Images de page

hope that from regard to your eternal welfare, you will set about it in good earnest; not only in preference to your vain amusements and dissipations, but even to your most important business and interests, which are of no consequence in in comparison with this " one thing needful.” Arise then, and be doing, and the Lord will both assist and prosper your endeavours.



SUCH persons as are but superficially acquainted

with the credulity of man, and the artifice of Satan; as have taken but little notice of the workings of their own hearts, and made but little observation of what passes around them, may be apt to conclude this part of our subject needless: yet I trust, it will be found to be of great importance, and essentially necessary, to a discourse concerning the proper seasons for repentance.

[ocr errors]

The words of the Psalmist, quoted by the Apostle, comprise what I shall urge on this head; "To-day, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your heart." The present time alone is our's: yesterday is irrecoverably gone; to-morrow we may be in eternity! Were then all of you in the prime of youth, I would endeavour to enforce on all the necessity of early repentance.


To such then I first address myself. young sinner, that custom is second nature: thy innate depravity forges the chains which hold thee in bondage, but custom rivets them upon thee. This is not mere speculation,-it is the language of

inspiration. Can the Ethiopian change his skin, "or the leopard his spots? then may he, who is "ACCUSTOMED to do evil, learn to do well."

Repentance may be considered, either as the work of divine grace in us, or as our own work the assistance of divine grace. "Work out

[ocr errors]


your own salvation with fear and trembling; for "it is GOD, that worketh in you to will and to "do, of his good pleasure." Doubtless it is always alike easy to Almighty God, to change the heart and renew the sinner: yet the sinner, when thus influenced to will, and to do, may find vastly more difficulty in some cases and circumstances, than he would in others. When worldly interests, cares, and projects, together with customary dulgences, have added strength to your lusts, you will find repentance vastly more arduous than at present. You will then find it vastly more difficult to cease to do evil, and to learn to do well, to separate from the ungodly, and to habituate your appetites and passions to controul. If you now delay, and should hereafter repent, you will bitterly know what it is to "pluck out a right eye, and "to cut off a right hand.” When to the opposition of lusts grown ungovernable by gratification, and remorse for sins which exceed calculation, bitter reflection 'on the irreparable mischief you

'Consider in this place, what hath been urged of the necessity of restitution, Part II. He who repents early, escapes that difficulty.

[ocr errors]

have been doing all your life; you add what it will cost you to renounce the friendship, to withstand the persuasions and enticements, to resist the arguments, to face the scorn and bear the reproach, of those comrades in iniquity, with whom you are hitherto happily unconnected: whilst per haps your own children, trained up in wickedness, or the wife or husband of your bosom, whom you have ignorantly espoused, may be among the

number of those, who are an offence unto you. Are you therefore in youth, in early youth, yea, in childhood? you are not too young to be sinners, both by nature and practice; evil dispositions and evil actions render repentance both needful and reasonable; and without it you must perish in your sins. Even now, therefore, I call upon you in the name of God, to "repent, and turn to "God, and do works meet for repentance." Listen not to your corruptions, to your companions, to the cruel murderer of souls, who would persuade you that it is soon enough yet.-Millions are now in outer darkness, who on earth, intended some time to repent, but imagined they had time enough before them. Perhaps there are scarcely any, who did not once think as you are now thinking, and flatter themselves as you do. Will you also trifle with the Almighty, till his patience be wearied out, and he cut you off, as he hath those who thus provoked him before you; and

send you to be their companions whose example you would imitate?"

Do you imagine you shall find less difficulty, or have more resolution to break through difficulties, hereafter? Alas! your difficulties will daily both be multiplied and gather force; and you will find less and less inclination or resolution to encounter them. Fear, shame, and conscience will make gradually more feeble resistance: restraints of education will wear off, and you will grow bolder in iniquity. Finding respite from punishment, will grow more secure and hardened in sin, till perhaps God will give you over to incurable obstinacy.


Do you imagine that sinful pleasures can afford you more satisfaction, than is to be found in serious godliness? Poor deluded souls, I compassionate your case, whilst I abhor the blasphemous supposition. Once I thought the same; I bless God for undeceiving me, and beg of him to grant you the same mercy. "There is no peace, saith my 'God, for the wicked." "Vanity and vexation" are stamped upon all created enjoyments. They consist of eager expectations; continual anxiety, disappointments, and mortifications; a few turbulent short-lived gratifications, insipid amusements, and fatiguing pursuits of pleasure. The mind of the poor deluded man, who thus seeks happiness

[ocr errors]

1 Jer. xiii. 27.-Woe unto thee, O Jerusalem, WILT thou not be made clean? When shall it ONCE be?

[ocr errors]
« PrécédentContinuer »