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passing by all the offences which he has committed against these, he fixes bis eyes npon the trangressions which he has committed against God, and, in the bitterness of his soul, exclaims, “ Against thee, thee only have I sinned and done this evil in thy sight.”
These views and feelings cannot but generate a strong, a deep-rooted, and an abiding aversion to iniquity. Sin will be regarded as the essence of all that is deformed, debasing, destructive. It will be hated for its own sake; and will ever be viewed with suspicion, whatever be the angel-disguise which interest, or lust, or fashion, or respectability may throw around it. It will be marked out as the noxious weed for extirpation—as the poisonous asp for destruction-as the murderer for execration. Henceforth it is the object against which we vow eternal enmity-against which we wage eter
Its existence is rebellion-its tender mercies are cruelty—its end is damnation. Hate it, ye fearers of God! hate it, ye children of men! It has cast down the highest angels from heaven, and banished our race from the bowers of Paradise. It has blasted the fruits of the field, and blighted the fairest regions of our globe. It has given to man the heart of a beast, and has poisoned bis feelings with the malignity of hell. It has scattered discord and desolation to the ends of the earth, and has converted into a charnel bouse the fair and the beauteous dwelling-place of man. It crucified the Son of God when he came to our earth-has never ceased to persecute his followers, and it damns his enemies. Let not your eye pity it, О believer_let not your band spare it; arise to its slaughter ; be courageous, and manfully do the work of destruction.
3d. What are the results of this change.
The sinner who once denied, concealed, palliated, or excused his iniquity, now gladly accepts the advice of Joshua to Achan, “ My son, give glory to the Lord, and make confession to him;" mortifying his pride, and repressing the rising
aversion which he feels to the duty, he bastens to the throne of grace, unreservedly confesses his guilt, unbosoms his sins, and makes a full, frank, and sincere acknowledgment of all his transgressions. He cordially adopts the language of Job, “ Behold, I am vile; I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes." He offers
of the publican, “ God be merciful to me a sinner," and, with Paul, he is willing to be called the “ chief of sinners."
Not satisfied with the mere confession of his sins, he forsakes them. Convinced of the insufficiency of tears, and tremblings, and confessions, without abstinence from sin and the crucifixion of his beloved lusts,-convinced that he might feel all the terror of Cain, pour forth the confessions of Judas, make the promises of Pharaoh, humble himself with the abasement of Abab, and hear the divine word with the gladness of Herod, and yet that all this, without the renunciation of sin, would be nugatory and vain—he hesitates not to commence the work of reformation, and with a resolution and strength derived from above, he proceeds unsparingly and unflinchingly to “ crucify the body of sin," “ mortify his earthly members,” and eradicate his “fleshly lusts.” He does more: he breaks off sin by works of righteous
He brings forth fruits meet' for repentance. Emancipated from the guilt of sin, he is not content with the attainment of negative holiness. He rises higher in his view, and aims at universal obedience. The Word of God is now the rule of conduct--faith which worketh by love is the principle of his actions—and the glory of God is the end for which he lives. Thus changed he progresses from one attainment to another. And although he falls infinitely short of what the law requires, he never for a moment supposes that his ortcomings, disappointments, and difficulties should deter him from his duty, or be a reason for relaxing his exertions. These only indicate the necessity of waiting more patiently at the throne of grace-of seeking fresh supplies from on
and the young
high-of putting forth renewed activity, and of persevering with greater industry. To all this he is encouraged by the cheering language of Scripture: “God giveth power to the faint, and to him that hath no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall be faint and be weary, men shall utterly fall; but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength—they shall mount with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary—they shall walk and not faint.”
Having thus stated and illustrated the views in which repentance originates, the feelings by which it is attended, and the consequences to which it leads; I proceed
II. To enforce the duty itself.
This we shall attempt to do by means of the same arguments which the apostle himself employs. These are the command of God, and the certainty of a future judgment. 1st. Repentance is the command of God.
