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not pay,' says Liguori, if you have used an equivocation in making your promise; but if you have forgotten to do so (si oblitus uti æquivocatione jurâsti), you must.' You must pay,' says Sanderson, because you have made a contract, and derived benefit from it, and called God to witness to your good faith.'


A few more contrasts will be worth selecting:

'Titius, who promised to marry Berta when she was rich, is not bound to stand to his oath when she has fallen into poverty; having sworn to her when in good health, he is not bound to her when she has fallen into infirmity; having sworn to her in good repute, he is not bound to her in ill repute... for the promise does not hold in that case.' 'In case Caius should swear to take the widow of Titius to wife, believing her, though poor, to be rich, he must take her; this error rendereth not the oath invalid, and the like is to be said of oaths of the like kind.'-Theol. Mor. 4. 180. Obl. of Oaths, p. 134.

We need not say that the first case is Liguori's, the second Sanderson's. Cardinal Cajetan and Bishop Liguori declare, as we have seen, that there is no obligation to keep an oath which has been made about an indifferent thing. Bishop Sanderson teaches that it is wrong to take such an oath, but that when it has been taken it is binding. He gives his reasons, the chief of which is, that whether a thing is weighty or trivial makes no difference with respect to truth and falsehood; and in spite of the opinion of the Romish casuists, which he supposes to have been held mainly for the purpose of supporting the distinction of mortal and venial sins, a leaven with which they have foully 'corrupted the whole lump of moral theology,' concludes that he ought not so to have sworn, but, having sworn, he ought to ' fulfil his oath.'

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It is no grave sin, teaches Liguori, to use such expressions as By God! By Christ! I will kill you! These principles are carried out in practice. The Mon Dieu of the Frenchman, the Jesus of the Spaniard, are proverbial; the Italian expletives are not less common, though not so much confined to one species. When remonstrated with, the swearers are always ready with the excuse that they were speaking inconsiderately, and without deliberation; this is the very excuse given in Liguori's Moral Theology. Profane swearing is a habit to which Englishmen

1 Theol. Mor. iv. 174. This is stricter than some teaching which has been propounded. Pascal gives us another step. Our doctors,' replied the Jesuit, have taught for the benefit of those who might not be expert in the use of these reservations, that no more is required of them, to avoid lying, than simply to say that they have not done what they have done, provided they have in general the inten tion of giving to their language the sense which an able man would give to it.

Letter IX.

also, to our shame, are addicted; but mark the difference in the teaching of England's Moral Theology :

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'The cause whence such kinds of oaths are derived,' says Sanderson, 'is either a vicious habit, contracted by long and pernicious custom, which habit is the fruit and mark of a profane if not atheistical heart, or some exorbitant perturbation of the mind, as excessive anger, intemperate joy, with which, whilst the mind boils, the mouth foameth to the dishonour of God.'... Tearing the sacred and dreadful name of God with profane lips and oaths, both without fear and punishment; . . . but I would not be carried away with the tide of grief and indignation.' . . . A man, through some transportation of anger, love, or other passion of a perturbed mind, or through delight in sin and impious custom of swearing rashly and without judgment, besprinkleth his discourse with oaths. Which vice, in respect both of the heaviness and frequency of the sin, I could wish were more often and vehemently reprehended in sermons, as I see it was diligently and sharply done in his time by the most devout man John Chrysostom, lest, by the just judgment of God, "through oaths the earth mourns," and the Lord swear in his wrath that he will not hold them guiltless who so contemn his dreadful name that they fear not to invoke his most sacred Majesty as witness.-Pp. 103, 130, 260.

