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thing displeasing to God; either such things as God has forbidden, to keep us from ruining ourselves; or by omitting such duties as He has commanded, in order to fit us for happiness when
So that if either the fear of God's displeasure, or a love of Him who has been so good to you, will weigh with you, you will most heartily condemn yourself for everything you have done contrary to His will and command.
You will also beg Him most earnestly to forgive you what is past; and you will promise and resolve, through His grace and help, not wilfully to offend Him again.
And, lastly, you will not forget to pray for His grace every day of your life;
without which your best resolutions will come to nothing.
This is that repentance, concerning which you are required to examine yourself, before you go to the Lord's Supper.
Most people, it is true, are ready to own that they are sinners, and cry, “Lord, forgive us ; ” and this too often without any great concern, or purposes of amendment.
But this you will not think sufficient, when you seriously consider that the end and punishment of sin are not to be seen in this life.
If, therefore, you stand in any fear of the judgment of God, set yourself seriously to consider your past life; see whether you have not lived, or do not now live, in any known sin, or evil habit; of lying, for example, or swearing, or drinking, or filthy talking; of uncleanness; of keeping loose and profane company; of following unwarrantable pleasures and diversions, or of leading an idle, useless, sinful life.
If this has been your case, resolve to break off all these, and all such like evil ways, which are displeasing to God; condemn yourself for having so desperately broken the commands of One “who can destroy both body and soul in hell.” Consider the vows that are upon you, and despise not the goodness and forbearance of God, which is designed to lead you to repentance.
If you ask when you are to begin this necessary work (if it is not already begun), the answer is short: the very moment you ask the question ; and this, because if you find an unwillingness
in yourself to set about it now, that unwillingness will every day increase; very probably you will never repent, unless God by His judgments, or by the sight of death, shows you your sad error, when it may be too late to be of any real use to you.
Now, if these considerations affect your heart, as sure they will if
have any regard for your salvation, represent your desires to God in some such words as these following:
The Prayer. BLESSED be God, who by His grace, and by the voice of His Church, hath called me to repentance! Discover to me, 0 Thou Searcher of hearts, the charge that is against me, that I may know, and confess, and forsake, the sins I have fallen into.—Give me that true repentance, to which Thou hast promised mercy and pardon, that I may amend where I have done amiss, and that iniquity may not be my ruin. And, O blessed Advocate, who ever livest to make intercession for us, I put my cause into Thy hands; let Thy blood and merits plead for me, and by Thy mighty intercession procure for me the pardon of my past offences : that Thou mayest say unto me, as Thou didst unto the penitent in the Gospel, “ Thy sins are forgiven," so that I may go with a quiet conscience to Thy holy Table. Amen.
Concerning the purposes you are to make of
leading a New, that is, a CHRISTIAN LIFE. N the first place, take especial notice, that God
accepts of our repentance on this condition only, that we may afterwards glorify Him by an holy Christian life.
And as He delivered the people of Israel from bondage, not that they might do what was right in their own eyes, but that, becoming an holy nation, they might be an honour to their deli
verer; even so Christ hath redeemed us from - the bondage of sin and Satan, “that He might deliver us from this present evil world,” and "purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” 2
(1) Deut, xiv, 2.
(2) Gal. i. 4; Tit. ii. 14.
And as the former perished, that is, all such as did not answer the end of their deliverance, so most surely shall we do, if we do not obey our Redeemer.
Your duty to God, your neighbour, and yourself, you have known from a child. Be assured of it, you will meet with temptations from the devil, the world, and your own corrupt heart, both to neglect and transgress the commands of God.
It will be absolutely necessary, therefore, that you arm yourself betimes, both with holy resolutions, and with this holy ordinance which you are preparing to go to, that you may be able, through the
grace of God, to go on in the way of salvation.
Now your duty to God is, To believe in Him, to fear, and to love Him, with all your heart and soul: forasmuch as you stand indebted to Him for all you have, or value, or hope for, in this, or the next life.
Do but consider how you would behave yourself, if you were but half so much obliged to any man on earth. How dearly would you love him! How often would you think of him! How would