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· Finally, Those who feel in your own consequences, and are satisfied in your own sober judgment, that you are impenitent and under the condemnatory sentence of a broken law, be assured that your sins are unpardoned, that you are at present in the gall of bitterness and bond of iniquity. Wherefore, the last call of heaven to you is, “ Repent and be converted. Let the wicked “ man forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, " and let him turn unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon « him ; and to our God, and he will abundantly pardon." Re. pent and live. With regard to impenitents, reason and revelation declare their destruction,
THE DOCTRINE OF REPENTANCE FURTHER COX.
LUKE XIII. 3.
I tell you nay, but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
SUPERSTITION has in all ages, and among all denominations of inen, pagans, jews and christians, a strange, and perhaps an unaccountable influence. Whether this originates from our nature, depravity, or some other cause, we shall not now tarry for a philosophical investigation. All people, of all religions, from the most ignorant to the most learned, have fallen into the opinion, that great calamities are sure tokens of atrocious wickedness. Thus, when St. Paul bad escaped shipwreck and the danmors of the sea, and the hospitable barbarians had admitted them on their shore, and a fire was kindled for their comfort. Behold, an event of an extraordinary kind took place; a serpent few from the burning sticks and fastened upon Paul's land. The whole company was struck with horror and astonishment, and immediately united in the superstitious cry, “No doubt this man " is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet ven“ geance suff-reth not to live." This was not a peculiar sentiment among these barbarous islanders, but it prevailed among the jews, and has been exceedingly predominant among christians.
Solomon, in ancient times, set himself to correct this superstition, and after pondering the matter in his mind, declares, - No man knoweth love and hatred by all that is before him : all 46. things come alike to all. There is one event to the righteous " and to the wicked, to the good and to the clean, and to the un« clean; to him that sacrifiseth, and to him that sacrifiseth not ; * This is an evil among all things under the sun; that there is " one event unto all."
"This ought to have corrected this whole system, but still it remained in great vogue in our Saviour's tiine. Hence, some flew to him with the information, that an awful judgment had fallen upon certain Galileans. Perhaps, as he was a Galilean, they fonddy imagined that he would take immediate vengeance for the lives of his countrymen. They seem to inform him in all the hurry of consternation, “ That Pilate had mingled their blood with their “ sacrifices ;" that he had murdered them in the midst of their devotions. Behold the calmness and meekness of our Lord to all this clamor. “ Jesus answering, said unto them, suppose ye 6 that these Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans, be o cause they suffered such things ?” Seek not vengeance for the destruction of their persecutors, but rather amidst those direful events, attend to yourselves and your own salvation. These were not sinners above others, but only dreadful events arising into existence in the course of divine providence. Hence your duty and the iinprovement you should make of the awful calami. ty, should be a repentance of your sins, and a preparation for death, whether it comes suddenly and violently, or in the more usual and gradual way. “ I tell you nay, but except ye repent, " ye shall all likewise perish."
In order to cure them of their ignorance of divine providence, and the folly of their superstitious notions in this matter, he produces another instance of unexpected and untimely death. An event in which wicked men had no hand, as in the case of the unhappy Galileans, therefore, in vain to seek for revenge. It
was perfectly an act of God. “Those eighteen on whom tite " tower of Saloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were (s sinners above all men that dwell in Jerusalein ?" Our Lord declares both the one and the other, that which came by the instrumentality of persecuting men, and that which fell out by the immediate hand of heaven, was no evidence that the unhappy sufferers were distinguished sinners above their fellow men.
Therefore, he repeats the same sentence, as an equal improvement to the living, of the latter as well as the former case. “I o tell you nay, but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." This error, which Solomon and our Lord set themselves to correct, is still prevalent to this day. Sudden and dreadful calami. ties are still attributed by ignorant mortals and superstitious minds, to a supposition of superior iniquity. This is not a superstition incident to the lower grades of mankind, but you will often hear it bubbling from the ranks of better information.
Passing by these things, I proceed to lead your minds to a further attention to the important doctrine of evangelical repentance. You have heard a definition of it, and a concise delineation of the subject, as ascribed to God, to unreformed men, and to those to whom it will be finally beneficial.-Allow me to proceed in my description of evangelical or saving repentance, as it stands distinguished from all legal repentance in this world, and from all that takes place in the tormenting regret of the damned in hell, where repentance eternally reigns.
Repentance, according to the gospel, stands distinguished from all other exercises of that name in three things ; its object -subject--and formal nature.
Evangelical or saving repentance, is essentially different from every thing that bears that name, in its object. The odious. ness and dreadful nature of sin comes into view, under a discovery of the amiableness and excellency of God, and the holiness and perfection of the law. Here it may perhaps be said, tlires
objects are thrown into the view of the mind, God, and the law and sin. . But all these terminate in one. A man, beholding his face in a common mirror, may philosophically consider the glass, the opake body behind it, and a multitude of other things concurrent to the vision, but it is the reflection, his own picture is the great object. In nature he beholds it with pleasure or disgust, according to the trueness of the mirror and his own fancy.
The great object I would wish you to contemplate in the glass of the law and gospel, is your own hearts, and therein you will see no beauty, but deformity and odiousness, and hide your face from the view in the dark shades of shame, and under the black shrouds of mourning
Evangelical repentance exalts itself in distinction; by the nature of its subject, from every thing that assumes and profanes the name. True repentance has its foundation in a renewed heart. This creates an essential difference between gospel and legal sorrow. It forms a specific difference between the exercises of the one and the other. The regret, relentings, and the feels ings of the one are unto death ; whereas the views, exercises and experiences of the other are life, and will issue in life eternal.
As the object and subject of evangelical repentance awakens • views and exercises, different from many things of this description, so its formal nature draws'a line of distinction of peculiar observation. The formal nature of gospel repentance consists in a heart felt sense of the odiousness and vileness of sin, its deformity and turpitude, so that the soul abhors itself, and repents in dust and ashes.
I shall now leave the more 'abstract consideratious of this theme, and attend to the more common and experimental exere cises of the concerned soul.
True repentance involves an hearty concern and distress of mind, and sorrow and anguish of heart, for transgressions of the