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Serious sermons and books on the conscience seemed to have disappeared with the Puritans. Perhaps the Puritans were a touch morbidly introspective and pietistic, but our reaction has swung the pendulum to the other end of the arc. We neglect or altogether ignore the conscience today. Our books on spiritual disciplines and practical sanctification scarcely mention it. Perhaps our books on practical sanctification are a bit thin too.
Christopher Ash has done us a good service in picking up this topic and writing on it today. Throughout he strikes a good balance of biblical and practical aspects of the conscience. The first part of the book is tough. Several times he recommends going ahead to the seventh chapter if you find yourself despairing. Hang in there and see it through and you will be helped. He does a good job in the first part of showing how the conscience is both unreliable and indispensable. This is a seeming contradiction but it is actually a paradox.
Chapters 5 to 7 are the real meat of this book and more than worth the price to acquire it and the time to read it. He brings us wonderfully to our hope in Christ and helps us see how to have and maintain a clear conscience. He also touches on how to recalibrate our conscience according to the word of God in the final part of the book.
Overall I think this a helpful book. It doesn’t address every problem, nor solve every problem it addresses. It does speak into what has been a void in Christian study for some time. It is very readable and relevant. I took issue with some things here and there but not enough to detract from its usefulness nor to dissuade me from recommending it.