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volves some antient empire in destruction, and the evils of unprincipled ambition are let loose upon mankind. That the terror to which such times give birth may be dissipated, we must all sincerely pray; that the long and dark shadow, which they cast upon every man's heart, may be illumined, we must all implore of Almighty God; but I wish that awful feeling of human weakness, which these times inspire, may ever prevail, I wish that right sentiment of absolute dependance upon Almighty Providence may be as visible in our future happiness, as it is in our present peril, I wish, when all the passions unfavourable to human happiness have subsided, that the only one these times have produced, which has any tendency to place human happiness upon its proper basis, may be more exquisitely felt, more widely diffused, and more profoundly revered.
Having stated the causes from which repentance commonly commonly originates, I am next to shew by what means, and by what motives, repentance may be best fixed into a habit, so that it does not vanish away and
become ineffectual, after it has once begun to operate.
The first, and greatest mode of repenting, is by resolving to be free, by a revolt against the tyranny of sin, and a struggle for the freedom of righteousness. This is a love of freedom, which produces no excess, and acknowledges no limits; which is at work to destroy the anarchy of passion, and restore the lawful empire of religion;-not that foolish love of freedom which attempts to get rid of all restriction, but that useful love of freedom, which is conscious that men must be restrained, and busies itself only in providing, that the restraints to which they are subjected shall be the wisest, and the best.
But, it may be asked, is there really tyranny in sin? and does repentance make a man free? or are these the mere habitual phrases of ministers of the gospel? There is tyranny in sin; there is more than Egyptian bondage; it is bondage to hate an appetite, and to serve it; to make one law for your heart which you cannot
follow; and to follow another which you cannot love; it is a very great tyranny to find all your noble resolutions frustrated by one base sensuality; to see the honour and peace, and piety, within your reach, snatched from you` by one degrading passion; to know that you are cheated out of happiness, and out of salvation; not by a pleasure, for that would be something, but by an habit, by that which at last yields no other pleasure in the doing, than the absence of that misery which would proceed from not doing it: in fine, in all wretchedness, and under the rod of any oppressor, if a man despise not himself, joy has not left that man, neither is happiness turned away from his paths; but the eternal frailty of sin at length degrades a man in his own eyes, makes him castaway his soul in despair, and become ostentatious in vice, because, in the pursuit of virtue, he is contemptible, and
The delight which success imparts in this sort of conflict is no mean motive to begin: most fervently, and sincerely, do I express my real thoughts, when I say that wealth, power, fame, and all the vulgar objects of
human ambition, have not a single pleasure comparable to that which results from victory over sin they do not only fall far short of it in degree, but they have nothing like it in kind;—we might as well liken the melody of the harp to the sounds which are sung out before the throne of God, or measure the proudest fabric upon earth against the eternal arch of the Heavens.
When vice has become so intrenched in habit, and the mind so feeble, that every germ of repentance is stifled as soon as it appears, then we must gradually repent. The mind will not yield totally to first efforts, but it will yield a little; and every time we return, with stronger force, to a weaker resistance; for the same law of habit, which makes the sin so powerful,. confirms the virtue which resists it. The gradual attempt at repentance does not flatter us by a sudden act of power, or spare our patience by its rapid progress: often we are hurried on by the inveteracy of habit, and driven down by the vehemence of passion; but let us keep on, and continue; if only a year of life remains, let
that be a year of repentance; remember, that the reward for which we labor is the salvation of our souls; and, that if any motive can stimulate human industry, or animate human exertion, an hope, above all this world can promise, should lead to efforts above all this world can produce.
But it often happens, that the penitence, began at a moment of sickness, or despondence, or seriousness, vanishes with its cause, as the fearful dreams of the night are dispelled by the morning's light. In this fatal resumption of self-confidence, we should remember, that the horror of our vices, which we experienced in the moment of peril, will probably return at the greatest of all perils; that the reasonings against our sins, which have before appeared so irresistible, and conclusive, will resume their power, when they cannot re-produce the effects of repentance; that it is childish to say, there is a God in the storm, and to become an Atheist again when the winds, and the waves, are still; to blaspheme in health, and bless in sickness; to enter upon the first stage of repentance,