THE external good of our neighbour is consulted, as before said, by a regard to his good name and worldly interests.

We consult our neighbours good name, when in our deportment towards him, in our conversation with him, and in our manner of speaking of him, we preserve towards him a due respect, and avoid doing any thing which may causelessly injure him in the opinion of others. 1 Pet. ii. 17. "honour all men." Gen. xviii. 2. &c. "he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground." xxiii. 7. "Abraham stood up, and bowed himself to the people of the land." Exod. xviii. 7. "Moses went out to meet his father-in-law." Ruth. ii. 10. "then she fell on her face, and bowed herself to the ground." Nor are we any where told that obeisance was made even to kings otherwise than by a lowly inclination of the body, the same token of respect which was frequently paid to each other even by private individuals.[1]


In our deportment towards him. To this head be longs that sense of delicacy, which precludes us from saying or doing every thing indiscriminately, however proper in itself, in the presence of our neighbour. Job. xix. 3. "ye are not ashamed that ye make your selves strange to me."

Opposed to this is impudence; as exemplified in the unjust judge, Luke. xviii. 2. "which feared not God, neither regarded man."

In our manner of conversing with him, &c. The virtues herein comprised are veracity and candour.


Veracity consists in speaking the truth to all who are entitled to hear it, and in matters which concern the good of our neighbour. Psal. xv. 2. "he that speaketh the truth in his heart." Prov. xii. 17. "he that speaketh truth, showeth forth righteousness." v. 22. "lying lips are abomination to Jehovah, but they that deal truly are his delight." xx. 6. "a faithful man who can find?" Zech. viii. 16. "speak ye every man the truth to his neighbour." Eph. iv. 25. "putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another."

Opposed to this is, first, an improper concealment of the truth. I say improper, for it is not every concealment of the truth that is wrong, inasmuch as we are not on all occasions required to declare what we know: that concealment only is blameable, which proceeds from improper motives.

Secondly, falsehood. Psal. v. 6. "thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing." xii. 1. "the faithful fail from the children of men: Prov. xiii. 5. "a righteous man hateth lying; but a wicked man is loathsome, and cometh to shame." xix. 5. "he that speaketh lies shall not escape." John. viii. 44. "when he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it." Rev. xxii. 15. "without are dogs..... and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie." Hence falsehood is not justifiable, even in the service of God. Job. xiii. 7. "will ye speak wickedly for God? and talk deceitfully for him?"

The definition commonly given of falsehood is, that it is a violation of truth either in word or deed, with the purpose of deceiving. Since however not only the dissimulation or concealment of truth, but even <399> direct untruth with the intention of deceiving, may in many instances be beneficial to our neighbour, it will be necessary to define falsehood somewhat more precisely; for I see no reason why the same rule should not apply to this subject, which holds good with regard to homicide, and other cases hereafter to be mentioned, our judgment of which is formed not so much from the actions themselves, as from the intention in which they originated. No rational person will deny that there are certain individuals whom we are fully justified in deceiving. Who would scruple to dissemble with a child, with a madman, with a sick person, with one in a state of intoxication, with an enemy, with one who has himself a design of deceiving us, with a robber? unless indeed we dispute the trite maxim, Cui nullum est jus, ei nulla fit injuria. Yet, according to the above definition, it is not allowable to deceive either by word or deed in any of the cases stated. If I am under no obligation to restore to a madman a sword, or any other deposit, committed to me while in a sound mind, why should I be required to render the truth to one from whom I never received it, who is not entitled to demand it, and who will in all probability make a bad use of it? If every answer given to every interrogator with the intent of deceiving is to be accounted a falsehood, it must be allowed that nothing was more common even among the prophets and holiest of men.

Hence falsehood may perhaps be defined as follows: Falsehood is incurred when any one, from a dishonest motive, either perverts the truth, or utters what is false to one to whom it is his duty to speak the truth. Thus the devil, speaking in the serpent, was the first <400> liar, Gen. iii. 4. So Cain subsequently, iv. 9. and Sarah, xviii. 15. "for when the angels were justly angry with her, she evaded a candid confession of her fault." So also Abraham, xii. 13. and chap. xx. for his fiction concerning Sarah, as he might have learned from his previous experience in Egypt, though intended only for the preservation of his own life, was of a nature to lead others into dangerous error, and a desire of what was not their own, through ignorance of the fact. Thus too David in his flight from Saul, 1 Sam. xxi. 3. inasmuch as he ought not to have concealed from the priest his situation with respect to the king, or to have exposed his host to danger. Ananias and Sapphira were guilty of the same crime, Acts. v.

