On Self-Examination
Psalm 4:4
Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart on your bed, and be still. Selah.

Self-communing will produce two most happy effects.

1. It will enable us to judge aright concerning our chief good, and the true character and conduct which we ought to maintain. As perfect goodness is the great original of which every good man's life is a copy, so we cannot judge of the resemblance of the copy without a just apprehension of the original. We must know all the features of a right mind that, upon comparison, we may discover if those of our own mind bear a likeness to them, or are in any part distorted or unlike, and to what degree this distortion or want of resemblance prevails. To know this we must "commune with our own hearts." God has furnished the heart of man with a teacher and judge of what is right and good for him, and "to commune with our own hearts" is to consult this inward instructor and judge. All revelations from heaven are intended to enlighten this internal judge and monitor.

2. It will most effectually direct and assist us in discovering our defects and vices, and in adjusting our dispositions and actions to the right judgment it has enabled us to form. We must not take it for granted that we are free from faults. But what they precisely are, we cannot know till we have carefully considered our actions, and compared them with the rule of righteousness prescribed by the Almighty, and approved by our own minds. The fear of making mortifying discoveries restrains men from communing with their own hearts, and keeps them unacquainted with their defects, whatever they may be. When we are employed in searching out our vices, there are some of such a nature that we cannot be deceived in them, if they really do belong to us. It is well to consider what are the parts of our character which we wish to conceal from all the world. Thus we shall discover our real faults. Every action of a suspicious nature, — every action which we are afraid to let the world know; ought to undergo the most accurate review. The other things to be brought under review, when communing with our own hearts, are our supposed virtues. Many men are chiefly concerned to gain the reputation of virtue. The favourable opinion of the world, reflected back upon their own minds, establishes in them the imagination that they are really virtuous. Thus their self-deceit becomes more fixed, and harder to be cured. But a mistake here must have a fatal influence on our integrity Without knowing ourselves, we cannot correct our errors, or become wise, or good, or happy.

(J. Drysdale, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.

WEB: Stand in awe, and don't sin. Search your own heart on your bed, and be still. Selah.

On Self-Communion
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