C H Spurgeon 05

7. There is yet another class, and when I have referred to them I will mention no more. These are the people who become religious for the sake of quieting their conscience; and it is astonishing how a very little religion will sometimes do that. Some people tell us that if in the time of storm men would pour bottles of oil upon the waves, there would be a great calm at once. I have never tried it, and it is most probable I never shall, for my organ of credulity is not large enough to accept so extensive a statement. But there are some people who think that they can calm the storm of a troubled conscience by pouring a little of the oil of a religious profession upon it; and it is amazing how wonderful an effect this really has. I have known a man who was drunk many times in a week, and who got his money dishonestly, and yet he always had an easy conscience by going to his church or chapel regularly on Sunday. We have heard of a man who could “devour widows’ houses” - a lawyer who could swallow up everything that came in his way, and yet he would never go to bed without saying his prayers; and that stilled his conscience. We have heard of other people, especially among the Romanists, who would not object to thieving, but who would regard eating anything except fish on a Friday as a most fearful sin, supposing that by making a fast on the Friday, all the iniquities of all the days in the week would be atoned for. They want the outward forms of religion to keep the conscience quiet; for Conscience is one of the worst lodgers to have in your house when he gets quarrelsome: there is no getting along with him; he is an ill bedfellow; ill at lying down, and equally troublesome at rising up. A guilty conscience is one of the curses of the world: it puts out the sun, and takes away the brightness from the moonbeam. A guilty conscience casts a noxious exhalation through the air, removes the beauty from the landscape, the glory from the flowing river, the majesty from the rolling floods. There is nothing beautiful to the man who has a guilty conscience. He needs no accusing; everything accuses him. Hence people become religious just to quiet them. They take the sacrament sometimes; they go to a place of worship; they sing a hymn now and then; they give a guinea to a charity; they intend to leave a portion in their will to build alms houses; and in this way conscience is lulled asleep, and they rock him to and fro with religious observances, until there he sleeps while they sing over him the lullaby of hypocrisy, and he does not awaken until he shall awake with that rich man who was here clothed in purple, but in the next world lifted up his eyes in hell, being in torments, without a drop of water to cool his burning tongue.
A Sermon Delivered On Friday Afternoon, June 11, 1858, By Pastor C. H. Spurgeon, On The Grand Stand, Epsom Race Course. So run, that you may obtain. (1 Cor 9:24)