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One more contrast. We have seen that Liguori gives an almost unlimited power of getting rid of the obligation of oaths by means of Dispensations, Commutations, Irritations, Cessations, and Relaxations. Sanderson, allowing the fitness of Irritation, Cessation, and Relaxation, and admitting the propriety of Dispensation, in the sense of an exemption from a law by favour of the lawgiver, yet, so far as oaths are concerned, totally rejects both Dispensation and Commutation. To dispense with oaths, he argues, is impossible; because the obligation of an oath is of Divine natural law, and God has granted to none the power of dispensing with the law of nature, of which He alone is the Author-because the existence of a dispensing power destroys that security which is the chief end of oaths, for he unto whom the oath is made can have no assurance, if the promise of the 'party swearing may be dispensed with, that it should ever be fulfilled' because the oath gives a right to the person to whom it is sworn, and therefore its dispensation must be either needless or unreasonable; needless and superfluous if it be done 'with his consent to whom the oath was made, if against it, un'reasonable and unjust'—because obligation is entered into towards God as well as towards men; and even supposing the last could be taken away, 'yet would it be insupportable presumption that 'dust and ashes should arrogate unto itself authority to take 'away the obligation whereby man is bound to God as witness and revenger-because human dispensation is a matter only of external judicature, whereas he that claimeth to dispense with ' oaths, assumeth unto himself Divine power, and seateth himself on the bench of internal judicature.'

It is worthy of consideration,' he continues, 'first, that either the cause is manifestly just, why a thing promised by oath ought not to be performed (as if it be impossible, dishonest, or any way unlawful), and then the party swearing may of his own authority, nay, ought, without waiting for dispensation from the Pope, or any other, to retract the thing sworn; for when there is no obligation, the conscience is free and needeth no dispensation; or secondly, that no just cause appeareth why the oath should not be kept, and then it must be kept, and he who either asketh or granteth dispensation, sinneth, because the obligation, which neither can nor may be removed by human power, remaineth; or lastly, that the thing is doubtful, and it appeareth not, by reason of difficulties on both sides, whether the party swearing be bound to the performance of his promise, and then it will be profitable to consult with pious and prudent men, skilful in the Divine law, and to resolve with their advice what is most expedient. In which matter, seeing knowledge is more requisite than power, I understand not why the Pope should be fitter than another man, unless it were certain that the Pope excelled other men in prudence and piety.'—P. 239.

He does not hesitate in his conclusion:

Wherefore I conclude that neither pope, nor prince, nor synod, nor senate, nor ecclesiastical nor secular superior, hath any right to dispense with leagues, contracts, oaths, or to absolve any man from that bond wherein, before the dispensation granted, he was engaged.'-P. 241.

We have compared the systems of modern Rome, of primitive antiquity, and of reformed England, with respect to truth and falsehood, good faith and bad faith. There is one other authority to which we must refer, though only in a few words. Our review would not be complete without a glance at the Theory of Truthfulness, as laid down by the more than Moral Theologians, Moses, David, Solomon, the Prophets, and the Apostles. Thus speak Moses and Solomon:-

If a man vow a vow unto the Lord, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond, he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth.' 'When thou shalt vow a vow unto the Lord thy God thou shalt not slack to pay it, for the Lord thy God will surely require it of thee, and it would be sin in thee. But if thou shalt forbear to vow, it shall be no sin unto thee. That which is gone out of thy lips thou shalt keep and perform, even a freewill offering, according as thou hast vowed unto the Lord thy God, which thou hast promised with thy mouth.' 'Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.' "When thou vowest a vow unto God defer not to pay it, for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. Better is it that thou shouldest not vow than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.'-Numb. xxx. 2; Deut. xxiii. 21; Exod. xx. 7; Eccl. v. 4.

And so David:-

Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing. The Lord will abhor both the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.' For there is no faithfulness in their mouth.' Who shall dwell in thy holy hill?... He that sweareth to his own hurt and changeth not... he that hath clean hands and a pure heart, who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.' Deliver my soul, O Lord, from lying lips and a deceitful tongue.'—Ps. v. 6, 9; xv. 4; cxx. 2.

Jeremiah depicts the state of war and fencing to which we may be reduced :

Oh that I had in the wilderness a lodging-place of wayfaring men;
That I might leave my people and go from them!

