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In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government ought to be instructed... No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.
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1828 Noah Webster Dictionary
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1828.mshaffer.comWord [conscience]

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conscience

CONSCIENCE, n. [L., to know, to be privy to.]

1. Internal or self-knowledge, or judgment of right and wrong; or the faculty, power or principle within us, which decides on the lawfulness or unlawfulness of our own actions and affections, and instantly approves or condemns them. Conscience is called by some writers the moral sense, and considered as an original faculty of our nature. Others question the propriety of considering conscience as a distinct faculty or principle. The consider it rather as the general principle of moral approbation or disapprobation, applied to ones own conduct and affections; alledging that our notions of right and wrong are not to be deduced from a single principle or faculty, but from various powers of the understanding and will.

Being convicted by their own conscience, they went out one by one. John 8.

The conscience manifests itself in the feeling of obligation we experience, which precedes, attends and follows our actions.

Conscience is first occupied in ascertaining our duty, before we proceed to action; then in judging of our actions when performed.

2. The estimate or determination of conscience; justice; honesty.

What you require cannot, in conscience, be deferred.

3. Real sentiment; private thought; truth; as, do you in conscience believe the story?

4. Consciousness; knowledge of our own actions or thought.

The sweetest cordial we receive at last, is conscience of our virtuous actions past.

[This primary sense of the word is nearly, perhaps wholly obsolete.]

5. Knowledge of the actions of others.

6. In ludicrous language, reason or reasonableness.

Half a dozen fools are, in all conscience, as many as you should require.

To make conscience or a matter of conscience, is to act according to the dictates of conscience, or to scruple to act contrary to its dictates.

Court of conscience, a court established for the recovery of small debts in London and other trading cities and districts.



Evolution (or devolution) of this word [conscience]

1828 Webster1844 Webster1913 Webster

CONSCIENCE, n. [L., to know, to be privy to.]

1. Internal or self-knowledge, or judgment of right and wrong; or the faculty, power or principle within us, which decides on the lawfulness or unlawfulness of our own actions and affections, and instantly approves or condemns them. Conscience is called by some writers the moral sense, and considered as an original faculty of our nature. Others question the propriety of considering conscience as a distinct faculty or principle. The consider it rather as the general principle of moral approbation or disapprobation, applied to ones own conduct and affections; alledging that our notions of right and wrong are not to be deduced from a single principle or faculty, but from various powers of the understanding and will.

Being convicted by their own conscience, they went out one by one. John 8.

The conscience manifests itself in the feeling of obligation we experience, which precedes, attends and follows our actions.

Conscience is first occupied in ascertaining our duty, before we proceed to action; then in judging of our actions when performed.

2. The estimate or determination of conscience; justice; honesty.

What you require cannot, in conscience, be deferred.

3. Real sentiment; private thought; truth; as, do you in conscience believe the story?

4. Consciousness; knowledge of our own actions or thought.

The sweetest cordial we receive at last, is conscience of our virtuous actions past.

[This primary sense of the word is nearly, perhaps wholly obsolete.]

5. Knowledge of the actions of others.

6. In ludicrous language, reason or reasonableness.

Half a dozen fools are, in all conscience, as many as you should require.

To make conscience or a matter of conscience, is to act according to the dictates of conscience, or to scruple to act contrary to its dictates.

Court of conscience, a court established for the recovery of small debts in London and other trading cities and districts.

CON'SCIENCE, n. [con'shens; Fr. from L. conscientia, from conscio, to know, to be privy to; con and scio, to know; It. conscienza, or coscienza; Sp. conciencia.]

  1. Internal or self-knowledge, or judgment of right and wrong; or the faculty, power or principle within us, which decides on the lawfulness or unlawfulness of our own actions and affections, and instantly approves or condemns them. Conscience is called by some writers the moral sense, and considered as an original faculty of our nature. Others question the propriety of considering conscience as a distinct faculty or principle. They consider it rather as the general principle of moral approbation or disapprobation, applied to one's own conduct and affections; alledging that our notions of right and wrong are not to be deduced from a single principle or faculty, but from various powers of the understanding and will. – Encyc. Hucheson. Reid. Edin. Encyc. Being convicted by their own conscience, they went out one by one. – John viii. The conscience manifests itself in the feeling of obligation we experience, which precedes, attends and follows our actions. – E. T. Fitch. Conscience is first occupied in ascertaining our duty, before we proceed to action, then in judging our actions when performed. – J. M. Mason.
  2. The estimate or determination of conscience; justice; honesty. What you require can not, in conscience, be deferred. – Milton.
  3. Real sentiment; private thoughts; truth; as, do you in conscience believe the story?
  4. Consciousness; knowledge of our own actions or thoughts. The sweetest cordial we receive at last, / Is conscience of our virtuous actions past. – Denham. [This primary sense of the word is nearly, perhaps wholly, obsolete.]
  5. Knowledge of the actions of others. – B. Jonson.
  6. In ludicrous language, reason or reasonableness. Half a dozen fools are, in all conscience, as many as you should require. – Swift. To make conscience or a matter of conscience, is to act according to the dictates of conscience, or to scruple to act contrary to its dictates. – Locke. Court of conscience, a court established for the recovery of small debts in London and other trading cities and districts. – Blackstone.

