Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 1


Chapter 34—Conscience

Exalt the Conscience to Its Rightful Place of Authority—God has given men more than a mere animal life. He “so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” He expects those for whom He has made so great a sacrifice to show their appreciation of His love by following the example that Christ has set them, living lives that are in harmony with His will. He expects them to respond to the love He has expressed for them by denying self for the good of others. He expects them to use the powers of mind and body in His service. He has given them affections, and He expects them to use this precious gift to His glory. He has given them a conscience, and He forbids that this gift be in any way misused; it is, rather, to be exalted to the place of authority to which He has assigned it.—The Southern Watchman, March 1, 1904. 1MCP 319.1

Control Conscience and Cultivate an Amiable Disposition—We should all cultivate an amiable disposition and subject ourselves to the control of conscience. The spirit of the truth makes better men and women of those who receive it in their hearts. It works like leaven till the entire being is brought into conformity to its principles. It opens the heart that has been frozen by avarice; it opens the hand that has ever been closed to human suffering; and charity and kindness are seen as its fruits.—Testimonies for the Church 4:59 (1876). 1MCP 319.2

A Pure Conscience a Wonderful Acquirement—A conscience void of offense toward God and man is a wonderful acquirement.—Manuscript 126, 1897. (Our High Calling, 143.) 1MCP 320.1

Rejecting Conscience Is a Fearful Danger—Day by day men and women are deciding their eternal destiny. I have been shown that many are in great danger. When a man will do or say anything to gain his end, nothing but the power of God can save him. His character needs to be transformed before he can have a good conscience, void of offense toward God and man. Self must die, and Christ must take possession of the soul temple. When, by rejecting the light that God has given, men abuse and trample upon the conscience, they are in fearful danger. Their future eternal welfare is imperiled.—Letter 162, 1903. 1MCP 320.2

Satan Attempts to Drown Conscience—Satan uses his influence to drown the voice of God and the voice of conscience, and the world acts as if under his control. Men have chosen him as their leader. They stand under his banner. They will not come to Christ that they might have life. Infatuated with schemes for pleasure and amusement, they are striving for that which will perish with the using.—Manuscript 161, 1897. 1MCP 320.3

One Wrong Step Changes a Life—The removal of one safeguard from the conscience, the failure to do the very thing that the Lord has marked out, one step in the path of wrong principle, often leads to an entire change of the life and action.... We are safe only in following where Christ leads the way. The path will grow clearer, brighter and brighter, unto the perfect day.—Letter 71, 1898. 1MCP 320.4

Violated Conscience Is Weakened—A conscience once violated is greatly weakened. It needs the strength of constant watchfulness and unceasing prayer. Testimonies for the Church 2:90, 91 (1868). 1MCP 321.1

Violated Conscience Becomes Unreliable—He who after hearing the truth turns from it because to accept it would retard his success in business lines turns from God and the light. He sells his soul in a cheap market. His conscience will ever be unreliable. He has made a bargain with Satan, violating his conscience, which if kept pure and upright, would have been of more value to him than the whole world. He who refuses light partakes of the fruit of disobedience, as did Adam and Eve in Eden.—Manuscript 27, 1900. 1MCP 321.2

Loss of Conscious Integrity Paralyzes Energies—When you lose your conscious integrity, your soul becomes a battlefield for Satan; you have doubts and fears enough to paralyze your energies and drive you to discouragement. When the favor of God was gone, you know that some of you have tried to supply the place and seek compensation for the loss of the Holy Spirit's witness that you are a child of God in worldly excitement, in the society of worldlings.—Letter 14, 1885. 1MCP 321.3

Violated Conscience Becomes a Tyrant—Conscience violated becomes a tyrant over other consciences.—Letter 88, 1896. 1MCP 321.4

Satan Controls the Conscience Numbed by Alcohol—The drunkard sells his reason for a cup of poison. Satan takes control of his reason, affections, conscience. Such a man is destroying the temple of God. Tea drinking helps to do this same work. Yet how many there are who place these destroying agencies on their tables, thereby quenching the divine attributes.—Manuscript 130, 1899. (Temperance, 79, 80.) 1MCP 321.5

Diet Affects Conscience—Gross and stimulating food fevers the blood, excites the nervous system, and too often dulls the moral perceptions so that reason and conscience are overborne by the sensual impulses.—Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 134, 1890. (Counsels on Diet and Foods, 243.) 1MCP 322.1

Health and Conscience—Health is an inestimable blessing, and one which is more closely related to conscience and religion than many realize. It has a great deal to do with one's capability. Every minister should feel that as he would be a faithful guardian of the flock, he must preserve all his powers in condition for the best possible service.—Gospel Workers, 175 (1893). (Counsels on Health, 566.) 1MCP 322.2

Conscience Effective Agent in Restoring Health—If you are burdened and weary, you need not curl up like leaves upon a withered branch. Cheerfulness and a clear conscience are better than drugs and will be an effective agent in your restoration to health.—The Health Reformer, June, 1871. (My Life Today, 177.) 1MCP 322.3

