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Repentance Toward God.

Repentance Toward God.

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY JOHN CORDNER,

"Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance

toward God."— Acts xx. 21.
BY JOHN CORDNER,

"Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance

toward God."— Acts xx. 21.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jul 09, 2014
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REPETACE TOWARD GOD. BY JOH CORDER, "Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God."— Acts xx. 21. The apostles of Christ were men who made a deep and permanent mark upon the world. They scored the purpose of their mission deep into society, by touching the hearts and moving the affections of those whom they addressed and among whom they labored. And this, because they were themselves vital with the doctrines which they proclaimed. These doctrines did not lie in their minds as dead traditions or merely inherited opinions, like so much merchandise in a warehouse, to be retailed out as opportunity served. o. They were living forces in their souls as all truly received doctrines are — part and parcel of their life, and urging them to a communication thereof as an inevitable condition of their being. They could not be silent. They could not be idle. They were filled with the Holy Ghost, and these doctrines were 26 • SERMO II. the spirit's forces •working within them, urging them to speech and to activity. Look at the apostle Paul. If ever there v,^as a man who made his doctrine his life, surely there he is. In the book of Acts, and in the epistles which bear his name, we find some passages so obviously vital, that if we were to puncture them we should expect them to bleed. We see at once that it is no dry and formal teacher, repeating dead opinions and traditions, who stands behind the words uttered there, but a man who
 
expresses his own inmost life. Head the passage be- fore us, and note the context. ote that meeting and that parting. And note the sum of the testimony wdiich he bore in his teaching at Ephesus : — '' Eepen- tance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ." --¦'.-^^^>.;-': : -^ "-'•:^:,,.;V:\;;/';,';'-:|S These were the doctrines which moved the mind, filled the heart, and worked in the soul and life of the great apostle. To say that he saw and felt the paramount need of urging them would be superfluous, because it is so evident. We are to consider one of the two now — I mean ^' repentance toward God." The other we shall consider in the next discourse. Eepentance, you know, signifies a change of mind or purpose. And " repentance toward God," signi- fies a change of wind Godward. ow, whatever there may have been special in the apostle's time to call for a pressing presentation of this doctrine, it would be a great mistake to suppose that no necessity remained for it in our time. Repentance, rightly REPETACE TOWARD GOD. 27 understood, is a needed doctrine for all times. And this permanent necessity comes from the simple fact that at all times there are men — multitudes of men — whose minds are turned toward something else rather than God. The apostles had to deal with Gentiles degraded by the worship of pagan deities, and Jews who were sunk in formalism and national pride. And in view of these things doubtless they felt called upon to urge men/rom all such idols and forms, to the God who alone was the true God and the living God. Such a change /ro??i and to was, of necessity, the fiist call of the gospel ; yea, it was the preparatory note
 
sounded by the forerunner of the Lord. The word of the Baptist was: ''Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." But idolatry and formalism come stealthily on men in every age, and in various shapes. In Christendom we no longer see the visible idolatry of Athens or Ephesus, or the special formalism of the Pharisee of Jerusalem, drawing the minds of men away from the living God, and drying up the sources of the divine life. Idolatry now takes other forms, and formahsm assumes other shapes. In our age men look to earthly Success and follow it as a God. They hold by barren traditions and usages, and allow these to stand in the place of a vital relation and conscious union with the Highest. Thus are men turned away from the Infinite Father — their most earnest look set in another direction, and the work of their hands following the sight of their eyes. Their 28 * SERMO II. most eager tliouglit and most persistent activity are directed otherwise than Godward. What a mystery is the life of man ! It is a mystery strange and solemn. From the hour he opens his eyes to the light, to that in which he closes them for the grave, he shows himself the subject of inward forces, whose intricate workings baffle our most curious inves- tigations. When the fearful power of will is put forth — that power so pregnant of results for w^eal or woe — we see the token of a moving force within, on which depends more than can well be named in words. And how these inward forces clash and war, making the soul a battle ground more awful than any out- w^ard Marathon or Marengo. The good we would, that we do not ; the evil which wx Avould not, that we do. The inward conflict — here it is — between the good and the evil. Away through all the chambers

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