Sermon 44. Repentance Unto Life
Delivered on Sabbath Morning, September 23, 1855, by the
REV. C.H. SPURGEON
At New Park Street Chapel, Southwark.
"Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life."-Acts 11:18.
ONE OF THE GREATEST obstacles which the Christian religion ever overcame, was the inveterate prejudice which possessed theminds of its earliest followers. The Jewish believers, the twelve apostles, and those whom Jesus Christ had called from thedispersed of Israel, were so attached to the idea that salvation was of the Jews, and that none but the disciples of Abraham,or, at any rate, the circumcised ones, could be saved, that they could not bring themselves to thethought that Jesus had come to be the Saviour of all nations, and that in him should all the people of the earth be blessed.It was with difficulty they could allow the supposition; it was so opposite to all their Jewish education, that we find themsummoning Peter before a council of Christians, and saving to him, "thou wentest in to men uncircumcised and didst eat withthem." Nor could Peter exonerate himself until he had rehearsed the matter fully, and said that God had appeared unto himina vision, declaring, "What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common," and that the Lord had bidden him preach thegospel to Cornelius and his household, inasmuch as they were believers. After this the power of grace was so mighty that theseJews could no longer withstand it: and in the teeth of all their previous education, they at once assumed the broad principleof Christianity," and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life." Let us blessGodthat now we are free from the trammels of Judaism, and that we are not under those of a Gentilism which has in its turnexcluded the Jew, but that we live so near the blessed time that is coming, when Jew and Gentile, bond and free, shall feelthemselves one in Jesus Christ our Head. I am not now, however, about to enlarge upon this, but my subject this morning is"Repentance unto life." May God give me grace so to speak to you that his word may be as a sharp sword, "piercing even tothedividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow."
By "Repentance unto life," I think we are to understand that repentance which is accompanied by spiritual life in the soul, and ensures eternal life to every one who possesses it. "Repentanceunto life," I say, brings with it spiritual life, or rather, is the first consequent thereof. There are repentances whichare not signs of life, except of natural life, because they are only effected by the power of the conscience and the voiceof nature speaking in men; butthe repentance here spoken of is produced by the Author of life, and when it comes, it begets such life in the soul, thathe who was "dead in trespasses and sins," is quickened together with Christ; he who had no spiritual susceptibilities, now"receives with meekness the engrafted word;" he who slumbered in the very center of corruption, receives power to become oneof the sons of God, and to be near his throne. This I think is "repentance unto life,"-that which gives life unto a deadspirit. I have said also, this repentance ensures eternal life; for there are repentances of which you hear men speakswhich do not secure the salvation of the soul. Some preachers will affirm that men may repent, and may believe, and yet mayfall away and perish. We will not consume our time by stopping to expose their error this morning; we have often consideredit before, and have refuted all that they could say in defense of their dogma. Let us think of an infinitely better repentance.Therepentance of our test is not their repentance, but it is a "repentance unto life;" a repentance which is a true signof eternal salvation in Christ; a repentance which preserves us through this temporary state in Jesus, and which when we arepassed into eternity, gives us a bliss which cannot be destroyed. "Repentance unto life "is the act of salvation of the soul,the germ which contains all the essentials of salvation, which secures them to us, and prepares us for them.
We are this morning to give a very careful and prayerful attention to the "repentance" which is "unto life." First, I shalldevote a few minutes to the consideration of false repentance; secondly, I shall consider the signs that mark true repentance; and after that, I shall extol the divine beneficence, of which it is written, "Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life."
I. First, then, we will consider certain FALSE REPENTANCES. I will begin with this remark-that trembling beneath the sound of the gospel is not "repentance." There are many men who when they hear a faithful gospel sermon, are exceedingly stirred and moved by it. By a certain powerwhich accompanies the Word, God testifies that it is his own Word, and he causes those who hear it involuntarily to tremble.I have seen some men, while the truths of Scripture have beensounded from this pulpit, whose knees have knocked together, whose eyes have flowed with tears as if they had been fountainsof water. I have witnessed the deep dejection of their spirit, when-as some of them have told me-they have been shaken untilthey knew not how to abide the sound of the voice, for it seemed like the terrible trumpet of Sinai thundering only theirdestruction. Well, my hearers, you may be very much disturbed under the preaching of the gospel, and yet you shall not havethat "repentance unto life." You may know what it is to be very seriously and very solemnly affected when you go to God'shouse, and yet you may be hardened sinners. Let me confirm the remark by an instance:-Paul stood before Felix with the chainsupon his hands, and as he preached of "righteousness, temperance, and of judgment to come," it is written, "Felix trembled,"and yet procrastinating Felix is in perdition, among the rest of those who have said, "Go thy way for this time; when I havea more convenient season I will call for thee." There are many of you who cannot attend the house of God without beingalarmed; you know what it is often to stand aghast at the thought that God will punish you; you may often have been movedto sincere emotion under God's minister; but, let me tell you, you may be after all a castaway, because you have not repentedof your sins, neither have you turned to God.
