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was stretched out to catch Peter, will be stretched out to catch you, and as sure as Peter was safely put on board the vessel, and conveyed to shore, so shall you be interested in the perfect work of Christ, and be conveyed to glory.
Come, weary souls, with sins distrest,
Here mercy's boundless ocean flows
Dear Saviour! let thy powerful love
« LET A MAN EXAMINE HIMSELF."
1 Cor. xi. 28.
THERE are two extremes apparent among professors of religion, some are always in doubt and fear, never satisfied of their adoption, or for long, rejoicing in their union with Christ: others are satisfied with the slightest evidences, and go on securely making sure that they are right. Such are too
To such the apostle would say, “ Examine yourself whether you are in the faith.” To be always in an unsettled state is wrong, but never to examine ourselves, in order to be sure that we are right, is equally
Let us for a few moments, attend to this business of self-examination; and we propose three questions
First, Into what should we examine ? Into the foundation of our hope, on what we are building for eternity? That we have some foundation, there can be no doubt, but is it God's foundation P That we are resting on something there can be no question, but are we resting on Christ, and on his finished work alone ? Have we been stripped of every thing of our own ? Have we been
brought away from all dependence on any thing we have done, or can do ; any thing we have felt, or can feel P For it is as wrong to build on the work of the Spirit within us, as to build upon works done by us. The person, obedience, and sacrifice of Jesus alone, is the foundation God has laid for us to build our hopes upon.
Then from what does our satisfaction and pleasure arise ? Does our satisfaction arise from what the Lord Jesus has done for us, and what the Holy Spirit has wrought within us ? Or, in other words, Do we feel a solid satisfaction within, arising from the persuasion, that Christ has procured us a title to glory by his obedience unto death ; and the Holy Spirit has made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light ?
And, is communion with God, a sense of our acceptance with God, and being actively employed for God, a source of pleasure to us? Again, what do we possess to prove the reality, the vitality of our religion ? Have we the life of God in our souls ? Does that life aspire to be like God, and urge us to seek deeper and deeper fellowship with God? Have we spiritual light? That light which discovers to us more and more our own depravity, our need of Jesus, and the emptiness and vanity of this present evil world. Have we living faith P The faith which looks to Christ for all, goes to Christ with all, and consecrates the
person, his talents, and possessions, en
tirely to Christ. Have we a good hope through grace! An expectation of sharing with Christ, in all his future glory, simply through free grace. An expectation, raised by the promises, resting on the perfect work of Jesus, and saving us from apostacy and desperation. Have we peace with God! Peace which flows from reconciliation, proves our justification, and prepares us to brave the difficulties, and encounter all the trou. bles of our earthly pilgrimage. love to God! Love to God for his love to us, for all the blessings he has conferred upon us, and for the bright prospects he has opened before us. Love to God in Christ, for his divine excellencies, pre-eminent beauty, and uncreated glories. Once more, have we the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts ? Have we received the Spirit as the Comforter, testifying of Christ unfolding the excellency of Christ, and witnessing to our interest in Christ? If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, in some measure, or degree, he is none of his. These then are the points into which we should examine.
Second, By what should we examine our. selves? By the word of God, which is the infallible standard of right and wrong. Let us look at the promises, to whom are they addressed ? To those, who seek the Lord who hunger and thirst after righteousnesswho mourn in Zion--who are peace-makers --the meek-the poor and needy--who endure temptations-who overcome enemies and oppositions, who are faithful unto death. Look at the descriptions given of the Lord's people. They are a poor and an afflicted people. They thirst for God, for the living God. They live by the faith of the Son of God, they walk by faith, and by faith they stand. They worship God in the spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. They bear fruits, even the fruits of holiness, and the fruits of the Spirit. Look at the precepts. They do not come up to these, but they approve of them, admire them, and even delight in the law of God after the inward man. We are not to condemn ourselves, if we do not find all the evi. dences set forth in the word ; nor should we rest satisfied, if we do not find any. The work of the Spirit, is a progressive work. Besides which, there are seasons when our evidences are beclouded. At one time, we may be rejoicing in our adoption, and singing on the heights of Zion; at another time, we may be covered with a cloud, and have scarcely one evidence left.
There are seasons, when, if it were not said, “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren;" we should have no confidence at all. We must not therefore judge hastily or rashly, but examine ourselves cautiously, and carefully, by God's most holy word. This then is the rule of judgment, the light by which we are to examine ourselves.