For they be all adulterers, an assembly of treacherous men;

And they bend their tongues, like bows, for lies;

But they are not valiant for the truth upon the earth;

For they proceed from evil to evil, and they know not me, saith the Lord. Take ye heed every one of his neighbour, and trust ye not in any brother:

For every brother will utterly supplant, and every neighbour will walk with slanders.

And they will deceive every one his neighbour, and will not speak the truth:

They have taught their tongue to speak lies and weary themselves to commit iniquity.

Their tongue is as an arrow shot out: it speaketh deceit :

One speaketh peaceably to his neighbour with his mouth, but in his heart he layeth wait for him.'-Jer. ix. 2.

These are the things that ye shall do:

Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbour:

Execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates:

And let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against another;

And love no false oaths, for all these are things that I hate, saith the Lord.' Zech. viii. 16.

Let us hear S. Paul:

'Wherefore, putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour.'-Eph. iv. 25.

And S. John the Divine:

• But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone.'-Rev. xxi. 8.

It is not from want of other matter, as we stated at the beginning, that we have confined ourselves to one subject. Liguori is prolific in material. For example, we might have examined his Theory of Theft, according to which we find that no sin of theft can be mortal unless a certain quantity is stolen; that to steal 3s. or 4s. from a very opulent merchant is a mortal sin, from a very rich nobleman venial-that a wife may support her previous children out of her husband's goods against his will, and spend anything under the twentieth of his income on alms and gifts-that a nobleman in extreme distress may steal if he is ashamed to beg-that a servant may compensate himself by 'taking' if his salary is too small-that a rich man's son may steal 12s. from his father at any time without grave sin-that a monk's sin in stealing anything under 16s. from his monastery is only venial-and that a great nobleman's son commits only a venial sin whenever he steals from his father anything under or equal to 107.

We might have pointed out the omissions as well as the com

missions with which the book is chargeable. We might have shown the doctrinal corruption interspersed and taken for granted throughout. We might have submitted to our readers' scorn such ludicrous sentiments as Azorius's and Bonacina's, that a mother may wish for her daughter's death if the latter is too ugly to get married.' We might have held up to the just indignation of all Christians, and all men, the detestable arguments (supported by the authority of Bonacina, the Salamanca doctors, Barbosa, Suarez, Hurtado, Henriquez, and the common voice of the casuists in opposition to Lopez and Farinaccius) to prove that the penalty of deprivation, annexed to the commission of a sin too heinous to be named, is not incurred by Romish Priests unless they are in the constant habit of the sin: requiritur ut actus sodomia sit frequentatus sice usu continuatus, ut ait Navarrus; hoc enim importat verbum, exercentes, in Bullá expressum:" whence Liguori draws the conclusion that, so far as penalties are concerned, a man who commits the act once or twice is excused.'


But we have selected the one subject of truth and lying because it lies at the foundation of all morality. When once the virtue of veracity is undermined, the whole character is ruined, and nothing can be the consequence but blindness of the moral eye and confusion of moral sentiment. From this blindness and confusion arises an adoption of principles, and specific application of those principles, in which we can only hesitate whether the shocking or the grotesque is the most prevailing element; for that which is morally wicked is always intellectually ludicrous, if we are at liberty to look at it in the latter light.

Untruthfulness is a phenomenon which is found in a remarkable degree in all the southern nations of Europe, and, we fear it must be added, in Ireland, while the northern nations are in general comparatively free from it. Thoughtful minds have often sought for an adequate hypothesis by which to account for this phenomenon. We believe that our pages will have suggested one to some minds, and confirmed it to others. When S. Philumenism is put in the place of manly faith-when all duties are merged in the one duty called by the specious name of advancing religion-when men and women put the entire direction of their souls out of their own hands into the absolute control of others, in spite of the nature which God has given them-when those who have the control of the consciences of others are supplied (and supplied by an authority which they hold infallible) with a system of moral principles and rules in which truth is flagrantly violated, good faith sapped, and the

1 Hom. Apost. iii. 53.

2 Theol. Mor. iv. 471

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