A morbid habit of introspection will account for a vast amount of darkness in the children of God—for ever looking within instead of without, at themselves instead of at Christ. In only two instances in the New Testament are we taught to examine ourselves, and it is for a specific purpose, in both cases.
There is no authority in the Word of God for this morbid habit of introspection which is at the bottom of ninetenths of the cases of persistent darkness that I have met in the course of my ministry. I have received a letter from a woman—I have had plenty from men as well, but the majority of such letters come from women.
Woman is more religious in her nature than man, and for that very reason, if she becomes morbidly introspective she is apt to get into more desperate darkness than a man. This letter states that the writer has absolutely abandoned all hope that she is a child of God, or an heir of heaven. She thinks she has committed the unpardonable sin, while every line of her letter shows she has not.
The tenderness of conscience, the anxiety to be the Lord’s, the desire to undo the past of her life—such frames of mind are inconsistent with having committed the unpardonable sin. The conviction that one has committed such sin is almost an inevitable result of persistent self-scrutiny. There are two results, either of which may come from this subjective process: one is despair, because you see nothing good in yourself; the other is self-complacency, because you think you do see something good in yourself. In the first case you will reach hopelessness; in the other, what is even worse, self-gratulation.
A. T. Pierson, A Spiritual Clinique: Four Bible Readings Given at Keswick in 1907 (New York: Gospel Publishing House, 1907), 57–58.