Proof Of The Existence Of Conscience
Every Man Has a Conscience. This proposition is easily proved from,
Paul said he commended himself to every man’s conscience. In order to do this, it logically follows every man must have a conscience. God’s revealed word confirms the Apostle’s statement: “That which may be known of God (to them the heathen) is manifest to them, for God hath showed it to them.” Manifestly not through His word but through the voice of conscience as the following proves: “When the Gentiles which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these having not the law, are a law unto themselves; which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing, or, excusing, one another.” The “law unto themselves” is simply the operation of an unperverted conscience which, in this state, essentially agrees with God’s revelation in nature and grace.
Observation, looking around, reveals man is possessed with conscience; hence the conscience funds swell by constant inflow of conscience money. Nearly every true revival sees some confession, apology, and adjustment”, in order to gain an “easy conscience,” and, frequently,, criminals are brought to the bars of justice through the lashings of conscience alone. History, from the time of the voluntary confession of Judas: “I have betrayed innocent blood,” till now, records the confessions of troubled consciences.
No tribe has been found, sunken so low in depravity, iniquity and vice, but some traces of conscience remain. For example, the man-eating South Sea Island Cannibal, as low as human beings can sink, has remnants of conscience. When he eats “short pork,” as he terms swine’s flesh, he feels no compunctions of conscience; but, as soon as he eats a human being, or “long pork,” as he terms man’s flesh, conscience is in operation with its dreadful scorpion lashes of guilt and the poor heathen savage feels so condemned he seeks to hid the traces of his crime by burying the bones. The feeling of awe and reverence of the Indian for the Great Spirit and his hope of a happy‑hunting‑ground‑heaven, by and by, is explainable only from the fact of universal conscience in man.
Experience furnishes indubitable evidence all men have consciences (unless imbecile or irrational). Looking within us we find conscience. We may not doubt the witness of our own, conscious, everyday feelings.
Finney says, “The existence of a conscience in every, man is a fact of consciousness and one of its ultimate facts. Every man knows that he has a conscience, and it is impossible he should know any fact with higher evidence or with greater certainty, than he knows this. If he had no conscience, it would be impossible he should have the ideas of right and wrong, of good, or ill, desert, of virtue and of vice. No being could convey these ideas to his mind if man bad no conscience wherewith to apprehend and appreciate them. These ideas of God, duty, right, and desert of retribution, belong to man, to all men, are found in all men and cannot be expelled from the human mind. This faculty distinguishes man from the Lower Animals”
From the foregoing, not only does every man know he has a conscience, but he knows he has, in its native state, a CONDEMNING CONSCIENCE, until it has been awakened, renewed, and purified by God’s gracious power. And not only does he know he has a condemning conscience but he generally knows WHY and FOR WHAT his conscience is condemning him, though he may not know all (now) his conscience may condemn him for in the future. He may not plead ignorance. “That which may be known of God is manifest to him for God hath showed it to him.”
The Common plea: “O, Lord, if there is anything in my life which ought not to be there, I pray thee, take it from me,” is often an excuse to continue in sin; and a subtle form of self‑justification, and a blaming of God
for not removing questionable things and practices from us, which He expects us to remove ourselves. Then, when God does not miraculously wrench from us the idols we refuse to give up, the deceived soul blames their non‑removal on God and takes for granted His failure to remove them as a token of His favor and approbation of them. Let us suggest a better way: “0, Lord, if there is anything in my life which should not be there thou hast shown it to me and through thy word and conscience reproved me for it, help me to put it away.”
No, we may not plead ignorance any longer as an excuse to continue sin or questionable practices since conscience (unperverted) is given us of God and is the faculty by which we know right from wrong. Its reproofs are so explicit and sharp we cannot be in doubt as to its requirements.
“For our transgressions are with us, as for our iniquities we know them.”
“For when the gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these having not the law are a law unto themselves, which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing, or else excusing, one another.”‑Paul.