This comes from the sermon The Necessity of Self Examination by Jonathan Edwards. This sermon is excellent. Edwards preaches in such a way as to make you think that American evangelicalism is bankrupt. His is a spirituality that is very concerned even the most intimate details of life. Nothing escapes his glance. In our age, we struggle over whether an orgy is appropriate worship for God. We are, it seems, largely incapable of self-reflection. It seems that we have lost the ability to scrutinize. We have, in a sense, lost our humanity. We are incapable of reflecting on what movies and theater do to our soul, or how a waltz (let alone jazz or pop) is erotic, or even in regards to the proportion of our eating (of which there is a good discussion here). I long for a kind of spirit of deep humanity to return, that not only reflects on these things, but acts on these things. I am concerned we do not have the chests to to do either. Enough of me; here’s Edwards:
If you live in any ways which are generally condemned by the better and more sober sort of men, be especially careful to inquire concerning these, whether they be not ways of sin. Perhaps you have argued with yourselves that such or such a practice is lawful. You cannot see any evil in it. However, if it be generally condemned by godly ministers, and the better more pious sort of people, it certainly looks suspicious, whether or no there be not some evil in it. So that you may well be put upon inquiring with the utmost strictness, whether it be not sinful. The practice being so generally disapproved of by those who in such cases are most likely to be in the right, may reasonably put you upon more than ordinarily nice and diligent inquiry concerning the lawfulness or unlawfulness of it.