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look upon them in any light but that of the grossest imposture, or the most superficial ignorance? And yet how many may we suppose are there this day acting under such miserable delusion, directed by such vague motives, and counselled by such grovelling superstition! How many are there keeping a sham holiday to God! How many ceasing from work, who have no desire to cease from sin! How many partly shutting out the world to-day, who have every intention of opening shop to-morrow! Oh how wretchedly absurd this! How miserably degrading! How ruinously injurious to immortal souls!

Mark you, I do not say that you, or any of you, are amongst the thoughtless superficial simpletons that I have been describing, or whose existence I have been supposing; but I merely ask you what would a rational man think of such, and what must God think of them? It is for you yourselves to say whether your own likenesses have been drawn or not; it is my business" to make caps," I have nothing to do in "putting them on heads." But may God grant that if these remarks have been instrumental in convincing a single formalist of his error, that he may be so deeply taught the nature of true repentance and humiliation, that he will never again attempt to feign or imitate them.

We now come to inquire, How is repentance to be effected? This fnquiry may very quickly, and very scripturally, be answered. Repentance is, in truth, a gift from above. No man can have it whose heart God has not opened; and as for me, or the like of me, calling upon you to repent, it would be as presumptuous as to command a hearse to stand still, and give up the shrouded dead to life. I may convey to you that God commands men to repent, but I cannot take upon myself to command you. The text is plain enough upon the point. Herein it is as decidedly stated, as words can be made to state anything, that it is part of the office of the risen Saviour-the Prince of Peace-to GIVE repentance to his people"Him hath God exalteth to GIVE repentance to Israel," &c.

In the second epistle to Tim. ii. 25, you will find the remarkable words, "If God, peradventure, will GIVE them repentance," &c. And in the 11th chapter of Acts, and 18th verse, it is thus written, "Then hath God also to the Gentiles GRANTED (i. e. given) repentance unto life." The self-same verb (didwμ) is used in each of these passages, signifying that repentance is indeed a gift—a gift, too, which God bestows according to the good pleasure of his will.

That repentance is a gift, the Church of England confesses in her beautiful liturgy. Take the following extracts as proofs:-"Wherefore, let us beseech him to grant us true repentance" [Absolution]; "That it may please thee to give us true repentance" [Litany]. The doctrinal articles of the Church are plain and decisive upon the point in hand. And I may appropriately sum up all by quoting the words of the Holy Ghost, through Jeremiah, "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? Then may ye also do good that are accustomed to do evil" (Jer. xiii. 23).

Well, my hearers, what say you to this mass of evidence against freewill repentance? Think you, after this, that you could repent if God did not give you repentance, though all the walls in Manchester were covered with official proclamations? I trow not. But, haply, some will object, and say, "We grant that repentance is the gift of God; but then he gives it to every man, and therefore your argument is inconclusive."

This objection brings me directly to the third head of my discourse;

i. e., WHEN is repentance effected? Repentance follows faith. A man cannot repent until he believes. It is a vulgar error to put repentance before faith. A man must thoroughly believe in the God whom he has offended, ere he can repent of his offence. Mere reason would tell us this, and Scripture confirms it. "Turn thou me, and I shall be turned," says Ephraim; and he adds, "And AFTER I was turned I REPENTED," &c. (Jer. xiii. 18, 19). This is the position of repentance in the scale of graces after faith. Now the simple question is, Have all men faith? Are all men given faith (for faith, too, is a gift)? For if they have not, all men are not given repentance. What saith the Scripture? All men have not faith" (2 Thess. iii. 2). And why have not all men faith? Simply because all men are not given faith. Why are you not all poets and painters? Simply because the Author and Giver of all good has not thought proper to give you the intellect, the power, the peculiar bias, to enable you to be poets and painters.


Now if belief must first come ere repentance can exist, were it not the extremest absurdity for me to require those to repent, who do not really and truly believe? If a man does not believe in the divinity of Christ, how can he repent of the sin he is guilty of in lessening the dignity of the Son of God? If a man does not believe in the divinity and personality of the Holy Ghost, how can he repent of his blasphemy? If a man believes not in the Christ of the Bible, or the Christ of God, how can he repent of having made God a liar? In short, "How shall they call on him in whom they have not believed?" (Rom. x. 14.)

