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Self Reproach.

Self Reproach.

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Published by glennpease

Job xxvii. 6. My heart shall not reproach me so long as I live.

Job xxvii. 6. My heart shall not reproach me so long as I live.

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Published by: glennpease on Jun 20, 2014
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SELF-REPROACH. BY REV. C. SIMEO, M. A.Job xxvii. 6. My heart shall not reproach me so long as I live. JOB had been represented by God as a perfect and upright man : and the severe trials he was called to endure served only to prove the truth of that assertion. True it is that he was occasionally driven by the unkindness of his friends and the depth of his sufferings to speak without due reverence for the Supreme Being ; but never were the predictions of Satan, 319.] SELF-REPROACH. 449 Satan, or the accusations of his own friends, verified respecting him. His whole Hfe had been a continued course of piety and virtue: and he determined, through grace, that nothing should divert him from it. Being conscious that he had maintained his in- tegrity hitherto before God, he would not suffer his uncharitable friends to rob him of the comfort which that consciousness afforded him in this hour of trial: " he held fast his righteousness, and would not let it go." And being determined to preserve the same blessed course even to the end, he said, " My heart shall not reproach me so long as I live." Of all the blessings that man can enjoy in this life, there is none greater than the testimony of a good conscience: without it, not all the world can make us happy ; and with it, we find support under all the calamities that can come upon us. Let us then consider,
I. The proper office of conscience — Whilst we acknowledge that there are no innate ideas which obtain universally amongst the children of men, we affirm that there is in every man an innate capacity to judge of, yea, and an innate power that will sit in judgment upon, his actions, and will pronounce a sentence of condemnation or acquittal upon him, according as he obeys or violates the law, by which he conceives himself bound to regulate his life. To this effect St. Paul, speaking of the Gentiles, says, that they, not having the written law, are a law unto themselves ; and that their conscience accuses or excuses them, according as they demean them- selves in reference to that law^. From hence we see that the office of conscience is two-fold ; 1. To judge of what is past — [God, who will pass judgment upon all men at the last day, has appointed Conscience to be, as it were, his Vice-gerent in the hearts of men, and to testify to them beforehand what sentence they are to expect at his tribunal: nor is it of actions only * Rom. ii. 15. VOL. III. G G 450 JOB, XXVII. 6. [319. only that it is constituted a judge, but of dispositions, of motives,
and of all the most secret workings of the heart. If evil be committed by us in act, word, or thought, it is to condemn us, even though the whole world should resound with our praise : and, on the other hand, it is to bear testimony in our favour, and to acquit us, if we are innocent, even though men and devils should combine to load us with reproach. Its office, as an accuser, is strikingly exhibited in those who brought to our Lord the woman taken in adultery : when he bade the person who was without sin amongst them to cast the first stone at her, they all went out successively *' from the eldest to the last," everyone of them standing con- demned in his own mind ''. We are not necessarily to conclude, that they had all been guilty of the same particular sin; but that every one of them had some grievous sin brought to his remem- brance, by which he was convinced that he himself was not a fit person to use severity towards her. Our Lord did not lay any specific sin to their charge ; nor were the spectators able to accuse them: but conscience did its office: and they were unable to withstand its potent sway. Many glorious instances also are re- corded of the power of conscience to support the mind under the severest trials. The very instance of Job which we are now considering, evinces this : and the solemn appeals which David, and Paul, and others, have made to God himself respecting their integrity, prove, beyond a doubt, that the testimony of a good conscience will enable a man to rejoice, though suffering under the foulest aspersions and the most unfounded accu- sations'' — ] 2. To direct in what is to come — [Every man is bound to be regulated by his own conscience. We may sin indeed, and sin grievously, ivhiht following the dictates of our conscience ; but our sin will consist, not in doing what we think to be right, but in not taking care to have our conscience better informed. Even supposing any line of con- duct to be right in itself, we ought not to do it, unless we believe it to be right : for " whatsoever is not of faith, is sin''.** Wc ought to be " thoroughly persuaded in our own minds* :" if we doubt respecting the proper line of dutv, we should wait, and inquire, and pray, till we see our way clear ; especially if the doubt have resj)cct to the morality of the action ^ There

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