Volume. XXVII, No. 38
Sunday, 17 March 2013


Directions for Self-Examinations - Part 2


What Do Others Say of You?


Fourth, be advised to consider what others say of you, and improve it to this end, to know whether you do not live in some way of sin. Although men are blind to their own faults, yet they easily discover the faults of others, and are apt enough to speak of them. Sometimes persons live in ways which do not at all become them, yet are blind to it themselves, not seeing the deformity of their own ways, while it is most plain and evident to others. They themselves cannot see it, yet others cannot shut their eyes against it, cannot avoid seeing it.


For instance, some persons are of a very proud behavior, and are not sensible of it. But it appears notorious to others. Some are of a very worldly spirit, they are set after the world, so as to be noted for it, so as to have a name for it. Yet they seem not to be sensible of it themselves. Some are of a very malicious and envious spirit. And others see it, and to them it appears very hateful. Yet they themselves do not reflect upon it. Therefore since there is no trusting to our own hearts and our own eyes in such cases, we should make our improvement of what others say of us, observe what they charge us with, and what fault they find with us, and strictly examine whether there be not foundation for it.


If others charge us with being proud, or worldly, close, and niggardly; or spiteful and malicious, or with any other ill temper or practice, we should improve it in self-reflection, to inquire whether it be not so. And though the imputation may seem to us to be very groundless, and we think that they, in charging us so and so, are influenced by no good spirit, yet if we act prudently, we shall take so much notice of it as to make it an occasion of examining ourselves.


Thus we should improve what our friends say to us and of us, when they from friendship tell us of anything which they observe amiss in us. It is most imprudent, as well as most unchristian, to take it amiss, and resent it, when we are thus told of our faults. We should rather rejoice in it, that we are shown our spots. Thus also we should improve what our enemies say of us. If they from an ill spirit reproach and revile us to our faces, we should consider it, so far as to reflect inward upon ourselves, and inquire whether it be not so, as they charge us. For though what is said, be said in a reproachful, reviling manner, yet there may be too much truth in it. When men revile others even from an ill spirit towards them, yet they are likely to fix upon real faults. They are likely to fall upon us where we are weakest and most defective and where we have given them most occasions. An enemy will soonest attack us where we can least defend ourselves. And a man that reviles us, though he do it from an unchristian spirit, and in an unchristian manner, yet will be most likely to speak of that, for which we are really most to blame, and are most blamed by others.

So when we hear of others talking against us behind our backs, though they do very ill in so doing, yet the right improvement of it will be, to reflect upon ourselves, and consider whether we indeed have not those faults which they lay to our charge. This will be a more Christian and a more wise improvement of it, than to be in a rage, to revile again, and to entertain an ill-will towards them for their evil-speaking. This is the most wise and prudent improvement of such things. Hereby we may get good out of evil. And this is the surest way to defeat the designs of our enemies in reviling and backbiting us. They do it from ill will, and to do us an injury; but in this way we may turn it to our own good.


Do You See the Same Fault in Yourselves that You See in Others?


Fifth, be advised, when you see others’ faults, to examine whether there be not the same in yourselves. This is not done by many, as is evident from this, that they are so ready to speak of others’ faults, and aggravate them, when they have the very same themselves. Thus, nothing is more common than for proud men to accuse others of pride, and to declaim against them upon that account. So it is common for dishonest men to complain of being wronged by others. When a person seeth ill dispositions and practices in others, he is not under the same disadvantage in seeing their odiousness and deformity, as when he looks upon any ill disposition or practice in himself. He can see how odious these and those things are in others. He can easily see what a hateful thing pride is in another. And so of malice and other evil dispositions or practices. In others he can easily see their deformity. For he doth not look through such a deceitful glass, as when he sees the same things in himself.


Therefore, when you see others’ faults, when you take notice how such an one acts amiss, what an ill spirit he shows, and how unsuitable his behavior is, when you hear others speak of it, and when you yourselves find fault with others in their dealings with you, or in things wherein you are any way concerned with them, then reflect and consider whether there be nothing of the same nature in yourselves. Consider that these things are just as deformed and hateful in you as they are in others. Pride, a haughty spirit and carriage, are as odious in you as they are in your neighbor. Your malicious and revengeful spirit towards your neighbor is just as hateful as a malicious and revengeful spirit in him towards you. It is as unreasonable for you to wrong and to be dishonest with your neighbor, as it is for him to wrong, and be dishonest with you. It is as injurious and unchristian for you to talk against others behind their backs, as it is for others to do the same with respect to you.


