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given unto them; so that their faith embraced what the Holy Spirit applied. And this is another wonderful springing up of eternal life in the heart; for this life is found in love. “And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live,” Deut. xxx. 6. There is, as I observed before, eternal life in this sovereign of all graces, called love, which never fails, and which accompanies the soul in its passport out of this world, and passes with it into the next, and ever lives in the world to come. And this blessed spring of divine life abolishes another branch of death; and that is the fear of death. Death is a sad enemy, and to this the awakened sinner is in continual bondage: but love casteth out all fear; the slavish fear of future judgment, the fear of wrath and ruin, the carnal fear of man, the terrifying fear of Satan, and all other fear but that which is peculiar to a child of God; which is not legal, nor slavish, but filial; and which has got the love, mercy, and compassion, of God for its object. “They shall fear the Lord and his goodness in the latter days,” Hosea iii. 5.
I shall now proceed to treat of another rising up of this divine life, which is found in repentance; but not such sort of repentance as Mr. Hart sings:
Some long repent, and late believe;
But, when their sin’s forgiv'n,
And walk with joy to heav'n.
I am fully persuaded that there is no repentance without faith. The devils are said to believe and tremble, because the wrath and curse of God is in them. And I doubt not but Judas had the same faith when the curse and wrath of God entered into him: he repented himself, and was terrified, grieved, and sorry for what he had done; but then it was grief and desperate sorrow, Isai. xvii. 11. His repentance found no piace in the mercy of God, nor in the death of Christ, and therefore it was desperate sorrow, and desperate repentance; without hope, and without remedy. Repentance springs not from the application of the law, when God's curse and man's crimes meet together in the court of conscience; which is always attended with another meeting, namely, the just indignation of God and the carnal enmity of man. And where this apparent irreconcileable enmity seems to work within, no place of repentance appears; there is room for desperate sorrow, but not for sorrow after a godly sort. The sinner may wish the evil things that he hath done were undone, which is one branch of repentance: but at the same time he loves sin in his heart, and feels his enmity work against God, and he would fain flee out of his hand if he could. Besides, repentance is not a thing extorted by indignation and wrath. Repentance is not attended with a fleeing from God, but it is repentance toward God; not repentance without faith, but coupled with it: “ Repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ,” Acts xx. 21. We are not driven to it, but led. Terrible majesty ! is not the object of it, but goodness; “The goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance,” Rom.! ii. 4. The Apostles joined forgiveness of sins with that repentance which they preached; “ And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem,” Luke xxiv. 47. Repentance is a grace that is to be found in the fulness of Christ, where all grace is treasured up: and, as the prince of peace, and the only Saviour of men, he bestows it upon all the chosen subjects of his empire. It is a grace of his kingdom, and is often exercised by every loyal subject of his, not only at first, but upon every after transgression, as appears from the following passage; “And lest, when I come again, my God will humble me aniong you, and that I shall bewail many which have sinned already, and have not repented of the uncleanness, and fornication, and lasciviousness, which they have committed,” 2 Cor. xii. 21. Legal repentance is always attended with self-pity and enmity to God: it works fear of the punishment of sin, but no real hatred to it: it is always mixed with pride and self-righteousness, but no self-abasement, nor true relish for spiritual provision.
Evangelical repentance is a free grace gift in Christ, who is exalted to give it. “Him hath God exalted with his right hand, to be a prince and a Saviour to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins,” Acts v. 32. It is the riches of God's goodness, and forbearance, and long-suffering, that leads men to repentance. It is man's misery and God's mercy meeting together in the conscious sinner. It is the loving father and the relenting son meeting together in Christ Jesus. God makes us accepted in the beloved. Here the sin-sick soul and the great physician, the condemned criminal and the Lord our righteousness, the insolvent debtor and the divine surety, the broken heart and the bond of love, soft words and broken bones, the filthy wretch and the cleansing fountain, the starving soul and the bread of God, the killing kiss and the marriage bond, meet together. And this produces such strange effects, that, if even the devils were thus indulged, they would repent in sackcloth and ashes. Real repentance rises from this joyful meeting and vital union. Such souls are turned from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God. “Surely after that I was turned, I repented; and after that I was instructed I smote upon my thigh: I was ashamed, yea, even confounded, because I did bear the reproach of my youth,” Jer. xxxi. 19. This sprung not from a spirit of bondage, but from the spirit of adoption; not from a servant, but from a son; as the next words
shew: “Is Ephraim my dear son? is he a pleasant child? for since I spake against him I do earnestly remember him still: therefore my bowels are troubled for him," &c. Evangelical repentance springs from a believing view of a reconciled? God and father in the face of Christ, and of our interest in his eternal love. “ I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now mine eye seeth thee; wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes,” Job xlii. 5, 6. Repentance rises from humble submission to the will of God, and the obedience of faith; "Son, go work to day in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not: but afterwards he repented and went, and did the will of his Father," Matt. xxi. 29. And this is both the will and work of God, that we believe in him whom he hath sent. Repentance is attended with self-abasement, and a sense of the pacification of God toward us. “And I will establish my covenant with thee; and thou shalt know that I am the Lord: That thou mayest remember, and be confounded, and never open thy mouth any more because of thy shame, when I am pacified toward thee for all that thou hast done, saith the Lord God,” Ezek. xvi. 62, 63. This is another sweet stream from the springing well of eternal life; as it is written, “And when they heard these things they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.” It is called repentance unto life, because it flows out