It follows from this definition, first, that parables, hyperboles, apologues, and ironical modes of speech are not falsehoods, inasmuch as their object is not deception but instruction. In this respect it agrees with the common definition. 1 Kings. xviii. 27. "it came to pass that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud, for he is a God —." xxii. 15. "he answered him, Go and prosper, for Jehovah shall deliver it into the hand of the king." Secondly, that in the proper sense of the word deceit, no one can be deceived without being at the same time injured. When therefore, instead of injuring a person by a false statement, we either confer on him a positive benefit, or prevent him from inflicting or suffering injury, we are so far from being guilty of deceit towards him, however often the fiction may be repeated, that we ought rather to be considered as doing him a service against his will. Thirdly, it is universally admitted that feints and stratagems in war, when unaccompanied by perjury <401> or breach of faith, do not fall under the description of falsehood. Now this admission is evidently fatal to the vulgar definition; inasmuch as it is scarcely possible to execute any of the artifices of war, without openly uttering the greatest untruths with the indisputable intention of deceiving; by which, according to the definition, the sin of falsehood is incurred. It is better therefore to say that stratagems, though coupled with falsehood, are lawful for the cause above assigned, namely, that where we are not under an obligation to speak the truth, there can be no reason why we should not, when occasion requires it, utter even what is false; nor do I perceive why this should be more allowable in war than in peace, especially in cases where, by an honest and beneficial kind of falsehood, we may be enabled to avert injury or danger from ourselves or our neighbour.

The denunciations against falsehood, therefore, which are cited from Scripture, are to be understood only of such violations of truth as are derogatory to the glory of God, or injurious to ourselves or our neighbour. Of this class, besides what were quoted above, are the following texts: Lev. xix. 11. "ye shall not deal falsely, neither lie one to another." Psal. ci. 7. "he that worketh deceit shall not tarry within my house; he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight." Prov. vi. 16, 17. "yea, seven are an abomination unto him; a proud look, a lying tongue —." Jer. ix. 5. "they will deceive every man his neighbour, and will not speak the truth." In these and similar passages we are undoubtedly commanded to speak the truth; but to whom? not to an enemy, not to a madman, not to an oppressor, not to an assassin, but <402> to our neighbour, to one with whom we are connected by the bonds of peace and social fellowship. If then it is to our neighbour only that we are commanded to speak the truth, it is evident that we are not forbidden to utter what is false, if requisite, to such as do not deserve that name. Should any one be of a contrary opinion, I would ask him, by which of the commandments falsehood is prohibited? He will answer doubt less, by the ninth. Let him only repeat the words of that commandment, and he will be a convert to my opinion; for nothing is there prohibited but what is injurious to our neighbour; it follows, therefore, that a falsehood productive of no evil to him, if prohibited at all, is not prohibited by the commandment in question.

