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life. It is one of the first steps in the should have done. True evangelical path of the just; it accompanies him repentance summarily implies a hatred through every stage; and, even at the of sin and all sinful propensities; not close of his earthly career, his bosom from dread of punishment, but from a not unfrequently leaves with the sigh lively sense of their turpitude, their of contrition. There is, of course, in offensiveness to God, and injurious conthe sacred writings, no duty more early, sequences to man. It is the voluntary more frequently, or more forcibly, en- exercise of a heart changed from evil joined. The prophets in the old tes. to good, which is led to "hate every false tament called on the people, in order way.It does not consist in hating to be prepared for temporal blessings, merely the name of sin, but all sinor to be relieved from temporal calami- ful practices, whether in ourselves or ties, to repent. At the advent of Mes- others. Thus, a real penitent may siah, John called on the Jews, in order have, like other nien, a natural desire to be prepared for his coming to repent; for wholesome food, but he will abhor and our Saviour commisioned his disci- gluttony and every excess.

All the ples, as constituting one of the promi- bounties of Providence, and the fruits nent features of the gospel, to preach of industry, and laudable enterprise, the doctrine of repentance for the remis- he will receive with gratitude; but sion of sins." It is indeed held up to unjust and wicked gains, and the fruits view, as the first requirement, and the of fraud, avarice, and oppression, he brightest evidence, of the Christian will most cautiously avoid, and utterly character.

detest. He may not be averse to soBut on this subject, all-interesting as cial intercourse, or to innocent recreait is, there appears to be no small de. tions; but from a sense of their evil gree of confusion prevailing in the tendency, be will be on his guard Christian world. Instead of a single, against the smallest approach to vice specifick act, it is confounded with and dissipation ; against waste of time, otherexercises ; or used to comprise the and every appearance of evil


He whole sphere of Christian duty. In point may not be destitute of passions, or of rank, indeed, it stands among the strong emotions,--for be is but a man, highest; but in regard to its nature, it and a man of like passions with others ; is entirely distinct from faith, from --but he will be shocked at intemperate love, from patience, from hope, and bursts of passion, and be grieved espe. from humility. The object of the pre- cially, when he becomes himself the sent discourse will, therefore, be, victim of an unruly temper. He may

1. To explain the nature of repent. not be disinclined to speak of God and ance; and then,

sacred things; but he shudders, when II. To propose motives to the prac. the name of God is invoked in a profane tice of it.

and irreverent manner; or sacred or1. Repentance, according to the ety- dinances and religious institutions are mology of the word, in the Greek lan- treated with levity and disrespect. His guage, signifies a change of mind, ac- aversion is deep-rooted and uniform to companied by corresponding change all unlawful deeds, which are contrary of practice. It is, however, used in to the divine command, and destructive the sacred writings, as its most appro- of human bappiness. priate meaning, to signify that grief True, evangelical repentance is not and sorrow which arise in the bosom of an overwhelming burst of passion, a a man, who is deeply penetrated with frantick emotion, springing up suddenthe consciousness of having done that ly, and with as rapid à transition, which be ought not to have done; and followed by contrary emotions ; but is of having left undone that which be a collected, heart-felt sorrow,occasioned


by the consciousness of our sinful lusts before the exercise of repentance, he and propensities, our depravity, weak- was pursuing the world and its lusts, its ness, and irresolution ; which render us empty honours and fleeting pleasures, so averse to duty, and incline us, es. he is now pursuing the real honours, pecially, to consider the duties we owe the ineffable and never ending joys of to God, as being so burdensome ; which the world to coine. Whereas he had so much dispose us to detract from turned aside, in the pursuit of earthly thein ; which occasion such deep re- riches, and his conscience had been gret at the quantity of time devoted to defiled; he now returns to the right them, and render us so eager to return path, is washed by the tears of penifrom thein to the world, in order to tence, and pursues, with new ardour, engage in the trifling concerns of time the unsearchable riches of righteousness. and sense. These considerations awa. Whereas he was before pursuing the ken the sigh of contrition, call forth wages of sin, he is now seeking after those struggles which are necessary in the rewards of holiness. Whereas he was theChristian warfare, and constitute that before anxious chiefly for the applause of repentance, which brings forth the good his fellow creatures, he is now solicitous fruits of holiness, and “needeth not to only to obtain the approbation of God; be repented of.”

