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were not unactive, they produced a multi-Ser M. 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 repentance, or rather preparations for it, and tendencies towards it, on sorrows for sin, deep contrition, confessions and pious dispositions, religious inclinations and purposes, let us even make the supposition, that the essence of repentance were in them, this important question will remain, how does their sincerity appear? It is an acknowledg'd principle, that nothing called religion can be acceptable to the Deity, let it be faith, repentance, 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 sorrow for sin, or any satisfying

evidence

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SERM.evidence that men are fincere in confessing
III, their sins.

Nay, upon the unhappy supposition that
our repentance is thus imperfect, that we
are sorry for our fins, confess them, and
purpose to reform, without actually reform-
ing ; our guilt is thereby greatly aggravated,
and the separation between us and our God,
which our iniquities have made, is in-
creased. I do not now put the case of in-
sincerity, 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 tranfgref-
fions, and confess them with deep con-
trition of foul ; upon that fuppofition, 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 plaineft and most
sensible connections of their own mindsz
and still the affront to God is the greater,
the more it is done in defiance of light,
with our eyes open.

and

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

siously

riously, the absolute, indispensable necef- Serm. sity, of breaking off your fins by actual III. thorough 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

band.

SERM. Na 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 finners, both Jews and Heathens, as the condition of their entrance into the christian state, and that which

IV.

1

is required of those who sin wilfully under SER M. the christian profession. The gospel was first declared to such as, by the account it gives of them, were very ignorant and very wicked ; all peso had 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 sins, foolish and disobedient, serving diverse lifts 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 resura rection of Christ, and from the hope of a glorious immortality, which Jesus Christ brought to light; and they came under a folemn 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 fincere obedience, as the condition of their claim to the þenefits of

the

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