« AnteriorContinuar »
and fervour into our prayers, praises, thanksgivings, and every act of worship: it is especially the ground requisite to form an acceptable communicant at the LORD's table : for it has been shewn, that repentance and faith are inseparable concomitants, and aid each other's exercise ; that repentance, or rather the Holy Spirit by means of repentance, leads the soul to CHRIST: and the more he is known, trusted, and loved; the deeper hatred is felt against sin, and the more humbly we walk with God. In this manner I apprehend, the lively christian's character is constant. ly improved : and though, in heaven, there will be none of the shame, sorrow, and alarm here commonly attending repentance ; yet the penitent's humility and hatred of sin will for ever unite with admiring love of the Saviour, while he sings, “ Worthy is to the LAMB that was slain, and hath redeemed us to "God with his blood.”
And now ask yourselves, my brethren and fellow. sinners, whether you are partakers of this gracious disposition ? Is this your experience, your aim, your view of yourselves, of sin, and of Christ and his sal. vation? I have a confidence, that if it be so with you, I may glorify God on your behalf, and say, “ Then " hath God to you also granted repentance unto life.” * There is joy in heaven, among the angels of God « over one sinner that repenteth:” these blessed spirits have rejoiced over you, and do rejoice over you; and though you perhaps may now sow in tears; yet you shall at length rejoice with them : yea, God himsel will rejoice over you to do you good, even for ever an ever. Therefore lift up your hands that hang down
lift your hearts with hope and gratitude ; and prepare to commemorate his love, who loved you, and gave himself to the death upon the cross for you, and being now exalted on the throne, hath bestowed on you repentance unto life ; and pray always, that you may repent more, and believe more, and bring forth more and more the genuine fruits of repentance and faith.
It may, however, be asked, what is he to do who once thought he repented, but amidst the business and bustle of the world, has lost his convictions and seri. ousness; and knows not to which company he be. longs, the penitent or the impenitent? I would answer, that in such a case, no stress whatever should be laid on past experience; all must be begun anew; and such a person must come as a sinner to CHRIST for repentance and remission of sins, and all the blessings of salvation, even as if he had now for the first time heard of his name.
In like manner so far as doubts prevail in any one, on whatever ground it may be, whether he have repented or not, he should earnestly beg of God to grant him true repentance; and to give him to know that his repentance is sincere. Whatever tends to be. numb the conscience, to veil eternal things from his view, to lessen his sense of the evil of sin, or to restore him to impenitent self-complacency; he ought by all means carefully to avoid. Let such a man shun the bustle of company : let him retire into his closet, redeem time for reflection, search the scriptures, pour out his heart in prayer; and, waiting on the LORD in this manner, he will not wait in vain.
· Once more, permit me to add a parting word to some whom, perhaps, I may never more address; who hear the word of God, and probably profess to be. lieve it, yet nevertheless are conscious that they live without repentance, or fruits meet for repentance. Let me then once more solemnly testify, that if you live and die without repentance, even without this repentance which I have described; without submis. sion to God, humiliation before him, renouncing and hating sin, cordially welcoming salvation by CHRIST, and walking in newness of life; you will most cer. tainly perish, and that for ever. May God then, of his abundant mercy, grant unto you also, and to all pre. sent, repentance unto life eternal!
Against thee, thee only, have 1 sinned.
| HE occasion, on which this Psalm was composed, is well known. The awful fall of David, and the most aggravated crimes which he committed, have attracted very general notice. But many remember his sins, who do not appear properly to consider his bumiliation and deep repentance.-Numbers, on this ground, suppose themselves superior characters, be. cause they are exempted from such fagrant criminality; though there are no evidences that they possess any positive excellence. And not a few disgrace the religious opinions which they avow, by evident and habitual misconduct : yet satisfy their own conscien. ces, and expect others to entertain a favourable opi. nion of them; as the best, say they, have their faults, and even David committed adultery and murder ! But if they would have us form the same judgment of their case, as Nathan did of David's; they must shew the same spirit of deep repentance that he did. A renowned monarch, having given publick scandal by his crimes, composes and publishes this Psalm, and, before his own subjects and the whole world, gives honour to God, by proclaiming his own shame!
This Psalm is throughout the language of the deepest contrition; and has been, not improperly, called,
The portrait of a penitent.? The royal Psalmist's crimes had been of such a nature, that they were both deeply injurious to mankind, and also most scandalous in the eyes of the world : yet his views of the obligations he láy under to God, and his most aggrava ted violation of them, seem to have swallowed up every other consideration. All else in this comparison appeared trivial in his eyes : and the address of Na. than to him shews that, in this respect, his judgment accorded with that of God himself. “ Thou art the “ man ! Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anoint“ed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out “ of the hand of Saul; and I gave thee thy master's “ house, and thy master's wives into thy bosom; and “ gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah: and if “ that had been too little, I would moreover have giv. « en thee such and such things. Wherefore then hast “ thou despised the commandment of the LORD to do “ evil in his sight? Thou hast killed Uriah the Hit“tite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be
thy wife.-Therefore the sword shall never de