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deepest impression upon the world even in his teaching, but in his brilliant example of deathless devotion to conscience. The world would never have remembered his name with the glory that now encircles it if he had not held the cup of hemlock and stood in the face of death true to his deepest conviction. And the long catalogue of the world's heroes have been enrolled according to that same principle. Even in the commercial world it is conscience in business which carries the reward of real success. When a piece of his work seemed inferior and did not reach his ideal Wedgwood, the master would hurl it away from him, saying, “That won't do for Josiah Wedgwood." Conscience makes character, and character makes permanent reputation, and Wedgwood pottery won and held a worldwide celebrity. Ask questions of the life of Benedict Arnold, and Aaron Burr, and George Washington, and you will discover the philosophy of true life and the power of obedience to conscience. Carlyle says: "Who is a true man? He who does the truth, and never holds a principle on which he is not prepared in any hour to act, and in any hour to risk the consequences of holding it." Angel's visits are the poetry of truth. The bright angel
of a good conscience, after the battle won or duty done, is man's companion. No pleasure can compare with the joy of his presence, and no music so sweet as the sound of his voice.
At a critical hour in the life of the famous Tolstoi he came to the conclusion, after studying the gospels, that the Sermon on the Mount contained the secret of religion, and that its heart-searching and life-changing commands must be obeyed. Love for God and love for man, even his enemies, fastened itself upon his whole life so that ordinary charitable work failed to satisfy him. His fine carriage, passing his miserable neighbors, seemed arrant hypocrisy. He began to loathe that elegant style of life and to come as close as possible to the great hard-working and poverty-stricken mass of hu manity. "I am sitting on the back of a man whom I am crushing," he said. "I insist on his carrying me, and without setting him free I tell him that I pity him a great deal, and that I have only one desire that of improving his condition by all possible means, and yet I never get off his back. If I wish to help the poor I must not be the cause of their poverty."
We find how consistently Tolstoi first acted in
conformity to conscience. He retired to the country. He stripped his home of every luxury. He clad himself in the rough clothes of the peasant. He gives up all delicacies. He abstains from all wine and tobacco. He works in the fields when his health permits. He learns to make his own boots. He continues to write, but only such books and articles as he believes will help the world toward Christ. Every man may not agree with his manner of life or with his social theories, but every man must agree with his love for humanity and his supreme loyalty to conscience. To be considered a lunatic, and a heretic, and a traitor for twenty years is magnificent heroism. What others call the value in life he has sacrificed, but in all this the laws of earth and heaven have coöperated to give him greater influence in the world than those who are at the head of Russian army or navy. He is a prophet of the future power of character and sympathy against the forces of the world.
Conscience is often fragmentary, and touches vigorously and emphatically only a part of life. One man has a conscience in his business, but leaves it at the office, and lives without it in the home. Another is a slave to conscience in the home, but
rebels against every demand for it in the store. One man is exceedingly conscientious concerning his theology, but forgets the necessity of that righteous element in his morality. John Calvin could burn Cervetes after he had made a new theology for the world, and made it to take his name. Charles IX. could stay three hours in church, and on the same day inaugurate St. Bartholomew's massacre and fill the streets of Paris with human blood. It is a poor conscience which is seen only in spots. To be conscientious one day and not the next; in one environment and not in another; in one temperament and not all conditions, is not to be an obedient subject of the world's greatest sovereign, God's vicegerent in the soul.
As conscience is stifled by disobedience, it is strengthened by obedience. It is subject to education, but there are many false factors in the educational force. The statements of other people, the customs of society, personal opinions and personal desires. Such as these are not heaven's graduates carrying diplomas to teach in life's school. You can educate into almost any course of life. You can make one man believe that a stone is his god, and another man believe that the best way to serve
God is by thrusting himself through with a knife and tying cords in knots through his flesh. Religion is made irreligious by education. Many a musician, and orator, and artist, and writer has been ruined by false education. Recipients of splendid natural ability, but given the wrong bent.
Conscience may be trained upward or downward; may be strengthened or weakened; it may be defiled or beautified. It is not necessarily a perfect conscience or a good conscience, but it may be trained to goodness. This education is first from the divine side. No man can have a good conscience in society who has not a good conscience toward God. Love for God precedes love for man, so conscience has its first relation to God. Communion with the upper world is the introduction to right living on earth. It is a religious conscience before it is a social conscience. Right with God and then right with man. Hearken to God's voice before you can listen to the cry or understand the need of suffering humanity.
Because of the certainty of difference in the understanding of what is right and what is wrong, every man should have charity and respect for the conscience of every other man. Constitutional