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willing. But now I only ask to press these solemn inquiries.
1. Is there any individual here who thinks he needs no repentance, and on what grounds ?
2. If there are none but who think they have need of repentance, why do you not repent ?
1. Suppose, my brethren, that I were to concede the point, that there was a class of persons in this world who needed no repentance-a class so pure, that they required none of that moral change which I find insisted on in Scripture as essential to salvation; permit me to ask you, with a view to your personal examination of the subject, is there any one of you here who candidly think yourself as belonging to this class ? Is there one of you, my brethren,
, willing to take this high ground? Is there one of you, that with the omniscient eye of God upon your heart, can take up the language of conscious innocence, and declare that you have never offended God, in thought, in word, or in action? There are but three grounds, my friends, on which any one of you can claim exemption from the deep and solemn necessity of repentance. 1. You have already repented of your sins, and have obtained pardon and peace through the blood of the everlasting covenant, and are living as those should live who have their thoughts, their hearts and their conversation, in hea
I grant to you, that in your case there is no need of that first, and vivid and deep-toned repentance, which once led you to sue for pardon. But have even you no need of repentance ? Are there no short comings? Are there no failures in duty ? Does your first love continue in all its warmth ? Does the
flame first kindled in your hearts burn always with a pure and steady blaze ? If not, then I can hardly excuse even you from the necessity of daily repent
I know that yours must be a repentance very different from that required in the text. The soul that is truly converted to God, and finds its peace in the blood of Jesus Christ, repents for the failures which it finds in its daily requirements of duty. But this is the repentance of a child who really loves its parent, and loves its duty. The repentance of others is the repentance of a rebel, of an ingrate, of a foe. But even you, children of God by faith in Jesus Christ, I cannot excuse you the necessity of that repentance which is the renewal of your souls unto holiness; that progressive sanctification, which makes your light of peace and hope and joy, shine brighter and brighter to the perfect day. You, I am persuaded, will not dispute the matter. Your hearty concurrence in these views I have. You decline being considered as taking the ground that you need no repentance, and I pass on to others.
There are only two grounds which you who are careless and unconcerned can plead; they are as follows: 1. You have never sinned. And, 2. You owe to God no responsibility. Now, my friends, if you are ready to take these grounds, then I have only this to say. If there is one of you who is willing to take the first, and declare you have never sinned, and are not sinning against God, then I have the painful duty of calling your attention to these passages of Scripture—“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us;" and in the next verse but one—"If we say we have
not sinned, we make him a liar.” Here, my friends, the Apostle makes you stand on the fearful alternate, either God is untrue, or you are liars. And the other passage is—“Why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost; thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.” I leave you with these testimonies. If there is one of you who is willing to take the second ground, viz: that you owe to God no responsibility, then I have nothing to say to you; you are beyond the reach of my argument. As none but the fool can say there is no God, and he would be as great a fool who argued with him, so none but one bereft of reason can say that he owes to God no responsibility; and none but one bereft of reason would take the argument against him. There are but these two grounds on which you can challenge to yourselves, my unconverted friends, your exemption from the necessity of repentance, and say you have no need of it.
Now, suffer me to place before you the dilemma in which
you stand. If you are not willing to take the ground that you need no repentance, why do ye not repent? You will be forced, by the very process of the argument, to deny your need, or to convict yourselves in the presence of God, of refusing to do that, the necessity of which you feel and acknowledge. Choose you either alternative? It is a most fearful choice. And how many of you, dear brethren, are just in this state of dreadful self-condemnation! Your need of repentance you concede. Your actual repentance you refuse. The difference between the man who denies his need of repentance, and one who acknowledges it, while he refuses to repent, is this. One will sink to hell with a lie; the other with a self-condemning truth. Brethren, your situation, as careless and unconcerned, is appalling. It will be found “a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” I beseech you now to repent. Delay not.
PARABLE OF THE PRODIGAL SON.
LUKE XV, 32.
It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again ; and was lost, and is found.
THERE is nothing more natural, and nothing more common and obviously proper, when a person is engaged in conversation, than to interrupt the current of that which may be didactic or argumentative, and introduce some narrative, either true or imagined, for the purpose of illustration. Every one knows, that frequently during the most interesting conversations, some incident is brought in to enforce what is said, and even the best public speakers do this for the self same purpose. Now if a person in conversation introduces a relation, call it a parable or allegory, or let it be a fact, or what you will, you at once perceive that by it he intends to illustrate the subject on which he is speaking. Suppose, for instance, I were conversing with any one of you on the danger of delay, and I were to tell you the story of