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another; for it is fine to observe, that reason, when she meddles with science, or with any thing which has a cold, and distant connection with human life, can wait to be intricate, and subtle; she can toil through many steps, and be content with small acquirements, and wait patiently, and retrace carefully; but when she comes to the business of salvation, to right and wrong, to holy and unholy, she is as quick as an Eagle's wing, and as rapid as the lightning of God: In a moment she pierces through a thousand intricacies, shivers into atoms the dull, heartless sophistry which is opposed to her course, and, breaking into the chambers of the soul, scares guilt with the amazing splendor of truth. Seek and ye shall find; ye shall have; knock and it shall be opened to you. No man ever turned to
look for the evil that was within him and was repulsed with the difficulty. Whatever God has made necessary, God has made easy every man who searcheth his heart diligently, will find in it the issues of life.
There is nothing which can be substituted instead of self-examination, renewed
at intervals; self-examination, voluntarily,
Self-examination drives men to great exertions, by inflicting upon them great pains; for the remembrance of a mispent life, commonly brings on remorse, a feeling that the harm cannot be recalled, or repaired; it is not like falsehood, which may be corrected, and injustice, which may be atoned for; but the evil done is often out of the power of repentance, and beyond the possibility of change. It is this which makes a man start up in the midst of irreverent old age, and struggle to give a few months, or years to God, doubting of mercy, and not knowing if the relics of his days will be accepted at the throne of grace : If timely thought can save us from a state,
like this, it is, indeed, worth while to think.
In this process of self-examination, we should, among other subjects of enquiry, put to our own hearts these two questions: are we happy ourselves, are we beloved by our fellow creatures :-if we are really contented, it is no mean evidence that we have a right to be so: if no human being is in a state of hostility against us, it is presumptive evidence, that we have given no occasion of offence; by tracing up our miseries we shall arrive at our vices; and by putting on the feelings of our enemies, and entering into their views of our conduct, we may make their hostility a motive for compensation, and a mean of improvement.
In self-examination I would have a man think of death; he should ask his own heart, if he is afraid of death, why he is afraid of death? what he has done to
make it an
pet, when the Heavens, and the earth are expiring? The use of self-examination is to prepare for the worst, to place ourselves in other situations, and other circumstances, before they really exist, that we may meet them with the proper energy, when they are brought round by the revolutions of the world. The business is to think of sickness
upon old age in youth,
in health, to reflect
will vanish as the machine decays by which