“But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup” — 2 Corinthians 11:28.
Am I to understand that Thou dost command me to examine myself, Lord; this vile, sinful self? Even though born from above, yet the fact is that the root of sin remains, and is proven present by the selfishness, jealousy, and pride which I find within. What an unpleasant task Thou hast exhorted me to perform: to examine myself, the deeds, the words, the thoughts, which have emanated from the vile person within! How can any blessing come from obedience to this commandment which I find in Thine all-seeing, all-embracing word? What saith it? “Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat.” Yea, rather, so let him not eat, for what is there within that is at all worthy of appearing at that most sacred table of Thine and partaking of those God-given emblems?
But stay, my soul, is it not for this that thy Lord died: to deliver thee from all the vileness and filth of sin and self? Do not the bread and wine remind thee of a sacrifice well able to cover all thy nakedness, and wash away all thy stain?
Yea, my Lord, I turn mine eyes from all my corruption, and look to Thee, the incorruptible and Holy One. I turn from all any pride, which has grieved me afresh, to Thee who art well able to clothe me with the humility of Christ. I pause, while mourning over my failure, to admire Thee afresh, my Lord, in all Thy beauty and righteousness. I see in Thee the perfection I long for, and find nought apart from Thee.
Is not this hard-to-be-obeyed verse in Thine Holy Word a fresh proof to this soul of Thy glorious wisdom? For I appreciate so much the more the dear remembrance of Thyself when, after having examined myself and having found nothing in which I can glory, I can by contrast raise these eyes and this heart to Thee in all Thy beauty and sufficiency and glory.
So I go once again to Thy table, to bow in Thy presence and remember Thee; knowing that the sacrifice here shown forth is that which has hidden this self from view in the garments of Thine own righteousness and beauty. —I.B.