Con"science
  1. Knowledge of one's own thoughts or actions; consciousness.

    [Obs.]

    The sweetest cordial we receive, at last,
    Is conscience of our virtuous actions past.
    Denham.

  2. The faculty, power, or inward principle which decides as to the character of one's own actions, purposes, and affections, warning against and condemning that which is wrong, and approving and prompting to that which is right; the moral faculty passing judgment on one's self; the moral sense.

    My conscience hath a thousand several tongues,
    And every tongue brings in a several tale,
    And every tale condemns me for a villain.
    Shak.

    As science means knowledge, conscience etymologically means self-knowledge . . . But the English word implies a moral standard of action in the mind as well as a consciousness of our own actions. . . . Conscience is the reason, employed about questions of right and wrong, and accompanied with the sentiments of approbation and condemnation.
    Whewell.

  3. The estimate or determination of conscience; conviction or right or duty.

    Conscience supposes the existence of some such [i.e., moral] faculty, and properly signifies our consciousness of having acted agreeably or contrary to its directions.
    Adam Smith.

  4. Tenderness of feeling; pity.

    [Obs.] Chaucer.

    Conscience clause, a clause in a general law exempting persons whose religious scruples forbid compliance therewith, -- as from taking judicial oaths, rendering military service, etc. -- Conscience money, stolen or wrongfully acquired money that is voluntarily restored to the rightful possessor. Such money paid into the United States treasury by unknown debtors is called the Conscience fund. -- Court of Conscience, a court established for the recovery of small debts, in London and other trading cities and districts. [Eng.] Blackstone. -- In conscience, In all conscience, in deference or obedience to conscience or reason; in reason; reasonably. "This is enough in conscience." Howell. "Half a dozen fools are, in all conscience, as many as you should require." Swift. -- To make conscience of, To make a matter of conscience, to act according to the dictates of conscience concerning (any matter), or to scruple to act contrary to its dictates.

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Conscience

CONSCIENCE, noun [Latin , to know, to be privy to.]

1. Internal or self-knowledge, or judgment of right and wrong; or the faculty, power or principle within us, which decides on the lawfulness or unlawfulness of our own actions and affections, and instantly approves or condemns them. conscience is called by some writers the moral sense, and considered as an original faculty of our nature. Others question the propriety of considering conscience as a distinct faculty or principle. The consider it rather as the general principle of moral approbation or disapprobation, applied to ones own conduct and affections; alledging that our notions of right and wrong are not to be deduced from a single principle or faculty, but from various powers of the understanding and will.

Being convicted by their own conscience they went out one by one. John 8:9.

The conscience manifests itself in the feeling of obligation we experience, which precedes, attends and follows our actions.

CONSCIENCE is first occupied in ascertaining our duty, before we proceed to action; then in judging of our actions when performed.

2. The estimate or determination of conscience; justice; honesty.

What you require cannot, in conscience be deferred.

3. Real sentiment; private thought; truth; as, do you in conscience believe the story?

4. Consciousness; knowledge of our own actions or thought.

The sweetest cordial we receive at last, is conscience of our virtuous actions past.

[This primary sense of the word is nearly, perhaps wholly obsolete.]

5. Knowledge of the actions of others.

6. In ludicrous language, reason or reasonableness.

Half a dozen fools are, in all conscience as many as you should require.

To make conscience or a matter of conscience is to act according to the dictates of conscience or to scruple to act contrary to its dictates.

Court of conscience a court established for the recovery of small debts in London and other trading cities and districts.

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Word of the Day

importance

IMPORT'ANCE, n.

1. Weight; consequence; a bearing on some interest; that quality of any thing by which it may affect a measure, interest or result. The education of youth is of great importance to a free government. A religious education is of infinite importance to every human being.

2. Weight or consequence in the scale of being.

Thy own importance know.

Nor bound thy narrow views to things below.

3. Weight or consequence in self-estimation.

He believes himself a man of importance.

4. Thing implied; matter; subject; importunity. [In these senses, obsolete.]

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muggy

MUG'GY, a.

1. Moist; damp;; moldy; as muggy straw.

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