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prize of the high calling; or must I say, after the sun has carried light, and heat through all the nations; after nature has gone through her great circle; and the bud, and the leaf, and the fruit, have once more appeared, that I am, where I was before, still sinning, and resolving; still weeping, and offending; a feebie contrite being, unable to attain the virtue which I seek, and sure of being punished for the sin which I cannot avoid?

Let us first remember, in discussing the utility of self-examination, that it must be done at repeated intervals when it is profitable; or it must be done once for all, when it is too late; if you wish to moderate those reproaches, which an human being makes to his own heart, give them their entrance now; hear them at this time in obedient silence, or they will rush in, when the tale is nearly told, and visit you with such anguish as might well be avoided, by a life of moderate wretchedness; if you love difficulty better than despair, and are not willing to purchase a respite from present pain, at the expence of eternal affliction; do this now, that you may not hereafter be compelled to do worse

Judge, or God will judge; repent, or he will punish.

To avail ourselves of such a period as this, for the purposes of self-examination, is more necessary, in this great city, than in any other situation, because there are fewer blanks in our existence here, than there can be any where else. We struggle here, not only for wealth, and power, and pleasure, but for the greatest wealth, the highest power, and the keenest pleasure.If the game of life is played elsewhere with attention, it is played here with passionate avidity: the sun goes down too soon; and we chide the morning star till it brings us back to the world. It is not here that men are ever driven back into their own hearts; men never see their own hearts; they know not what dwells there; whether be the powers of darkness, or the angels of God.

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It is not merely the want of leisure, in great cities, which makes it necessary to enter into that voluntary self-examination, to which we should never be impelled from

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the circumstances in which we are placed,
but that according to the common notions
of men, there are no objects, in great cities,
which can inspire solemn, and religious

ideas. And yet, where is God more visible
than in great cities? Can we see infinite
wisdom, and power in torrents, mountains,
and in clouds, and not discern them in this
wonderful arrangement of rights, appetites,
and pretensions? Is God not visible in
laws, and constitutions? Is he not visible
in refinement? Is he not visible in reason-
Are not poets, and orators, and
statesmen more stupendous creations of
God than all the depth of the vallies, and
all the strength of the hills? If we are
to be lured to God, by all we see of his
greatness, and his power, here are his
noblest works, and here his sublimest
power; here he is to be felt, and honoured,
and adored.

An important reason for dedicating such periods as these to the duties of self-examination is, that our deficiencies must necessarily be perceived; we cannot shelter ourselves under a belief, that the shade of improve


ment is too delicate to be sensible; the year has either made us better, or it has not; we may not go away from such an inquisition satisfied, but we can scarcely go away deceived: the very doubt itself is an answer: If the seventieth part of our rational existence has glided away, and left us doubtful whether we have gained upon any one vice, the hesitation itself is almost decisive of our failure.

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Self-examination is important if lifeeternal is important; it is not one of those exercises to which any notion of degree can be applied; it is not more or less useful, but it is indispensable, it must be; without it there is no Christ, no righteousness, no life hereafter; for it is not pretended, that any man is born to continued righteousness; no man, from an original sweetness, and felicity of creation, goes on doing well, from the beginning of his days to the end: And if sin is universal, inquisition must be so too; and the duty of self-examination never be forgotten, or



It is not so much the higher crimes which have need of self-examination: No one asks of a murderer, on the opening of the year, to reflect on blood-guiltiness; no one invites an adultress to think on her husband, and children, and on that misery which she is preparing for her own soul: these feelings do not wait for our call; they come unasked for, and unwanted to torment the guilty before their time: But the vices which need self-examination, are those which condemn us in the sight of God, without creating in our minds any instant, and pressing alarm. All the fruitful family of original sin, pride, anger, lust, bypocrisy, deceit, envy, hatred, malice, and all uncharitableness; for all these things a man shall surely die, though they do not make him pale with fear, or rouse him from his sleep, to tremble at the spectres of a guilty mind.

Nor let it be supposed, that in urging our fellow creatures to self-examination, we put them upon any exercise which is difficult, or profound; or in which one human creature can make a greater progress than

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