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fee how vile we are by nature, that it requires fo great a change to be made upon us, to recover us from this ftate of fin, and therefore the confideration of our dreadful ftate should make us earnest with God to change our condi. tion, and that change, true repentance implies; therefore, my brethren, copfider how hateful your ways are to God, while you continue in fin; how abominable you are unto him, while you run into evil : you cannot be said to be christians while you are hating CHRIST, and his people; true repentance will éntirely change you, the bials of your souls will be changed, then you will delight in God, in Christ; in his law, and in his people ; you will then believe that there is such a thing as inward feeling, though now you may esteem it madness and enthusiasm ; you will not then be ashamed of becoming fools for CHRIST's fake; you will not regard being scoffed at; it is not then their pointing after you and crying, " Here comes " another troop of his followers,” will dismay you; no, your soul will abhor such proceedings, the ways of Christ and his people will be your whole delight.
It is the nature of such repentance to make a change, and the greatest change as can be made here in the soul. Thus you see what repentance implies in its own nature ; it denotes an abhorrence of all evil, and a forsaking of it. I shall now proceed
Secondly, To fhew you the parts of it, and the causes concurring thereto
The parts are, forrow, hatred, and an entire førsaking of lin.
Our sorrow and grief for fin, must not spring merely from a fear of wrath; for if we have no other ground but that, it proceeds from self-love, and not from any love to God; and if love to Goñ is not the chief motive of your repentance, your repentance is in vain, and not to be esteemed true.
Mary, in our days, think their crying, God forgive me! or, Lord have mercy upon me! or, I am sorry for it! is repentance, and that God will efteem it as fuch; but, indeed, they are mistaken; it is not the drawing near to God with our lips, while our hearts are far from him, which he regards. Repentance does not come by fits and farts; no, it is one
continued act of our lives; for as we daily commit fin, fo we need a daily repentance before God, to obtain forgiveness for those sins we commit.
It is not your confeffing yourselves to be finners, it is not knowing your condition to be sad and deplorable, so long as you continue in your fins; your care and cndeavours should be, to get the heart thoroughly affected therewith, that you may feel yourselyes to be loft and undone creatures, for CHRIST came to save such as are loft, and if
you are enabled to groan under the weight and burden of your fins, then Christ will ease you and give you rest.
And till you are thus sensible of your misery and lost con , dition, you are a feryant to fin and to your lufts, under the bondage and command of Satan, doing his drudgery: thou art under the curse of God, and liable to his judgment. Consider how dreadful thy ftate will be at death, and after the day of judgment, when thou wilt be exposed to such miseries which the ear hath not heard, neither can the heart conceive, and that to all eternity, if you die impenitent.
But I hope better things of you, my brethren, though I thus speak, and things which accompany salvation ; go to God in prayer, and be earnest with him, that by his Spirit he would convince you of your miserable condition by nature, and make you truly sensible thereof. O be humbled, be humbled, I befeech you, for your sins. Having spent so many years in fina ning, what canst thou do less, than be concerned to spend some hours in mourning and sorrowing for the same, and be humbled before God. to Look back into your lives, call to mind thy fins, as many as possible thou canst, the sins of thy youth, as well as of thy Piper years; see how you have departed from a gracious Father, and wandered in the way of wickedness, in which you have loft yourselves, the favour of God, the comforts of his Spirit, and the peace of your own consciences; then go and beg pardon of the LORD, through the blood of the Lamb, for the evil thou hast committed, and for the good thou hast omịtted, Consider, likewise, the heinousness of thy sins; see what very aggravating circumstances thy fins are attended with, how you have abufed the patience of God, which should have led you to repentance; and when thou findest thy heart hard, beg of
God to foften it, cry mightily unto him, and he will take away thy ftony heart, and give thee a heart of flesh.
Resolve to leave all thy finful lufts and pleasures; renounce; forsake, and abhor thy old finful course of life, and serve God in bolinets and righteousness all the remaining part of life. If you lament and bewail paft fins, and do not forsake them, you repentance is in vain, you are mecking of God, and deceiva ing your own soul; you must put off the old man with his deeds, before you can put on the new man; CHRIST JESUS.
