And saying, Repent you: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
I. SINCERE. Though God is merciful He is not fallible, nor will He take the odour of sacrifices, or the incense of words in lieu of a solid, laborious virtue.
1. It is absolutely necessary to abandon the vice.
2. The thought of heaven should bring moral fortitude. The repentant soul should be great in purpose, rapid in action, unshaken in constancy.
II. TIMELY. It must take place at such a period as will enable us to make a real sacrifice of unlawful enjoyment to a sense of Christian duty.
1. Satiety is often mistaken for repentance. Many give up the offence when they have lost all appetite for its commission.
2. Change of body is mistaken for change of mind. He who quits a vice that has 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.
III. CONTINUOUS. If only a year of life remains let that be a whole year of repentance.
IV. JUST. In making
(1) restitution or
(2) compensation for the injuries committed.
V. The soul of a penitent man should be as FIRM AGAINST FUTURE RELAPSE as it is sorrowful for past iniquity.
I. TRUE SIGHT OF SIN IS REQUISITE TO TRUE REPENTANCE.
1. A man that does repent must see and know his sins.
2. Must be grieved and humbled for them.
3. He must loathe himself.
4. He must be ashamed of his sin. So long as a man walks in the dark, he does not blush, he is not ashamed, though his clothes be ragged and torn, because he is in the dark; but if he come to the light, then he blushes.
5. He must acknowledge his sins.
6. He must labour to undo his sins.
II. REPENTANCE IS A FRUIT OF FAITH.
1. Tears of repentance flow from the eye of faith.
2. So also repentance flows from love. Love is the cause of grief.
III. IT IS ONE THING FOR A MAN TO BE PRICKED IN HEART, AND ANOTHER FOR A MAN TO REPENT.
1. A man, a malefactor, when he sees what shall become of him, wishes that he had never done it.
2. A man may be broken down with the weight of sin, yet his soul may not be thawed or melted. When you take a staff and break the ice with your hands, though you break it in one place, it freezes in another; but when there is a thaw, it melts and breaks everywhere.
3. A man may have more sorrow, grief, repentance in the ore, yet have none that is well refined.
4. It is one thing for grief, sorrow, and repentance to be more in view, sense and noise; and another thing to be more in spirit, and in profit.
Parallel VersesKJV: And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.