The 19th century preacher, Theodore Parker, reports about a childhood incident. Walking home one day, he saw a lovely pond with rare flowers in bloom nearby. He stopped to enjoy it; and he saw basking in the sun a spotted tortoise. Parker writes:
“I lifted the stick I had in my hand to strike the harmless reptile, for though I had never killed any creature, I had seen other boys out of sport destroy birds, squirrels and the like; and I felt a disposition to follow their wicked example. But all at once something checked my little arm, and a voice within me said clear and loud 'It is wrong!'. I held my uplifted stick in wonder at the new emotion."
I hastened home and told the story to my mother, and asked what was it that told me it was wrong? She wiped a tear from her eye with her apron and taking me in her arms, said:
“Some call it conscience. But I prefer to call it the voice of God in our soul. If you listen and obey it, then it will speak clearer and clearer, and always guide you on the right path, but if you turn a deaf ear or disobey, then it will fade away little by little, and leave you without a guide. Your life depends on heeding this little voice.”
He concluded with the following: “I am sure no event in my life has made so deep and lasting an impression.”