« PreviousContinue »
It is certain that neither the matter nor the form of lying can be found in these ; and, therefore, they are wholly void of all taint of sin. The matter is not found; because falsehood is not uttered, but the truth expressed in a figurative and customary manner; for as the natural, so the metaphorical signification of words depends upon custom and the will of the speakers. Since, then, custom permits us to call a cruel man a wolf or a lion, or a base or foundation a rock : the proposition is the same, whether you say a Heretic is a wolf, or a heretic is hostile and injurious to the flock of Christ: that the devil is a roaring lion; or the devil seeks souls for his prey: Christ is a rock; or Christ is the base or foundation of human salvation. The same reasoning applies to parables: For, as Augustine justly remarks, De mend. ad Cons. cap. 5, Every proposition is to be referred to that which it sets forth; but all that is figuratively said or done, sets forth that which it intimates to those by whom the proposition is to be understood. Thus the Schoolmen. So Aquinas, quæst. disp. de prophetia, art. 10, In metaphorical language the literal sense is attended to, and not what the metuphor expresses, but the meaning which is conveyed by the metaphor. Durandus, lib. 3, dist. 38, says, A figurative expression is not true or false according to the sense which it conveys, but to that which is intended. So Gerson, part. 1, In parables the literal sense is not that expressed by the words, but that pointed out by the things or the facts. But neither is the form of lying found in these : for metaphors, parables, and apologues, are not used with the intention of deceiving, but with that of teaching with the greater elegance and pleasure. For he who asserts that a heretic is a wolf, or the devil a roaring lion; or he who puts forth a parable or apologue, does not intend to impose any thing false upon his hearers, but to represent more clearly something true, and useful to be known.
4. In the last place, Let us glance at that Jesuitical equivocation, which is defended, truly I know not whether more ridiculously or impiously, by those master-builders and patrons of lies. And first, we shall offer an example of Jesuitical equivocation, or (as they term it) mental re
servation ; then we shall convict them of manifest lying. Let us then assume that any Popish priest interrogated whether he be a priest or not, should answer expressly, nay, swear if it be necessary, that he is not a priest; he having reserved this thought in his mind, that he is not a priest of Apollo; or, that he is not such a priest as he desires to be ; or, that he is not a priest bound to declare this to others : I ask whether he is guilty of a lie. That most lying Jesuit Parsons, in his Tract, ad mitigat. spect. &c. cap. 8, denies that he is. We asfirm it, and we prove it from that definition of Augustine and the Schoolmen: For, he voluntarily announces a falsehood, and that with the intention of deceiving. There is the material of lying; for he denies that he is what he is : there is also the form ; for by this denial he intends to impress a false opinion on the mind of his hearer. What has the Jesuit to reply to this?*
• The history of the man here referred to, and who figured principally in the time of Queen Elizabeth, is as extraordinary as the principles which he maintained to serve the Church, at that time, were horrible, and his conduct base and mischievous. His proper name appears to have been Robert Person. He was born in 1546, at Nether Slowey, in Somersetshire, where his father is said to have been a blacksniith. He however obtained an Uni. versity education, having been a student at Baliol College, Oxford, where he took his degrees in arts, and obtained a Fellowship. According to Fuller, he was expelled from his post with disgrace, having been charged with embezzlement of the College money. He then went to Rome, and entered into the Order of the Jesuits, and in 1579, he returned to England as superior of the Catholic Missionaries. Two years afterwards, he was obliged to leave the kingdom hastily, in consequence of his political intrigues, when he again took refuge at Rome, where he was placed at the head of the English College. His political sagacity and active disposition induced Philip II. to employ him in some preliminary measures at the time of his projected invasion of England by the “ Invincible Armada ;” and, after the failure of that scheme, Parsons rendered himself formidable to the government of Queen Elizabeth by his attempts to promote insurrection, and procure the assassination of that Princess. He seems, however, to have carried on his plots with a degree of caution that argued a prudent regard for his own safety. From Camilen's State Trials it appears that when Parsons came to England to head the party for pushing the treasonable practices determined on against the Queen, he at first so far proceeded without reserve to develope his schemes, that the Government was soon obliged to take active measures to counteract the proceedings of the iniquitous band ; and to avoid seizure (as some even of the Papists ineditated delivering him
He answers, first, that the enunciation mentioncd above is not false, because the enunciation or proposition, which is partly expressed and partly conceived in the mind, is one: but that is true, viz. I am not a priest of Apollo, or I am not a priest obliged to declare it.
In reply; we allow this proposition, I am not a priest obliged to declare that I am one, is one : but we affirm that that other also which is expressed in words is an entire proposition, and distinct from this. Therefore, by this very point in which he defends himself, he is convicted of a lie; namely, that when he conceives the true proposition in his mind, he utters a falsehood : for although the true and false one may be in the view of the internal conception of the mind; yet the lie properly so called, regards the other, and the external declaration of the mind by the signs of words. However true, therefore, may be that which this priest has shut up in the conception of his mind, yet what he puts forth by the enunciation of a false proposition is a lie.
