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tures can never be amiable in his sight; since no other can render them virtuous. Distrust is an absolute separation of those beings, in whom it exists, from those, towards whom it is exercised. A being distrusted can never be loved, reverenced, nor voluntarily obeyed. Of such obedience, confidence is the commencement, the soul, and the substance. But, where there is no truth in the ruler, there can be no confidence in the subject. However great, however knowing, the Divine Ruler might be supposed, or perceived to be ; his greatness and knowledge would, unless accompanied by veracity, only inspire suspense and terror; suspense and terror pervading the Intelligent Universe, distracting every heart, and filling every world with agitation and anguish. Omnipotence would, indeed, enable him to compel an external conformity to his Pleasure; but the obedi. ence rendered would be the obedience of slaves, and not of children. It is a plain moral impossibility, that a Being without veracity should be respected, or loved. However great and splendid an earthly Ruler may be ; however successful in his designs; however magnificent in his mode of living; however distinguished for his talents; and however liberal in his largesses; he would, if a liar, be stilla base and contemptible being. Falsehood in an Infinite Being would render him infinitely contemptible. Even the benevolence of the Gospel, without Truth, (if it were possible to separate them,) would be changed into a kind of amiable weakness; a silly, wavering good nature, and would cease to command respect. A Ruler, without truth, could offer no motives to his subjects, which could induce them to obey. Should he enact laws, promise rewards, and threaten penalties; it would be very uncertain whether the law prescribe the conduct, which would be agreeable to him; whether the rewards would be given to such as faithfully obeyed; or whether the penalties would be inflicted on such as disobeyed. Whatever he promised; whatever he threatened; no reliance could be placed on his declarations; and they could, therefore, hold out no motives to obedience. But a moral government is a government operating by motives; and without motives cannot exist.
Thus it is completely evident, that the Kingdom of God, or his Government of the Intelligent Universe, rests upon Truth, as its foundation. 3. Peracity is the source of inestimable Personal good. Veracity is the first constituent of an honourable, and even of a fair. reputation. A bad man, who is known always to speak truth, will always command a considerable share of respect; but a liar is despised of course. So contemptible is falsehood, that to charge any man with this vice is universally regarded as the last affront, which scorn and ill-nature are able to offer; as an injury, for which an atonement can scarcely be made. Without Veracity, Virtue, as has been heretofore remarked, can in no sense exist. To the existence of virtue, then, in our own minds, Veracity is indispensable. Equally indispensable is it to Self approbation. Conscience, like God, always delights in truth ; and always approves of speaking truth. This approbation it faithfully, and invariably, whispers to the soul. Few enjoyments can be compared with self-approbation. It is delightful; it is full of peace, comfort, and hope; it is independent of time and accident, of friends and enemies. The world cannot give it: the world cannot take it away. Conscience, on the other hand, abhors a lie; and solemnly, and dreadfully, reproaches the Liar. Wherever falsehood is loved, and uttered, Conscience pierces the soul with stings of agony; and holds up to the culprit a dreadful mirror, by which all his deformity and guilt are forced upon his view. The terrible likeness he is compelled to own. At the sight of this awful image he trembles; falters; and reluctantly, but irresistibly, sinks beneath the proper level of his nature. Veracity is the source, also, of all personal Dignity. There is no dignity without consistency of character. A merely fickle, changeable man, although intentionally sincere, is at the best but a mere trisler; and can never be the subject of real respectability. Moral inconsistency is still more hostile to dignity. The subject of it is, to every eye, not only contemptible, but odious. To himself, particularly, he appears of necessity base and despicable; and is forced to feel, that by his own crimes he
Veracity makes us like to God. This glorious Being styles himself a God of Truth; and declares it to be impossible, that he should lie. Truth is the moral immutability of his character, and the moral consistency of finite intelligences. Him, Truth surrounds with dignity infinite. Them, it exalts to a resemblance of Him, which is divine and eternal; an image of Supreme excellence and beauty.
