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LECTURES ON THE SHORTER CATE- preme and omniscient! Being, who
CHISM OF THE WESTMINSTER AS will punish : the transgressors of » SEMBLY OF DIVINESDADDRESSED his laws. While this principle, ,'*»TO; YOUTH.; o, s1:
therefore, retains any measure of 11. LECTURE LÅÝ. :))
le sensibility, (for we nead of some ins
“whose conscience is 'seared with -- In the present lecture, we are to a hot iron''), there will be self conenter on the consideration of the demnation and fear of punishment, grace of repentange. It is thus when an individual is conscious of defined in our Catechism"Re- haying violated the commands of pentance unto life isa saving grace, God. Hence, blasphemers, and whereby a sinner, out of a true other flagrant sinners, when their sense of his sin, and apprehension lives are placed in imminent danof the mercy of God in Christ, ger, and speedy death seems to doth, with grief and hatred of his threaten them, are often filled sin, lurn from it unto God, with with great fear, and sometimes full purpose of, and endeavour af- with remorse and anguish of spiter, new. obedience,
rit,, of the most fearful kindThis admirable answer to the They forbear their impieties, perquestion, What is repentance haps attempt prayer, and ask the unto life?" cannot perhaps be il prayers of others, profess repentlustrated
d. more properly than by ance and sorrow for their sins, and making its words, and phrases, it may be, make solemn resolujust as they stand, the subject of tions, promises, and vows of reforremark. Pursuing this method, I mation, or of leading a new life, if observe, that the words." repent. they may only be spared to have ance unto, life
a saving grace," the opportunity of doing it. But were probably, intended to refer remove the danger, and permanent to two things; the first of which reformation seldom takes place is, that there is a repentance Sometimes they return to their which is not unto life; or, to dis- former profligacy as soon as the tinguish genuine evangelical re- peril of life ceases, and in most inpentance, from that legal repent- stances all their reformation “is as ance, or mere compunction of con a morning cloud, and as the early science, which the guilty often dew.it goeth away.” feel, but which, is attended by no There are other; cases, indeed, lasting and beneficial effects. Na- in which a legal repentance is tural conscience seems necessarily more lasting. Providential disto suppose, and to refer to, a su- pensations, the hearing of solemn Ch Adv.-VOL. X.
sermons, the effects of religious from me, all ye workers of ini-
but another word for true con swer before us calls us to consider version, and such is indeed the is, that in order to a genuine and fact; both these terms refer to a saving repentance, the sinner must right, deep, and lasting change of have a true sense of his sin. The the mind, by which the soul is methods in which wandering sinturned from the supreme love of ners are brought home to God are sin, to the supreme love of holi- so various, that perhaps no one ness; that is, its whole current is step of the process is always the reversed; so that after the change, same, or at least not perceptibly it hates what once it loved, and so, in the order of place and time. loves what once it hated; and hence Yet, in most cases, that very legal the life, as well as the heart, is repentance of which you have been changed, and instead of being de- hearing in this lecture, is probably voted supremely to the pursuit of the first exercise of an awakened sinful or worldly objects, is de- sinner; and hence it has been techvoted to the service of God, and nically called a law-work. But as is regulated by a regard to all his it goes no further than to make the commandments. Thus they who transgressor see the danger of sin, are the subjects of true repentance and to put him on using improper or conversion, will be constantly endeavours to avoid that danger, it increasing in sanctification; for re can never be said to proceed from pentance, it must be remembered, such a sense of sin, as the answer is an exercise often repeated, and before us specifies. In a true sense never terminated while any sin or of sin, its awful danger is indeed corruption remains to be morti- seen, and as I have just said, is fied; or in other words, till the probably, in most cases, the first saint drops his body of sin and thing that is perceived; but to this death in the grave. You perceive, there is always added the followtherefore, that sanctification is the ing particulars:-1. Sin is seen to end, of which repentance is the be a most unreasonable, wicked, ineans; and that the means cease and daring rebellion against a only when the end is fully at- good and holy God. In a mere tained—when the soul, escaping legal repentance God is feared, from all its pollutions in the body, and the sentence of his law is rises pure and immaculate to the dreaded; but he is feared as a lymansions of perfect holiness in rant, and his law is disliked as unheaven-What a consistent and duly rigorous-If the sinner could glorious system is the plan of our have his wish, it would be that the redemption! Faith, by connecting law of God should be relaxed, so the soul with the Redeemer, enti- that he might sin with impunity; tles it to heaven, and repentance, and could this be the case, his by carrying on the work of sancti- fears and his concern about his fication, prepares it for the celes- sin would vanish together. But tial beatitude; and these graces, he who has a true sense of sin, although their operations are dif- sees and says with the apostle, that ferent, are always found conjoined; the “law is holy, and the comand the result is, that no indivi- mandment holy, and just, and dual is entitled to heaven, without good.” He sees that God has rebeing prepared for it; and no one quired nothing but what is peris prepared for it, without being fectly reasonable, right, and good; entitled to its possession-the title and that in all his sins he has been and the preparation invariably go a wicked and daring rebel, tramtogether.
