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ble, when God sends war, or sickness, or death. It was Saul's case: when he lost that fatal battle in which the ark was taken, he called to the Amalekite, "Sta super me et interfice me," "Fall upon me and slay me ;" "Quoniam tenent me angustiæ," "I am in a great strait."-He was indeed; for his son was slain, and his army routed, and his enemies were round about: but then conscience stepped in, and told him of the evil that he had done in causing fourscore of the Lord's priests to be slain; and therefore Abulensis reads the words thus, "Fall upon me and slay me," "Quoniam tenent me oræ vestimenti sacerdotalis," "I am entangled in the fringes of the priests' garments."-"Videbatur sibi Saul, quod propinquus morti videret sacerdotes Dei accusantes eum in judicio coram Deo:" "He thought he saw the priests of the Lord accusing him before God."-And this hath been an old opinion of the world, that, in the days of their calamity, wicked persons are accused by those whom they have injured. Not much unlike to which is that of Plato, describing the torments of wicked souls; Βοῶσί τε καὶ καλοῦσιν, οἱ μὲν οὓς ἀπέκτειναν, οἱ δὲ, οὓς ὕβρισαν· καλέσαντες δ ̓ ἱκετεύουσι τοὺς ἠδικημένους δοῦναί σφισι συγγνώμην, “They roar and cry out; some calling on them whom they killed, some on those they have calumniated; and calling they pray them whom they have injured, to give them pardon." Then every bush is a wild beast, and every shadow is a ghost, and every glowworm is a dead man's candle, and every lantern is a spirit.
Matris lampade respicis Neronem P.
When Nero was distressed, he saw his mother's taper, and grew pale with it.
11. (2.) The second effect is shame, which conscience. never fails to inflict secretly, there being a secret turpitude and baseness in sin, which cannot be better expressed than by its opposition and contradiction to conscience. Conscience when it is right, makes a man bold; "Qui ambulat simpliciter, ambulat confidenter;" "He that walks honestly, walks confidently," because he hath innocence and he hath reason on
Bp. Taylor seems to have quoted from memory: the original passage runs thus; Ενταῦθα βοῶσί τε, καὶ καλοῦσιν, οἱ μὲν οὓς ἀπέκτειναν, οἱ δὲ, οὓς ἔβρισαν· καλέσαντες δ ̓ ἱκετεύουσι, καὶ δέονται, ἐᾶσαι σφᾶς ἐκβῆναι εἰς τὴν λίμνην, καὶ δέξασθαι. Fischer, p. 481. (J. R. P.)
P Statius, Sylv. 2. 7. 118. Bipont. p. 61.
his side. But he that sins, sins against reason, in which the honour and the nobleness of a man consist; and therefore shame must needs come in the destitution of them. For as by reason men naturally rule, so when they are fallen from it, unless by some accidental courages they be supported, they fall into the state of slaves and sneaking people. And upon this account it was that Plato said, "Si scirem Deos mihi condonaturos, et homines ignoraturos, adhuc peccare erubescerem propter solam peccati turpitudinem :" "If I were sure God would pardon me, and men would not know my sin, yet I should be ashamed to sin, because of its essential baseness."-The mistresses of our vile affections are so ugly we cannot endure to kiss them but through a veil, either the veil of excuse, or pretence, or darkness; something to hide their ugliness; and yet even these also are so thin that the filthiness and shame are not hid. "Bona conscientia turbam advocat, mala autem in solitudine anxia atque solicita est," said Seneca. An evil conscience is ashamed of light, and afraid of darkness; and therefore nothing can secure it. But being ashamed before judges, and assemblies, it flies from them into solitudes; and when it is there, the shame is changed into fear, and therefore from thence it runs abroad into societies of merry criminals, and drinking sanctuaries; which is nothing but a shutting the eyes, and hiding the head, while the body is exposed to a more certain danger. It cannot be avoided: it was and is and will eternally be true," Perjurii pœna divina exitium; humana dedecus P." Which St. Paul perfectly renders, "The things whereof ye are now ashamed; the end of those things is death." Death is the punishment which God inflicts, and shame is that which comes from man.
12. (3.) There is another effect which cannot be well told by him that feels it, or by him that sees it, what it is because it is a thing without limit and without order. It is a distraction of mind, indeterminate, divided thoughts, flying every thing, and pursuing nothing. It was the case of Nebuchadnezzar, οἱ διαλογισμοὶ αὑτοῦ διετάρασσον αὐτὸν, ‘his thoughts troubled him.'-" Varios vultus, disparilesque sensus," like the sophisters who in their pursuit of vain-glory
Rom. vi. 21.
