Pendle Hill Pamphlet 89, 1956
Scruples BookedPDF
Gilbert Kilpack

Gilbert Kilpack begins his essay with a quote from Frederick Faber: "A scrupulous man teases God, irritates his neighbor, torments himself and oppresses his director." Here he begins his amusing but important discussion of the morality of qualifications. His fundamental point comes down to the statement that "the opposite of a scrupulous man is not an unscrupulous man but a man of faith."

While the word 'scrupulous' is seldom used in present times, we can recognize Kilpack's meaning immediately in his expert turn of a phrase: "Scrupulosity is a deficiency disease. It attacks where there is a lack of grace; and to live without grace is to live by self direction, even though it be a very "spiritual" life. ... If laxity comes as a result of scrupulosity, it happens just as frequently that as soon as we settle into easy ways, scruples descend upon us as do fleas on a weak dog."

In this short essay, read how Gilbert Kilpack understands the immorality of scruples. Learn, indeed, about his view of Jesus: "What were the scruples of Jesus? I am unable to point to one. I see only a man who walked through this world with a heavenly inspired carelessness. Not one speck of fear. Suffering and anguish, but no hint of anxiety."