to us.

ther, and, having all power in heaven and earth,' makes continual intercession for the penitent. It is plain then, that if we can turn to God, he will turn

But here is the difficulty; how can we turn? Let us not be discouraged. The work of repentance is not, perhaps, so easy as some, and I am sure it is not so hard and irksome as others imagine it.

Repentance hath never so hard a task, as when it is to encounter with inveterate habits of sin: and yet, even in that case, the enemy, if we persevere, grows every day weaker, and the encounter easier to us. No habit, though ever so long indulged, can quite take away our freedom. We can still resist, if we please, and withhold our thoughts, and our will, from sin, provided we have other objects, sufficiently engaging, to employ them; and a little consideration will soon furnish us with such,

Did we not delight in sin, we could easily abstain from it. And could we find pleasure in repentance, we should as easily be persuaded to repent. Now we ought not to think repentance altogether an unpleasant work. It is true, it takes from us many sensual and unlawful pleasures; but then it rids us, at the same time, of all those guilty reflections, of all those infinite fears and anxieties, and of those deep stings, with which conscience wounds the spirit of him who gives himself up to such pleasures. Now I must insist, that if repentance did no more, it would be on that account only, an agreeable work. But it does a great deal more ; it gives us such comfort in reflection, such joy in meditation, such sweet fruits of safety, such tender and refreshing hopes, in the places of horrible fears, as are enough to sweeten even its mortifications to us.

How pleasant is it to throw down a heavy load, and give the weary shoulders rest! This pleasure conscience feels upon lightening itself of sin.

How pleasant is wealth, after we have felt the miseries of want! The soul feels this pleasure, when after a long want of all that is good, of all the graces, and virtuous endowments, and comfortable reflections on good actions, in which spiritual abundance consists, it begins to lay by religious riches, and to have a treasure in heaven.' Could the miser transfer his passion to this kind of riches, what a saint would he be!

There is great delight in rising from infamy to glory. Let the ambitious think of this; and, quitting the low pursuit of worldly honour, aspire to a heavenly crown, to an object truly glorious.

There is great delight in throwing off a heavy and galling yoke, and raising the neck to an easy and graceful posture. Let those who are enslaved to sin, the worst of tyrants, and who pant after liberty, reflect on this, and, by a resolute repentance, assert the native, the true liberty of the soul.

There is most exquisite delight in the recovery of health after sickness. Let those whose souls have languished under the fever of irregular desires, or been torn by convulsive passions, apply the spiritual medicine of repentance, and it shall bring with it the unspeakable comforts of spiritual health.

There is infinite transport in being made sure of life, after danger and fear of death. Let those whose sins have filled them with just fears of eternal death, rise by a true repentance from dead works,' and they shall be placed in a happy security of living for ever.

In short, if repentance hath its pangs, it hath its pleasures too, and those of the most solid and rational nature. But the helps to repentance, which are sufficient for the work almost in any circumstances, are still a farther encouragement to the undertaking. I shall mention some of the most powerful.

First, An ill liver should consider, that, if he do not repent, he is undone for ever; and that there is scarce any difference between long deferring, and never repenting, as the woful experience of thousands can witness.

But as a person, falling into a habit of sin, may be justly compared to one falling asleep, who but half hears, and half considers, what either the advice of others, or his own thoughts, suggest to him; and as therefore it is necessary, that, like Samson, he should be afflicted to be roused, he should lay hold of sickness and trouble and labour, on those thoughtful occasions, to give all possible life and force to his resolutions. They put him in mind of his own frailty, of life's uncertainty, of God's displeasure. They also incline



him to disrelish the pleasures, and despise the possessions of the world.

This is a most excellent opportunity for him to withdraw his mind from appetite and sense, and to call his giddy thoughts from the windows, where outward vanity hath held them at gaze, and to retire into himself, where the work of repentance chiefly lies.

As soon as he hath got so far, and hath taken a full view of his sinful dispositions and habits, it is then time to bethink himself of proper means to reform them. And here it should be his first care to call upon God's Holy Spirit to direct and succour him, to give force to his reflections, and life to his resolutions. Nor is he to do this only in his private walks, in his closet, and on his bed; but he must wait on God at his house, and at his table. It is in his own ordinances, and at the times and places of his own appointment, that we can best hope to have audience of God. Applications haughtily conducted, in a way of our own, cannot be so pleasing, nor are to expect equal success. But both in his public and private addresses, he should be very constant, and very importunate. He is begging for his soul, and heaven, and therefore should press with all the ardour and vehemence of his soul.

