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It ought perhaps here to be observed, to prevent perplexity in the minds of those who hear me, that I do not intend to represent the penitent as hating or loathing those kinds of enjoyment which in their nature may be lawful, and are sinful only by some attendant circumstances with which they are at times enjoyed; nor to represent him as hating the objects whence such enjoyment is derived. Objects of this kind and the enjoyments springing from them are made agreeable to our nature by the Creator himself, are equally pleasing to the penitent and impenitent, and are in themselves lawful when existing in the proper degrees, and in the proper circumstances. Food and wine are both means of pleasure which may be lawfully enjoyed; but they are also the means of gluttony and drunkenness. The penitent hates the gluttony and drunkenness, but he does not therefore hate the food and the wine, nor the pleasure which they communicate when lawfully enjoyed. Nor has God required this at his hands. If, indeed, he has found them to be dangerous to him, as temptations to inordinate and sinful indulgence, he will dread and watch, and, as the case may be, shun them on this account. Yet the pleasure which they communicate when lawfully enjoyed neither is nor is required to be the object of his hatred. The sin committed in an inordinate or otherwise unlawful use of the object will be hated by the penitent, and not the object itself.
I have mentioned under the preceding head, that sin will be viewed by the penitent as being primarily evil, because it is an injury done to God. This consideration will peculiarly awaken his hatred of sin. An injury done to a Being so great and glorious will appear to him pre-eminently unreasonable and ill deserving. He will remember with peculiar solemnity and lively affection that this glorious Being has forbidden sin in every form and degree, and that every transgression is therefore an open as well as causeless affront to his infinite authority. Nor will he fail to recollect that the same exalted Being is his own supreme Benefactor, and that every blessing which he has received has come down from the Father of light. With this great consideration in view, he will be deeply pained by a sense of the ingratitude exercised towards his Creator in every transgression.
Nor will he be less deeply affected when he remembers
that sin alone occasioned all the sufferings of the Redeemer. That so glorious and excellent a person as Christ should suffer at all, and especially in so dreadful a manner, every penitent will feel to be of all things the most undesirable, and the most to be regretted. How evil then in its nature must be the cause of these sufferings, and how distressing to know that in this evil his own sins have their share!
Besides, all his own sins have been committed in a full view of these sufferings, with an ample knowledge of their greatness and intensity, together with a complete discovery of Christ's excellence in consenting thus to suffer, and amid the very sound of those offers of mercy which Christ proclaimed through the agonies of the cross. By these considerations the penitent will feel his own unworthiness, particularly his ingratitude, mightily enhanced, and will abhor himself, repenting in dust and ashes.'
Nor will the mischiefs occasioned by sin to his fellow-creatures fail to increase mightily his hatred of this dreadful evil. All the sufferings found throughout this great world will be easily seen by him to have sprung from this cause only, and a great part of them to be its immediate effects. These being、 its proper fruits, exhibit in the clearest and most forcible manner the nature of the tree. In deceit, fraud, contention, cruelty, oppression, and bloodshed he will see pourtrayed in living colours the detestable nature of the spirit which gives them birth. But this is not all. A much more important consideration will everywhere present itself to his view, and much more powerfully affect his heart. All his fellow-men are immortal, and are capable of endless happiness or endless suffering. Nay it will be the actual lot of every one of them to be happy or miserable for ever. Viewed in this light, their interests become infinitely valuable. Sin, the cause of all their future as well as present misery, is thus invested with an importance which to the eye of the penitent becomes literally immense. With deep concern and amazement he will behold a vast multitude of rational beings, bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh,' corrupted by this moral pollution in such a manner as to render them incapable of happiness, and to such a degree as to render it wholly improper for God to make them happy. Beyond this, he will see them not only cast off for ever by
God, as wholly unfit to be members of the kingdom of happiness, and made objects of his wrath and indignation, but finally ruined, and made for ever wretched by the proper influence of the sin itself. The same malignant efficacy with which it produces the sufferings of the present world will produce similar sufferings in every other world where it predominates, greater always in proportion to the degree in which it prevails. In the world of perdition therefore, being unmingled and perfect, it will produce finished ruin to all its wretched inhabitants. With these views of this mighty evil, he will behold it with the deepest loathing and abhorrence. With these views he will regard that example which may tempt others to sin, those arguments which may perplex or bewilder them, those doctrines which may encourage or quiet them in disobedience, and generally all those motives which may slacken their course in the path of virtue, or quicken their progress in iniquity, only with alarm and horror. Necessarily therefore will he refuse to become the instrument of setting these snares for the feet of his fellow-men, and of digging the pit of destruction in their way. Anxiously will he watch, and strive, and pray that he may not become the means of leading immortal minds to final ruin.