Veracity is no less the source of Usefulness. Men never voluntarily employ those, in whom they do not place confidence. As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke to the eyes, so is the loiterer to him that sendeth him. The fear of being deceived, the suspense and anxiety, which we necessarily feel, when our affairs are in the hands of unfaithful men, soon forbid a repetition of the same experiment. Equally unwilling are we, in all ordinary cases, to be employed by men of this character. Such men demand from us services, expect from us compliances, and propose to us terms, inconsistent both with comfort, and integrity; and, when our services are performed, they will usually, so far as safety will permit, and their own convenience may require, defraud us of our proper reward. I know of but one exception to these remarks. Bad men do, I acknowledge, employ bad men to promote a bad cause: but even they confide useful, honourable employment only to persons of integrity. Equally necessary is this attribute to the production, and establishment, of that influence, which constitutes a great part of the usefulness of every useful man. A liar can neither convince others, nor persuade others. Others cannot engage with him in any serious, useful design. They cannot enter into his service, nor employ him in theirs, with safety, or hope. His falsehood is a blast upon his character, and upon his interests, alike. He, who is connected with him, lives in continual fear of being betrayed; and he only, who shuns him, is either happy or safe.
Finally, Veracity is indispensable to our Acceptance with God. The Psalmist, when he inquires, Who shall ascend into the tabernacle of the Highest ? solemnly answers, He that speaketh truth in his heart ; he that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not. Such is the universal language of the Scriptures. Lying lips, saith the wise man, are an abomination unto the Lord. There
shall in no wise enter into the city any thing that deftleth; nor he that loveth, and maketh, a lie. Every liar, therefore, knows, that he is in a state of condemnation; that, hitherto, he has no title to endless life, nor a single hope of final acceptance with God. Before these blessings can be begun, his ruling character must be renounced. He, who requireth truth in the inward parts, can turn no eye, but that of indignation and abhorrence, upon a soul, polluted with falsehood, and enstamped with the foul image of him, who was a liar from the beginning, and the father of it. In Heaven a liar would be a gazing-stock; a spot on the beautiful and glorious aspect of that happy world; a curse to himself; and a nuisance to its exalted inhabitants. There is one world in the Universe, and, so far as we are informed, but one, in which Truth is unknown, and falsehood reigns, and ravages. Here all liars have their part; and all, who dwell here, are liars. Here, to deceive, and to be deceived, is the base employment, and the wretched lot. Truth, here, is never spoken, unless to deceive ; and confidence is never exercised. Friendship, sociality, the union of hearts, and the interchange of affections, are never found in this dreary and dreadful region. In the midst of millions, every individual is alone. A gloomy and terrible solitude broods over the desolate vast; and the eye of suffering and sorrow, stretching its look of anguish above, around, beneath, finds no friend, in whom it may confide; no bosom, on which it may repose with comfort, peace, or hope. How different is that delightful residence, where all who love, and speak, Truth, are by the boundless goodness of the Creator united in a divine and blissful assembly. Here, Truth by every member of this vast and happy family is loved, studied, embraced, and spoken, for ever. Confidence, here, enters the soul; and takes up, in this unsullied mansion, its eternal residence. Friend. ship, the twin-sister of Confidence, dwells, and smiles, by her side; and sheds upon the purified mind her immortal enjoyments: while God with infinite complacency beholds this illustrious work of his own hands; and showers around it with eter
nal profusion the ever-growing blessings of his unchangeable love.
THE NATURE AND CAUSES OF LYING.
Exodus xx. 16.
In the preceding discourse I considered, at some length, the Nature and Importance of Truth, and Veracity. These are the basis of the Precept in the Text. I shall now go on to examine the immediate subject of the Text, viz. Falsehood, under the two fol. lowing heads:
I. Lying :
Under the former of these heads I shall include Promisebreaking, and Perjury.
In discoursing on this subject, I propose to consider,
The Causes ;
The Mischiefs; and,
The Preventives; of Lying.
Concerning the first of these subjects viz. The Nature of Lying, I observe generally, that a Lie is a false declaration of facts,