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ground of their misery ; " The souls were refractory to dis-
cipline, and have erred. They oppress the holy nation."
The effect was, " they became prisoners of darkness, and
fettered with the bands of a long night ; fugitivi perpetuae
providentiae jacuerunt; they became outlaws from the Divine
Providence.' And while they supposed to lie hid in their
secret sins, they were scattered under a dark veil of forgetful-
ness ; 'paventes horrende, et cum admiratione nimia pertur-
bati ; they did fear horribly, and disturbed with a wonderful
amazement.' For neither might the corner that held them
keep them from fear, but a sound descending did trouble
them ; ' et personae tristes apparentes pavorem illis praesta-
bant, sad apparitions did affright them ;' a fire appeared to
them very formidable ; ' et timore percussi ejus quae non vide-
batur faciei, they were affrighted with the apprehensions
of what they saw not:'" and all the way in that excellent
description, there is nothing but fear and affrigktment, horrid
amazement and confusion ; ' plenti timore,' and ' tremebundi
peribant ; full of fear, and they perished trembling;' and
then follows the philosophy and rational account of all this.
"Frequenter enim praeoccupant pessima, redarguente con-
scientia ; When their conscience reproves them, they are pos-
sessed with fearful expectations." For wickedness condemned
by her own witness is very timorous : " Cum enim sit timida
nequitia, dat testimonium condemnata ; Conscience gives
witness and gives sentence ; and when wickedness is con-
demned, it is full of affrightment." For fear is ' praesumptionis
adjutorium,' the allay of confidence and presumption, and the

Lucretius, iii. 1024. Eichstadt, p. 137. b Wisd. xvii.


promoter of its own apprehensions, and betrays the succours
that reason yields. For indeed in this case no reason can
dispute a man out of his misery, for there is nothing left to
comfort the conscience, so long as it is divested of its inno-
cence. The prophet Jeremy instances this in the case of
Pashur, who oppressed the prophets of the Lord, putting
them in prison, and forbidding them to preach in the name
of the Lord : "Thy name shall be no more called ' Pashur'
but ' Magor Missabib,' that is, ' fear round about ;' for I will
make thee a terror unto thyself."

15. This fear of its own nature is apt to increase : for
indeed it may be infinite.

Nee videt interea, qui terminus esse malorum

Possit, qui ve siet poenarum denique finis :

Atque eadem metuit magis, haec ne in morte gravescant :

Heine Acherusia fit stultomm denique vita. d

He that fears in this case knows not the greatness and mea-
sure of the evil which he fears ; it may arrive to infinite, and
it may be any thing, and it may be every thing : and there-
fore there is,

16. (5.) An appendant perpetuity and restlessness ; a
man of an evil conscience is never at quiet. " Impietas enim
maluni infinitum est, quod nunquam extingui potest," said
Philo : e he is put to so many shifts to excuse his crime
before men, and cannot excuse it to God or to himself, and
then he is forced to use arts of forgetfulness that he may not
remember his sorrow ; he runs to weakness for excuse, and
to sin for a comfort, and to the methods and paths of hell for
sanctuary, and rolls himself in his uneasy chains of fire,
and changes from side to side upon his gridiron, till the
flesh drop from the bones on every side. This is the poet's

Immortale jecur tondeng, fcecundaque poenis
Viscera, rimaturque epulis, habitatque sub alto
Pectore j nee fibris requies datur ulla renatis.

It gnaws perpetually, and consumes not ; being like the fire
of hell, it does never devour, but torments for ever.

17. (6.) This fear and torment, which are inflicted by
conscience, do not only increase at our death, but after death

Jer. xx. 3, 4. d Lucret. iii. 1033. EicLstadt,p. 138.

De Profugis. f Virg. fan. vi. 598.


is the beginning of hell. For these are the fire of hell ;
o&uvuttai sv 7-fl pXoy/ ravrri, ' I am tormented in this flame;'
so said Dives when he was in torments : that is, he had the
torments of an evil conscience ; for hell itself is not to he
opened till the day of judgment : but the sharpest pain is
usually expressed by fire-, and particularly the troubles of
mind are so signified. " Urit animum meuni, This burns,"
that is, this exceedingly troubles "my mind;" and " Uro
hominem" in the comedy, I vex him sufficiently, "I burn
him." " Loris non ureris, Thou art not tormented with

Poena autem vehemens, ac multo ssevior illis,
.Quos et Ceedicius gravis iiivenit et Rhadaraanthus,
Nocte dieque suum gestare in pectore testem. f

This is a part of hell-fire, the smoke of it ascends night and
day ; and it is a preparatory to the horrible sentence of
doomsday, as the being tormented in prison is, to the day of
condemnation and execution. The conscience in the state
of separation does accuse perpetually, and with an insupport-
able amazement fears the revelation of the day of the Lord.

