XVIII. (88) “What sayest thou?” I should say to the perjured man, “will you dare to go to any one of your own acquaintances and say, My friend, come and bear witness for me that you have seen and heard, and been present at a whole catalogue of things which you have neither seen, nor heard? I think not; for that would be an act of incurable insanity; (89) with what face can you while sober, and while appearing to be master of yourself look upon your friend, and say, By reason of our acquaintance and companionship, act unjustly, violate the law, commit impiety for my sake; for it is plain that if he heard such a request, he would quickly renounce that companionship which you now believe to exist, reproaching himself for having ever had any friendship at all with a man of such a character as you, and would flee from you, as from a savage, and maddened, wild beast. (90) “Will you then, without shame call upon God, the father and sovereign of the world, to give his testimony in favour of those things, to witness which you will not venture even to bring your friend? And if you do so, will you do it knowing that he sees everything and hears everything, or not knowing this fact? (91) If you know it not you are an atheist, and atheism is the beginning of all iniquity, and, in addition to your atheism, you are also adding the wickedness of an oath, by swearing by him who in your opinion is not attending to you, nor paying any regard to human affairs. But if you are well assured that he does exert his providence in respect of such matters, still you are not free from the charge of excessive impiety, saying to God, if not with your mouth and tongue, still at all events with your conscience: Bear false witness for me, aid me in my wickedness, assist me in my impiety. I have but one hope of preserving a fair reputation among men, namely by concealing the truth; be thou wicked for another’s sake, you who are the better, for the sake of one who is worse; you who are God, the most excellent of all beings, for the sake of a man, and that too a wicked one.