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they that have done good, shall go into life everlafting; and they that bave done evil, into everlasting fire: for the books shall be opened, and the dead foall be judged out of the things written in those books, 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, çon. demned of the Lord.
But so many and various are the fins of our lives, in thought, word, and deed, and omissions againf God, our neighbour, and ourselves, that this work will, at best, be confused, except christians have proper belps to bring their several fins distinctly to remembrance; so that I fall in this
form lay before you the several beads of our duty to God, our neighbour, and ourselves, as the most effectual belp in this case; that upon each particular head, you may examine your past life, and try the present disposition of your heart.
First, when you examine yourself, let it be chiefly about your wil. ful fins, and fins of commission; and be not over scrupulous either to accuse yourself of fins you never committed, or to reckon up all your infirmities; for that would render your examination endless and impracticable: and tbough there may be some fins that you may doubt
have committed; others you may fear you have forgot ; yet be not discouraged: for when you have acted honestly and fincerely, reft fatisfied; but what fins you cannot recolle&t and find out, so as particularly to confess and bewäl; you ought to conclude under general repentance for whatsoever you have done amiss; and to pray that God would cleanse you from your secret
faults. Observing where ever you find yourself innocent, to glorify God, and beg of him to preserve and continue you therein.
Secondly, If you have not wholly neglected, and get defire particularly to increase in some christian virtue, lift up your beart to God, for his holy spirit to aid and allift your fincere endeavours to grow in it; for we are not barely to avoid fin, but to grow in grace and goodness.
Thirdly, When you come to any for you have committed often, or deliberately, or against the checks of conscience, or against frequent admonitions, or lastly, against your own special vows and resolutions to the contrary; you must trke into the account such aggravating circumstances as increase and heighten the guilt of it, to increase your powine and forrow, and to few you how greatly we ftand in need of God's pardon for what is paff, and of his affifiing grace to prefiri?
and frengthen us in the ways of his lar's, and work of bis.cominards. And
Fourthly, Some, where they have found themselves guilty upon any head, whether of omitting a duty, or committing a sin, have written down the fins they have been guilty of, or have marked then in the margin of their book, that they might be able to make a more exact and particular confession of their feveral offences before God, and enter their vows and resolutions the more diftinctly against them: and this may be farther 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 expediency of this method.
Fifthly, They that can't quiet their consciences by this examination, concerning the larfulness or unlawfulness of this or that action, or shall meet with scruples and difficulties of any other kind, let them forft pray to God to enlighten and establish their mind, and then have recourse to some learned and pious minister of God's word, always remembering to be honest and impartial in this work, between God and their own consciences; for it is in vain to hope to hide any thought, action, or design, from his all-feeing eye, who is the great fearcher and judge of all bearts.
And here I would for the true penitent's greater satisfaction rta commend to him the reading of the IVth Section, of the care of the Joul 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 diffemblers with God; but so that ye may come holy and clean to such an heavenly feast, in the marriage garment required by God in holy scripture, tand be received as worthy partakers of that holy table. The firf exhortation in the communion service,
Come now let us reason together, faith the Lord : though your fins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. Ifaiah i. 18.
1. Concerning our duty towards GOD.*
secrets of thy E
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 of thy heart and life, and will judge thee with severe justice at the last day?
Art thou warn’d by the sense of God's all-seeing providence to take heed to thy ways?
Dost thou ascribe the success of thy undertakings, chiefly to the good providence of God over thee?
Dost thou pray daily for the protection of God, and his blefling upon thy honeft endeavours?
Hath the goodness and mercy of God, in creating, preserving, and redeemingthee, that effect upon thy heart, as to make thee love him, and desire to pleale him?
Haftthou lovedGod before and above all things?
Have the many testimonies, which thou hast received of God's mercy and goodness, bred in thee a comfortable hope in him?
Haft thou never so far presum'd upon his mercy, as to encourage thee to fin against him?
Hath the consideration of God's majestyand greatnefs imprinted awful and reverent thoughts concerning him, and bred in thee modest and humble thoughts concerning thyself? B 2
Doth This duty may be found explained at large in the air WHOLE DUTY OF MAN, Sunday 1, Section II.
Doth the consideration of the power and justice of God, make thee afraid to provoke him, and afraid of offending him more than man?
avilab si Doft 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 sinful means?
Haftthou gone to witches or cunning men for council; or for the recovery of things loft: or been too attentive to dreams, fortune-tellers, or the vain prediftions of men; or lots, so as to atteinpt thereby the knowing before-hand things to come?
Hast thou resigned thyself, and all thy concerns, to the all-wife and good providence of God?
Art thou not inimoderately careful and anxious about outward things?
Haft thou not prophaned the holy and dreadful name of God, by perjury and unlawful oaths, or by : customary swearing or cursingin thy common conversation
Haft thou not mentioned the name of God, or of his son Jesus Christ, irreverently or lightly in thy common conversation? : Daft thou take care to admonish and reprove o: thers for their sins, so far as thou mayest with dence and decency?
Hast thou faithfully received the scriptures, not as the word of man; but as they are in truth, the word of God?
Dost thou read and observe theme in order to make them the rule of life?
Have the promises and awakening threatnings therein prevailed with thee, to govern thyself according to the holy and admirable precepts therein delivered?
Haft thou honoured him by a reverent ulage of whatsoever things or persons belong to him, and are dedicated to his honour and service?
Dost thou consider the Lord's Day, as fet apart by God for the care of the soul, and the preparation of ourselves for the next life, and for his more immediate worship, in keeping it holy, to those ends for which it was appointed; by attending the public service of the church; in reading and hearing his holy word; in prayer and meditation, and good ditcourse on the Sabbath Day?
Dost thou go to church with a hearty intention to ferve God, and to be instructed in thy duty, or reminded of it; and not only for fashion's fake?
Dost thou afterwards refectupon what thou haft heard, and lay it up in thy heart, that thou mayest live according to it?
Haft thou to little regarded this holy day, as to fpend it in travelling, and taking unnecessary journeys thereupon, such as might as well have been performed on any other day?
Haft thou every day. duly prayed to him, and praised him for thy mercies received?
Havethy prayers and praises been always accompánied with such a sense of God, and such serioufnefs, fervency, and affection, as he requires ? Haft thou (notwithftanding the means of grace,