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. A Prayer before examination, with a firm refolution to forsake the vanities of this wicked world. Lei a'man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup. I Cor. xi. 28. . . . O Almighty God, thou searcher of
hearts, who feeít and knowest all my sins; help me fo to search every fecret of my heart, that I may leave no sin, if possible, unrepented of. Give me grace so impartially to judge and condemn myself, to humbly to repent and beg pardon, that I may not be condemned, when I shall appear at thy tribunal, in the great and terrible day of the Lord Jesus ! . But alas ! after the most strict examination we can make, who can number his iniquities? who can tell how oft he offendeth ? cleanse me therefore, O Lord, I befeech thee, not only from my presumptuous and known fins, but from all my secret and unknown transgressions, for his fake who died for finners, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Directions for self-examination. 11 Aving decoutly prayed for God's assistance, doubt not Il but he will vouchsafe it to 3011, And the better to dispose your heart to the duty of self-etaminutiunt,
Copsider seriously with yourself; thut it is appointed for all men once to die, and after deallto be called to judgment.
That God hath appointed a day in cohich he zuill judge the world in righteousness by Jesus Chiist. Al whose coming ali men shall rise again with their bodies, and shall give air
account of their own works; and they that have done good shall go into life everlasting; and they that hare done evil, into everlasting fire: for the books shall be opened, and the dead shall be judged out of the things written in those locks, according to their works. And then,
Consider how much, how nearly it concerns you to judge yourself before that time, that you be not judged, that is, condemned of the Lord.
But so many and rarious are the sins of our lives, in thought, word, and deed, and omissions against God, our neighbour, and ourselves, that this work will, at hest, be confused, except Christians hure proper helps to bring their several sins distinctly to remembrance ; so that I shall in this form lay before you the several heads of our duty to God, our neighbour, and ourselves, as the most effectuell help in this case; that upon each particular heud you maneramine your past life, and try the present disposition of your lieart.
First, When you examine yourself, let it be chietly abmit our wilful sins, and sins of commission; and be noi ovih scrupulous either to accuse yourself of sins you neter commit. ted, or to reckon up all your infirmities: for that umild ren. der your examination endless and iinpracticable : and though there may be some sins that you may doubt whether you hate committed ; others you ma! fear you hure forgot; yet he noi discouraged : for when you have acted honestly and sin. cerely, rest satisfied ; but what sins you cannot recollect and find out, so as particularly to confess and bewail, you ought to conclude under u general repentance for whatsoeter you have done aniss; and to pray thiet God would citanse you from your secret faults. Observing.wherever you find yourselfinnocent,in glorify God, and beg of him to preserve and continue you thercin,
Secondly, if you have not wholly neglected, and yet des sire particularly to increase in some Christian virdie, liji un your heart to God, for his holy spirit to aid and assist your sincere endeatours to grow in it; for we are not barely to aroid sin, but to grow in gruce and goodness.
Thirdly, When you come to any sin you have committed often or deliberately, or against the checks of conscience, or against frequent admonitions, or lastly, against your mon special rocós and resolutions to the contrary, you must take into the account such aggrarating circumstances as increase and heighten the guilt of it, to increase your shume cind sorrow, and to show you how greatly we stand in need of God's pardon for what is past, and of his assisting grace to preserre
and strengthen us in the roays of his laws, and works of his Commands. And,
Fouithly, Some, where they have found themseldes guilty upon any head, whether of omitting a duty or commutting a sin, hare written down the sins they have been guilty of, or huve marked them in the margin of their book, that they might be able to make a more exact and particular confession of their several offences before God, and enter their cows and resolutions the more distinctly against them: and this may be further useful; for by comparing one time with another, you will better discern the amendment of your life, and growth in Christian virtue : but this is only advice ; for every one is left to judge of the usefulness and espediency of this method.
Fifthly, They that cannot quiet their consciences by this er. amination, concerning the luwfulness or unluwfulness of this or that action, or shall meet with scruples and difficulties of any other kind, let them first pray to God to enlighten and establish their mind, and then have recourse to some lurned and pimus minister of God's word, always remembering io be honest und impartial in this work, between God and their OP:N consciences; for it is in tain to hope to hide any thought, • uction, or design, from his all-seeing eye, who is the great scarcher and judge of all hearts.
And here I would, for the true penitent's greater satisfaca tion, recommend to him the reading of the Vith Section of the care of the soul in the New WHOLE DUTY OF MAN.
Heads for the examination of conscience upon those duties
wherein GOD's honour, and our own and neighbour's good are concerned.
Search and examine your own consciences, and that not lightly, and after the manner of dissemblers with God ; but so that you may come holy and clean to such a heavenly feast, in the marriage garment required by God in holy scripture, and be received as worthy partakers of that holy table. The first cihortation in the communion service.--Coine now let us reason together, saith the Lord: thouglı your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow ; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool Isu, i. 18.
1.- Concerning our Duty towards God*.. TNTER now,Omyloul, into the secrets
of thy heart, and examine whether thou doft believe and consider that God, by his providence, governs the world and all things in it?
Dost thou remember that God beholds the '. most secret thoughts and actions ofthy heart and life, and will judge thee with severe justice at the last day?
Art thou warned by the fense ofGod's allseeing providence to take heed tothy ways?
Doft thou ascribe the success of thy un. dertakings, chiefly to the good providence of God over thee?
Doft thou pray daily for the protedion of God, and his blessing upon thy honest endeavours ? · Hath the goodness and mercy of God, in creating, preserving, and redeeming thee, that effect upon thy heart, as to inake thee love him, and defire to please him?
Hast thou loved God before and above all things ?
Have the many testimonies, which thou haft received of God's mercy and goodness, bred in thee a comfortable hope in him?
Hast thou never so far presumed upon his mercy, as to encourage thee tólin against him?
* This duty may be found explained at large in the New WHOLE DUTY OF MAN, Sunday 1, ýection II.
Hath the consideration of God's majesty and greatness imprinted awful and reverent thoughts concerning him, and bred in thee modest and humble thoughts concerning thyself?
Doth the consideration of thepowerandjuftice ofGod, makethee afraid to provoke him, and afraid ofoffending him more than man?
Dost thou steadfastly rely upon the truth and promises of God, under all distresses and calamities, so as to wait patiently for a deliverance in God's good time, and never to try to deliver thyself out of calamity by fin- : ful means?
Hast thou gone to witches or cunning men for counsel ; or for the recovery of things loft; or been too attentive to dreams, fortune-tellers, or the vain predictions of men, or lot, so as to attempt thereby the knowing before-hand of things to come ?
Halt thou resigned thyself, and all t concerns, to the all-wise and good providence of God ?
Art thou not immoderately careful and anxious about outward things?
Fait thou not profaned the holy and dreadful name of God, by perjury and unlau tul oaths, or by customary swearing or curfing in ihy coinmon conversation ?
Hait thou not mentioned the name of God, or of his Son Jesus Christ, irreverently or lightly in thy common conversation?