by John Angell James
Do you regularly attend the public ordinances of religion, and feel the inward power of godliness while observing its outward forms?
Do you attend the week-day services, and if not, is it from the lack of opportunityor inclination?
Are you more indifferent to the ordinances of religion now, than you were formerly?
Do you keep up family devotion daily and seriously? And in addition to this, are you in the habit of solemnly and anxiously instructing your children in the principles of true religion?
Do you set apart a portion of each day for retirement to read your Bible, examine your heart, and pray to God?
Do you keep your heart with all diligence, striving to mortify its corrupt affections, and watching against the indulgence of sinful thoughts and dispositions?
Do you carry the morality as well as piety into your worldly calling and daily practice, remembering your obligations to universal righteousness, and that Christ has, in fact, committed his glory and the credit of religion to the keeping of his people?
What influence has piety upon your temper; are you meek, patient, forgiving, kind, temperate?
Have you a lively hope of salvation, by the witness of the Holy Spirit, and are you habitually walking in the love of Christ, and the comfort of the Holy Spirit?
Do you feel any interest in the spread of religion, the conversion of souls, and the glory of God in the world?
Are you in the habit of praying for these objects in your closet?
Are you making any personal exertions for the salvation of others?
Is it your custom and delight to set apart a portion of your property, and such a portion as may be expected from your means and personal expenses, for the spread of the gospel; so that you can conscientiously say you are doing what you can for this object?
Are you cultivating a spirit of charity towards those from whom you differ in religious matters, and endeavoring to promote the harmony of the whole family of God?
Are you truly at peace with all men, and especially with your fellow members?
Are you as tender of the reputation of a brother as of your own?
Do you cultivate a spirit of Christian tenderness towards the failings and imperfections of your brethren?
Do you keep your tongue from speaking ill of a brother, and if in anything you are displeased with him, will you follow the gospel rule, and tell him of his failing between him and you alone?
Are you abstaining from all places of worldly amusements; such as theaters, balls, card parties, oratorios, concertsand avoiding all unnecessary resort to the parties of worldly people?
Are you careful of your general demeanor, especially before unbelievers, to do nothing to disgust them with religion; to say nothing needlessly to wound their feelings, or selfishly to gratify your own; to avoid all artificial appearances, all affectation, cant, forwardness, bigotry, bitterness, sectarianism, useless disputation, moroseness, rudeness, pride, levity, extravagance; while, at the same time, you evince an unbending regard to the truth; an unblushing profession of attachment to it; a willingness to bear any ridicule for the sake of it; a desire to communicate the knowledge of it, and a readiness to assist others as a co-worker with God, in its acquisition and obedience?
Have you any hearty and prayerful and practical desire for the salvation of souls?
Are you willing to deny yourself for Christ's sake?
Are you free to confess Christ wherever and whenever you ought, or, are you ever ashamed of him?
Do you intend to renounce the world as your portion, when you avow the Lord in public?
Is it your highest desire to be holy, and walk with God forever?
Do you love Christians, all Christians, as Christians; and that because they love God and God loves them?
Did you ever solemnly ponder the questionwhy am I as Christian, when others live and die without Christ? Who makes me to differ from others?
How much do you at heart care for the love of Christ, the glory of God, and the progress of true religion in the world? Are you willing to catechize your life, habitually to its close, for an answer?
Will you read these questions at least once a mouth, and pray to God to search your heart in reference to the several points of Christian practice suggested by them?