Useful Questions, Whereby a Christian May Every Day Examine Himself, Joseph Alleine.
Commune with your heart upon your beds. Psalm 4:4
Every evening before you sleep (unless you find some other time in the day more for your advantage in this work) sequester yourself from the world, and having set your heart in the presence of the Lord, charge it before God to answer to these questions.
For your Duties.
Q. 1. Did not God find me on my bed, when he looked for me on my knees? Job 1. 5. Psal. 5. 3.
Q. 2. Have not I prayed to no purpose, or suffered wandering thoughts to waste my duties? Mat. 15. 8, 9. Jer. 12. 2.
Q. 3. Have not I neglected or been very overly in the reading God's holy word? Deut. 17. 19. Josh. 1. 7, 8.
Q. 4. Have I digested the sermon I heard last? Have I repeated it over, and prayed it over? Luke 2. 19, 51. Psal. 1. 2. & 119. 5, 11, 97.
Q. 5. Was there not more of custom and fashion in my family duties than of conscience? Psal. 101. 2. Jer. 30. 21.
Q. 6. Wherein have I denied myself this day for God? Luke 9. 23.
Q. 7. Have I redeemed my time from too long or needless visits, idle imaginations, fruitless, discourse, unnecessary sleep, more than needs of the world? Eph. 5. 16. Col. 4. 5.
Q. 8. Have I done any thing more than ordinary for the Church of God, in this time extraordinary? 2 Cor. 11. 28. Isa. 62. 6.
Q. 9. Have I took care of my company? Prov. 13. 20. Psal. 119. 63.
Q. 10. Have not I neglected or done something against the duties of my relations, as a master, servant, husband, wife, parent, child, &c. Eph. 5. 22. to chap. 6. v. 10. Col. 3. 18. to the 4. v. 2.
For your Sins.
Q. 1. Does not sin sit as a light thing with me? Psal. 38. 4. Rom. 7. 24.
Q. 2. Am I a mourner for the sins of the Land? Ezek. 9. 4: Jer. 9. 1, 2, 3.
Q. 3. Do I live in nothing that I know or fear to be a sin? Psal. 119. 101, 104.
For your Heart.
Q. 1. Have I been much in holy prayer and requests? Neh. 2. 4, 5.
Q. 2. Has not God been out of mind? Heaven out of sight? Psal. 16. 8: Jer. 2. 32. Col. 3. 1, 2.
Q. 3. Have I been often looking into mine own heart, and made conscience even of vain thoughts? Prov. 3. 23. Psal. 119. 113.
Q. 4. Have not I given way to the workings of pride, or passion? 2 Chron. 32. 26. James 4. 5, 6, 7.
For my Tongue.
Q. 1. Have I bridled my tongue and forced it in? Jam. 1. 26. Jam. 3. 2, 3, 4. Psal. 39. 1.
Q. 2. Have I spoken evil of no man? Tit. 3. 2. Jam. 4. 11.
Q. 3. Hath the Law of the Lord been in my mouth as I sat in my house, went by the way, was lying down, and rising up? Deut. 6. 6, 7.
Q. 4. Is there no company I have come into, but I have dropped something of God, and left some good savour behind? Col. 4. 6. Eph. 4. 29.
For your Table
Q. 1. Did not I sit down with no higher end than a beast, merely to please my appetite? Did I eat and drink to the glory of God? 1 Cor. 10. 31.
Q. 2. Was not my appetite too hard for me? Jude 12. 2 Pet. 1. 6.
Q. 3. Did not I arise from the table without dropping anything of God there into conversation? Luke 7. 36, &c. Luke 14. 1, &c. John 6.
Q. 4. Did not I mock God, when I pretended to crave a blessing, and return thanks? Acts 27. 35, 36. Mat. 15. 36. Col. 3. 17. 23.
For your Calling.
Q. 1. Have I been diligent in the duties of my calling? Eccles. 9. 1 Cor. 7. 17. 20. 24.
Q. 2. Have I defrauded no man? 1 Thes. 4. 6. 1 Cor. 6. 8.
Q. 3. Have I dropped never a lie in my shop, or trade? Prov. 21. 6. Eph. 4. 25.
Q. 4. Did not I rashly make, nor falsly break some promise? Psal. 106. 33. Josh. 9. verse 14, &c. Psal. 15. 4.
An Addition of Some Brief Directions for the Morning.
If through necessity or carelesness you have omitted the reading and weighing of these questions in the evening, be sure to do it now.
Ask yourself, what sin have I committed? what duty have I omitted? Against which of these rules have I offended in the day foregoing? And renew your repentance, and double your watch.
Examine whether God were last in your thoughts when you went to sleep; and first, when you awoke.
Enquire whether your care of your heart and ways does increase upon your constant using of this course for self-examination, or whether it does abate, and you grow more remiss.
Impose a task of some good meditation upon yourselves while you are making ready, either to go over these rules in your thoughts, or the heads of the sermon you heard last, or the holy meditations for the purpose in the practice of piety, or your daily walk.
Set your ends right for all that day.
Set your watch, especially against those sins and temptations that you are like to be most incident to, that day.