P Cicero de Legib. lib. 2. c. ix. Wagner, p. 55.
displeased the people, and were hissed from their pulpits; nothing could amaze them more; they were troubled like men of a disturbed conscience. The reason is, they are fallen into an evil condition, which they did not expect; they are abused in their hopes, they are fallen into a sad state of things, but they know not what it is, nor where they are, nor whither it will bear them, nor how to get out of it. This indeed is commonly the first part of the great evil; shame goes along with the sin, in the very acting it, but as soon as it is acted, then begins this confusion;
nefas tandem incipiunt sentire, peractis Criminibus
they thought of nothing but pleasure before; but as soon as they have finished, then they begin to taste the wormwood and the coloquintida; "perfecto demum scelere, magnitudo ejus intellecta est," said Tacitus. While they were doing it, they thought it little, or they thought it none, because their fancy and their passion ruled; but when that is satisfied and burst with a filthy plethory, then they understand how great their sin is, but are distracted in their thoughts, for they understand not how great their calamity shall be.
Occultum quatiente animo tortore flagellum',
the secret tormenter shakes the mind, and dissolves it into indiscrimination and confusion. The man is like one taken in a lie, or surprised in a shameful act of lust, or theft; at first he knows not what to say, or think, or do, and his spirits huddle together, and fain would go somewhere, but they know not whither, and do something, but they know not what.
13. This confusion and first amazement of the conscience in some vile natures, and baser persons, proceeds to impudence, and hardness of face.
frontemque à crimine sumunt,
When they are discovered, they rub their foreheads hard, and consider it cannot be worse, and therefore in their way they make the best of it; that is, they will not submit to the judgment of conscience, nor suffer her infliction, but take the for
r Juv. 13. 239. Ruperti.
Annal. 14. 10. Raperti, p. 369,
tune of the banditi, or of an outlaw, rather than by the rule of subjects suffer the penalty of the law, and the severity of the judge. But conscience hath no hand in this, and whatsoever of this nature happens, it is in despite of conscience; and if it proceeds upon that method, it goes on to obstinacy, hardness of heart, a resolution never to repent, a hatred of God, and reprobation. For if conscience be permitted to do its work, this confusion when it comes to be stated, and that the man hath time to consider it, passes on to fear; and that is properly the next effect.
14. (4.) An evil or a guilty conscience is disposed for fear; shame and fear cannot be far asunder: ·
̓Ενθα δέος, ἐνταῦθα κ ̓ αἰδώς u.
Sin makes us ashamed before men, and afraid of God: an evil conscience makes man a coward, timorous as a child in a church-porch at midnight; it makes the strongest men to tremble like the keepers of the house of an old man's tabernacle.
Ο συνιστορῶν αὑτῷ τι, καν ᾗ Θρασύτατος,
said Menander. No strength of body, no confidence of spirit, is a defensative against an evil conscience, which will intimidate the courage of the most perfect warrior.
Qui terret, plus iste timet: sors ista tyrannis
So Claudian describes the state of tyrants and injurious persons; 'they do evil and fear worse, they oppress brave men, and are afraid of mean fellows; they are encompassed with swords, and dwell amongst poisons, they have towers with back-doors and many outlets; and they threaten much, but themselves are most afraid.' We read of Belshazzar, his knees beat against each other upon the arrest made on him by the hand on the wall, which wrote the sentence of God in a strange character, because he would not read the writing in his conscience. This fear is very great and very lasting,
x Clerici, P. 216.
y De 4. Honor. Consol. 290. Gesner, vol. 1. p. 106.
even in this world: and is rarely well described by Lu
Which description of the evil and intolerable pains and fears of conscience is exceeded by the author of the Wisdom of Solomon", "Indisciplinatæ animæ erraverunt." That is the ground of their misery; "The souls were refractory to discipline, 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 perpetuæ providentia 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 forgetfulness; 'paventes horrende, et cum admiratione nimia perturbati,'' 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 personæ tristes apparentes pavorem illis præstabant,'' sad apparitions did affright them;' a fire appeared to them very formidable; 'et timore percussi ejus quæ non videbatur 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 affrightment, horrid amazement and confusion; pleni timore,' and 'tremebundi peribant,' 'full of fear, and they perished trembling;' and then follows the philosophy and rational account of all this. Frequenter enim præoccupant pessima, redarguente conscientia." "When their conscience reproves them, they are possessed 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 condemned, it is full of affrightment." For fear is præsumptionis adjutorium,' the allay of confidence and presumption, and the z Lucretius, 3. 1024. Eichstadt, f. 137.
a Wisd. xvii,