Hence we are justified in acquitting all those holy men who, according to the common judgment of divines, must be convicted of falsehood: Abraham for example, Gen. xxii. 5. when he told his young men, for the purpose of deceiving them and of quieting their suspicions, that he would return with the lad: although he must at the same time have been persuaded in his own mind that his son would be offered up as a sacrifice and left on the mount; for had he expected otherwise, his faith would have been put to no severe trial. His wisdom therefore taught him, that as his servants were in no way interested in knowing what was to happen, so it was expedient for himself that it should be for a time concealed from them. So also Rebecca and Jacob, Gen. xxvii. when by subtlety and proper caution they opened a way to that birthright which Esau had held cheap, a birthright already be longing to Jacob by prophecy, as well as by right of <403> purchase. It is objected, that in so doing he deceived his father. Say rather that he interposed at the proper time to correct his father's error, who had been led by an unreasonable fondness to prefer Esau. So Joseph, Gen. xlii. 7, &c. who according to the common definition must have been guilty of habitual falsehood, inasmuch as he deviated from the truth in numberless instances, with the express purpose of deceiving his brethren; not however to their injury, but to their exceeding advantage. The Hebrew midwives, Exod. i. 19, &c. whose conduct received the approbation of God himself; for in deceiving Pharaoh, they were so far from doing him any injury, that they preserved him from the commission of a crime. Moses, Exod. iii. who by the express command of God asked permission for the Israelites to go three days journey into the wilderness under the pretext of sacrificing to the Lord; his purpose being to impose on Pharaoh by alleging a false reason for their departure, or at least by substituting a secondary for the principal motive. The whole Israelitish people, who, by divine command likewise, borrowed from the Egyptians jewels of gold and silver, and raiment, doubtless under a promise of restoring them, though with the secret purpose of deception; for by what obligation were they bound to keep faith with the enemies of God, the transgressors of the laws of hospitality, and the usurpers, for so long a period, of the property of those who now despoiled them? Rahab, whose magnanimous falsehood, recorded Josh. ii. 4, 5. was no breach of duty, inasmuch as she only deceived those whom God willed to be deceived, though her own countrymen and magistrates, and preserved those <404> whom God willed to be preserved; rightly preferring religious to civil obligations. Ehud, who deceived Eglon in two several instances, Judges. iii. 19, 20. and that justifiably, considering that he was dealing with an enemy, and that he acted under the command of God himself. Jael, by whose enticements Sisera perished, Judges. iv. 18, 19. although he was less her personal enemy than the enemy of God. Junius, in deed, considers this as a pious fraud, not as a false hood; which is a distinction without a difference.[2] Jonathan, who was prevailed upon to assign a fictitious reason for the absence of David, 1 Sam. xx. 6, 28. thinking it better to preserve the life of the innocent, than to abet his father in an act of cruelty; and considering that the duties of charity were better fulfilled by favouring the escape of a friend under wrongful accusation, though at the expense of veracity, than by disclosing the truth unnecessarily in obedience to the commands of a parent, for the purpose of aiding in the commission of a crime. All these, with numberless other saints, are by a more careful inquiry into the nature of truth rescued, as it were, from the new limbus patrum[3] to which the vulgar definition had consigned them.


Under falsehood is included false witness; which is forbidden Exod. xx, 16. "thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour." xxiii. 1. "put not thine hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness." It is again prohibited Deut. xix. 16, &c. under a most severe penalty; "f a false witness rise up against any man... then shall ye do unto him as he had thought to have done unto his brother." Prov. xix. 5. "a false witness shall not be unpunished." xxv. 18. "a man that beareth false witness against his neighbour is a maul, and a sword, and a sharp arrow."

The other virtue included in a regard to the good name of our neighbour, whether present or absent, is candour; whereby we cheerfully acknowledge the gifts of God in our neighbour, and interpret all his words and actions in a favourable sense. Matt. vii. 1. "judge not, that ye be not judged." Candour, however, is usually spoken of under the general name of charity or love. 1 Cor. xiii. 5, 6. "charity thinketh no evil rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things." Prov. x. 12. "love covereth all sins." xvii. 9. "he that covereth a transgression seeketh love." The same virtue appears also to be described under the name of equity or moderation. Philipp. iv. 5. "let your moderation be known unto all men; the Lord is at hand." Eccles. x. 4. "yielding pacifieth great offences."

Opposed to this is, first, evil surmising. 1 Sam. i. 14. "how long wilt thou be drunken?" xxii. 8. that <406> all of you have conspired against me —." 2 Sam. x. 3. "hath not David sent his servants unto thee to search the city?" Acts. xxviii. 4. "when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand —." 1 Tim. vi. 4. "whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings —."

Secondly, a prying into the faults of others, and a precipitancy in passing judgment upon them. Matt. vii. 3. "why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye?"

Thirdly, tale-bearing. Exod. xxiii. 1. "thou shalt not raise a false report." 1 Sam. xxiv. 9. "wherefore nearest thou men's words, saying, Behold David seeketh thy hurt?" Prov. xviii. 8. "the words of a tale bearer are as wounds." See also xxvi. 22. xx. 19. "he that goeth about as a tale-bearer revealeth secrets." xxvi. 20. "where there is no tale-bearer, strife ceaseth." Rom. i. 29, 30. "whisperers, backbiters." 1 Tim. v. 13. "tattlers also and busy bodies, speaking things which they ought not."