Further still. It is quite possible that you may not only tremble before God's Word, but you may become a sort of amiableAgrippa, and be "almost persuaded" to turn to Jesus Christ, and yet have no "repentance;" you may go further and even desire the gospel; you may say: "Oh! this gospel is such a goodly thing I would I had it. Itensures so much happiness here, and so much joy hereafter, I wish I might call it mine." Oh! it is good, thus to hear thisvoice of God!but you may sit, and, while some powerful text is being well handled, you may say, "I think it is true;" but it must enterthe heart before you can repent. You may even go upon your knees in prayer and you may ask with a terrified lip that thismay be blessed to your soul; and after all you may be no child of God. You may say as Agrippa said unto Paul, "Almost thoupersuadest me to be a Christian;" yet, like Agrippa, you may never proceed beyond the "almost." He was "almost persuaded tobe aChristian," but not "altogether." Now, how many of you here have been; almost persuaded" and yet you are not really inthe way of eternal life. How often has conviction brought you on your knees and you have "almost" repented, but you have remainedthere, without actually repenting. See that corpse? It is lately dead. It has scarcely acquired the ghastliness of death,the color is still life-like. Its hand is still warm; you may fancy it is alive, and it seems almost to breathe. Every thingisthere-the worm hath scarcely touched it dissolution hath scarcely approached; there is no foeted smell-yet life is gone;life is not there. So it is with you: you are almost alive; you have almost every external organ of religion which the Christianhas; but you have not life. You may have repentance, but not sincere repentance. O hypocrite! I warn you this morning, youmay not only tremble but feel a complacency towards the Word of God, and yet after all not have "repentance unto life."You may sink down into the pit that is bottomless, and hear it said, "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire,prepared for the devil and his angels."
Yet, again, it is possible for men to progress even further than this, and positively to humble themselves under the hand of God, and yet they may be total strangers to repentance. Their goodness is not like the morning cloud and the early dew that passeth away, but when the sermon is heard they go homeand commence what they conceive to be the work of repentance, they renounce certain vices and follies, they clothe themselvesin sack-cloth, their tears flow veryfreely on account of what they have done; they weep before God; and yet with all that, their repentance is but a temporaryrepentance, and they go back to their sins again. Do you deny that such a penitence can exist? Let me tell you of a case.A certain man named Ahab coveted the vineyard of his neighbor Naboth, who would not sell it for a price, nor make an exchange.He consulted with his wife Jezebel, who contrived to put Naboth to death, and thus secure the vineyard to the king. AfterNaboth was put to death, and Ahab had taken possession of the vineyard, the servant of the Lord met Ahab, and said tohim, "Hast thou killed, and also taken possession. Thus saith the Lord, in the place where the dogs licked the blood of Nabothshall the dogs lick thy blood, even thine. Behold, I will bring evil upon thee, and will take away thy prosperity "We readthat Ahab went awe, and humbled himself; and the Lord said, "Because Ahab humbleth himself before me I will not bring evilin hisdays." He had granted him some kind of mercy; but we read in the very next chapter that Ahab rebelled, and in a battlein Ramoth-Gilead, according to the servant of the Lord, he was slain there; so that "the dogs licked his blood "in the veryvineyard of Naboth. You, too, I tell you, may humble yourselves before God for a time, and yet remain the slaves of your transgressions.You are afraid of damnation, but you are not afraid of sinning: you are afraid of hell, but you are not afraid of youriniquities; you are afraid of being cast into the pit, but not afraid to harden your hearts against his commands. Is itnot true, O sinner, that you are trembling at hell? It is not the soul's state that troubles you, but hell. If hell were extinguished,your repentance would be extinguished; if the terrors awaiting you were withdrawn, you would sin with a higher hand than before,and your soul would be hardened, and would rebel against its sovereign. Be not deceived, my brethren, here; examineyourselves whether you are in the faith; ask yourselves if you have that which is "repentance unto life;" for you mayhumble yourselves for a time, and yet never repent before God.
