Thomas Fuller.

The cause and cure of a wounded conscience ; also Triana, or, A threefold romanza, of Mariana, Paduana, and Sabina ; Ornithologie, or, The speech of birds ; and Antheologia, or, The speech of flowers online

. (page 1 of 14)
Online LibraryThomas FullerThe cause and cure of a wounded conscience ; also Triana, or, A threefold romanza, of Mariana, Paduana, and Sabina ; Ornithologie, or, The speech of birds ; and Antheologia, or, The speech of flowers → online text (page 1 of 14)
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c'X C 'c c

unxiAM CLowi.:s and sons, sta^ifohd b-ruEET

LO-NDON : FEINTED BV ^^^ ^^^^^ ^^^^^_





By the judicial law of the Jews, if a servant*
had children by a wife which was given him by
his master, though he himself went forth free in
the seventh year, yet his children did remain with
his master, as the proper goods of his possession.
I ever have been and shall be a servant to that
noble family whence your honour is extracted.
And of late in that house I have been wedded to
the pleasant embraces of a private life, the fittest
wife and meetest AeZper that can be provided for
a student in troublesome times : and the same
hath been bestowed upon me by the bounty of
your noble brother, Edward Lord Montague.

* Exodus xxi. 4.


Wherefore what issue soever shall result from my
mind, by his means most happily married to a
retked life, must, of due, redound to his Jionour,
as the sole proprietary of my pains during my
present condition. Now this hooh is my eldest
offspring, which had it been a son (I mean, had
it been a work of masculine beauty and bigness),
it should have waited as a pa^e in dedication to
his honour. But finding it to be of the weaker
sex, little in strength and low in stature, may it
be admitted (madam) to attend on your ladyshij),
his honour's sister.

I need not mind your ladyshi^p how God hath
measured outward happiness unto you by the
cubit of the sanctuary, of the largest size, so that
one would be perplexed to wish more than what
your ladyship doth enjoy. My prayer to God
shall be, that, shining as a pearl of grace here,
you may shiiie as a star in glory hereafter. So

Your Honour's,

In all Christian Offices,



January 25, 1646.


As one was not anciently to want a wedding
garment at a marriage feast ; so, now-a-days,
wilfully to wear gaudy clothes at a funeral, is
justly censurable as unsuiting with the occasion.
Wherefore, in this sad subject, 1 have endeavoured
to decline all light and luxurious expressions ; and
if I be found faulty therein, I cry and crave God
and the reader pardon. Thus deshing that my
pains may prove to the glory of God, thine, and
my own edification, I rest,

Thine in Christ Jesus,




Dialogue I. — What a wounded conscience is, wl.erewith the
godly and reprobate may he tortured .... 9

Dialogue II. — What use they are to make thereof, who
neither hitherto were (nor haply hereafter shall be)
visited with a wounded conscience . . . .13

DiALOGiE III. — Three solemn seasons when men are sur-
prised with wounded consciences . . . . .18

Dialogue IV. — The great torment of a wounded conscience
proved by reasons and examples . . . . .23

Dl^ogue v.— Sovereign uses to be made of the torment of
a wounded conscience . . . . . • .30

Dialogue VI.— in some ca&es more repentance must
be preached to a wounded conscience . . . .34

DoLOGUE VII.— Only Christ is to be applied to souls truly
contrite ......••• 39

Dialogue VIII.— Answers to the objections of a wounded
conscience, drawn from the grievousness of his sins . .44

Dialogue IX.— Answers to the objections of a wounded
conscience, drawn from the slightness of his repentance . "sO

Dialogue X.— Answers to the objections of a wounded con-
science, drawn from the feebleness of his faith . . o'.'

Dlilogue XI.— God alone can satisfy all objections of a
wounded conscience .....•• t)'-

Dialogue XII.— Means to be used by wounded consciences
for the recovering of comfort . . . • . bb



Dialogue XIII. — Four wholesome counsels for a wounded
conscience to practise 76

Dialogue XIV. — Comfortable meditations for wounded
consciences to muse upon . . . . , .81

Dialogue XV. — That is not always the greatest sin whereof
a man is guilty, wherewith his conscience is most pained
for the present . . . . . . . .87

Dialogue XVI. — Obstructions hindering the speedy flowing
of comfort into a troubled soul . . . . .92

Dialogue XVII. — What is to be conceived of their final
estate who die in a wounded conscience without any
visible comfort ..... ... 96

Dialogue XVIII. — Of the different time and manner of the
coming of comfort to such who are healed of a wounded
conscience . . . . . . . . 103

Dialogue XIX. — How such who are completely cured of a
wounded conscience are to demean themselves . .108

Dialogue XX. — Wliether one cured of a wounded con-
science be subject to a relapse . . . . .113

Dialogue XXI. — Whether it be lawful to pray for, or to
pray against, or to praise God, for a wounded conscience. 117




What a wounded Conscience is, whereioith the
Godly and Bejprohate may he tortured.

