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Self-examination a necessary Duty.

repent, and abhor myself in dust and ashes. It is impossible, where a true sense of sin is upon the heart, this should be wanting ; the heart then rises up with indignation, with revenge against himself, as St. Paul expresses it, and cannot bear the view of the past without self-loathing. To think how vilely we have acted, how insolently we have returned all God's kindness with abuse, how we have turned all his blessings into a curse, how we have slighted the love of Christ, how we have resisted the Holy Ghost in his word, in his providences, in all the methods of grace he hath used with us ; in short, how we have sold ourselves, as it were, to work wickedness ; and now to think of returning to the bosom of our God thus polluted and defiled, what vile wretches must we be in our own eyes! and to see ourselves such, is absolutely necessary before we can return. Then (saith the Lord) they shall return, and remember their own evil ways, and their doings which were not good, and shall loathe themselves for all their iniquities, and for all their abominations. Are you conscious of any such selfabhorrence ? Can you adopt the language of Job's self-loathing, and, in the view of your sins, find the inward risings of disgust and displeasure against yourself and them? Do you appear in your own eyes a monster of ingratitude, and feel your heart detesting sin, which hath made you so, more than you detest the vilest objects in nature ? At least is it your desire to hate it more than you do? This is the work of true repentance,

4. Repentance implies a forsaking of sin. We cannot indeed but forsake it, if we have groaned Self-examination a necessary Duty.

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under its burden, and felt its odious ingratitude. How shall we think of continuing a moment longer in a state so displeasing to God, so grievous to ourselves ? Here the sword of the Spirit is lifted up against every darling idol. Repenting, we renounce every covenant with sin, and our allegiance to Satan, and burst his bands, and break his cords off from us. No known sin can be any longer habitually indulged; not only the outward sins, whose open nature was more flagrantly rebellious, such as profaneness, passion, lewdness, drunkenness, lying, sabbath-breaking, covetousness, and the like; but the more secret heart-sins will be renounced ; vain thoughts, and vile affections, as well as actions, must be forsaken ; no little sins any longer plead the privilege of custom or ne

necessity, If we are sincere in our repentance, without pitya ing or sparing, our eye will search every corner of our heart; and wherever we find the traitor, we shall bring him forth, and slay him before the Lord; and our darling sin will meet with the severest treatment; that we shall lay most violent hands upon, whilst repentance cries, Down with it, down with it even to the ground ! a right eye, a right hand, any thing, however near and tear to us, away it goes ! Repentance makes thorough work. It is not a partial reformation—this is in many where true repentance hath never wrought its effectual work; and thousands have been undone by the mistake, whilst conscience hath made them part from some sins, and be more restrained and decent than before ; but they have still dealt deceitfully with the Lord, their hearts have not been whole with him, and so they have gone no further than Ahab's hu

Self-examination a necessary Duty.

miliation, or Herod's doing many things at John's preaching to him repentance; of whom the one still continued idolatrous, and the other kept his brother Philip's wife. A person may be very nigh the kingdom of God, and yet never enter it; be almost, without being altogether, a Christian. Look cherefore to your hearts herein—there is no deceiving God : and what a crying sin would it be, to come to Christ's table, without a purpose of forsaking whatever is displeasing to him? Do you repent? Is it evident from your conduct ? Doth not your heart condemn you for any reserve made ? Can you appeal to God for your sincerity, that you desire to indulge yourself in nothing you know or suspect to be sinful ? Particularly, do you heartily resist and seek to mortify “ the sin which most easily besets you?" and is your repentance for it proved to be real from this, that your sorrow for it is not only your heaviest grief, but that your heart is set most steadily against it, and follows it close, desiring to destroy it root and branch, lest it should make you false to your vows, and, like the worm at Jonah's gourd, make your fair blossoms of repentance wither, and bring forth no fruit? This will be comfortable, if, in the presence of God, you can claim the proof of such a sincere, universal renunciation of sin. It will be then, in-. deed, a repentance never to be repented of.

5. Repentance implies a change of mind; this is the exact meaning of the Greek word metanoia : for every real penitent is brought out of a state of nature into a state of grace; and all his aims, apprehensions, views, and principles of action, are as

Self-examination a necessary Duty.


different as you can suppose those of any two different persons ever to have been, so that he is well said in Scripture to be born again ; old things are passed away, and all things are become new ; he is brought out of darkness into marvellous light; he walks not after the fashion of the world, but after Christ; he looks not as before to the things that are seen, and are temporal, but to the things that are not seen, and are eternal ; in short, he is changed into another man, a new man, created after Christ Jesus in righteousness and true holiness. Here, then, is a wide field for enquiry, and most essential to our profitable partaking at the Lord's table, since none but those who have begun to lead a new life, can receive any benefit from attending on the ordi

You must therefore herein closely examine yourselves. What do you know of this inward change ?-Is your understanding changed ? Whereas you were blind, do you now see?-You were once darkness, are you now light in the Lord ? Have you a sight of yourself, of God, of Christ, of all the things of the Spirit, different from what you had before, so that your judgment is altered ? Do you now discover the misery of your state and nature, the vanity of earth and time, the bondage of corruption, the great need of salvation, the unspeakable patience of God, the amazing love of Christ, the greatness of the invisible realities, and the importance of only making one thing needful, even the securing an interest in the kingdom of God and his righteousness ?-Is your will also altered in its choice? Have you begun to choose Christ for a portion, instead of the world ? Do you prefer his service to the service of sin ? and, instead of the Self-examination a necessary Duty.

pursuits of this world, the pleasures of sense, and the vanities of time, rejecting these, are you embracing the ways of peace, and the paths of holiness, which lead through faith to glory? And are your affections changed? Do you love what you hated, and hate what you loved ? Is Christ now the object of your affection, more than ever your favourite sin hath been ? At least is it your desire and prayer that he may be so ? Is it your delight to be found engaged in the exercises of devotion ? or do you chide your sluggish heart when it goes heavily to the blessed work? Are you

become more afraid of offending God, than the whole world beside ? and are your hopes chiefly fixed on the promises of his word, and the expectations he bids you look to in eternity, instead of this present evil world ? Is it your joy to see his interest flourish in the world; and is it a more sincere satisfaction to you to help to turn one sinner from the evil of his ways, than to partake in the greatest worldly advantages ? In short, is it now become in a measure your meat and drink to do the will of God, and is that which you before loathed, namely, the denial of your own vile heart, and the keeping God's commandments, now become the constant desire of your soul, and the thing that you long for? and doth your whole conversation witness to this change, and prove that you are indeed passed from death into life; that you walk no more as other unconverted men, in the vanity of their minds, alienated from the life of God, through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; but, as a child of light, reprove the works of darkness, and testify against the world that its deeds are evil? And do you propose to hold

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