Et cum fateri furia jusserit verum,
Prodente clamet conscientia scnp. h

' The fury within will compel him to confess,' and then he is
prepared for the horrible sentence ; as they who upon the
rack accuse themselves, and then they are carried to execu-
tion. Menippus, in Lucian, 1 says that the souls of them that
are dead are accused by the shadows of their bodies. Aura/
TO/'VVV, zmi&av a-Tro'Savu/Aev, xarjjyogoDff/ rs xai xaTafAvgrugovffi, xal
frfXty^gtVA! TO, mxgayiJtSva. r^Tj Kaza, rbv (3ioV and these he
says are dg/oV/oro/, ' worthy of belief,' because they are
always present, and never parted from their bodies; mean-
ing, that a man's conscience, which is inseparable as a shadow,
is a strong accuser and a perfect witness : and this will never
leave them till it carries them to hell; and then the fear is
changed into despair, and indignation, and hatred of God,
and eternal blasphemy. This is the full progress of an evil
conscience in its acts of binding.

18. Quest. But if it be inquired by what instrument con-
science does thus torment a man, and take vengeance of him

* Juvenal, xiii. 196. h Martial, x. 5, 18. Mattaire, p. 191.

1 VuHMfutmimt 2. Bipout. vol. iii. p. 15.


for his sins, whether it hath a proper efficiency in itself, and
that it gives torment, as it understands, by an exercise of
some natural power ; or whether it be by an act of God in-
flicting it, or by opinion and fancy, by being persuaded of
some future events which shall be certainly consequent to
the sin, or by religion and belief, or lastly by deception and
mere illusion, and upon being affrighted with bugbears : I

19. That it does or may afflict a man by all these. For
its nature is to be inquisitive and busy, querulous and com-
plaining ; and to do so is as natural to it as for a man to be
grieved when any thing troubles him. But because men have
a thousand little arts to stifle the voice of conscience, or at
least that themselves may not hear it ; God oftentimes
awakens a man by a sudden dash of thunder and lightning,
and makes the conscience sick and troublesome ; just as
upon other accidents a man is made sad, or hardened, or im-
pudent, or foolish, or restless: and sometimes every dream,
or sad story that the man hath heard, the flying of birds, and
the hissing of serpents, or the fall of waters, or the beating
of a watch, or the noise of a cricket, or a superstitious tale,
is suffered to do the man a mischief and to increase his fear.

Ergo exercentur poems, veterumque raalorum

Supplicia expenduntJ

This the poets and priests expressed by their Adrastea,
Nemesis, Minos, ^Eacus, and Rhadamanthus ; not that these
things were real,

neque sunt usquam, neque possunt esse, profecto,

said one of them ; but yet to their pains and fears they gave
names, and they put on persons ; and a fantastic cause may
have a real event, and therefore must come from some fur-
ther principle : and if an evil man be affrighted with a
meteor or a bird, by the chattering of swallows (like the young
Greek in Plutarch), or by his own shadow (as Orestes was),
it is no sign that the fear is vain, but that God is the author
of conscience, and will, beyond the powers of nature and the
arts of concealment, set up a tribunal, and a gibbet, and a
rack, in the court of conscience. And therefore we find this

J Yin?. JEa. vi. 739.


evil threatened by God to fall upon sinners : " They that
aVe left alive of you in the land of your captivity, I will send
fainting in their hearts, in the land of their enemy, and the
sound of a leaf shall chase them :" k and again ; " The Lord
shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes,
and sorrow of mind, and thy life shall hang in doubt before
thee, and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have no as-
surance of thy life :' M and this very fear ends in death itself;
it is a mortal fear sometimes : for when the prophet Isaiah ra
had told concerning Jerusalem, "Thy slain men are not
slain with the sword, nor dead in battle :" to the inquiry of
those who ask, How then were they slain? the answer is made
by a learned gloss upon the place ; " Homines hi expec-
tato adventu hostis, velut transfossi, exanimantur metu ;
They were dead with fear, slain with the affrightments of
their own conscience, as if they were transfixed by the spear
of their enemies." " Quid ergo nos a diis immortalibus
divinitus expectemus, nisi irrationibus finem faciamus," said
Q. Metellus in A. Gellius : n There is no avoiding punishment
unless we will avoid sin ; since even a shadow as well as
substances may become a Nemesis, when it is let loose by
God, and conducted by conscience.

