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pent line leads now right, now left ; and when it in-
clines to one side is already preparing for a turn in the
other direction ; so is this course of ours never a direct
progress in the path of life ; nor does it entirely lose
itself in the way to death. Truly when the day dawns
in which God shall judge the nations of the earth ;
when he demands an account for every idle word that
has proceeded from our mouths ; when these words are
thundered from his throne, "Be ye holy for I am holy,"
then will the soft wax of our law melt before the flam-
ing light of his commandments ; then indeed will our
compromising middle path be evidently the way of the
flesh and of destruction, which in its windings some-
times borders too closely on the path of life to sanction
the excuse that what the Lord our God required had
been hidden from us. The mistaken idea of conscience,
as this word is generally understood, must be given up
before true virtue can be thine. And in truth consci-
ence is but a fable, and that with a very bad moral,
whenever, as with most men, it is nothing more than a
mixture of worldly wisdom, care for a good name, re-
spect for station, compounded with a portion of natural
amiability, which might as well be called weakness of
character, and a partial knowledge of the Divine will,
which, however, can not combine with the other in-
gredients ; it therefore seems to serve as lees that, when
the conscience is once agitated, float about without hav-
ing any affinity for the rest. True conscience is no law-
giver, but only an eye open to the given law. It does
not inquire how a thing should be decided, but points
out how it has been decided by him who has said,
"Thou shalt, and thou shalt not." It reserves to itself