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ing. My sin is ever before me. A true penitent is often casting his eyes back to the days of his former vanity, and this makes him, morning and evening, water his couch with tears. Remember not against me the sins of my youth, says one blessed penitent; and, I was a blasphemer, a persecutor, and injurious, says another penitent. Repentance is a continued act of turning, a repentance never to be repented of, a turning never to turn again to folly. A true penitent has ever something within him to turn from. He can never get near enough to God, no, not so near him as once he was; and therefore he is still turning and turning, that he may get nearer and nearer to him who is his chiefest good and his only happiness; the best and the greatest true penitents are every day crying out, O wretched men that we are, who shall deliver us from the body of this death? They are still sensible of sin, and still conflicting with sin, and still sorrowing for sin, and still loathing themselves for sin. , Repentance is no transient act, but a continued act of the soul. And tell me, O tempted soul, Whether it is such an easy thing as Satan would make thee believe, to be every day turning more and more from sin, and turning nearer and nearer to God, thy choicest blessedness. A true penitent can as easily content himself with one act of faith, or one act of love, as he can content himself with one act of repentance.

A Jewish rabbi pressing the practice of repentance upon his disciples, exhorted them to be sure to repent the day before they died. One of them replied, that the day of any man's death was very uncertain. Repent therefore every day,' said the Rabbi, and then you will be sure to repent the day before you die.' You are wise, and know how to apply this to your own advantage.

Rem. 4. Solemnly consider that if the work of repentance were such an easy work as Satan would make it to be, then certainly so many would not lie roaring and crying, out of wrath and eternal ruin, under the horrors and terrors of conscience for not repenting; yea, doubtless, so many millions would not go to hell for not repenting, if it were such an easy thing to repent. Ah, do not poor souls under horror of conscience, cry out and say, Were all this world a lump of gold, and in our hand to dispose of, we would give it for the least dram of repentance.' And wilt thou say, it is an easy thing to repent, when a poor sinner, whose conscience is awakened, will judge the exchange of all the world for the least dram of repentance, to be the happiest exchange that ever sinner made ? Tell me, O soul, is it good going to hell? is it good dwelling with devouring fire, with everlasting burning? Is it good to be for ever separated from the blessed and glorious presence of God, angels, and saints ? and to be for ever shut out from those good things of eternal life, which are so many, that they exceed number; so great, that they exceed measure; so precious, that they exceed all estimation? We know, it is the greatest misery that can befal the sons of men; and would they not prevent this by repentance, if it were such an easy thing to repent, as Satan would have it? Well then do not run the hazard of losing God, Christ, heaven, and thy soul, for ever, by hearkening to this device of Satan, that it is an easy thing to repent. If it be so easy, why then do wicked men's hearts so rise against thein who press the doctrine of repentance in the sweetest way, and by the strongest and the choicest arguments that the Scripture affords? And why do they kill two at once, the faithful labourer's name and their own souls, by their wicked words and actings, because they are put upon repenting, which Satan tells thein is so easy a thing ? Surely were repentance so easy, wicked men would not be so much enraged, when that doctrine is by evangelical considerations pressed upon them.

Rem. 5. Seriously consider that to repent of sin is as great a'work of grace, as not to sin. By our sinful falls the powers of the soul are weakened, the strength of grace is decayed, our evidences for heaven are blotted, fears and doubts in the soul are raised, (will God once inore pardon this scarlet sin, and shew mercy to this wretched soul?) and corruptions in the heart are more advantaged and confirmed, and the conscience of a man after falls is the more enraged or the more benumbed: now for a soul, notwithstanding all this, to repent of his falls, shews, that it is as great a work of grace to repent of sin, as it is not to sin. Repentance is the vomit of the soul; and of all physic, none so difficult and hard as this. The same means that tend to preserve the soul from sin, the same means work the soul to rise by repentance, when it is fallen into sin. We know, the mercy and loving kindness of God is one special means to keep the soul from sin, as David spake; Thy loving kindness is before mine eyes, and I have walked in thy truth. I have not sat with vain persons, neither will I go in with dissemblers. I have hated the congregation of evil doers, and will not sit with the wicked, Psalm xxvi. 3-5. So by the same means the soul is raised by repentance out of sin ; as you may see in Mary Magdalene, who loved much and wept much, because much was forgiven her. So those in Hosea; Come and let us return unto the Lord; for he hath torn, and he will heal ; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. After two days he will revive us; in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight; or before his face, as the Hebrew has it; that is, in his favour, Hos. vi. 1, 2.

