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And, lastly, you will not forget to pray for his
grace every day of your life; without which your best resolutions will come to nothing
This is that repentance, concerning which you are required to examine yourself, before you go to the Lord's supper.
Most people, 'tis true, are ready to own, that they are sinners, and cry, Lord, forgive us ; and this too often without any great concern, or purposes of amendment.
. But this you will not think sufficient, when you seriously consider, that the end and punishment of sin are not to be seen in this life. If, therefore, you
stand in any fear of the judgment of God, set yourself seriously to consider your past life; see whether you have not lived, or do not now live, in any known sin, or evil habit : of lying-for example: or swearing—or drinking-or filthy talking ;-of uncleanness-of keeping loose and profane company—of following unwarrantable pleasures and diversions—or of leading an idle, useless, sinful life.
If this hath been your case, resolve to break off all these, and all such like evil
ways, which are displeasing to God; condemn yourself for having so desperately broken the commands of one who can destroy both body
and soul in hell : consider the vows that are upon you—and despise not the goodness and forbearance of God, which is designed to lead
you to repentance. If you ask when you are to begin this necessary work, (if it is not already begun,) the answer is short: the very moment you ask the question ;—and this, because if you find an unwillingness in yourself to set about it now, that unwillingness will every day increase : very probably you will never repent, unless God, by his judgments, or by the sight of death, shows you your sad errour, when it may be too late to be of any real use to you. Now, if these considerations affect
your heart, as sure they will, if you have any regard for your salvation, represent your desires to God in some such words as these following:
Blessed be God, who, by his grace,
and by the voice of his church, hath called me to repentance! Discover to me, Q thou Searcher of hearts, the charge that is against me, that I may know, and confess, and forsake the sins I have fallen into.
Give me that true repentance, to which thou hast
promised mercy and pardon, that I may amend where I have done amiss, and that iniquity may not be my ruin. And, O blessed Advocate, who ever livest to make interces. sion for us, I put my cause into thy hands : let thy blood and merits plead for me, and by thy mighty intercession procure for me the pardon of my past offences: that thou mayest say unto me, as thou didst unto the penitent in the gospel—thy sins are forgiven; so that I may go with a quiet conscience to thy holy table. Amen.
Concerning the Purposes you are to make of leading a new, that
is, a Christian Life. In the first place, take especial notice, that God accepts of our repentance on this condition only, that we may afterwards glorify him by a holy Christian life.
And as he delivered the people of Israel from bondage, not that they might do what was right in their own eyes, but that, becoming a holy nation, they might be an honour to their deliverer; (Deut. xix. 5.) even so Christ hath redeemed us from the bondage of sin and satan, that he might redeem us
from this present evil world, and purify unto himself a people zealous of good works.
And as the former perished, that is, all such as did not answer the end of their deliverance, so most surely shall we do, if we do not obey our Redeemer.
Your duty to God, your neighbour and yourself, you have known from a child: be assured of it you will meet with temptations from the devil, the world, and your own corrupt heart, both to neglect and transgress
the commands of God.
It will be absolutely necessary, therefore, that you arm yourself betimes, both with holy resolutions and with this holy ordinance, which you are preparing to go to, that you may be able, through the grace of God, to go on in the way of salvation.
Now your duty to God is,—to believe in him, to fear and love him, with all your heart and soul; forasmuch as you stand indebted to him for all you have, or value, or hope for, in this or the next life.
Do but consider how you would behave yourself, if you were but half so much obliged to any man on earth. How dearly would you love him! How often would you think of him! How often would you strive to please him! How would you be grieved, if you
should be so unhappy as to offend him! How soon and earnestly would you beg his pardon, to be restored to his favour.
Now, if you thus love God, it will appear in such instances as these :-you will have a very great regard for every thing that belongs to him : you will not use his name to any idle or wicked purpose : you will religiously observe the day consecrated to his honour and service : you will carefully attend the house and worship of God: and behave yourself with reverence and devotion, while you are in his presence : you will hear his word with attention, and have a great regard for his ordinances, and for the persons whom he hath appointed to administer them.
If you truly fear God, you will part with any thing as dear as a right hand, or a right eye, rather than provoke him, who can destroy both body and soul in hell.
If you believe him to be the fountain of all good, you will pray to him daily. And if you put your whole trust in God, as it is your duty to do, you will endeavour to be pleased with all his dealings with you.
You will never murmur at the ways of his providence, nor suffer your heart to fret against the Lord. And especially, you will never attempt to better or secure your condition by any evil