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A. True benevolence is disinterested ; that is, it does not regard our own private interest merely, but fixes also upon the welfare of others, and is exercised towards all beings susceptible of pleasure in proportion to their intrinsic, relative, and comparative worth and importance in the scale of existence.
Q. 5. How is disinterested benevolence or affection regarded by mankind in general ?
A. It is applauded by most men, but exercised by only a few.
Q. 6. What is meant by love of complacency?
Of this kind is the love of God to His holy creatures, and their love towards Him, and towards each other. In this love is included the fraternal affection of Christians towards one another on account of their holiness.
Q.7. What is the ground of distinction between love of benevolence and love of complacency?
A. This is the ground of distinction; when it has for its object the good of others, it is called love of benevolence; when it has for its object true moral excellence, it is called love of complacency. Thus every being susceptible of pleasure is a proper object for the love of benevolence, and a being that is holy is a proper object for the love of complacency; and a being susceptible of pleasure, possessed of holiness, is a proper object both for the love of benevolence and complacency.
Q. 8. Are all mankind bound to exercise this holy love ?
A. They are ; as obedience to the moral law and conformity to God. This duty is enjoined by reason and revelation. (6)
(6) Rom. xiii. 10. Love worketh no ill to his neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.- 1 John iv. 8. He that loveth not, knoweth not God; for God is love.—Matt. v. 43–45. Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you, and persecute you, that ye may be the children of your father which is in
Q. 9. How ought this holy love to be viewed by all intelligent beings?
A. It ought to be viewed as most excellent and lovely, and as constituting the true glory of men, of angels, and of Jehovah himself.
A. It is turning from sin to holiness; and implies a sense and hatred of sin, and a sense and love of holiness; and is attended ordinarily with hope of forgiveness and favor through the merits of the Redeemer; and is followed by obedience. It implies love to the character, law and gospel of God, and has particular respect to sin as its object. This repentance, therefore, does not consist in any of the natural affections, such as gratitude, remorse, fear of punishment, pity, and sympathy. These, though given for wise and benevolent purposes, constitute no part of true repentance. (a)* heaven; for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.-Ps. xi. 7. For the righteous Lord loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright.-Is. xliii. 4. Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honorable. and I have loved thee.wlatt. xxii. 37–39. Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all ihy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.—John xiii. 34, 35. A new commandment I give that ye love one another; as I have loved
you, that ye also love one another.—1 Pet. ii. 17. Love the brotherhood.-Rom. xii. 10. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love ; in honor preferring one another.-Phil. ii. 3, 4. Let nothing be done through strife or vain glory; but in lowliness of mind, let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his owu things, but every man also on the things of others.
(a) Joel ii. 12, 13. Therefore also now saith the Lord,
* Repentance, according to the original word, used in the Scriptures, means change of mind; coming to one's senses.
Q. 2. What is legal repentance ?
A. It is that sorrow for sin, which arises principally from the consideration, that it exposes to punishment, and which does not imply hating and forsaking sin, or loving and practising holiness. Such was the repentance of Judas. It is true his repentance was real and not feigned, was deep and distressing, was attended with full conviction of guilt, frank confession of it, and external reformation in part; but it arose not from true love to God and hatred to sin, but from selfishness and fear of punishment. Such, too, is often the repentance of thieves and murderers, when detected and brought to justice. They sorrow for the consequences of sin, but not for sin itself. (6),
Q. 3. What are the motives to repentance?
A. 1. Repentance is reasonable. Sin is base, dishonorable and hateful to God, a violation of His law, opposition to the good of His moral kingdom. If permitted, it would dethrone Him, and subvert the benevolent end of His government. And it does actually involve its subjects in misery in the present life. These considerations are an argument in favor
Turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning. And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God; for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. Ezek. xiv. 6. Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord God, Repent and turn yourselves from your idols, and turn away your faces from all your abominations.-Ezek. xxxvi. 31. Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall loathe yourselves in your own sight, for your iniquities, and for your abominations.-- İs. lv. 7. Let ihe wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
(6) Matt. xxvii. 3–5. Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.
of repentance, and show that it is reasonable. 2. Repentance is an indispensable prerequisite to pardon and salvation. The promises are made to the penitent, and the threatenings are denounced against the impenitent. This consideration is a motive to repentance. (c) 3. The duty of repentance is much inculcated by God in His word. (d)-All men, therefore, everywhere, and in all circumstances, ought to repent—to repent generally, and particularly. Christians, as they sin daily, need to repent daily.
Q. 4. Is repentance man's immediate duty ?
A. It is. If he may remain impenitent, and not sin in doing it one day, he may two; and if two, he may a year; and if a year, he may during life, and to all eternity. But none will pretend this. To neglect this duty for the shortest time is, therefore, criminal. (e)
(c) Acts iii. 10. Repent ye, therefore, and be converted; that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.—Is. lv. 7. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts ; and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.-Luke xiii. 3. I tell you, Nay; but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
(d) Matt. iv. 17. From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.-Acts xxvi. 20. But showed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.-Luke xxiv. 47. And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.-Mark vi. 12. And they went out, and preached that men should repent.--Acts xx. 21. Testifying both to the Jews and also to the Greeks, repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ.
(e) Acts xvii. 30. And the times of this ignorance God winked at;
but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent.-Ps. cxix. 59, 60. I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies. I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments. Heb. iii. 7, 8. Wherefore as the Holy Ghost saith, To-day, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness.
Q. 5. Is the time for repentance limited to the
A. It is. There is no space for repentance in the world to come. (f)
Q. 6. Is the strength of the exercises of repentance alike in all Christians ?
A. It is not. The strength of penitential sorrow is different in different persons. This is owing sometimes to natural or constitutional feelings, and sometimes to the different operations of the Holy Ghost.
Q. 7. Is the Divine agency concerned in the repentance of the sinner?
A. It is. While it is man who repents, it is God who gives him repentance. (g)
Q. 8. What exercises of mind usually precede repentance ?
A. 1. Meditation upon the majesty and moral excellence of God; 2. the comparing of one's conduct with the requirements of His law; 3. reflection upon His goodness and mercy, and His justice as displayed in the sufferings of Christ; 4. the considering of the future misery of the finally impenitent; 5. remorse, conviction of sin, and anticipation of the wrath which awaits the ungodly.
Q. 9. What is the evidence of true evangelical repentance?
A. It is reformation in manners, or the performance of Christian duties. The subjects of it will bring forth fruits meet for repentance. (h)
(f) Eccles. ix. 10. Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave whither thou goest.-Rev. xxii. 11. He that is unjust, let him be unjust still; and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still; and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still; and he that is holy, let him be holy still.
(g) 2 Tim. ii. 25. In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.--Acts v. 31. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to he a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.
th) 2 Cor. vii. 11. For behold this self-same thing, that ye