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Jews or Greeks, the necessity of repentance towards God, and faith in Christ Jesus ;" and that "there is no other name under heaven given whereby we may be saved;" making this gospel of Christ the subject of my ministry? Acts xx. 21. Acts iv. 12.
Do I constantly affirm, that those, who have believed in Christ Jesus, should maintain good works, and follow after holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord ?” Tit. iii. 8. Heb. xii. 14.
Do I teach those that hear me to "observe all that Christ has commanded us, nor shun to declare to them at proper seasons, the whole counsel of God? Mat. xxviii. 20. Acts xx. 27.
Do I preach the people, " not myself, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and myself as their servant for Christ's sake?" 2 Cor.
Do I in my study and my preaching "take heed to my doctrine and my exhortations, so that I may save myself and them that hear me?" 1 Tim. iv. 16.
Do I watch over the souls of men as one that must give an account, being solicitous that I may do it with joy and not with grief?" Heb. xiii. 17.
SECT. II. Of diligence in the Ministry.
Do I "give attendance to reading," meditation and study? Do I read a due portion of scripture daily, especially in the New Testament, and that in the Greek original, that I may be better acquainted with the meaning of the word of God? 1 Tim. iv. 13.
Do I apply myself to these things, and give myself wholly to them, that my profiting may appear to all? 1 Tim. iv. 15.
Do I live, constantly, as under the eye of the great Shepherd, who is my master and my final judge; and so spend my hours as to be able to give up a good account of them at last to him?
Do I not "neglect to stir up any of those gifts, which God has given me, for the edification of the church? 1 Tim. iv. 14. and 2 Tim. i. 6.
Do I seek, as far as possible, to know the state and the wants of my auditory, that I " may speak a word in season?" Is. 1. 4.
Is it my chief design, in chusing my subject and composing my sermon, to edify the souls of men?
Am I determined to take all proper opportunities to preach the word, in season and out of season, that is, in the parlour or the kitchen, or the workhouse, as well as in the pulpit; and seek opportunities to speak a word for Christ, and help forward the salvation of souls? 2 Tim. iv. 2.
Do I labour to shew my love to our Lord Jesus, by "feeding the sheep, and the lambs of his flock ?" John xxi. 16, 17. Am I duly solicitous for the success of my ministry? and
do I take all proper methods to enquire what effects my ministry has had on the souls of those who hear me?
Where I find or hope the work of grace is begun on the soul, am I zealous and diligent to promote it?
SECT. III-Of constant Prayer and Dependence.
Do I give myself to prayer, as well as to the ministry of the word ?" Acts vl. 4.
Do I make conscience of praying daily in secret, that I may hereby maintain holy converse with God, and also, that I may increase in the gift of prayer? Mat. vi. 6.
Do I make it my practice to offer "prayers, supplications and intercessions for all men," particularly for our rulers, and for my fellow-labourers in the ministry, and for the church of Christ, and especially for those to whom I preach? 1 Tim. ii. 1. Rom. i. 9, 10. Phil. i. 4.
Do I seek by prayer, for divine direction and assistance in my studies, and in all my preparations for the public? and do I plead for the success of my ministry, with God, in whom are all our springs? Eph. iii. 14-19. Phil. i. 8, 9.
Do I ever keep upon my spirit a deep sense of my own insufficiency for these things, that I may ever depend and wait on the power of Christ, for aid and success? 2 Cor. ii. 16. and iii. * 5. and 2 Tim. ii. 1.
SECT. IV.-Of Self-denial, Humility, Mortification and
Do I endeavour to please all men for their good, and not make it my business to please myself? Rom. xvi. 2. but to become all to all, that I may win their souls, so far as is consistent with being true and faithful to Christ? 1 Cor. x. 23. and ix. 19, 22.
Do I behave myself before men, "not as a lord over God's heritage, but as a servant of all for Christ's sake?" and do I treat them "not as having dominion over their faith, but as a helper of their joy?" 2 Cor. iv. 5. and i. 24.
Am I" gentle and patient towards all men, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves ?" 2 Tim. ii. 24, 25. Do I approve myself, in all things, as a minister of God; in much patience possessing my own soul," and having the government of my own spirit? 2 Cor. vi. 4.
Do I, as a man of God, whose business is heavenly, flee from covetousness and the inordinate desire of gain; not seeking my own things, so much as the things of Christ? 1 Tim. vi. 10, 11. But having food and raiment, have I learned, therewith to be content?" 1 Tim. vi. 8.
Am I willing "to endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ" 2 Tim. ii. 3. and am I learning to bear whatso
ever God calls me to, "for the sake of the elect, that they may obtain salvation with eternal glory?" 2 Tim. ii. 3, 10.
Am I more and more fortified against shame and suffering, for the testimony of my Lord Jesus Christ? 2 Tim. i. 8—12.
Am I willing" to spend myself, and be spent" for the good of the people, or even to be" offered up, as a sacrifice for the service of their faith? and do I count nothing dear to me, that I may fulfil the ministry which I have received of the Lord Jesus?" 2 Phil. ii. 17.-2 Cor. xii. 15. Acts xx. 24.
SECT. V.-Of Conversation.
