is a prior duty of regulating the watch by astronomical standards. Bishop Gore: ?Man?s first duty is, not to follow his conscience, but to enlighten his conscience.? Lowell says that the Scythians used to eat their grandfathers out of humanity. Paine, Ethnic Trinities, 300 ? ?Nothing is so stubborn or so fanatical as a wrongly instructed conscience, as Paul showed in his own case by his own confession? ( <442609>Acts 26:9 ? ?I verily thought with myself that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth?).
D. Conscience the moral judiciary of the soul. From what has been previously said, it is evident that only items 3 and 4 are properly included under the term conscience. Conscience is the moral judiciary of the soul or the power within of judgment and command. Conscience must judge according to the law given to it, and therefore, since the moral standard accepted by the reason may be imperfect, its decisions, while relatively just, may be absolutely unjust. Items 1 and 2 belong to the moral reason but not to conscience proper. Hence the duty of enlightening and cultivating the moral reason so that conscience may have a proper standard ofjudgment. Items 5 and 6 belong to the sphere of moral sentiment and not to conscience proper. The office of conscience is to ?bear witness?
In <450215>Romans 2:15 ?they show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience hearing witness therewith, and their thoughts one with another accusing or else excusing them?. We have conscience clearly distinguished both from the law and the perception of law on the one hand and from the moral sentiments of approbation and disapprobation on the other. Conscience does not furnish the law but it bears witness with the law, which is furnished by other sources. It is not ?that power of mind by which moral law is discovered to each individual? (Calderwood, Moral Philosophy, 77), nor can we speak of ?Conscience, the Law? (as Whewell does in his Elements of Morality, 1:259-266). Conscience is not the law book in the courtroom but it is the judge, whose business is not to make law but to decide cases according to the law given to him.
As conscience does not legislate, so it is not retributive; as it is not the law book, so it is not the sheriff. We say, indeed, in popular language, that conscience scourges or chastises but it is only in the sense in which we say that the judge punishes ? i.e., through the sheriff. The moral sentiments are the sheriff; they carry out the decisions of conscience, or the judge, but they are not themselves conscience, any more than the sheriff is the judge.
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