« PreviousContinue »
The finner has his invitation, If Iver. Ho, Severy
I fhall conclude with a very few inferences.
2. It is a moft neceffary grace; for it is that which brings Chrift and the foul together. And without it it is impoffible to please God, Heb. xi. 6.
3. It is of perpetual ufe while here, it is an eye, hand, and foot to the foul, Pfal. xxvii.eg, and at death it does the laft office to the man, fupports him when all other comforts fail, Heb. xiA13
4. Lastly, Seek faith, to have it wrought, actuated, and strengthened in you; and for that
effect. Pof. VIII. and laft. The righteoufness, which is the re-
caufe diligently attend ordinances, the preaching of the word particularly; for faith cometh by hearing,
Rom. X. 17-1
aid Of Repentance unto Life.
SUMON $300 A
ACTS xi. 18.
Then hath God alfo to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.
30DEPENTANCE is an infeparable companion of faith, fo that the foul bleifed with raith in 0Chrift will be alfo endowed with repentance, towards God.
This is a conclufion drawn by the believing Jews bifrom the account Peter had given them of what paffed with refpect to his receiving the Gentiles inSto Chriftian fellowship, with which they rett fatisJa fied, namely, That God had given repentance to the Gentiles. Where confider,
1. A bleffing granted; repentance unto life; fo called, to diftinguish it from legal repentance, and the forrow that is unto death. This true repentance is unto life; for, by God's appointment, it muft go before eternal life; and whofo have it, 19afhall be fure of that.
The parties to whom it was granted; the Gentiles, thole who were once without hope, and without God in the world. mil 3.The author of it, God. It is his gift, as well casufaith is. He works it in the heart.
The doctrine of the text is,
bobl to 19A
Docr. To thofe whom God defigns for life, he gives repentance unto life. They come all through this trait gate who enter into life. Or, "Repentance unto
life is a faving grace, whereby a finner, out of
a true fenfe of his fin, and apprehenfion of the mercy of God in Chrift, doth, with grief and hatred of his fin, turn from it unto God, with "full purpose of, and endeavour after new obe dience."
Here I fhall fhew,
1. What are the kinds of repentance.
II. The general nature of repentance unto life.
es & tod
I. I am to fhew what are the kinds of repentances They are two. sti loonst
1. Legal repentance, fuch as was in Judas, and may be in other reprobates, and fo is not faving, Matth. xxvii. 3. being produced by law-terrors, without gofpel-grace changing the heart.
2. Evangelical repentance, peculiar to the elect which is that in the text, and is the only true and faving repentance, of which we speak. The general difference betwixt them lies here, that in this laft one repents of his fin as it is fin, or offenfive to God, as David did, Pfal. l. 4. faying, Against thee, thee only have I finned, and done this evil in thy fight; in the other only as it brings wrath on him, Gen. iva 13.
fire tread Fuh hall II. I proceed to fhew the general nature of aree pentance unto life. It is a faving grace, Tim iii. 25. difpofing the foul unto all the acts of turn ing from fin unto God.
1. It is not a tranfient action, a figh for fin, fạn pang of forrow for it, which goes away agains But it is an abiding grace, a new frame and difpo fition, fixed in the heart, difpofing one to turn from fin to God on all occafions; Zech.axiñeiro. I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the post
habitants of Ferufalem, the fpirit of grace and of fupplications, and they fhall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they fhall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only fon, and fhall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his first-born.
2. Nor yet a paffing work of the firft days of one's religion; but a grace in the heart, fetting one [to an anfwerable working all their days. The heart being fmitten with repentance at converfion, the wound is never bound up to bleed no more, till the band of glory be put about it.
134It is not a common grace, as legal repentance is, but a faving one; diftinguishing one from a hypocrite, and having a neceffary connection with eternal life.
HI. I fhall fhew who is the author of this repen
1. Not men themfelves; it is not owing to one's natural powers: Jer xxii. 23. Can the Ethiopian change his fkin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye alfo do good that are accustomed to do evil. The flony heart is beyond man's power to remove.
2. It is God's free gift, and wrought by the. power of his Spirit in the heart, Ezek. xxxvi. 26. 27. A new heart alfo will I give you, and a new fpirit. will I put within you, and I will take away the ftony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and caufe you to walk in my ftatutes, and ye shall keep my judgements, and do them. Jer. xxxi. 18. 19. I have furely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus, Thou haft chaftifed me, and I was chaftifed, as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke: turn thou me, and I fhall be turn. edfor thou art the Lord my God. Surely after that I was turned, Irepented: and after that I was inftructed, I fmote upon my thigh; I was afbamed, yea, even confounded, because I did bear the reproach of my youth. Sometimes notorious finners become penitents, as
Manaffeh, Paul, &c. Where he is the matter, the knotticft timber is as eafy for the Spirit to work as any other, Zech. xii. 10. forecited.
The means the Spirit makes ufe of is the word; hence we read of preaching repentance. And (1.) The law ferves to break the hard heart, Jer. xxiii. 29. Is not my word like a fire? faith the Lord; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces? It is like the Baptift preparing the way for the Meffiah's coming. Hence it is called the Spirit of bondage, Rom. viii. 15. (2.) The gofpel ferves to melt the hard heart, like a fire, Jer. xxiii. 29. forecited; and fo to bow and bend it from fin unto God. The foul is driven by the law, but drawn by the gospel. The Lord comes in the ftill fmall voice. 19.1 161 91 fundo
IV. I proceed to fhew the fprings of this repentThere are two opened in the heart by the Holy Spirit.
la la 1. A true fenfe of fin. And in this there are two things.
(1.) A fight of it, Pfal. li. 3. My fin is ever before me. The man's eyes are opened, and he fees his finfulness, of nature, heart, lip, and life; the evil of his fin, in the mifery and danger of it to himfelf, and the dishonour it does to God.
(2.) A painful feeling of it, Acts ii. 37. The fin which fat light on them before, becomes a burden which they are not able to bear; for now they are roufed out of their lethargy, and feel their fores: it is a burden on their fpirits, backs, and heads. They are filled with terror, anguish, and remorfe at the fight, as was the Philip pian jailor, Acts xvi. 30. This is neceffary for repentance, because otherwife the finner will never part with his fin, nor prize Chrift and his grace, Rev. iii. 17. He will reign as king without Chrift till he feel his loft eftate, as did the prodigal Lake