He should also add mortification to his prayers, as an expedient doubly useful, inasmuch as it will give devotion to his supplications, and at the same time directly strike at his evil dispositions. But by mortification I mean, not only fasting, but also denying himself the other pleasures of sense and appetite, which, though innocent in themselves, may either have a tendency to divert his penitential thoughts, or inflame his criminal desires. Besides, it is really of inconceivable use, in conquering any particular inclination, to accustom even our other inclinations to be denied ; and the very exercise of dominion over our passions helps to strengthen the prerogative of the mind and will.

Again, it will be of great use to shun the encounter of those temptations, to which we know ourselves most apt to yield. It is much easier to resist our own bad dispositions, when we have nothing else to combat, than when they are inflamed and backed by the presence of the tempting object.

Notwithstanding all the force of passion and habit, yet we find we have a power over our own thoughts, and can turn them to, or from particular objects. Now, how is it that sinful objects engage our thoughts? Is it not by striking deep into the passions, and settling a pleasing kind of correspondence with them? Let us then give good objects, such as God, our duty, our salvation, &c. the same advantage, by turning our thoughts frequently and strongly, and attaching our passions, to them. How comes it that we find it so easy to entertain good and banish bad thoughts in the time of affliction ? Is it not, that the power and displeasure of God, together with our own infirmity and danger, and the vanity of the world, are then more feelingly apprehended ? Let us endeavour then to retain the same fear of God, the same humility, the same vigilance, when brighter days, and more comfortable thoughts return. Nay, let us then increase our fears and watchfulness, because it is then we most need them; for then our enemy, who had been dislodged for a time, comes back with his recruit of 'seven spirits worse than himself;' then our vicious passions having been awhile bent down, and held back by an outward force, return, with a kind of spring, to their wonted objects.

How comes it to pass, that even the presence of a person, whom we do not fear in the least, is sufficient to hinder us from committing many of those crimes, which we scruple not in secret? Does not this shew, that the fear of human censure or punishment is strong enough so to bridle even our most inveterate habits, and our keenest desires, as to hinder us from acting in obedience to them? Does not this shew us, that our thoughts, or at least our actions, are still in our power? And if it is the presence of a witness that awes us, how carefully should we guard our hearts, when we know that he who seeth in secret, who is now our witness, and shall one day be our judge, hath his eye full upon us, and is looking us through and through in our most secret moments? It is because we do not see him, that we do not fear him? Surely if we knew a man saw us, though we could not see him, it would effectually destroy our privacy. But there is no such thing as secrecy or privacy. We have always unnumbered eyes upon us. We are perpetually surrounded with invisible beings, and continually in the presence and sight of God. To pretend to hide our crimes in the midst of so clear and so severe an inspection, is as absurd, as it would be in a blind man, to attempt a theft in the midst of an exchange at noon-day.

I know nothing that could so powerfully suppress evil thoughts, and so totally prevent wicked actions, as the strong and sensible apprehension of God's continual presence. The penitent ought therefore to possess his whole imagination with it, and strike it deep into his heart. If he could but once bring himself to an impossibility of wandering in his thoughts from the presence of God, that alone would perfect the work of repentance in him; that by itself would regulate his whole behaviour, and ensure his salvation.

The penitent should find out virtuous entertainments for his desires, as one of the best preservatives against vicious ones. He should never want an honest employment; for while he is busied in that, he can neither be pursuing unjust gains, nor be so much at leisure for criminal pleasures. He should always consider the shortness and uncertainty of life, and the infinite difference between the things of this world and the next. The grateful sense of God's goodness, the awful fear of his just displeasure, the continual expectation of his judgment, the delightful hope of eternal glory, and the alarming dread of everlasting torment, should take it in their turns to engage his thoughts in deep meditations.

And on those thoughtful occasions he should thus reason with, and question himself:

What am I doing? Which way am I going? Am I doing the work of God, and travelling in the way of his commandments ? No. Whom then am I serving ? The devil, the world, and the flesh? What! am I in a party with devils? Am I gratifying the devil, and offending God? Am I serving the author of my ruin, against the author of my being and my Redeemer? And how do these masters of my own choosing pay me for my drudgery? In vanity and vexation of spirit, in disappointment and anxiety, in shame and remorse; and, lest the wages of sin should not be fully paid, in death, in eternal death. But what if they paid me with all the pomps and pleasures of the whole world? Would that be an equivalent for my losses ? By no means: 'What shall it profit me, if I shall gain the whole world, and shall lose my own soul; and what shall I give,' or what shall I

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