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Conscience is a judge in every man's breast, which none can cheat or corrupt, and perhaps the only incorrupt thing about him; yet, inflexible and honest as this judge is, (however polluted the bench on which he sits) no man can, in my opinion, enjoy any applause, which is not there adjudged to be his due. H. Fielding.

A man ought never to act in opposition to his conscience; but it does not follow, that in so doing he will always act right. Conscience can be no criterion of moral rectitude, even when it is right; but it is only opinion; and the certainty of opinion is no proof of its being right. Bishop Watson.

You say, conscience excuses the heathens; rather, their conscience bears witness to the equity of the law, while their thoughts make some weak apology for the tenor of their conduct. This is far from acquitting, far from justifying them; besides, these weak attempts to excuse are always founded on ignorance; did they know themselves, their duty, or their God, conscience would, without the least hesitation, bring in her verdict-guilty. The apostle assures us, that, till faith, which is a divine principle, takes place in our breast, both the mind and conscience are defiled, (Tit. i. 15.) here, and elsewhere, plainly intimating, that the conscience is evil, and ever will be evil, till it is sprinkled with the blood of Christ. (Heb. x, 22.)

Vain are a man's titles; vain his wealth; vain his pursuits of pleasure. The guilty man has no enjoyment; neither rank nor riches can steel the breast against the stings of conscience. "The wicked fleeth when none pursueth." He flies, like a hunted deer, from the terrors of his own mind; and the dread of future punishment drives him to despair. Trusler.

A good conscience is more to be desired than all the riches of the east. How sweet are the slumbers of him, who can lie down on his pillow, and review the transactions of every day without condemning himself! A good conscience is the finest opiate. Nemo

malus felix.


Conscience is not controllable by human reason, nor amenable to human tribunals. Lord Mansfield.

There's a rule that will serve us, wherever we go,
That has stood from the day of Creation;

'Tis to practise what's right, as far as we know,

And the proof of it-self-approbation.


Conscience is merely our own judgment of the moral rectitude or turpitude of our own actions.

Why in each breast

Is plac'd a friendly monitor, that prompts,
Informs, directs, encourages, forbids?
Tell. why unknown evil grief attends,



Or joy on secret good? why conscience acts With tenfold force, when sickness, age, or pain Stands tott'ring on the precipice of death? Or why such horror gnaws the guilty soul Of dying sinners, while the good man sleeps Peaceful and calm, and with a smile expires? There have been bribes at times, and not sufficient chastisement: but at other times there have been very severe rebukes; and conscience has condemned the vassals to run the gauntlet with horror, doubt, and despair. The charges of the court of conscience have been read aloud; terrible peals have been rung; and the chains of hell have been rattled in the ear.

Bishop Berridge.

Our conscience must of necessity be first purged from dead works, that we may serve the living God. And this is done by actual remission of sin, procured by the blood of Christ, and manifested to our consciences, as appeareth by Christ's dying for this end. (Heb. ix. 14, 15, and x. 1, 2, 4, 14, 17, 22.) That conscience, whereby we judge ourselves to be under the guilt of sin and the wrath of God, is accounted an evil conscience in scripture, (1 Tim. i. 3) though it performs its office truly, because it is caused by the evil of sin, and will itself be cause of our committing more sin, until it can judge us to be justified from all sin, and received into the favour of God. Love, which is the end of the law, must proceed from a good con science, as well as from any other cleanness of heart. David's mouth could not be opened to show forth the praise of God, until he wast

delivered from blood-guiltiness. (Ps. li. 14, 15.) This evil, guilty conscience, whereby we judge that God is our enemy, and that his justice is against us to our everlasting condemnation, by reason of our sins, doth strongly maintain and increase the dominion of sin and Satan in us, and worketh the most mischievous effects in the soul against godliness, even to bring the soul to hate God, and to wish there was no God, no heaven, no hell, so we might escape the punishment due to us. Marshall.

Conscience is a power of discerning instantly moral good and evil in our tempers and actions.

Conscience is the knowledge which a man hath of his own interpal actions with respect to the divine law, and a consciousness that God gives attention to, and passes judgment on, the same actions.

A good conscience is soon alarmed, easily convinced, much concerned, hard to forgive itself.

When conscience performs its office with accuracy, it will accuse a man when he does wrong, and commend and applaud him when he does right; hence will arise peace of mind, or dread of punishment, in a moment; in a word, conscience is instead of ten thousand witnesses to the existence and justice of God. Ryland.

