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TEXT: 2 COR. XIII. 5. * Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith.
Prove your own selves.'
You, who have been a girl at school, know what an examination is. You know how the Inspector comes and asks you questions, and examines you to see how far you have got on since the last time, what you have done and what you have left undone. When you have failed in anything it makes you resolve to try and do better next time; when you have succeeded in answering the questions it makes you determined to try harder than ever to take a still higher plac next time.
Now St. Paul tells you to do the same thing for yourself in your Christian life, to examine yourself, that you may see where you have failed, and resolve, by God's grace, to do better. I think the way in which you would be best able to do so, is this, to fix on a certain time every evening before going to bed, for instance—when you shall stop and ask yourself some such questions as these : “How have I been trying to serve God to-day ? Have I given way to temper, to untruthfulness, to idleness? In what way have I sinned, and how shall I try to do better for the future ?' God has given you a conscience on purpose to help you to answer such questions as these, and that you may resolve, by God's grace, 'to do better next time.'
St. Paul bids us solemnly to examine ourselves before coming to the Holy Communion ; but beyond this he does not lay down any special rule as to how often we are to do it, for what is possible for one person is not always possible for another. I think that a working girl like you, though you might not be able to give more than a short time to it, would yet find it a great help if, every evening before going to bed, you were to ask yourself, “What have I done wrong to-day ?' It need not take you many minutes if you have only a few to spare, but if you find out in those few minutes what were the sins of to-day, you will be better able to watch and fight against the sins of to-morrow.
· When I came to think it over in the evening,' said a little maid once to her mistress, “I saw how wrong I had been.' She had tried to remember, in the quiet hour before bed-time, the sins of the day, and she had heard the still small voice of conscience speaking to her because she had waited to listen for it. Will you not do the same ?
Help me to set a watch, O God, before my mouth and keep the door of my lips. Help me to know when I have done wrong, and give me true repentance. Show me by Thy Holy Spirit the sinfulness of my heart, and give me grace to watch and fight against it. May I be willing that others should tell me of my faults, lest, being filled with pride and self-esteem, I fall into the snare of the Devil. Grant this, O Lord, for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.
Have I followed Jesus
All the busy day?
Loving words to say ?
Have I thought of Jesus
When my heart was sad ?
When my heart was glad?
Have I copied Jesus
Our example fair?
Others' grief to share ?