Fourthly, calumny, which consists in a malicious construction of the motives of others. 1 Sam. xxii. 9. "I saw the son of Jesse," &c. Psal. cxix. 69. "the proud have forged a lie against me." Matt. xxvi. 61. "this fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God." Luke. xi. 53, 54. "laying wait for him, and seeking to catch something out of his mouth, that they might accuse him." xix. 8. "if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation." Acts. ii. 13 15. "these men are full of new wine."

Fifthly, evil speaking and slandering. Lev. xix. 16. "thou shalt not go up and down as a tale-bearer among thy people. Job. v. 21. "thou shalt be hid <407> from the scourge of the tongue." Psal. xxxiv. 13. "keep thy tongue from evil." lii. 2. "thy tongue deviseth mischiefs." lix. 8. "behold, they belch out with their mouth." lxiv. 3, &c. "who whet their tongue like a sword —." cix. 2. "the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful are opened against me." cxx. 2. "deliver my soul, O Jehovah, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue." cxl. 3. "they have sharpened their tongues like a serpent." Prov. x. 18. "he that uttereth a slander is a fool." Eccles. x. 20. "curse not the king, no not in thy thought, and curse not the rich in thy bed-chamber; for a bird of the air shall carry the voice." Jer. ix. 3, &c. "they bend their tongues like their bow for lies." Matt. xii. 34. "how can ye, being evil, speak good things?" Col. iii. 8. "but now ye, put off all these... blasphemy."

Sixthly, contumely and personal abuse. Matt. v. 22. "whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council; but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire."

Seventhly, litigiousness. Prov. xxv. 8-10. "go not forth hastily to strive —." Matt. v. 40. "if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also." 1 Cor. vi. 7. "there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another; why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be de frauded?"

Opposed to candour, on the other side, are, first, flattery. Job. xxxii. 21, 22. "let me not, I pray you, accept any man's person, neither let me give flattering titles unto man." Psal. xii. 3. "Jehovah shall cut off all flattering lips." Prov. xxvi. 28. "a flat <408> tering mouth worketh ruin." xxvii. 6. "the kisses of an enemy are deceitful." v. 14. "he that blesseth his friend with a loud voice," &c. xxix. 5. "a man that flattereth his neighbour," &c. 1 Thess. ii. 5. "neither at any time used we flattering words."

Secondly, unmerited praise or blame. Prov. iii. 31. "envy thou not the oppressor." xvii. 15. "he that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to Jehovah." xxiii. 17. "Let not thine heart envy sinners." xxiv. 24. "he that saith unto the wicked, Thou art righteous, him shall the people curse." Isai. v. 20. "woe unto them that call evil good —." xxxii. 5, 8. "the vile person shall be no more called liberal —."

Allied to candour are simplicity, faithfulness, gravity, taciturnity, courteousness, urbanity, freedom of speech, and the spirit of admonition.

Simplicity consists in an ingenuous and open dealing with our neighbour. Psal. cxvi. 6. "Jehovah preserveth the simple." Matt. x. 16. "be ye harmless as doves." xix. 14. "suffer little children... for of such is the kingdom of heaven." Mark. x. 15. "whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein." 1 Cor. xiv. 20. "be not children in understanding; howbeit in malice be ye children." 2 Cor. i. 12. "that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world." xi. 3. "I fear, lest by any means... your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ."

Opposed to this are, first, duplicity. Psal. v. 6. "Jehovah will abhor the deceitful man." xii. 3. "with <409> a double heart do they speak." xxviii. 3, &c. "which speak peace to their neighbours but mischief is in their heart." cxx. 2. "deliver my soul from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue." Prov. iii. 29. "devise not evil against thy neighbour." xvii. 20. "he that hath a perverse tongue falleth into mischief." xxvi. 24, &c. "he that hateth, dissembleth with his lips." v. 28. "a lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it." Matt. ii. 8. "go and search diligently for the young child."

Secondly, credulity. Prov. xiv. 15. "the simple believeth every word."

Faithfulness is shown in the performance of promises, and the safe custody of secrets. Psal. xv. 4. "he that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not." Prov. xi. 13. "he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter." xx. 19. "he that goeth about as a tale bearer revealeth secrets, therefore meddle not with him —." xxv. 9. "discover not a secret to another."

