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Repentance is either general, which is also called conversion, when a man is converted from a state of sin to a state of grace; or particular, when one who is already converted repents of some individual sin. General repentance is either primary or continued ; from which latter even the regenerate are not exempt, through their sense of in-dwelling sin. Particular repentance is exemplified in the cases of David and Peter.
Repentance, in regenerate man, is prior to faith. Mark i. 15. “repent ye, and believe the gospel.” Acts xix. 4. “ John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe.” xx. 21. “testifying repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ." Therefore that sense of the divine mercy, which leads to repentance, ought not to be confounded with faith, as it is by the greater number of divines.
Chastisement is often the instrumental cause of repentance. Job v. 17, &c. “ behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth ; therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty.” Psal. xciv. 12. “ blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O Jah.” cxix. 71. “it is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn thy statutes.” Prov. i. 23. "turn you at my reproof.” ïïi. 11, 12.“my son, despise not the chastening of Jehovah, neither be weary of his correction; for whom Jehovah loveth he correcteth, even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.” Isai. i. 25. “I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin.” xlviii. 10.
behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver ; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction." Jer. x.
24. “O Jehovah, correct me, but with judgment; not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing.” Lam. iii. 27, 28. “it is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.” Dan. xi. 35. “ some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white." Hos. v. 15. " in their affliction they will seek me early.” 1 Cor. xi. 32. “ when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world." Heb. xii. 7, 8. “if ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not ? but if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons." Psal. xc. 3. “ thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, Return, ye children of men.” God however assigns a limit to chastisement, lest we should be overwhelmed, and supplies strength for our support even under those inflictions which (as is sometimes the case) appear to us too heavy to be borne. Psal. cxxv. 3. " the rod of the wicked shall not rest upon the lot of the righteous, lest the righteous put forth their hands unto iniquity.” Isai. lvii. 16. “I will not contend for ever, neither will I be always wroth, for the spirit should fail before me, &c." 2 Cor. i. 8–10. “ we would not have you ignorant.... that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, &c....that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead : who delivered us from so great a death—.” He even seems to repent of what he had done, and through his abounding mercy, as though he had in his wrath inflicted double punishment for our transgressions, compensates for our affiction with a double measure of consolation. Isai.
xl. 2. “speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned; for she hath received of the hand of Jehovah double for all her sins." lxi. 7. "'for your shame ye shall have double, and for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion; therefore in their land they shall possess the double ; everlasting joy shall be unto them.”. This compensation is more than an hundred-fold, Matt. xix. 29. "even an infinite weight of glory.” 2 Cor. iv. 17. “for our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” Rom. viii. 18. “I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." Psal. xxxiv. 18, 19. “Jehovah is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart, and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit : many are the afflictions of the righteous, but Jehovah delivereth him out of them all.” lxxi. 20. “ thou which hast showed me great and sore troubles, shalt quicken me again. cxxvi. 5. they that sow in tears shall reap in joy." Acts xiv. 22. "we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.”
We ought not therefore to form rash judgments respecting the afflictions of others. This was the error of Eliphaz, Job iv. and ix. 22, 23. and of the most despicable of men, chap. XXX.
Psal. iii. 2. “many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God.” xli. 8. “an evil disease, say they, cleaveth fast unto him." John ix. 3. " neither hath this man sinned."
On the contrary, it is said of those who are not. chastened, Psal. xvii. 14. “they have their portion in
this life." Hos. iv. 17. 66
Hos. iv. 17. “Ephraim is joined to idols; let him alone."
Hence arises consolation to the afflicted. 2 Cor. i. 4. 66 who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them that are in any trouble by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God." 1 Thess. iii, 3. " that no man should be moved by these afflictions; for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto.” 2 Tim. ii. 3. “ thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” Rev. ii. 9. “I know thy works and tribulation."
The other effect of regeneration is saving faith.
Saving faith is a full persuasion operated in us through the gift of God, whereby we believe, on the sole authority of the promise itself, that all things are ours whatsoever he has promised us in Christ, and especially the grace of eternal life.
Through the gift of God. Eph. ii. 8. “ by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves ; it is the gift of God.” Philipp. i. 29. “unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;" given, that is, by the Father, through the Son and the Spirit. Matt. xi, 25. “at that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father......because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.". xvi. 16, 17. “ thou art Christ...... flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven." Luke xxii. 32. “I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not.” John vi. 44, 45. “no man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him......every man