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strictly speaking, however, an evil conscience is one which judges erroneously or with a wrong bias, and not according to the light derived from nature or grace. 1 Cor. viii. 7. their conscience being weak, is defiled. 1 Tim. iv. 2. having their conscience seared with a hot iron.' Tit. i. 15. even their mind and conscience is defiled. . Contrary to sincerity are, first, evil thoughts. Matt. v. 28. he hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.' xv. 18, 19. those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart, and they defile the man; for out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders- Secondly, hypocrisy ; the deeds of which, though plausible, are not good, or if good, are not done with a good design. Matt. vi. 1, &c. 'take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them, otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.' xxiii. 25, 26. woe .unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites ! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.? . . ! Promptitude or alacrity is that which excites us to act with a ready and willing spirit. Psal. i. 2. ' whose delight is in the law of Jehovah.' xl. 8. • I delight to do thy will, O my God; yea, thy law is within my heart.' cx. 3. “thy people shall be willing.' Prov. xxi. 15. - it is joy to the just to do judgment.' 2 Cor. viii. 12. if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath— ix. 7. God loveth a cheerful giver.'
Its opposites are, first, precipitancy. Matt. viii. 19. . I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.?
Secondly, a forced and not spontaneous discharge of duty. Deut. xxviii. 47. because thou servedst: not Jehovah thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart.' 2 Cor. ix. 7. 'not grudgingly, or of necessity.' Gal. vi. 9. • let us not be weary in well doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. 2 Thess. iii. 13. ábe not weary in well doing. Heb. v. 11. " ye are dull of hearing.' xii. 3. consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.?. v. 12. lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees.' 1 Pet. v. 2. not by constraint, but willingly.'
Constancy is that virtue whereby we persevere in a determination to do right, from which nothing can divert us. Psal. cxix. 44, 45. • I shall keep thy law continually for ever and ever ; and I will walk at liberty.' v. 51. 'the proud have had me greatly in derision, yet have I not declined from thy law.' v. 61. the bands of the wicked have robbed me, but I have not forgotten thy law. v. 95. (the wicked have waited for me to destroy me, but I will consider thy testimonies. v. 110. the wicked have laid a snare for me, yet I erred not from thy precepts.' v. 112. • I have inclined mine heart to perform thy statutes alway, even unto the end.' v. 157. ‘many are my persecutors and mine enemies; yet do I not decline from thy testimonies.' Eccles. vii. 14.
in the day of prosperity be joyful; but in the day of adversity consider.' Matt. xxiv. 13. "he that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved.' 2 Cor. vi. 4, &c. ' in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions,
in necessities, in distresses-, viii. 11. now therefore perform the doing of it, that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have.
The opposites of this are, first, inconstancy. Jer. xxxiv. 8, &c. “after that the king Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people.......to proclaim liberty unto them.....afterward they turned and caused the servants and the handmaids whom they had let go free to return.' v. 15, 16. “ye were now turned and had done right in my sight.....but ye turned and polluted my name. Luke ix. 62. no man having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.' Matt. xiii. 20-22. he heareth the word......yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while ; for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.....he heareth the word, and the care of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word.'
Secondly, obstinacy in error, or in a wrong purpose. Psal. xix. 13. keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins ; let them not have dominion over me; then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. Jer. ii. 35. • behold, I will plead with thee, because thou sayest, I have not sinned.' Acts vii. 51. ye stiff-necked, and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost.'
OF THE VIRTUES BELONGING TO THE SERVICE OF GOD.
SPECIAL virtues are those which pertain only to a particular branch of our duty ; namely, to our duty towards God, or towards man.
Our duty towards God relates to his immediate worship or service ; which is either internal or external.
Internal worship consists mainly in the acknowledgment of the one true God, and in the cultivation of devout affections towards him. Deut. vi. 4. hear, O Israel; Jehovah our God is one Jehovah ;' as in the first book, on God.
Opposed to this is, first, atheism. Psal. xiv. 1. the fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.' also liji. 1. See more on this subject in the first book, as above.
Secondly, polytheism, or the ackowledgment of more Gods than one, except in the sense authorized by Scripture itself. Gal. iv. 8. when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no Gods.'
Devout affections towards God are love, trust, hope, gratitude, fear, humility, patience, obedience. Deut. X. 12, 13. “what doth Jehovah thy God require of thee, but to fear Jehovah thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve Jehovah thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul : to keep the commandments of Jehovah and his statutes.?.
The love of God is that by which we prefer him above all other objects of affection, and desire his glory. Deut. vi. 5. 'thou shalt love Jehovah thy God with all thine heart—; See also Matt. xxii. 37.
Desire his glory. Numb. xiv. 15, 16. then the nations will speak, saying, Because Jehovah was not able to bring this people into the land Josh. vii. 9. what wilt thou do unto thy great name ?
Opposed to this is a hatred of God: John xv. 24. they have hated both me and my Father;' and a love of the world or of created things. Luke xiv. 33.
whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple. 1 Cor. vii. 31.
they that use this world, as not abusing it.' Philipp. iii. 7, 8. "what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ; yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung that I may win Christ.' James iv. 4. know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.' 1 John ii. 15. “love not the world.
Of faith, in its primary sense, and as the instrumental cause of justification, I have spoken above; I