standard by which to judge. The ?weak? conscience ( <460812>1 Corinthians 8:12) is one whose standard of judgment is yet imperfect; the conscience ?branded? (Revelations Vers.) or ?seared? (A.V.) ?as with a hot iron?

( <540402>1 Timothy 4:2) is one whose standard has been wholly perverted by practical disobedience. The word and the Spirit of God are the chief agencies in rectifying our standards of judgment and so of enabling conscience to make absolutely right decisions. God can so unite the soul to Christ, that it becomes partaker on the one hand of his satisfaction to justice and is thus ?sprinkled from an evil conscience? ( <581022>Hebrews 10:22). On the other hand of his sanctifying power and is thus enabled in certain respects to obey God?s command and to speak of a ?good conscience? ( <600316>1 Peter 3:16 ? of single act 3:21 ? of state) instead of an ?evil conscience? ( <581022>Hebrews 10:22) or a conscience ?defiled?

( <560115>Titus 1:15) by sin. Here the ?good conscience? is the conscience, which has been, obeyed by the will, and the ?evil conscience? the conscience which has been disobeyed with the result, in the first case, of approval from the moral sentiments and, in the second case, of disapproval.

E. Conscience in its relation to God as the lawgiver. Since conscience, in the proper sense, gives uniform and infallible judgment that the right is supremely obligatory and that the wrong must be forborne at every cost, it can be called an echo of God?s voice, and an indication in man of that which his own true being requires.

Conscience has sometimes been described as the voice of God in the soul or as the personal presence and influence of God himself. But we must not identify conscience with God. D. W. Faunce: ?Conscience is not God for it is only a part of one?s self. To buildup a religion about one?s own conscience, as if it were God, is only a refined selfishness; a worship of one part of one?s self by another part of one?s self.? In The Excursion, Wordsworth speaks of conscience as ?God?s most intimate presence in the soul and his most perfect image in the world.? But in his Ode to Duty he more directly writes: ?Stern daughter of the voice of God! O Duty if that name thou love, Who art a light to guide, a rod To check the erring and reprove, Thou who art victory and law When empty terrors overawe, From vain temptations dost set free And calm the weary strife of frail humanity!? Here is an allusion to the Hebrew Bath Kol. ?The Jews say that the Holy Spirit spoke during the Tabernacle by Urim and Thummim, under the first Temple by the Prophets, and under the second Temple by the Bath Kol. It is a divine intimation as inferior to the oracular voice proceeding from the mercy seat as a daughter is supposed to be inferior to

<- Previous Table of Contents Next ->

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment