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Why should'st thou disbelieve?—"Tis reason bids,
All-sacred reason." Hold her sacred still;
Nor shalt thou want a rival in thy flame.
Reason, my heart is thine; deep in its folds
Live thou with life; live dearer of the two.
My reason re-baptiz'd me, when adult,
Weigh'd true and false in her impartial scale;
And made that choice, which once was but my fate.
Reason, pursued, is faith: and unpursued,
Where proof invites, 'tis reason then no more;
And such our proof, that or our faith is right,
Or reason lies, and Heaven designed it wrong.
Absolve we this? What, then, is blasphemy?
Fond as we are, and justly fond of faith,
Reason, we grant, demands our first regard.
The mother honour'd, as the daughter dear;
Reason the root, fair faith is but the flow'r ;
The fading flower shall die; but reason lives
Immortal, as her Father in the skies.

Wrong not the Christian, think not reason yours:
'Tis reason our great Master holds so dear;
'Tis reason's injur'd rights his wrath resents.
Believe, and show the reason of a man.

For what obeys


Reason, is free; and reason he made right. By reason, I understand that faculty, or power of the mind, by which men discern and judge of right and wrong, of good and evil, of truth and error, and the like.



Reason is the power of placing ideas together, and comparing them with each other, in order to see their agreement or difference, and to infer one thing from another, and thus draw just conclusions from true and clear principles; that is, make fair deductions from solid axioms and self-evident truths.


By slow degrees his reason drove away

The mist of passion, and resum'd her sway.


What is right reason, in short, but that which alone can conduct and preserve us in the good and right way, instruct us to speak right things, and direct us to do that which is good and right in the

sight of the Lord? It is a mighty easy thing to prate about a certain jumble of ideas, which are compounded together with a certain set of terms, as unintelligible to the million as a foreign tongue, and then to call it philosophy; but nothing is in truth philosophy, but right reason; nor any thing right reason, in the most refined and valuable definition of it, than that which I have here attempted to delineate in its great outline: nor would it be any dishonour to highest talents, to display it to much greater advantage.

Temple of Truth. Reason exalts man above all earthly beings; it is his dignity and privilege, that God hath furnished him with abilities of mind, to recollect, animadvert, compare, infer, ponder, and judge his own actions. Hereby he becomes not only capable of moral government by human laws, (which no creature beside him is) but also of spiritual government by divine laws, and the blessed fruition of God in glory, which no other species of creatures (angels only excepted) have a subjected capacity for.

Right reason, by the law of nature, (as an home-born judge) arbitrates and determines all things within its proper province; which province is extended far and wide. All actions, natural, moral, and civil, are weighed at this beam and standard; none are exempted, but matters of supernatural revelation; and yet even these are not wholly and in every respect exempt from right reason: for though there be some mysteries in religion above the sphere and flight of reason: yet nothing can be found in religion, that is unreasonable. And though these mysteries be not of natural investigation, bet of supernatural revelation; yet reason is convinced, nothing can be more reasonable, than that it take its place at the feet of faith; which is but to suffer itself to become pupil to an omniscient and infallible instructor. The resolution of our reason into faith, and of faith into God's veracity, are acts highly becoming reasonable beings in such cases as these.

It may not pry too nicely into unrevealed mysteries, demand the

reasons, or examine the causes of them as bold and daring Socinians do; but it feels itself obliged to receive all those things, both as possible and true, which God hath revealed, counting his revelation

alone to be reason sufficient. For the veracity of God takes out of reason's mouth all objections against the truth of them; and his almighty power silences all its scruples against the possibility of them.

But in all matters properly under the jurisdiction of reason, every man is obliged to account with himself, as well as others, for the reasonableness of his own actions; and that act which will not endure the test of sound reason, it judges not fit for the entertainment of man. If reason cannot justify it, it is beneath the rank and dig nity of a man to do it.


