An Evil Conscience

"My money has been put back; here it is in the mouth of my sack!" At this their hearts failed them, and [the brothers] turned trembling to one another, saying, "What is this that God has done to us?"
GENESIS 42:28
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An Evil Conscience
Thus the sons of Jacob have an evil conscience. . .. These brothers of Joseph are not only troubled about the sin of which they were conscious—although they took pains to cover and conceal it—but they were also afraid of all their words and deeds, and they imagined that there was new guilt in every action or thought. Yet in such great disquiet and confusion they are dumb and do not confess their sin. This was true of Adam in Paradise, when he was almost dead from fear of the voice and wrath of God. Nevertheless, he does not open his mouth and is not able to say: "I have sinned." But the same folly and perversity accompanies sin in all the sons of Adam—as was detected at the very beginning in our first parent—until the spiritual use is added, when Christ says: "Ephphatha" (Mark 7:34). In the meantime the bond of the tongue remains—the bond with which the devil has stopped the mouth, so that although it is terrified, it nevertheless does not seek a remedy. For the devil does not allow the sinner to say from his heart: "I have sinned against Thee, Lord God; pardon me; I repent of my sin."
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