20. But the great instrument of bringing this to pass is
that certainty of persuasion which is natural in all men, and
is taught to all men, and is in the sanction of all laws ex-
pressly affirmed by God, that evil shall be to them that do

QIOUS iri^at ni Ggorav, $uffti tiixw,

" He that dishonours God, shall not escape punishment:"
both in this life,

Ultrix Erinnys impio dignum parat
Letuin tjranno P

and after this life : for so they reckoned, that adulterers, rebels,
and traitors, should be kept in prisons in fearful expectation
of horrid pains ;

Quique ob adultcrium cacsi, quique arma secuti
Impia, nee veriti dominorum fallere dextras,
Inclusi poenam expectant 1

k Levit. xxvi. 36. 'Deut. xxviii. 65. m Isa. xxii. 2.

Lib.i. c. 6. jEschyl. Suppl. 747. Schutz.

P Senec. Octav.620. Schroeder, p. 782. ' Virg. 612.


all this is our conscience, which, in this kind of actions and
events, is nothing but the certain expectation and fear of
the Divine vengeance.

21. Quest. But then why is the conscience more afraid
in some sins than in others, since in sins of the greatest
malignity we find great difference of fear and apprehension,
when, because they are of extreme malignity, there can be no
difference in their demerit ?

22. I answer, Although all sins be damnable, yet not
only in the several degrees of sin, but in the highest of all
there is great difference : partly proceeding from the Divine
threatenings, partly from fame and opinion, partly from other

For, ( 1 .) There are some sins which are called ' peccata
clamantia, crying sins;' that is, such which cry aloud for
vengeance; such which God not only hath specially threat-
ened with horrid plagues, but such which do seldom escape
vengeance in tin's life, but for their particular mischief are
hedged about with thorns, lest by their frequency they be-
come intolerable. Such are sacrilege, oppression of widows
and orphans, murder, sodomy, and the like. Now if any man
falls into any of these crimes, he sees an angel with a sword
drawn stand before him ; he remembers the angry words of
God, and calls to mind that so few have escaped a severe
judgment here, that God's anger did converse with men, and
was clothed with our circumstances, and walked round about
us ; and less than all this is enough to scare an evil

But, (2.) There are some certain defensatives and natural
guards which God hath placed in men against some sins ;
such as are, a natural abhorrence against unnatural lusts: a
natural pity against murder and oppression : the double
hedge of sacredness and religion against sacrilege. He there-
fore that commits any of these sins, does so much violence to
those defensatives, which were placed either in or upon his
heart, that such an act is a natural disease, and vexes the
conscience, not only by a moral but by a natural instrument.

(3.) There are in these crying sins certain accidents and
appendages of horror, which are apt to amaze a man's mind :
as in murder there is the circumstance and state of death,
which when a man sees and feels alone, and sees that him-


self hath acted, it must needs affright him ; since naturally
most men abhor to be alone with a dead corpse. So also in
oppression of widows, a man meets with so many sad spec-
tacles, and hears so many groans, and clamorous complaints,
such importunities, and such prayers, and such fearful curs-
ings, and perpetual weepings, that if a man were to use any
artifice to trouble a man's spirit, he could not dress his
scene with more advantage.

(4.) Fame hath a great influence into this effect, and there
cannot easily be a great shame amongst men, but there must
be a great fear of vengeance from God ; and the shame does
but antedate the Divine anger, and the man feels himself en-
tering into it, when he is enwrapped within the other. A
man committing a foul sin, which hath a special dishonour
and singular disreputation among men, is like a wolf espied
amongst the sheep : the outcry and noises among the shep-
herds make him fly for his life, when he hears a vengeance
coming. And besides, in this case, it is a great matter that
he perceives all the world hates him for his crime, and that
which every one decries, must needs be very hateful and for-
midable, and prepared for trouble.

(5.) It cannot be denied, but opinion also hath some hand
in this affair; and some men are affrighted from their cradle
in some instances, and permitted or connived at in others ;
and the fears of childhood are not shaken from the con-
science in old age ; as we see the persuasions of childhood in
moral actions are permanent, so are the fear and hope which
were the sanction and establishment of those persuasions.
Education, and society, and country customs, and states of
life, and the religion or sect of the man's professing, have
influence into their portions of this effect.