Conscience, what art thou? Thou tremendous power,
That dost inhabit us without our leave,
And art, within ourselves, another self,
A master self, that loves to domineer,
And treat the monarch frankly as the slave;
How dost thou light a torch to distant deeds,
Make the past present, and the future frown!
How ever and anon awake the soul,

As with a peal of thunder, to strange horrors,
In this long, restless dream, which ideots hug,
Nay, wise men flatter with the name of life!
Conscience signifies knowledge in conjunction; that is, in con-
junction with the fact to which it is witness, as the eye is to the
action done before it; or, as South observes, it is a double or joint
knowledge; namely, one of a divine law, and the other of a man's
own actions. It may be defined to be the judgment which a man
passes on the morality of his actions, as to their purity or turpitude;
or the secret testimony of the soul, whereby it approves things that
are good, and condemns those that are evil. Some object to its
being called an act, habit, or faculty. An act, say they, would be
represented as an agent, whereas conscience is a testimony. To say
it is a habit, is to speak of it as a disposition acting, which is scarcely
more accurate than ascribing one act to another; and besides, it
would be strange language, to say that conscience itself is a habit,
Against defining it by the name of a power or faculty, it is ob-

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jected, that it occasions a false notion of it, as a distinct power from


Conscience has been considered as natural, or that common principle which instructs men of all countries and religions in the duties to which they are all alike obliged; there seems to be something of this in the minds of all men, even in the darkest regions of the earth; and among the rudest tribes of men, a distinction has ever been made between just and unjust, a duty and a crime.

O'treach'rous Conscience! while she seems to sleep

On rose and myrtle, lull'd with syren song;
While she seems, nodding o'er her charge, to drop
On headlong appetite the slacken'd rein,
And give us up to licence unrecall'd,
Unmark'd-see, from behind her secret stand,

The sly informer minutes every fault,

And her dread diary with horror fills.
Not the gross act alone employs her pen,
She reconnoitres fancy's airy band,

A watchful foe! The formidable spy,
List'ning, o'erhears the whispers of our camp:
Our dawning purposes of heart explores,
And steals our embryos of iniquity.

As all-rapacious usurers conceal

Their doomsday-book from all-consuming heirs ;
Thus, with indulgence most severe, she treats
Us spendthrifts of inestimable time;

Unnoted, notes each moment misapplied;

In leaves more durable than leaves of brass

Writes our whole history, which death shall read.


Conscience, like all our other powers, comes to maturity by insensible degrees ; and may be aided in its strength and vigour by

proper culture.

It is peculiar to mau, one of those prerogatives by which we are

raised above the brutes.

It is evidently intended by nature to be the immediate guide and director of our conduct, after we arrive at the years of understand



It judges of every action before it is done; like the eye, it naturally looks forward, though its attention may be turned back to the past.

Conscience is both an active and intellectual power of the mind. It is so far active, that every truly virtuous action must be more or less influenced by it. It is an intellectual power, as by it, solely, we have the original conception of right and wrong.


If the conscience is altogether silent, the action must be very fling, or appear so; for conscience, in those who have exercised it, is a very pragmatical faculty, and meddles with every part of our conduct, whether we desire its counsel or not.

Reid. Conscience is God's deputy-judge, holding its court in the whole soul, bearing witness of all a man's doings and desires.

It is the great register and recorder of the world. There is nothing so much imprinted on the memory as that which conscience writes.

It is a most bribeless recorder; never knowing how to make a false report.

It is like a wife-the best of comforts, if good; the worst of naughts, if bad.

That well-kept register, wherein is writ
All ills men do, all goodness they omit.

A clear conscience is a perpetual feast.

St. Augustine.


K. Charles I.

Conscience is the voice of the soul; the passions are that of the body. It is that innate principle of justice and of goodness, by which, in spite of our own maxims, we approve or condemn the actions of ourselves or others. Flavel.

O conscience! thou divine instinct, thou certain guide, thou infallible judge of good and evil, who makest man to resemble the Deity! in thee consist the excellence of our nature and the morality of our actions. Without thee, I perceive nothing in myself, that should elevate me above the brutes, except the melancholy privi lege of wandering from error to error, by the aid of an ungovernable understanding and unprincipled reason. Rousseau

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