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as numbers of those, who die impenitent, have at times judged themselves, and been thought by others to be penitent. Let it then be remembered, that true repentance, though generally accompanied with terror, tears, confessions, and outward reformation, good words, fair promises, and earnest resolutions, doth not consist in, or uniformly attend upon, all or any of them. But true repentance is a change of judgment, inclination, and affection, in respect of sin; immediately accompanied, preceded, or followed by a change of judgment, inclination, and affection, respecting God and his law, Christ and his gospel, ourselves and our conduct, this world and the next. From this change spring, sorrow for sin; self-abasement and condemnation; sole dependence on God's mercy; supreme valuation of Jesus and his salvation; love to God and holiness; tenderness of conscience; zeal for good works; all holy tempers, holy conversation, and holy conduct; accompanied with continual humiliation for remaining imperfections and defilements. Where these effects have been evidently produced, though with little or no terror, no effusions of tears, or seasons of peculiar melting; but gradually and silently; the repentance is yet proved to be sincere and genuine, by this rule, it leads to Christ and holiness. But all
natural repentance, I would understand every sort of repentance, a mere natural man is capable of; by spiritual repentance, that which springs from true grace in the heart.
other appearances, whether of terror issuing in self-dependence, and neglect of Christ; or of supposed evangelical humiliation issuing in professed dependence on Christ and free grace, whilst sin is not abhorred and avoided, nor holiness loved and practised, are superficial and hypocritical. Herod might have passed for a true penitent, if John would have allowed him his Herodias: yet John shall lose his head rather than Herod, notwithstanding promising appearances, will part with his beloved lust; and human nature is just the same in other men as it was in Herod. Let no repentance therefore satisfy any man, which doth not endear Christ and universal holiness; and divorce the heart from every sin, especially that which heretofore was the customary and beloved sin.
III. I would, from what hath been discoursed, take occasion to consider in few words, the nature and necessity of regeneration. No other religion, but that which hath been described, requires that entire change, which this term and a variety of similar expressions in the sacred scriptures imply. A Pharisee's reformation, morality, and outward worship, require no entire inward renovation; and having no experience of it, nor seeing any occasion for it, with Nicodemus he exclaims, "How "can these things be?" The evangelical or antinomian self-deceiver also may have his opinions, affections, and confidence, without becoming a
new creature; and will, therefore, whilst he uses the terms, mistake their import, and signify by them some of those enthusiastical impulses and revelations which he experiences and boasts of.
But self-admiring, self-justifying man will never exercise that self-loathing and self-condemning repentance which hath been described, except he be born again. Insensible to the attractions of heavenly objects through inordinate love of worldly things, he never will renounce and abhor all sin, mortify every lust, die to all carnal objects, and delight in God and universal holiness, except he be changed into a new creature by the efficacious influences of the Holy Spirit: except "old things pass away, and all things become new."
This is the new birth so frequently spoken of in the sacred scriptures. A new principle of divine life implanted in the heart, purifying the various powers of the soul. Hence proceed an enlightened understanding, a sound judgment in divinę things, holy affections, a pure imagination, a sanctified memory, and a well-informed, tender, but not superstitious conscience. Hence proceed new fears, new hopes, new joys, new sorrows, new aversions and desires, new dispositions, and a new life. Yet, as these things are in this life only imperfect in their degree; this imperfection of grace, and remainder of corruption, extort from the true christian bitter complaints; "O wretched man that I
am, who shall deliver me from the body of this
"death?" they put vigour into his prayers; "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me:" they still find him employment for repentance, and watchfulness; and endear free forgiveness through the blood of Christ.
Sinners should therefore be addressed in terms like these-All your aversion to this thorough repentance, and all your delays about it, only demonstrate your need of being born again. Should God implant in your hearts such a new principle of holiness, as would make you relish and take pleasure in divine things, you will find it natural and easy to abhor sin, mourn over it and forsake it; to repent, and do works meet for repentance. Have you then a real desire after this invaluable gift? If you have not, but prefer the quiet satisfaction of your carnal inclinations, you are justly left without that which you so despise. If you have, “Ask and it shall be given you, seek and
you shall find, knock and it shall be opened "unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth, "and he that seeketh findeth, and to him that "knocketh it shall be opened."
IV. I now take my leave of impenitent sinners with a serious expostulation. I mean such as are living secretly or openly, in covetousness, injustice, lewdness, drunkenness, profaneness, or any known sin; who remember not to hallow the
sabbath, to read the scriptures, to worship God, to relieve the poor, or who omit any other known duty; or who proudly trust in themselves that they are righteous, and despise others, and neglect Christ and his salvation. Oh make no more excuses or delays: "Flee from the wrath to come." "Evil "pursueth sinners:" if it overtake you in impenitency, eternal misery is your dreadful portion. Yet, yet a long suffering God has patience with you: the gospel invites, and Jesus stands with open arms to receive you: complains that you "will not come to him, that you may have life:" affirms with an oath, that "he hath no pleasure in "the death of a sinner;" and, as with tears of compassion, adds, "Turn ye, turn ye, why will ye "die?" Do you then love death? Will ye slight such warnings, such expostulations, such invitations, such compassion? Well, if this prevail not, I must with reluctance leave you, as Paul did the Jews. "Your blood be upon your own head, I am free."
V. I now turn to thee, poor weeping penitent, who art almost inconsolable, and sinking in despondency. Thou scarcely canst hope that God will pardon so great a sinner; the expectation seems to border on presumption: yet still thy humiliation appears to thyself slight, and thy repentance superficial, and thy heart insensible: yea, though it is almost melted within thee, it feels