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Self-examination must be accomplished under and through the scrutiny or inspecting power of God. We truly prove ourselves when He proves us, and may rightly approve ourselves only when He approves us.
I. God certainly can examine us, and we cannot in any way but the most superficial and incomplete way examine ourselves. (1) For our memory is too short and scant to restore or recall the conception of one in a hundred millions of our acts. (2) If we could recall them every one, we could never go over the survey of a material so vast and multiplicities so nearly infinite in a way to make up any judgment of them, or of ourselves as represented in them. (3) Since the understanding of our present state is impossible without understanding all the causes in our action that have been fashioning the character and shaping the figure of it, our faculty is even shorter here than before. It is plain, whichever way we look, that God only is able really and discerningly to examine the human soul or spirit.
II. In what is frequently understood by self-examination, there is something mistaken or deceitful, which needs to be carefully resisted. It is a kind of artificial state in which the soul is drawn off from its objects, and works, and its calls of love and sacrifice to engage itself in acts of self-inspection. We may be so far engrossed in this matter of self-examination, as to become thoroughly and even morbidly selfish in it; for what can be more selfish than to be always poring into one's self?
III. It is important also as regards a right impression of this subject to observe how much is implied in a hearty willingness or desire to have God examine us and prove us. If we are ready to have God examine us, and bring us to an exactly right verdict, that is a state so simple, so honest, so impartial, so protected against every false influence, that we scarcely need look any further; we are already in a right mind, ready to receive the truth.
IV. There is a way of coming at the verdict of God, whatever it may be. God designs to give us, and has planned to give us always, the benefit of His own knowledge of our state. God is manifested always in the consciousness of them that love Him and are right towards Him. They will have His Spirit witnessing with theirs. In their simple love they will know God's love to them; for he that loveth knoweth God.
H. Bussnell, Sermons on Living Subjects, p. 224.
References: Psalms 26:3 . Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xvi., No. 956. Psalms 26:6-7 . G. Brooks, Outlines of Sermons, p. 253.
I. "Lord, I have loved the habitation of Thy house," for there I first learned to know myself and Thee.
II. There I have learned most richly the meaning of Thy discipline, and found strength to endure.
III. There I was guided to the most noble, blessed, and fruitful labour, to the service which is absolute freedom, to the work which is perfect rest.
IV. There I and those whom I have loved best have held sweet and fruitful fellowship; and there we cemented a union which, when the family on earth breaks up, will renew itself eternally in heaven.
J. Baldwin Brown, The Sunday Afternoon, p. 141.
References: Psalms 26:8 . J. Baldwin Brown, The Sunday Afternoon, pp. 133, 150; J. Aldis, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xvi., p. 273; G. Brooks, Outlines of Sermons, p. 250. Psalms 26:9 . Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. ix., No. 524; Ibid., Evening by Evening, p. 267; G. Brooks, Outlines of Sermons, p. 243.Psalms 26:0 I. Williams, The Psalms Interpreted of Christ, p. 454.
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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Psalms 26". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://studylight.org/
the Second Week of Advent