Timotheus. Seeing tlie best way never to know
a wounded conscience by woeful experience, is
speedily to know it by a sanctified consideration
thereof : give me, I pray you, the description of a
wounded conscience, in the highest degree thereof

Fhilologus. It is a conscience frightened at the
sight of sin,* and weight of God's wrath, even
unto the despair of all pardon during the present

Tim. Is there any difference betwixt a hroTien]

* Psalm xxsviii. G. t Psalm li. 17.

'40 ^ %/ : Itkk Cause and cuhe of

• t • * » •

' $][ii')iii ^ ^inh', al wp.unclied conscience, in this your

acception ?

Phil. Exceeding much : for a IroJcen spirit is
to be prayed and laboured for, as the most health-
ful and happy temper of the soul, letting in as
much comfort as it leaks out sorrow for sin :
whereas, a wounded conscience is a miserable
malady of the mind, filling it for the present
with despair.

Tim. In this your sense, is not the conscience
wounded every time that the soul is smitten with
guiltiness for any sin committed ?

Phil God forbid : otherwise his servants would
be in a sad condition, as in the case of David*
smitten by his own heart, for being (as he
thought) overbold with God's anointed, in cut-
ting off the skirt of SauTs garment. Such hurts
are presently healed by a plaster of Christ's
Hood, applied by faith, and never come to that
height to be counted and called wounded eon-

Tim. Are the godly, as well as the wicked,
subject to the malady ?

* 1 Sam. xxiv. 5.


Tliih Yes verily ; vessels of honour as well as
vessels of wrath in this world, are subject to the
knoclcs and bruises of a wounded conscience. A
patient Job, pious David, faithful Paul, may be
vexed therewith, no less than a cursed Cain, pei*-
fidious Achitophel, or treacherous Judas.

Tim. What is the difference betwixt a ivounded
conscience in the godly, and in the reprobate ?

Phil. None at all; oft times in the parties'
apprehensions, both for the time being, conceiving
their estates equally desperate ; little, if any, hi
the wideness and anguish of the wound itself,
which, for the time, may be as tedious and tor-
turing in the godly as in the wiched.

Tim. How then do they differ ?

Fhil. Exceeding much in God's intention,
gashing the wiched, as malefactors, out of justice,
but lancing the godly, out of love, as a surgeon his
patients. Likewise they differ in the issue and
event of the ivound, which ends in the eternal
confusion of the one, but in the correction and
amendment of the other.

Tim, Some have said, that in the midst of
their pain, by this marJc they may be distin-


guished ; because the godly, when wounded, com-
plain most of tlieir sins, and the ivicked of their

Phil I have heard as much ; but dare not lay
too much stress on this slender sign, (to make it
generally true) for fear of failing. For sorrow
for sin, and sorrow for suffering, are oft times
so twisted and interwoven in the same person,
yea in the same sigh and groan, that sometimes
it is impossible for the party himself to separate
and divide them in his own sense and feeling, as
to know which proceeds from the one and which
from the other. Only the all-seeing eije of an
infinite God is able to discern and distinguish

Tim. Inform me concerning the nature of
wounded consciences in the wiched.

Phil. Excuse me herein : I remember a ^passage
in S. Augustine,* who inquired what might be
the cause that the fall of the angels is not plainly
set down in the Old Testament with the manner

* Angelicum vulnus verus medicus qualiter factum sit indicare
noJuit, dura illud podea curare non desUnavit De Mirab. Scrip,
lib. i. c. 2.


and circumstances thereof, resolves it thus : God,
like a ivise surgeon, would not o^en that wound
which he never intended to cure. Of whose words,
thus far I make use, that as it was not according
to God's pleasure to restore the devils ; so, it
being above man's power to cure a ivounded
conscience in the wicked, I will not meddle with
that which I cannot mend : only will insist on a
wounded conscience in God's children, where, by
God's blessing, one may be the instrument to give
some ease and remedy unto their disease.


What use they are to make thereof, who neither
hitherto were, nor ha^ly hereafter shall he, visited
U'ith a wounded Conscience.

