Maxims On Repentance

“While we live in a sinful world, and carry about with us a body of sin and death, repentance must be the work of every day.”

“We sin enough every day to sorrow for it, and to be humbled for all our lives.”

“If repentance on earth is bitter—what will remorse in hell be?”

“He who covers his sins shall not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them shall have mercy.”

“Repentance is a plank thrown out after shipwreck—he who neglects it sinks inevitably.”

“Worldly joy ends in sorrow. Spiritual sorrow ends in joy.”

“Let none defer repentance until another day. He who has promised pardon on our repentance, has not promised life until we repent.”

“If we put off repentance to another day, we have the sins of another day to repent of, and a day less to repent in.”

“They shall look on Him whom they have pierced, and shall mourn.” Zechariah 12:10. “Repentance is the tear of love, dropping from the eye of faith, when it fixes on Christ crucified. Repentance begins in the humiliation of the heart, and ends in the reformation of the heart and of the life.”

Sincere repentance is never too late, but late repentance is seldom sincere. The thief on the cross repented, and was pardoned in the last hour of his life. We have one such instance in scripture—that none might despair; and only one—that none might presume.

Still, however, the probability that apparent repentance, which comes at a dying hour, will be genuine, is very small. The following fact will furnish an affecting illustration of this sentiment, and a solemn warning against the too common delusion of deferring the work of repentance to a dying bed—

The faithful and laborious clergyman of a very large and populous parish had been accustomed, for a long series of years, to preserve notes of his visits to the afflicted, with remarks on the outcome of their affliction, whether life or death, and of the subsequent conduct of those who recovered. He stated, that, during forty years, he had visited no less than two thousand people apparently drawing near to death, and who revealed such signs of penitence as would have led him to indulge a good hope of their eternal safety—if they had died at that moment. When they were restored to life and health—he eagerly looked that they should bring forth fruits fit for repentance; but alas! of the two thousand, only two people manifested an abiding and saving change! The rest, when the terrors of eternity ceased to be in immediate prospect, forgot their pious impressions and their solemn vows—and returned with new avidity to their former worldly-mindedness and sinful pursuits, “as the dog returns to his vomit again, and as the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.”

Gorham Abbott, The Family At Home