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superable difficulty of the duty: There is a lion in the way, a lion in the streets. [2.] By telling them, they will mar their own peace with it, but can never come to see the truth of grace, or to assurance by it. [3.] By setting them on to some other duty, which, tho' good in itself, is then unseasonable, to justle out that which is then proper and necessary. Satan knows it to be an eminently useful duty, and therefore sets himself in opposition to it, that where matters are not right, they may be kept so; and where persons are in a good state, he may rob them of the comfort of it. On these considerations, ye must be resolute and active in this exercise. The exhortation to it is doubled, 2 Cor. xiii. 5. Examine your own selves, prove your own
2. Ye must be impartial in this inquiry. Ye are in this matter judges in your own cause, and under a strong bias to partiality. But the best way is, to take the matter to the highest Judge, with a resolution to know the worst of your case, 1 Cor. xi. 31. Be not as Saul, when sent to destroy the Amalekites, who spared Agag and the fattest of the cattle. Overlook not right eyes and right hands. What Solomon says of flocks, may we say concerning your souls, Prov. xxvii. 23. 'Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds.' However partial ye be, God will not be so to you; so that your foolish partiality can do you no good, but a great deal of ill, as it will make you ignorant of your own case, which it is your greatest wisdom and interest to know.
Quest. May one who doubts of his being in the state of grace approach to the table of the Lord? Ans. They whose consciences bear witness, that they do unfeignedly desire Christ and his grace, and to depart from all iniquity, may come, notwithstanding of their doubts, which are their weakness, and which they are to struggle against. But if one's conscience witness to him, that he is not clear for Christ as he is offered in the gospel, he cannot come safely, Mat. v. 6. and xi. 6. 1 John iii. 20, 21.
Let every one, therefore, carefully examine himself as to his spiritual state, before he approach to this holy ordinance of the Lord's supper, lest he contract the horrid
guilt of trampling on the body and blood of Christ, to which he has a right at the Lord's table,
THE NECESSITY OF SELF-EXAMINATION CONSIDERED.•
2 Cor. xiii. 5.-Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith: prove your own selves: know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates.
HE dispensations of providence begin to be alarming to this secure generation, and look like the beginning of sorrows, in the great mortality prevailing in several places. And the language of such a dispensation is, as is expressed in the text bidding every one examine themselves, whether they be in the faith, &c. In which words we have two things.
1. A necessary duty proposed; and that is, the trial of
* Though this discourse, confifting of two fhort fermons, was not delivered as any part of this catechetical work, yet it is here inferted on account of its affinity to the preceding discourse, and from a perfuafion that it may, through the divine bleffing, be useful to the reader, as the fubject is of no fmall importance both to faints and funers; and were the defign of it properly attended to, might prove a happy means of retrieving the decayed interefts of religion amongst us. And it is thought, this difcourfe will be the more acceptable to the reader, when he is told, that it was the last the author ever wrote, after he was confined to his houfe by the illness of which he died; and that these two fhort fermons were preached from a window in the manfe to the people ftanding without, on the 2d and 9th of April 1732; after which he preached no more, the God whom he had ferved in the work of the gofpel, from the latter end of the year 1699, having called him home on the 20th of May, 1732, to inherit the crown of righteousness laid up for him. But by it, and his other valuable writings, he yet speaketh; and his name and memory will be revered, as long as a tafte for and undefiled religion fubfifts amongst us.
their state. It is proposed under a double notion, Examine, and prove, the call being doubled, because of the weight of the matter. And,
1st, Of self-examination. And here, (1.) Consider the point the apostle would have them put to the trial, Whether ye be in the faith. He knew very well that they professed faith in Christ; but all is not gold that glisters. None but believers, true believers, whose faith worketh by love, being a spiritual vital principle within them, will see heaven: but many take themselves, and others take them, for believers, who yet are not so. (2.) The trial he would have them to make of that point, Examine yourselves. The church of Corinth was a divided church. There was a censorious party among them, conceited of themselves, and despisers of this eminent and highly distinguished apostle, For all the clear demonstrations there were of the Lord's being with him, they sought a proof of Christ's speaking in him, ver. 3. Now, says he, ye are very much abroad, busy examining me, and make much ado for a proof of Christ speaking in me; I would advise you to be more at home, and examine yourselves. Put yourselves to the trial, whether ye are in the faith or not. The original word signifies to make such a trial as one does of a thing by piere ing through it, whereby he may know what is within, and whether it be sound or not.