23. The consequent of this discourse is this; that we
cannot take any direct accounts of the greatness or horror of
a sin by the affrightment of conscience. For it is with the
affrightments of conscience as it is in temporal judgments ;
sometimes they come not at all, and when they do, they come
irregularly ; and when they do not, the man does not escape.
But in some sins God does strike more frequently than in
others, and in some sins men usually are more affrighted
than in others. The outward judgment and the inward fear
are intended to be deletories of sin, and instruments of


repentance ; but as some great sins escape the rod of God in
this life, so are such sinners oftentimes free from great af-
frightments. But as he who is not smitten of God, yet knows
that he is always liable to God's anger, and if he repents not
it will certainly fall upon him hereafter ; so it is in con-
science : he that fears not, hath nevertheless cause to fear, but
oftentimes a greater, and therefore is to suspect and alter his
condition, as being of a deep and secret danger: and he that
does fear, must alter his condition, as being highly trouble-
some. But in both cases, conscience does the work of a
monitor and a judge. In some cases conscience is like an
eloquent and a fair-spoken judge, which declaims not against
the criminal, but condemns him justly ; in others, the judge
is more angry, and affrights the prisoner more, but the event
is the same. For in those sins where the conscience affrights,
and in those in which she affrights not, supposing the sins
equal but of differing natures, there is no other difference,
but that conscience is a clock, which in one man strikes
aloud and gives warning, and in another the hand points si-
lently to the figure, but strikes not; but by this he may as
surely see what the other hears, viz. that his hours pass
away, and death hastens, and after death comes judgment.

24. But by the measures of binding, we may judge of
the loosing, or absolution, which is part of the judgment
of conscience, and this is the greatest pleasure in the world ;

Movov Ss TiVTO Qair a^/XXao-S-a/ /3/a>,
Ttuftw Swea/av x,a,ya,6riv t OT

A good conscience 5 is the most certain, clearest, and undis-
turbed felicity. " Lectulus respersus floribus bona est con-
scientia, bonis refecta operibus." No bed so soft, no flowers
so sweet, so florid, and delicious, as a good conscience, in
which springs all that is delectable, all that may sustain and
recreate our spirits. " Nulla re tarn laetari soleo quam ofli-
ciorum meorum conscientia ; I am pleased in nothing so
much as in the remembrances and conscience of my duty,"
said Cicero. Upon this pillow and on this bed, Christ slept
soundly in a storm, and St. Peter in prison so fast, that the
brightness of an angel could not awake him, or make him to

1 Hippolyt. 428. Priestlej's edition of Eurip. vol. iii. p. 137.
t Cor. i. 12.


rise up without a blow on the side. This refreshed the
sorrows of Hezekiah when he was smitten with the plague,
and not only brought pleasure for what was past, and so
doubled the good of it,

Vivere bis vita posse priore frui ;

but it also added something to the number of his years,

Ampliat zetatis spatium sibi vir bonus '

And this made Paul and Silas sing in prison, and in an
earthquake ; and that I may sum up all the good things
in the world, I borrow the expression of St. Bernard, " Bona
conscientia non solum sufficit ad solatium, sed etiam ad
coronam; It is here a perpetual comfort, it will be here-
after an eternal crown."

25. This very thing Epicurus observed wisely, and in his
great design for pleasure commended justice as the surest
instrument to procure it. So Antiphon : " Conscium esse
sibi in vita nullius criminis, multum volvptatis parit;" and
Cato in Cicero : u " Conscientia bene actae vitse multorumque
benefactorum recordatio jucundissima est." Nothing is a
greater pleasure than a good conscience ; for there is peace
and no disturbance; xasco; ^/igro; draga/'a, 'quietness
is the best fruit ; ' and that grows only upon the tree in the
midst of Paradise, upon the stock of a holy heart or con-
science. Only care is to be taken that boldness be not mis-
taken for peace, and hardness of heart for a good conscience.
It is easy to observe the difference, and no man can be inno-
cently abused in this affair. Peace is the fruit of a holy con-
science. But no man can say, ' I am at peace, therefore I
have a holy conscience.' But ' I have lived innocently,' or ' I
walk carefully with rny God, and I have examined my con-
science severely, and that accuses me not ; therefore this
peace is a holy peace, and no illusion.' A man may argue
thus : ' I am in health, and therefore the sleep I take is
natural, and healthful.' But not thus : * I am heavy to sleep,
therefore I am in health ;' for his dulness may be a lethargy.
A man may be quiet, because he inquires not, or because he
understands not, or because he cares not, or because he is
abused in the notices of his condition. But the true peace
of conscience is thus to be discerned.

