Isle of Man Part 05

The shifts which commonly a thief maketh to escape in his flying away, are two:
1. There is his counterfeiting the habits of an honest man; so Sin craftily putteth upon himself the show of virtue, - Jehu did piety, for the getting of a kingdom, and establishing of it to himself; whose sin was covered with a pretended and hypocritical zeal for the Lord. Ananias and Sapphira made show of liberality like that of Barnabas, not discernible till Peter discovered it. For as Satan can transform himself into an Angel of light, and his Apostles into the Apostles of Christ; so can Sin, the seed of Satan, put upon itself the counterfeit of virtue.
2. A thief will alter his name, and by assuming the name of an honest man oftentimes escape away; and after this manner also eseapeth sin, vice getting upon it the name of virtue. And so Drunkenness escapeth under the name of Good Fellowship; Covetousness under the name of Good Husbandry; Filthy Ribaldry under the name of the name of Merriment; Pride of Apparel under the name of Decency and Handsomeness; Bloody Revenge for wrongs offered, escapes under the name of Valour; Foolish Wastefulness under the name of a Frank and Liberal Disposition; Superstition under the name of Devotion to Forefathers and the Old Religion; Remissness in punishing under the name of Gentleness; warmness in Religion under the praise of Discretion; and many such like foul vices do thus deceitfully hide themselves, and so escape unattached.
If by these his shifts he cannot escape Godly Jealousy, that constant pursuer, then will he seek to be holpen by his kindred and friends; for sin hath many, who will either so defend him, or excuse him, or deny him or hide him; or make him so little in fault as will almost persuade Godly Jealousy that it is even needless so eagerly to pursue after him.
1. The first of these is his grandsire Ignorance; for he knows no sin, he cannot read the Hue and Cry; he breedeth Sin, and bringeth him up, and maketh no conscience of it; if Sin get into his house he holds himself safe enough.
2. The second his brother Error the son of Ignorance; this fellow mistaketh all, and misconstrueth the whole Hue and Cry, and can find no fault with Sin, and so endeavoureth to send the pursuer another way.
3. The third is his cousin Opinion, and this will hold the pursuer with a long and tedious disputation, questioning the act, whether it be a sin or no, and will endeavour by probabilities to make it no sin, that so he might make the pursuer to desist. Thus sins of profit and such as may prevent certain dangers are disputed pro and con as men say. The sin of Usury by many is brought under Opinion as lawful some way. So the sin of Idolatry - (as it was disputed in Queen Mary’s days,) - to go and hear a mass without inward reverence in order to prevent the imminent penalty of death. Many sins evident enough are made disputable if the yield profit or be delightsome to the flesh or such as may help to keep a man’s person or state in safety; for all these Opinion will be a proctor.
4. The fourth is one Master Subtlety, his wit being attended on by little conscience of the truth. This man cometh with his distinctions to clear an act from sin thus with his latria and doulia he will have idolatry no idolatry: so with his biting and not biting, and lending to the rich upon use but not to a needy brother, usury must be no sin. This Subtlety of wit with a chivalrous conscience maketh foul sins to pass along as no sins.