and what I shall speak, are entirely distinct. The consideration of my neighbour's right may be important in determining the first, it is of no importance to the other, except as it may affect the extent of my communications. It is preposterous and absurd to confound the absence of a right to know the truth with the existence of a right to be cheated with a lie. The ground of obligation to signify nothing but truth, when one signifies at all, is that it is truth-it is the law under which alone I am at liberty to use signs in social intercourse. It might be questioned, whether even upon considerations of expediency, the principle of Dr. Paley ought not to be condemned. To say that a right to lie is the correlative of the absence of a right to know the truth, would

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seem to be equivalent to a very general dispensation with the law of sincerity. Each man must, in ordinary cases, determine for himself, whether the right attaches to his neighbour or not, and as his veracity is suspended upon his opinions in relation this point, no one could ever be sure that he was not deceived. How is a man to know that his neighbour deems him entitled to the truth? From his neighbour's declaration? But that declaration has no value unless it is previously known that the right in question is conceded. It may be one of those things, about which, in his judgment, another has no right to know the truth. Hence Paley's law would obviously be the destruction of all confidence. How much nobler and safer is the doctrine of the Scriptures, and of the unsophisticated language of man's moral constitution, that truth is obligatory on its own account, and that he who undertakes to signify to another, no matter in what form, and no matter what may be the right in the case to know the truth, is

bound to signify according to the convictions of his own mind. He is not always bound to speak, but whenever he does speak he is solemnly bound to speak nothing but the truth. The universal application of this principle would be the diffusion of universal confidence. It would banish deceit and suspicion from the world, and restrict the use of signs to their legitimate offices.

Faithfulness.

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true-think on these things."-PHILIPPIANS, iv. 8.

DISC. V.]

THE second branch of practical

truth, which we have denominated Faithfulness, consists in making our actions correspond to our professions, in performing our engagements and fulfilling the expectations which we have, by any means, knowingly and voluntarily excited. Cicero makes faith the fundamental principle of justice, and derives the word in Latin from the correspondence it exacts betwixt words and deeds. The English term is said to be the third person singular of the indicative mood of an Anglo-Saxon verb signifying, to engage,

* Off., i. 7, 23. Fundamentum autem justitiæ est fides, id est, dictorum conventorumque constantia et veritas. Ex quo, quamquam hoc videbitur fortasse cuipiam durius, tamen audeamus imitari Stoicos, qui studiose exquirunt, unde verba sint ducta credamusque, quia fiat, quod dictum est, appellatam fidem.

to covenant, to contract. The definition, however, extracted by Horne Tooke from this etymology-" that which one covenanteth or engageth"-is obviously inconsistent with the usage of the language. Faithfulness obtains not in the making, but in the keeping of covenants. It is not the saying, but the doing of what we have said, that constitutes, as Cicero suggests, the very essence of the virtue. Quia fiat quod dictum est contains the substance of a good definition, whatever may be said of the accuracy of the philosophy.

The engagements of men, to which faithfulness extends, may be embraced under the heads of Promises, Pledges, and Vows. These three classes, in their relations to each other, are an instance of moral climax, and furnish a beautiful illustration of the ascending scale of moral obligation. The pledge is more solemn than the promise, and the vow more solemn than the pledge. The peculiarities which distinguish the pledge and vow from an ordinary promise impart an additional sacredness to the duty. They are

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