Do you not begin to see the plausibility, at least, of these suggestions, my friends? Does not reason-does not Scripture-does not your own experience prove to you the utter impossibility of repentance without faith? And do not all these assure you that faith grows not in luxuriance upon the earth in these days? Depend upon it, that it is not till the eyes are opened, the ears unstopped, and the heart softened to see, and hear, and love God in Christ, and Christ in God; it is not till all this is done by the almighty power of the Holy Ghost, that any man living can repent of his sins.

Now for a very few words in conclusion. That a visitation from heaven has been sent amongst us, no man will dare deny. And that God never sends a visitation without good reason, is another assertion which none will dispute. But the particular reason, or special cause, for the chastisement is not so readily agreed upon. Some of our brethren are for attributing it to the sin of Sabbath-breaking; some to the drunkenness of the people; some to the hasting to get rich (so prevalent a sin in this nation); some to the encouragement of Popery (so undisguisedly given by our rulers). But there has been ONE HEINOUS SIN kept out of sight-a sin which alone is sufficient to account for a tenfold more fearful calamity— a sin of which the clergy, as well as the laity, have been notoriously guilty-the sin against the sacred Trinity! In these days we hardly ever hear of the Holy Ghost! It is a notorious fact, that in these days bishops and deacons, presbyters and people, speak as if there were no Holy Ghost. Pulpit-platform-lecture-room, are alike strangers to the praises of THE SPIRIT of the living God! Go where you will-listen to whom you will, and, almost without exception, silence reigns upon that one glorious topic of theology. Our orators-our popular preachers-our favourite lecturers,

are fluent enough upon the subject of Providence of the Creator, love

of the work of the Lord Jesus (whether their Jesus Christ is "the Christ of God" is another question); but where THE SPIRIT OF GOD and his operations ought to be brought forward to the notice of the auditory, then the eloquent tongue is silent, and the vivid imagination ceases to soar !

Oh, this is a fearful sin !- -a sin, urging the nation upon the verge of blasphemy and Socinianism;-a sin, too, that will increase, I fear, till England-great and privileged England-will at last settle down in Infidelity; "and then cometh the end!"


My solemn impression in this regard is in accordance with the forebodings of Scripture. Were it not for "a seed," we should be as Sodom and as Gomorrah! Were it not for the elect's sake, no flesh would be saved; but "for that elect's sake the days shall be shortened"-blasphemy will be silenced-Infidelity will be struck down when least expected, and Christ's glorious Church will enter upon her eternal joys.



"Yet, behold, therein shall be left a remnant that shall be brought forth, both sons and daughters; behold, they shall come forth unto you, and ye shall see their way and their doings; and ye shall be comforted concerning the evil that I have brought upon Jerusalem, even concerning all that I have brought upon it. And they shall comfort you, when ye see their ways and their doings: and ye shall know that I have not done without cause all that I have done in it, saith the Lord God." (Ezek. xiv. 22, 23).

"YE shall know that I have not done without cause all that I have done in it, saith the Lord God." And does our gracious God and Father condescend to explain and justify his ways and doings to his children? He does; and hath ever done so from the beginning. "Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do?" was an inquiry of our great and glorious Jehovah in old time, when about to do a mighty work in judgment; and the word tells us, that he was pleased not only to make known his purpose to him, but also to hear and entertain all the propositions which the "friend of God" (especially so called) had to make in reference to that purpose; so that whilst the Lord Jehovah giveth not account of any of his matters to the world, as Job told his unbelieving friends, it hath ever been an established fact in the Church, as David sings, that "the secret of the Lord is with them that fear him." Amos has it (iii. 7), Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets." And, above all, our blessed Lord Jesus himself says (John xv. 15), "Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth, but I have


called you friends; for all things which I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you." You, my dear brethren, who know every man the plague of his own heart, are sensible, I feel satisfied, of the goodness of the Lord in thus dealing so graciously with his people. For the carnal mind, which is enmity against God, and ever remains so till brought down to the grave, is ready to bubble up in the best of God's children, and will surely bubble up in rebellion against him (unless under the special power and energy of the Lord the Eternal Spirit) at every fresh manifestation of his will, whether his revealed mind concern himself, the Church, or the world; and many of us here assembled this evening, must confess with Asaph, "When I thought to know this (or that, of his good pleasure) it was too painful for me, until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I" (Ps. lxxiii. 16). Now the ministry of the word, in opening up the Scriptures, is for the very purpose of reconciling the minds of the Lord's people to the Lord in his will and ways. Therefore, the apostle has it (2 Cor. v. 19). "God hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation-we are ambassadors for Christ; as though God did beseech you by us, we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God." To bring about such reconciliation is the tendency of all gospel preaching. To keep up the enmity, and to fan the flame, is the work of all Satan's ministers, whom he has transformed as angels of light.

