Evidences Of An Alarmed Conscience
“My conscience hath a thousand tongues
And every tongue brings a several tale
And every tale condemns me for a villain.”
We will give a scene that happened at a camp meeting to illustrate: A sermon had just been preached on the necessity of confession in order to an easy conscience. A woman who had long been a professor of sanctification and a prominent worker for the spread of holiness, arose and said: “I see it now, under the searchlight of God’s truth, that that conductor who took me from C‑ to S‑ (about 200 miles), when I was a girl, because he took a liking to me, strictly speaking, had no right to do so. The company did not hire him to carry passengers free. If I were the company, and he worked for me I would expect him to collect all due me. I have not seen the matter in this light before. All those years of profession, and unawakened! I will make it right. Another said, “Well, I used to ride a distance of three hundred miles for a dollar. The conductor had two pockets, one for the company and one for himself and he would only charge me one dollar. True, the right fare would have been nine dollars, but was lie not supposed to look
out for his company, and if he saw fit only to charge the one dollar, it was no affair of mine!” More’s the pity, in this case of spiritual blindness, the party in question preaches holiness. Verily, the life of holiness, as well as the correct theory, should be emphasized. Still another (preacher) was often carried free on one of our Western roads because the conductor favored him. How subtle and dangerous a thing it is to be even moderately popular! A little reflection would show the conductor had no right to show such favors, or the preacher to accept them. The conductor is not supposed to carry even his own loved ones, or the employees of the company, without a pass. It surely reveals spiritual blindness on the part of the preacher to accept such favors. The straight of the affair is, the conductor robbed the company and the preacher helped him to do it; the conductor sinned and the preacher helped him do it was a partaker of his sin. Suppose this matter had been submitted to the board of directors or to the stockholders for their decision as to its rightness. Anyone knows beforehand what their decision would be and that the conductor was endowed with no such authority and had be been found out he would have lost his position. The action of our preacher friend in accepting the favor reminds us of the story of the army chaplain who stoutly refused to eat any of the pig the soldiers had stolen because it was so wrong to steal; but, boys “You may pass me some of the gravy!” Of course, our Rev. Bro. would not rob the Company, but he stands with outstretched hand and receives what another stole. A thorough awakening and light from God’s throne is all he needs to lead him to a speedy computing of all the miles ridden and then a check to the treasurer of the company will be followed by the witness of God’s Spirit that he is moving in the right direction.
An awakened conscience will also reveal the wrong in the practice of many clerks, unknown to their employers, favoring their friends with special prices, contrary to regular established prices; or throwing in an extra half or quarter yard, when measuring goods. The clerk sins and so does the one receiving the favor. Personally, if the clerk wishes to favor us, we inquire before receiving said favor if it is the law of the house to make special reductions to ministers. If the clerk only thinks so, we do not accept until he goes to the proprietor and ascertains the law of the house, for sure.
When a young man, working for a large corporation, our foreman had the selling of old wood for the company. We bought quite a few loads and when offering to settle the foreman always refused to accept our money. We thought he was very kind to us. But when God alarmed and awakened our conscience we thought of the transaction in an entirely different light. The foreman was not the company; in fact, he was on a salary, as were we, and he had no right to give away what belonged strictly to the stockholders and they wanted all possible revenue for dividends and maintenance. Our conscience gave us no rest until we placed in the treasury the equivalent of the wood. ‑Does the reader say we went too far?
Very well, we gave God the benefit of the doubt and secured peace of conscience!
Effect of Awakening on Pride of Heart
A prominent member of a fashionable church, and herself very much given to extravagant dress as well as the wearing of jewelry, was awakened to see the folly of her way and led to lay aside her gaudy plumes and headgear as well as part of her jewelry, but she did not yet feel she could, or should, lay aside four or five rings. God favored her with a vision of her hands, both clean, white, spotless, pure and beautiful, without the sign of a ring on them. She was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but straightway laid them aside. After she came to her right mind, she testified: “I do not know how I looked before, but I must have looked like a fool.” Strange, she had been a professing Christian for so long without being truly awakened. She had been led to believe baptism by immersion and joining the church was all. But, Oh, how different is her whole life now, since her eyes have seen the King!
The Methodist Episcopal discipline requires those who would enter the church to have primarily a desire to flee the wrath to come, and remarks, wherever this is really fixed in the soul, it will be shown by its fruits, such as doing no evil, as cursing, swearing,Sabbath desecration by doing ordinary work therein, or buying or selling; charging a usurious rate of interest, evil speaking, doing to others as we would not like to be done by.
