The Baptist Pillar ©      Brandon Bible Baptist Church     1992-Present

"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15

The Power of Conscience

J. Shannon

From The Baptist Pulpit, 1850

It is hard to pursue a course of sin in opposition to the dictates of conscience. There may, no doubt, be some transgressors, who, by a long-continued course of sinning, have acquired a character for sinning so desperate, and attained to a pre-eminence in guilt so fearful, as to be seldom annoyed with the visits of remorse. Their situation is truly terrible; terrible beyond all description, and hopeless, I had almost said, as if they were already damned!

The heart sickens at the contemplation of their wretched case, and we hasten to consider the transgressor in a condition less fearful, where he has not yet been utterly deserted by the Holy Spirit, nor had his conscience seared as with a hot iron. This is a more favorable view, which charity would fondly take of the greater part of the family of transgressors. How fares it, then, with the sinner even in this state?

Although he may be surrounded with all those circumstances, which make him an object of envy to the unthinking multitude, the eye of faith can easily discover that his way is hard. Created by God, sustained by him, and redeemed by the blood of his dear Son, reason tells him that he should pay supreme regard to the will of his Creator, Preserver, and Benefactor.

Memory recounts the innumerable blessings his heavenly Father has lavished upon him from time to time, reminds him of his entire want of suitable affections to that Father, and the many crimes he has shamefully committed against him; points him to the blackness of darkness, that might have been his portion; bids him look to bleeding love on Calvary; and conscience asks, Is it reason, is it gratitude, that such a friend should be so requited?

Oh! There are seasons when the ungodly, even in his most prosperous state, must feel under the lash of a guilty conscience, that the curse of Cain is on his path; and that fugitive and vagabond in the sight of heaven, is the character of all who walk in it. But the sinner stops not here. Every day's experience teaches him, that earth is by no means a state of permanency; that here he has no abiding city; and that could he possess all things under the sun, and enjoy them to the greatest possible extent, it would avail him but little; for soon he must bid them an eternal farewell, and take his departure for an unseat world.

In the Bible he reads, or hears read, the story of a character that much resembles his own. He reads of a rich man, clothed in purple and fine linen, and faring sumptuously every day, whose history is closed in the words, piercing like a dagger to his soul— “He also died, and was buried; and in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments." (Luke 16:22-23)

How knowest thou, O foolish man, says conscience, that ere long thy case may not be like his? Why shouldst thou run so fearful a hazard? Dost thou, indeed, as a rational being, prefer the body to the soul, earth to heaven, and the short and fleeting moments of this life to the never-ending duration of eternity?

And the poor man, although conscience tells him, and the Scriptures tell him, that this night his soul may be required at his hands, yet he still continues to drudge and toil more laboriously than a galley-slave in the way of transgression, that in the end he may reap the wages of eternal death!

Surely if there be a hard way on earth, it is that of the transgressor against God. Did he enjoy peace of mind, it would, at least for the time, be some alleviation. But “There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked. (Isaiah 57:21)

At war with himself and with his best interests, at war with his better judgment, his conscience, and his God, he is doomed, under the influence of a wretched infatuation to walk self-condemned in a path, where he enjoys not one particle of true happiness in time. And at the end of which he can look for nothing but blackness of darkness, the bitter pangs of remorse, and the stings of an accusing conscience throughout eternity. From the hard, miserable fate of transgressors may the good Lord deliver us.