In 1986, Sherwood Eliot Wirt edited Spiritual Awakening: Classic Writings of the 18th Century to Inspire the 20th Century Reader. One chapter excerpted from the writings of Hannah Moore, 1745-1833, includes this thought:
“If we ever look into our hearts at all, we are naturally most inclined to do it when we think we have been acting right. Here inspection gratifies self-love. We have no great difficulty in directing our attention to an object, when that object presents us with pleasing images. But it is a painful effort to compel the mind to turn in on itself, when the view only presents subjects for regret and remorse. This painful duty, however, must be performed, and will be more salutory in proportion as it is less pleasant.”
Miss Moore also wrote,
“Is it not astonishing that we should go on repeating periodically, ‘Try me, O God,’ while we are yet neglecting to try ourselves?”
In his 20th century discussion of The Sovereign God , James Montgomery Boice addresses the instinct for self-protection with regard to such self-inspection:
“But what are we do in regard to God ‘before whom all hearts are open, all desires known’? There is nothing to be done. Nothing can be done.
“We needn’t fear that something within us will rise up to startle God, that some forgotten skeleton will come tumbling out of our closet to expose us…nothing can happen that isn’t already known to God.”