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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 spectacles, and hears so many groans, and clamorous complaints, such importunities, and such prayers, and such fearful cursings, 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 entering 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 shepherds 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 formidable; 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 conscience 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 re

pentance; but as some great sins escape the rod of God in this life, so are such sinners oftentimes free from great affrightments. 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 conscience: he that fears not, hath never the less 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 troublesome. 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 silently 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;


Μόνον δὲ τοῦτό φασ ̓ ἁμιλλᾶσθαι βίῳ,
Γνώμην δικαίαν κἀγαθὴν, ὅτῳ παρῇ '. .

A good conscience is the most certain, clearest, and undisturbed felicity. "Lectulus respersus floribus bona est conscientia, 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 tam lætari soleo quam officiorum 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

Hippolyt. 428.-Priestley's edition of Eurip, vol. 3. p. 137.
$ 2 Cor. i, 12.



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 ætatis 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 hereafter an eternal




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 voluptatis parit :" and Cato in Cicero": "Conscientia bene actæ vitæ multorumque benefactorum recordatio jucundissima est." Nothing is a greater pleasure than a good conscience; for there is peace and no disturbance; καρπὸς μέγιστος ἀταραξία: ‘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 conscience. Only care is to be taken, that boldness be not mistaken for peace, and hardness of heart for a good conscience. It is easy to observe the difference, and no man can be innocently abused in this affair. Peace is the fruit of a holy conscience. 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 my God, and I have examined my conscience 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. o. 3. §. 7. pag. 21.

Signs of true Peace.

(1.) Peace of conscience is a rest after a severe inquiry. When 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 confident.

(2.) Peace of conscience can never be in wicked persons, of notorious evil lives. It is a fruit of holiness; and therefore what quietness soever is in persons of evil lives, it is to be attributed to any other cause, rather than innocence; and therefore is to be called any thing 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 sun-beams; 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 curæ: tunc plurima versat
Pessimus in dubiis augur timor


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 particular fact. What evils have I done? what good have I

x Prov. xxx. 20.

Ecclus. xiii. 26.

z 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 whether 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 blessing that is given to all holy penitents more or less, at some time or other, according as their repentance proceeds, and their hope is exercised 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 ingratus videtur, quam mala interpres opinio contrarium traducit. Hic quid aliud sequitur, quam ipsam conscientiam? quæ etiam obruta delectat, quæ concioni ac famæ reclamat, et in se omnia reponit, et quum ingentem 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." But the excellency and great effect of this peace he afterward describes: "Si vero bonam fidem perfidiæ suppliciis affici videt, non descendit è fastigio, sed supra pœnam suam consistit.-Habeo, inquit, quod volui, quod petii. Non pœnitet, nec pœnitebit, nec ulla iniquitate

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

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