« הקודםהמשך »
him by a particular interposition to favour SERM.
Serm.nations to whom it should be published with-
glory. It is the excellency of this last and
* Acts xvü. 31.
the world in righteousness by that man, whom Serm.
This is that kingdom of heaven which our
salvation it proposes, he exhorts them to repent. I shall at this time, first, consider the duty of repentance, and then, lay before you some motives to the practice of it. Surely, this, if any thing in christianity, is of importance to
The whole strain of the New-Teftament shews it to be of absolute necessity. The most important consequences depend upon it. The great author of our religion has told us that* except we repent we shall perish. After the resurrection of Christ, the apostles filled with the holy ghost, pressed it upon men in this manner, repent and be converted, that
your fins may be blotted out, Ads iii. 19. The great doctrines of christianity, which are declared to be of its very essence, do all point to it as their proper improvement. The death of Christ is represented as calling upon us to be crucified with him, to mortify the
deeds * Luke xii. 3.
Serm.deeds of the body, and to be renewed in the III. Spirit of our minds, that is to repent. And
that future judgment which God has appointed, and the declaration and assurance of which is a peculiar glory of the gospel, strongly enforces the same exhortation.
These confiderations will, I hope, engage your attention to that first and great instruc-, tion which our Saviour gave to the world.
The original word which is generally used in the New Testament for repentance, does properly signify a change of mind, and very agreeeable it is to the nature of the thing; for that religious repentance which God injoins, and peremptorily insists on as the condition of forgiveness, and our obtaining his favour, is a change of our dispositions from evil to good, and as the genuine fruit of it, the ammendment of our lives. The gospel supposes men to have universally finned and come sort of the glory of God, nay, it declares that those to whom the great salvation was first offered, both Jews and Gentiles, were very corrupt. Among the Jews religion had degenerated into empty form, and trifling ceremonies were substituted in the place of substantial gode ļiness and virtue. Under à specious fhew of outward sanctity was covered reigning
ianpiety, pride, and covetousness.
The SERM. heathen were deep sunk in all manner of III
. wickedness, in adultery, fornication, lasciviousness, revelling, drunkenness, unnatural contentions and animosities. Such were the persons whom Christ and his apostles called to repent, that is, to change their inclinations and tempers, to unlearn their vitious habits, to bring forth fruits meet for amendment of life, to become lovers of God and men, to worship God in spirit and truth, to be sober, patient, meek, humble, just, and merciful.
This is what the first teachers of christia-
other lords who have had dominion over them
and to keep his Commandments. Sometimes it is - represented under the images of a new crea. tion, and a resurrection or revival from death which signify that important moral change in