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no repentance can prevent, and which no time can cure.
If restitution is impossible, compensation is almost always in our power, -a compensation proportioned to our means. There is hardly any man so intrenched in happiness that he is utterly inaccessible to acts of kindness. Any signs of humble benevolence, any real contrition of the heart, towards an injured person, God will accept; if it is
the only compensation which accident enables us to make.The sin which God never will forgive, is that cold and barren penitence, which is only sorrowful because it cannot reconcile the feelings of virtue with the profits of crime. I allow that it is difficult to do justice, that it is difficult to compensate, and difficult to restore ; but one great effort is less costly than thousand moments of remorse ;-it is better to do that violence to your feelings, which every subsequent moment will convert into a more powerful source of happiness, than to retain any object of your desire, which
every moment will convert into a more powerful
cause of reproach.—The fruits of fraud and injustice are your's as a diseased limb is your's, for pain and for weakness, not for enjoyment : health does not make it an auxiliary ; but adhesion makes it a burden. If the life which God gave has left it, my hand is no hand to me; and if riches, and honor, and power, and every earthly blessing, are not founded upon righteousness, which is their health, and their life, they are not blessings, but burthen, and anguish, and disease, and death.
I have, hitherto, principally insisted upon the necessity of justice, as an ingredient of sincere repentance; but there can be no very sincere repentance without sorrow. Indeed, unless the evils, and apprehensions, to which sin gives birth, are so powerfully impressed upon the mind as to fill it with sadness, there is little security for that part of repentance, which consists in action.--Much is due; also, to the offended Majesty of Heaven ; we must not confess our impurities to God with an unshaken spirit; we must not lift up an undaunted face towards his throne, and
breathe out the sad story of our lives
Repentance must not only be sincere and juşt, but it must be timely;--it must take place at such a period as will enable us to make a solid, real sacrifice of unlawful enjoyment to a sense of Christian duty, Satiety is often mistaken for repentance, and many give up the offence, when they have lost all appetite for its commission ;-change of body is mistaken for change of mind, and he who quits a vice, become unnatural to his period of life, deems himself a progressive penitent; and believes he is receding from pleasure, because pleasure is receding from him.
To repent of passions, when passions are sweet and strong, has the merit of virtue, because it has the difficulty; to oppose languor,
to chain down inertness; and to vanquish imbecility, is to offer, to the Lord our God, that which costs us nothing; and to claim the kingdom of Heaven for not doing that which we cannot do.—Truly blessed is he who arrests himself in the middle career of pleasure, while he has yet numbered but few days, and a fair portion of life is still before him. God loveth the hoary hairs of the righteous; but when they who are far from the grave, when the young, the beautiful, and the strong, turn to the Lord their God in weeping, in fasting, and repentance, then is the great victory of Christ over sin; then, truly, are the ninety and nine just persons forgotten; and the joy in Heaven is exceeding great. Seriousness, in old age, we in some degree attribute to bodily causes; the early and rational repentance of a young person, disgusted with the first aspect of sin, is the most genuine and beautiful form of repentance; it affords us the example of temptation resisted when it is the strongest, apology rejected when it is the most natural, and the laws of religion respected, when the chance of atoning for their violation is the most complete. No exception from the common
course of passions can be more beautiful, no goodness more unequivocal, more useful to man as an example, and more grateful to God as a sacrifice.
If there be gradations in the rewards we are to receive hereafter, and many mansions in the house of the Father; to what heighth of excellence will he arrive, and to what eminence of reward will he attain, who sees before him half a life of progressive improvement? The work of righteousness begins with the dawn of reason, to terminate in the darkness of death; and the advanced point at which we are found, at the conclusion of our labours, must, of course, depend on the period at which they have commenced, and the vigour with which they have been prosecuted. Any repentance is better than a lasting obstinacy in sin; but it is young repentance which sanctifies an human soul here upon earth, which cleanses it from the passions of the flesh, and fills it full of sweet, holy, everlasting godliness. If the feeble efforts of old age are all we can give up to the purification of the soul, death will overtake us laboring