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hath sent me, draw him." Yes, my hearers, we all lie at the mercy of our offended Sovereign. We can do nothing that will make us deserving of his favour. If abandoned to ourselves, we must perish. We have only one hope left : -it is that of the drowning mariner, that some arm may be extended to save him. We have only one Refuge :-it is the Cross of Christ.
ACTS iii. 19.
Repent ye, therefore, and be converted, that your
be blotted out.
These words are part of an address delivered by the Apostle Peter to a Jewish multitude, in the temple at Jerusalem, soon after the ascension of Christ. The occasion was this-" Peter and John went up together into the temple, at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour. And a certain man, lame from his mother's womb, was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple, that is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple : who, seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, asked an alms. And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him, with John, said, Look
And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. Then Peter said, Şilver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up; and immediately his an
cle-bones received strength. And he leaping up, stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God. And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the beautiful gate of the temple; and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him. And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon's, greatly wondering. And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people—Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this ? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk? The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus ; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him
denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; and killed the Prince of Life, whom God hath raised from the dead, whereof we are witnesses; and his name, through faith in his
name, hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know; yea, the faith which is by him, hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of all. And
And now, brethren, I wot that through, ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. Repent ye, therefore,
and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out."
Such was the occasion on which Peter addressed his countrymen in the words of our text.They were full of amazement at the miracle which had been wrought, and which they were disposed to attribute to some inherent power or holiness in the Apostles. With what admiring and fearful attention would they listen to the words of Peter ! What an ascendency had he acquired over their minds! Had he now chosen to wreak his vengeance upon these murderers of his beloved Master, how might he have overwhelmed them with terror and dismay, by denouncing upon them the curses justly due to those who had crucified the Lord of glory! But grace had softened the heart of Peter, and every feeling of resentment was sacrificed to the more noble and generous object of proclaiming pardon even to the chief of sinners.
Equally benevolent, my hearers, is still the spirit of the Gospel; and to us who are so justly deserving of the Divine vengeance, to us who have crucified the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame by our infidelity, our disobedience, and our guilt; to us this very Saviour speaks, to-day, in the words of our text, “ Repent ye, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out."
Let us, then, with humble and penitent hearts, remembering that we stand in the presence of that God who hath commanded men every where to repent, and who hath denounced the most dreadful
anguish upon the finally impenitent; let us endeavour to ascertain what is the duty of repentance, and be excited, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, to a constant practice of it, by considering,
First, Its nature;
1. We are to consider the nature of repentance. To do this it is necessary to observe, that there are two words in the original Greek of the New Testament, both of which our translators have rendered by the term “ repentance," although they have meanings, in some important respects, very different from each other. One signifies a mere wish that some part of our past conduct had been otherwise, without any regard to its moral nature or consequences. The other denotes such a cordial, sincere, and permanent sorrow for all that we discover to be wrong in our past life, as will lead to a radical reformation of our whole moral character. It is the last which is used in our text, and, indeed, in all other passages which speak of genuine evangelical repentance. So that no notion can be more unscriptural or absurd than that held by some Papists, that repentance is a grace to be exercised at stated intervals, as a sort of penance; a duty which is to cancel, at one stroke, all past transgressions, and which, indeed, may be deferred till the last moment of dissolution,