Come back, sinners, draw near towards God and duty. There are some evils from which a man may escape; but shall a man flee from a guilty conscience? They flow solely from the free and sovereign good pleasure of Jehovah.2. Sprinkled from an evil conscience, &c. Conscience no longer accuses; our sins are forgiven. Newton, D. D.Suppose that all the people in the place where we live had some disease of the eye, and that in consequence some were not able to see at all, while none of them were able to see anything clearly. Trapp.Not with a quarter or half wind, but with full assurance, such a gale of faith as fills the sails of the soul, and makes it set up its top-gallant as it were.(J. Gratitude for past mercies. Granting that this is not to be confounded with that full assurance of faith of which the apostle speaks, may there not, nevertheless, be such a thing as this personal assurance of salvation, and may we not speak of it under other and more appropriate phraseology? What have you gained by going from Him?2. If we wait for a blessing at the hand of God till we are worthy of it, we shall die unblessed, and be lost for ever. If men imagine they can directly see the existence of faith in their souls, or if they suppose that a conviction of their being of the number of the elect is borne in on their souls by the Holy Spirit, or if they infer from some pleasant feelings in their own minds that they are the objects of God's favour, they are either deluding themselves with what is impossible, or they are trusting to what may be a mere fancy or passing emotion of their own minds. Let us embrace Him in the arms of faith, give the love of the heart to Him a full vent (Song of Solomon 8:6).4. And running together in a holy rivalry the same race, we should behold in our brother features of Christian character and activity in which we are deficient. Besides, God's mercy is like His power, and as He is able, so is He willing to do what He hath promised, and He hath signified His will and purpose, through faith, by His power to preserve us unto salvation.3. The name of the Lord is faithful and true.2. The truth of God is pledged in the most solemn manner for the accomplishment of His promises.4. Gratitude for past mercies. WHAT WE ALREADY HAVE by the grace of God. We are the body of Christ, and members one of another. To draw near to God, in the sense of our text, is to seek Him in the use of the appointed means of grace, that we may be restored to His favour and image, and enjoy a heartfelt sense of that restoration.1. They were in danger by reason of persecution (cf. )The Christian professionJ. Christianity is a spiritual democracy. (5)By the continual use of all the appointed means of grace.III. L. Alexander, D. D.)Full assurance of faithJ. How are we to get rid of this trouble? We are called upon to hold fast the profession of our faith. He will abundantly pardon.2. Campbell. It will expose to difficulties and sufferings. Again, we draw near to God when we engage properly in the exercise of social worship.3. To some of them I must now advert.1. If we profess hope, we must also rejoice, though we be in tribulation; we must view the sufferings and trials of this present life as not worthy to be compared with the coming glory. Why are we to stir up one another to love and good works? When we look through the red glass what colour will the things be that we are looking at? Then you are at peace. And however long we have laboured at it, still how much unconscious, unavoidable sin, the result of past transgression, is thrown out from our hearts day by day in the energy of our thinking and acting!3. We may also compare it to the window of the soul. So is it ordinarily with the soul, after it has begun to force itself from the disturbing forces of the flesh and of the world. or refuse to go forward? W. Dale, LL. The thing which we desire, and which is promised unto us, is not only the reward of eternal glory, which is the object of our hope, but power and ability with assistance to do all things necessary for the attainment thereof; for in the gospel, not only the reward, but power to perform our duty, are promised (Ephesians 1:16-19).2. )Christian lifeJ. Learn that religion requires both the devotion of the heart and the profession of the life.2. B. Meyer, B. L. Alexander, D. D.)Full assurance of faithJ. pray that all controversies be done away between you and Him. It is the command of God (James 4:8).2. Then hope, resting on faith, supports faith, and fills us with courage and patience. He has promised to acknowledge our profession; and " He is faithful."3. Having received, through Christ's sacrifice and Christ's present priesthood boldness, a full right of access into the holy of holies, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith. Conscience no longer sleeps, allowing us to sin, but is restored to its original office. In all the New Testament there is not a single instance in which the apostles indicate, in the most distant way, that saving faith is a man's belief in his own salvation. We are secure; when one that is able hath passed his word, and by promise bound himself unto us, then we make sure thus far of the thing promised. A. He is a friend of ours who is set over the house of God (ver. But suppose we have thick, heavy shutters to the window, and keep them closed. Oh for that grace which sprinkles our hearts from an evil conscience!Saved from an evil conscienceF. Let us remember also the many times in which we have repeated that profession of faith, that confession of hope; for instead of retracting it, we have gone on to repeat it. H. Newman, D. D.)Healing the evil conscienceR. We are to draw near, and dwell always, to live our life and do our work within the sphere, the atmosphere of the inner sanctuary. O. And why did He send them? During the reign of Queen Mary, Bishop Latimer was brought to trial for conscience' sake. or refuse to go forward? You need, every day — yea, every hour — to be coming to Christ for blessing.