Reynolds - BX5133.R42 S4 1831

122 THIRD SERMON and obstacle that keeps men from Christ, as we see in the example of the young man, Mark x. 22. and of the Jews, John v. 44. xii. 42, 43. so when Christ bath broken this obstacle, and obtained the throne in a man's heart, then the chief work of repentance is to keep this sin from gathering strength again ; for as they say of some kind of serpents, that being cut in pieces the parts will wriggle towards one another, and close and get life again, so of all sins a man is in most danger of the reviving of his own proper cor- ruption ; as being like the nettle, whose roots are so crooked, so catching to the ground, that it is a work of much care to keep the ground clean of them after they are weeded out. And therefore repentance sets itself particularly against that sin, as a special argument of sincerity. " I was upright," saith David, " before him, and kept myself from mine iniquity," Psa. xviii. 23. And, " He that is begotten of God," saith the apostle, keepeth himself," 1 John v. 18. which he Both certainly with most vigilance there where lie is most in danger of being assaulted. See in David ; he had in that great and scandalous fall of his stained his conscience with impure lust, with the guilt of blood, and that not out of ignorance or common in- firmity, or sudden passion and surprisal of some hasty temptation, (which might happily have consisted with uprightness,) but seriously and deliberately, using many cunning arts, and carnal shifts of sinful wisdom to colour and daub it over : and, lastly, by this means had given a great blow to the holy name of God, and caused his enemies to blaspheme, as Nathan tells him, 2 Sam. xii. 14. Therefore in his peniten- tial psalm these four things he principally insists upon; a clean heart, pardon of blood - guiltiness, truth in the