"Examine yourselves, whether you be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know you not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except you be reprobates?" 2 Cor. 13:5
ALAS! how is this precept overlooked! How few are they who rightly and honestly examine themselves! They can examine others, and speak of others, and hear for others, and judge of others; but themselves they examine not, and judge not, and condemn not. To the neglect of this precept may be traced, as one of its most fruitful causes, the relapse of the inner life of the Christian. Deterioration, and eventually destruction and ruin, must follow in the steps of willful and protracted neglect, be the object of that neglect what it may. The vineyard must become unfruitful, and the garden must lose its beauty, and the machinery must stand still, and the enterprise must fail of success, and the health must decline, if toilsome and incessant watchfulness and care has not its eye broad awake to every symptom of feebleness, and to every sign of decay. If the merchantman examine not his accounts, and if the husbandman examine not his field, and if the nobleman examine not his estate, and if the physician examine not his patient, what sagacity is needed to foresee, as the natural and inevitable result, confusion, ruin, and death? How infinitely more true is this of the soul! The want of frequent, fearless, and thorough searching into the exact state of the heart, into the real condition of the soul, as before God, in the great matter of the inner life, reveals the grand secret of many a solemn case, of delusion, shipwreck, and apostasy. Therefore the apostle earnestly exhorts, "Examine yourselves;" do not take the state of your souls for granted, prove your own selves by the word, and rest not short of Christ dwelling in your hearts—your present life, and your hope of glory.
But how does Christ dwell in the believer? We answer --— by his Spirit. Thus it is a spiritual, and not a personal or corporeal, indwelling of Christ. The Scripture testimony is most full and decisive on this point. "Know you not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit? If Christ be in you, the body is dead, because of sin; but the Spirit is life, because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwells in you." And that this inhabitation of Christ by the Spirit is not the indwelling of a mere grace of the Spirit, but the Spirit Himself, is equally clear from another passage—"Hope makes not ashamed; because the love of God (here is a grace of the Spirit) is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which He has given us"—(here is the possession of the Spirit himself). This is the fountain of all the spiritual grace dwelling in the soul of the truly regenerate, and at times so blessedly flowing forth in refreshing and sanctifying streams. Thus, then, is it most clear, that by the indwelling of the holy Spirit, Christ has His dwelling in the hearts of all true believers.