where he can, whatever self-denial it may impose. In mumberless instances indeed, it is difficult to know, in what particulars, and to what persons, this restitution is due ; but the poor, especially the poor of Christ's flock, we have always with us : and here, if difficulties arise, the conscientious penitent will not only bestow, what he is conscious is not his own, and yet knows not to whom to restore it; but even add far more to it, if in his power.

The apostle, however, addresses some, whom he supposes unable to make restitution : and his language is well worthy our attention. “Let him that “stole, steal no more : but rather let him labour, “working with his hands the thing that is good, that "he may have to give to him that needeth.” Mark the reason: not only that he may honestly support himself and his family: but also, “ that he may have " to give to him that needeth ;” thus gradually making amends to man for injuries done to man ; though he can make no compensation to his offended God. Here “ he hath nothing to pay,” and begs a free for. giveness.

In a variety of ways the true penitent, during his daily self-examination, will discover instances, in which he has injured others perhaps in their character, or their principles, by his conversation, or his example : and he will here too endeavour to counteract, or make amends for, his misconduct, by any means in his power, however humiliating and self-denying; and especially by henceforth setting a good example, and trying to “ do good to all men, and especially to “the household of faith.” VOL. II.



To these general outlines of the nature and effect: of true repentance, it may be proper to add something more particular, as it relates to the state and inward feelings of the heart. It must be obvious to those who duly consider the subject, that the repentance above described will be attended with great tenderness of conscience, fear of temptation, jealousy of a man's own heart, and dread of being deceived. For it arises from a conviction, that “ the heart is deceitful above “all things and desperately wicked.”

If then, thou art a true penitent, and there be sin to which thou hast been formerly addicted more than to others : here thou wilt keep the strictest watch; all temptations to this evil thou wilt most cautiously shun; against it thou wilt most frequently and earnestly pray; and though thou mayest often feel trouble and alarm from it; yet it will henceforth be more opposed, dreaded, and hated, than any other sin.

This tenderness of conscience, and hatred of sin, (the heart of flesh which God hath given instead of the heart of stone ;) disposes a man to condemn himself in many things, in which he once saw no harm. He now loves the holy rule of the divine law; he loves holiness and hates sin, every kind of sin : and, as a person of delicate cleanliness is disgusted by the least speck of dirt; so the true penitent is more pained by an unguarded word, or an angry temper, than others are, or than he himself used to be, by habitual ungod. liness, not to say acts of direct immorality.

“ Herein,” says the great champion for the doc- . trines of grace, “ Hercin do I exercise myself, to

e have a conscience void of offence towards God and "man.” “ He delighted in the law of God,” in his inmost soul : yet he could not but see and feel that he had not attained full conformity to it; he admired the standard of holiness, but he could not come up to it; yet he exercised himself daily in aiming at nearer and nearer conformity. At the same time finding that he

" could not do the thing that he would;" but that ano. ! ther“ law within him warred against the law of his

"mind,” he groaned and complained, under this con. flict, more than under all his persecutions and suffer. ings. “Oh wretched man that I am," says, he, “ who "shall deliver me?"-LORD, I love thy law, I hate sin; it is my grief and burden; yet it dwells and works with. in me. O gracious LORD, when wilt thou deliver me?

This is the necessary effect of genuine repentance, in an imperfect state: dissatisfaction with ourselves, must be the consequence of hatred of sin, and humi. liation before God. The deeper the repentance, the more entire the hatred of sin; the keener the eye of the mind in detecting it, and the conscience in condemning it, the greater will be our self-displacency.

He that daily improves in spiritual discernment, in the knowledge of God and of himself, in acquaintance with the holy law and its spiritual requirements, in love of God and holiness, and in tenderness of conscience, is indeed more holy than before, but he is also more humble : for humility is a principal part of holiness. So far therefore from being better pleased with his own character and attainments, he will be more and more abased before God; and it is very probable, if his judgment be not exactly formed by the scripture, he may be often ready to conclude that he cannot be a true convert, seeing he is so far from that holiness, which he longs after and admires,

And now, let me ask you, my friends, whether this was not the nature of St. Paul's progress, from his state of proud pharisaism, to his highest attainments in evangelical holiness? Did not his humility keep pace in its increase, with every other improvement in his character? Assure yourselves there is no danger, lest repentance, either in its nature or its fruits, should take you off from living by faith in the Son of God: since the more deeply any one repents, and the greater proficiency he makes in humility, tenderness of conscience, and hatred of sin; the fuller is his conviction, that“ his own righteousnesses are as filthy rags. Good works indeed, as“ the fruits of the Spirit,” do not deserve this degrading name : but, as they are wrought by us, so much of the evil of our fallen nasure mingles with them, that comparing them with the perfect standard of the holy law, we cannot but feel, that they are no more fit to justify us before God, than filthy rags would be for our attire, when called on to appear in the presence of an earthly prince. It is only impenitent pride that induces men to attempt establishing their own righteousness : and the more entirely.this is crushed, the more fully will the sinner enter into the apostle's meaning. “I count all things “ but loss, that I may win Christ, and be found in “ him; not having mine own righteousness, which is " of the law, but the righteousness which is of Goo " by faith.” And did any of us feel as deep repentance, and had we made as high attainments in holiness, as the apostle, we should then more resemble him in the simplicity of our dependence on Christ; and with him more feelingly say,

" The life that I live in the " flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who “ loved me, and gave himself for me."

It is well known, that a proud man is not easily made sensible of his obligations, even when great be. nefits are conferred on him; but the humble think much of every kindness, and are thus disposed to be grateful

, and to commend and look up to their benefactors. Is not then the humble penitent peculiarly prepared, for receiving with lively gratitude the blessings of salvation? Will he not, as he becomes more and more acquainted with the person, the love, the sufferings, and the grace of his Redeemer, be disposed more and more to admire, adore, and praise his name? Will not IMMANUEL be precious to his heart, and glorious in his eyes ? It cannot be other. wise; and hence, love of Christ will keep its proportion with humility and hatred of sin. “ The love " of Christ constrains us; because we thus judge, " that if one died for all, then were all dead : and " that he died for all, that they who live, should "live no longer to themselves, but to him who died "for them, and rose again.” Thus the humble penį. tent is the most astonished at the Saviour's love, when he sinks the deepest in self-abhorrence; and the language of his heart is, “ What shall I render to the " LORD, for all his benefits ?” Such a view of these subjects served to form the character of apostles and martyrs ; this must form missionaries, ministers, and active christians; and not any idea of merit, any


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