Has thy conscience been so stupified, so seared with a hot iron, (1 Tim. iv. 2.) that it has never cried out of any of the violences which have been done it? Has it never warned thee of the fatal consequences of what thou hast done in opposition to it? These^ warnings are, in effect, the voice of God; they are the admonitions which he gave thee by his vicegerent in thy breast. And when his sentence for thy evil works is executed upon thee in everlasting death, thou shalt hear that voice speaking to thee again in a louder tone, and a severer accent than before; and thou shalt be tormented with its upbraidings through eternity, because thou wouldst not, in time, hearken to its admonitions. Doddridge.

And I will place within them, as a guide,

My umpire, Conscience; whom if they will hear,
Light after light, well used, they shall attain,

And to the end persisting, safe arrive.

This my long-sufferance, and my day of grace,
They who neglect and scorn, shall never taste;
But hard be harden'd, blind be blinded more,

That they may stumble on, and deeper fall;
And none but such from mercy I exclude.


If there be any remains of the divine image, perhaps they are to be found in the conscience; but even this is not exempt from the common ruin: consider its light; it is like a dim taper feebly glimmering, and just serving to make the darkness visible; or it discovers only an obscure something, we know not what, which, instead of informing, tantalizes us, and instead of guiding, bewilders us, as false and delusory lights upon the shore put a cheat upon the mariner. Hervey.

There is yet another witness for the condemning the transgressors of these laws, and that is conscience. "Their consciences also bearing witness," saith the Apostle. (Rom. ii, 15.) Conscience is a thousand witnesses; conscience will cry amen to every word that the great God doth speak against thee. Conscience is a terrible accuser; it will hold pace with the witness of God, as to the truth of evidence, to a hair's breadth. The witness of conscience, it is of great authority; it commands guilt, and fasteneth it on every soul which it accusetb; and hence it is said, "If our heart or conscience accuse." Conscience will thunder and lighten at this day; even the consciences of the most pagan sinners in the world will have sufficient wherewith to accuse them, to condemn, and to make paleness appear in their faces, and breaking in their loins, by reason of the force of its conviction. Oh, the mire and dirt that a guilty conscience, when it is forced to speak, will cast up and throw out before the judgment-seat: it must out; none can speak peace nor health to that man upon whom God hath let loose his own conscience. Cain will now cry, (Gen. iv. 13.) "My punishment is greater than I can bear:" Judas will hang himself: and both Belshazzar and Felix will feel the joints of their loins to be loosened, and their knees to smite one against another, when conscience stirreth. When conscience is once thoroughly awakened, as it shall be before the judgment-seat, God need say no more to the sinner than Solomon

said to filthy Shimei, "Thou knowest all the wickedness that thy heart is privy to!" as who should say, Thy conscience knoweth, and can well inform thee of all the evil and sin that thou art guilty of. To all which it answereth, even as face answereth to face in a glass; or as an echo answereth the man that speaketh; as fast, I say, as God chargeth, conscience will cry out," Guilty, guilty, Lord; guilty of all, of every whit. I remember clearly all the crimes thon layest before me." Thus, I say, will conscience be a witness against the soul in the day of God. Bunyan.

There is always some room to obtain shelter against a foreign foe; but where can a man flee from the pursuits of his own spirit? or what protection can he get against the goadings of his own exasperated soul? and what relief, under the dreadful anguish such ghastly wounds create in him? In this sad and desperate case he is compelled to stand fair, as an open and easy mark, and to drench in all the venom which every dart is attended with. No other refuge can he find, no other remedy can he obtain, than by sinking below himself this direful, only resort; no other refuge or remedy, than by stupifying the mind with some sottish intoxication, which may afford him some little momentary respite; but this will not avail him, in an unembodied state, when the soul, free from its clogs, will have full power to vent its utmost rage in all the piercing reflections of which it is rendered capable.

Illustrations of the Wisdom of Providence. Conscience is a tribunal more tremendous than any which a wise policy has established. Unlike such, it is invincible, has neither axe nor fasces; it is every where the same, among all nations. Every man has a right to give his opinion of it. There the slave judges his master; the subject, his sovereign. Men of worth compose and respect this tribunal; and it is only the most abandoned who disregard its decisions. Louis XVI. of France.

In the hour of death, the testimony of a clear conscience shall make the comforts of Heaven descend on a man's head, like a refreshing dew or shower upon a parched ground. It shall give him some lively earnests and secret anticipations of his approaching joy;

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