Baxter - HP BV4920 B38 1829

vili equivalent to regret, and regret is short of the saving change that is spoken of in the New Testament. On the very same principle, we count the term ref<.lrmation to be inadequate. We think that, in common language, a man would receive the appellation of a reformed man upon the mere change of his out- · ward habits, without any reference to the change of mind and of principle which gave rise to it. Let the drunkard give up his excesses-let the backbiter give up his evil speakings-let the extortioner givt:.> up his unfair charges-and we would apply to one and all ofthem, upon the mere change of their external doings, the character of reformed men. Now, it is evident that the drunkard may give up his drunkenness, because checked by a serious impression of the injury he has been doing to his health / and his circumstances. The backbiter may give up his evil speaking, on being made to perceive that the hateful practice has brought upon him the contempt and alienation of his neighbours. The extortioner may give up his unfair charges, upon taking it into calculation that his business is likely to suffer by the desertion of his customers. Now, it is evident, that though in each of these cases there has been what the world would call reformation, there has not been scriptural repentance. The·deficiency of this term consists in its having been employed to denote a mere change in the deeds or in the habits of the outward man; and if employed as equivalent to repentance, it may delude us into the idea that the change by which we are made meet for a happy eternity is a far more slender and superficial thing than it really is. It is of little importance to be told that the translator means it only in the sense of a reformed conduct, proceeding from the influence of a new and a right principle within. The common meaning of the word will, as in the former instance, be ever and anon intruding itself, and get the better of all the formal cautions, and all the qualifying clauses of our Bible commentators. ·