It has been made matter of inquiry, whether it be lawful to revoke a promise once made, or to recal a benefit once conferred. This would seem to be allowable, where the person on whom the promise or benefit was bestowed proves himself unworthy of our kindness. Thus the lord in the parable exacted the debt from his servant, in punishment for his cruelty towards his fellow-servant, although he had before forgiven it him; Matt. xviii. 27, 32, 34.

Opposed to this are, first, precipitancy in making a promise, without due consideration of circumstances. Matt. xxvi. 35. "though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee."


Secondly, talkativeness. Prov. xi. 13. "a tale bearer revealeth secrets."

Thirdly, treachery; of which Judas Iscariot is a signal instance.

Gravity consists in an habitual self-government of speech and action, with a dignity of look and manner, befitting a man of holiness and probity.[4] Prov. xvii. 24. "wisdom is before him that hath understanding." Eccles. viii. 1. "a man's wisdom maketh his face to shine —."

Opposed to this is levity. Prov. xvi. 22. "the instruction of fools is folly." xvii. 24. "the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth." Eccles. x. 2. "a wise man's heart is at his right hand, but a fool's heart at his left."

Taciturnity preserves a due moderation in our speech. Prov. x. 19. "he that refraineth his lips is wise." xiii. 3. "he that openeth wide his lips, shall have destruction." xvii. 28. "even a fool when he holdeth his peace is counted wise; and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding."

Opposed to this are, first, loquacity. Prov. x. 14. "the mouth of the foolish is near destruction." v. 19. "in the multitude of words there wanteth not sin." xviii. 7. "a fool's lips are the snare of his soul." xxix. 20. "seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? there is more hope of a fool than of him." James. iii. 8. "the tongue can no man tame."


Secondly, foolish talking. Matt. xii. 36. "every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment." Eph. v. 4. "foolish talking."

Thirdly, excess of taciturnity. 2 Kings. vii. 9. "this day is a day of good tidings, and we hold our peace."

Courteousness consists in affability and readiness of access.[5] 1 Pet. iii. 8. "be ye pitiful, courteous."

Opposed to this are, first, churlishness. 1 Sam. xxv. 17. "he is such a son of Belial, that a man can not speak to him."

Secondly, frowardness. Prov. iv. 24. "put away from thee a froward mouth." xiv. 3. "in the mouth of the foolish is a rod of pride." xvi. 26. "he that laboureth, laboureth for himself: for his mouth craveth it of him." xviii. 6. "a fool's lips enter into contention, and his mouth calleth for strokes." xxvii. 22. "though thou shouldest bray a fool in a mortar among wheat with a pestle, yet will not his foolishness depart from him."

Thirdly, false, or constrained courtesy; as that of Absalom, 2 Sam. xv. 3, 4. Psal. xii. 3. "Jehovah shall cut off all flattering lips."


Urbanity comprehends not only the innocent refinements and elegancies of conversation, but acuteness and appropriateness of observation or reply. Prov. xxiv. 26. "every man shall kiss his lips that giveth a right answer." 5 xxv. 11. "a word fitly spoken is like apples of gold, in pictures of silver." 1 Kings. xviii. 27. "Elijah mocked them —." Col. iv. 6. "let your speech be alway with grace seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man."

Opposed to this are obscenity and double meanings. Eph. iv. 29. "let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth." v. 4. "neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting,[6] which are not convenient." Col. iii. 8. "but now ye also put off all these; anger... filthy communication out of your mouth." Obscenity, properly speaking, consists neither in word nor in action, but in the filthiness of his mind, who out of derision or wantonness perverts them from their proper import. Hence those expressions in the Hebrew Scriptures, for which the Jewish commentators substitute others in the margin which they esteem more decent, are not to be considered as obscene, but are to be attributed to the vehemence or indignation of the speaker.[7] Neither are the words of Deut. <413> xxii. 17. to be regarded as indecent; "they shall spread the cloth before the elders of the city."

