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turned it abundantly. Often, after our poor services, he threw his arms round our necks, embraced us, thanked us, and exborted us with all his soul to devote ourselves to God. 'Believe my experience,' said he, He only is your sure trust, He only is truly to be loved. If you should one day be employed in the preaching of the Gospel, take heed not to work to be seen of men. Oh, with how many things of this kind do I reproach myself! My life, which appears to some to have been well employed, has not been a quarter so much so as it might have been! How much precious time have I lost!' He accused himself of unfaithfulness in the employment of his time, and of having been vain-glorious: he, whose labours were scarcely known to a few friends! who had refused to marry, that his heart might be entirely devoted to his Master, and whose ardent charity for his fellow-creatures had brought him, at the age of thirty-one, to his bed of death! Knowing his love for sacred music, we frequently assembled in a room near his own, and sung, in an under-tone, verses of his favourite hymns, and a paraphrase on the 31st chapter of Jeremiah, which he had himself composed. This singing filled his soul with a thousand feelings and recollections, and affected him so much, that we were obliged to discontinue it, though he did not see us, and he heard us but faintly.

"About a fortnight before his death, he looked on a mirror, and discovering unequivocal signs of dissolution in his countenance, he gave utterance to his joy: 'Oh, yes! soon, soon shall I be going to my God! From that time he took no more care of himself: his door was open to all, and the last hours of the missionary became a powerful mission. His chamber was never empty, he had a word for every one, until he was exhausted by it. In the full enjoyment of all his mental faculties, every thing was present to his memory: the most trivial circumstances, even conversations which he had held many years previously, and he made use of them with extraordinary energy in his exhortations. On his mother's aecount only did he shew the least inquietude: old, feeble, and devoted to him, she could not restrain her tears. Before her, he assumed a firmness which amounted even to reproach; then, when she left him, no longer able to refrain from weeping himself, his eyes followed her with tenderness, and he would exclaim, my poor mother!'

"He made presents to his friends, and set apart some religious books for many persons to whom he still hoped to useful; after having underlined several passages, he thus wrote the address:·Felix Neff, dying, to

"We shall have an indelible recollection of the last letter that he wrote; it was a few days before his death. He was supported by two persons, and, hardly able to see, he traced' at intervals, and in large and irregular characters which filled

a page, the lines which follow, addressed to some of his beloved friends in the Alps. What must have been the feelings of those who received them, with the persuasion that he, who had traced them, was no more!

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'Adieu, dear friend, André Blanc, Antoine Blanc, all my friends, the Pellissiers, whom I love tenderly; Francis Dumont and his wife; Isaac and his wife; beloved Deslois, Emilie Bonet, &c. &c.; Alexandrine and her mother; and all, all, brethren and sisters of Mens, adieu, adieu. I ascend to our Father in entire peace. Victory! victory! victory! through Jesus Christ. FELIX NEFF."

·

"The last night of his life, we and some other persons remained to sit up with him. Never shall we forget those hours of anguish, so well called the valley of the shadow of death.' It was necessary to attend to him constantly, and to hold him in his convulsive struggles; to support his fainting head in our arms; to wipe the cold drops from his forehead, to bend or to straighten his stiffened limbs: the centre of his body only retained any warmth. For a short time he seemed to be choking, and we dared not give him any thing. A few words of Scripture were read to him, but he did not appear to hear; once only, when some one was lamenting to see him suffer so much, and said, 'poor Neff,' he raised his head for an instant, fixed his large eyes full of affection upon his friend, and again closed them. During the long night of agony, we could only pray and support him. In the morning, the fresh air having a little revived him, he made a sign that he should be carried to a higher bed; they placed him on this bed, in a sitting posture, and' the struggles of death began. For four hours, we saw his eyes raised to heaven; each breath, that escaped from his panting bosom, seemed accompanied with a prayer; and at that awful period, when the heaviness of death was upon him, in the ardent expression of his supplication he appeared more animated than any of us. We stood around him weeping, and almost murmuring at the duration of his sufferings, but the power of his faith was so visible in his countenance, that our faith, too, was restored by it; it seemed as though we could see his soul hovering on his lips, impatient for eternity. At last, we so well understood what his vehement desire was, that with one impulse we all exclaimed,— Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly.'

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"Two days afterwards, (his death took place 12th April, 1829,)-we accompanied his remains to the tomb. Over his resting-place, were read some beautiful verses of that Word which shall never pass away. We then prayed, and, in conpliance with his wish, his numerous friends, who were assembled at the grave, sang together those lines of M. Vinet, of which the stanzas conclude thus:

"They are not lost, but gone before." "

THE

ORTHODOX PRESBYTERIAN.

No. LXXXVI. NOVEMBER, 1836. VOL. VIII.

BIBLE INSTRUCTION. No. XXII.

REPENTANCE.

"Repentance towards God."--Acts xx. 21.

"REPENTANCE unto life is a saving grace, whereby a sinner, out of a true sense of his sin, and apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ, doth, with grief and hatred of his sin, turn from it unto God, with full purpose of, and endeavour after, new obedience." Such is the definition of repentance by the Westminster Divines; and of all the views that have been given of it, this is, perhaps, the most just, simple, and comprehensive. In the Scriptures, the terms used to express it are principally two,-the one signifying a change of mind, and the other anxiety or uneasiness, upon consideration of what has been done. The substance of both is comprised in the definition that has been quoted. And it shall be our object simply to expound the views which it expresses.

