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more question to ask you. Will you from this time relinquish everything of which you doubt the
lawfulness— every amusement, indulgence, practice, and pursuit? Or will you stand condemned
before the solemn judgment seat of Jesus Christ? If you will not relinquish these things, you
show that you are an impenitent sinner and do not intend to obey God. If you do not repent, you
bring God's condemnation and wrath down upon your head forever.

Chapter 14

EXPOSING YOUR INNER SELF
"Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves"—2 Corinthians 13:5.

We must understand our own hearts and take the proper steps to prove our real characters as they ap-
pear to God. Scripture doesn't refer to a trial or proof of our strength or knowledge but our moral
character. It implies that we should know how God regards us and what He thinks of us. Does He
consider us saints or sinners? We must settle the question definitively for ourselves: Are we heirs of
heaven or heirs of hell?

The individual who is uncertain about his real character can have no peace of mind. He may have
apathy, but apathy is different from peace. And very few professing Christians, or people who
continue to hear the gospel, can have apathy for any length of time or suppress uneasy feelings. I am
not speaking of hypocrites, who have seared their consciences. But in regard to others, it is true that
they must settle this question in order to enjoy peace of mind.

Anxiety Is No Virtue

A man who is not truly settled in his mind about his own character is hardly honest. If he professes
Christ when he does not honestly believe he is a saint, he is half a hypocrite. When he prays, he al-
ways doubts whether his prayers are acceptable to God.

Some people maintain that keeping saints in the dark makes them humble. But one of the most
weighty considerations in the universe to keep a believer from dishonoring God is to know that he is
a child of God. When a person is in an anxious state of mind, he can have little faith, and his
usefulness cannot be extensive until the question is settled.

Many think the question of salvation never can be settled in this world. They make a virtue of their
great doubt, which they always have, even if they are Christians. For hundreds of years believers
have been looked upon with suspicion unless they were filled with doubts. But I maintain that
Christians can test themselves to know their own selves and understand their true character. This is
evident from the command in the text, "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your
own selves." Does God require us to examine and prove ourselves when He knows it is impossible
for us to learn our true character?

Consciousness gives the highest possible certainty about the facts that determine our characters. We
can and ought to have the same kind of evidence of our state before God that we have of our exis-

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tence; and that is consciousness. We cannot help having the evidence. Consciousness continually
testifies to our state of mind. We only need to notice what consciousness testifies to, and we can
settle the question as certainly as we can our own existence.

If men were shut up in dungeons with no opportunity of being influenced by circumstances, they
could not be blamed for not knowing themselves. But God has placed them in circumstances to
prove them and know what is in their hearts—to know whether they will keep His
commandments or not. The things around us produce impressions on our minds and lead us to
feel and act in some way. When we see how we feel and how we are inclined to act in particular
circumstances, it produces self-knowledge.

God's law is a true standard by which to try our characters. We know exactlyNwhat His standard
is; and, therefore, we have an infallible and invariable rule by which to judge ourselves. We can
bring all our feelings and actions and compare them with this standard and know exactly w,hat
their true character is in the sight of God. God Himself tries them by the same standard.

When Pride Blinds

Nothing but dishonesty can possibly lead us to self-deception. The self-deceived individual is not
only careless and negligent but dishonest, or he would not deceive himself. He must be greatly
prejudiced by pride and blinded by self-will, or he would have to know that he is not what he
professes to be. Many various circumstances call forth the exercises of his mind, and it must be
willful blindness. If he never had any opportunities to act, or if circumstances did not call forth
his feelings, he might be ignorant. A person who had never seen a beggar might not be able to
tell what he thought about beggars. But put him with beggars every day, and he is either blind or
dishonest if he doesn't know how he feels about them.

Many wait for evidence to come to them to decide whether they are Christians or not. They ap-
pear to be waiting for certain feelings to come to them. Perhaps they pray earnestly about it and
then wait for the feelings to come that will let them know they're saved. Many times they won't
do anything until they get this evidence. They sit and wait in vain expectation for the Spirit of
God to come and lift them out of this stupor. They may wait until doomsday.

The human mind is so constituted that it will never feel by trying to feel. You can try hard to feel
in a particular way. Your efforts to put forth feelings are unphilosophical and absurd. Feeling is
always awakened in the mind by the mind's being intensely fixed on some object calculated to
awaken feeling. But when the mind is fixed, not upon the object but on direct attempts to put
forth feeling, this will not awaken feeling. It is impossible. You may as well shut your eyes and try
to see.

When the mind's attention is taken up with looking inward and attempting to examine the nature of
the present emotion, that emotion at once ceases to exist; the attention is no longer fixed on the object
that causes the emotion. When I hold my hand before a lamp, it casts a shadow; but if I take the lamp
away, there is no shadow. There must be light to produce a shadow. If the mind is turned away from
the object that awakens emotion, the emotion ceases to exist. The mind must be fixed on the object,
not on the emotion, or there will be no emotion and no evidence.

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What do the Scriptures say? "Who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and
sanctification, and redemption" (1 Corinthians 1:30).

Plainly, Jesus is promised and pledged for wisdom and for sanctification to all that receive Him. Has
He promised that if any man lack wisdom, he may ask God, and if he asks in faith, God will give it to
him? What then? Is there then ho such thing as being preserved by Christ from falling into this and
that delusion and error? God has made this broad promise, and Jesus is as much pledged for our wis-
dom and our sanctification, if we only trust in Him, as He is for our justification.

Surrendering To The King

The Church must renounce any expectation from herself and die as absolutely to her own wisdom
and strength as she does to her own righteousness. Jesus Christ is pledged for one as much as for the
other. The only reason why the Church does not realize the same results is that Christ is trusted for
justification, but for wisdom and sanctification He is not trusted!

The truth is that most believers, having begun in the Spirit, are now trying to be made perfect by the
flesh. We have thrown ourselves on Christ for justification but have been attempting to make
ourselves holy. If it is true, as Paul affirms, that Christ is to the Church both wisdom and
sanctification, what excuse do Christians have for not being sanctified?

If individuals do not expect to live without sin against Christ, it must be for one of three reasons:

We love our fellow men better than we do Christ and are less willing to do them an injury.

We are restrained by a regard to our own reputation—and this proves that we love reputation more
than Christ.

We think we can preserve ourselves from these crimes.

Suppose I were to ask any of you if you expect to commit murder or adultery? Horrible! you say. But
why not? Are you so virtuous that you can resist any temptation that the devil can offer? If you say
yes, you do not know yourself. If you have real power to abstain from openly disgraceful sins, in
your own strength, you have power to abstain from all sins. But if your only reliance is on Jesus
Christ to keep you I mm committing murder and adultery, why do you think ih.il lie is not equally
able to keep you from all sin?

What a horrible reproach the Church is to Jesus Christ! she is in such a state that it is no wonder
those who are brought in, with few exceptions, are a disgrace to Christianity. How can it be
otherwise? How can the Church, living in such a manner, bring forth offspring that will honor
Christ? The Church does not, and individual believers generally do not, receive Christ in all His
offices as He is offered in the Bible. If they did, it would be impossible for them to live like such
loathsome harlots.

If believers would only throw themselves wholly on Christ and make Him responsible by placing
themselves entirely at His control, then they would know His power to save and would live without
sin.

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