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of repentance, and show that it is reasonable. 2. Repentance is an indispensable prerequisite to pardon and salvation. The promises are made to the penitent, and the threatenings are denounced against the impenitent. This consideration is a motive to repentance. (c) 3. The duty of repentance is much inculcated by God in His word. (d)-All men, therefore, everywhere, and in all circumstances, ought to repent-to repent generally, and particularly. Christians, as they sin daily, need to repent daily.
Q. 4. Is repentance man's immediate duty?
A. It is. If he may remain impenitent, and not sin in doing it one day, he may two; and if two, he may a year; and if a year, he may during life, and to all eternity. But none will pretend this. To neglect this duty for the shortest time is, therefore, criminal. (e)
(c) Acts iii. 10. Repent ye, therefore, and be converted; that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.-Is. lv. 7. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.-Luke xiii. 3. I tell you, Nay; but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
(d) Matt. iv. 17. From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.-Acts xxvi. 20. But showed 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.-Luke xxiv. 47. And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.-Mark vi. 12. And they went out, and preached that men should repent.-Acts xx. 21. Testifying both to the Jews and also to the Greeks, repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ.
(e) Acts xvii. 30. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent.-Ps. cxix. 59, 60. I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies. I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments.-Heb. iii. 7, 8. Wherefore as the Holy Ghost saith, To-day, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness.
Q. 5. Is the time for repentance limited to the present life?
A. It is. There is no space for repentance in the world to come. (ƒ)
Q. 6. Is the strength of the exercises of repentance alike in all Christians?
A. It is not. The strength of penitential sorrow is different in different persons. This is owing sometimes to natural or constitutional feelings, and sometimes to the different operations of the Holy Ghost.
Q. 7. Is the Divine agency concerned in the repentance of the sinner?
A. It is. While it is man who repents, it is God who gives him repentance. (g)
Q. 8. What exercises of mind usually precede repentance?
A. 1. Meditation upon the majesty and moral excellence of God; 2. the comparing of one's conduct with the requirements of His law; 3. reflection upon His goodness and mercy, and His justice as displayed in the sufferings of Christ; 4. the considering of the future misery of the finally impenitent; 5. remorse, conviction of sin, and anticipation of the wrath which awaits the ungodly.
Q. 9. What is the evidence of true evangelical repentance?
A. It is reformation in manners, or the performance of Christian duties. The subjects of it will bring forth fruits meet for repentance. (h)
(f) Eccles. ix. 10. Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave whither thou goest.-Rev. xxii. 11. He that is unjust, let him be unjust still; and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still; and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still; and he that is holy, let him be holy still.
(g) 2 Tim. ii. 25. In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth. Acts v. 31. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.
(h) 2 Cor. vii. 11. For behold this self-same thing, that yǝ
Q. 10. What effect does the repentance of sinners on earth have upon the inhabitants of heaven? A. It produces holy joy. They greatly rejoice when sinners are brought into the kingdom of the Redeemer. (i)
Q. 1. What is true evangelical faith?
A. It is that full belief in the truth of the Divine testimony concerning Jesus Christ, which implies an assent of the understanding, and an entire consent and approbation of the heart to it, and which induces the soul to place implicit confidence in Him as the true Messiah-as the Saviour of men. Another definition of faith may be, An assent to the truth of Scripture upon the authority of God, accompanied with feelings of heart corresponding to the nature of the truths believed. A shorter definition of faith may be, Cordial confidence in God through Jesus Christ. (a)
Q. 2. Is the true faith of the Gospel expressed by different phrases in the Scriptures?
sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! in all things, ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.-Matt. iii. 8. Bring forth, therefore, fruits meet for repentance.
(i) Luke xv. 7. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.
(a) 1 John v. 10. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself; he that believeth not God, hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.-Is. xxvi. 4. Trust ye in the Lord forever; for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength.-Heb. xi. 1. Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.-Rom. x. 10. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness.-Gal. v. 6. For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.
A. It is; such as 'knowing the truth,' 'coming to the knowledge of the truth,' 'receiving Christ,' 'trusting in Him,' 'looking to Him,' ' coming to Him,' and 'believing in Him.' These phrases all denote saving faith.
Q. 3. What is a false faith in relation to Gospel truth?
A. It is holding the truths of the Gospel in unrighteousness, or the merely assenting to the truths of Scripture, without any corresponding influence from them on the heart. (b)
Q. 4. Are there any other kinds of faith?
A. There is a historic faith, and the faith of miracles.
Q. 5. What is historic faith?
A. It is a simple speculative belief in historic records. (c)
Q. 6. What is a miraculous faith?
A. It is the firm belief or persuasion produced by the Spirit of God, of being able, by the Divine power, to work a miracle, or that another can work a miracle. (d)
(b) Rom. i. 18. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.-James ii. 19. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well; the devils also believe and tremble.-Acts viii. 13. 20, 21. Then Simon himself believed also, and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done. But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter; for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.
(c) Heb. xi. 3. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.-James ii. 17. Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
(d) Matt. xviii. 20. And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief; for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard-seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place, and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.-Acts xiv. 9, 10. The same heard Paul speak; who steadfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed, said with a loud voice, Stand upright
Q. 7. Who were the subjects of miraculous faith? A. The prophets, apostles, and some of the primitive Christians.
Q. 8. How long did the faith of miracles continue? A. It probably continued, in a greater or less degree, till the third century of the Christian Church. Q. 9. For what purpose was the faith of miracles given?
A. It was given to furnish indubitable evidence of the truth of Christianity.
Q. 10. Is true evangelical faith important? A. It is; because it is an indispensable condition of eternal life. (e)
Q. 11. Is faith a suitable and just condition of salvation?
A. It is; because it honors God by bringing back the sinner to Him. Man fell by disbelieving or discrediting God, and thereby greatly dishonored Him. He now rises by believing or crediting Him, and thereby honors Him. In this respect faith restores man to his original state. Faith, therefore, is the proper ground or condition of salvation.
Q. 12. In what light is faith to be viewed in man's salvation?
A. Not as the meritorious ground of it; but as that which unites the soul to Christ, and makes it a partaker of His benefits, and as the grand condition upon which salvation is bestowed. (ƒ)
on thy feet. And he leaped and walked.-1 Cor. xiii. 2. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
(e) Acts xvi. 30, 31. And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.Acts x. 43. To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth on him shall receive remission of sins. Mark xvi. 16. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. John xx. 31. But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
(f) Eph. ii. 8. For by grace are ye saved through faith.