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present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. Rom. xii. 1. So John; These things I write unto you, that ye sin not. What was it that he wrote ? He wrote, that we might have fellowship with the Father and his Son; and that the blood of Christ cleanseth us from all sin ; and that, if we confess our sin, he is just and faithful to forgive us our sins'; and that if we do sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. These choice favours and mercies the apostle holds forth as the choicest means to preserve the soul from sin, and to keep it at the greatest distance from sin ; and if this will not do it, you may write the man void of Christ and grace, and undone for
Dev. 6. The sixth device that Satan has to draw the soul to sin, is by persuading the soul, that the work of repentance is an easy work, and that therefore the soul need not make such a matter of sin. Why, suppose you do sin,' says Satan, 'it is no such difficult thing to return, and confess, and be sorrowful, and beg pardon, and cry, Lord have mercy upon me; and if you do but this, God will cut the score, and pardon your sins, and save your souls.' By this device Satan draws many a soul to sin,
and makes many millions of souls servants or rather slaves : to sin.
Now the remedies against this device of Satan are these that follow.
Rem. I. The first remedy is seriously to consider that repentance is a mighty work, a difficult work, a work that is above our power.
There is no power below that power which raised Christ from the dead and which made the world, that can break the heart of a sinner or turn the heart of a sinner. Thou art as well able to melt adamant, as to melt thine own heart; to turn a flint into flesh, as to turn thine own heart to the Lord; to raise the dead and to make a world, as to repent. Repentance is a flower that grows not in nature's garden. Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? Then may ye ulso do good that are accustomed to do evil, Jer. xii. 23. Repentance is a gift that comes down from above. Men are not born with repentance in their hearts, as they are born with tongues in their mouths. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins, Acts v. 31. So in 2 Tim. ii. 25; In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves, if God peradventure will give them repentance to the ncknowledging of the truth. It is not in the power of any mortal to repent at pleasure. Some ignotant deluded souls vainly conceit that these five words, Lord, have mercy upon me,' are efficacious to send them to heaven; but as many are undone by buying a counterfeit jewel, so many are in hell by mistake of their repentance. Many rest in their repentance, though it be but the shadow of repentance; which caused one to say, ' Repentance damneth more than sin.'
Rem. 2. Solemnly consider the nature of true répentdnce. Repentance is some other thing than what vain men cơnceivė.
Repentance is sometimes taken, in a more strict and narrow sense, for godly sorrow; sometimes repentance is taken, in a large sense, for amendment of life.
Repentance has in it three things--the act, the subject, the terms.
The formal act of repentance is a changing and converting. It is often set forth in scripture by turning. Turn thou me, and I shall be turned, says Ephraim. After that I was turned, I repented, says he. It is a turning from darkness to light.
The subject changed and converted, is the whole mán : it is both the sinner's heart and life; first his heart, then his life; first his person, then his practice and conversătion. Wash
clean—there is the change of their persons; put away the evil of your doings from beforé mine eyes ; cease to do evil, learn to do well—there is the change of their practices. So, cast away, says Ezekiel, all your transgressions whereby you have transgressed there is the change of the life ; and make you a new heart and a new spirit—there is the change of the heart.
The terms of this change and conversion, from which
and to which both heart and life must be changed, are from all sin to God. The heart must be changed from the state and power of sin, the life from the acts of sin, but both unto God, the heart to be under his power in a state of grace, the life to be under his rule in all new obedience, as the apostle speaks; To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God. So the prophet Isaiah says, Let the wicked forsake his way, und the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord. Thus much of the nature of evangelical repentance. Now souls, tell me whether it is such an easy thing to repent, as Satan does suggest.
Besides what has been spoken, I desire that you will take notice, that repentance includes a turning from the most darling sin. Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more with idols ?
Yea it is a turning from all sin to God. Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his way, suith the Lord God. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions, so iniquity shall not be your ruin, Ezek. xviii. 30. Herod turned from many, but turned not from his Herodias, which was bis ruin. Judas turned from all visible wickedness, yet he would not cast out that golden devil covetousness, and therefore was cast into the hottest place in hell. He that turns not from every sin, turns not aright from any one sin. Every sin strikes at the honour of G the being of God, the glory of God, the heart of Christ, the joy of the spirit, and the
peace of a man's conscience; and therefore a soul truly penitent strikes at all, hates all, conflicts with all, and will labour to draw strength from a crucified Christ to crucify all. A true penitent knows neither father nor mother, neither right eye nor right hand, but will pluck out the one and cut off the other. Saul spared but one Agag, and that cost him his soul and bis kingdom.