Possible to Be Conscientiously Wrong—The idea is entertained by many that a man may practice anything that he conscientiously believes to be right. But the question is, Has the man a well-instructed, good conscience, or is it biased and warped by his own preconceived opinions? Conscience is not to take the place of “Thus saith the Lord.” Consciences do not all harmonize and are not all inspired alike. Some consciences are dead, seared as with a hot iron. Men may be conscientiously wrong as well as conscientiously right. Paul did not believe in Jesus of Nazareth, and he hunted the Christians from city to city, verily believing that he was doing service to God.—Letter 4, 1889. 1MCP 322.4

Human Perceptions an Unstable Guide—“The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:22). 1MCP 322.5

These words have a first and second sense, a literal and a figurative meaning. They are full of truth in regard to the bodily eye, with which we see external objects. And they are true also in regard to the spiritual eye, the conscience, with which we estimate good and evil. If the eye of the soul, the conscience, is perfectly healthy, the soul will be taught aright. 1MCP 323.1

But when the conscience is guided by human perceptions, which are not subdued and softened by the grace of Christ, the mind is in a diseased condition. Things are not seen in their true bearings. The imagination is wrought upon, and the eye of the mind sees things in a false, distorted light. 1MCP 323.2

You need clear, sympathetic eyesight. Your conscience has been abused, and has become hardened, but if you will follow the right course, renewed sensitiveness will come to it.—Letter 45, 1904. 1MCP 323.3

When We Can Trust the Conscience—But one says, “My conscience does not condemn me in not keeping the commandments of God.” But in the Word of God we read that there are good and bad consciences, and the fact that your conscience does not condemn you in not keeping the law of God does not prove that you are uncondemned in His sight. 1MCP 323.4

Take your conscience to the Word of God and see if your life and character are in accordance with the standard of righteousness which God has there revealed. You can then determine whether or not you have an intelligent faith and what manner of conscience is yours. The conscience of man cannot be trusted unless it is under the influence of divine grace. Satan takes advantage of an unenlightened conscience, and thereby leads men into all manner of delusions, because they have not made the Word of God their counselor. Many have invented a gospel of their own in the same manner as they have substituted a law of their own for God's law.—The Review and Herald, September 3, 1901. 1MCP 323.5

God's Word the Standard—It is not enough for a man to think himself safe in following the dictates of his conscience.... The question to be settled is, Is the conscience in harmony with the Word of God? If not, it cannot safely be followed, for it will deceive. The conscience must be enlightened by God. Time must be given to a study of the Scriptures and to prayer. Thus the mind will be stablished, strengthened, and settled.—Letter 21, 1901. (Our High Calling, 143.) 1MCP 324.1

Is Conscience Changing your Life?—You may have a conscience and that conscience may bring conviction to you, but the question is, Is that conviction a working agent? Does that conviction reach your heart and the doings of the inner man? Is there a purification of the soul temple of its defilement? That is what we want, because it is a time such as it was in the days of the children of Israel; and if there are any sins upon you, do not stop till they are corrected and put away.—Manuscript 13, 1894. 1MCP 324.2

Influence of Truth on the Conscience and on the Heart—The psalmist says, “The entrance of Thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple” (Psalm 119:130). When truth is working only upon the conscience, it creates much uneasiness; but when truth is invited into the heart, the whole being is brought into captivity to Jesus Christ. Even the thoughts are captured, for the mind of Christ works where the will is submitted to the will of God. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). He whom the Lord makes free is free indeed, and he cannot be brought into servile bondage to sin.—Manuscript 67, 1894. 1MCP 324.3

Truth Held Only by Conscience Will Agitate the Mind—By his conscience every honest Jew was convinced that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, but the heart in its pride and ambition would not surrender. An opposition was maintained against the light of truth, which they had decided to resist and deny. When the truth is held as truth only by the conscience, when the heart is not stimulated and made receptive, the truth only agitates the mind. But when the truth is received as truth by the heart, it has passed through the conscience and captivated the soul by its pure principles. It is placed in the heart by the Holy Spirit, who molds its beauty to the mind that its transforming power may be seen in the character.—Manuscript 130, 1897. 1MCP 324.4

God Does Not Force the Conscience—God never forces the will or the conscience, but Satan's constant resort—to gain control of those whom he cannot otherwise seduce—is compulsion by cruelty. Through fear or force he endeavors to rule the conscience and to secure homage to himself.—The Great Controversy, 591 (1888). 1MCP 325.1

When Conscience Is a Sure Guide—He whose conscience is a sure guide will not stop to reason when light shines upon him out of God's Word. He will not be guided by human counsel. He will not allow worldly business to stand in the way of obedience. He will lay every selfish interest at the door of investigation and will approach the Word of God as one whose eternal interest is hanging in the balance.—Manuscript 27, 1900. 1MCP 325.2