(H. God's blessed Word, the Bible, gives us exactly the kind of light we need in order to have a good conscience. First consider our present condition, as shown us in Scripture. Hebrews 10:23, KJV: "Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)" Notice how thin and tender is the skin on your hand or face. (1)More unity among believers. Burns, D. D.)An unwavering confessionH. The doctrine of Justification is a promise that the penalty of sin may be cancelled; the doctrine of Sanctification, that the power of sin may be destroyed.(R. It is so delicate that it can feel the slightest touch. (4)By the supporting and staying effects of holy patience. The "assurance of faith" is a firm persuasion, a satisfactory evidence, that God does accept, pardon, save, and bless us, for Christ's sake; and this firm persuasion, this satisfactory evidence, arises, not only from the exceeding great and precious promises of His Word, but chiefly from the direct influence of His Spirit, bearing witness with our spirit that we are His children. Instead of being smooth and tender like this, it would be rough and hard, and have very little feeling. The form in which they are directed is not always the same, but sometimes assumes a more absolute, and sometimes a more conditional, appearance.4. (5)By the continual use of all the appointed means of grace.III. They flow solely from the free and sovereign good pleasure of Jehovah.2. W. Dale, LL. What if, like Abraham, the land and multiplication we have been promised are not yet in our possession? H. Newman, D. D.Among the reasons which may be assigned for the observance of prayer at stated times, there is one which is very obvious, and yet perhaps is not so carefully remembered and acted upon as it should be. The confession is the outward sign of the invisible hope. Let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works, labouring and waiting together, and helping one another in the unity of brethren. Let us draw near in these ordinances —(1) As rebels accepting the King's peace, indemnity in the blood of His Son; draw near, and welcome (Isaiah 27:5). Lawson.1. Not weary, but faithful unto death. Colwell.I. Who sent them? As IT IS THE EXPRESSION OF THE CHRISTIAN'S EXPERIENCE — "He is faithful that promised." Love to Jesus is a powerful motive. What is the promise? Again, we draw near to God when we engage properly in the exercise of social worship.3. How are we to get rid of this trouble? Now let us accept the call of grace, be sprinkled from an evil conscience, and restored to the favour and image of God, that, like the apostle, we may "have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men." Be not faithless to the Crucified. Spurgeon. He shed His precious blood and died for us on purpose that our sins may be pardoned, and we may be at peace with God. On this foundation rests a threefold exhortation.1. "Having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience." (Coleridge's Aids to Reflection. We have made A PROFESSION OF OUR FAITH, AND A CONFESSION OF OUR HOPE, By the memories of the day when you made that profession, be firm in it to the end. Conscience is God's scribe or private secretary; it writes down all that we do, or say, or think, or feel. You know we have reins for our horses to keep them in the way they should go; and our consciences are the reins by which God guides us, and if we only mind the reins we shall save ourselves from sin and sorrow.2. Let us remember also the many times in which we have repeated that profession of faith, that confession of hope; for instead of retracting it, we have gone on to repeat it. He has promised to give us grace to hold fast our profession; and "He is faithful."2. This should remind one of 1 Corinthians 13 (now abides faith, hope and love…), [Heb 10:23 KJV] 23 Let us hold fast the profession of [our] faith (hope) without wavering; (for he [is] faithful that promised;). The moment he heard that two of his sailors were meeting for reading and prayer behind one of the guns, he sent for one of them, and instantly ordered a portion of the lower deck to be curtained off, and gave orders that no one should molest them. They are all written with His own hand, they are all stamped with His own authority; and in His own Word they stand out in all their truth and in all their fulness.3. And so God has given to our souls that which we call conscience, and which shows us what is right and what is wrong — what we ought to do and what we ought not to do. We have made A PROFESSION OF OUR FAITH, AND A CONFESSION OF OUR HOPE, By the memories of the day when you made that profession, be firm in it to the end. )Divine promisesR. His place of prayer was amid the noise and din of the sailors. 20).3. To these wise and weighty words I can add nothing, and nothing needs to be added. Newton, D. D.)The cure for an evil conscienceJ. The "assurance of faith" is a firm persuasion, a satisfactory evidence, that God does accept, pardon, save, and bless us, for Christ's sake; and this firm persuasion, this satisfactory evidence, arises, not only from the exceeding great and precious promises of His Word, but chiefly from the direct influence of His Spirit, bearing witness with our spirit that we are His children. We are the body of Christ, and members one of another. These vary as the wind, and are not to be relied upon.2. WHY ARE WE TO DO THIS? How many there are of this kind, always sinning and always repenting! 