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Christ. The only amends we can make for our sins, is by believing in Him, who suffered death upon the cross for our redemption ; and made there (by his one oblation of himself, once offered) a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world.
Thus, then, from what has been said, you may perceive the nature of that sleep, of which St. Paul is speaking, namely, the sleep of sin. When we spend our time in sin and wickedness; when we live, as it were, but for the pleasures of this world then we sleep that deadly sleep which brings with it eternal damnation,
Alas ! my brethren, how can we be so foolish as to set so high a value on this world, when we know that it endureth but for a season ? According, indeed, to the opinion of several of the Fathers of the Church, the world was created to endure but six thousand years: namely, two thousand before the Law, two thousand under the Law, and two thousand under the Gospel. Now of these six thousand years, there are past already more than 5800* : and yet, for the elect's sake, this time, which is left, shall be shortened. This, indeed, we know from the testimony of Christ himself. Let us remember, therefore, that the time is short. Let us study to amend our lives. Let us not be careful for this
* In the original, 5552.
world : for the end of it, possibly, is at hand : and, at any rate, our end is not far off. Death, ere long, will lay his hands on all of us. wonderful and lamentable is it to see, that there are many who have lived for forty or fifty years in this world, and yet want time to prepare themselves to leave it. For God's sake, therefore, I beseech you, my brethren, rise from your sleep of sin and wickedness ; make yourselves ready ; set all things in order ; that you may be prepared whenever death shall come to fetch you. For die we must : there is no escaping. We were not created by God, to the end that we should abide here always.
Let us, therefore, repent betimes: for God desireth not the DEATH of a sinner, but rather that he may turn from his wickedness and LIVE. I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God : wherefore turn yourselves,
and live ye.
MATTHEW iii. 3.
Repent ye : for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
The life, which at this moment we possess, is the gift of God : in whom we live and move, and have our being. For which as we should be thankful, so we may not use it after our own fancy, but to the end for which it is given us; that is, to the setting forth of God's praise and glory, by repentance, conversion, and obedience to his will.
Repentance or penance is not an English word, but is borrowed, through the French, from the Latin language, and signifies " to think on any thing past with sorrow;" in Greek, it is " being wise after
* John Bradford was born in the early part of the reign of King Henry VIII; and was brought to the stake, at Smithfield, on the 1st of July, 1555.
wards ;” in Hebrew, a conversion, or turning." Which conversion or turning, since it cannoi be true and hearty, especially unto God, without some hope or trust of pardon for that which is already done; penance may be defined to be not only a sorrowing for our sins past, but an earnest purpose to amend our lives, and turn to God with a trust of pardon.
This penance, we find, is wholly different from that of the Papists; which, they tell us, consists of three parts ; namely, contrition, confession, and satisfaction. Contrition they call a just and full sorrow for their sin. Confession they call a numbering all their sins in the ear of their ghostly father. Satisfaction they call amends-making unto God for their sin, by works of supererogation ; or the performance of more than is required of them. Christ, however, says, When we have done All those things which are commanded us, we are still but unprofitable servants. No-neither in heaven nor in earth was any found to satisfy God's anger for our sins, but the Son of God, Jesus Christ the righteous; who by his blood hath wrought the work of satisfaction, and alone is worthy to receive all honour, praise, and glory. If any man sin, says St. John, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous ; and he is the propitiation (or satisfaction) for our sins. Let us say, then, as David teachethus, Not unto us,
Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give the praise.
Thus, penance is a hearty sorrow for our sins, a hopeor trust of pardon through Christ, and not withoutan earnest purpose to lead a new life. This is the penance to which all the Scripture calls us. And this must be continually in us; this must increase, daily, more and more in us; and without this we cannot be saved. If, then, you desire to have it, you must not think that by any means you can get it of yourselves. Every good gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights. If, therefore, repentance be good, it comes from God, and not of our free will. It is the Lord that mortifieth, that bringeth down, that humbleth : so says the Scripture. Turn Thou us, O Lord, and so shall we be turned. Wherefore, if thou wouldest possess this part of penance; as for the whole, so for this part, go thou unto God in prayer.
And, secondly, get thee God's law as a glass to look in : for in it, and by it, cometh the true knowledge of sin ; without which there can be no sor
As, when a man is sick, the first step to health, is to know his sickness; even so, the first step to salvation, is to know the damnation that is due for thy sins. The law of God, therefore, must be looked in spiritually, and not according to the outward word or letter.
And this is one of the differences between God's laws and man's laws, that by the latter, I am not