and whereas he was before travelling The first part of the Christian life is the broad road to destruction, he is now regeneration. By means of this, the walking in the straight and narrow path subject is brought into covenant with which leadeth to life. “ Not as though God, and is made a child of God, and he had already attained, or were already an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven. perfect;” but he “presses toward the mark But as in the natural, so in the spiritual for the prize of the high calling of, a man can be born but once. He His face is toward the skies; though, must afterward be fed and nourished alas! his feet are often entangled by by the word and ordinances, in order the snares and toils of this lower world,

come unto the perfect in wbich he is doomed to walk. man, unto the measure of the stature of This is in general the character of the fulness of Christ." The spiritual the true penitent.

But it is proper man may be weakened by lack of nou. that some notice should be taken of the rishment, or be defiled by the malady distinction between fear and penitence. of sin. Repentance, then, is the me. There may be, and often is, great fear, dicine by which he is to be healed, or where there is no real penitence. Fear the ablution by which he is to be is the offspring of despair; and this may cleansed. A good man may fall seven exist without one spark of love to God times a day; and if he may so often or hatred of sin. There may be a fall by sinning, there is no other way consciousness of unworthiness, and a for him to rise, but by as often repent- lively persuasion, that if we had nothing ing. By repentance it is, that the to plead but our own merits, we should Christian who has strayed away from his deserve everlasting rejection from the Father's house, returns to it again. He presence of God; but, as a view of the turns from sin to the service of God, goodness of God is one of the most when, ceasing to be governed by lust effectual means of bringing men to and passion, and the slavish customs repentance, the consideration of it ought and manners of the world, he is guided always to be present to the truly peniby the “wisdom which is from above," tent, and keep him from fear and desand “ follows after righteousness and pair. Frightful apprehensions of God, true holiness.” In both which cases, and despair of his goodness and mercy, he is as one pursuing, or as one travelare alike dishonourable to his being, ling. Whereas, in the former case, repugnant to his will, and remote froin

that he may

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, 10. [May, genuine contrition. He tells us that eth his sins," says Solomon, “shall not he dwells with the humble and con- prosper ; but whoso confesseth and fortrite one; and where he is present, saketh them shall find inercy.There there must be freedom ; his presence is no man,says he again, " that liv. will dispel slavish fear. The sinner eth und sinneth not ;” and John the may, and ought to tremble at God's apostle informs us, that, if we say word; but if he does nothing more, he we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, stops at the very threshold of duty, and the truth is not in us; but if we and pauses at the incipient stage of his confess our sins, God is fuithful and journey. Repentance is complete, when just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse this trembling ends. The moment the us from all unrighteousness.” It is sinner is inspired with love, and is pride, pbarisaical pride, which prevents resolved by grace to forsake sin; the us froin owning ourselves to he sinners ; inoment he turns from the errour of his a pride which must be humbled, before ways, to follow the only living and true we can derive any essential benefit God, he has experienced a complete from the merits and sacrifice of Je. exercise of contrition, and is restored sus Christ. There are some, wbo to the favour of God through Jesus are willing enough to acknowledge Christ. The moment that, like the themselves sinners, but are unwilling prodigal, he returns to his Father's to own themselves guilty of a single house, the Father is ready to meet him fault. This, also, is another ramifica. and welcome him to the abode from tion of pride, not less reprehensible, which he had strayed.