Are You Also Blinded?


Sixth, consider the ways in which others are blinded as to sins in which they live, and strictly inquire whether you be not blinded in the same ways. You are sensible that others are blinded by their lusts. Consider whether the prevalence of some carnal appetite or lust of the mind have not blinded you. You see how others are blinded by their temporal interest. Inquire whether your temporal interests do not blind you also in some things, so as to make you allow yourselves in things which are not right. You are as liable to be blinded through inclination and interest, and have the same deceitful and wicked hearts as other men. "As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man
." (Prov. 27:19)

 

By Jonathan Edwards, being an extract from his sermon entitled "Christian Caution." (Works 2.176-8)

 

Adapted by Pastor David Weng


More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

*Kitchen Roster: Today’s Team Leader: Bro Raphael Ng. Next Lord’s Day: Bro Simon Yeo

*Hope Bookstore: Open today: 12:30 - 1:45 pm.

*Congratulations to Bro Yick Ho & Sis Kerrie Lam on the birth of Jeremiah on Wednesday.

*Combined Ebenezer-Hope Family Bible Camp Please register as soon as possible.

*Please note: There is Working Bee is next Saturday.

Praise & Thanksgiving

1. Journey mercies: Elder Michael D Lee (Melb/Adl); Bro Alfred & Sis Ruth Ngoma & Thoko (Zambia); Bros Raymond Ang (Adl/Pinnaroo), Houston Li & Raphael Ng (Barossa/Adl); others who have arrived safely.

2. Church Activities, in the past week.

3. Safe labour: Sis Kerrie Lam; safe delivery: Jeremiah.

4. God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.

5. Visitors & new worshippers.

6. Brisbane B-P Church’s 6th Anniversary (last Lord’s Day).

 Prayer Items

1. Health & God’s healing - Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (S’pore); Rev George van Buuren; Rev Edward & Sis Lehia Paauwe; Rev Pong Sen Yiew (S’pore); Rev & Mrs James White; Bro Colin & Sis Kathleen Creaser; Bro Len & Sis Margaret Pearson (Nursing Home); Preacher Zhang (Sihanoukville); Grandpa Ki (S’pore); Bros Elton Law & Kang Fun Tan (S’pore); Sisters Margaret Hooper, Lai Kheng Chiong (KL), Choon Fong Lee (KL), Susan Varadi (Nursing Home); Mr Swee Liang Ng (Bro Raphael’s father); Mr Mang Soo Ong (Sis Gillian Ong’s father); Mr Wong (Dn Wai Kin Wong’s father); Mrs Maggie D’Mello (Dn Edwin’s mother in Mumbai) & Mrs Chuilin Yap (Malacca); Mr Tony Zhang; & others in affliction.

2. Cambodia Missions - Rev David Koo & Ministry (Sihanoukville); Bro Sun Sokha & Ministry (Phnom Penh).

3. Ministry in New Life BPC (London); Healing & health: Ps & Sis Ki.

4. Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions: Rev Keith Coleman, Board members & missionaries.

5. Presbyterian Missionary Union: Board & missionaries.

6. Batam Missions - Sis Ang Liang Phoa & Ministry.

7. iSketch&Tell Studio, YouTube Ministry & preparation for ordination - Pr HS Lim  (Melb, Vic).

8. Ministry in Hope BPC - Ps & Sis Weng . 

9. Journey mercies: Bro Raphael & Sis Bernadette Ng & family; Bro Houston Li (Barossa/Adl); Sis Alice Lee (Melb); & others who are travelling. 

10. Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.

11. Full-time Job - Sisters Michelle Lee (Melb) & Corinne Teng; & others looking for  stable jobs.

12. Unity in doctrine & fellowship of all B-P Churches

13. Postnatal progress - Sis Kerrie Lam & Jeremiah.

14.  Australian work visas - Sisters Clara Sim & Felicia Tan

15. Australia - God’s wisdom for our nation’s leaders.

16. Believers under persecution in Islamic & Communist countries.

17. Ebenezer-Hope Family Bible Camp Committee - Speaker: Rev Dr Mark Lehman; organizers & campers.

 

 

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