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THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1845 paragraph 16 TABLE OF CONTENTS ...

Lecture XII. Having a Good Conscience

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1845 paragraph 521 520 Lecture XII. Having a Good Conscience ...

Having a Good Conscience
Lecture XII
September 24, 1845

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1845 paragraph 523 520 Lecture XII. Having a Good Conscience ...

Text.--1 Pe. 3:16: "Having a good conscience; that whereas they speak evil of you, as of evil doers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ."

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1845 paragraph 525 520 Lecture XII. Having a Good Conscience ...

II. To show what is implied in having a good conscience.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1845 paragraph 527 520 Lecture XII. Having a Good Conscience ...

IV. The importance of having a good conscience.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1845 paragraph 531 520 Lecture XII. Having a Good Conscience ...

II. What is implied in having a good conscience.

1. That it be enlightened. Some persons hold such exalted or rather such perverse views of the sufficiency of human reason that they see no need of any divinely revealed light. Another class speak of conscience as being itself the light of God in the soul, and they deem this of itself amply sufficient for the perfect guidance of the human heart and life. Now, in opposition to both of these views, it is quite plain that we need the aid of a written revelation, and the yet additional aid of the Spirit of God to give its revealed truth efficiency upon the heart.

Especially is it essential to a good conscience, that there should be in the mind a well-developed idea of the spirit of the law of God. If the mind errs on this point, or has defective views, there must of course be what is called an evil conscience. For example, suppose a man has no idea of the rule of duty, except as it respects outward conduct; he does not regard it as reaching the heart at all; then his conscience is not enlightened, and cannot be a good conscience. Its decisions must fail in a most fundamental point. It is only when the true idea of the law as a rule of duty is well developed, that a man can have a good conscience.

2. It is implied in a good conscience that it be quick and tender. There may be a well developed idea of law, and this one important condition of a good conscience may be present, and yet the mind may be so sluggish and apathetic in respect to its moral relations that the conscience becomes almost perfectly inefficient. There may be various moral states which the mind does not notice at all. For example, it may not notice indulgence of appetite; feelings of envy; violations of the law of love in business transactions. Now it is essential to a good conscience that it be quick to notice any and every departure from the law of love; in fact, it should notice instantaneously all our moral acts and states of mind. It should be in an active state of attention, incessantly comparing the mind's states and acts with the rule of duty--always on the alert to know whether every thing we say, do, or even think is pleasing to God.

A child may understand its parent's requirements well, and yet may be so negligent as not only to fail to do the things required, but he may fail even to notice his own negligence, and may not be really conscious that he is neglecting a most important filial duty. Now this, as every one must see, is a deplorable defective state of the moral faculties. The conscience of such a child is utterly wrong.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1845 paragraph 542 520 Lecture XII. Having a Good Conscience ...

We may hence appreciate the importance of this condition of a good conscience. We must indulge it and give it its appropriate place among the powers of the soul. That place is the throne of dominion. Conscience ought to bear rule over all our powers and their entire action. Hence it should be obeyed, and its demands always treated with profound regard.

IV. We next consider the importance of having a good conscience.

1. It is intimated with great justice in our text that a good conscience is indispensable that we may commend ourselves to the consciences of other men. Nothing can be more true than this. To good men, especially, we never can commend ourselves, unless we have an enlightened and good conscience.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1845 paragraph 551 520 Lecture XII. Having a Good Conscience ...

8. Having a good conscience will secure the favor of God and peace of conscience. It secures these rich blessings by a law of necessity. God can never fail to bestow His smiles upon him who keeps an enlightened conscience void of offense, and surely he who maintains such a conscience will have the joy and peace of self-approbation.