III. (9) But if any one being compelled to swear, swears by anything whatever in a manner which the law does not forbid, let him exert himself with all his strength and by every means in his power to give effect to his oath, interposing no hindrance to prevent the accomplishment of the matter thus ratified, especially if neither implacable anger or frenzied love, or unrestrained appetites agitate the mind, so that it does not know what is said or done, but if the oath has been taken with sober reason and deliberate purpose. (10) For what is better than to speak with perfect truth throughout one’s whole life, and to prove this by the evidence of God himself? For an oath is nothing else but the testimony of God invoked in a matter which is a subject of doubt, and to invoke God to witness a statement which is not true is the most impious of all things. (11) For a man who does this, is all but saying in plain words (even though he hold his peace), “I am using thee as a veil for my iniquity; do thou co-operate with me, who am ashamed to appear openly to be behaving unjustly. For though I am doing wrong, I am anxious not to be accounted wicked, but thou canst be indifferent to thy reputation with the multitude, having no regard to being well spoken of.” But to say or imagine such things as these is most impious, for not only would God, who is free from all participation in wickedness, but even any father or any stranger, provided he were not utterly devoid of all virtue, would be indignant if he were addressed in such a way as this. (12) A man, therefore, as I have said, must be sure and give effect to all oaths which are taken for honourable and desirable objects, for the due establishment of private or public objects of importance, under the guidance of wisdom, and justice, and holiness.