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of God, But now we have the fullest Aflu-
rance, that if we do fincerely believe and re-
pent, our Sins will be pardoned. And though
Men do often deceive themselves in this Mat-
ter, and entertain a more favourable Opinion
of their Ştate than they ought ; yet this pro-
geeds from too partial and fuperficial Reflecti-
ons upon their Heart and Adions. And there-
fore the Apostle teaches us plainly how to
correct that flattering and dangerous Error, viz.
by a sincere and diligent Search into our felves.
For if a Man think himself to be something, Gal. 6.3.
when he is nothing, be deceiveth bimself; but

let every Man prove bis own work, and then e shall be bave rejoicing in himself alone, and

not in another. But

2 dly, Let us consider further in this Matter,
the, true End and Delign of the Divine Pus
pishments; which doubtless are sent forth for
Reformation, and not for Destru&tion. It is
not our Ruin God aims at in thesc; for what
Profit is there in our Blood, when we go dovon
to the Pit 2 He is too great, too merciful a
Being, to delight in Revenge and Cruelty :
He hath declared, he hath folemnly fworn,
that be batb no Pleasure in the Death of Sin. Ez. 18.32
pers ;

but that they should repent and live.
It is reported concerning the Antient Row
mans ; (not only a Warlike, but a Wife and Po-
litick People) that before they engaged in War
against their Neighbour Nations, they were
wont first to issue out a publick Manifefto or
Proclamation of their Design; to the End, all


1$. 16.

who would come in and submit to the Pow er of their Arms, might receive the Benefit of their Protection, and be accounted amongst their Confederates and Allies. Upon the very fame Errand doth God fend forth his Judgments into the World ; they are his Manifesto's and Proclamations to Men; not to deprive them of the Hopes of Mercy, but to prevent their Ruin by Repentance, and a timely coming over to him. This Mofes declares to have been the End of all his Chastisements upon the Children of Ifrael, in their long Trai vels and Pilgrimages through the Wildernelles;

and all the Difficulties and Hazards they were Deut. 8. engaged upon, for the Space of Forty Years.

Who led thee thro' that great and terrible Wilderness ; where were flery Serpents, and Scorpions, and Drought ; that be migbt bumble thee, and prove thee to do thee Good at thy latter End.

And how smart and severe foever fuch Dilpenfations may be, whilst we languilh under them; pet do tbey afterwards yield the peaceable Fruits of Righteousness, to them who are exercised ibereby. Though they seem to have the Nature of a Punishment ; yet they really have the Effect, and Benefit of a Blessing. That whereas God might, if he pleased, furprize and overwhelm Men in their Sins; yet he gives them frequent Warnings, and loud Admonitions; long Space and Tine to confider, and repent, and amend : And Ob! that Ment were Wife; that they understood this ;


that they would fuffer the Goodness and Par tience, and Corrections of God to have their proper End upon them. i. e. to lead them to

Repentance. And fo much for the first $ Thing observed from the Words ; viz. The se readinefs of God to take notice of, and for a # Time to suspend his Judgments, upon Men's i present Humiliation of themselves before him,

Seeft thou bow Abab bumbleth himself before me I pafs on to the 2d, viz.

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II. The Insufficiency of a Partial and Imperfect Repentance; though it may mitigate or fufpend, yet it does not finally remove the

Judgment. There is no queftion, but that | fome external Profeffions, and folemn Acknow

ledgments of our Sins (arising from the Threarning or Denounciation of some heavy Punishment; or from the prefent Senfe and Smart of a Calamity; or from the inward Uneasiness of a Man's Conscience] may have fome Avail with God to refpite Punishment; though they

have not in them the true Principles, nor the i perfect Nature of Repentance. This may be

gathered from the Example of Pharoab and of

Abab before us ; yet neither of these make any ? Thing against the Truth I am about to dif

courfe. For though God relaxed the Punishment of Pharoah upon his Promise to let the People go ; yet upon the Breach of that Pro mise, he constantly renewed it again, as we may read at large, Exod 10. Though Abab's ļumbling himself procured fome Favour from

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God ; yet it was but Temporary and Incompleat; fixt to a certain definite Time : It did not wholly remove, it only transferred the Execution of that Judgment till his Sons Days. And the Insufficiency of such Repentances will inore fully appear, if we do but consider,

I, The Nature of Repentance. 2. The

Purity, the Omniscience, and the Justice of God.

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1. First, The Nature of Repentance; which certainly can never be a short and tranfient, or a general and confused Examination of our selves; not exerting a few Acts of Piety and Devotion; not a sudden Fright, or an accidental. Grief for Sin'; for what Pain or Labour ; what Vertue or Power ; what Praise or " Reward can be due to such short, and cheap, and perfunctory Services as these ? But Repentance consists in a new Frame and Temper of Heart; in a fixt Habit and Pradice of Vertuc; in a full Conviction of Judgment, that we have incurred the Displeasure of God; in condemning and abhorring our felves for the fame ; together with a full Purpose and Resolution, that we will do so no more. Whereas that Repentance which goes no further than outward Confession with the Mouth ;

which leaves behind it the secret Desire and Affedion to the Sin; which prays, with Reserve - and Equivocation, and Duplicity of Mind, has nei


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be ther the Nature of Repentance, nor the Pro mise of Acceptance from God. But here

probably it will be objected. “That if all this

be included in the Nature of Repentance, “ who can say he hath repented truly ? Who s is thereamongst us, that after he hath come " and seriously confessed his Sins' to God, has not gone

and committed them again? Who is there, that has not broken many Promi

ses, and Vows, and solemn Engagements? " Has any Man such an absolute Command

over his Heart, his Will, and Paffions, that " he can make such a Promise to God, that “ he will sin no more in such an Instance " with such Circumstances and Aggravations "Is not the Devil a very subtle, malicious, " and powerful Enemy? Is not Education,

Custom, Example, Company, Temptations “ in many Instances too strong for human En:! deavours, and the most resolved Virtue ? 6. How then is it possible to arrive at such a “ high and abfolute pitch of Repentance ? The Objection hath something of Weight and Difficulty in it; and therefore it may be worth our while to consider it a little more distinctly.

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First, Then, In this Argument we ought always to distinguish betwixt Sins of pure lgnoranee and Infirmity, and those of Wilfulness and Prefumption : To the first of these, we are all unavoidably liable, and the best of us all thall never be free from them, till we


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