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Mark the essential difference that exists between this invisible preacher and the ordinary minister of God's word. The earthly preacher addresses the same remarks to all his hearers, without knowing for certain whether or how far his strictures may be applicable to any of them. He cannot read the hearts of men, and therefore he cannot tell whether his listeners merit his censures or not.

But the invisible herald to whom our heart is laid open, addresses special warnings to each individual soul; and the admonition or condemnation that he pronounces, is adapted to each one in particular.

This moral governor of whom I am speaking, demands that his jurisdiction over us be absolute and supreme, and that we render to him entire obedience. He is imperious in his dictates. He admits no rival or associate judge. His decision is to us final and irrevocable. There is no appeal from it. Neither Pope nor Bishop can dispense from it. And it is this same voice that will judge us on the last day. "The Gentiles, who have not the (Mosaic) law, do by nature the things that are of the law who shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness to them, the thoughts mutually accusing, or even defending one another on the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ.”1 Now, who is this judge? It is conscience. Con

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science is the practical judgment we form upon the moral rectitude or depravity of our acts. It is the expression of that Divine Justice by which society is upheld and bound together. It is the living witness and interpreter of that natural "law written in our hearts" which is the basis of all human legislation. It is the echo of the voice

of God.



mind conscience affords a conclusive proof of the existence of a Supreme Being, and bears the impress of the divine attributes. Much as I am impressed with the sense of God's existence by the works of nature which surround me, by "the heavens which declare His glory and the firmament which announces the works of His hands," I am still more deeply penetrated with His presence by the voice of conscience speaking within me.

Modern science claims to deal with concrete facts rather than with abstract ideas. We have here a concrete fact, known experimentally by every one, pervading human nature and asserting its influence everywhere. Within us a mysterious power compares our acts with a law superior to our will, and condemns them when they are not in accordance with that supreme rule of conduct. To be applied and to become a standard of right and wrong, that law must be more than an abstraction. It must remain engraven in our heart at least as a psychological fact. An attempt to explain its presence by education, tradition or culture, would be fruitless; for we judge the opinions of the world and the jus

tice of human laws by referring them to that standard. It is, therefore, in our hearts more or less distinctly expressed before we accept as our own the conclusions of other men. It stands on a higher plane; since, by reference to it, we judge all moral doctrines. A law requires a lawgiver. Without a lawgiver it cannot be conceived. A law constantly acting, universally asserted, inwardly enforced, supposes a living, omnipotent, omnipresent lawgiver. The power that asserts and applies it to individual cases, must be superior to us. What else can it be but the voice of God? The sound of this voice is heard indeed in the depths of my being, it is in me; but it must come from a living principle higher than myself. It prompts me to do what my inclinations shrink from, and forbids me to do what I am naturally desirous of performing. I cannot be at the same time and in the same relation, both master and subject. That voice is a ray of the Uncreated Light illumining my path and directing my steps. It fulfils the office of St. John the Baptist. It is "the voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare ye the way of the Lord. Make straight His paths."

Conscience tells me that God is a just Judge, and that His "judgments are true." He is a Judge who cannot be corrupted by bribes, nor intimidated by threats, nor blinded by flattery; for though the world should admire and applaud my conduct, I feel that I have done amiss so long as the court of conscience rules against me; and though the world

condemn me, I feel that I am right if I have the testimony of a good conscience.

The rulings of conscience, as well as the law which they interpret and apply, prove that the Lawgiver is essentially good and benevolent. For if I secretly deposit an alms in the box of a poor blind man, without the knowledge of any human spectator, why do I feel a joy and satisfaction similar to that which a child experiences on performing an act that wins the approbation of good parents? Is it not because I see the smiling image of my Heavenly Father and hear His approving voice in the depths of my soul?

I learn from my conscience that God is holy. For if I commit a grievous sin of thought, why have I that sense of shame and confusion akin to the mortification I should feel in the presence of an upright person to whom my sin had been revealed? Is it not because I recognize the One that sees me as the God of holiness who "loveth righteousness and hateth iniquity?"

Conscience enlightens me on the existence of a God who is all-seeing, and to whom I am responsible for my deliberate acts. There is no moral action of mine on which He does not pronounce a decision. There is no crime I commit against which He does not give an immediate sentence. His court is never adjourned. He never nods on the bench.

If I shed my neighbor's blood in secret, why am I alarmed? Why, like Cain, do I "become a fugi

tive and a vagabond upon the earth?" Why, like him, do I fear that "every one that findeth me shall kill me?" Why do I flee when no man pursueth? I do not dread the civil law. I do not fear man. He is ignorant of my crime. It is a secret in my own breast. Does not my terror, therefore, spring from the conviction, that the avenging God sees me? And in order to quiet the voice of Divine Justice thundering in my breast, may I not, as thousands have done before me, throw myself on the mercy of human justice and confess my crime?

Go where I will, fly where I will, this Judge is ever with me, holding up the scales of even-handed justice. How profoundly was the Royal Prophet impressed with the presence of the Divine Judge when he cried out after his crime: "Lord, Thou hast proved me and known me. Thou hast known my sitting down and my rising up. Thou hast understood my thoughts afar off. My path and my line Thou hast searched out. Whither

shall I go from Thy Spirit, or whither shall I flee from Thy face? If I ascend into heaven, Thou art there if I descend into hell, Thou art present. If I take my wings early in the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there also shall Thy hand lead me, and Thy right hand shall hold me. And I said: Perhaps darkness shall cover me, and night shall be my light in my pleasures. But darkness shall not be dark to Thee, and night

1 Gen. IV., 14.

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