Nor will he fail to be deeply affected with the evils done by sin to himself. This part of the subject he will be able to understand more clearly and to realize more strongly than perhaps any other. The debasement of his nature as a rational being mentioned under the former head will seem to him an evil of no secondary magnitude. The complete perversion of his noble faculties, the frustration of the end of his existence, the continual inroads made upon his peace, the prevention of his usefulness, together with his exposure to final perdition, all accomplished by this malignant cause, render it necessarily and supremely detestable in his sight.
At the same time this hatred will be directed towards sin of every kind. The same odious nature is inherent in sins, whatever form they may assume, and in whatever manner they may exist; whether they are secret or open; whether they exist in thought, word, or action; whether they immediately respect God or man, his fellow-men or himself; whether they are reputable or disreputable; whether productive
of gain or followed by loss. In every one of these forms they have still the same evil, shameful, odious character; and will therefore universally awaken his hatred.
Finally, he will hate sin in all persons; in himself, his family, his friends, his fellow-christians, his countrymen, and mankind. The only difference here will be, the nearer it comes home to him he will hate it the more. In his friends and fellow-christians therefore, his family and himself, he will hate it more than in others; especially as the expressions of his hatred towards their sins, and his opposition to his own, may have a peculiar efficacy in preventing future transgressions. Nor will the kindred or amiableness of any person prevent him from regarding his sins with disgust and abhor
3. True repentance involves in it a sincere sorrow for sin.
A dutiful child who has disobeyed his father feels, after all the fears of punishment are over, a sincere regret because he has disobeyed. A good man when he has done an injury to a friend, even when the fact is unknown, and himself is secure from all possible detection, laments secretly his unworthy conduct. A penitent feels a similar regret that he has offended God and injured his fellow-men, not from the apprehension of their resentment or of the anger of God, merely, but also from the sense of the evil which he has done, from a realizing view of the unworthiness of which he has been guilty. With this view he will be ever ready to cry out with St. Paul, 'O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?'
4. True repentance will prompt the subject of it freely to confess his sins before God.
Confession is the first, the proper, the natural language of repentance. In this manner Job confessed when God, appearing to him with divine glory, discovered to him the corruption of his heart and the guiltiness of his life. 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.' In the same manner David also confessed; I acknowledge my transgression, and my sin is ever before thee.' Thus also Nehemiah and his companions, the captives who had returned from Babylon, spent one fourth part of the day of their public humiliation in confessing their sins; and
said, Thou art just in all that is brought upon us for thou hast done right; but we have done wickedly.' Thus the Lamentations of Jeremiah are extensively occupied in this employment. Thus Daniel in strong terms declared to God the sins of himself and his people. Thus, finally, have all sincere penitents done in every age and in every country. The heart, in the clear view of its sins, in the strong apprehension of the wrongs which it has done to God and to mankind, is full and overflows; and out of its abundance the mouth' is compelled to speak.' Besides, confession is the first attempt towards making amends for the injury; and the penitent is ready to adopt every measure which may in his view contribute to the accomplishment of an end believed to be so important, and relished as so desirable.
5. True repentance is followed by reformation.
Every penitent will like Elihu pronounce concerning himself, as will as concerning others, Surely it is meet to be said unto God, I have borne chastisement; I will not offend any That which I see not teach thou me; if I have done iniquity, I will do no more.'
Amendment is the end of all repentance; and this involves the two-fold office of forsaking sin, and practising holiness. It will easily be believed that he who hates and mourns for his sins must, under the influence of this disposition, regard the future commission of them with dread, and proceed to it only under the influence of frailty, the occasional predominance of lust, or the powerful influence of external temptations. To forsake it will also be believed to be a commanding object of his designs and efforts. With this object is intimately connected a fixed and universal determination faithfully to practise future obedience. This is the sum of the divine pleasure concerning his remaining life; the substance of all the precepts contained in the law of that glorious Being, to have offended whom excites his deepest sorrow, and to please whom is now the object of his most earnest desire. A general reformation of his life will therefore be the only conduct originated by the present temper of his heart. Against sin, against all sin, he will set his face as a flint.' His passion henceforth will be subordinated to his conscience, and his conscience enlightened and directed by the Scriptures of truth. Every lust he will labour to subdue, every enemy to overcome, and every