HEADS OF EXAMINATION.
I. Do I feel any pride; or am I partaker of the meek and lowly
mind that was in Jesus?
Am I dead to all desire 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 con-sequence,
glad to be made of no reputation? Do humiliations give me real pleasure,
and is it the language of my heart,
"Make me little and unknown,
Loved and prized by God alone?"
II. Does God bear witness in my heart that it is purified? 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 designs, as my soul is
the life of my body? Is my eye single, and my soul 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 seeking
their favours? Have I no shame of religion; and am I always ready
to confess Christ, to suffer with his people, and to die for his sake?
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 sit light upon me,
and am I willing to suffer all the will of God? Can I trample on pleasure
and pain? Have I
"A soul inured to pain,
To hardship, grief, and loss;
Bold to take up, firm to sustain,
The consecrated cross?"
VII. Are my bodily senses, and outward things, all sanctified
Do I not seek my own things, to please myself? Do I seek grace more
for Gods honor than my own profit, 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, distresses, reproaches;"
so that out of weakness, want, and danger, I may cast myself on the
Lord? Have I no false shame in approaching God? Do I seek to be saved,
as a poor sinner, 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? Am I easy to be persuaded? 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?
X. Have I no false wisdom, goodness, strength; as if the grace
I feel were my own?
Do I never take that glory to myself which belongs to Christ? So I
feel my want of Christ, as much as ever, to be my all? And do I draw
near 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?
I shall hang upon my God,
Till I thy perfect glory see,
Till the sprinkling of thy blood
Shall speak me up to thee?"
Do I find joy in being thus nothing, empty, undeserving, giving all
the glory to Christ? Or do I wish that grace made me something, instead
of God being all?
XI. Have I meekness?
Does it bear rule over all my tempers, affections, and desires; so
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 entreat; if condemned
by the godly, am I one in whose mouth there is no reproof; replying
only as conscience, and not as impatient 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 sin of superiors to be overbearing,
of inferiors to be stubborn; if, then, I am a servant, do I yield
not only to the gentle, but to the froward, committing my cause in
silence to God; or if a master, do I "show all long suffering?" The
Lord of all was "as he that serveth." If a teacher, am I lowly, meek,
and patient, not conceited, self willed, nor dogmatic? Am I ready
to give up the claims of respect due to age, station, parent, master,
&c; or do I rigidly exact those demands?
XII. Do I possess resignation?
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 unshaken 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
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 condescension? As a superior, do I exercise no undue authority,
taking no advantage of the timidity, respect, 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 mean of leading me more to God?
Is the turn of my mind and temper in due subjection, not leading me
to any extreme, either of too much silence, or to too much talkativeness,
of reserve, or freedom?
XV. Am I courteous, not severe?
Suiting myself to all with sweetness? Striving to give no one pain,
but to gain and win all for their good?
XVI. Am I vigilant; redeeming time, taking every opportunity of
doing good; or do I spare myself, being careless about the souls and
bodies to which I might do good?
Can I do no more than I do? Do I perform the most servile offices,
such as require labour and humiliation, with cheerfulness? Is my conversation
always seasoned with salt, at every time administering some kind of
favour to those I am with?
XVII. Do I "love God with all my heart?"
Do I constantly present myself, my time, substance, talents, and all
that I have, a living sacrifice? Is every thought brought into subjection
to Christ? Do I like, or dislike, only such things as are pleasing
or displeasing to God?
XVIII. Do I love God with all my strength, and are my spiritual
faculties always vigorous?
Do I give way to no sinful languor? Am I always on my watch? Do not
business, worldly care, and conversation, damp my fervor and zeal
XIX. Do I love my neighbor as myself; every man for Christs
sake, and honor all men, as the image of God?
Do I think no evil, listen to no groundless surmises, nor judge from
appearances? Can I bridle my tongue, never speaking of the faults
of another, but with a view to do good; and when I am obliged to do
it, have I the testimony that I sin not? Have I that love which hopeth,
believeth, and endureth all things?
Many consider that "perfect love which casteth out fear" as instantaneous:
all grace is so; but what is given in a moment, is enlarged and established
by diligence and fidelity. That which is instantaneous in its descent,
is perfective in its increase.
This is certain, too much grace cannot be desired or looked for;
and to believe and obey with all the power we have, is the highway
to receive all we have not. There is a day of Pentecost for believers;
a time when the Holy Ghost descends abundantly. Happy they who receive
most of this perfect love, and of that establishing grace, which may
preserve them from such falls and decays as they were before liable
Jesus, Lord of all, grant thy purest gifts to every waiting disciple.
Enlighten us with the knowledge of thy will, and show us "the mark
of the prize of our high calling." Let us die to all thou art not;
and seek thee with our whole heart, till we enjoy the fulness of the
purchased possession. Amen !