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SERM. the tempers and manners of men, when, III. from a doleful depravity, wherein reason and

conscience, and all the best sentiments and affections of human nature, seem to be loft or asleep, and all the designs and pursuits of men are directed by selfish inferior appetites, or contracted vitious propensities; when, I say, from this wretched degeneracy they are recovered to the love and practice of the things that are pure, and true, and just, and vene. rable, and virtuous ; to seek the things that are above, to approve the good and acceptable, and perfe&t will of God, and to walk in newness of life. These representations fhew the efficacy of the gospel and the grace of God, for effecting such a change in men ; but as it is all a voluntary change, wherein their own natural powers actively exert themselves, the whole is comprehended under the duty of Repentance. Still it is to be remember'd, that the effence of repenting, consists in prevailing good inclinations, contrary to the evil ones which had the ascendant before, and good works directly opposite to those wicked ones of which finners had been guilty. Thus, John Baptist who first deClared the coming of God's kingdom, and taught the doctrine of repentance for the remission of fins, when, having in general,


exhorted his hearers to repent; they asked SERM. him more particularly what he meant by it, III. and what he would have them to do, ex. plains it thus, Luke iii. from ver. 11. accommodating his exhortation to their various circumstances; the common people he directed, instead of outward ceremonies and forms, in which the religion of that time chiefly consisted, to abound in works of fubftantial piety and charity, and to give out of their plenty for the relief of their indigent fellow-creatures; the collectors of taxes, called Publicans, he exhorted to perform what was given them in charge justly and mercifully, never extorting from any man more than what the due and faithful discharge of their trust required ; and the foldiers, that they should not behave themfelves infolently and oppressively, but be content with their wages. This was the Baptist's doctrine of repentance, and it may very eafily, by parity of reasons, be applied to all the various relations, circumstances, and conditions in human life. In general, let men forsake their wicked ways and unrighteous doings, and turn to the Lord, practising the virtues which are contrary to their former vices. - And in particular, Let him that stole, freal no more ; let him that has been covetous,


Serm. break off his fins, by hewing mercy to the : III. poor ; let the lewd and voluptuous become

'chaste and temperate ; the wrathful and
contentious put on bowels of mercies, humble-
ness of mind, forbearing and forgiving the
weak and the injurious ; in fine, let us * put
off the old man which is corrupt according to
the deceitful lusts, and put on the new man,
which after God is created in righteousness
and true holiness. All the sacred writers with
one consent, continually urge men to this,
as the only effectual way to obtain reconcilia-
tion with God, and the remission of all
their fins. The prophets under the Old
Testament insist upon it as well as Christ and
his apostles, assuring the Jews, that without
it all their facrifices and other external rites
would be unavailable to their acceptance
with God; that indeed God was ready to
forgive their iniquities; though their fins were
as scarlet, and red like crimson, he would
make them white as fnow and wool; but it is
upon the condition of their washing and
making them clean, putting away the evil of
their doings, ceasing to do evil, and learning,
*to do well ll. No more taking pleasure in
their former finful courses, rigorously exact-
ing the labours and services of the poor, and

* Ephes. iv. 22, 24. | Ifaiah 1. 16. 18.

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grinding their faces by oppression, but Serm.
dealing their bread to the hungry, and cloathe HI."
ing the naked ||: in short, exercising themselves
universally in the works of true piety and
righteousness. Sorrow for fin, and what is
called contrition, humiliation for having of-
fended God, and perverted that which is
right; the confeffing of our iniquities with
shame and grief, and pious virtuous inclina-
tions, a desire to become holy as God is
holy; all thefe are necessary to repentance,
but it is a fåtal mistake to imagine, that it
essentially consists, and is compleated in any,
or all of them ; or, that any thing will be
accepted without what I have already men-
tioned, a thorough and effectual forfaking all
fin, and turning to God, and to the practice
of our duty, universally. These prepara-
tory exercises and dispositions of the mind,
arise from the reason of things, and the very
frame of our nature. As repentance is the
rational exercise of the soul, wherein its in-
tellectual and active powers are deliberately
employed, what first and naturally occurs
to the reflecting thoughts of a penitent, is,
his former conduct, and he cannot review it-
otherwise than with an ingenuous remorse
and self-abhorrence. When a Man confi-

:: :::. ... ders
Isa. Iviïi. 7.

Serm.ders that he has done wrong, it is impossible
III. to avoid a deep concern ; for it is the highest

pleasure to be justified to our felves, and the
reproaches of a self-accusing heart are most
painful ; and this is the best and most effec-
tual preservative from a relapse into former
follies. * Sorrow after a godly fort, as the
apostle says, is naturally productive of fear,
and zeal, and carefulness ; fear of offending
God for the future, a zeal and care to please
him in all things. And as this is the true foun-
dation of repentance, that it may be firm
and stable, nothing is more necessary for us
to attend to, than that our forrow be of the
kind I just now mentioned, after a godly
fort. There may be a grief even for sin,
which is of another character ; that is, when
the penal and pernicious consequences of it sa
only are considered, especially, the disgrace di
and the miseries to which it exposes sinners to
in this world. Such a forrow is really now
more than a painful sense of natural evil orja
unhappiness, and if fin is only considered, og
as the occasion of that, without entering into 703
its moral deformity, we can never imagine I
that sorrow arising thence, has any thing in ad
it of that ingenuous remorse which is accept-
able to God; or that it will produce, or in-

10 * * deed * 2 Cor. vii. 9---11.

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