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American Tract Society Bible Dictionary

Conscience

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Is that faculty common to all free moral agents, Romans 2:13-15 , in virtue of which we discern between right and wrong, and are prompted to choose the former and refuse the latter. Its appointed sphere is in the regulation, according to the will of God revealed in nature and the Bible, of all our being and actions so far as these have a moral character. The existence of this faculty proves the soul accountable at the bar of its Creator, and its voice is in an important sense the voice of God. We feel that when pure and fully informed, it is an unerring guide to duty, and that no possible array of inducements can justify us in disregarding it. In man, however, though this conviction that we must do what is right never fails, yet the value of conscience is greatly impaired by its inhering in a depraved soul, whose evil tendencies warp and pervert our judgment on all subjects. Thus Paul verily thought that he ought to persecute the followers of Christ, Acts 26:9 . His sin was in his culpable neglect to enlighten his conscience by all the means in his power, and to purify it by divine grace. A terrible array of conscientious errors and persecutions, which have infested and afflicted the church in all ages, warns us of our individual need of perfect light and sanctifying grace. A "good" and "pure" conscience, 1 Timothy 1:5 3:9 , is sprinkled with Christ's blood, clearly discerns the will of God, and urges us to obey it from the gospel motives; in proportion as we thus obey it, it is "void of offence," Acts 24:16 , and its approbation is one of the most essential elements of happiness. A "weak," or irresolute and blind conscience, 1 Corinthians 8:7 ; a "defiled" conscience, the slave of a corrupt heart, Titus 1:15 Hebrews 10:22 ; and a "seared" conscience, 1 Timothy 4:2 , hardened against the law and the gospel alike, unless changed by grace, will at length become an avenging conscience, the instrument of a fearful and eternal remorse. No bodily tortures can equal the agony it inflicts; and though it may slumber here, it will hereafter be like the worm that never dies and the fire that never can be quenched.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of the topics are from American Tract Society Bible Dictionary published in 1859.

Bibliography Information
Rand, W. W. Entry for 'Conscience'. American Tract Society Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/ats/c/conscience.html. 1859.

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