XXVII. (138) And after he has forbidden stealing he proceeds in regular order to prohibit bearing false witness, knowing that those who bear false witness are liable to many great accusations, and in short to every kind of terrible charge; for in the first place they are corrupting that holy thing, truth, than which there is no more sacred possession among men, which like the sun sheds a light upon all things, so that not one of them may be kept in darkness; (139) and in the second place, in addition to speaking falsely, they also as it were envelop facts in night and dense darkness, and they co-operate with those who offend, and they join in attacking those who are injured by others, affirming that they positively know and have completely comprehended what they in reality have not seen nor heard, and of which they know nothing. (140) Moreover, they also commit a third violation of the law, which is more grievous than either of those which have been mentioned before; for, when there is a scarcity of demonstrations, either by reasons or by letters, then those who have questions in dispute betake themselves to witnesses, whose words are rules to the judges concerning those matters on which they are to deliver their opinion; for it is necessary for the judges to attend to them alone, when there is nothing else existing which can contribute to proof in the matter in question; from which it arises that those who are borne down by evidence in this way meet with injustice when they might have won their cause, and that those who attend to the false witnesses are recorded as unjust and illegal judges, instead of just and legal ones. (141) Moreover, this kind of crafty wickedness outstrips all other offences in its impiety; for it is not customary for judges to decide without being sworn, but rather after having taken the most fearful oaths, which those men transgress who deceive others, more than they do who are deceived by them, since the error of the one is not intentional, but the others do deliberately plot against them, and do of malice aforethought sin, persuading those in whose power it is to give the decisive vote to err, not knowing what they do, so that things which deserve no chastisement meet with punishment and loss.