20).3. God is again coming to us in that ordinance: an ordinance appointed for the most special nearness out of heaven (1 Corinthians 10:16).3. "Till I come," is the voice of the Saviour, when faith beholds His dying love; and going forth to meet Him, going forth out of the world's sin, bondage, gloom, is the response of the bride.3. Whenever the bishop answered a question he heard the sound of this man's pen as he wrote down each word that was spoken. Trapp. "Then go, dear son; you will be a welcome guest to God. But another reading — and a very good reading too — runs thus: "The confession of our hope." Because He loves you. A. But Christ's faithfulness is here laid down as the great motive. And He is always pouring them out. The first inference from the whole subject is, whoever neglects the means of grace, deprives himself of religious enjoyment. Let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works, labouring and waiting together, and helping one another in the unity of brethren. He is a friend of ours who is set over the house of God (ver. With sincerity. W. Dale, LL. We draw near to God when we engage properly in the solemn exercise of public worship.2. In all the New Testament there is not a single instance in which the apostles indicate, in the most distant way, that saving faith is a man's belief in his own salvation. Here the Christian hope is shown as one the believer rejoices in. (3) Get your hearts beforehand " sprinkled from an evil conscience." (Andrew Murray,)Full assurance of faith.Assurance of faith, and assurance of salvationW. (1)By the exercise of vigorous faith. Those legal sacrifices and purifications which are now all done away, are still evidence to us of a fact which the gospel has not annulled — our corruption. Faithfulness is an essential perfection of the Divine nature. To keep an account of what we do. (4)By the supporting and staying effects of holy patience. If we stop when it says " stop," if we do what it tells us to do, then we shall always hear it; but if we get into the habit of not heeding its warning, and not doing what it tells us to do, then by and by we shall cease to hear it.III. We read of persons in the Bible who were just in this condition (2 Kings 6.). You know we have what are called detective police. We also draw near to God, in a peculiar sense, when we engage properly in the exercise of secret devotion.II. The first inference from the whole subject is, whoever neglects the means of grace, deprives himself of religious enjoyment.2. )An evil conscienceWhen the compass loses its proper polarity at sea, the whole course of the vessel might be altered by it; and when the conscience loses its right direction, its responsibility to God, its deference and inclination to His law, by its continued violation of the higher duties, the heart is filled with fears, the dispensations of Providence are suspected to be judgments, when they may be real and satisfying mercies.ConscienceNeighbour Jones has a conscience that looks forward and keeps him from doing wrong. God is on a throne of grace in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:19).2. But the apostle speaks in our text of "an evil conscience." Christianity is a hope — "Christ in you the hope of glory." He is able to perform all and everything that he has promised. But God will not, God cannot, for God who hath promised is faithful; for as He cannot forget or be hindered by any contrary power, so He cannot change His will. You made it once. So that all is sure on God's part, and man hath no cause to waver, except he neglect his duty; and if he perish, his destruction must be of himself. 38 Lane views Christian “hope” as both a present and future salvation through Christ’s work on the cross. Because He loves you. If He has, then do not hold fast your profession. Lawson.1. (2) Draw near in the "full assurance of faith." "Hold fast." If we read the text according to our present authorised translation, we have faith. Has the Lord failed you? Christ invites you to Him. For —1. Before the First Advent believers looked forward in faith and hope to the good things to come. Another Jack Tar was creeping along, and said, "May I come?" You have repeated your profession in the shop, and in the market, and in the place of business, and among your friends, and in your family, and to the partner of your life. Faithfulness is an essential perfection of the Divine nature. But the eye of faith contemplates the Infinite Being. And this must be taken into account in saying how the injured conscience can be healed. That is Christianity in a sentence. (2) In the holy sacrament of the supper. We are to consider one another as fellow pilgrims; to study our brother's need and sorrow, difficulty and trial; to exercise our mind on our duty and relation to him, that thus we may be helpful to him in his course, and stimulate and encourage him to good works. Another came, and another, and the last account I heard from that ship was this, that every night thirty-two were meeting for prayer, thirty of them believed to be converted characters. But perhaps some of you lost the friendship of many by becalming disciples of the Lord Jesus. We have compared conscience