Confidence in God's mercy and love, that he would heal them, and bind up their wounds, and revive their dejected spirits, and cause them to live in his favour, was that which did work their hearts to repent, and return unto him. I might further shew you this truth in many other particulars, but this may suffice; only remember this in the general, that there is as much of the power of God, and love of God, and faith in God, and fear of God; and care to please God, and zeal for the glory of God, requisite to work a man to repent of sin, as there is to keep a man from sin; by which you may easily judge, that to repent of sin is as great a work as not to sin. And now tell me, O soul, is it an easy thing not to sin? We know then certainly, it is not an easy thing to repent of sin.

Rem. 6. Seriously consider that he who now tempts thee to sin upon this account, that repentance is easy, will ere long work thee to despair; and, for ever to break the neck of thy soul, present repentance as the most difficult and hard work in the world; and to this purpose he will set thy sins in order before thee, and make them to say,

- We are thine, and we must follow thee.' Now Satan will help to work the soul to look up, and see God angry; and to look inward, and to see conscience accusing and condemning; and to look downwards, and see hell's mouth open to receive the impenitent soul; and all this to render the work of repentance impossible to the soul. • What,' says Satan,“ dost thou think that that is easy, which the whole power of grace cannot conquer, while we are in this world ?'

• Is it easy,' says Satan, to turn from some outward act of sin to which thou hast been addicted ? Dost thou not remember that thou hast often complained against such and such particular sins, and resolved to leave them? and yet to this hour thou hast not, thou canst not. What will it then be to turn from every sin? yea, to mortify and cut off those sins, those darling lusts, that are as joints and members, that are as right hands and right eyes? Hast thou not-loved thy sins above thy Saviour? Hast thou not preferred earth before heaven? Hast thou not all along neglected the means of grace? and despised the offers of grace? and vexed the Spirit of grace? There would be no end, if I should set before thee the infinite evils that thou hast committed, and the innumerable good services that thou hast omitted, and the frequent checks of thy own conscience that thou hast contemned; and therefore thou mayst well conclude, that thou canst never repent, that thou shalt never repent. Now do but a little consider thy numberless sins, and the greatness of thy sins, the foulness of thy sins, the heinousness of thy sins, the circumstances of thy sins; and thou shalt easily see, that those sins which thou thoughtest to be but motes, are indeed mountains; and is it not now in vain to repent of them?' Surely,' says Satan, “if thou shouldest seek repentance and grace with tears, as Esau, thou shalt not find it. Thy glass is out, thy sun is set, the door of mercy is shut, the golden sceptre is taken in; and now thou, who hast despised mercy, shalt be for ever destroyed by justice. For such a wretch as thou art to attempt rem pentance, is to attempt a thing impossible. It is impossible that thou, who in all thy life couldst never conquer one sin, should master such a numberless number of sins; which are so near, so dear, so necessary, and so profitable to thee; which have so long bedded and boarded NO. XLII.

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with thee; which have been old acquaintance and companions with thee. Hast thou not often purposed, promised, vowed, and resolved, to enter upon the practice of repentance; but to this day couldst never attain it? Surely it is in vain to strive against the stream, where it is so impossible to overcome. Thou art lost and cast for ever; to hell th

must, to hell thou shalt.' Ah, souls, he that now tempts you to sin by suggesting to you the easiness of repentance, will at last work you to despair

, and present repentance as the hardest work in all the world; and a work as far above man, as heaven is above hell, as light is above darkness. O that you were wise, to break off your sins by timely repentance.


Dev. 7. Now the seventh device that Satan has to draw the soul to sin, is by making the soul bold to venture upon the occasions of sin. Says Satan, You may walk by the harlot's door though you will not go into the harlot's bed. You may sit and sip with the drunkard, though you will not be drunk with the drunkard. You


upon Jezebel's beauty, and you may play and toy with Delilah, though you do not commit wickedness with the one or the other. You may, with Achan, handle the golden wedge, though you do not steal the golden wedge.'

Now the remedies against this device of the devil, are these

Rem. 1. The first remedy is, solemnly to dwell upon those scriptures that expressly command:us to avoid the occasions of sin, and the least appearance of evil. Abstain from all appearance of evil: whatsoever is heterodox, unsound and unsavoury, shun it, as you would a serpent in your way, or poison in your meat. Theodosius tore the Arians' arguments presented to him in writing, because he found them repugnant to the scriptures; and Augustine retracted even ironies only, because they had the appearance of lying. When God had commanded the Jews to abstain from swine’s flesh, they would not so much as name it, but in their common talk would call a sow another thing. To abstain from all appearance of evil, is to do nothing

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