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the real state of your souls, let me earnestly recommend to you a duty which is too much neglected by many who call themselves Christians, -the duty of self-examination. Every Christian, before he goes to rest, should consider how he has spent the day, and ask himself such questions as these. Did I in the morning offer up my prayers to God? Have I done my duty in the station to which He is pleased to call me? Have I been honest, industrious, temperate, patient? Have I been kind to my relations and friends, and made them as happy as I could? Have I done any injury to any body? Have I done any good to any body? Upon the whole, can I give a good account of this day, when I stand before the judgment-seat of CHRIST? O my
christian brethren, consider the importance of these questions, and judge yourselves, that you may not be judged of the Lord. If your heart condemn you, humbly on your knees confess your sin to God, and try to make your peace with Him before you sleep: He will forgive, if we will repent. The duty which I now recommend may appear difficult to those who have never practised it ; but those who are accustomed to perform it, know the comfort it affords.
They know, that by thus constantly attending to the state of their souls, they are prevented from continuing in
any habit of sin ; and they know with what sweet tranquillity a good man retires to rest, at peace with all the world, with himself, and with his God; and when sickness weakens the mind, and death approaches, they will know how delightful it is to feel that their accounts are always ready, and that they are of the number of those faithful servants, whom their LORD, when he cometh, shall find watching.
What I recommend to every Christian may be done in a very short time, when use has made
easy. A man who is accustomed to watch over himself will find no difficulty in recollecting how he has passed the day, and what he has done amiss. But in order to make a right judgment of our actions, we must be careful always to compare them with the law of God. We are too apt to be partial in judging of ourselves, and one of our most dangerous errors is, that, instead of comparing our actions with our duty, we compare them with the actions of other men, and try to quiet our conscience by fancying that others are worse than ourselves. This is a most dangerous
Consider only your own duty, and how you have performed it. If you have not done the very best that you could, frame no vain excuse, and hope for no indulgence while you continue in sin; but on your knees confess your fault to God, and humbly implore his pardon, through Jesus Christ; and when you rise the next day, recollect what you have done amiss, and try to be more careful. While we are in this state of trial, the best men will always discover imperfections in their conduct, and will always know and feel that they must depend for mercy on the merits of Christ, and not on their own ; but if any man will constantly examine his own conduct every night, with true Christian humility ; if he will constantly ask God's pardon for what he has done amiss, and his assistance during the remainder of his life; it is, I think, impossible, that such a man should not grow wiser and better; it is, I think, impossible, that he should continue in any known sin; and it is, I hope and believe, impossible that he should not at last find mercy from our gracious God, through the merits and mediation of Jesus CHRIST; to whom, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, be glory and praise for ever and ever. Amen.
ST. MATTHEW iii. 13.
Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John,
to be baptized of him.
HAT constant regard to the will of God,
which was the subject of my last discourse, will show itself in obedience to his commands of every kind, and make us diligent in the performance of every duty, to God and to our neighbour.
Our duty to God requires that we should not only pay him the hidden worship of the heart, but also that we should observe all the ordinances of religion which He has appointed. We must not only serve Him in our closets by prayer and self-examination, but we must, also, in obedience to his commands, attend the public worship of