God now commandeth all men every where to repent.
It is not, my brethren, a man that speaks--it is God. It is not an earthly potentate, but the King of kings that is issuing forth his royal mandate. It is the inhabitants of our earth to whom this decree from the court of Heaven is addressed; the persons comprising the present assembly, as well as the population of the world at large. They are not advised, nor entreated, nor besought, they are commanded. The attitude of reasoning and persuasion to which he occasionally condescends, assumes the attitude of majesty. He speaks in the language of offended dignity, and in a voice of authority which none may misapprehend, “ commands all men every where to repent.” None may refuse to bear this message with impunity, or dare to disobey the mandate Were it the admonition of a friend it might be slighted-were it the authoritative injunction of a superior it might be eluded; but who may slight the message of God, elude bis
authority, or resist his power. Men, indeed, may trifle for a time with their duty, oppose God's pleasure, and disobey his commands; but they are doing so at the expense of God's favour, and at the hazard of kindling against themselves his omnipotent ire. Oh, disobedient sinner, whose thoughtlessness is your sole security-whose continued rebellion is your folly-whose refusal to submit is your ruin, let me urge you to repent and be saved. Why persist in your
rebellion? Why trifle with the high behests of heaven ? Why augment your guilt by a pertinacious persistence in sin ? Is it because God is not the Holiest of the holy-the Strictest of the just -the Mightiest of the mighty- and the most Terrible of the terrible? Do you fear the wrath of an earthly king, tremble at the sword of earthly justice, and shrink from the confinement of an earthly dungeon : and is there no reason to fear an offended God-no reason to dread his vengeance-no reason to speed your flight from the danger of being imprisoned for ever in hell's dreary abyss ? Before you trifle any with the command of Jehovah-before you
decide on remaining longer an impenitent sinner-before you retire from the house of God—before you launch forth anew into the business, the bustle, and the all-absorbing affairs of time, I beg you to pause, reflect, and for once place before you
in all its magnitude, the command of your Creator. Were it my own advice-were it the admonition of friendship—were it the will of an earthly superior which I was enforcing, I might be concerned, earnest, and pressing ; but when I remember that it is heaven's mandate--that it is the will of God, whose words I only re-echo-that it is a command which cannot be disobeyed without incurring an awful aggra.. vation of guilt, arraying against you heaven's artillery, and to a certainty bringing down upon your head ruin and ever enduring desolation,–I cannot help beseeching and imploring you, by all that is dear to you, but all that is great and terri
ble, as well as by all that is good and gracious and compassionate in God, to turn and live.
2d, Repentance is enforced by the certainty of a future judgment.
“God commandeth all men 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 unto all men in that he hath raised him from the dead.”
That the spirit of man shall exist in a future state of reward or punishment, is the presentiment of conscience, and is the plain and explicit declaration of Scripture. There is something irresistibly convincing in the idea that it shall be well with the righteous, but that it shall be ill with the wicked. The righteous approve of the sentiment, and rejoice in it. The wicked, with all their sophistry, cannot rid themselves of the troublous thought. The present state of things, too, indicates a day of final reckoning and retribution. The good, the virtuous, and the upright are often afflicted with the severest calamities, and endure every thing but what they apparently merit. On the contrary, how often do we witness the wicked pass unpunished, the oppressor escape the merited vengeance, and the dishonest rioting in their ill gotten wealth! Our minds rise within us at the sight: we cannot believe that this state of things will continue. Can God always tolerate these inequalities? Will he never call the wicked to an account? Shall the innocent always suffer with the guilty? Shall the wrongs of the injured never be redressed? Shall the despot ever tyrannize over his abject subjects? Shall the wickedness of the wicked never come to an end? We cannot believe it. We involuntarily look forward to a period of retribution-we appeal to a higher tribunal—to a day when all these things shall be adjusted-to a time when virtue shall receive its