Repentance, in common with faith, is a grace, because it is a principle wrought in the mind by the Holy Spirit, it has its seat in the heart, and it exerts a powerful and profitable influence over the whole character. It is, also, a saving grace; for wherever it is, salvation is its accompaniment, deliverance from sin now in proportion to its strength, and deliverance from its future consequences. Faith is concerned more immediately with an object external to the sinner, the Lord Jesus Christ; but repentance has respect to the exercises of the soul, when by faith the sinner embraces the Saviour. They are twin graces. It is idle to inquire which is first produced in the soul, for they have never been found apart;faith cannot exist without being accompanied by repentance, nor can repentance have any being without the operation of faith. The eye of faith must be opened to behold Christ, and as it is opened, the tear of penitence cannot but trickle down. It includes, therefore, a sense of sin, an apprehension of the divine mercy in Christ, grief for sin, hatred of sin, the

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renunciation of sin, and a determined purpose of future obedience. These shall be considered in their order.

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I. The first element in repentance is a sense of sin. One of the greatest evils under which man labours is an inadequate idea of the evil of sin. Hence is he described as dead in trespasses and sins,-living in them, without being aware of either the guilt or danger of his condition,-lighthearted and cheerful while the elements of ruin are within him, and the sentence of condemnation is suspended over him. To awaken him to a sense of sin is, therefore, one of the first designs of the Scriptures towards him. And how calculated are their revelations to accomplish such a purpose! Sin is described to be a "transgression of the law" of God, of that law which is "holy and just and good," and consequently to be the enemy of holiness, justice, and goodness, vile in its nature, and hateful in the sight of every holy being. It is declared to be the only cause of all the misery of which this world is the melancholy theatre; and while we trace the ravages of war, and famine, and pestilence, we are taught to refer them all to their cause in sin. There is not a spot on the earth where sorrow is not; and the reason is, because sin is there. If there is no sorrow in heaven, it is because sin has no admission there. Sin brought death into the world and all our woe, and its wide-spread calamities are the loud witnesses of its enormity. Particularly may the evil of sin be seen in the series of calamities that have sometimes proceeded from a single transgression. The one sin of Adam involved his whole posterity in universal ruin. What must that sin have been in the sight of God! There is no offence so slight, that the greatest amount of human suffering would be disproportioned to its demerit. Every sin deserves the wrath and curse of God. And in what an affecting manner is all this set forth in the humiliation and death of the Son of God. He took the sinner's place, and, though the only begotten Son of God, he must bear the sinner's punishment. Jehovah cried,

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""

Awake, O sword, against the shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, smite the shepherd"-" he spared not his own Son. And O! what did he suffer! He humbled himself to become a man, he had not where to lay his head, he endured an agony in which his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground, he died exclaiming, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me ?" and he submitted to be laid in the narrow grave, the prisoner of death for a season. Let all men learn, from the history of the Son of

God, what sin must be in the judgment of him who knows it as it is.

But the most just apprehension of sin, viewed in the abstract, is not sufficient to beget repentance; there must be, in the sinner, a just sense of his own sin. There are many who will allow sin to be the "abominable thing" described, who yet have no correct idea of the extent to which it prevails over themselves, or the danger to which it exposes them. In producing repentance, therefore, it becomes the office of the Spirit to convince men of their own sinfulness. To this end be sometimes induces a general impression of their shortcomings and vices, under which the soul is made uneasy, and cannot rest. But it is, perhaps, his more usual way to arrest the attention with some particular sin, and first exercise the conscience with that, thence leading it to other offences, until there is a deep-wrought conviction of universal depravity. Whatever be the method, however, which the Spirit adopts, the effect is uniform when his work ends in repentance; he convinces the soul of sin. The man allows that his life is unholy, having been a continued violation of the law of God; that his heart is impure, being the fountain of all ungodliness. in the life; that he is himself highly criminal, his sins having been the most aggravated and inexcusable; and that his situation is one of imminent danger, being exposed to the righteous displeasure and just judgment of God. To this conviction is every sinner shut up, in whom there is genuine repentHe acquiesces in the inspired description of himself, that "in him dwelleth no good thing." And while he reads that the wages of sin is death, he admits the justice of the sentence, and allows his own deserving to be death, temporal and eternal. The language of every penitent, therefore, is that of the publican, "God be merciful to me a sinner"-his exercise is that of the jailer when he cried out, "what must I do to be saved?" Indifference in sin is incompatible with repentance, and so is any attempt to excuse our iniquities.

ance.

II. But a sense of sin, though essential to repentance, does not constitute it; connected with it there is an apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ. The effect of a sense of sin, unconnected with a discovery of the divine mercy, is despair. An example of it occurs in the history of Judas, who, upon his conscience being awakened to a sense of his sin in betraying Christ without being enlightened to apprehend the mercy of God, went away and hanged himself. A similar operation, though not carried to the same extent, is frequently

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