Is it my constant endeavour to " hold fast the true faith, and a good conscience together, lest making shipwreck of one, I should lose the other also ;" 1 Tim. i. 19.
Do I walk so as to be an example "of christians in word, in conversation, in charity, in faith, in purity?" 1 Tim. iv. 12. that in "all things I may shew myself a pattern of good works?” Tit. ii. 7.
Do I endeavour to walk uprightly amongst men, and do nothing by partiality? 1 Tim. v. 21.
Is my conversation savoury and religious, so as to "minister edification to the hearers?" Eph. iv. 29.
Do I "shun youthful lusts, and follow after righteousness, faith, charity, and peace with all them that call on the Lord, out of a pure heart?” 2 Tim. ii. 22.
Do I avoid, as much as possible, the various temptations to which I may be exposed, and watch against the times, and places, and company which are dangerous?
Do I practise the christian duty of love and charity, to those who differ from me in opinion, and even "bless and pray for them that are my enemies ;" Rom. xii. 14. and xiv. 1.
Do I behave myself" blameless as a steward of God, not self-willed, not soon angry, not given to wine, nor filthy lucre, no brawler, no striker; a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate ;" Tit. i. 7, 8.
Do I daily endeavour" to give no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed;" 2 Cor. vi. 3.
Do I watch over myself in all times, and places, and conversations, so as to do and to bear what is required of me, to "make a full proof of my ministry, and to adorn the doctrine of God my Saviour;" 2 Tim. iv, 5. Tit. ii. 10.
V. Questions by which young Persons may be taught to examine themselves, both as to their christian Knowledge, and their spiritual State.
WHAT has been my education from my younger years? What have been my advantages, or disadvantages, as to the things of religion?
What good use have I made of the advantages I have enjoyed, and what have I learned by them?
How have I been enabled to overcome the disadvantages that I have laboured under?
What sense have I had of the sin of my nature, or the evil that dwells in me, as well as of actual sins?
What is the danger and the misery of a sinful state?
Can I remember how I came to this awakening sense of sin; Whether by any special providences, sickness, dangers or troubles, by reading, by preaching, or by conversation, or instruction of friends?
What sense have I of my own insufficiency or inability to save myself?
Here will come in, the knowledge of the insufficiency of our own works, to justify us before God; and our insufficiency of ourselves, to change our own sinful natures to holiness, and to subdue our indwelling sins?
What way do I hope to be saved?
Who is the appointed Saviour?
Here the name of Christ will necessarily come in.
Can I remember how I first came by the knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Who is Jesus Christ the Lord?
What has he done in order to our salvation, and of what use are his sufferings?
What are the several benefits or blessings which I stand in need of, and which I hope to receive through Jesus Christ?
Here will come in pardon of sin, the justification of our persons, our adoption, our sanctification, &c.
How am I to be made partaker of these benefits of Christ? or what must I do that I may be saved?
Here the answer will be perhaps, prayer to God, hearing or reading his word, faith in Jesus Christ, repentance of all our past sins, with a religious care to practise all the duties of holiness?
Do I constantly pray to God in secret?
How long since have I begun and continued the practice? and how has it been interrupted and neglected?
Do I humbly wait for answers of prayer? or only pronounce a prayer, before God as a daily task?
Do I make the throne of grace my constant refuge in every
difficulty, danger and trouble, in the things of this life, a well as the life to come?
Do I attend upon reading, or hearing, the word of God, and good books?
Do I always think over again, and recollect what I have heard, that I may fix it in my memory, and impress it more upon my heart?
Do I make it my business to pray over the things, which I hear or read, and so to profit by sermons and by reading?
Here the next enquiry will be about repentance toward God, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ?
What is faith, or believing in Christ?
Here the answer will be, according to the instructions that persons have had, or according to the various expressions, in the word of God. This faith in Christ includes in it, or is expressed by "coming to Christ that we may be saved, receiving of Christ as he is offered in the gospel, or accepting of him under his various characters and offices, as Prophet, Priest, King, Example, a Head or Spring of spiritual life, &c. trusting in him, resigning ourselves to him, giving up our souls into his hands, committing ourselves to him," that we may be accepted of God through his obedience and sufferings, and sanctified by his grace, and preserved to his kingdom of glory: In all which the young christian may examine himself, whether he has received Christ by faith?
What is repentance toward God? and am I a true penitent for my sins.
What are the signs or evidences, or the effects of true faith and sincere repentance ?
Now, under these signs or effects of faith and repentance, will come in the various christian virtues or graces, viz. "Love to God, love to our Lord Jesus Christ, love to all the saints, shame and sorrow, and self- abhorrence because of sin; a hatred of all sin, a holy fear to displease God, zeal for God and for Jesus Christ in the world, a desire to please God, in all things, and to practise every duty both towards God and men, sincere delight in the ways and worship of God, desires and endeavours after universal holiness in heart and life, submission to the will of God in life and death, and a humble hope of salvation."
Have I any reasonable ground to virtues, or graces are wrought in me? cise of them on proper occasions?
hope that these christian Have I found the exer
Or whence do I hope to attain them, or any further degrees of them?
Here will come in the doctrine of the Spirit of God, and his operations.
How must I obtain the influences or aids of this Spirit?