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526. Is there any truth more easy to be known throughout all Christendom than this, that a man ought to examine himself? For in all empires and kingdoms, whether of the Roman Catholic or the Protestant Church, the admonition previous to the celebration of the holy supper teaches, that man should examine himself, and know and acknowledge his sins, and begin to lead a new life; and in the Church of England, this admonition is accompanied with terrible threatenings, where, speaking of the qualifications necessary for a worthy communicant, the following words are used: "The way and means thereto is, first to examine 66 your lives and conversations by the rule of God's com"mandments, and wherein soever ye shall perceive your"selves to have offended, either by will, word, or deed, "there to bewail your own sinfulness, and to confess your"selves to Almighty God with full purpose of amendment "of life. And if ye shall perceive your offences to be "such, as are not only against God, but also against your "neighbour, then ye shall reconcile yourselves unto them, "being ready to make restitution and satisfaction, accord"ing to the uttermost of your powers, for all injuries and "wrongs done by you to any other, and being likewise

ready to forgive others that have offended you, as ye "would have forgiveness of your offences at God's hand; "for otherwise the receiving of the holy communion doth "nothing else but increase your damnation. Therefore, "if any of you be a blasphemer of God, a hinderer or "slanderer of His Word, an adulterer, or be in malice or "envy, or in any other grievious crime, repent ye of your "sins, or else come not to that holy table; lest after the "taking of that holy sacrament, the devil enter into you, "as he entered into Judas, and fill you full of all iniquity, "and bring you to destruction both of body and soul."

527. Still, however, there are some incapable of examining themselves, as infants and young children, before


they come to a maturity of understanding fitted for such examination. The case is the same with silly persons, who are incapable of reflection; and with all persons who have not the fear of God; and again with those who labour under certain infirmities of mind and body; and lastly, with those who, in consequence of being confirmed in the doctrine of justification by the mere imputative faith of Christ's merit, have persuaded themselves, that by examination, and consequent repentance, something of man's own would get admission which would defile faith, and thus cast him out and banish him from the one only focus of salvation. Lip-confession alone is held sufficient by such persons; but this, as was shewn above, is not repentBut they who know what sin is, and particularly they who have much knowledge of the Word, and teach it to others, and yet do not examine themselves, and consequently do not see any sin in themselves, may be likened to such as scrape together great riches, and store them up in boxes and chests, without applying them to any other purpose than to look at and count them over; who are like the traders, one of whom hid his talent in the earth, and the other his pound in a napkin, Matt. xxv. 25, Luke xix. 20. They are also like hard and stony ground, on which seed falleth, Matt. xiii. 4; like fig-trees full of leaves, but barren of fruit, Mark xi. 12; like hearts of adamant, which cannot be made fleshy, Zech. vii. 12; and "like partridges, which sit on their eggs and hatch them not; they get riches, but not with judgment; in the midst of their days they leave them, and in their end they become fools," Jer. xvii. 11; and they are like the five virgins who had lamps and no oil, Matt. xxv. 1 to 12. They who read the Word, and extract thence many passages upon charity and repentance, and are acquainted with abundance of its precepts, but do not live in conformity with them, may be compared with gluttonous eaters, who put into their mouths great lumps of

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meat, and in consequence of letting it down into the stomach without proper mastication, it remains there indigested, vitiating the chyle, and occasioning lingering disorders, which at last put a miserable end to their lives. Such people being void of spiritual heat, howsoever exalted in light, may not improperly be called winters, cold grounds, arctic climates; nay, even snows, and pieces of ice.


528. That actual repentance is absolutely necessary, and that man's salvation depends on it, is plain from many passages, and positive declarations of the Lord in the Word; of which we shall here adduce the following: "John preached the baptism of repentance, and said, Bring forth fruits worthy of repentance," Luke iii. 3, 8, Mark i. 4: "Jesus began to preach and say, Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand," Matt. iv. 17, Mark i. 14, 15: “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish," Luke xii. 5: "Jesus said to His disciples, that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations," Luke xxiv. 47: Wherefore "Peter preached repentance and baptism in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins," Acts ii. 38; and also said, "Repent ye, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out," chap. iii. 19. And Paul preached "that all men, every where, should repent," Acts xvii. 30; and "shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance," Acts xxvi. 20: "And testified both to the Jews and also to the Greeks, repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ," Acts xx. 21. The Lord also said to the church of Ephesus, "I have somewhat against thee because thou hast

left thy first love; repent therefore, or else I will remove thy candlestick out of its place, except thou repent," Rev. ii. 2, 4, 5: And to the church in Pergamos, "I know thy works, repent," chap. ii. 16: And to the church in Thyatira, “I will give her up to affliction, except she repent of her works," chap. ii. 19, 22, 23: And to the church of the Laodiceans, I know thy works, be zealous therefore, and repent,". chap. iii. 15, 19. And in another place, "There is joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth," Luke xv. 7: With many other passages to the same purpose. Hence it is evident, that repentance is a duty of absolute necessity; the nature and the manner of performing it we shall consider presently.

529. Who cannot understand, from the reason with which he is endowed, that it is no repentance for a man to confess with his lips only that he is a sinner, and to utter many things about sin, like the hypocrite mentioned above, n. 518? For what is more easy for a man, when he is in pain and anguish, than by exspiration from his lungs to pour forth sighs and groans through his lips, and also to beat his breast, and make himself guilty of every sin, when yet he is not conscious of a single one in himself? But doth the crowd of devils, which have their abode in his loves, depart with his sighing? Will they not rather make a mockery of it, and still remain in him as in their own habitation? From these remarks it may be evident, that no such lip-repentance is meant in the Word, but a repentance, as it is expressly affirmed, from evil works.

530. Is it asked then, "How is repentance to be performed?" I answer "Actually : that is, by a man's examining himself, knowing and acknowledging his sins, making supplication to the Lord, and beginning a new life." That there can be no repentance without self-examination, was shewn in the foregoing article; but to what purpose is selfexamination except that a man may know his sins? And to what purpose is such knowledge, but that he may acknow

ledge them to be in him? And to what purpose are all these three duties, but that he may confess his sins before the Lord, and pray for divine succours, and thus begin a new life, which is the end to which every previous step has been directed? This is actual repentance: and that this is the method by which it is to be performed, may appear plain to every one from the rite of baptism, in which, by the washing is signified regeneration; for at its celebration the sponsors promise for the child, that he will renounce the devil and all his works. The like too may appear from the Lord's supper, previous to which all are admonished to repent of their sins and turn themselves to God, and begin a new life. It is plain also from the catechism, or decalogue, which is in the hands of all Christians, where in six of the commandments it is only enjoined that man should not commit evil; and the reason is, because unless he remove evils by repentance, he cannot possibly love his neighbour, and much less God; when nevertheless on these two duties hang all the law and the prophets, that is, the whole Word, and, consequently, salvation. Actual repentance, if it be repeated at stated times, especially as often as a man prepares himself to partake of the holy supper, supposing him afterwards to abstain from one or more sins, which he then discovereth in himself, is sufficient to initiate him into the actual practise of it; and when in that state, he is then in the way to heaven, for he then begins from natural to become spiritual, and to be born anew of the Lord.

531. This may be illustrated by the following comparisons. Man, before repentance, is like a desert, in which there are terrible wild beasts, dragons, owls, bats, vipers, and venomous serpents; and in the thickets, ochim and tziim; with satyrs dancing here and there: but when these are cast out by the labour and industry of men, the desert may then be tilled and cultivated for the reception of seed, and sown

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