Emotions and Desires Subjected to Reason and Conscience—If we would not commit sin, we must shun its very beginnings. Every emotion and desire must be held in subjection to reason and conscience. Every unholy thought must be instantly repelled. To your closet, followers of Christ. Pray in faith and with all the heart. Satan is watching to ensnare your feet. You must have help from above if you would escape his devices.—Testimonies for the Church 5:177 (1882). 1MCP 325.3

But it is for you to hold every emotion and passion under control, in calm subjection to reason and conscience. Then Satan loses his power to control the mind.—The Review and Herald, June 14, 1892. (Our High Calling, 87.) 1MCP 326.1

Scars Ever Remain—What did that dishonest man gain by his worldly policy? How high a price did he pay for his success? He has sacrificed his noble manhood and has started on the road that leads to perdition. He may be converted; he may see the wickedness of his injustice to his fellowmen—and, as far as possible, make restitution; but the scars of a wounded conscience will ever remain.—The Signs of the Times, February 7, 1884. (The S.D.A. Bible Commentary 3:1158.) 1MCP 326.2

Christ's Grace Sufficient for Guilty Conscience—When sin struggles for the mastery in the heart, when guilt oppresses the soul and burdens the conscience, when unbelief clouds the mind, remember that Christ's grace is sufficient to subdue sin and banish the darkness. Entering into communion with the Saviour, we enter the region of peace.—The Ministry of Healing, 250 (1905). 1MCP 326.3

You Can Make Yourself What You Choose—Again I warn you as one who must meet these lines in that day when the case of everyone shall be decided. Yield yourself to Christ without delay; He alone, by the power of His grace, can redeem you from ruin. He alone can bring your moral and mental powers into a state of health. Your heart may be warm with the love of God; your understanding, clear and mature; your conscience, illuminated, quick, and pure; your will, upright and sanctified, subject to the control of the Spirit of God. You can make yourself what you choose. If you will now face right about, cease to do evil and learn to do well, then you will be happy indeed; you will be successful in the battles of life and rise to glory and honor in the better life than this. “Choose you this day whom ye will serve” (Joshua 24:15).—Testimonies for the Church 2:564, 565 (1870). 1MCP 326.4

Not to Meddle With Others’ Consciences—Conscience in regard to the things of God is a sacred treasure, which no human beings, whatever be their position, have a right to meddle with. Nebuchadnezzar offered the Hebrews another chance, and when they refused it, he was exceedingly angry and commanded the burning fiery furnace to be heated seven times hotter than it was wont to be heated. He told the captives that he would cast them into this furnace. Full of faith and trust, the answer came, Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us; if He does not, well: we commit ourselves to a faithful God.—Letter 90, 1897. 1MCP 327.1

No Criterion for Others—God does not wish you to make your conscience a criterion for others. You have a duty to perform, which is to make yourself cheerful and to cultivate unselfishness in your feelings until it will be your greatest pleasure to make all around you happy.—Testimonies for the Church 4:62 (1876). 1MCP 327.2

Parents to Help Children to Preserve a Clean Conscience—I am instructed to say to parents, Do all in your power to help your children to have a pure, clean conscience. Teach them to feed on the Word of God. Teach them that they are the Lord's little children. Do not forget that He has appointed you as their guardians. If you will give them proper food and dress them healthfully, and if you will diligently teach them the Word of the Lord, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little, with much prayer to our heavenly Father, your efforts will be richly rewarded.—Manuscript 4, 1905. 1MCP 327.3

Conscience to Be Cleansed—Every room in the soul temple has become more or less defiled, and needs cleansing. The cobwebbed closet of conscience is to be entered. The windows of the soul are to be closed earthward and thrown wide open heavenward that the bright beams of the Sun of righteousness may have free access. The memory is to be refreshed by Bible principles. The mind is to be kept clear and pure that it may distinguish between good and evil. As you repeat the prayer Christ taught His disciples, and then strive to answer it in the daily life, the Holy Spirit will renew the mind and heart and will give you strength to carry out high and holy purposes.—Manuscript 24, 1901. 1MCP 327.4

Clear Conscience Brings Perfect Peace—Inward peace and a conscience void of offense toward God will quicken and invigorate the intellect like dew distilled upon the tender plants. The will is then rightly directed and controlled, and is more decided, and yet free from perverseness. The meditations are pleasing because they are sanctified. The serenity of mind which you may possess will bless all with whom you associate. This peace and calmness will, in time, become natural and will reflect its precious rays upon all around you, to be again reflected upon you. The more you taste this heavenly peace and quietude of mind, the more it will increase. It is an animated, living pleasure which does not throw all the moral energies into a stupor but awakens them to increased activity. Perfect peace is an attribute of heaven which angels possess. May God help you to become a possessor of this peace.—Testimonies for the Church 2:327 (1869). 1MCP 328.1