On Lying

Preparing for a sermon on the ninth commandment, forbidding bearing false witness against your neighbor.

"Exorbitant attention to how to do a thing destroys the ability to do it. An adept in logic may be a very poor reasoner; and a man who spends his life in studying the rules of elocution may be a very indifferent orator. So a man versed in all the subtleties of casuistry [ethics of right and wrong in various situations] is apt to lose the clear and simple apprehension of right and wrong."

Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology, pg 447-448

"In criminal falsehoods there must be not only the enunciation or signification of what is false, and an intention to deceive, but also a violation of some obligation.... Notwithstanding this ability to abuse, the principle that a higher obligation absolves from a lower stands firm.... It is evidently right to inflict pain in order to save life.... The question now under consideration is not whether it is ever right to do wrong... nor is the question whether it is ever right to lie; but rather what constitutes a lie" (pg 441-442)

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