Freedom of speech consists in speaking the truth with boldness. Exod. xi. 8. "all these thy servants shall come down unto me." Job. xii. 3. "I have understanding as well as you; I am not inferior to you: yea, who knoweth not such things as these?" 1 Sam. xiii. 13. "Samuel said unto Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of Jehovah." Psal. cxix. 42. "so shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me." Prov. xxvi. 5. "answer a fool according to his folly." This virtue is exemplified in Elijah and Elisha, 2 Kings. vi. 32. and in many others; in Hanani, 2 Chron. xvi. 7. in Zechariah, xxiv. 20. Isai. i. 10, 23. "hear the word of Jehovah... thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves." Jer. xiii. 18. "say unto the king and to the queen, Humble yourselves, sit down." Ezek. xxi. 25. "and thou, profane wicked prince of <414> Israel —." Mic. vii. 4. "the best of them is a briar." Matt. iii. 7. "O generation of vipers." John. xiv. 4. "it is not lawful for thee to have her." Luke. xiii. 32. "tell that fox." John. vii. 7. "me it hateth, because I testify of it that the works thereof are evil." xviii. 37. "to this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth." Acts. xiii. 10. "O full of all subtilty," &c. xix. 8, 9. "he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing," &c. xxiii. 3. "thou whited wall." Eph. vi. 20. "that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak." Tit. i. 12. "the Cretians are alway liars."

Opposed to this is timidity in speaking the truth. 1 Sam. iii. 15. "Samuel feared to show Eli the vision."

The spirit of admonition is that by which we freely warn sinners of their danger, without respect of persons. Gen. xxxvii. 2. "Joseph brought unto his father their evil report." Lev. v.1. "if a soul sin... if he do not utter it, then he shall bear his iniquity." xix. 17. "thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart; thou shalt in anywise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him." Psal. cxli. 5. "let the righteous smite me, it shall be a kindness." Prov. vi. 23. "reproofs of instruction are the way of life." x. 17. "he that refuseth reproof erreth." xii. 1. "he that hateth reproof is brutish." xiii. 18. "he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured." xv. 5. "he that regardeth reproof is prudent." v. 10. "he that hateth reproof shall die." v. 32. "he that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul." xvii. 10. "a reproof entereth more into a wise man than an hundred stripes into a <415> fool." xxiv. 25. "to them that rebuke him shall be delight." xxv. 12. "as an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear." xxvii. 6, "faithful are the wounds of a friend." xxviii. 23. "he that rebuketh a man, afterward shall find more favour —." xxix. 1. "he that being often reproved hardeneth his neck —." Eccles. vii. 5. "it is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than —." Matt. xvi. 23. "get thee behind me, Satan." John. iii. 19. "men loved darkness rather than light." 1 Cor. i. 11. "it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe," &c. 2 Cor. vii. 8. "though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent," &c. Heb. iii. 13. "exhort one another daily, while it is called to-day." James. v. 19, 20. "if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him —." Admonition however, is not to be thrown away on the scornful and obstinate. Psal. lviii. 4, 5. "they are like the deaf adder which stoppeth her ear, which will not hearken to the voice of charmers." Prov. ix. 7, 8. "he that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame... reprove not a scorner." xiii. 1 . "a scorner heareth not rebuke." xxvi. 4. "answer not a fool according to his folly." xxix. 9. "if a wise man contendeth with a foolish man, whether he rage or laugh, there is no rest." 2 Chron. xxv. 16. "then the prophet forbare —."


A scrupulous attention is paid throughout Paradise Lost to this duty and inferiors are generally represented as showing their respect to person ages of superior dignity in the manner here mentioned. Thus it is said of the fallen angels worshipping Satan:

... Towards him they bend

With awful reverence prone. II. 477.

Of the holy angels in heaven:

... Lowly reverent

Towards either throne they bow, and to the ground

With solemn adoration down they cast

Their crowns. III. 349.

Of the angels stationed to guard Paradise, at the appearance of Raphael:

... To his state

And to his message high in honour rise,

For on some message high they guessed him bound. V. 288.

Of Adam in presence of Raphael:

... Though not aw'd,

Yet with submiss approach and rev'rence meek,

As to superior nature bowing low,

Thus said. Ibid. 353.

Of the Messiah when leaving the Father to go against the rebel angels

... He o'er his sceptre bowing, rose

From the right hand of glory where he sat. VI. 746.

Of Eve before the tree of knowledge:

From the tree her step she turn'd;

But first low reverence done, as to the Pow'r

That dwelt within. IX. 834.

Thus also in his early poem of Arcades:

-The great mistress of yon princely shrine,

Whom with low reverence I adore as mine. 36.


'Dissimulavit enim, sod sine mendacio, et pia fraude intercepit Jahel hostem Domini, quam rem Spiritus Sanctus probat, infra cap. v, 4.' Junius in loc.