Tim. Are all God's children, either in their
life or at their death, visited with a wounded
conscience f

Phil. no. God invites many with his golden
scejptre, whom he never bruises with his rod of
iron. Many, neither in their conversion, nor in


the sequel of tlieir lives, have ever felt that ]pai7i
m such a manner and measure as amounts to a
ivounded conscience.

Tim. Must not the jpanc/s in their travail of the
oieiv hirth be painful unto them ?

Phil. Painful, but in different degrees. The
Blessed Virgin Mary (most hold) was delivered
without any pain ; as well may that child be horn
without sorrow, which is conceived without sin.
The women of Israel were sprightful and lively,
unlike the Egy])tians.^ The former favour, none
can have, in their spiritual travail; the latter,
some receive, who, though other whiles tasting of
legal frights and fears, yet God so preventetk\
them with his hlessings of goodness, that they smart
not so deeply therein as other men.

Tim. Who are those which commonly have
such gentle usage in their conversion ?

Fhil. Generally such who never were notoriously
profane, and have had the benefit of godly educa-
tion from pious parents. In some corporations,
the sons of freemen, bred under their fathers in
their profession, may set up and exercise their
* Exod. i. 19. t Psalm xxL 3.


fatliers trade, without ever being bound apprentices
thereunto. Such children whose 'parents have
been citizens of new Jerusalem,* and have been
bred in the mystery of godliness, oftentimes are
entered into religion without any spirit of hondage
seizing upon them, a great benefit and rare
blessing where God in his goodness is pleased to
bestow it.

Tim. What may be the reason of God's dealing
so differently with his own servants, that some of
them are so deeply, and others not at all afflicted
with a ivoimded conscience 9

Phil Even so, Father, because it pleaseth thee.
Yet in humility these reasons may be assigned.
1. To show himself a free agent, not confined to
follow the same precedent, and to deal with all as
he doth with some. 2. To render the prospect of
his proceedings the more pleasant to their sight
who judiciously survey it, when they meet with
so much diversity and variety therein. 3. That
men being both ignorant when, and uncertain
whether or not God will visit them with ivounded
consciences, may wait on him with humble hearts
* Gal. iv. 26 ; Eph. ii. 19 ; Heb. xii. 22.


in the work of their salvation, looMng as the eyes
of the servants* to receive orders from the hand
of their master ; but what, when, and how, they
know not, which quickens their daily expectations
and diligent dependence on his pleasure.

Tim. I am one of those, whom God hitherto
hath not humbled with a wounded conscience : give
me some instructions for my behaviour.

Fhil. First, be heartily thankful to God's infinite
goodness, who hath not dealt thus with every one.
Now because rejpentance hath two parts, mourning
and mending, or humiliation and reformation, the
more God hath abated thee in the former, out of
his gentleness, the more must thou increase in the
latter, out of thy gratitude. What thy humiliation
hath wanted of other men, in the dej^th thereof,
let thy reformation make up in the breadth thereof,
spreading into an universal obedience unto all God's
commandments. Well may he expect more work
to be done by thy hands, who hath laid less weight
to be borne on thy shoulders.

Tim. What other use must I make of God's
kindness unto me ?

* Psalm cxxiii. 2.


Phil. You are bound the more patiently to bear
all God's rods, poverty, sickness, disgrace, caiMvity,
^c, seeing God bath freed thee from the stinging
scorpion of a ivounded conscience.

Tim. How shall I demean myself for the time
to come ?

Fliil. Be not high-minded, but fear ; for thou
canst not infallibly infer, that because thou hast
not hitherto, hereafter thou shalt not, taste of a
wounded conscience.

Tim. I will therefore for the future, with con-
tinual fear, wait for the coming thereof.

Fhil. Wait not for it with servile fear, but
watch ao-ainst it with constant carefulness. There
is a slavish fear to be visited with a wounded
conscience, which fear is to be avoided, for it is
opposite to the free spu'it of grace, derogatoiy to
the goodness of God in his gospel, destructive to
spiritual joy, which we ought always to have, and
dangerous to the soul, wrecking it wit-h anxieties
and unworthy suspicions. Thus to fear a wounded
conscience, is in part to feel it, antedating one's
misery and tormenting himself before the time,
seeking for that he would be loth to find : Hke


the wicked in tlie Gospel,* of whom it is said, mens
hearts failing them for fear, and loohing for those
things which are coming. Far be such d^fear from
thee, and all good Christians.

Tim. What fear then is it, that you so lately
recommended unto me ?

