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every sin equally? A man may regret one sin and not another; but he cannot repent of one, without repenting of all. Repentance is universal with regard to sin, because the considerations which excite it apply equally to all sin, and because, moreover, it involves a change of mind. Some persons talk of having repented of some sins and not of others. Their repentance is of the same species with his, who went and hanged himself. They have truly repented of none, or they would have repented of all. Their's is the sorrow of the world. That is partial ; but not so godly sorrow. It is universal. The true penitent grieves to have offended God in any respect.
4. Godly sorrow originates in love, and is connected with faith. A man may regret having offended a being whom he hates, because he may fear his vengeance; but he grieves only for having offended a being whom he loves. Fear
Fear may shake the heart, but it is love alone that melts it. The revelation of the majesty and justice of God may make it tremble, but it is only a discovery of his loveliness that softens and subdues it. The slave crouches and cowers, and “Don't strike," he says, “I am sorry; I will do so no more.” It is fear. He would escape if he could ; and he will offend again, if he can cover his sin. The child seeks the very bosom he has pierced, and there weeps and hides his head, "Strike," he says, “ I deserve it; I have sinned ; but spurn me not; I would perish here." It is love. I have said that godly sorrow is connected with faith, faith in Christ. Yes, “ Repent and believe the Gospel,” was the united command of the Saviour; and Paul testi
fied, “repentance towards God and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ,” with the same breath. Repentance is exercised in view of the cross of Christ, and to behold that is to believe; “they shall look on him whom they have pierced and mourn."
There they see at a glance the display of God's love and justice, the grace of Christ, the evil of sin, and heaven's unwillingness that men should perish, and the heart gives way at the sight.
Finally, to repent truly is to be so sorry for a thing, as not to do it again; or, at least so sorry, as sincerely to intend, and by all means to endeavor not to do it again. There is a real reformation, where there is godly sorrow, and a reformation in every respect, though not such a perfect reformation in any respect, as to secure the penitent against all future falling into sin. With this qualification, I repeat it, that to repent is to be so sorry for an act, as not to do it again. Does not the sorrow of many of you fall short of this? You are sorry; but are you so sorry as to amend your doings? Do you not go on in the same old way, sinning, and sorrowing, and sinning, sin being on both sides of your sorrow? You regret that you do not live a better life, and you think you will, but you form and fulfill no fixed purpose to lead a better life. Why is this? Because there is no change of mind. Your repentance is but an after-care, regret, the sorrow of the world. Godly sorrow worketh a change of mind; and where there is a change of mind, there will be a change of conduct.
And now permit me to ask, not if you have felt sorrow for sin, for, if you have, the question is not
decided in your favor, though if you have not, it is at once decided against you ; but whether you have sorrowed after a godly manner, sorrowed for having offended the great God, on account of the intrinsic evil of sin, for all sin, even for those which are classed in the catalogue of the world as trivial, sorrowed from love and with faith, and unto reformation and holiness? Then you have sorrowed to salvation; and whether you have, inquire, examine. It is indispensable that you should see the state of the case. Sorrow is before you ; and sorrow for sin ; you have no choice to exercise in regard to this. There is no alternative. There will be sorrow for sin, either godly or worldly; penitential or remorseful; here or hereafter; temporary or eternal; in hope or in despair ; salutary or destructive. This alternative there is; between these two kinds of sorrow you have to choose ; and can you hesitate ? can it take you long to decide which is the less evil ? And will you not make choice of the less ?
And if you mean ever to sorrow unto repentance, will you not now, when this may be your only opportunity, and the stock of sorrow you are laying up, is daily accumulating? Will you make more work for repentance?
The repentance recommended, is not to be repented of. There is a repentance which itself needs to be repented of, for there is sin in it. It is regret ; the sorrow of the world ; but this is not true of godly sorrow. None ever regretted having experienced that; nor would you. And is it not reasonable that you should feel the
sorrow and exercise the repentance I have described ? I appeal to heaven if it is not; I appeal to earth if it is not; and I dare make my appeal to hell itself to say if it be not reasonable. Well, then, the Gospel is a reasonable system ; the terms of salvation are reasonable. What more can you want? Then if you should never feel this sorrow,
you should die in unrepented sin, what will, what must be, what ought to be your portion hereafter ? Will not your perdition be reasonable? Will you not be your own accuser, your own executioner too? What will be your reflections, as you pace the prison of despair? Will they not be such as these? “I am here, because I would be here. I might have been elsewhere, in yonder heaven, where many I knew and loved are. I brought myself here; fool, wretch that I was; and must I be here forever, oh ! forever ?" Yes, forever, ever, a thousand voices of despair re-echo.
For all this they sinned still.-Psalm lxxviii. 32.
I do not know that there is any part of the Bible, which more easily finds its way to my heart, which more readily and deeply affects it, than those Psalms, for there are several of them, which, like this, exhibit in contrast God's conduct towards men, especially towards that family of men which he selected to be his peculiar people, and their conduct towards him; the methods and measures of God to bring them back to repentance and to reduce them to obedience; and their infatuated, obstinate, and but too often successful resistance of them; his alternate judgments and mercies, his successive smiles and frowns, all having the same benevolent object in view, to melt them into contrition, and to bind them by fear and love and gratitude in unalterable allegiance to his throne, and the strange and almost uniform inefficacy of these divine expedients to the end proposed by them. What a spectacle is here presented ! How glorious to God is this exhibition, and how dishonorable to man, how it illustrates by the same light divine goodness, and human wickedness! So God dealt with his ancient people. So he deals with each one of you, treating every individual now very much