THE word repentance is a very common one in the Christian's vocabulary. It is hoary with time. Both prophet and apostle were familiar with it. The modern preacher and exhorter continues to use the word with all the emphasis that it is possible to give it. But who has grasped its full meaning? To some, repentance may mean simply sorrow for wrong-doing, the admission or confession of guilt, followed by an effort to do better in the future: but is this its full significance? A careful study of the Scriptures brings out a far more comprehensive meaning.

The apostle Paul struck the key-note when he said that "the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance." Unless one loves the good more than he does the evil, he is not in a repentant condition of thought. Through fear of punishment he may acknowledge his wrong-doing, but unless the love of God is uppermost in his affections, he will not forsake his sins. He may try to do so, but he will repeatedly find the scales tipping in the wrong direction, until he gains an affection for the good which is so genuine that he cannot be tempted to let go of it. If his sorrow for the wrong done is of the godly sort spoken of in Scripture, it "worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of but the sorrow of the world worketh death." The sorrow that knows no relapse or recurrence is accompanied by humility, honesty, and sincerity; it is something more than lip-service; it is a godly desire and determination to become obedient to the law of righteousness.

November 13, 1909

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