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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 innocence. 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 : 6. 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.
Nec videt interea, qui terminus esse malorum
Possit, qui ve siet pœnarum denique finis:
Atque eadem metuit magis, hæc ne in morte gravescant :
He that fears in this case, knows not the greatness and measure of the evil which he fears; it may arrive to infinite, and it may be any thing, and it may be every thing:-and therefore there is,
16. (5.) An appendant perpetuity and restlessness; a man of an evil conscience is never at quiet. Impietas enim malum infinitum est, quod nunquam extingui potest," said Philo 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 vulture,
Immortale jecur tundens, fœcundaque pœnis
It gnaws perpetually, and consumes not, being like the fire of hell, it does never devour, but torments for ever.
b Jer. xx. 3, 4.
17. (6.) This fear and torment, which are inflicted by conscience, do not only increase at our death, but after death
c Lucret. 3. 103S. Eichstadt, p. 138.
is the beginning of hell. For these are the fire of hell; ὀδυνῶμαι ἐν τῇ φλογὶ ταύτῃ, “ I am tormented in this fame ;” so said Dives, when he was in torments; that is, he had the torments of an evil conscience, for hell itself is not to be 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 meum;" "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 scourgings."
Pœna autem vehemens, ac multo sævior illis,
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 insupportable amazement fears the revelation of the day of the Lord. Et cum fateri faria jasserit verum, Prodente clamet conscientiâ, scripsis.
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 execution. Menippus, in Lucian ", says that the souls of them that are dead, are accused by the shadows of their bodies. Avraι τοίνυν, ἐπειδὰν ἀποθάνωμεν, κατηγοροῦσι τε καὶ καταμαρτυροῦσι, καὶ διελέγχουσι τὰ πεπραγμένα ἡμῖν παρὰ τὸν βιον· and these he says are diómiσTOL, worthy of belief,' because they are always present, and never parted from their bodies; meaning, 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 conscience does thus torment a man, and take vengeance of him
g Martial, 10. 5. 18. Mattaire, p. 191. h Neuvoμavrela. 2. Bipont. vol. 3 p. 15.
Juvenal, 13. 196.
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 inflicting 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 complaining; 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 impudent, 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 exerceatur pœnis, veterumque malorum
This the poets and priests expressed by their Adrastea, Nemesis, Minos, acus, 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 further 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
i Virg. Æn. 6. 739.
"They that evil threatened by God to fall upon sinners. are 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" 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 assurance of thy life':" and this very fear ends in death itself; it is a mortal fear sometimes; for when the prophet Isaiah TM 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 expectato adventu hostis, velut transfossi, exanimantur metu :" They were dead with fear, slain with the affrightments of their own conscience, as if they weretransfixed by the spear of their enemies."-" Quid ergo nos à diis immortalibus divinitus expectemus, nisi irrationibus finem faciamus," said Q. Metellus in A. Gellius ": 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 expressly affirmed by God, that evil shall be to them that do evil;
Θεοὺς ἀτίζων τις βροτῶν, δώσει δίκην,
He that dishonours God, shall not escape punishment;" both in this life,
Ultrix Erinnys impio dignum parat
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 adulterium cæsi, quique arma secuti
* Levit. xxvi. 36..
n Lib. 1. c. 6.
Senec. Octav. 620. Schroeder, p. 782.
Isa. xxii. 2. • Eschyl. Suppl. 747. Schutz. Virg. Æn. 6. 612.
Deut. xxviii. 65.
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 threatened with horrid plagues, but such which do seldom escape vengeance in this life, but for their particular mischief are hedged about with thorns, lest by their frequency they become 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 conscience.
But, (2.) There are some certain defensatives and natural guards which God hath placed in men against some sins; such as are, a natural abhorrency against unnatural lusts: a natural pity against murder and oppression: the double hedge of sacredness and religion against sacrilege. He therefore 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