« PreviousContinue »
while it is called To-day, but still barden SERM. their Hearts; should not tremble, left they III. be made like him in Condemnation ; be struck with spiritual Death, irrecoverable, before the natural, if that be delay'd.
The Conclusion is, that a Period may be fixed in the Divine Judgment, beyond which no Grace, no Place of Repentande shall be found ; that though Vengeance be not then immediately executed, yet after Mens Iniquities are full, they may remain seal'd up against the Time of it, after the Example of the Doom of Jerusalem, declar'd by our Lord, which well deserves a Recital on this Occasion ; If thou badft known, even thou, at least in this tby Day, the Things which belong unto tby Peace ! but now they are hid from thy Eyes. For the Days shall come upon thee, that thine Enemies Mall cap a Trench about thee, and compass tbee round, and keep thee in on every Side, and fall lay thee even with the Ground, and thy Children within thee ; and they shall not leave in thee one Stone upon another. Now attend to the Reason that closes all this ; Because thoų knewest not the Time of thy Vifitation.
SERM. Upon the whole Matter, let us 'apply -. III. therefore to ourselves that of the Apostle,
Behold, Now is the accepted Time ; behold, now is the Day of Salvation : Let us seek Wisdom early, left it soon prove too late to find her. And for those, who are still for delaying to keep the Commandments ; let them at least hear the sarcastick and menacing Concession of the Angel in the Revelation ; The Time is at Hand: He that is unjust, let him be unjust fill : and be which is filtby, let him be filthy fill.
Of Repentance, and its proper
MATTH iii. 8.
EPÉNTÅNCE signifies at SË RM:
large, our Change of Sen- IV.
Regret, whereby we dis-
freely donė, or spoken, or permitted by us; or rejeck aný Design that we had embrac'd to be put in Practice hereafter And it is the same, where it condemns the Neglect of Forbearance VOL. I.
SERM. of acting, speaking, allowing, or resolIV. ving. Agreeably to which, when it is
apply'd to the Matter of Religion, it fignifies the Grief of Soul, and Resolution of contrary Conduct, entertained by a Sinner, with regard to his Breaches of God's Law, either omitting what it requir'd, or committing what it prohibited. Then, (bes cause as soon as a Man is convinced of, and detests the Evil of his Ways, and so resolves upon a new Course ; if he does shew himself a Man, and act rationally ; he pursues that Course, and keeps clear of his former Miscarriages ;) this Word, Repentance, is often put for the Amendment itself, as well as the Resolution of it. Many such Places are found in the Scripture ; as where Repentance is the fole Condition mentioned of our escaping Destruction, or attaining
Divine Favour and Salvation. And this inlarg'd Sense of the Word in those Passages, some Men, (loth finally to part with their Corruptions,), will not see ; but would fain perfuade themselves, that tranftent: Sorrow, a Confeffion of Words, and Promises without Performance, may find Acceptance with the God of Truth
and Righteoufness. Neither is there any SERM. Excufe for fo abfurd a Conceit from the IV. Darkness of that Way of speaking : Since all considering Men must allow it to be ordinary, as well in the Scripture, as in common Discourse, to ufe the Names of the Difpofitions and Habits of our Mind to exprefs alfo their juft and natural Confequences. Thus we find Faith, Love, Knowledge, Ignorance, put for the Life and the Actions, which they should in all Reason produce. And when those fail, and the contrary appear; he that knows is reproached as ignorant ; he that loves, as bating ; and the Believer, as deftitute of Faith. Now when we say, if fuch a one would but believe his Friends, or repent of his Follies, or open his Eyes, he would be fafe, or happy; there is no body but understands our Meaning perfectly well, How then is it, that many mistake the Scriptute Expreffions ; Confidence in the Faith of a Chriftian with the Life of an Infidelį or in that Repentance (to our Purpose) which bears no other Fruit but new Repentance ? 'Tis enough to say, that few could judge fo
and put any