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Music For the Soul
Devotional: May 26th
THE NEED OF A DIVINE REVELATION
Ye search the Scriptures because ye think that in them ye have eternal life; and these are they which bear witness of Me. - John 5:39
We want another than our own voice to lay down the law of conduct, and to accuse and condemn the breaches of it. Conscience is not a wholly reliable guide, nor either an impartial nor an all-knowing judge. Unconsciousness of evil is not innocence. It is not the purest of women that "wipes her mouth and says, I have done no harm." My conscience says to me, "It is wrong to do wrong"; but when I say to my conscience, "Yes, and pray what is wrong?" there is a large variety of answers possible. A man may sophisticate his conscience, and bribe his conscience, and throttle his conscience, and sear his conscience. And so the man that is worst, who, therefore, ought to be most chastised by his conscience, has most immunity from it; and where, if it is to be of use, it ought to be most powerful, there it is weakest.
What then? Why this, then - a standard that varies is not a standard; men are left with a leaden rule. My conscience, your conscience, is like the standard measures which we at present possess, which by their very names - foot, hand-breath, nail, and the like - tell us that they were originally but the length of one man’s limb. And so your measure of right and wrong, and another man’s measure, though they may substantially correspond, yet have differences due to your differences of education, character, and a thousand other things. So that the individual man’s standard needs to be rectified. You have to send all the weights and measures up to the Tower now and then, to get them stamped and certified. And, as I believe, this fluctuation of our moral judgments shows the need for a fixed pattern and firm, unchangeable standard, external to our mutable selves. A light on deck which pitches with the pitching ship is no guide. It must flash from a white pillar founded on a rock and immovable amid the restless waves. Our need of such a standard raises a strong presumption that a good God will give us what we need, if He can. Such a standard He has given, as I believe, in the revelation of Himself which lies in this book of God, and culminates in the life and character of Jesus Christ our Lord. There, and by that, we can set our watches. There we can read the law of morality, and by our deflections from it we can measure the amount of our guilt.
'Music For The Soul' daily readings for a year from the writings of the Rev. Alexander Maclaren, D.D., selected and arranged by the Rev. Geo. Coates, published by A.C. Armstrong and Son, 51 East Tenth Street, (1897). The original text is in the Public Domain and this electronic version is free for anyone without cost or obligation. This a year long daily devotional was written by the Rev. Alexander Maclaren over 100 years ago. This Scottish pastor had a heart to follow Jesus and a love for souls.
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