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were not unactive, they produced a multi-SERM.
tude of transgressions, not in thought only, III.
but in word and deed ; and shall not his now
contrary repenting dispositions, inclinations,
and purposes, exert themselves in the con-
trary works?
But, let us lay ever so great

stress on all
these particulars which are ingredients in rem
pentance, or rather preparations for it, and
tendencies towards it, on sorrows for sin,
deep contrition, confessions and pious dif-
positions, religious inclinations and purpo-
ses, let us even make the supposition, that
the essence of repentance were in them, this
important question will remain, how does
their fincerity appear? It is an acknowledg'd
principle, that nothing called religion can be
acceptable to the Deity, let it be faith, re-
pentance, obedience, charity, or whatsoever
virtue or good work so called, it cannot, I
say, be acceptable without being sincere,
Now, let any one judge whether there can
be in the nature of the thing any evidence,
without good works, or fruits meet for the
amendment of life, as the scripture calls
them, of these inward dispositions and af-
fections, religious inclinations and purposes,
or of godly forrow for sin, or any satisfying

evidence

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SERM.evidence that men are sincere in confeffing III. their fins.

Nay, upon the unhappy supposition that our repentance is thus imperfect, that we are sorry for our sins, confess them, and purpose to reform, without actually reforming; our guilt is thereby greatly aggravated, and the separation between us and our God, which our iniquities have made, is increased. I do not now put the case of infincerity, which is always displeasing to that God who loves truth in the inward parts, but allowing that men really, and in earnest are grieved for their transgresfions, and confess them with deep contrition of soul ; upon that supposition, if it can be made, without amendment of life, the fins in which they continue are very much heightened, because they are committed against the plainest and most sensible connections of their own minds, and still the affront to God is the greater, the more it is done in defiance of light, and with our eyes open.

I cannot now finish what I intended in this discourse, and shall for this time conclude with exhorting you to consider se

rioully,

riously, the absolute, indispensable necef- Serm.
sity, of breaking off your fins by actual III.
thgrough amendment ; by turning our
feet to God's testimonies, making baste to
keep his commandments * Which that we
may all sincerely do, God of his infinite
mercy grant.

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SERMON IV.

Of REPENTANCE.

Matth. iv. 17.

Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at

hand.

I

SERM. N a former discourse from these words, IV.

I endeavoured to explain the nature of

that true repentance, which the scripture declares to be so absolutely and indispenfably necessary to our acceptance with God. And what I intend at this time principally to insist on, are, the motives whereby this most important duty is urg'd upon us. But one observation will first be usefully made in order to our understanding it better, and applying what is said concerning it with greater advantage to our selves, that is, concerning the difference between the repentance originally preach'd to sinners, both Jews and Heathens, as the condition of their entrance into the christian state, and that which

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is required of those who sin wilfully under SERM. the christian profession. The gospel was

IV. first declared to such as, by the account it gives of them, were very ignorant and very wicked ; all flesh bad corrupted their ways, and the whole world became guilty before God. The religion of the Jews had degenerated into empty formality; external rites and ceremonies, were put in the place of substantial piety and virtue : And the Gentiles were dead in trespasses and fins, foolis and disobedient, serving diverse luffs and pleasures. Such were they whom our Saviour and his apostles called to repentance, to an entire change of their tempers and their manner of life, to become new creatures, to put off the old man and be renewed after the image of God, in righteousness and true holiness. To this purpose very strong motives were set before them, taken from the death and resurrection of Christ, and from the hope of a glorious immortality, which Jesus Christ brought to light; and they came under a solemn obligation by baptism, which was a seal of their religious profession, and a sacred engagement upon them to walk in newness of life, as the apostles explain it. A persevering course of sincere obedience, as the condition of their claim to the benefits of

the

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