Fhil. One, consisting in the cautious avoiding
of all causes and occasions of a wounded conscience
conjoined with a confidence in God's goodness,
that he will either preserve us from, or protect us
in the torture thereof ; and if he ever sends it,
will sanctify it in us, to his glory, and our good.
May T, you, and all God's servants, ever have this
noble fear (as I may term it) in our hearts.


Three solemn Seasons when Men are surprised
with wounded Consciences.

Tim. What are those times, wherein men most

commonly are assaulted with wounded consciences ?

Fhil. So bad a guest may visit a man at any

* Luke xxi. 26.



hour of his life ; for no season is unseasonable for
God to be just, Satan to be mischievous, and
sinful man to be miserable; yet it happens
especially at three principal times.
Tim. Of these, which is the first ?
Phil In the twilight of a man's conversion, in
the very conflict and combat betwixt nature and
initial grace. For then he that formerly slept in
carnal security, is awakened with his fearful
condition. God, as he saith. Psalm 1. 21, setteth Ms
sins in order before Ms eyes. Imprimis, the sin of
his conception. Item, the sins of his childhood.
Item, of his youth. Item, of his man's estate, &c.
Or, ImiJrimis, sins against the first table. Item,
sins against the second ; so many of ignorance, so
many of knowledge, so many of presumption,
severally sorted by themselves. He committed
sins confusedly, huddling them up in heaps ; but
God sets them in order, and methodizes them to
his hand.

Tiw.. Sins thus set in order must needs be a
terrible sight.

Phil. Yes surely, the rather because the meta-
phor may seem taken from setting an army in


battle array. At tliis conflict in liis first conver-
sion, heliold a troop of sins ccmeth, and when God
himself shall marslial them in ranJc and file, what
guilty conscience is able to endure the furious
charge of so great and well-ordered an army ?

Tim. Suppose the party dies before he be com-
pletely converted, in this twilight condition as you
term it, what then becomes of his soul, which may
seem too good to dwell in outer darkness with
devils, and too bad to go to the God of light ?

Phil. Your suiDposition is impossible. Eemem-
ber our discourse only concerns the godly. Now
God never is father to abortive children, but to
such who, according to his appointment, shall come
to perfection.

TijTi. Can they not therefore die in this in-
terim, before the worJi of grace be wrought in

Phil. No verily. Christ's bones were in them
selves breakable, but could not actually be broken
by all the violence in the world, because God hath
fore-decreed, a hone of him shall not he hrohen. So
we confess God's childi-en mortal ; but all the
power of devil or man may not, must not, shall


not, cannot, kill them before their conversion,
according to God's election of them to life, which
must be fully accomplished.

Tim. What is the second solemn time wherein
wounded consciences assault men ?

Fhil. After their conversion completed, and
this either upon the committing of a conscience-
wasting sin, such as Tertidlian calls loeccatum
devoratorium scdutis, or upon the undergoing of
some heavy affliction of a bigger standard and
proportion, blacker hue and complexion, than
what befalls ordinary men, as in the case of Job.

Tim. Wliich is the third, and last time, when
wounded consciences commonly walk abroad ?

Phil When men lie on their death-beds, Satan
must now roar, or else for ever hold his peace :
roar he may afterwards with very anger to vex
himself, not with any hope to hurt us. There is
mention in Scriioture of an evil day, which is most
applicable to the time of our death. We read also
of an hour of temptation ;* and the prophet t tells
us there is a moment, wherein God may seem to
forsahe us. Now Satan being no less cunning to
* Eev. iii. 10. f Isa. Iviii. 7.


find out, tliaii careful to make use of his time of
advantage, in that moment of that hour of that daij,
will put hard for our souls, and we must expect a
shrewd parting blow from him.

Tim. Your doleful prediction disheartens me,
for fear I may be foiled in my last encounter.

Fhil. Be of good comfort: through Christ we
shall be victorious, both in dying and in death
itself. Kemember God's former favours bestowed
upon thee. Indeed wicked men, from the premises
of God's power, collect a conclusion of his weak-
ness, Fsahn Ixxviii. 20. Beliold he smote the rock,
that the waters gushed out, and the streams over-
flowed: can he give bread also? can he provide
flesh for his 2^eo2^^e ? But God's children * by
better logic, from the prepositions of God's former
preservations, infer his power and pleasure to
protect them for the future. Be assured, that
hGod, who hath been the God of the mountains,
and made our mountains strong in time of our
^prosperity, will also be the God of the valleys,
and lead us safe through the valley of the shadow
of death.'\

* 1 Sam. xvii 36 ; 2 Cor. i. 10. f Psalm xxxiii. 4.



