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And he [the Lord] said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind and earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. From: King James Version (Authorized), I Kings 19: 11-12 He said, "Go out and stand on the mountain before the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by." Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake; : and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence. From: New Revised Standard Version, I Kings 19: 11-12

The first writer to use "still small voice" in the sense of "conscience" seems to have been poet William Cowper in The Task (1784). Thomas Grey had another idea in his "Ode for Music" (1769), where we find the line, "the still small voice of gratitude." Lord Byron took up Cowper's tune in The Island (1823), where there "still whispers the still small voice within." Further down the line, the phrase became useful as a handy piece of lofty rhetoric good for sprucing up indignant letters. From: Grace Cathedral (Episcopal) (Originally, Brush Up Your Bible! by Michael Macrone)

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