« السابقةمتابعة »
"lost ?" He elsewhere explains it, "I came not "to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." Does the good Shepherd rejoice and call his friends to rejoice with him, when he has brought home the lost sheep? "So likewise is there joy in hea66 ven," even among the angels of God." "over
one sinner that one that repenteth:" and when the prodigal, returning to his father, was graciously welcomed, all the family was called on to rejoice; "for this, my son, was lost and is found, 66 was dead and is alive."
On the other hand Christ "upbraided the cities, "in which his mighty works had been done, be
cause they repented not." He told the people, "that the men of Nineveh would rise up in judg"ment with that generation and condemn it; "because they repented at the preaching of Jonas: "and behold a greater than Jonas is here." He warned the Jews that "except they repented, they "would all likewise perish." And he summed up the reasons of his gentleness to notorious sinners, and his severity in rebuking the Pharisees, in this remarkable passage :-"A certain man had -“ "two sons; and he came to the first and said, Son, go work to-day in my vineyard. answered and said, I will not: but afterward "he repented and went. And he came to the "second and said likewise: and he answered and "said, I go, sir; and went not. Whether of
them twain did the will of his father? They
say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, "Verily I say unto you, the publicans and harlots
go into the kingdom of heaven before you. "For John came to you in the way of righteous66 ness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans "and harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterwards, that ye might "believe him"!"
When our Lord was risen, and about to ascend unto the Father, he said to his apostles, "Go ye,
preach the gospel to every creature: he that "believeth and is baptized shall be saved: and he "that believeth not, shall be danined." And again, "Thus it is written, and thus it behoved "Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the "third day; and that repentance and remission "of sins should be preached in his name unto all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." We may know how the apostles understood their Lord, after they were filled with the Holy Ghost, if we attend to Peter, on the day of Pentecost, thus addressing the convinced Jews, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins:" and afterwards "Repent and be converted, that your sins may "blotted out;" not because your sins are blotted out, as some modern systems seem to require: and why should men alter the order of scriptural exhor
Matt. xxi. 28-32. 2 Mark, xvi. 15, 16. Luke, xxiv. 46, 47,
tations, unless they mean to change the doctrine of srcipture'?
When Peter related the circumstances of Cornelius's conversion, to his brethren at Jerusalem, they made this remark, "Then hath God also to "the gentiles granted repentance unto life." When Paul at Athens, before the celebrated council of Areopagus, boldly exposed the ignorance of this renowned seat of pagan philosophy, he said, "The times of this ignorance God winked at, but now commandeth all men every where to repent3." And stating the substance of his preaching before the elders of Ephesus, he thus expressed himself, "Testifying, both to the Jews "and also to the Gentiles, repentance toward "God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ4."
The same apostle, addressing the unbelieving Jews, thus expostulates with them, Despisest "thou the riches of his goodness, and forbearance, "and long suffering; not knowing that the good
ness of God leadeth thee to repentance? But "after thy hardness and impenitent heart, trea"surest up unto thyself wrath against the day of "wrath?" To the Corinthians he says, "Godly "sorrow worketh repentance unto salvation not "to be repented of." And he expressed his fears that when he came among them he should "lament
many, which had sinned and had not repented"."
'Acts ii. 38. iii. 13. 2Acts, xi. 18. 3Acts, xvii. 30. 4Acts, xx. 21. 5 Rom. iii. 4, 5. 62 Cor. vii 10. xii. 21.
When he described the case of those who had
sinned beyond the reach of mercy, he says it is 'impossible to renew them to repentance:" and on the other hand he directed Timothy "in meekness to instruct those that opposed themselves, "if peradventure God would give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth." Where it is particularly to be remarked that repentance is considered as an essential preparation of mind for the reception of the truth, in order that they may "recover themselves out of the snare of "the devil, who have been taken captive by him at "his will'." And this agrees with Peter's advice to Simon Magus, "Repent of this thy wickedness " and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thy "heart may be forgiven thee"."
These testimonies may probably be deemed more than sufficient: but let it be remembered, that we are not only concerned to prove the truth of the doctrine; it is also requisite to shew that repentance is indispenably necessary to salvation, and has been a matter of the last importance in religion under every dispensation. I shall however, only select one passage from the Old Testament, with which to conclude this part of our subject. "I "will judge you, every one according to your
ways, saith the Lord God: repent and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so ini
2 Tim. ii. 25, 26. Heb. vi. 6.
2 Acts, viii. 22.
"quity shall not be your ruin. Cast from you "all your transgressions, whereby ye have trans"gressed, and make you a new heart and a new
spirit, for why will ye die, O house of Israel? "For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God; therefore repent, and turn ye1."-Let us then consider,
II. Certain things, which are implied in the language of the text, "That men should repent, "and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.'
It is evidently implied in these words, that all men have sinned. God would never require any one to repent, who had never offended: yet "he "commands all men every where to repent." Sin is the transgression of the divine law, either by omission or commission, by defect or redundance, in thought, word, or deed. Few indeed of the human race are acquainted with the full extent and spirituality of this perfect rule: yet all know more than they practise. Every man's conscience therefore must testify, if he allow himself time for reflection, that he hath often wilfully neglected his known duty and acted contrary to the conviction of his own mind, for the sake of some worldly object.
Eze. xviii. 30-32.