This appears to be a favourite allusion with Milton.

... All these, upwhirl'd aloft,

Fly o'er the backside of the world far off

Into a Limbo large and broad, since call'd

The Paradise of Fools. Paradise Lost. III. 493.

'That mysterious iniquity, provoked and troubled at the first entrance of reformation, sought out new Limboes and new Hells wherein they might include out books also within the number of their damned.' Aereopagitica Prose Works, I. 295. To which may be added Apology for Smectymus, Ibid. 262. Te Deum has a snatch in it of limbus patrum; as if Christ had not 'opened the kingdom of heaven, before he had over come the sharpness of death.'


Richardson says that Milton 'had a gravity in his temper, not melancholy, or not till the latter part of his life, not sour, morose, or ill-natured; but a certain severity of mind, a mind not condescending to little things.' Remarks, p. xv. 'In his whole deportment,' says Symmons, 'there was visible a certain dignity of mind, and a something of conscious superiority, which could not at all times be suppressed or wholly with drawn from observation. His temper was grave, without any taint of melancholy.' Vol. VII. p. 512.


Compare on this head, and with the three next paragraphs, the following passages from Symmons. 'Of this great man the manners are universally allowed to have been affable and graceful, the conversation cheerful, instructive and engaging. His youngest daughter ... affirmed that 'he was delightful company; the life of the conversation, not only on account of his flow of subject, but of his unaffected cheerfulneis and civility.' Isaac Vossius describes him as 'comem afabilem, multisque aliis? praeditum virtutibus.' Burmann. Syll. III. 618. So also N. Heiusius; 'Virum esse miti comique ingenio aiunt, quique aliam non habuisse se cansam profitetur Scribonium acerbe insectandi, quam quod ille et viros e maximis celeberrimisque multos nihil benignius, exceperit, et quod in universam Anglorum gentem conviciis atrocissimis injurius valde fuerit.' Burmann. Syll. III. 276. Salmasius is here alluded to under the name of Scribonius.


εὐτραπελία 'Nomen medium, proprie significat concinnam mutationem, et intra virtutes morales ah Aristotele numeratur, urbanitas. Sed in Novo Testamento in malam partem usurpatur pro scurrilitate. Eam vocem pro scurrilitate apostolus posuit, quod plerumque qui urbanitatem affectant, a medio virtutis aberrantes, ad scurrilitatem declinent. Qua in significatione etiam Pindarus poeta Graecam vocem usurpasse legitur. Itaque recte noster interpres scurrililatem vertit'. Estius in locum. See Leigh's Critica Sacra, Seblenser, Wetstein, Eisner, and Macknight.


'The Spirit of God, who is purity itself, when he would reprove any fault severely, or but relate things done or said with indignation by others, abstains not from some words not civil at other times to be spoken, &c. &c...... whereas God, who is the author both of purity and eloquence, chose this phrase as fittest in that vehement character wherein he spake, otherwise that plain word might have easily been foreborne: which the masoreths and rabbinical scholiasts not well attending, have often used to blur the margent with Keri instead of Ketiv, and gave us this inpulse rule out of their Talmud, 'that all words which in the law are written obscenely, must be changed to more civil words;' fools, who would teach men to read more decently than God thought good to write.' Apology for Smectymuus. Prose Works, I. 233. 'Ask a Talmudist what ails the modesty of his marginal Keri, that Moses and all the prophets cannot persuade him to pronounce the textual Ketiv. Areopagitica, Ibid. 300. 'Tu fortasse, ut sunt fere hypocritae, verbis tetrici, rebus obscoeni, ne ipsum quidem Mosen ista noxa immunem abs te dimiseris; cum alibi saepius, tum etiam ubi Phineae hasta qua parte mulierm transfixerit, si qua fides Hebraeis aperte narrat... Non te Salomonis Euphemismi censorum, non prophetarum scripta tuam turpiculi immo nonnunquem plane obscoeni censuram effugerint, quoties Masorethis et Rabbnia, pro eo quod diserte scriptum est, suum libet Keri adscribere. Ad me quod attinet, fateor malle uno cum sacris scriptoribus εὐθυ᾽ρ῾ρήμονα quem cum futilibus Rabbinis εὐσχήμονα. Auctoris pro se Defensio. V.299

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