Page images
PDF
EPUB

THE

TEST OF A NEW CREATURE,

OR

HEADS OF EXAMINATION

FOR

ADULT CHRISTIANS.

Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith.

2 Cor. xiii. 5.

WHATEVER is the state of one wholly renewed, muft be, in a less degree, the state of all, who are born from ve; and whatever is the fruit of

perfeet holiness, to walk by the same rule must be the way to obtain the same salvation. The image of God is one, grace is the same, and to be in Christ is to belive, and have the fellowship of his Spirit.

Regeneration differs only in degrees of strength and foundness. In our early justification the divine life is comparatively small, mixed with fin; but when perfectly renewed, we are strong and every part pure, holding, by faith, that salvation, which makes us ong with the Son of God.

The law given in our first state, and the law i'equired by the gospel, the covenant of works, and the covenant of faith, are different. Whatever we fee iu the example of Jesus, and whatever he promises to bestow un his followers, are unquestionable privileges of gospel salvation. Neither is the whole of this fal. vation, of our justification, or of our renewal after the image of God finished, till the resurrection, when we shall see him as he is, and beholding him face to face his name shall be written on our foreheads. Nor

we ever have so much of the likeness of God '¢ to be incapable of more ; but rather the more we

can

obtain of his image and favour, the more we are fitted to receive for ever and ever.

HEADS OF EXAMINATION.

I. Do I feel any pride ; or am-I a partaker of the meek and lowly mind, that was in Jesus? An I dead to all defire of praise ? If any despise me, do I like them the worse for it? or if they love, and approve me, do I love them more on that account? Am I willing to be accounted useless, and of no conse. quence--glad to be made of no reputation? Do humiliations give me real pleasure, and is it the language of my heart,

Make ine little, and unknown,
Lov'd and priz'd by God alone?

II. Does God bear witness in my heart that it is purie fied that, in all things, I please him?

III. Is the life I live, by the faith of the Son of God; so that Christ dwelleth in me? Is Christ the life of all my

affections and deligns, as iny foul is the life of my body? Is my eye fingle, and my foul full of light, all eye within and without-always watchful ?

IV. Have I always the presence of God? Does no cloud come between God, and the eye of

my

faith? Can I rejoice evermore, pray without ceasing, and in every thing give thanks ?

V., Am I saved from the fear of man? Do I speak plainly to all, neither fearing their frowns, nor feek. ing their favours? Have I no shame of religion ; and am I always ready to confess Christ, to fuffer with his people, and to die for his fake?

VI. Do I deny myself at all times, and take up my cross as the Spirit of God leads me? Do I embrace the cross of every sort, being willing to give up my ease and convenience to oblige others : or do I expect them to conform to my hours, ways, and customs? Does the cross fit light upon me, and an I willing to fuffer all the will of God? Can I trample on pleasure and pain ? Have I

A foul inur'd to pain,
To hardships, grief and loss;
Bold to take up, firni to sustain,
The confecrated crufs?

VII. Are my bodily senses, and outward things, all fanctified to me? Do I not seek my own things, to please myself? Do I feek

grace more för God than myself; preferring the glory of God to all in earth or heaven, the giver to the gift?

VIII. Am I poor in Spirit ? Do I take pleasure in infirmities, necessities, diftreffes, reproaches ; so that out of weakness, want, and danger, I may cast my. felf on the Lord? Have I no false shame in approach. ing God ? Do I seek to be saved, as a poor finner, by

grace alone ?

IX. Do I not lean to my own understanding ? Am I ready to give up the point, when contradicted, unless conscience forbid, and am I easy to be perfuaded? Do I esteem every one better than myself? Am I as willing to be a cypher, as to be useful, and does my zeal burn bright, notwithstanding this willingness to be nothing?

all ;

X. Have I no false wisdoin, goodness, strength; as if the grace I feel were my own? Do I never take that glory to myself, which belongs to Christ? Do I feel my want of Christ, as much as ever, to be

my and do I draw pear to God, as poor and needy, only presenting before him his well beloved Son? Can I say,

Every moment Lord I need
The merit of thy death?
Still I'll hang upon my God,
Till I thy perfect glory see,
Till the sprinkling of thy blood
Shall speak me up to thec?

Do I find joy in being thus nothing, empty, undeserving, giving all the glory to Chrift:'or do I wilh, that grace made me something, instead of God all?

XI. Have I meeknefs ? Does it bear rule over all my tempers, affections, and desires; fo that my hopes, fears, joy, zeal, love, and hatred, are duly balanced ? Do I feel no disturbance from others, and do I desire to give none ? If any offend me, do I still love them, and make it an occasion to pray for them? If condemned by the world, do I intreat ;----if condemned by the godly, am I one, in whose mouth there is no reproof; replying only as conscience, and not as inpatient nature dictates? If in the wrong, do I confess it? if in the right, do I submit (being content) to do well, and suffer for it? It is the fin of superiors to be overbearing, of inferiors to be stubborn ; if, then, I am a fervant, do I yield not only to the gentle, but to the froward ; committing my cause in filence to God; or if a master, do I thew all long suffering ? The Lord of all was, as he that serveth: if I am the greatest, do I make inyfelf least, and the fervant of all; if a teacher, am I lowly, meek, patient, not conceited, felf-willed, nor dogmatic ? An

I ready to give up the claims of respect due to age,... ftation ---parent ----master, &c. or do I rigidly exact those demands?

XII. Do I poffefs refignation : am I content with whatever is, or may be ; seeing that God, the Author of all events, does, and will do, all for my good ? Do I desire nothing but God, willing to part with all, if the Lord manifest his will for my so doing? Do I know how to abound, and yet not gratify unnecessary wants ; but being content with things needful, do I faithfully and freely dispose of all the rest for the help of others ? Do I know, how to suffer need : is my confidence in God unshaken, while I feel the distress of poverty, and have the prospect of future want, while, humanly speaking, strangling were better than life : and, in these circumstances, do I pity those, who having plenty waste it in excess, instead of helping me?

XIII. Am I just ; doing in all things, as I would others should do unto me ? Do I render due homage to those above me, not presuming on their lenity and conde. fcenfion ? As a superior, do I exercise no undue authority, taking no advantage of the timidity, refpect, or necessity of any man? Do I consider the great obligation superiority lays me under, of being lowly and kind, and of setting a good example ?

XIV. Am I temperate, using the world, and not abusing it? Do I receive outward things in the order of God, making earth a scale to heaven ? Is the satisfaction I take in the creation consistent with my being dead to all below, and a means of leading me more to God! 13 the turn of my mind and temper in due subjection, not leading me to any extreme, either of too much

« PreviousContinue »