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more the darkness than the light, but he has both; and when he lives in the light, he becomes light; and whilst he lives in the darkness, he is darkness. Thus it is written, “Once ye were darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord.” It must have struck every one, that in Rom. vii. and viii., the apostle distinguishes the individual person from the flesh in him, as much as from the spirit in him. These, I repeat, are the two cords in every man's heart, the one being held in the hand of God, and the other in the hand of the enemy of God—the one drawing man towards God, the other towards self-gratification.

The whole responsibility of man consists in his power to recognize and follow this inward drawing of God, or to reject it, according to his own personal choosing. When he follows it, he is the wise son who maketh a glad Father; and when he rejects it, he frustrates the counsel of God against himself, as the Pharisees did in refusing John's baptism; (Luke vii. 38, marg.) and God holds him responsible for this power, and deals with him in righteous judgment, according to his exercise of it. And this judgment is not altogether deferred till after death. At

every step of the way there is a judgment, though not a judgment that closes the account,—but at every step of the way, there is a faithfulness or an unfaithfulness to a present light, which God meets in a way of judgment. In the case of faithfulness, the man finds an inward reward of increased light, unless he frustrates it by taking the praise to himself, instead of rendering it to his director; and in case of unfaithfulness, he will suffer from the hardening of his conscience, and the obscuring of his light, unless he repents, when God multiplies to pardon. The voice is continually saying in the conscience of every man, more or less audibly, “I will instruct thee, and teach thee in the way in which thou shalt go, and I will guide thee with mine eye; be ye not like the horse or mule, that have no understanding.” The having this voice speaking in him is the honour in which man is placed, and by which he is distinguished from the beasts that perish. Psalm xlix. 20. The more obediently, and attentively, and reverently, he listens to this voice, the more he will hear, and if he waits upon it, as an invitation to God, the more he will become acquainted with the speaker-and the more

he turns away his ear or his reverence from it, the less will he hear, and the farther estranged will he become from the speaker.

In this matter, there is a danger which is often fallen into, and which therefore should be mentioned—namely, that men are prone to act on the supposition, that the voice in their conscience is a faculty of their own nature, like their feelings of benevolence or compassion, as when the Jews said of Jesus, Is not this the Carpenter's son?—and then, even although they follow it, they are not brought by it into a sense of their dependence on a divine authority, which is their true creaturely condition; and they are not led to seek acquaintance with the speaker, because they attribute it to themselves—and thus they do not understand the honour, and thus lose the blessing, even when there is a certain semblance of faithfulness to the voice. But it is only a semblance, for every one may know that the voice in his conscience is of a different order from the faculties or feelings of his own mind, because he knows that, however weakly it sounds, he is sinning, unless he humbles before it the highest and strongest movements of his spirit.

There is another evil which is fallen into by

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those who do, in a certain way, acknowledge the oneness of God with the voice in conscience; I mean the evil of stopping short at conscience, as if that were all, and thus losing God in conscience, instead of finding Him in it; their error lies in so identifying Him with this voice in conscience, as to bring Him down to the level of a mere voice, or intimation of right and wrong, instead of rising up through the voice to an acquaintance with Himself from whom the voice comes, and who sends it forth for the express purpose of leading man up to Himself. Conscience is the link between flesh and spirit, it is an entrance by which the voice of the Word of God enters into man, calling for the submission of his heart and will, and through which He would communicate Himself personally and consciously, if man would submit his heart and will, and seek His manifestation. And because the voice is the voice of the living Word, therefore it not only gives direction as to what ought to be done; but it is also, in those who yield to it, an efficient worker, working in them, not to will only, but to do, of His good pleas

And thus it is that the apostle applies even to the unbelieving Jews the words which Moses anddressed to their fathers :


Say not in thine heart, who shall ascend up into heaven to bring Christ down, or who shall descend into the deep to bring Christ up; for the word is nigh thee, in thy mouth and in thy heart, that is, the word of faith, which we preach,”—that Jesus whom we preach outwardly, is the same Word, who is nigh unto every man, in his mouth and in his heart. *

The Bible is given to us to teach us who it is that is speaking in our hearts, that we may be persuaded to seek acquaintance with Him and to take hold of His strength, that we may be delivered from the voice and power of the evil spirit, working in our flesh, and may be lifted out of sin, and misery, and death. It is given us to make us acquainted with God in our own flesh, who stands knocking at every heart. Jesus is not merely a character or personage in a book; He is a real substantial being, whom we have not to seek for at a distance, nor strive to picture to ourselves by an effort of the imagination—it is He who, however hitherto unknown or

* The distinction between pñpe oé and rózos need not stumble any one, for the pñpecé of Rom. x. is evidently the aóyos fue Qutos of James, and the nóyos of Matt. xiii., and the corresponding passages in Mark and Luke, and 1 Pet. i. 23.

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