DOING WHAT WE KNOW IS NOT FOR THE GLORY OF GOD. As:
The putting on of GOLD OR COSTLY APPAREL, needless self‑indulgence, laying tip treasures on earth, the singing of songs, taking diversions, reading books which do not tend to the knowledge of God, or can not be taken in the name of the Lord Jesus. And it further requires we not only cease evil, but learn to do well, according to our power, to the bodies and souls of men, and also that we attend all the ordinances of the church as Public Worship of God, the Ministry of the Word, the Supper of the Lord, Family and Private Prayer, Searching the Scriptures and Fasting or Abstinence.
The summing up of all this is that, “ALL THESE THINGS WE KNOW, GOD BY HIS SPIRIT, WRITES ON ALL TRULY AWAKENED HEARTS.” So, if one pleads for these things condemned, or neglects those enjoined, he or she simply give away the fact, though they have a place among the visible church, they have never been awakened truly, and consequently have no part or lot in Christ. Their names are on the church roll, but are not on the Lamb’s Book of Life.
People who plead for the commission of sin the Christian life have overlooked the nature of real scrip rural awakening. Zaccheus, under its power, is straight‑way willing to make restitution four‑fold. Paul cries out, “Lord what wilt Thou have me to do?” So far as it being a matter of sanctification essential to victory over sin many testify when scripturally awakened they are constrained to give up all known sin, as Rev. Thos. Walsh, of early Methodist fame. We met a remarkable case in Nebraska‑a young man and his wife were convicted in a meeting we held. A year later he informed us he had been having family worship, was willing to make all known wrongs right, had given up all known sin, read the Bible and prayed, was honoring God with his means, and still was not converted; and he kept this up for a year. His conscience only awakened! Remarkable case! Would God that many who profess to be Christians were as religious as he. Still he is not yet converted. If awakening brings him so much, his life will indeed be remarkable when he is once converted.
A man who had been divorced and remarried without Scriptural ground for his divorce, was awakened to see though the law of the land justified his second marriage, in God’s sight he was living in adultery and on his way to hell. So powerfully was his mind wrought upon , he informs his wife they may no longer live as husband and wife (though he still would support her). He investigated the whereabouts of his first wife and learned she had died in the meantime and, of course, fie was free. He was then married again, Scripturally, to his second wife.
Mrs. ‑ said: “Why, I am utterly astonished! It seems all the little mean things I ever did in my life are before me.” She wrote letters of confession and apology.
We were preaching in a large city church on “God seeks a man to stand in the gap.” A brother present arose and went into the street and threw his tobacco away. Said he: “I felt so small and unmanly with the filthy stuff in my pocket, I could not rest with it there.” Yet no word has been said against or about tobacco. God’s Spirit pressed him to “cleanse himself from all ‘filthiness of the flesh.”‘
Conscience money in Great Britain means income tax money, unlawfully withheld. The American government also has a special conscience fund‑a fund into which money is paid by those who have robbed the government. When Conscience is fully awakened all of these funds swell as well as the coffers of corporations and individuals. We have little confidence in revivals which do not awaken the conscience to that degree, restitution is made. We once heard an Evangelist at college call it “the‑rest‑of‑your‑tuition”‑it means that to the student, Yea, and it means the rest of the grocery bill, and the rest of the dry goods bill, and the rest of that old outlawed bill, and the rest of any and all bills.
We know a brother who said publicly: “I will never rest satisfied until I have paid God fifteen years’ back tithe money I have robbed Him of.” Why not? Why should we not, while settling up old accounts, pay God also? In full?
Said a brother in a meeting where the power of God was mightily working: “I have robbed the state; I misrepresented the value of my chattels for taxation. God shows me I must make it up the next time.” O, yes, awakening revolutionizes.
One of the most remarkable cases under our observation is that of a young man who “hoboed” his way on freight trains twenty‑five thousand miles. He traveled enough to circle the globe on the bumpers. When seeking to be right with God this weighed on his conscience. Finally, in desperation, he agreed to repay every dollar. He ascertained the addresses of the different auditors of the respective railroads ridden on and sent each his portion‑seven hundred and fifty dollars was the total amount. The Lord held him to first‑class passenger rates. Think of it! Three cents a mile for “hobo accommodation!”
Another brother, who, thirty‑six years previous to our meeting, had beaten the Pennsylvania Railroad out of one hundred and fifty miles of passenger service, said he had never though it wrong because the company was not an individual. God’s mighty awakening power gripped him‑and though he had been many years a most prominent member of the church, there was no way around or over the settlement. He called on us for help. We took him to the passenger agent’s office, figured up the mileage and then told him to make sure his conscience would never trouble him again, he should add compound interest which he was glad to offer the company.
“My strength is as the strength of ten because MY heart is pure.”
“Trust that man in nothing who hath not a conscience in everything.”