but chargeable with more inconsistency Still, however, he may

wander occa- than the former. This must be resisted sionally ; he no doubt will wander. likewise, and the humble task of conBut, if he return again in the ex- fession be submitted to, not only in ercise of unfeigned sorrow, he will respect to inward depravity, but outbe accepted; for God is not wil. ward transgression. We must be wil. ling that any who come to him should ling to acknowledge our faults, and perish, but that all should come to confess them; not to man, but to God, repentance. All who embrace him, by who alone is able to pardon them. We a true and lively faith, will most cer- must, indeed, repair, as far as possible

, tainly be saved. Though their sins be the injuries done to others, and be wil. as scarlet, they sball (by repentance) ling to make confession to those we be as wool; and though they be red have injured, and entreat their forgive. like crimson, they shall be white as ness; but we must repair to God, and

The true penitent will ascribe to him alone for final ablution, and nothing to his own merits; but at the cleansing from all sin. end of life will be conscious, that, dur. Confession must be made according his whole Christian life, a continued ing to the full extent of our transgresstruggle has been carried on between sions. Not one must be intentionally sin and holiness ; the flesh has lusted excepted or concealed. It may not be against the spirit, and the spirit against possible for us to make the catalogue the flesh ; the spirit has been willing, complete, or enumerate any considerabut the flesh weak; and nothing but ble portion of the offences committed grace, restraining grace, has kept him against the divine Majesty. But we from being overpowered by remaining must have lively views of our deformity, corruption. After he has done all, he and be deeply humbled under the is willing to acknowledge himself an sense of our awful distance from that unprofitable servant.

standard of perfection, which is set Confession is another important before us in the example of Jesus branch of this duty. " He that cover. Christ; and be willing, on this account,


with Job, to “ loathe and abhor our. the first place, from ignorance of the selves in dust and ashes." In vain scheme of redemption. Till made ac. shall we expect to be accepted of God, quainted with the character and meif we attempt to palliate, or retain a diation of Jesus Christ, the ,sinner, single sin. What better would you alarmed at the number and magni. be for having expelled all foes, while tude of his offences, could not be able one traitor was retained in the camp to to discover any ground of pardon and betray you? How much safer will acceptance; and would, therefore, sink you be, after having confessed all sin, into despair at the view of them, but should one be still left to rise up in for this habit of palliation, or lope of judgment against you ?

concealment. Again, another reason But confession, which is the most for this conduct is that love of sin which obvious, rational, and effectual exer- springs from our native propensity, and cise of repentance, is very humiliating, is confirmed by habit. Till the beart and therefore too little regarded. Men is changed, and the love of sin eradieasily perceive themselves to be sin- cated, and the love of holiness implantners on the whole, but not in the detail. ed in its stead, the sinner is afraid to They will acknowledge the depravity confess bis sins, because then his conof their natures, but defend themselves science would enforce the necessity of against any unfavourable insinuation, reformation ; and till he has, by the eye with all the energy and zeal of injured of faith, discerned the beauty of holiinnocence.

ness, and the enormity of sin, nothing This babit of self-concealment, and appears so dreadful as separation from of hiding our sins from God, foolish as darling sins. He would rather risk the it may appear, is general, and seems salvation of his soul on uncovenanted to have been entailed by Adam on bis mercy, than be included in any scheme posterity, from the time of his fatal of salvation, of which divorce from long trangression. From the moment of habits of sinful indulgence should be a guilt, his foolish heart became darken- necessary condition. Hence a great ed. Instead, therefore, of exercising variety of subterfuges and false pre. his usual confidence in God, and going tences are resorted to, in order to to meet him with the language of hum- sooth the pangs of a wounded conble contrition, and supplication for science; and thus man, blinded by sin, pardon, he attempted to hide himself fatally imposes on himself. But it is among the trees of the garden. Alas! not so with the humble and contrite poor, unhappy man! what is become one, who, borne down by the burden of that clearness of discernment, that of sin, has resorted to the word of God intuitive perception of rectitude, pro- for relief, and has obtained clear views priety, and consistency of conduct, of the way and means of salvation. To in which thou wast at first created ? him confession is a plain, and, comWhat, bide thyself from the power paratively speaking, pleasing duty; and inspection of that Being, who is for it is an unburdening of his conomnipotent and omniscient!“ How is science, a relief from impediments to the gold become dim, and the fine gold duty, and a removal of those blemishes changed!" How strangely are all the which disqualify him for the divine faculties of the mind and heart changed, favour. He has, therefore, no excuses by the admission of sin !