2dly, Of self-probation: Prove your own selves, to wit, by trial, as in courts offenders are tried, or they who stand for an office are put on trials, to prove whether they be fit for it or not; or rather as goldsmiths try metals, whether by the fire, or by the touchstone, whereby they discern the true metal from counterfeit. This is near akin to the former expression, Examine, but is not quite the same, This last speaks the bringing the matter to a point, the pursuing the trial till it should end in a full proof of their state, good or bad. Ye, q. d. seek a proof of Christ speaking in me; pray rest not till ye get a proof of your
2. The weighty ground that makes this duty necessary, most necessary; Know ye not your own selves, how that Christ Jesus is in you, except ye be reprobates. Wherein we have,
(1.) The ground itself, Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates. Now, Christ dwells in the heart by faith, Eph, iii. 17. Where there is not a vital union with Christ the person is reprobate. There is no union with him but by faith: therefore ye have great need to examine whether ye be in faith or not. Reprobate here is not opposed to elect: for certainly the apostle did not mean to drive them to absolute despair, in case they found themselves naught in the trial; or to persuade them, that if Christ was not in them already, he would never be in them. But it is opposed to upright and genuine, and so denotes a person, or thing, that being tried is found unsound or counterfeit, as Jer. vi, ult. and so useless, absolutely unfit for the ends desired, Tit. i. ult. and so rejected, Jer. vi. ult.
(2.) The necessity of the knowledge of one's self in this point, Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, &c. Knowledge of one's self is far preferable to the knowledge of other men. Alas! what will it avail men to be raking into the state and case of others, while in the mean time they are strangers to themselves? They do not advert to this great point, how Christ is in them, else they are all wrong for time and eternity.
Observe from the connection, That self-judging is a proper mean to bring people off from rash judging of others. It was not rash judging in Peter, when he pronounced Simon Magus to be in the gall of bitterness and bond of iniquity, who had offered money for the extraordinary power of conferring the Holy Ghost. Neither is it rash judging, to pronounce profane men, scandalous in the habitual course of their lives, to be going in the way to destruction; for the spirit of God by Paul says the same thing, Gal. v. 19,-21. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these, adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things, shall not inherit the kingdom of God.' But it was rash judging in these Corinthians, to question Christ's speaking in Paul, because in some things he was not so acceptable to them as some others. So it is rash
judging, to reject men who conscientiously appear to adhere to the uncontroverted points of practical godliness, because they differ from them in some points controverted among good and holy men. Self-judging would call men home to their own case, so that they would not be at so much leisure to ramble abroad. It would let them see so much evil in themselves, and so much they have need to be forgiven of God, that they would not dare be severe on their brethren, and rigorous on their behaviour, lest the measure they mete to others should be measured to them again. Therefore I cannot but most earnestly recommend this practice of self-judging, which will happily tend to make you low in your own eyes, and preserve you from many miscarriages to and misconstructions of others.
Having thus explained the words, and considered their connection with the preceding context, I shall at this time only observe from them the following doctrine, viz.
DOCT. It is a most necessary duty lying on men profess ing the name of Christ, to examine themselves, whether they are in the faith or not; and to pursue that examination and trial, till, bringing the matter to a proof, they come to a point with reference to that great concerp.'
In discoursing from this important doctrine, I shall consider,
I. The point to be tried,
II. The trial of the point,
III. Make some improvement,
I. I shall consider the point to be tried. The point concerning which every one is to try himself is, Whether he is in the faith. And here let us consider,
1. What it is to be in the faith.
2. The weight and importance of this point,
First, I am to shew, what it is to be in the faith. To have true faith, or to be true believers, and to be in the faith, is all one as to the matter; even as to be in Christ, and Christ's being in us, is the same thing in effect. The man that is endowed with the grace of faith, enriched with