8. Convincing arguments may be adduced to establish the necessity of repentance.

First, Your natural depravity renders it expedient. Your hearts are contaminated with sin; and from this poisoned source, all those corrupt imaginations and inclinations, in which you delight, proceed; and these have led you into the many acts of disobedience, by which you have so long provoked and dishonoured God. Is it not then essential to your peace with him, that you should repent in dust and ashes; that 66 should have you a new heart, and a right spirit," by which you will be fitted to possess an inheritance among all them that are sanctified by faith in Christ *?"


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Secondly, The approach of the day of judgment places the importance of a penitent state in the strongest light imaginable. "God commandeth all men everywhere to repent; because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance to all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead"." Is it possible, that, without a timely repentance, impenitent men, covered with guilt, should be able to abide the scrutiny of that tremendous hour which "will bring to light the hidden things of darkness?" The word of truth forbids the supposition; by declaring, "The wicked shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous"." "The soul that sinneth, it shall die"." "Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish ""."


Thirdly, The nature of God and the heavenly world concur in proclaiming the necessity of repent

Acts xxvi. 18. • Ezek. xviii. 4,

ib. xvii. 30, 31. aa Luke xiii, 3.

* Psalm i. 5.

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ance. Can a Being of such holiness and excellence as the King of Glory, look with complacency on revolted subjects, who have insulted his authority, and defied his wrath? Before creatures so rebellious can be restored to God's favour, they must freely confess their crimes, and renounce their sins, which is the least offering they can present to his offended justice.

On the other hand, creatures filled with enmity to God, and aversion to righteousness, could not be happy, if they were admitted into heaven without previously repenting of their misdeeds. What pleasure could the drunkard, the sensualist, the covetous, the worldling, and all who live ungodly, derive either from the bliss or the society of heaven? Their distaste for enjoyments so purely spiritual would utterly disqualify them for such exalted happiness; and the sight of God and his holy angels, instead of affording pleasure, would confound them.

The destruction of impenitent transgressors is inevitable, so long as God remains unalterably just to fulfil his denunciations against them: and of this we have, from his own lips, the most positive assurance, when he says, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away."


Whither, then, O obdurate souls! will you fly for safety? There is no retreat for you, but in the hope of annihilation; and that is only the preposterous dream of infidels. If you repent not, you will "awake, when the trumpet shall sound to judgment, to shame and everlasting contempt." And can you endure the thought of being banished for ever from the enjoyment of God? And will it be no cause of sorrow, to lie down in endless torments, with every reflection suited to aggravate, and not assuage, your woe?

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9. The expediency of repentance is built on a foundation that cannot be shaken; and I trust that the reasons which have been given in proof of it will not only excite in you a desire, but call forth your most sincere endeavours, to obtain it. The destruction, from which, through the grace of God and the atonement of Christ, it saves you, and the blessedness for which it qualifies you, powerfully invite you to seek it. Be, then, on your guard, against deception in this business. Rest not in a presumptuous belief of your having already repented: for this will stop further inquiry, and throw a serious impediment in the way of your obtaining it.

Nor substitute for true repentance, that semblance of it with which too many are contented. The contrition of self-righteous and formal professors of the Gospel consists in an insincere and transient grief, and in an attention to the mere ceremonies of religion, without any devotion of soul; in submitting to voluntary austerity, penance, and mortification, without that inward and godly sorrow. which invariably accompanies real penitence. But will such a flimsy covering hide the impurity and deceit of a guilty heart, from the eye of an omniscient God? No! the mask will soon drop off; and then the native deformity of a deceiver will be visible :-and then the question will receive a direct answer, "What is the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained, when God taketh away his sould "

That repentance which is unto salvation, as we have already declared, is different, both in its nature and effects, from false contrition. It is the work of God to convert and change and subdue the heart of man, which is proof against every dictate of con

• Job xxvii. 8.

science and reason, inviting it to return to an offended God. But when Jehovah speaks to the soul, by his Spirit working in it, its obstinacy, and unbelief, and rebellion, and thirst after sin, are conquered; and then it can relent, and shew its detestation of sin, and delight in those righteous ways which were once irksome and hateful to it.

Do you feel your heart to be hard and impenitent; incapable, by its own resources, of turning to the Lord, and of" bringing forth fruits meet for repentance ?" Then betake yourselves to God; whose grace smites the rocky heart, and causes it to emit streams of genuine sorrow for iniquity, which is an offering acceptable to him. "The sacrifices of God are, a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God! thou wilt not despise"."

And when once the soul is made capable, by the grace of repentance, of intercourse with God, what pleasures spring up in it, to which it was before an entire stranger! The peace of God, which passeth all understanding," and a sweet earnest of glory, and a hope of heaven, dwell therein; to console it in affliction, to animate it in its endeavours after holiness, and to assure it, that its pious endeavours shall not "be in vain in the Lord." The happiness to which it introduces us on earth, and for which, through the Spirit of Christ, it prepares us in heaven, should make us pray," Lord, grant us repentance unto life, by creating in us a clean heart and a right spirit'!"

But is any impenitent sinner satisfied with his present state, and ready to ask, What need have I to repent and alter my conduct? Then let his whole life pass in review before him. Let him recollect all that he has done, from the moment he was capable of Psalm li. 17.

'ib. 10.

thinking and acting, down to this hour. gratitude to God for mercies received! termined opposition to the Divine will!

What inWhat deWhat dislike to the government and ways of God! How numberless the sins which he has committed against the Divine Majesty, whereby he has justly provoked his wrath and indignation! And to increase the guilt of his offences, let him remember that they have been perpetrated amidst expostulations, warnings, and the most pathetic entreaties and persuasions.

Such a retrospect will suggest abundant matter for thankfulness. Whilst it will amply prove his need of repentance, it will teach him to ascribe his existence, and escape from torment, to the forbearance of God; but for which, he would long since have been cut down as fuel, for the devouring "fire which cannot be quenched."

Abuse not the patience. of God for another moment, "lest he should swear in his wrath, that you shall not enter into his rest".

The grace of repentance lies within your reach, if you will but stretch forth the hand of faith to receive it from Christ, "whom God hath exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance and remission of sins."

Jesus invites your approach unto him: "Look unto me, and be ye saved! for I am God, and beside me there is no Saviour." Lay open your inmost soul to the influences of his Spirit, and beseech him both to wound and to heal you. will be very gracious unto thee, at the voice of thy cry when he shall hear it, he will answer thee"."

* Mat. iii. 12.
"Isa. xxx. 19.


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