Self-Examination by Hannah Moore

Reprinted by Sowers Seed Reprints

"To live at random is not the life of a rational, much less of an immortal, least of all accountable being. To pray occasionally, without deliberate course of prayers; to be generous without proportioning our means to our expenditure; to be liberal without a principle; to let the mind float on the current of public opinion; lie at the mercy of events, for the probable occurrence of which we have no provision; to be every hour liable to death without any habitual preparation for it; to carry within us a principle which we believe will exist through all the countless ages of eternity, and yet to make little inquiry whether that eternity is likely to be happy or miserable - all this is an inconsiderateness which, if adopted in the ordinary concerns of life, would bid fair to ruin a man's reputation for common sense: yet if this infatuation he who dives without self-examination is absolutely guilty."

"It is only by knowing the heart that we can reform the life. Any careless observer, indeed, when his watch goes wrong, may see that it does so, by casting an eye on the dial plate: but it is only the artist who takes it to pieces and examines every spring and every wheel separately, and who by ascertaining the precise causes of the irregularity, can set the machine right and restore the obstructed movements..."

"No man ought to flatter himself that he is in the favor of God whose life is not consecrated to the service of God."

"Self-love cannot endure the least suffering itself. It is alive in every pore where self is concerned. A touch is a wound. It is careless in inflicting pain, but exquisitly awake in feeling it. It defends itself before it is attacked, revenges affronts before they are offered, and resents as an insult the very suspicion of an imperfection."

"The humble Christian is grieved at his faults. The proud man is angry at them. He is indignant when he discovers he has done wrong, not so much because his sin offends God, as because it has let him see that he is not quite so good as he had tried to make himself believe."

"It is more necessary to excite us to the humbling of our pride, than to the performance of certain good actions: the former is more difficult as it is less pleasant. It is not humility till it has laid the desire of fame [not sinning, not being a sinner, doing something wrong] in the dust."

"That very impatience which we feel at the perception of our faults is produced by the astonishment at finding that we are not perfect -this sense of our sins should make us humble but not desperate. It should teach us to distrust everything in ourselves, and to hope for everything from God. The more we lay open the wounds which sin has made, the more earnestly we seek the remedy which Christianity has provided...."

"But instead of seeking self-knowledge [the true condition of our wretched hearts], we are glancing about as for grounds of self-exultation!...Instead of pulling down the edifice which Pride has raised, we are looking round on our good works for buttresses to prop it up...."

"Of Christianity - humility is the prime grace, and this grace can never take root and flourish in a heart that lives in ignorance of itself. If we do not know the greatness and extent of our sins, if we do not know the imperfections of our virtues, the fallibility of our best resolutions, the infirmity of our best purposes, we cannot be humble; if we are not humble, we cannot be Christians...."

"But it is to be asked - Is there no end to this vigilance of self-examination? Is there no assigned period when this self-denial may become unnecessary? We may cease to watch when our spiritual enemy ceases to assail. We may be off our guard when there is no longer any temptation without. We may cease our self-denial when there is no more corruption within. We may dismiss repentance when sin is abolished. We may indulge selfishness when we can do it without danger to our souls. We can neglect prayer when we no longer need the favor of God. We may cease to praise Him when He ceases to be gracious to us. To discontinue our vigilance will put to hazard all our hopes of happiness in heaven."

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