Like one who after a night of drunken revelry hies to his bed, still reeling, but with conscience yet pricking him, as the plungings of the Roman race-horse but so much the more strike his steel tags into him; as one who in that miserable plight still turns and turns in giddy anguish, praying God for annihilation until the fit be passed; and at last amid the whirl of woe he feels, a deep stupor steals over him, as over the man who bleeds to death, for conscience is the wound, and there's naught to staunch it; so, after sore wrestlings in his berth, Jonah's prodigy of ponderous misery drags him drowning down to sleep.
In later times the conception of conscience as an inward monitor is symptomatic of the same movement of thought.
As a presumptive ruler of England she was, like Cecil, and for that matter the future archbishop Parker also, too shrewd to commit herself to passive or active resistance to the law; and they merely anticipated Hobbes in holding that the individual committed no sin in subordinating his conscience to the will of the state, for the responsibility for the law was not his but the state's.
What lived in time belonged to eternity; the microcosm was the epitome of the macrocosm; the reason which reigned in man interpreted the law that was revealed in conscience and the power which governed human destiny, while the freedom which man realized was the direct negation both of necessity and of the operation of any fortuitous cause in the cosmos.
At one of the meetings the father of a newly-born child explained that he could not go outside France to seek a pure baptism and that his conscience would not permit his child to be baptized according to the rites of the Romish Church.
Hitherto, by his own showing, the private life of the young tsar had been unspeakably abominable, but his sensitive conscience (he was naturally religious) induced him, in 1550, to summon a Zemsky Sobor or national assembly, the first of its kind, to which he made a curious public confession of the sins of his youth, and at the same time promised that the realm of Russia (for whose dilapidation he blamed the boyar regents) should henceforth be governed justly and mercifully.
Yet Guicciardini's conscience accused him, for he had previously counselled the pope to declare war, as he notes in a curious letter to himself written in 1527 (Op. fined., x.
His fine character and conscience earned him universal respect and confidence.
At first they are little more than mere inventories of sins, with their appropriate ecclesiastical punishments; gradually cases of conscience come to be discussed and decided, and the basis is laid for that system of casuistry which reached its full development in the 14th and 15th centuries.
Next year he published Le Pape, a vision of the spirit of Christ in appeal against the spirit of Christianity, his ideal follower confronted and contrasted with his nominal vicar; next year again La Pitie supreme, a plea for charity towards tyrants who know not what they do, perverted by omnipotence and degraded by adoration; two years later Religions et religion, a poem which is at once a cry of faith and a protest against the creeds which deform and distort and leave it misshapen and envenomed and defiled; and in the same year L'Ane, a paean of satiric invective against the past follies of learned ignorance, and lyric rapture of confidence in the future wisdom and the final conscience of the world.