pling on the righteous authority The next thing which the an- and requisitions of the greatest
and best of beings, to whose won ver yet had a true view.of his case, derful and unspeakable forbear- who dwells only, or principally, on ance alone he is indebted, that he particular instances of transgreshas not been consigned to the just sion. He must be brought to see, punishment of his, transgressions, what our Saviour so plainly and in the pit of eternal perdition. impressively taught, that “Those He sees the aggravation of all sin things which proceed out of the to consist so much in its being mouth, come forth from the heart, committed against God, that he is and they defile the man. For out ready to leave out of view all other of the heart proceed evil thoughts; considerations, and to say with the murders, adulteries, fornications, penitent Psalmist, whose great sin thefts, false witness, blasphemies, had a fellow mortal for its imme. These are the things that defile a diate object-"Against thee, thee man." Yes, and the true penitent only have I sinned, and done this will have such a sense of his moral evil in thy sight, that thou might- defilement by sin, that he will, so est be justified when thou speak to speak, şicken at the view. He est, and be clear when thou judge will see sin to be unspeakably est.” And hence it is, as this text filthy, odious, and detestable, and fully warrants us to affirm, that a that it has polluted by its abomireal penitent, one who has a true nations. all his natyrę, every power sense of his sin, will, from his of his soul, and every action of his heart, justify the sentence of the life; and he will, from a real sight law which condemns him will and sense of his condition and see and feel that he deserves to character, say, with holy Jobdie the death; and that if he were “Behold I, am vilę, what shall I cast into hell, he would have no answer thee? I will lay mine hand right to complain that he was pu. upon my mouth-I abhor myself, nished beyond his desert. This, and repent in dust and ashes. as will presently appear, is per- To be purged and cleansed from fectly consistent with hoping for, this state of deep and hateful de and trusting in the mercy of God, filement, will be, as we have seen through Jesus Christ, and is in that it was with David, the most deed inseparable from it.
of his soul. No evil 2. There is, in a true sense of will appear so great as the evil of sin, a very affecting view of it, as sin, and no deliverance so desirain its own nature unspeakably pol- ble as to be freed from its filthy luting and vile. Agreeably to this, stains. Mark how strikingly, in we find that the words of the this particular, a true sense of sin Psalmist already quoted, are im- differs from that which only promediately followed by these—“Be- duces fear that punishment will hold I was shapen in iniquity, and follow it. in sin did my mother conceive Our catechism next teaches us,
And a little after, "Purge that true repentance is also conme with hyssop, and I shall be nected with, and proceeds from, clean; wash me, and I shall be "an apprehension of the mercy of whiter than snow.” With the God in Christ." Much has been Psalmist, every true penitent will said on the question-Which is trace up all particular acts of sin first in the order of nature, faith every polluted stream that has de or repentance! You will observe filed him in body and in soul, to that the question is entirely about the fountain of abomination that the order of nature; for it is agreed there is in his very heart and na on all hands, that these graces are ture. Think much of this, my be- inseparable, and always mingled loved youth. That sinner has nc- together. Now it appears to me,
that whether fạith be taken in its sequence was;- he repented, and larger sense, as .relating to the went and hanged himself: and whole revealed will of God, or be such has been the effect of despair taken in its more restricted sense, in numerous instances since the
an acceptance, and reliance on time of Judas; and it may be. Christ alone for salvation, it must, questioned whether this, or taking in the order of nature, go before refuge in blank. Atheism, would every, kind and degree of repent- not always be the case, if there was aņce. Legal repentance could have not a lingering hope of mercy in no existence, if the sinner did not the minds of those who have, to believe in a God, who will punish their own apprehension, been in a the violators.of his law-Suppose state of despair-At the bottom of a sincere and complete Atheist, their hearts there has still been a and you suppose the existence of hope of mercy, too feeble to be a man who can never feel a single distinctly recognised, yet not withcompunction for sin. He may fear out a real operation and influence, punishment from men, but cer- But when there is a distinct aptainly can fear none from a , being prehension of the mercy of God in who, as he believes, does not exist. Christ, it furnishes the only pure, All sense of guilt before God must as well as the most powerful moplainly proceed from some kind of tive to genuine repentance. While belief of his existence, of his law, the soul is filled with self-abhorand of his determination to punish rence, in the view of having sinned those who offend him. Those who against a merciful God and Saare merely legalists in their re- viour, it is melted into genuine pentance, have commonly a specu sorrow for all its sin, made to lative belief, not only of the being look on it with the greatest detesof God, but of the general truth of tation, and at the same time is the Bible; and hence proceed all filled with humble love and adoring their anxieties, fears, remorse, and gratitude to God, and with a most self-righteousness--Such faith as intense desire to avoid offending they have, proceeds, and is the him in time to come. Here incause of such repentance as they deed is evangelical repentanceexercise. And as to an appre- hatred to sin, because it is offenhension of the mercy of God in sive and dishonourable to God our Christ,” by which it was doubt- Saviour, and because it is in itself less intended we should under- most loathsome and detestable. stand at least the incipient exer So that it may be truly said, that cise of saving faith, it appears to when faith and hope rise to assume that in the order of nature it must necessarily precede repent * It ought to be made known to those ance unto life. We have no rea who cannot read the New Testament in the son to believe that there ever was, original, that the Greek word which is or can be, any such thing as a sa
here translated "he repented," is entirely
different from that which is invariably lutary repentance, without some used to signify true repentance–To rekind of apprehension that God pent truly, or savingły, is always expressed may show mercy to the penitent by derivatives from the word metarcow, (meindividual. We thus conclude tanoeo). The word used to signify such a from what is witnessed in cases of repentance as was that of Judas, is derived
Jetapraguai, (metamelomai). We a complete despair of mercy. Such lack single terms in the English language a case was that of Judas. He had to denote the difference between the mean. a powerful and overwhelming sense
ing of these two words in the original, and
therefore both are translated by the same of guilt, and an utter despair of word. Campbell translates the latter rcobtaining forgiveness. The con- pentance, and the former reformation.