The Elements of Moral Science (1835, 1856 ed.)

Francis Wayland


Of Veracity

EVERY individual by necessity, stands in most important relations, both to the past and to the future. Without a knowledge of what has been, and of what, so far as his fellow-men are concerned, will be, he can form no decision in regard to the present. But this knowledge could never be attained, unless his constitution were made to correspond with his circumstances. It has, therefore, been made to correspond. There is, on the one hand, in men, a strong à priori disposition to tell the truth; and it controls them, unless some other motive interpose; and there is, on the other hand, a disposition to believe what is told, unless some counteracting motive is supposed to operate.

Veracity has respect to the PAST AND PRESENT, or to the FUTURE. We shall consider them separately.

Chapter 1. Veracity of the Past and Present.
Chapter 2. Veracity in Respect to the Future.
Chapter 3. Of Oaths.