The explanation of his ways, contained in our text, was given by our gracious Father at a time very similar to that in which we live; a time when the Lord's hand was upon the land in judgments; and this in no slight degree, for his four sore judgments were abroad, the sword, and the famine, and the noisome beast, and the pestilence, to cut off from it man and beast. The cause assigned for such judgments being that the land had sinned against God by trespassing grievously, which grievous trespassing consisted in their being estranged from Jehovah through their idols; a national departure and separation from him and his pure service; not only a setting up of idols in their hearts, but an actual putting of the stumbling-blocks of their iniquity openly and manifestly before their faces, which called forth and brought down God's righteous indignation and wrath, and that in a manner exceeding all former displays of his anger, for there was no deliverance, as had been the case in other times, because of distinguished believers, like Noah, Daniel, and Job. Now the sentence was, 66 They (the righteous) shall deliver neither son nor daughter, they only shall be delivered themselves." My dear brethren, you know that God had taken away the possession of the land from the old nations and inhabitants, because of their abominations, for which the land is even said to have vomited them out; and he had brought into the possession of it, and given it for a heritage to, Israel, his people; his mercy enduring for ever; and this in order that they might show forth his praise, and be his witnesses in the earth as a peculiar nation. He had done all this in the first instance by a mighty hand and by a stretched-out arm, by signs and by wonders; and afterwards had repeatedly proved to them and their enemies that there was no God but himself, that the gods of the heathen were vanity. And so wonderfully had he dealt with the nation, that he was able to appeal to them and say, (Is. v. 4), "What could have been done more to my vineyard that I have not done in it?" Hence the grievousness of their trespass.

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Do we not see, beloved, something very similar in all this to our 581 own position at this time as a nation before God?


Let us call to mind how entirely our land was delivered in former years from Popish idolatry and abomination, and from all those detestable things for which the land may truly be said, as of old, to have vomited out Popery. Let us call to mind the happy establishment of God's truth in the nation, and the host of valiant men who shed their blood in order to bring about that glorious work; and let us ask ourselves, where are their fellows now? where is their spirit? where is their faith? and where is the ancient glory and prosperity of our country? must confess that there has been a departure from the faith once delivered Alas! we to, and then so boldly maintained by, the saints; a wide-spread apostacy from God, both in religious and in political matters, in this highlyfavoured nation; a turning away from the truth, and a turning to fables; a returning to the old abominations, signally stamped and pronounced by God to be such. is not led to expect from the word, notwithstanding the groundless Still there is nothing in this which the believer assertions which are made universally, that mankind are progressing in righteousness, and the kingdoms of this world becoming gradually and surely the kingdom of our God and of his Christ. however, is the testimony of Scripture: "That day (the day of Christ) Very different, shall not come," says the Holy Ghost (2 Thess. ii. 3), come a falling away first." Departure from the faith (1 Tim. iv. 1), apostacy, is, alas, the Scriptural characteristic of the present dispensation. except there And that not so much by open and profane denial of God's word, as by corruption of the word, and rendering it void through the introduction and mixing up with it of " damnable heresies, privily brought in, denying the Lord" (2 Pet. ii. 1); illustrated by the Lord Jesus in the parable of leaven (Matt. xiii. 33) (always the symbol of that which is hateful to God), hid in three measures of meal (good, wholesome food) symbolic, we believe, of the glorious truths which concern the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost in covenant, originally corrupted and depraved by the great whore of Babylon, the mother of harlots (mark the expression), and all the abominations of the earth, who, as Peter intimates (2 Pet. ii. 2), "by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of," did, in the council of Trent, curse and anathematize each and and glorious truth that concerns a poor sinner's salvation, as proceeding every blessed from the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. And is not the Lord Jehovah elsewhere, and we might say everywhere (except amongst a very little remnant), cast out, in point of fact, from his spiritual creation, by the religious of all denominations, as he is cast out of his natural and moral creation by the openly professed Infidels of the day, and man exalted into and above the place of his Creator? Surely it is even so. hence, beloved, we see the cause of the Lord's hand being stretched out And in judgment upon our land.

Hence it is that we have had the famine, which, though but slightly felt in this country, there are those amongst us this evening who can testify to its appalling effects in unhappy Ireland, where the Infidel and God-denying experiments of our wise men have been most actively at work in crushing the truth, and in fostering and advancing the cause of Popery.

Hence it is that England has been made to feel in her tenderest

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