Beyond this many advance, and yet fall short of grace. It is possible that you may confess your sins, and yet may not repent. You may approach God, and tell him you are a wretch indeed; you may enumerate a long list of your transgressions and of thesins that you have committed, without a sense of the heniousness of your guilt, without a spark of real hatred of your deeds.You may confess and acknowledge your transgressions, and yet have no abhorrence of sin; and ifyou do not in the strength of God resist sin, if you do not turn from it, this fancied repentance shall be but the guildingwhich displays the paint which decorates; it is not the grace which transforms into gold, which will abide the fire. You mayeven, I say confess your faults, and yet have not repentance.
Once more, and then I have gone to the farthest thought I have to give on this point. You may do some work meet for repentance, and yet you may be impenitent. Let me give you a proof of this in a fact authenticated by inspiration.
Judas betrayed his Master; and after having done so, an overwhelming sense of the enormous evil he had committed seized uponhim. His guilt buried all hope of repentance, and in the misery of desperation, not the grief of true regret, he confessedhis sin to the high priests, crying, "I have sinned, in that I have betrayed innocent blood." They said, "What is that tous, see thou to that." Whereupon he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, to show that he could notbear to carry the price of guilt upon him; and left them there. He went out, and-was he saved? No. "He went out and hangedhimself." And even then the vengeance of God followed him: for when he had hanged himself he fell from the height where hewas suspended, and was dashed to pieces; he was lost, and his soul perished. Yet see what this man did. He had sinned, heconfessed his wrong, he returned the gold; still after all that, he was a castaway. Does not this make us tremble? You seehowpossible it is to be the ape of the Christian so nearly, that wisdom itself, if it be only mortal, may be deceived.
II. Now, having thus warned you that there are many false kinds of repentance, I propose to occupy a short time by some remarkson TRUE REPENTANCE, and the signs whereby we may discern whether we have that "repentance" which is "unto life."
First of all, let me correct one or two mistakes which those who are coming to Jesus Christ very often make. One is, theyfrequently think they must have deep, horrible, and awful manifestations of the terrors of law and of hell before they canbe said to repent. How many have I conversed with, who have said to me what I can only translate into English to you thismorning something in this way: "I do not repent enough, I do not feel myself enough of a sinner I have notbeen so gross and wicked a transgressor as many-I could almost wish I had; not because I love sin, but because then Ithink I should have deeper convictions of my guilt, and feel more sure that I had truly come to Jesus Christ." Now it is agreat mistake to imagine that these terrible and horrible thoughts of a coming judgment have anything to do with the validityof "repentance." They are very often not the gift of God at all, but the insinuations of the devil; and even where the lawworkethand produceth these thoughts, you must not regard them as being part and parcel of "repentance." They do not enter intothe essence of repentance. "Repentance" is a hatred of sin; it is a turning from sin and a determination in the strength ofGod to forsake it. "Repentance" is a hatred of sin, and a forsaking it. It is possible for a man to repent without any terrificdisplay of the terrors of the law; he may repent without having heard the trumpet sounds of Sinai, without having heard morethan a distant rumble of its thunder. A man may repent entirely through the power of the voice of mercy. Some hearts Godopens to faith, as in the case of Lydia. Others he assaults with the sledge hammer of the wrath to come; some he opens withthe picklock of grace, and some with the crowbar of the law. There may be different ways of getting there, but the questionis, has he got there? Is he there? It often happens that the Lord is not in the tempest or in the earthquake, but in the "stillsmall voice."
There is another mistake many poor people make when they are thinking about salvation, and that is-that they cannot repentenough; they imagine that were they to repent up to a certain degree, they would be saved. "Oh, sir!" some of you will say,"I have not penitence enough." Beloved, let me tell you that there is not any eminent degree of "repentance" which is necessaryto salvation. You know there are degrees of faith, and yet the least faith saves; so there aredegrees of repentance, and the least repentance will save the soul if it is sincere. The Bible says, "He that believethshall be saved," and when it says that, it includes the very smallest degree of faith. So when it says, "Repent and be saved,"it includes the man who has the lowest degree of real repentance. Repentance, moreover, is never perfect in any man in thismortal state. We never get perfect faith so as to be entirely free from doubting; and we never get repentance which is freefromsome hardness of heart. The most sincere penitent that you know will feel himself to be partially impenitent. Repentanceis also a continual life-long act. It will grow continually. I believe a Christian on his death-bed will more bitterly repentthan ever he did before. It is a thing to be done all your life long. Sinning and repenting-sinning and repenting, make upa Christian's life. Repenting and believing in Jesus-repenting and believing in Jesus, make up the consummation of hishappiness. You must not expect that you will be perfect in "repentance" before you are saved. No Christian can be perfect."Repentance" is a grace. Some people preach it as a condition of salvation. Condition of nonsense! There are no conditionsof salvation. God gives the salvation himself; and he only gives it to those to whom he will. He says, "I will have mercyon whom I will have mercy "If, then, God has given you the least repentance, if it be sincere repentance, praise him for it,andexpect that repentance will grow deeper and deeper as you go further on. Then this remark I think, ought to be appliedto all Christians. Christian men and women, you feel that you have not deep enough repentance. You feel that you have notfaith large enough. What are you to do? Ask for an increase of faith, and it will grow. So with repentance. Have you evertried to get deep repentance? My friends, if you have failed therein, still trust in Jesus, and try every day to get a penitentialspirit, Do not expect, I say again, to have perfect repentance at first; sincere penitence you must have, and then underdivine grace you will go on from strength to strength, until at last you shall hate and abhor sin as a serpent or a viper,and then shall you be near, very near, the perfection of repentance. These few thoughts, then, in opening the subject. Andnow you say, what are the signs of true "repentance" in the sight of God?
First, I tell you, there is always sorrow with it. No man ever repents of sin without having some kind of sorrow with it. More or less intense, it may be, accordingto the way in which God calls him, and his previous manner of life, but there must be some sorrow. We do not care when itcomes, but at some time or other it must come, or it is not the repentance of the Christian. I knew a man once who professedthat he had repented, and he certainly was a changedcharacter, so far as the external was concerned, but I never could see that he had any real sorrow for sin, neither whenhe professed to believe in Jesus did I ever see any marks of penitence in him. I considered in that man it was a kind of ecstaticjump into grace; and I found afterwards he had just as ecstatic a jump into guilt again He was not a sheep of God, for hehad not been washed in penitence: for all God's people have to be washed there when converted from their sins. No man cancometo Christ and know his pardon without feeling that sin is a hateful thing, for it put Jesus to death. Ye who have tearlesseyes, unbended knees, unbroken hearts, how can ye think ye are saved? The gospel promised salvation only to those who reallyrepent.
Lest, however, I should hurt some of you, and make you feel what I do not intend, let me remark that I do not mean to saythat you must shed actual tears. Some men are so hard in constitution that they could not shed a tear. I have known some whohave been able to sigh and to groan, but tears would not come. Well, I say, that though the tear often affords evidence ofpenitence, you may have "repentance unto life" without it. What I would have you understand is, that theremust be some real sorrow. If the prayer may not be vocal, it must be secret. There must be a groan if there is no word;there must be a sigh if there be no tear, to show the repentance, even though it be but small.
There must be in this repentance, I think, not only sorrow, but there must be practice-practical repentance.
"'Tis not enough to say we're sorry, and repent,
And then go on from day to day just as we always went"
Many people are very sorry and very penitent for their past sins Hear them talk. "Oh!" they say, "I deeply regret that everI should have been a drunkard; and I sincerely bemoan that I should have fallen into that sin; I deeply lament that I shouldhave done so." Then they go straight home; and when one; o'clock on Sunday comes you will find them at it again. And yet suchpeople say they have repented Do you believe them when they say they are sinners, but do not love sin?They may not love it for the time; but can they be sincerely penitent, and then go and transgress again immediately, inthe same way as they did before? How can we believe you if you transgress again and again, and do not forsake your sin? Weknow a tree by its fruit, and you who are penitent will bring forth works of repentance. I have often thought it was a verybeautiful instance, showing the power of penitence which a pious minister once related. He had been preaching on penitence,and hadin the course of his sermon spoke of the sin of stealing. On his way home a laborer came alongside of him, and the ministerobserved that he had something under his smock-frock. He told him he need not accompany him farther; but the man persisted.At last he said, "I have a spade under my arm which I stole up at that farm; I heard you preaching about the sin of stealing,and I must go and put it there again." That was sincere penitence which caused him to go back and replace the stolen article.It was like those South Sea Islanders, of whom we read who stole the missionaries' articles of apparel and furniture,and everything out of their houses; but when they were savingly converted they brought them all back. But many of you sayyou repent, yet nothing comes of it; it is not worth the snap of the finger. People sincerely repent, they say, that theyshould have committed a robbery, or that they have kept a gambling-house; but they are very careful that all the proceedsshall be laidout to their hearts' best comfort. True "repentance" will yield works meet for repentance," it will be practical repentance.
Yet farther. You may know whether your repentance is practical by this test. Does it last or does it not? Many of your repentancesare like the hectic flush upon the cheek of the consumptive person which is no sign of health. Many a time have I seen a youngman in a flow of newly acquired, but unsound godliness, and he has thought he was about to repent of his sins. For some hourssuch an one was deeply penitent before God, and for weeks he relinquishes his follies. Heattends the house of prayer, and converses as a child of God. But back he goes to his sins as the dog returns to his vomit.The evil spirit has gone "back to his house, and has taken with him seven others more wicked than himself; and the last stateof that man is worse than the first." How long has your penitence lasted? Did it continue for months? or did it come uponyou and go away suddenly? You said, "I will join the church-I will do this, that, and the other, for God's cause." Are yourworks lasting? Do you believe your repentance will last six months? Will it continue for twelve months? Will it last untilyou are wrapped in your winding-sheet?
Yet again, I must ask you one question more. Do you think you you'll repent of your sins if no punishment were placed beforeyou? or do you repent because you know you shall be punished for ever if you remain in your sins? Suppose I tell you thereis no hell at all; that, if you choose, you may swear; and, if you will, you may live without God. Suppose there were no rewardfor virtue, and no punishment for sin, which would you choose?. Can you honestly say, this morning,"I think, I know, by the grace of God, I would choose righteousness if there were no reward for it, if there were nothingto be gained by righteousness, and nothing to be lost by sin." Every sinner hates his sin when he comes near to the mouthof hell; every murderer hates his crime when he comes to the gallows; I never found a child hate its fault so much as whenit was going to be punished for it. If you had no cause to dread the pit-if you knew that you might give up your life to sin,andthat you might do so with impunity, would you still feel that you hated sin, and that you could not, would not, commitsin, except through the infirmity of the flesh? Would you still desire holiness? Would you still desire to live like Christ?If so-if you can say this in sincerity-if you thus turn to God and hate your sin with an everlasting hatred, you need notfear but that you have a "repentance" which is "unto life."
III. Now comes the concluding and third point, and that "THE BLESSED BENEFICENCE OF GOD in granting to men "repentance untolife." "Repentance," my dear friends, is the gift of God. It is one of those spiritual favors which ensure eternal life. Itis the marvel of divine mercy that it not only provides the way of salvation, that it not only invites men to receive grace,but that it positively makes men willing to be saved. God punished his Son Jesus Christ for our sins,and therein he provided salvation for all his lost children. He sends his minister; the minister bids men repent and believe,and he labors to bring them to God. They will not listen to the call, and they despise the minister. But then another messengeris sent, a heavenly ambassador who cannot fail. He summons men to repent and turn to God. Their thoughts are a little wayward,but after he, the Divine Spirit, pleads with them, they forget what manner of men they were, and they repent and turn.Now, what would we do if we had been treated as God was? If we had made a supper or a feast, and sent out messengers toinvite the guests to come, what would we do? Do you think we should take the trouble to go round and visit them all, and getthem to come? And when they sat down and said they could not eat would we open their mouths? If they still declared they couldnot eat, should we still make them eat? Ah! beloved, I am inclined to think you would not do so. If you had signed the lettersof invitation, and the invited would not come to your feast, would you not say, "You shall not have it." But what doesGod do? He says, "Now I will make a feast, I will invite the people, and if they do not come in, my ministers shall go outand fetch them in bodily. I will say to my servants, go ye out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, thatthey may partake of the feast I have prepared." Is it not a stupendous act of divine mercy that he actually makes them willing?Hedoes not do it by force, but uses a sweet spiritual suasion. They are first as unwilling to be saved as they can be; "but,"says God, "that is nothing, I have power to make you turn to me, and I will." The Holy Ghost then brings home the Word ofGod to the consciences of his children in so blessed a manner, that they can no longer refuse to love Jesus. Mark you, notby any force against the will, but by a sweet spiritual influence changing the will. O, ye lost and ruined sinners! standhere andadmire my Master's mercy. He sets not only a feast of good things before men, but he induces them to come and partakeof them, and constrains them to continue feasting until he carries them to the everlasting eternal mansion. And as he bearsthem up, he says to each one, "I have loved thee with an everlasting love, therefore, by my lovingkindness I have drawn thee.Now, dost thou love me?" "Oh, Lord," they cry, "thy grace in bringing us here proves that thou dost love us, for we were unwillingto go. Thou saidst, you shall go, we said we would not go, but thou hast made us go. And now, Lord, we bless thee, andlove thee for that force. It was sweet constraint." I was a struggling captive, but I am now made willing.
Oh! sovereign grace, my heart subdue!
I would be led in triumph too;
A willing captive to my Lord
To sing the honors of his Word."
Well now, what say you? Some of you will say, "Sir, I have been trying to repent for a long time. In pains and afflictionsI have been praying and trying to believe, and doing all I can." I will tell you another thing: you will try a long time beforeyou will be able to do it. That is not the way to get it. I heard of two gentlemen travelling. One of them said to the other,"I do not know how it is, but you always seem to recollect your wife and family, and all that isdoing at home, and you seem as if you connected all things around you with them; but I try to bring mine to my recollectionconstantly, and yet I never can."; No," said the other, "that is the very reason-because you try. If you could connect themwith every little circumstance ye meet, you would easily remember them. I think at such and such a time-now they are rising;at such and such a time-now they are at prayers; at such and such a time-now they are having their breakfast. In thisway I have them still before me." I think the same thing happens with regard to "repentance." If a man says, "I want tobelieve," and tries by some mechanical means to work himself into repentance, it is an absurdity, and he will never accomplishit. But the way for him to repent is by God's grace to believe, to believe and think on Jesus. If he picture to himself thewounded bleeding side the crown of thorns, the tears of anguish-if he takes a vision of all that Christ suffered, I will bebound for it he will turn to him in repentance. I would stake what reputation I may have in spiritual things upon this-thata man cannot, under God's Holy Spirit, contemplate the cross of Christ without a broken heart. If it is not so, my heart isdifferent from any one's else. I have never known a man who has thought upon, and taken a view of the cross, who has not foundthat it begat "repentance," and begat faith. We look at Jesus Christ if we would be saved, and we then say. "Amazingsacrifice! that Jesus thus died to save sinners." If you want faith, remember he gives it, if you want repentance, hegives it! if you want everlasting life, he gives it liberally. He can force you to feel your great sin, and cause you to repentby the sight of Calvary's cross, and the sound of the greatest, deepest death shriek, "Eloi! Eloi! lama sabacthani?" "My God!my God! why hast thou forsaken me?" That will beget "repentance;" it will make you weep and say, "Alas! and did my Saviourbleed; and did my Sovereign die for me?" Then beloved, if you would have "repentance," this is my best advice to you-lookto Jesus. And may the blessed Giver of all "repentance unto salvation" guard you from the false repentances which I have described,and give you that "repentance," which existeth unto life.
"Repent! the voice celestial cries,
Nor longer dare delay;
The wretch that scorns the mandate, dies,
And meets a fiery day.
No more the sovereign eye of GOD
O'erlooks the crimes of men;
His heralds are despatch'd abroad
To warn the world of sin.
The summons reach thro' all the earth
Let earth attend and fear;
Listen, ye men of royal birth,
And let your vassals hear!
Together in his presence bow,
And all your guilt confess
Embrace the blessed Saviour now,
Nor trifle with his grace.
Bow, ere the awful trumpet sound,
And call you to his bar:
For mercy knows the appointed bound.
And turns to vengeance there."