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ought to rank with the filial affection, or the desire of society, which is developed much later, but the. rudiments of which must have been created within us, or we could never have known what it was. The Almighty, in creating man, foresaw all the conditions and relations in which he was to be placed, and he gave him every power and faculty necessary to fit him for every relation which he was ever to sustain. God's universe is one perfect whole, every part of which is fitted to every other part. He created the ocean, the element of water, and likewise fish to live, and breathe, and swim in it. The myriads of embryo fish, which are formed every year, before they have imparted to them the principle of animal life, before they have touched the element in which they are afterwards to have their existence, have the tiny rudiments of lungs by which they are to draw vitality from the water, and the outline of those fins, which are one day to bear them with wonderful velocity through the waves. Go to the bird's nest, and you will there see the same prospective adaptation. The bones which form within those dark and rounded walls have precisely that combination of strength and lightness which fits them to be the frame of a body upborne on the thin and yielding atmosphere, every feather is a miracle of wisdom considered with reference to warmth, and strength, and buoyancy, and beauty. In every animal there is a third correspondent, which resides in its spiritual part, that something, whatever it is, which bears the same relation to the animal that the soul does to man, an instinct which immediately prompts it to betake itself to the element for which it was formed, the fish to the sea, and the bird to the air. So I know no reason for doubting that the same Omniscient Mind, which created man for society, and predetermined to give him speech and reason, gave him likewise an instinctive moral law for the government of speech, a regard for truth. He thus established a higher communion than can take place among the inferior orders of creation, and made truth the basis of that communion, and absolutely essential to the
It was necessary that it should be instinctive, otherwise it would come too late. Reason and experience were not to be developed sufficiently early for the safety of society. It would have been fatal to man's social well being to have permitted each generation to learn by a succession of disastrous experiments that it is necessary to speak the truth. The obligation of truth then may be set down as one of the moral instincts of man, an ultimate fact which cannot be resolved into any law more simple, or into any other principle. All we can say of it is, that such is the will of God, that on the development of the powers of reason and speech, every human being should feel the obligation of speaking the truth, and should feel reproached and humiliated when he violates it. As it is a moral instinct with regard to ourselves, so it is a moral sentiment with respect to others. It is impossible for us to regard another who has violated the truth with moral approbation.' We cannot help feeling for him a hearty contempt. As no sophistry can altogether excuse us to ourselves for violating the truth, so no apology can restore another who has violated it to our entire esteem.
It is because God has made this moral instinct and sentiment so strong within us, that the accusation of falsehood has ever been esteemed the ground of deadly quarrel. It is a stain, which among men who stand upon points of honor, can only be washed away with blood.
But strong as this instinct and sentiment are, they do no more than correspond to the magnitude of the interests which they are intended to secure. The general allegiance of the human mind to truth is the basis of most of our knowledge. Were it not for this, the history of the past, which is now to us an accumulated treasure of wisdom, would be altogether useless. As it is now, in spite of the bias of interest, passion, and prejudice, it is mainly a representation of facts as they were. Men have felt in all ages that speech was given them to utter. the thing that was true, and not the thing that was false; and, however feeling may have inclined the historian to misrepresent, the instinct and the sentiment of truth would not allow him materially to distort the transactions of past ages.
Truth is absolutely necessary for the general management of the business of society. It is by this alone that the most distant nations are able to carry on commerce. with each other. They are able to do so only because they can depend on their mutual representations. Indeed it is the instinct of truth, which enables man to be a social being at all. Were this instinct at any moment to cease, society would be broken up. The merchant, when he opened his letters, would be no wiser as to his business than he was before, he could do nothing in consequence of their contents. The newspaper, wet from the printing press, would be thrown away, for there would be no security that every article in it was not false. The stranger would ask no question of the citizen, because he would probably be misinforined.
It is this primitive and universal instinct of the obligation of truth, which lies at the foundation of the sanctity of an oath, an usage so universal that it may be considered as an institution of Nature. The ceremony and formality of an oath can put nothing into the soul of man which was not there before. It can only call up and put in exercise principles that were already there. These principles, and they both may be considered instinctive, are the absolute obligation of truth, and the existence of an Omniscient and