We may illustrate this by an example. Suppose any one being asked, Whether fire is hot, should assert and swear that fire is not hot, this distinction being reserved in his mind, that it is not hot by adventitious heat; or should any one say that man is not a rational animal, and then should defend himself on the ground that he is not a rational animal of the feathered or finny tribe ; who would
into the Magistrates' hands for divulging the designs of deposing the Queen) Parsons lived under the several appellations of Walley, Darcy, Roberts, Farmer, and Phillips. Well might he contend for the principles coinbated by our Expositor. Thus, while Garnet and others of his fraternity became the victims of their zeal, he kept himself secure from danger, and died in 1610, at Rome, where he had for twenty-three years presided over the English College. Besides his Tract above-mentioned in defence of lying, he was the author of a “ Conference about the Succession to the Crown of England,” which he published under the name of Doleman, with a Dedica. tion to the Earl of Essex; with other Tracts adapted to promote the inceasing designs of the Papal agents of his Order against Protestantism. He devoted one entire Pamphlet to the Defamation of the Earl of Leicester, an edition of which was published on the Continent, with a most mischievous and appalling title. Vide Sharon Turner's Modern History-Reign of Elizabeth, Notes.
not see that such an one is not free from the guilt of lying by these trifling reservations ? For in a negative proposition, it is whatever is usually contained in the comprehension of the predicate that is removed from (i. e. denied of) the subject; not a single species only. So that he who dares to confirm propositions of this kind with an oath, relying upon his mental reservations, is guilty of perjury by the suffrages of all the antient theologians.
We only now adduce some few rules, leaving it to you to apply them to this dispute.
Rule 1. By whatever artifice of words an oath is taken, God accepts it as he to whom the oath is made understands it. Isidore.
2. An oath is received according to the common usage of language. Gerson, part. 2. But neither he to whom the oath is made, nor common usage, understands those clauses of reservation; and he who offers to make an oath knows this.
3. No one ought to swear to any thing as certain, says Durandus; for an oath is calling God to witness for the confirmation of the truth of what the hearer doubts, and to which he will not assent on a simple assertion. But there never was a doubt, whether that priest was the priest of Apollo: nor was it needful to profane an oath in proof of it.
4. An oath consisting of many or equivocal words, binds in that sense which the words are wont to convey to persons rightly understanding them. If among such the words equally convey several significations, then the oath binds in that sense in which the swearer believed that he to whom the oath was made understood them at the time. Altissiodorensis, lib. 3, tract. 19,
From all these instances we conclude, that notwithstanding the mental reservation, the material of a lie exists in that assertion of the priest, viz. his false proposition.
But, in the second place, the Jesuit answers, The lie does not exist formally in this example : for he did not intend 10 deceive his hearer, but preserve himself from danger, in denying he was a priest, with the aforesaid mental reservation.
But we reply, he intended both of these ; for he would
preserve himself by deception, vet not likely to preserve himself unless he had first deceived his hearer by this
jugglery. I conclude, therefore, with Ales, part. 2. qu. ( 122, mem. 1, Although the ulterior intention be to benefit himself or his neighbour, nevertheless the immediate intention is to deceive; and as far as this is concerned a lie is told: for this last, the intention, in itself regards the language ; but the former regards the will of the party, and not the words them. selves. *
Seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds.] The Apostle here comes to the first argument of the aforesaid dissuasion. He derives it from the removal of the cause to the removal of the effects. For the old man is the cause of the vices before-mentioned; when he, therefore, is put off, they must be put off also.
The old man denotes the corruption inherent in our nature, the inclination of all our faculties to evil; and, moreover, that state of sinfulness which they acquired by the habit of sinning before their ingrafting into Christ. The
• The doctrine of the Church of Rome, concerning Equivocations, mental Reservations, and the Lawfulness, or rather Obligation, of concealing, with the most solemn Oaths, what has been revealed under the seal of Confession, has perhaps some affinity with the doctrine of the Priscillian. ists, which overspread and disturbed Europe in the fifth Century--a sect which inculcated on their Proselytes the dreadful maxim,“ Swear, forswear, but never betruy a secret," and by which Cassian, as noticed at the outset of this topic, would seem to have been corrupted. The defence set up by the Romish divines for such a notion is, 6 That what is only known under the Seal of Confession, is not known to a man, but to God represented by a man, i. e. to the Priest or Confessor; and therefore the Priest may, with a safe Conscience, affirm, even upon oath, that he knows not what he thus knows. It is by recurring to this doctrine, that F. Daniel Bartoli, in his History of England, or rather of the Jesuits in England, endeavours to justify the conduct of the Jesuit Garnet, in not discovering the Gunpowder plot, to which he supposes him to have been privy. But as it was disclosed , to him in confession, or at least under the seal of confession, he would have
sinned grievously by discovering it, though by such a discovery he might have saved a whole nation from destruction. So that the violating such a Seal is a far greater evil than the loss of so many lives--than the utter ruin of an entire Nation :”—a doctrine evidently repugnant to the dictates both of reason and humanity, horrible in its own nature, and awfully dangerous in its consequences wherever it is held._ Vide Bower, Vol. i. p. 150.