Imagens das páginas

denyed CHRIST, with abominable oaths, and selfcxecration, (after that the Lord had turned, and looked upon him) he called his words to remembrance, and went out and wept bitterly, ... .

By this godly forrow, the Corinthian Church cleared themselves to the Apostle, from the charge of countenancing the incestuous person in his wickedness,

And God hath promised to pour out of the Spirit of grace and supplication upon his people; that, by looking upon him whom they had pierced, they might mourn for their fins, according to God: For, by this godly sorrow, the heart is softened, and fenfibly relieved from its fore burden. In this manner, God will bring to himself his converted and believing Ifrael, whilst they remember their backfiidings with self-abhorrence, and hope in his mercy: With weeping, saith God, and with supplications, will I lead them*.--He therefore that goeth on his way weeping, bearing good seed, shall doubtless come again with joy, and bring his fpeaves with bim t. ,

This also we know in ourselves; for, that which lays heaviest on our spirits, and is the cause of our


[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

greatest sorrow, is the dishonour which, by 6n, we have done to our God, and to his C11P157.

3. A MERE outward reformation of lif-, ari restitution for injuries done to cur nobby ur, is not repentance towar's God: For a man may do this, and be still a hypocrite, and lelt-rigliscous Pharisee; and such a cna can have no true regard for God's honour, and glory; but he gres about to establish his own righteoulneis, and icek his own glory. Having then pointed out some millies concerning repentance, and liewed wit is nut repentance; I propofeil,

SECONDLY, To shew what it is.-And here are two things to be considered :

1. The thing it:elf, Repentan e: An?,

2. Jis olject, Goo.

The word reperiance, frig's ard fimpix, rears a change of the mind; and whereas by the mini may be properly under our!, the rational field it is a change of the man; not of the undertania inscrir, but of the wil, and a.s.ans allo.


Now this change of the mind is evidently more than mere convi&tion of fin, forrow, external refore, mation, &c. for all these may be in a person whose heart and mind is not changed : But there can be no true repentance, or change of the mind towards God, where there has not been conviction of sin going before : but godly sorrow, with a reformation of life, follow after, in their proper time and place : for these are the fruits and effects of the heart's being changed ; and it is certain that no effect can exist without, or previous to that which is the cause of it. Indeed mental sorrow may occasion and work an outward, and visible change of conduct, but not of the mind itself, for that being changed produces, and is, under God, the cause of sorrow or joy, according to the state and condition it is in, whether renewed or unregenerate.

Therefore whenfoever a change of life or conduct is, in Scripture, called repentance, it is not to be understood properly, but figuratively ; by a metonymy of the effect for the cause : that is, when the mind is changed, it must necessarily produce a suitable change of life and manners : hence the latter takes the name of the former; for out of the abundance of the beart the mouth Speaketh.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

It is both natural, and rational, to expect a change of manners, where there is a change of heart, for the heart is the spring, and fountain of all our words, and actions, except for a while they be disguised by hypocrisy ; but the LORD searcheth the hearts and to whomsoever God imputes no iniquity, he gives a spirit without guile.

Here observe, that repentance in Scripture never signifies a change of mind for the worse, in any senfe whatsoever ; but it is always a change for the better, both in principle and practice, to the glory of God, and the consolation of the person so changed : Therefore,

2. It is not any kind of alteration, or change of mind, that is Scripture repentance; but, as the Text informs us, it is a repentance, that is a change of mind towards God, not a turning from him.

Judas is said to have repented himself, but this I have shewed to be an error in the translation, and that he was only croubled and sorry for what he had done; but he repented not, for there is joy in heaven over a finner that repenteth, and God faith, return unto me, and I will return unto you. .'

1. • In a Letter to the Reverend Mr. Dodd.


Therefore true repentance is a change of mind towards GOD ; first, in principle and disposition, touching the way of justification, and acceptance in his fight ; fecondly, in practice, and outward conversation: the latter is but the effect and fruit of the former.

When God, in the beginning, created man, he made him upright, without fin; and commanded him to keep his holy and just law, that he might live thereby. Hence it is natural for man, though fallen, to attempt to live by his own righteousness: he, by nature, knoweth no other way, than by doing or suffering, to please God: but man hath failed in the doing part, and the penalty incurred thereby, is nothing lefs than eternal damnation. The knowledge of this truth compels the Christian to renounce his own righteousness, and sue for mercy : Job faith, if I be wicked wo unto me, and if I be righteous yet will I not lift up my bead t. But the natural man hath no hope of GOD's mercy through CHRIST : therefore, except he hath suffered, or done fomething to deferve his favour ; or, at least, if he conceit not himself holier than he was and better than other men ; he cannot believe that God will save him : thus, being ignorant of God's righteousness, he goes about to


[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »