The love which a pious man bears to God and goodness, is not so much by virtue of a command enjoining him so to do, as by a new nature instructing and prompting him to it; nor doth he pay his devotions as an unavoidable tribute, only to appease the Divine justice, or quiet his clamorous conscience; but those religious exercises are the proper emanations of the Divine life, the natural employments of the new-born soul. He prays, and give thanks, and repents, not only because these things are commanded, but rather because he is sensible of his wants, and of the Divine goodness, and of the folly and misery of a sinful life; his charity is not forced, nor his alms extorted from him, his love makes him willing to give; and though there were no outward obligation, his 'heart would devise liberal things'; injustice or intemperance, and all other vices, are as contrary to his temper and constitution, as the basest actions are to the most generous spirit, and impudence and scurrility to those who are naturally modest: so that I may well say with St. John, 'Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin: for his seed remaineth in him, and he cannot sin
because he is born of God' (1 John 3:9). Though holy and religious persons do much eye the law of God, and have a great regard unto it, yet it is not so much the sanction of the law, as its reasonableness, and purity, and goodness, which do prevail with them. They accout it excellent and desirable in itself, and that in keeping of it there is great reward; and that Divine love wherewith they are acted makes them become a law unto themselves. (pp. 45-46)
Four Steps Toward Joy in Repentance - [image: Four Steps Toward Joy in Repentance] There is a kind of joy in repentance. I say “a kind of” because repentance is also arduous, humbling, exacting...
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