to the eye of the soul. We can only be safe, happy, strong, or useful, by being fully decided — by ceasing to waver.III. As a detector, to find out sin after it has been committed. Particularly, let us draw near to Him —(1) In prayer (chap. Before his death he was earnestly persuaded to recant, and among other things a friend said to him, "Take pity on thy golden years and pleasant flowers of youth before it is too late." Learn that religion requires both the devotion of the heart and the profession of the life.2. A Christian man is a thoughtful man. WE OUGHT TO DRAW NEAR: "Let us draw near." You may get near to Him ere you come to heaven; in His ordinances in the lower house, there you may have access to Him. Of whom it is that our text speaks. How MAY CONSCIENCE BE INJURED?1. When we look through the red glass what colour will the things be that we are looking at? We now consider the faithfulness of God to His promises. This is a very convenient way of being roused from sleep. (5)By the continual use of all the appointed means of grace.III. )Divine promisesR. The doctrine of the Atonement is a promise; it explains the ground on which God grants the pardon of sin. But if you wish to have an additional object of faith in your own progress and spirituality, you are, like Peter, looking away from Jesus unto the unstable sea. It is about the best thing that happens to a Christian man when worldlings cut his acquaintance.III. And the more we realise Jesus as the living Lord, the more shall we look forward, waiting for His coming, and going forth to meet Him. We only retain our hold by pressing onwards, etc. It is not on your own works and your own productions that you can repose. Gratitude for past mercies. With us this unity of faith and hope is substantially the same; but it appears now in a twofold manner. They became the butt of the men in two or three messes, but still continued, bearing and forbearing. And however long we have laboured at it, still how much unconscious, unavoidable sin, the result of past transgression, is thrown out from our hearts day by day in the energy of our thinking and acting!3. "But how can you bring Him everything good, seeing that you are but a poor sinner?" And this shows us how we should act at all times. During the reign of Queen Mary, Bishop Latimer was brought to trial for conscience' sake. (1)Of course this includes the holding fast of your faith. (Owen Clarke. "A true heart." It is one part of religion itself.3. (2) Next, to pass from the Jewish law, you will observe that God tells us expressly in the history of the fall of Adam, what the legal ceremonies implied; that it is our very nature which is sinful. Oh for that grace which sprinkles our hearts from an evil conscience!Saved from an evil conscienceF. I. Learn that religion requires both the devotion of the heart and the profession of the life.2. "Provoke one another."3. It takes hold of God through His gracious word of promise; it looks at the atoning sacrifice of Jesus; it stands by that sacrifice, and embracing that Saviour as the only hope, the soul contemplates a faithful God. If He say the word, it must be done; if He pass His promise, He will perform. (4)More glory to God.Application:1. God is omnipotent, and therefore it is not the want of power that can render Him unfaithful. "But how can you bring Him everything good, seeing that you are but a poor sinner?" A Christian man is a thoughtful man. Christianity is eminently an individual heart-affair; but it is also eminently social. Our text points to Him who fills the throne itself; we are contemplating Him as engaged to us by a covenant ordered in all things and sure; and as having communicated in consequence exceeding great and precious promises, while He is faithful to each and every promise which He has thus made.2. We have nothing to plead but the worthy name of Jesus, and we need no other; and while we pray in His name, we may know ourselves sincerer however unworthy. Newton, D. D.)The cure for an evil conscienceJ. On this foundation rests a threefold exhortation.1. They will do you no good if they profess to be your friends; and they will do you less harm by giving you the cold shoulder." This means a conscience that has been injured like a diseased eye, so that we cannot see clearly.I. Come back, sinners, draw near towards God and duty. Not even a feather can rest upon it without your feeling it. Note the relative position of this. No one need wait, then, for this before he approaches God in prayer. Burns, D. D.)An unwavering confessionH. From this two things follow. Conscience is God's scribe or private secretary; it writes down all that we do, or say, or think, or feel. It is about the best thing that happens to a Christian man when worldlings cut his acquaintance.III. And conscience is like a window in this respect. To the sinner. But God will not, God cannot, for God who hath promised is faithful; for as He cannot forget or be hindered by any contrary power, so He cannot change His will. (2) As petitioners to the King. You need, every day — yea, every hour — to be coming to Christ for blessing.(H. Christ invites you to Him. THE DUTY HERE ENJOINED. This is held by those who teach that the faith which justifies is a confident assurance that the individual is himself in Christ, and so saved; and it is involved in the opinion of those who teach that every man who is in Christ knows this, and so is assured of his own safety. Stedfastness is essential to our final salvation.4. 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