A Purged Conscience

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Have you,- dear reader, a purged conscience?-a conscience, once charged with all the sins of your lifetime, now cleansed from all those sins, according to God's estimate of the Blood of Christi "Ah," you say, "would that such a precious possession as that were mine!" "Well," I reply, "this precious possession is yours, if you believe what I am going to tell you."
There was a time when such a thing was unknown, when the sacrifices offered year by year continually, failed to make the comers thereunto perfect as pertaining to the conscience. Their continual repetition was an evident proof of their inability to give this, otherwise they would have ceased to be offered, and the "worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.” (Heb. 10:1,2.) Under the law there was "a remembrance again made of sins every year." (Lev. 16) However valuable those sacrifices (and surely they had their value) may have been, as the "shadow of good things to come," they never gave those who offered them a purged conscience.
The return of the " fit man" without the scape goat, from the wilderness, was the signal to every believing Israelite to rejoice in the happy consciousness that his sins for a whole year were ceremonially atoned for. (Lev. 16) but beyond this term his pardon did not go; and the tenth day of the seventh month in each year, found the high priest again repeating the same ceremony.
But, blessed be God, we are "not under The law, but under grace;" and we are privileged to read of "better sacrifices than these." We are privileged to know that "burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin" gave God no pleasure; and for this very simple reason, that they continually brought sin to His remembrance, that hateful thing in His holy eye. Patiently had He forborne with (Rom. 3:25) the sins of believers of bygone times, until He had variously and thoroughly tested man in the flesh, and proved him utterly irreclaimable. Then at length He reveals His own resources and counsels, and makes known the way by which the vilest sinner may possess a conscience purged from sins, according to His perfect knowledge of good and evil.
Christ entered into all His mind concerning this, and having entered into all His mind, devotes Himself to do all His will-and who but God could offer this! He took the body prepared for Him, and in perfect obedience to His Father, and in perfect love to man, offered Himself as the Victim, when other sacrifices had been proved to be utterly unavailing. As a propitiation, He "made peace through the blood of His cross" (Col. 1:20), or in 'other words, substantiated every moral attribute of God (and of this the blood of the goat sprinkled seven times on the mercy seat was a figure-Lev. 16:15). As a substitute, He bore, "in His own body on the tree". (1 Peter 2:24) all the sins of His people; (and of this the scapegoat, over whose head the sins of the people were confessed, was the type. Lev. 16:21.) Then having thus offered one sacrifice for sins, He forever sat down at the right hand of God, in token that His work was over, and that no other sacrifice for sins remained.
But the Persons of the Godhead all have their share in this wondrous work. Christ's presence in heaven becomes the moment for the descent of the Holy Ghost, to bear the glad' tidings that God is satisfied, in the fullest way, by the death of Jesus-that His precious blood is that by which the vilest sinner may have a purged conscience. His office is to witness to the perfection of the work of Jesus, and to tell poor sinners that their sins and iniquities God will remember no more!
And now, dear reader, will you receive or reject His witness? Will you believe that the offering of the body of Jesus Christ has once for all met God's righteous claims against sin, and that your conscience is thus cleansed from all your sins, according to the value God sets upon the blood of His own Son? As. you read this paper, if you in simple faith receive the witness of the Holy Ghost, or in other words, believe His record that the one offering of Christ has put away your sins, a purged conscience is yours.
You have the word of the living God for it, that your sins and iniquities He will remember no more. You receive the witness (or record) of men, surely the record of God is greater. (1 John 5:9.) Believe it, then, concerning Christ's work for you, and a purged conscience is now yours, and yours forever!
God's mind is that the worshipper "once purged" should have "no more conscience of sins." Happy, then, to have a heart "sprinkled from an evil conscience" (Heb. 10:22)- and be purged "from dead works to serve (or worship) the living God." (Heb. 9:14.)
" Faith corned' by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Rom. 10:17.) You have heard the word of the Holy Ghost-you believe it, and rest happily and peacefully in the possession of a purged conscience before God forever!
D. T. G.
"At Midnight There Was A Cry Made." Matt. 24:45-51., xxv. 1-13.
As was foretold by the Lord, the evil servant said in his heart, "My Lord delayed' His coming." That is, the true hope of the saints was denied, and other things brought in, as to happen previously to His return; and when the evil servant's teaching had been accepted, the kingdom of heaven assumed the character of things which we find in the parable of the ten virgins. (Matt. 25:1-13.) It is connected with the previous parable by the word "Then"! "Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins which took their lamps and went forth to meet the bridegroom." This was the attitude of all who had professed the name of Christ, at the outset of Christianity; namely, that, having professed to be Christians, as the lamp in hand bespeaks, they had gone forth, or in other words, accepted the hope of the Lord's return as the horizon of their sojourn here below. Like the Thessalonians (1 Thess. 1:9,10), who had "turned to God from idols, to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven"; those who professed to be Christians, found that conversion to God was intimately connected with the hope of His return to Lake them away. There were, however, foolish as well as
wise virgins amongst those who professed His name. The foolish had no sense of what was really due to Him for whom they professed to wait; their affections were not kindled-their heart was not awakened. It was with them religiousness without -vitality-profession without reality, and the lamps had no oil.
