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Motives to Repentance.

I shall use no other arguments to move a sinner to repentance, but to tell him, unless he does he shall certainly perish; and if he does repent timely and entirely, that is, live a holy life, he shall be forgiven and be saved. But yet I desire, that this consideration be enlarged with some great circumstances; and let us remember,

1. That to admit mankind to repentance and pardon was a favour greater than ever God gave to the angels and devils; for they were never admitted to the condition of second thoughts: Christ never groaned one groan for them; he never suffered one stripe, nor one affront, nor shed one drop of blood, to restore them to hopes of blessedness after their first failings. But this he did for us: he paid the score of our sins, only that this repentance might be effectual to the great purposes of felicity and salvation.

2. Consider, that as it cost Christ many millions of prayers and groans and sighs, so he is now at this instant, and hath been for these sixteen hundred years, night and day, incessantly praying for grace to us, that we may repent; and for pardon when we do; and for degrees of pardon beyond the capacities of our infirmities, and the merit of our sorrows and amendment;290290Heb. vii. 15. for he ever liveth to make intercession for us.’ And that we may know what it is in behalf of which he intercedes, St. Paul tells us his design; ‘We are ambassadors for Christ, as though he did beseech you by us, we pray you in Christ’s stead to be reconciled to God.2912912 Cor. v. 20. And what Christ prays us to do, he prays to God that we may do; that which he desires of us as his servants, he desires of God, who is the fountain of the grace and powers unto us, and without whose assistance we can do nothing.

3. That ever we should repent, was so costly a purchase, and so great a concernment, and so high a favour, and the event is esteemed by God himself so great an excellency, that our blessed Saviour tells us, ‘there shall be joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth;’292292Luke, xv. 7. meaning, that when Christ shall be glorified, and the right hand of his Father make intercession for us, praying for our repentance, the conversion and repentance of every sinner is part of Christ’s glorification, it is the answering of his prayers, it is a portion of his reward, in which he does essentially glory by the joys of his glorified humanity. This is the joy of our Lord himself directly, not of the angels, save only by reflection: the joy (said our blessed Saviour) shall be in the presence of the angels; they shall see the glory of the Lord, the answering of his prayers, the satisfaction of his desires, and the reward of his sufferings, in the repentance and consequent pardon of a sinner. For therefore be once suffered, and for that reason he rejoices for ever. And therefore, when a penitent sinner comes to receive the effect and full consummation of his pardon, it is called ‘an entering into the joy of our Lord;’ that is, a partaking of that joy which Christ received at our conversion and enjoyed ever since.

4. Add to this, that the rewards of heaven are so great and glorious, and Christ’s burden is so light, his yoke is so easy, that it is a shameless impudence to expect so great glories at a less rate than so little a service, at a lower rate than a holy life. It cost the heart-blood of the Son of God to obtain heaven for us upon that condition; and who shall die again to get heaven for us upon easier terms? What would you do, if God should command you to kill your eldest son, or to work in the mines for a thousand years together, or to fast all thy lifetime with bread and water? were not heaven a very great bargain even after all this? And when God requires nothing of us but to live soberly, justly, and godly, (which things themselves are to a man a very great felicity, and necessary to our present well-being,) shall we think this to be an intolerable burden, and that heaven is too little a purchase at that price; and that God, in mere justice, will take a death-bed sigh or groan, and a few unprofitable tears and promises in exchange for all our duty?

If these motives, joined together with our own interest, (even as much as felicity, and the sight of God, and the avoiding the intolerable pains of hell, and many intermedial judgments, come to,) will not move us to leave, 1. the filthiness, and, 2. the trouble, and, 3. the uneasiness, and, 4. the unreasonableness of sin, and turn to God, there is no more to be said: we must perish in our folly.


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