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perfects the Divine Image in those chat use it. Plutarch, Epictetus, Seneca, and the Emperor Marcus Antoninus, agree in recommending the same Practice by their own example, but especially Hoły David, I thought on my ways, and turned my Feet unto thy Testimonies, Plal.119. 59. And this Method, no doubt, is an admirable Means to improve us in Vertue, and the most effectual Way to keep our Consciences awake, and to make us ftand in Awe of our selves, and afraid to Sin, when we know before-hand that wemuft give so severe an Account to our felves of every A&ion. And when we are em ploying our Minds, in this Duty of SelfExamination, before the Communion, or at any other time, we must discharge it as impartially as is possible for us, judging as severely of our own A&ionis as we would do of our greatest and worft Enemy; or otherwife we shall but flatcer and deceive our selves in a Matter of the greatest Weight and Importance, viz. Of knowing the State and Condicion of our own Souls: But if our Enquiries are just and true, we shall then plainly discover wherein, and how often we have gone aftray and done amiss. We shall, by the faithful Discharge of this Daty, bring to Light all our ungodly;unjuft and uncharitable
d&tions; all our vain and filthy Speeches;
all vir wanton,proud and coverous I boughts. Such a strict and impartial Examination will discover to us that accursed Thing Sin, Deut. 7. 26. which has defiled ourNature, made God our Enemy,and will exclude us the Kingdom of Heaven, if not repented of, 1 Cor. 6. 9, 10. But by such a severe Scrutiny as this, we shall soon perceive the Number of our Transgreffions, what vile Wretches and grievous Offenders we are, how often we have broken our most serious Vows and Resolutions, especially after the Receiving the Holy Sacrament, and in Tinies of Sickness and Distress: Such a Sight, and such a Prospect of Misery as this, should excite in us a hearty Trouble and Sarrow for Sin; especially if we cast an Eye upon the final Issue and Consequences of it, with respect to the World to come. Upon the Ungodly (saith Holy David) God will rain Snares, Fire and Brimstone, Storm and Tempeft; this shall be their Portion to drink, Pfal. 11.7. Great Plagues remain for theUne godly, Indignation and Wrath, Tribulation and Anguish, upon every Soul of Man that doeth Evil, Rom. 2.8,9. The Wicked shall be turned into Hell, and all tbe People that forget God. There, and many other such like Texts of Scripture, may give us some Idea or
Notion of the deplorable Condition of the Wicked in a future State, and of God's Hatred against Sin; And is not this then, without multiplying Arguments, fufficient to affect us with great Grief and Sorrow,when we consider that so long as we live in a vicious Course,so long are we exposed to all those Plagues and Torments which God hath in store for wicked Men, and will most certainly be their Lot and Portion, if not prevented by a timely Repentance.
THE Second part of a true Repentance Contrition. is Contrition, or a sorrowful Bewailing of our own Sinfulness inThought, Word and Deed. When we call to Mind the Sins and Follies of our paft Lives, and the Dangers we are like to fall into, surely we cannot be otherwise affected than fensibly grieved with the Thoughts and Apprehensions of our present and approaching Misery. The Sorrows of Dawid, and the Repentance of St. Peter, 2 Sam. 12. Luke 22. fhew'd themselves in Floods of Tears, and were too big to be confin'd within : But our Hearts are generally so hard and unrelenting, that we sin against God, and lose our own Souls without so much as a SighorTear.Iknow that the Tempers of People are different; some can fhed Tears upon every slight
Occasion, and others cannot weep tho' their Hearts are ready to break for Grief; and therefore we are not to judge of the Sincerity of our own or other Peoples Repentance by such Signs and Tokens, nor are Tears always necessary to Repentance, tho'they very well become us, and the least we can do when we have done amiss, is to be sorry for it, and to condemn our Folly, and to be full of In-; dignation and Displeasure against our selves. I will declare my Iniquity,(TaithHoly David) and be sorry for my sin,Pfal. 38. 18. Efpecially if we have been very wicked, and have multiplied our Transgressions, and havecontinu’dlong in an evilCourse, have neglected God, and have forgotten bim Days
without Number, then the Measure of our Sorrow muft bear some Proportion to the Degrees of our Sins ; if they have been as Scarlet and Crimfon: Isa. 1.18. that is, of a deeper Dye than ordinary, then our Sorrow must be as, deep as our Guilt: if not so great, we ought to fhew so much Trouble and Contrition of Spirit as to produce in us a penitential Confeffion of all our former Sins.
Which is the Third Property Confeffion I of a sincere Repentance. I will ac- of sing knowledge my Sin unto, thee, (says the Proc phet David) and mine unrighteousness bave
A New Life. 16 A Companion to the Altar. not hid; I said I will confess my Sins unto the Lord, and so thou forgaveft the Iniquity of mý Sin, Pfal. 32. 5. Which Confession of Sins must not be in general Terms, that we areSinners with the rest of Mankind, but it must be'a special Declaration to God of all our most heinous Sins; in Tbought, Word and Deed, with all their feveralAggravations, laying open bur Sores to our Heavenly Physician; and this must we do to shew that we condemn all our former evil and viciousCourses, with a full Purpose andResolution of Mind (by God's Affiftance) that we never intend to do the like again. Unless this be done, our Sorrow for Sin, and the Confession of ourWickedness can never profit us in the Sight' of God, if it be not join'd with a firm Refolution of leading a New Life. most Effential Part of a sincere Repentance, and the only Condition of finding Mercy with God. He that covereth bis Sins shall not prosper
but wholo comfeffet hand förläkéthithem, Shill bave Mercy, Prov.28.13. Let the wicked Man förfake-his Ways, and the unrighteous Min his Thoughts and let him return unto the Lord,and be will have
Merty upon him, and to our God, and he will rbün dantly pardon, Ila. 5,5.7I tell you inay, (faith Christ) but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish, Luke