« IndietroContinua »
fall away from your duty, and thereby put yourself out of this state of salvation; is there no way left for you to recover yourself, and to return again to it?
A. Yes, there is; by a true repentance for the sins which I shall have committed, and an humble confession of them to God; with earnest prayer for his forgiveness, through the merits and intercession of Jesus Christ, our Blessed Saviour and Redeemer.
Proofs Subjoined.—Luke, xv. 7, 18, &c. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in Heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. I will arise and go to my father, a?id will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven a?id before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. 1 John, i. 8, 0. If we say that we have no sin we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
2. Q. What mean you by repentance?
A. 1 mean such a conversion of a sinner to God, whereby he is not only heartily 4 sorrow for the evil he^ has done, and resolved to forsake it, b but does actually begin to renounce it, and to fulfil his duty according to his ability, with a stedfast purpose to continue God's faithful servant unto his life's end.
Proofs Subjoined.—'2 Cor. vii. 10. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. b Psalm xxxii. 5. 2" acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Pro v. xxviii. 13. He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso cmifesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy. Isaiah, i. 16, 17. Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.
3. Q. What are the chief acts required to such a repentance?
A. To forsake evil, and to do good: to turn from those sins which we repent of; and to serve God by an universal obedience of him, in whatsoever he has required of us.
Proofs Subjoined.—Psalm xxxiv. 14. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace and pursue it. Isaiah, i. 16, 17. Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do well.
4. Q. What is the first step towards a true repentance?
A. To be thoroughly convinced of the evil of our ways, and heartily sorrow for it.
Proof Subjoined. — Psalm xxxviii. 18. For 1 will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin.
5. Q. Is every kind of sorrow to be looked upon as a part of true repentance?
A. No; there is a sorrow for sin which proceeds not from any love of God, or sense of our duty to Him; nor yet from any real hatred of the sins which we have committed; but merely from the fear of God's judgment, and of the punishment which we may be likely to suffer for them. This is that sorrow which is commonly called attrition; and may be found in the most wicked men, without ever bringing them to any true repentance for their sins.
Proof Subjoined.—2 Cor. vii. U, 10, 11. Now 1 rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of; but the sorrow of the world worketh death. For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you; yea, what clearing of yourselves; yea, what indignation; yea, what jear; yea, what vehement desire; yea, what zeal; yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.
6. Q. What then is that sorrow, which leads to a true repentance?
A. It is that godly sorrow which proceeds from a sense of our duty, and of the obligations we lie under to the performance of it. When we are sorry for our sins upon the account of our having thereby offended God, broken the covenant of the gospel, and grieved the Holy Spirit which was given to us; and are therefore resolved immediately to forsake our sins, and never to return any more to the commission of them.
7. Q. How is such a sorrow to be wrought in a sinner?
A. Only by the grace of God, and the serious consideration of our estate towards him: the former to be attained by our constant prayer for it; the latter, by accustoming ourselves often to examine our souls, and to try our ways by the measures of that obedience which the gospel of Christ requires of us.
8. Q. Does not God make use of many other ways to bring men to such a sorrow?
A. God has many ways whereby to bring sinners
to repentance. Sometimes he does it by sending some temporal evils and calamities upon them: sometimes by visiting them with terrors and disquiets of mind: sometimes he calls upon them by the outward ministry of his word; and sometimes by the evils which befal others, especially those who were their companions in their sins. But whatever the occasions be which God is pleased to make use of to bring us to repentance, it is still the Grace of his Holy Spirit, and the serious consideration of our own wretched estate, that must begin the work, and produce in us that godly sorrow, which finally ends in a true repentance.
9. Q. What are the chief motives, with respect to ourselves, that will be the most likely to engage us thus to sorrow for our sins?
A. The 'threats of God denounced in the Holy Scriptures against impenitent sinners; and the b promises there made of pardon to all such as shall truly repent, and return to their duty, as they ought to do.
Proofs Subjoined.—"Luke, xiii. 3. Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Prov. xxviii. 13. He that covereih his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy. b Isaiah, lv. 7. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, and he will abundantly pardon. Ezek. xviii. 30. Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord God. Repent and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin, xxxiii. II. As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel.
10. Q. What is the next thing required in order to a true repentance?
A. Confession of sin: not that God has any need of being informed by us of what we have done amiss; but to the end we may thereby both raise in ourselves a greater shame and sorrow for our evil doings; and give the greater glory to God by a solemn humbling of ourselves in confession before him.
Proof Subjoined.— 1 John, i. 8, i). If we say tJiat we have no sin, we. deceive. ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
11. Q. Is such a confession necessary to our forgiveness? V.
A. So necessary that we have no promise of any pardon without it: Prov. xxviii. 13. He that covereth his sins shall not prosper; but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy. 1 John, viii. 9. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
12. Q. To whom is our confession to be made? A. Always to God: and in some certain cases to
13. Q. What are those cases in which we ought to confess our sins to man, as well as unto God?
A. They are especially these three. 1. In case we have offended or injured our neighbour; and upon that account need to obtain his pardon, as well, as God s. 2. If by any open and notorious transgres