September 6, 1761. As the traveler Zionward should be always making progress on his journey, so should he still examine his state for the present, and see how matters stand with him. In like manner, I should ask my soul the following queries, and let conscience, as in the sight of God, make the answer.
Have I seen myself lost by nature—an heir of wrath—and a child of hell?
Have I seen God's equity with respect to the covenant of works, and condemning a fallen world in the loins of our first parents?
Have I been convinced of the depravity of my nature—the lethargy of my conscience, the darkness of my understanding, the hardness of my heart, the stubbornness of my will, and the deadness of my whole inner man—and consequently of my utter inability to help myself?
Have I seen the vast demand of the divine law—which will take no less than complete satisfaction of offences, and requires perfect, personal, and perpetual obedience—and which threatens the curse for the least failure?
Have I then looked upward—and seen an angry God? Have I looked to the scripture—and seen a fiery law? Have I looked inward—and seen a deformed, guilty, ugly monster? Have I looked forward to futurity—and seen wrath as the portion of my cup, and hell as the lot of my inheritance—and so in all respects seen myself lost and undone?
But then, have I seen, with exceeding great joy, help laid on ONE mighty to save? And have I run into the arms of this gracious Redeemer to be saved from sin and wrath? Have I taken his complete righteousness, his spotless life, and meritorious death—for my complete righteousness, and sole title to justification and eternal life?
Do I endeavor to walk as under the law of Christ—in all holy living and godliness; and account myself, though freed from it as a covenant and its curse, yet bound by the strongest bonds to walk as he also walked?
Does my admiration of 'created excellencies' daily diminish, and my estimate of heavenly things daily rise and grow?
Do I frequently converse with my own heart, survey my inner man, and examine the state of my soul?
Are my thoughts on things that while I view them vanish—or on a precious Jesus, the same yesterday, today and forever?
Do I watch against sins of omission, as well as sins of commission; against the iniquity of my thoughts, as well as the iniquity of my actions?
Am I not only burdened with corruption that rises within me—but with sin that rages around me? Am I zealous for the Redeemer's glory, both in my own bosom and abroad in the world?
Are pious exercises my continual delight, and more esteemed than my necessary food?
Can I forgive my enemies, even the most cruel, with the greatest alacrity, and sincerely seek the prosperity of my inveterate foes?
Do I resign myself wholly to the divine disposal of providence, and welcome its most unwelcome dispensations, because of him who sends them?
Am I, while under the rod—more desirous to be refined from sin, than brought forth out of the furnace of affliction?
Do I esteem the lowest saint more precious than gold—and make them my companions; while I shun to sit with the carnal and profane?
Is my delight in the house where God's honor, yes, where the God of Glory dwells? And are the public ordinances, where I hear the glad tidings of eternal things, as refreshful to me as cold water is to the thirsty soul?
Do I keep a court within, and often sit judge on myself, that at last I may not be judged and condemned?
Is it my daily endeavor to grow in the knowledge of God my Savior, and draw nearer and nearer to his throne?
How do I react, when I see myself ill used, despised, affronted; or hear that I am ill spoken of, and my character wounded, though without a cause? Am I then humble, meek, patient, peaceable and silent; or turbulent, angry passionate, contentious, and clamorous?
Am I conscientious in the discharge of all Christian duties—public as well as private—in my family as well as in my closet—in my employment, and among my relations?
Is death a strange theme among my meditations? Am I altogether unacquainted with the dark apartments of the grave?
Do the fore-thoughts of that eternal communion which all the elect shall enjoy above, afford me a joy superior to all the anguish which ever presses on me?
Am I not only a daily penitent for all my sins and shortcomings, and daily seek, that all I have, all I do, and all I am—may be accepted ONLY in the Beloved?