Front Page Titles (by Subject) Chapter 3: The Question, Why Am I Obliged to Keep My Word? Resumed - The Principles of Moral and Political Philosophy
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Chapter 3: The Question, Why Am I Obliged to Keep My Word? Resumed - William Paley, The Principles of Moral and Political Philosophy 
The Principles of Moral and Political Philosophy, Foreword by D.L. Le Mahieu (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2002).
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The Question, Why Am I Obliged to Keep My Word? Resumed
Let it be remembered, that to be obliged, is “to be urged by a violent motive, resulting from the command of another.”
And then let it be asked, Why am I obliged to keep my word? and the answer will be, “Because I am urged to do so by a violent motive” (namely, the expectation of being after this life rewarded, if I do, or punished for it, if I do not), “resulting from the command of another” (namely, of God).
This solution goes to the bottom of the subject, as no further question can reasonably be asked.
Therefore, private happiness is our motive, and the will of God our rule.
When I first turned my thoughts to moral speculations, an air of mystery seemed to hang over the whole subject; which arose, I believe, from hence—that I supposed, with many authors whom I had read, that to be obliged to do a thing, was very different from being induced only to do it; and that the obligation to practise virtue, to do what is right, just, &c. was quite another thing, and of another kind, than the obligation which a soldier is under to obey his officer, a servant his master; or any of the civil and ordinary obligations of human life. Whereas, from what has been said it appears, that moral obligation is like all other obligations; and that obligation is nothing more than an inducement of sufficient strength, and resulting, in some way, from the command of another.
There is always understood to be a difference between an act of prudence and an act of duty. Thus, if I distrust a man who owed me a sum of money, I should reckon it an act of prudence to get another person bound with him; but I should hardly call it an act of duty. On the other hand, it would be thought a very unusual and loose kind of language, to say, that, as I had made such a promise, it was prudent to perform it: or that, as my friend, when he went abroad, placed a box of jewels in my hands, it would be prudent in me to preserve it for him till he returned.
Now, in what, you will ask, does the difference consist? inasmuch, as, according to our account of the matter, both in the one case and the other, in acts of duty as well as acts of prudence, we consider solely what we ourselves shall gain or lose by the act.
The difference, and the only difference, is this; that, in the one case, we consider what we shall gain or lose in the present world; in the other case, we consider also what we shall gain or lose in the world to come.
They who would establish a system of morality, independent of a future state, must look out for some different idea of moral obligation; unless they can show that virtue conducts the possessor to certain happiness in this life, or to a much greater share of it than he could attain by a different behaviour.
To us there are two great questions:
I. Will there be after this life any distribution of rewards and punishments at all?
II. If there be, what actions will be rewarded, and what will be punished?
The first question comprises the credibility of the Christian Religion, together with the presumptive proofs of a future retribution from the light of nature. The second question comprises the province of morality. Both questions are too much for one work. The affirmative therefore of the first, although we confess that it is the foundation upon which the whole fabric rests, must in this treatise be taken for granted.