You, therefore, who have been swearers and cursers, you; who have been harlots and drunkards, you, who have been thieves and robbers, you, who have hitherto followed the fine ful pleasures and diversions of life, let me beseech you, by the merciés of God in CHRIST Jesus, that you would no longer continue therein, but that you would forsake your eyil ways; and turn unto the LORD, for he waiteth to be gracious unto you, he is ready, he is willing to pardon you of all your finss but do not expect CHRI$T to pardon you of fin, when you run into it; and will not abstain from complying with the tempta. tions ; but if you will be perfuaded to abstain from evil and thuse the good, to return unto the LORD, and repent of your wickedness, he hath promised he will abundantly pardon you, he will heal your back-flidings, and will love you freely. Resolve now this day to have done with your fins for ever ; let your old ways and you be separated ; you muft tesolve against it; for there can be no true repentance without a resolution to forsake it. Refolve for CHRIST, resolve against the devil and his works, and go on fighting the LORD's battles against the devil and his emissaries; attack him in the strongest holds he has, fight him as men, as chriftians, and you will soon find him to be a coward, resist him and he will fly from you. Resolve, through grace, to do this, and your repentance is half done; but then take care that you do not ground your resolutions on your own strength, but in the strength of the Lord Jesus CHRIST ; he is the way, he is the truth, and he is the life ; without his affiftance you can do nothing, but through his grace strengthening thee, thou wilt be enabled to do all things, and the more thou art fenfible of thy own weakness and inability, the more ready CHRIST will be to help thee; and what can all the men of the world do to thee when A4
CHRIST is for thee? thợu wilt not regard what they say against thee, for you will have the teftimony of a good conscience.
Resolve to cast thyself at the feet of Christ in subjection to him, and throw thyself into the arms of CHRIST for falvation by him. Consider, my dear brethren, the many invitations he has given you to come unto him, to be saved by him; “ God has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” O let me prevail with you, above all things, to make choice of the LORD Jesus CHRIST; resign yourselves unto him, take him, O take him, upon his own terms, and whosoever thou art, how great a finner soever you have been, this evening, in the name of the great God, do I offer Jesus Christ unto thee; as thou valuest thy life and soul refuse him not, but stir up thyself to accept of the LORD JESUS, take him wholly as he is, for he will be applied wholly unto you, or else not at all. JESUS CHRIST must be your whole wisdom, JESUS CHRIST must be your whole righteousness, Jesus Christ must be your whole fanctification, or he will never be your eternal redemption. . What though you have been ever so wicked and profligate,
you will now abandon your fins, and turn unto the LORD JESUS CHRIST, thou shalt have him given to thee, and all thy sins shall be freely forgiven. O why will you neglect the great work of your repentance ? do not defer the doing of it one day longer, but to-day, even now, take that CHRIST who is freely offered to you.
Now as to the causes hereof, the first cause is GOD; he is the author, “ we are born of God," God hath begotten us, even God, the Father of our LORD JESUS CHRIST; it is he that stirs us up to will and to do of his own good pleasure : and another cause is, God's free grace; it is owing to the “ riches of his free grace," my brethren, that we have been prevented from going down to hell long ago; it is because the compassions of the LORD fail not, they ate new every morning, and freth every evening.
Sometimes the instruments are very unlikely: a poor despised minister, or member of Jesus CHRIST, may, by the power of God, be made an instrument in the hands of God, of bringing you to true evangelical repentanee; and this may be done to shew, that the power is not in men, but that it is entirely owing to the good pleasure of God, and if there
has been any good done among many of you, by preaching the word, as I trust there has, though it was preached in a field, if God has met and owned us, and blessed his word, though preached by an enthusiastic babbler, a boy, a madman; I do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice, let foes say what they will. I thall now
Thirdly, Shew the rcasons why repentance is necessary to salvation,
And this, my brethren, is plainly revealed to us in the word of God, " The soul that does not repent and turn unto the LORD, Ahall die in its fins, and their blood thall be 'required at their own heads.” It is necessary, as we have finned, we should repent; for a holy God could not, nor ever can, or will, admit any thing that is unholy into his presence: this is the beginning of grace in the soul; there must be a change in heart and life, before there can be a dwelling with a holy God. You cannot love sin and God too, you cannot love God and mammon; no unclean person can stand in the presence of God, it is contrary to the holiness of his nature; there is a contrariety between the holy nature of God, and the unholy nature of carnal and unregenerate men.
What communication can there be between a finless God, and creatures full of fin, between a pure God and impure creatures ? If you were to be admitted into heaven with
your present tempers, in your impenitent condition, heaven itself would be a hell to you; the fongs of angels would be as enthusiasm, and would be intolerable to you ; therefore you must have these. tempers changed, you must be holy, as God is : he must be your God here, and you must be his people, or you will never dwell together to all eternity. If you hate the ways of God, and cannot spend an hour in his service, how will you think to be easy, to all eternity, in singing praises to him that fits upon the throne, and to the Lamb for ever.
And this is to be the employment, my brethren, of all those who are admitted into this glorious place, where neither fin
nor finner is admitted, where no scoffer ever can come, without repentance from his evil ways, a turning unto God, and a cleaving unto him: this must be done, before any can be admitted into the glorious mansions of God, which are