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SER M. 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 venerable, and virtuous ; to seek the things that are above, to approve the good and acceptable, and

perfect 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 remiffion of sins, when, having in general,

exhorted

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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 iïi. from ver. 1. ac-
commodating his exhortation to their various
circumstances; the common people he di-
rected, 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 indi-
gent 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 dir-
charge of their trust required; and the
foldiers, that they should not behave them-
felves insolently and oppressively, but be con-
tent 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, Jheal no more ; let him that has been covetous,

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

chate and temperate ; the wrathful and contentious put on bowels of mercies, humbleness of mind, forbearing and forgiving the weak and the injurious ; in fine, let us * put of 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 reconciliation with God, and the remission of all their fins. The prophets under the Old Testament infift

upon it as

it as well as Christ and his apostles, affuring 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 snow and wool; but it is upon the condition of their washing and making them clean, putting away the evil of their doings, ceaħng to do evil, and learning, *to do well ||. No more taking pleasure in their former finful courses, rigorously exacting the labours and services of the poor,

and

grinding * Ephef. iv. 22, 24. | Ifaiah 1. 16. 18.

grinding their faces by oppression, but Serm.
dealing their bread to the hungry, and cloath- 111.4.1
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-
țions, a desire to become holy as God is
holy; all these are necessary to repentance,
but it is a fatal 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 ini
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

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Isa. Ivül. 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 selves, 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 neceffary for us
to attend to, than that our sorrow 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

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the penal and pernicious consequences of it
only are considered, especially, the disgrace
and the miseries to which it exposes sinners
in this world. Such a sorrow is really no
more than a painful sense of natural evil or
unhappiness ; and if sin is only considered,
as the occasion of that, without entering into
its moral deformity, we can never imagine
that sorrow arising thence, has any thing in
it of that ingenuous remorse which is accept-
able to God; or that it will produce, or in-

deed

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* 2 Cor. vii. 9---II.

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