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Bible Dictionaries

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary

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In general, is sorrow for any thing past. In theology it signifies that sorrow for sin which produces newness of life. The Greek word most frequently used in the New Testament for repentance properly denotes an afterthought, or the soul recollecting its own actings; and that in such a manner as to produce sorrow in the review, and a desire of amendment. Another word also is used which signifies anxiety or uneasiness upon the consideration of what is done. There are, however, various kinds or repentance; as,

1. A natural repentance, or what is merely the effect of natural conscience.

2. A national repentance, such as the Jews in Babylon were called unto; to which temporal blessings were promised, Ezekiel 18:1-32; Ezekiel 19:1-14; Ezekiel 20:1-49; Ezekiel 21:1-32; Ezekiel 22:1-31; Ezekiel 23:1-49; Ezekiel 24:1-27; Ezekiel 25:1-17; Ezekiel 26:1-21; Ezekiel 27:1-36; Ezekiel 28:1-26; Ezekiel 29:1-21; Ezekiel 30:1-26; Ezekiel 31:1-18; Ezekiel 32:1-30 .

3. An External repentance, or an outward humiliation for sin, as in the case of Ahab.

4. A hypocritical repentance, as represented in Ephraim, Hosea 7:16 .

5. A legal repentance, which is a mere work of the law, and the effect of convictions of sin by it which in time wear off, and come to nothing.

6. an evangelical repentance, which consists in conviction of sin; sorrow for it; confession of it; hatred to it; and renunciation of it. A legal and evangelical repentance are distinguished thus:

1. A legal repentance flows only from a sense of danger and fear of wrath; but an evangelical repentance is a true mourning for sin, and an earnest desire of deliverance from it.

2. A legal repentance flows from unbelief, but evangelical is always the fruit and consequence of a saving faith.

3. A legal repentance flows from an aversion to God and to his holy law, but an evangelical from love to both.

4. A legal repentance ordinarily flows from discouragement and despondency, but evangelical from encouraging hope.

5. A legal repentance is temporary, but evangelical is the daily exercise of the true Christian.

6. A legal repentance does at most produce only a partial and external reformation, but an evangelical is a total change of heart and life. The author of true repentance is God, Acts 5:31 . The subjects of it are sinners, since none but those who have sinned can repent. The means of repentance is the word, and the ministers of it; yet sometimes consideration, sanctified afflictions, conversation, &c. have been the instruments of repentance. The blessings connected with repentance are, pardon, peace, and everlasting life, Acts 11:18 .

The time of repentance is the present life, Isaiah 55:6 . Ecclesiastes 9:5 . the evidences of repentance are, faith, humility, prayer, and obedience, Zechariah 12:10 . The necessity of repentance appears evident from the evil of sin; the misery it involves us in here; the commands given us to repent in God's word; the promises made to the penitent; and the absolute incapability of enjoying God here or hereafter without it.

See Dickinson's Letters, let. 9; Dr. Owen on the 130th Psalm; Gill'sBody of Divinity, article Repentance; Ridgley's Body of Divinity, question 76; Davies's Sermons, ser. 44. vol. 3:; Case's Sermons, ser. 4; Whitefield's Sermons; Saurin's Sermons, ser. 9. vol. 3: Robinson's translation; Scott's Treatise on Repentance.

Bibliography Information
Buck, Charles. Entry for 'Repentance'. Charles Buck Theological Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/​dictionaries/​eng/​cbd/​r/repentance.html. 1802.
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