"Thus conscience, this once able monitor,--placed on high as a judge within us, and intended by our Maker as a just and equitable one too,--by an unhappy train of causes and impediments, takes often such imperfect cognizance of what passes,--does its office so negligently,--sometimes so corruptly,--that it is not to be trusted alone."
— Sterne, Laurence (1713-1768)
"So that if you would form a just judgment of what is of infinite importance to you not to be misled in,--namely, in what degree of real merit you stand either as an honest man, an useful citizen, a faithful subject to your king, or a good servant to your God,-- call in religion and morality.--Look,--What is written in the law of God? ----How readest thou?----Consult calm reason and the unchangeable obligations of justice and truth;--what say they?
"Let Conscience determine the matter upon these reports;--and then if thy heart condemns thee not, which is the case the Apostle supposes,--the rule will be infallible;" [Here Dr. Slop fell asleep] "thou wilt have confidence towards God;--that is, have just grounds to believe the judgment thou hast past upon thyself, is the judgment of God; and nothing else but an anticipation of that righteous sentence which will be pronounced upon thee hereafter by that Being, to whom thou art finally to give an account of thy actions.
See Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, 9 vols. (London: Printed for D. Lynch, 1760-1767). <Link to ECCO><Link to 1759 York edition in ECCO>
First two volumes available in ECCO-TCP: <Vol. 1><Vol. 2>. Most text drawn from second (London) edition <Link to LION>.
For vols. 3-4, see ESTC T14705 <R. and J. Dodsley, 1761>. For vols. 5-6, see ESTC T14706 <T. Becket and P. A. Dehondt, 1762>. For vols. 7-8, see ESTC T14820 <T. Becket and P. A. Dehont, 1765>. For vol. 9, <T. Becket and P. A. Dehondt, 1767>.
Reading in Laurence Sterne, Tristram Shandy: An Authoritative Text, Backgrounds and Sources, Criticism, Ed. Howard Anderson (New York: Norton, 1980).