Besides, repentance is not only a turning from all sin, but also a turning to all good, to a love of all good, to a prizing of all good, and to a following after all good. But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die; that is, negative righteousness and holiness only, is no righteousness nor holiness; Ezek. xviii. 21. David fulfilled all the will of God, and had respect unto all his commandments; and so had Zacharias and Elizabeth. It is not enough that the tree bears not ill fruit; but, it must bring forth good fruit, else it must be cut down and cast into the fire. So it is not enough, that you are not thus and thus wicked, but you must be thus and thus gracious and good, else divine justice will put an axe of divine vengeance to the root of
your souls, and cut you off for ever. Every tree that bringeth not forth good frut, is hewn down and cast into the fire.
Besides, repentance includes a sensibleness of sin's sinfulness; how opposite and contrary it is to the blessed God. God is light, sin is darkness; God is life, sin is death; God is heaven, sin is hell; God is beauty, sin is deformity.
Also true repentance includes a sensibleness of sin's mischievousness; how it cast angels out of heaven, Adam out of Paradise; how it laid the first corner-stone in hell, and brought in all the curses, crosses, and miseries, that are in the world; and how it makes men liable to all temporal, spiritual, and eternal wrath; how it has made men godless, Christless, hopeless, and heavenless.
Further; true repentance includes sorrow for sin, contrition of heart. It breaks the heart with sighs, and sobs, and groans, for that a loving God and Father is by sin offended, a blessed Savicur afresh crucified, and the sweet Comforter, the Spirit, grieved and vexed.
Again ; repentance includes, not only a loathing of sin, but also a loathing of ourselves for sin. As a man loathes not only poison, but the very dish or vessel that has the smell of the poison ; so a true penitent loathes not only his sin, but himself, the vessel that smells of it. And there shall ye remember your ways, and all your doings wherein ye have been defiled; and ye shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for all your evils that ye have committed, Ezek. XX. 43. True repentance will work your hearts, not only to loathe your sins, but also to loathe yourselves.
Again; true repentance not only works a man to loathe himself for his sins, but it makes him ashamed of his sin
also. What fruit had ye then of those things whereof ye are now ashạmed? says the apostle. So Ezekiel ; And thou shalt be confounded and never open thy mouth any more, because of thy shame, when I am pacified toward thee for all that thou hast done, saith the Lord God. When a penitential soul sees his sins pardoned, the anger of God pacified, and divine justice satisfied, then he sits down and blushes, as the Hebrew has it, as one ashamed. Yea, true repentance works a man to cross his sinful self, and to walk contrary to sinful self, to take a holy revenge upon sin ; as you may see in Paul, the jailor, Mary Magdalene, and Manasseh. This the apostle shews in 2 Cor. vii. 10,11. For godly sorrow worketh repentance not to be repented of, but the sorrow of the world worketh death: for behold this self-same thing that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you ; yea, what clearing of yourselves; yea, what indignation ; yea, what fear; yea, what vehement desire ? yea, what zeal; yea, what revenge!
Now, souls, sum up all these things together, and tell me whether it is such an easy thing to repent, as Satan would make the soul believe; and I am confident your heart will answer, that it is as hard a thing to repent as it is to make a world, or raise the dead.
I shall conclude this second remedy with a worthy saying of a precious, holy man. Repentance,' says he,
strips us naked of all the garments of the old Adam, and leaves not so much as a shirt behind ;' in this rotten building it leaves not a stone upon a stone. As the flood drowned Noah's own friends and servants, so must the flood of repenting tears drown our sweetest and most profitable sins.
Rem. 3. Seriously consider that repentance is a continued act. The word repent implies the continuation of it. True repentance inclines a man's heart to perform God's statutes always, even unto the end, A true penitent must go on from faith to faith, from strength to strength; he must never stand still, nor turn back. Repentance is a grace, and must have its daily operation, as well as other graces. True repentance is a continued spring, where the waters of godly sorrow are always flow