Examine Yourselves

I posted this yesterday Self-Examination by John Angell James taken from The true Christian.

He goes on to give 10 considerations and cautions when you examine yourselves to see if your in the faith. I will post 5 today and 5 on Thursday

2 Corinthians 13:5 Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test?

John Angell James writes:

I will now lay down some RULES and CONSIDERATIONS and CAUTIONS by which this important business must be carried on.

1. Do not examine yourselves only by your own notion of what a Christian is and should be, and be satisfied if you come up to that, because that notion may itself be wrong. Many frame to themselves an exceedingly inaccurate idea of what is included in religion; and yet if they possess this, are quite contented. This is what the apostle calls, “comparing themselves with themselves,” and has led in innumerable cases to self-delusion and self-destruction. Before you are satisfied, then, with the conclusion that you answer to your own idea of a Christian, take good care to examine by the Bible whether that idea itself be a scriptural one.

2. Do not examine yourselves merely by the creeds and catechisms, the formularies, rites, and ceremonies of any particular church; or by the sentiments, opinions, and criteria, of any individual uninspired writer; nor be satisfied if you imagine you come up to these standards. Such tests need themselves to be tried, for they are all fallible. The Bible, the Bible alone is the religion of Christians. Uninspired works may be used with advantage, as helps, but not as infallible standards. (I here recommend an exceedingly valuable little work, entitled, “Am I a Christian, or Aids to Self-Examination,” by the Rev. Hubbard Winslow. It contains the celebrated “resolutions” of Jonathan Edwards, and rules for “Growth in Grace.”)

3. Do not be satisfied with the good opinion of others upon your spiritual state. Some people are too prone to get rid of their fears and take refuge in the favorable estimate formed of their piety, by those who rank high in their view for judgment and experience. It is more safe, in some cases, to regard the sentiments of those who are prejudiced against us. Your friends cannot see your heart. Their kindness to you and affection for you, may lead them to form the best opinion they can, and their love to you may make them blind to defects which are incompatible with sincere piety, or at any rate, with that which is eminent. Besides, their own religion may be so defective and inconsistent, as to give easy credence, for their own sakes, to the reality of yours. Do not be flattered into self-deception. Let not their ignorant and injudicious adulation, stand between you and the Bible. It is what Scripture says-and not what your friends say-that must determine your state.

4. Do not consider that all is right because you are admitted to church membership upon the examination of a minister, or of a church-and conclude that your Christianity is sincere because your profession has been admitted to be credible. There is a path leading from the sacramental table, trodden by thousands, to the bottomless pit!

5. Beware of judging of yourselves, by partial and detached views of your conduct. To this we are extremely prone. Ever ready to depart from universal regard to the ways of God, we are disposed to rest on some one action or set of actions, as an evidence that all is well with us, and flatter ourselves on this ground, that we are the servants of Jehovah. It is conceivable that many may be prone from taste, situation, interest, or other circumstances to some one branch of Christian duty, who are lamentably remiss in others, the obligations of which though equally strong and plain, are unfelt and resisted. Self-examination must embrace the whole of the divine law, and the whole of our character. We must examine whether we possess that love to God and holiness which is the principle of all right obedience, and which if it be possessed, makes us willing and anxious to do the whole will of God.



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