Martial, 10, 23. De Amicit. Wetzel. c. iii. 7, p. f 1.


Signs of True Peace.

(1.) Peace of conscience is a rest after a severe inquiry.
\V hen Hezekiah was upon his death-bed, as he supposed, he
examined his state of life, and found it had been innocent
in the great lines and periods of it ; and he was justly

(2.) Peace of conscience can never be in wicked persons,
of notorious evil lives. It is a fruit of holiness ; and there-
fore what quietness soever is in persons of evil lives, it is
to be attributed to any other cause rather than innocence ;
and therefore it is to be called anything rather than just peace.
"The adulterous woman eateth and wipeth her mouth, and
saith, I have done no wickedness. "* And Pilate 'washed
his hands,' when he was dipping them in the most innocent,
the best, and purest blood of the world. But St. Paul had
peace, because he really had ' fought a good fight.' And it is
but a fond way to ask a sign how to discern when the sun
shines. If the sun shines we may easily perceive it, and then
the beams we see are the sunbeams ; but it is not a sure
argument to say, I see a light, therefore the sun shines ; for
he may espy only a tallow candle, or a glowworm.

(3.) That rest which is only in the days of prosperity is
not a just and a holy peace, but that which is in the days of
sorrow and affliction.* The noise and madness of wine, the
transportations of prosperity, the forgetfulness of riches, and
the voice of flatterers, outcry conscience, and put it to silence ;
and there is no reason to commend a woman's silence and
modesty when her mouth is stopped. But in the days of
sorrow, then conscience is vocal, and her muffler is off;

Invigilant animo, scelerisque parati

Supplicium exercent curae : tune plurima versat
Pessimus in dubiis augur timor z

and then a man naturally searches every where for comfort ;
and if his heart then condemns him not, it is great odds but
it is a holy peace.

(4.) Peace of mind is not to be used as a sign that God
hath pardoned our sins, but is only of use in questions of par-
ticular fact. What evils have I done ? What good have I

T Prov. xxx. 20. y Ecclus. xiii. 26.

Statius Theb. iii. 4. Bipont. p. 202.


done? The peace that comes after this examination is holy
and good. But if I have peace in these particulars, then have
I peace towards God also, as to these particulars : but whe-
ther I have pardon for other sins which I have committed, is
another consideration, and is always more uncertain. But
even here also a peace of conscience is a hlessing that is
given to all holy penitents more or less, at some time or other,
according as their repentance proceeds, and their hope is ex-
ercised : but it is not to be judged of by sense and ease, but
by its proper causes : it never comes but after fear, and
labour, and prayers, and watchfulness, and assiduity ; and then
what succeeds is a blessing, and a fair indication of a bigger.
(5.) True peace of conscience is always joined with a holy
fear ; a fear to offend, and a fear of the Divine displeasure
for what we have offended ; and the reason is, because all
peace that is so allayed, is a peace after inquiry, a peace
obtained by just instruments, relying upon proper grounds ;
it is rational, and holy, and humble ; neither carelessness
nor presumption is in it.

(6.) True peace of conscience relies not upon popular
noises, and is not a sleep procured by the tongues of flatterers,
or opinions of men, but is a peace from within, relying upon
God and its own just measures. It is an excellent discourse
which Seneca hath : " Est aliquando gratus, etiam qui ingra-
tus videtur, quam mala interpres opinio contrarium traducit.
Hie quid aliud sequitur, quam ipsam conscientiam ? quse
etiam obruta delectat, quse concioni ac famaj reclamat, et in
se omnia reponit, et quam ingentern ex altera parte turbam
contra sentientium aspexit, non numerat suffragia, sed una
sententia vincit ; Some men are thankful, who yet seem
unthankful, being wronged by evil interpretation. But such
a man, what else does he follow but his conscience ? which
pleases him, though it be overborne with slander ; and when
she sees a multitude of men that think otherwise, she regards
not, nor reckons suffrages by the poll, but is victorious by
her single sentence. " a But the excellence and great effect
of this peace he afterwards describes : " Si vero bonam fidem
perfidiffi suppliciis affici videt, non descendit e fastigio, sed
supra pcenam suani consistit. Habeo, inquit, quod volui,

Lib. iv. de Benefic. c. 21, 4. Ruhkopf, vol. iv. p. 169.


quod petii. Non poenitet, nee pcenitebit, nee ulla iniquitate

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