ON THE MOTIVES OF REPENTANCE
Consider first, the motives we have to repent for our sins, from the consideration of the filthiness of that ugly monster sin, and of its heinous enormity in the sight of God. Mortal sin is infinitely odious to him, because infinitely opposed to his sovereign goodness, and to all his divine attributes. It is infinitely pernicious to our souls - it makes them like very devils in the eyes of God. It robs us of divine grace, which is the true life of the soul, and of all our good; it is a poison which, in a moment, brings present death, and condemns us to a second and eternal death. It is an evil so black, so odious, so hideous, that hell itself has nothing worse. It leaves behind it a cursed stain, the perpetual fuel of the merciless flames of hell, which endless ages will never be able to efface. Alas! my poor soul, how wretched then has thy case been all this while thou hast been in sin! How ugly and abominable hast thou been in the sight of God and his angels! for the foulest creature upon earth is a beauty in comparison with a soul in sin. Ah! couldst thou but see thyself as thou art in this wretched state, the very sight would strike thee dead! O detest then this abominable monster, and spare no pains to get rid of it.
Consider 2ndly, the woes that are pronounced in scripture against unrepenting sinners, and the judgments of God that are perpetually hanging over their heads, and threatening them on all sides both with temporal and eternal evils. Ah! what good can they expect who have made God their enemy, and are fighting against him! he holds the thread of their life in his hands, which they are provoking him to break; and if he breaks it, in that moment they drop into hell. They have made themselves slaves of the devil; they are possessed by him, and are at his mercy, who knows not what mercy is. Death is always following them at the heels, and a sudden, or at least an unprovided death, is commonly the reward of their presumption. Hell below opens wide her jaws, and is gaping to swallow them up, and thousands of them are daily going down into that bottomless pit, 'where the worm never dies, and the fire is never extinguished,' Mark ix. 43. Ah! who can bear everlasting fire? Who can endure to burn for ever? Fly then, my soul, from sin. Detest that evil which can, and will without repentance, condemn thee to hell.
Consider 3rdly, that sin makes a dreadful separation between the soul and God, which is begun here and extends to all eternity hereafter. 'You are not my people,' says he, Osee i. 9, 'and I will not be yours.' Alas! the loss of God which begins from mortal sin, is the very worst of all the ingredients of hell. Sin is a rebellion against this sovereign good, a blasphemous preference of Satan before him, a sacrilegious attempt to rob him of his glory, and to divest him of his kingdom. It is murdering both the Son of God and our own souls. The folly and madness of it, as well as the monstrous presumption and treason, is infinite. O! how much then does that evil deserve to be detested which robs us of an infinite good, which otherwise should have been ours for all eternity, and brings us nothing in exchange but endless and infinite evils?
Conclude to labour with all thy power to drive away sin from thy soul by penance, and God will return to thee and be thine for ever.