Monday, August 13, 2007

A Puritan Self-Inventory

n his ground-breaking spiritual manual, Seven Treatises (1603), which I have mentioned here before, Richard Rogers (1550/1-1618) discussed the spiritual discipline of meditation.

Aside from Scripture itself, Rogers urged readers to reflect on the following points, which he had drawn up for the maintenance of his own spiritual life.

I would highly recommend taking a look at these periodically, if not once each week or more. I have revised his English somewhat, for better understanding. Ask yourself whether you have done these things in the recent past, and what needs to change in the present:

1. Whether I continually keep a narrow watch over my heart, words and deeds.

2. Whether I am careful to redeem the time now, and to make sure time in the future is not idly, carelessly or unprofitably spent.

3. Whether I attend to private prayer and meditation at least once each day.

4. Whether I have been careful to do good and receive good from others with whom I spend time.

5. Whether my family is instructed, watched over and governed with diligence.

6. Whether I have given more time and care to earthly pleasures and worldly profits than necessary.

7. Whether I have stirred myself and others up, to love God’s people, and especially to suffer for doing good.

8. Whether I have given too much freedom to wandering thoughts and carnal emotions.

9. Whether I have prepared myself to bear the cross, no matter when or where it might please God to exercise me.

10. Whether I have carved out any time, not only to mourn for my own sins, but also for the sins of my time and the age in which I live.

11. Whether I have looked daily with longing for the coming of my Lord Jesus Christ, for my full deliverance out of this world of sin and misery.

12. Whether I have sought out (as my need requires) the acquaintance of some honest, godly and faithful person, with whom I may converse and open my heart, for the quickening of God’s grace in me.

13. Whether I have observed the vanity of all earthly things, in order to condemn them and long after heaven; and whether I have noted the mortality and deaths of other people, and thought often and earnestly of my own passing.

14. Whether I have read daily (when I could with convenience) out of Scripture, for the further increase of my knowledge and conscience.

15. Whether I have renewed my covenant with God to strive against sin, especially against those sins and corruptions of my own heart and life, by which I have dishonored the Lord most.

16. Whether I take note of how sin dies and is weakened in me, and keep myself from returning to my old sins, wisely avoiding all occasions that might lead me to them.

17. Whether I have not lost my first love and liking of God’s word, and all the holy exercises of religion (e.g., prayer, reading, meditation, fellowship, etc.).

18. Whether I have been occupied often in reflecting on God’s benefits and works, in order to sound forth his praises for them.

19. Whether I have fought to cherish my faith, by taking comfort and delight in the great benefit of my redemption by Jesus Christ.

20. Whether I have not made spiritual exercises (see 17. above) and practices of repentance matters of course and custom, rather than matters of conscience.

1 comment:

Jason Park said...

Thank you for posting this. What an invigorating and stimulating way to examine my life and heart! Keep up the great work on this blog.

Jason at


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