A Question Worth Asking

An excerpt from “What is Repentance?” by William S. Plumer (1802-1880)

He who truly repents is chiefly sorry for his sins; he whose repentance is spurious is chiefly concerned for their consequences. The former chiefly regrets that he has done evil, the latter that he has incurred evil. One sorely laments that he deserves punishment, the other that he must suffer punishment. One approves of the Law that condemns him; the other thinks he is [harshly] treated and that the Law is rigorous. To the sincere penitent, sin appears exceeding sinful. To him who sorrows after a worldly sort, sin in some form appears pleasant. He regrets that it is forbidden. One says it is an evil and bitter thing to sin against God, even if no punishment followed; the other sees little evil in transgression if there were no painful consequences sure to follow. If there were no hell, the one would still wish to be delivered from sin; if there were no retribution, the other would sin with increased greediness. The true penitent is chiefly averse to sin as it is an offence against God. This embraces all sins of every description.

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