Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

: fome; Men that are in Love with Mischief,

that Live without God, that mind only Earthly and Wicked things, and that wallow in Sensualities and Uncleanness; whither can we suppose such Devilish Tempers fit to go, but to the Company of Devils and Spirits like unto themselves? It requires a great deal of care and pains, to mend a Man's Nature, to rectifie and regulate his Temper, fo as to dispose him for the Enjoyment of God, and to make him receptive and capable of the Felicities of Heaven. It is an exellent Expression that of St. Paul's, Col. 1. 12. Giving thanks unto the Father, who bath made us meet to be partakers of the Inheritance of the Saints in light ; ingvwoaste nês, that hath made us fit for a Portion of that Inheritance ; that hath so wrought upon our Hearts, that we are Prepared and Qualified, rightly Fitted and Condition'd for the Enjoyment of Heaven.

NOW all this.is done by a sincere and hearty Repentance ; when a Man reflecting upon the Love of God, and

upon

the
Folly, Turpitude, and Heinousness of his :
own Sins, is broken in Heart through a
deep Sense of them, and from that hour
vows and resolves upon entire Obedience
to the Divine Will. Accordingly he en-
ters presently upon a New State of Life,

govern

governing his Desires with a strong hand, checking his former Inclinations, keeping his Lusts and Affections under command, and stedfastly refifting those Temptations which Betray'd him before into the hands of the Destroyer. By this means he extirpates by degrees those vitious habits, which once were not only his Life, but his Plague too, and by using himself to a course of Virtue and Religion (which he finds to be infinitely more easie and delightful as well as safe) he soon comes to be out of Love with Sin, and is so renewed in the Spirit of his Mind, that the great care and em. ployment of his Life, is to Reform himself Universally, and to yield up his Members as the Servants and Instruments of Righteousness.

THIS is briefly the Nature of Repentance, a perfect and total change ; and they are very dangerously mistaken who are taught to believe, that if they find in themselves fome Remorse of Conscience, fome trouble of Mind, together with general and imperfect purposes of amendment, their Penitence is sufficient, as long as they have the Priest's Absolution. Alas! all this comes vastly fhort of Reformation ; without which all the rest are nprofitable: For all the Absolutions in the World will do no good, without an utter deteftation and forsaking of Sin in the Penitent :

nor

nor will all his Fears, all his Remorse, all bis Confessions avail him, if when he goes for Absolution, he looks with a kind and friendly Eye upon his Vices, and cherisheth that Uncleanness in his Bosom, which by the Laws of God he is bound to cast away. For it is no easie matter for any to lead a Lewd Life, without some trouble and unquietness of Mind; and for a Man first to Sin, and then Confess, and then Sin again, is nothing else, but to drive a circular. Trade of Hypocrisie; for all this is very consistent with a Wicked Life: Because after this rate, there is no necessity of entire and universal Holiness, (without which, St. "Paul faith, there is no seeing of God) but People may give themselves up all their days to all manner of Wickedness and Villany, and may think to be saved nevertheless. What a smooth and pleasant way would this be into the Kingdom of God, were it but true? How easily after this rate is the Sinner and the Saint recon. ciled? But what a Scandal is it to Christianity, and what a fatal prejudice is it to a good Life, when Men are taught such an Artificial Method, how to Save their Souls, and their Sins too'? For who will undertake that troublesom and painful task, of Mortifying his Lusts, of parting with a right Eye, of cutting off a right hand,

and

and of being Crucifyed to the World, if he be perswaded that he cannot possibly miscarry, as long as he hath at hand such a present and easie Remedy as this is, Con. fefs and be Absolved. Be not therefore deceived in a case of such-huge moment and weight. True Repentance is not a thing of such quick and superficial dispatch, it must reach to the very Heart and Marrow ; it must alter and transform the whole Man, it must bring forth Fruits meet for Repentance ; it must express it self by an Universal Obedience to the Precepts of the Gospel, it must have that good effect upon Mens Spirits, as to make them follow whatsoever things are Fust, and Honest, and Pure, and Lovely, and of good Report.

2. THE Nature of Repentance being thus Explained, I shall not need to spend much time upon the next point, touching those Special Grounds and Reasons, which render Repentance necessary, before we go to the Communion. For every Man's Conscience cannot' but tell him, that he ought to come to fo Sacred a Mystery with clean Hands, and a very pure Heart. However, that Discourses of this kind may not seem fantastical and groundless, the Necessity of this thing will plainly appear from these following Considerations. 1. From that Analogy which this Evange:

[ocr errors]

lical Christian Feaft beareth unto those Antient Sacrifical Feasts, of which I have formerly Discoursed at large. At those Solemnities (as Gyraldus observes) even the Heathens thought it the most neceffary part of their Religion, to be free from an Evil Con- In Sacrificiis rite celebrandis Science. They were wont majorem nullam ceremoniam at those times, to confess conseire, bonos ac pios esse. Gy

fuisse videmus, quam nil fibi their Guilt, to Profess Re- rald. Hist. deor. Synt. 17. pentance for all their Faults, and by their dejected Countenances, and Id. ibid. modeft Behaviour, to express their great Sorrows for what was past

. They would
wash their Bodies in Rivers, and present
themselves at the Altars of their Gods in
pure and clean Apparel, with washen
Hands, and påked Feet, as significations
of the Purity of their minds; and when
the Solemnity began, as the Prieft asked
with a loud voice, tis vnde who is here ?
So the People anfwered, Tumi reégantos
many Men and Good; esteeming Sanctity
and Goodness to be absolutely necessary,
in such as were to Feast before their Dei-
ties. Among the Jews it was customary
to use several Ritual ways of Sanctificati-
on (such as the cleansing of their bodies,
and the scowring of their very Cloaths)
before they presented their Oblations unto
God, or durst to feed upon the remains of

their

« PreviousContinue »