21 JUNE 1873, Page 3

A great English statesman (Sir Thomas More), who died upon

the scaffold rather than swear against his conscience, wrote in -prison this fable respecting " over-scritpuloustiess of conscience :"— -" A poor ass after his shrift, when he waxed an hungred, saw a -sow lie with her pigs well lapped in new straw, and near he drew, and thought to have eaten of the straw. But anon his scrupulous conscience began therein to grudge him. For while his penance was that folly greediness of his meat he should do none other body any harm, he thought he might not eat one straw thereof, lest for lack of that straw some of those pigs might hap to die for cold. So held he still his hunger, till one brought him meat. But when he should fall thereto, then fell he yet in a Tar farther scruple, for then it came again in his mind that he -should yet break his penance if he should eat any of that either, sith he was commanded by his ghostly father that he should not for his own meat hinder any other beast. For he thought that if he eat not that meat some other beast might hap to have it, and so should he by the eating of it peradventure hinder some other. And thus stood he still fasting, till when he told the cause, his -ghostly father came and informed him better, and then he cast off that scruple and fell mannerly to his meat, and was a right honest ass many a fair day after ! " The Nonconformists may :apply the moral to their present attitude in relation to the Twenty-fifth Clause,—though we are very far from intending to suggest that there is in them anything of the ass. We should not have thought the ass a scrupulous beast, and certainly it bears its burdens tamely,—a charge which no one will bring against the Nonconformists.