The great Torment of a wounded Conscience, proved
hy Reasons and Examples.

Tim. Is the pain of a ivounded conscience so
great as is pretended ?

FliU. God * saith it, we have seen it, and others
have felt it, whose complaints savour as little of
dissimulation, as their cries in a fit of the cholic do
of counterfeiting.

Tim. Whence comes this wound to be so great
and orrievous?

Phil. Six reasons may be assigned thereof. The
first di-awn from the heaviness of the hand which
makes the wound; namely, God himself, con-
ceived under the notion of an infinite angry judge.
In aU other afflictions, man encounters only with
man, and in the worst temptations, only with
Satan ; but in a ivounded conscience, he enters the
lists immediately with God himself.

Tim. Whence is the second reason brought ?

Fhil. From the sharpness t of the sword, where-

* Prov. xviii. 14. t Heb. iv. 12.


with the wound is made, being the word of God,
y and the keen threat enings of the law therein con-
tained. There is mention, Gen. iii. 24, of a sword
; turning every way : parallel whereto is the word of
God in a wounded conscience. Man's heart is full
of windings, turnings, and doublings, to shift and
shun the stroke thereof if possible ; but this sword
meets them wheresoever they move — it fetches
and finds them out — it haunts and hunts them,
forbidding them, during their agony, any entrance
into the paradise of one comfortable thought.
Tim. Whence is the third reason derived ?
Phil. From the tenderness of the part itself
which is wounded ; the conscience being one of the
eyes of the soul, sensible of the smallest hurt. And
when that callum, schirrus, or incrustation, drawn
over it by nature, and hardened by custom in sin, is
once flayed off, the conscience becomes so pliant
and supple, that the least imaginable touch is
painful unto it.

Tim. What is the fourth reason ?
Phil. ThefoUy of the patient : who being stung,
hath not the wisdom to look up to Chi'ist, the
brazen serpent, but torments himself with his own


activity. It was threatened to Pashur* Iivill make
thee a terror to^ thyself. So fares it with God's best
saint during the fit of his perplexed conscience ; he
hears his own voice — he thinks, this is that which
so often hath sworn, lied, talked vainly, wantonly,
wickedly ; his voice is a terror to himself. He sees
his own eyes in a glass^-he presently apprehends,
these are those which shot forth so many envious,
covetous, amorous glances ; his eyes are a terror to
himself. Sheep are observed to fly without cause,
scared (as some say) with the sound of their own
feet. Their feet knack, because they fly, and they
fly, because their feet knack, an emblem of God's
children in a wounded conscience, self-fearing, self-

Tim. What is the fifth reason which makes the
pain so great ?

Phil. Because Satan rakes his claivs in the reek-
ing Hood of a wounded conscience. Beelzebuh, the
deviTs name, signifies in Hebrew the Lord of flies ;
which excellently intimates his nature and employ-
ment : flies take their felicity about sores and
galled hacks, to infest and inflame them : So Satan
* Jer. XX. 4.



no sooner discovers (and that hird of prei/ hath
qtcick siglit) a soul terror-struck, but thither he
hastes, and is busy to keep the ivound raw — there
he is in his throne to do mischief.

Tim. What is the sixth and last reason why a
wounded conscience is so great a torment ?

Fliil. Because of the impotency and invalidity of
all earthly receipts to give ease thereunto. For
there is such a gulf of disproportion betwixt a
mind-malady and body-medicines, that no carnal,
corporal comforts can effectually work there-

Tim. Yet wine in this case is prescribed in scrip-
ture. Give wine to the heavy hearted, that they
may remember their misery no more.*

Phil. Indeed if the wound be in the spirits,
those cursitors betwixt soul and body, to recover
their decay or consumption, wine may usefully be
applied: but if the wound be in the spirit, in
scripture phrase, all carnal, corporal comforts are
utterly in vain.

Tim. Methinks merry company should do much
to 1 afresh him.

* Prov. xxxi. G.


Phil. Alas ! a man shall no longer be welcome
in merry co7nj)ani/ than he is able to sing his part

1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

Online LibraryThomas FullerThe cause and cure of a wounded conscience ; also Triana, or, A threefold romanza, of Mariana, Paduana, and Sabina ; Ornithologie, or, The speech of birds ; and Antheologia, or, The speech of flowers → online text (page 1 of 14)