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On Conscience.

On Conscience.

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY THE REV. JAMES S. M. ANDERSON, M.A.

CHAPLAIN IN ORDINARY TO THE QUEEN,



Acts xxiv. 16.

And herein I do exercise myself, to have always a conscience
void of offence tovrard God, and tovrard men.
BY THE REV. JAMES S. M. ANDERSON, M.A.

CHAPLAIN IN ORDINARY TO THE QUEEN,



Acts xxiv. 16.

And herein I do exercise myself, to have always a conscience
void of offence tovrard God, and tovrard men.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Aug 26, 2013
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O COSCIECE.BY THE REV. JAMES S. M. ADERSO, M.A.CHAPLAI I ORDIARY TO THE QUEE,Acts xxiv. 16.And herein I do exercise myself, to have always a consciencevoid of offence tovrard God, and tovrard men.The deliberate assertion which the Apostle heremakes of his laborious and constant efforts, "to havealways a conscience void of offence toward God andtoward men," derives great additional interest fromthe consideration of the dangerous and perplexingcircumstances in which he was now placed. Hewas standing at Caesarea, in the presence of Felix,the Roman governor, and of the High Priest andelders, to answer the accusations which had beenurged against him, at the instance of the Jewishnation, by the orator TertuUus, and was declaringbefore them all the nature of that hope which hehad toward God.He had already addressed to the council atJerusalem, under circumstances scarcely less for-B2 O COSCIECE.midable, a vindication of himself, in terms similarto the present; and, as he earnestly looked uponthat assembly, had said, " Men and brethren, Ihave lived in all good conscience before God until
 
this day." For this saying, we are told that " theHigh Priest Ananias commanded them that stoodby him to smite him on the mouth ^ ;" but, not-withstanding that act of violence and insult, uponthe very next occasion which summons the Apostleto speak in his own defence, and in the presenceof the same Ananias who had thus commanded himto be smitten, he not only repeats in substance thesame assertion, but declares that the maintenanceof " a conscience void of offence toward God andtoward men," was the duty in which he alwaysexercised himself.Thus likewise, in the Epistles written by St. Paul,whether his object be to address whole churches, orindividual members ; whether to illustrate doctrines,or enforce duties, or warn against dangers ; we con-tinually meet with appeals made by him to theauthority of conscience in his own breast> to therespect which should be paid to it in the breasts of others. In the Epistle to the Romans, for example,where he is speaking, in one place, of the sorrowwhich he felt for his brethren, his " kinsmen accord-ing to the flesh," his words are, " I say the truth^ Acts xxiii. 1, 2.O COSCIECE. 3in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing mewitness in the Holy Ghost ^ ; and in another, wherehe is pointing out the duty of obedience to lawfulgovernors, he urges its observance "not only forwrath, but also for conscience sake ^." In like man-ner, the many cautions and directions which hegives, in his Fh-st Epistle to the Corinthians, withrespect to things lawful and things expedient, areregulated by the regard which ought to be paid to
 
the same high and holy principle of conscience inother men ; and he scruples not to tell the Corin-thians that, when they " sin so against the brethren,and wound their weak consciences," they " sinagainst Christ ^." Again, in the beginning of hisSecond Epistle to the same, he affirms the ground of his rejoicing to be " this, the testimony of our con-science, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, notwith fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, wehave had our conversation in the world, and moreabundantly to you-ward *." And afterwards, indescribing the duties of those men who, with him-self, had received the ministry, he declares that theyhandled " not the word of God deceitfully, but bymanifestation of the truth," commended themselves" to every man's conscience in the sight of God ^"To Timothy, likewise, in his First Epistle, he affirms* Rom. ix. 1. ' lb. xiii. 5.' 1 Cor. viii. 12. * 2 Cor. i. 12.* 2 Cor. iv. 2.b24 O COSCIECE." the end of the commandment" to be " charity outof a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned ^ ;" he charges him to " war a goodwarfare, holding faith, and a good conscience ^ ;" and,in setting forth the qualities and duties of Deacons,he bids them hold " the mystery of the faith in apure conscience ^" Thus too, in his Second Epistleto the same, he thanks God, whom he served fromhis " forefathers with pure conscience, that withoutceasing" he had remembrance of his beloved Son in

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