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all whom the other incenses; as they have the good will and the good wishes of all other men, so they have the full possession of themselves, have all their own thoughts at peace, and enjoy quiet and ease in their own fortunes how streight soever; whereas the other neither love, nor are beloved, and make war the more faintly upon others, because they have no peace within themselves; and though they are very ill company to every body else, they are worst of all to themselves, which is a punishment that nature hath provided for them who delight in being vexatious and uneasy to others.
Sept. 8, 1669. REPENTANCE is the greatest business we have to do in this world, and the only harbinger we can send before us to provide for our accommodation in the next; it is the only token we can carry with us thither of our being Christians, which is the only title and claim we can make to be admitted into heaven. It was the only doctrine the prophets preached to prepare the world for the reception of our Saviour; and we may justly believe that his coming was the longerdeferred, by the little growth
that doctrine had in the hearts of men ; and it was the principal doctrine he chose to preach himself after he was come, to make his coming effectual, and to make way for Christianity, of which they were otherwise incapable. There is not, it may be, a consideration in the whole history of the life and death of our Saviour, upon the ground and end of his being born, and all the circumstances of his living and dying, which ought to affect us more with sorrow and amazement, than that this precious antidote, which can only expel that poison which must otherwise destroy us, that this sovereign repentance is so little thought of, so little considered, so little understood, what it is, and what it is not, that it is no wonder that it is so little practised. It is wonderful with some horror, that there is not one Christian in the world, how different soever in other opinions, who doth profess to have any hope of salvation without repentance, and yet that there are so few who take any pains to be informed of it, or know how to practise it. It is almost the only point of faith upon which there is no controversy; as if there were a general conspiracy to make no words of it, lest it should
suppress all other discords and contentions. It were to be wished therefore that all particular persons, who have
any sense of conscience, or so much as a desire to live innocently for the future, that they may die
comfortably, would seriously apply themselves to weigh well what that repentance in truth is, which they themselves think to be necessary to their salvation, and without which they even know that they cannot be saved; that they may neither be imposed upon by others, nor impose upon themselves, by imagining it to be a perfunctory duty, to be taken up and performed when they have a mind to it, and to be repeated as often as they have need of it. And it may be kingdoms and states cannot find a better expedient for their own peace and se, curity, and for the composing the minds and affections of their subjects, than for some time to silence all disputes in religion, and to enjoin all preachers in their pulpits and their conversation, only to incul. cate the doctrine of repentance; that as all people confess the necessity and profess the practice of it, so they may be so well instructed and informed of the true nature and obligations of it, that they may know themselves whether they do practise it, and whether they are so well prepared for their last journey as they believe or imagine themselves to be.
Repentance then is a godly sorrow for having done or committed somewhat that God hath forbidden them to do, or for having omitted to do somewhat that he hath commanded us to do, and which was in our power to have done. Where there is no
sorrow, there can be no repentance ; and where the sorrow is not godly, there can be no true repentance. The conscience must be troubled and afflicted for having offended God, and principally for that, before it can produce repentance. Too many are sorry, very sorry, for having lost their time in pursuing a sin without effect, without compassing their desire; but this is far from repentance, and they are as ready for the like new engagement upon any new opportunity. Whereas a godly sorrow exempts a man from such temptation, and so fortifies him against it, that all the advantages of the world could not again prevail with him to commit the same sin of which he repents, because he so grievously offended God in the commitment. The son of Sirach could not think of any thing so contradictory and ridiculous, as of a man that fasteth for his sins, and goeth again and doth the same; who will hear his prayer, or what doth his humbling profit him? God only knows how far the nost serious and unfeigned repentance will enable and strengthen us to resist future temptation ; but we may all know that it is no repentance at all, that is not attended with a first resolution never to fall into the same sin again, whereof he makes true repentance; and we may piously believe, that God will support that hearty repentance to that degree, that we shall never fall into the same
again ; and if we do find ourselves prone to it hereafter, we have much more reason to conclude that our repentance was not sincere, than that repentance hath not strength enough to secure us against such assaults. Without doubt we ought not to flatter ourselves with an opinion or imagination that we do repent, if we do not sensibly feel such a resolution : that declaration in the epistle to the Hebrews, (vi. 4, 5, 6.) hath very much of horror in it ; “ It is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again to repentance; since they crucify to themselves the son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame." How far soever it may please God to exercise his mercy even to those who are so miserably fallen, of which no man can presume, sure it ought to terrify all men from that impudent impiety, as to gratify their lust, or their intemperance, or their rapine, with a resolution to repent when they have done, and so make that presumption a stalking-horse to the worst wickedness and villainy. Such deliberation and contemplation upon God's mercy is more prophaneness and blasphemy, than rejecting him out of our thoughts, or concluding that he cares not what we do. And yet