Not so, however, with the wise. They were the children of the bridechamber, indeed, who fasted with desire because the bridegroom was away from them. The days had come when they had to fast. (See Luke 5:35.) These took oil in their vessels. There was true vitality in them.
After all, the bridegroom did tarry for a while. What a triumph for the evil servant; what a true prophet he seemed to be; how wise his teaching looked in the eyes of men. The very tarrying of the bridegroom confirmed in men's eyes what he said; and wise as well as foolish are caught in the snare. The hope did not suit the evil servant who liked the world and its projects and its companionship-its gifts and its subjection to his usurped authority. In his heart he said, " My lord delays." It ill suited his plans,. and he said a thousand things to set the hope aside as an ever present thing. For instance, such things as many say now, that the Jews must be converted-that the world must be overspread by the gospel-that the millennial is a spiritual reign of Christ. Many things have been invented to-put-off and set aside the hope of the Lord's coming for His own.
How successfully did this evil servant's teaching do Satan's work, and cause even the wise, as the foolish virgins, to get in again, and go to sleep somewhere. They had "gone forth," but they went in again, and all "slumbered and slept." The Church of God has done this for centuries-not only given up the hope, but slumbered and slept.
The watchful bridegroom who loved her and gave himself for her, and watched over her with his tender care, would not, however, allow Himself to find her so, without giving her a warning cry. What super-abounding grace and after all her failure, too. So we read, " At midnight there was a cry made, behold the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him." Mark, beloved reader, that it was at the midnight hour, He caused the cry to be made. This is strikingly solemn, and must arrest the attention of the thoughtful mind, as showing us where we now are in the history of things, without a shadow of uncertainty; for the Lord has given the cry! Fifty years ago, it was, we may almost say, unknown, unless as a mere speculation. Who, in the professing church, we may ask, has not heard it now 4 And mark a still more solemn thought in the passage, lie gave but ONE cry! and it was never repeated! All had to go out again; they had got in somewhere, when they had surrendered the hope; and': when awakened by the cry, they had to accept the hope, and, as at the first, when they had gone forth, they had to go forth again to meet Him.
Now, we find a two-fold state in the wise virgins-1st, They were very peacefully conscious that they had that which would bring them into the wedding: that is, they knew they had a title to go in, which none could question.
But, 2nd, we find an active state in them. We read, they "arose and trimmed their lamps." The lamp of profession was untrimmed and dim while they slumbered and slept, and the hope of the bridegroom's return had been lost. But now that the hope had been again revived and accepted, much was due to His grace in giving the cry. Associations had to be judged-the tone of life produced by the surrender of the hope had to be altered, and the true hearted wise ones responded to it, and "arose!"
Have you done so, my reader I Do your walk and ways correspond with the acceptance of the hope of the coming of the Lord'? If not, you have not trimmed your lamp. You may be peacefully conscious as they were, that you have the title to go into the wedding; but, like them, has this given a spur to your desires to be found of Him in peace, without spot and blameless when He comes!
The foolish, and O what numbers there are of such, found that their lamps were "going out "-flickering with the dimness of profession without vitality, which was good enough when all slumbered and slept; but once the cry went forth, discovered its true character-a poor flickering blaze which had no oil within to sustain it. Trimming was no use here, because there was nothing to sustain the light. The wise virgins, each conscious of their own title to go into the marriage, give the others to know, that the title they had, would not do for them; each must have the oil for oneself. The foolish virgins in their confusion, ran to buy the oil-to seek from some other source, a title to go into the marriage. 'What a scene of confusion and yet
calmness (lees this post-midnight picture convey of the present hour! On the one hand, the quiet peaceful consciousness of the title to enter, and the trimmed lamp in the hand of the wise. On the other, the seeking to ordinances and ritualism, and a thousand things to get life and salvation. The confusion all around us tells its own tale.
For what, then; do we wait? Not for the midnight hour, because it has passed. The warning cry was given at that solemn hour. We wait for the dawning of the day-the rising of the Bright and Morning Star, who, unknown to the foolish virgins, will come and take away the wise, and shut to the door, so that it can never, never open to them again! "They that were ready went in with him to the marriage, and the door was shut."
What a deeply solemn moment-what a moment of breathless suspense to all. Oh, the solemnity of the " Afterward" of v. 11. The cry of anguish was of no avail then; "Lord, Lord, open to us," fell on ears of One whose yearning heart over the sinner, speaks in these words now, while the door is still open, " Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Rom. 10:13.) The same Blessed One will say when the day of grace is passed and the door is shut, " Verily I say unto you, I know you tot."
He who says, " I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment that thou. mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear," will pronounce those solemn words at that day, "I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity." (Matt. 7:23.)
The time for judgment has nearly come, my reader. The grace of Jesus would give us a testimony of its approach. He has done so. If you are still a sinner in your sins, delay not an hour, flee to Him whose open arms are waiting to receive you. If you are a believer, I ask you, how does your lamp of profession burn'? Will it be suitable to His thoughts? Does its outward gleam throw back the surrounding gloom, and light your feet on the path to meet Him who is coining'? Does it prove the reality of the inward state of your affections-mark the sense of His grace in which you stand, at this moment of deep suspense to all?
"It is high time to awake out of sleep, for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand; let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light." (Rom. 13:11,12.)