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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 his hearers to repent, they asked SERM.
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,
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,
grinding * Ephef. iv. 22, 24. | Ifaiah 1. 16. 18.
grinding their faces by oppression, but Serm.
Isa. Ivül. 7:
Serm.ders that he has done wrong, it is impossible
pleasure to be justified to our selves, and the
* 2 Cor. vii. 9---II.