Which show the work of the law written in their hearts,
&c.] Though the Gentiles had not the law in form, written on tables, or in a book, yet they had "the work", the matter, the sum and substance of it in their minds; as appears by the practices of many of them, in their external conversation. The moral law, in its purity and perfection, was written on the heart of Adam in his first creation; was sadly obliterated by his sin and fall; upon several accounts, and to answer various purposes, a system of laws was written on tables of stone for the use of the Israelites; and in regeneration the law is reinscribed on the hearts of God's people; and even among the Gentiles, and in their hearts, there are some remains of the old law and light of nature, which as by their outward conduct appears, so by the inward motions of their minds,
their conscience also bearing witness;
for, as the Jews say F18 (wb hdyem Mda lv wtmvn) , "the soul of a man witnesses in him"; for, or against him:
and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one
and this the Heathens themselves acknowledge, when they
F19 speak of
``(tameion dikasthrion kai krithrion thv suneidhsewv) , "the conclave, tribunal and judgment of conscience"; and which they call (dikasthn dikaiotaton) , "the most righteous judge": whose judgment reason receives, and gives its suffrage to, whether worthy of approbation or reproof; when it reads in the memory as if written on a table the things that are done, and then beholding the law as an exemplar, pronounces itself either worthy of honour or dishonour.''
F18 T. Bab. Chagigah, fol. 16. 1. & Taanith, fol. 11. 1.
F19 Hierocles in Carmina Pythagor. p. 81, 206, 209, 213, 214.