This un

to make, but confesses every sin freely, happy propensity to self-delusion, has with all its respective aggravations ; Adam entailed on all his children. and strives, with extreme solicitude, to We are all of us foolish enough to dethrone its dominion, destroy its inthink that we can hide our sins from Auence, and extirpate every relick of God. This is to be accounted for, in corruption. His desire is to be entirely

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, 10. [May, conformed to the divine image ; and his unto the Father but by me. And, as prayer is, in the language of David, to the manner of turning, we must come * Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be unto God with our whole heart, with clean; wash one, and I shall be whiter fasting, and with weeping, and with than snow. Create in me a clean heart, mourning. We must engage heartily O God, and renew a right spirit within in the worship and service of God, and

not only be separated from those sins But, as the essence of repentance which formerly had dominion over us, consists in change of heart and conduct, but declare hostility against them. We in turning about, and mending our must say, with the humble prodigal

, ways and our doings, let us now see, Father, I have sinned against heaven from what,—to whom,-by whose aid, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy -and by what means, we are to to be called thy son ;” and, in the lanreturn. We are to turn from all guage of the publican, cry out, “God sin; from filthy lusts, which resist be merciful to me a sinner !" tbe will of God; from idleness, and Thus, my brethren, have I endeanegligence of his conimands; from er- voured to explain to you the nature of rour and infidelity, superstition and repentance; and from what has been idolatry ; and adopt the true faith and said, we see that it is a plain and reaworship of God, and walk in his com- sonable duty; that it is not mysterious mandments and ordinances blameless. nor incomprehensible; not calculated We must return to God, our heavenly to foster superstition or fanaticism; not Father, from whom, as rebellious chil- confined to a single act; but that it is dren, we have strayed. We have altogether of a practical nature, and wandered far from him, and have un- a duty which needs to be frequently, thankfully abused his mercies upon our and, to a certain degree, constantly disJusts. We have broken covenant with charged. When we daily go to our him, and served other gods—the ob- Father, and supplicate him to forgive jects of worldly mindedness and carnal us our trespasses, we must be accomaffection and have leagueil ourselves panied by penitent hearts, otherwise with his enemies, and have rebelled our supplications will be of no avail. against him. We must, therefore, lay Every time we transgress, we must be

. down the weapons of rebellion, own renewed again by repentance.

Re. our allegiance to him, and acknowledge generation is indeed a single act, and his sovereignty, and bis undisputed right can occur but once in the Christian to reign and rule in our hearts; we life, but we may be converted and must renew our covenant with him, " be renewed day by day.and dedicate ourselves unreservedly to II. Let us now conclude, by suggesthis service. But this must be done by ing a few motives to the practice of this faith, by firm belief in his being and in duty. his word, and implicit reliance on his 1. One consideration to this effect is, promises. We must also come by the need in which all men stand of Jesus Christ. Since the adoption of the exercise of repentance. Of this the new covenant, the only mode of we are assured in holy scripture. “The access to the Father is through the Lord looked down from heaven upon merits, the mediation, and the inter- the children of men, to see if there cession, of his dearly beloved and only were any that did understand and seek begotten Son. “I am the door,'' says God. They are all gone

aside; the blessed Saviour, by me, if a man are altogether become filthy; there is enter, he shall come in and go out, and none that doeth good, no not one.' find pasture.” “I ain the way, the This is spoken of the whole human truth, and the life; no man cometh race. They are all “

very far gone


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