Sunday, March 20, 2005


"Repentance is needful for hypocrites. I mean such as allow themselves in the sin. Hypocrisy is the counterfeiting of sanctity. The hypocrite or stage­player has gone a step beyond the moralist and dressed himself in the garb of religion. He pretends to a form of godliness but denies the power (2 Tim. 3.5). The hypocrite is a saint in jest. He makes a magnificent show, like an ape clothed in ermine or purple. The hypocrite is like a house with a beautiful facade, but every room within is dark. He is a rotten post fairly gilded. Under his mask of profession he hides his plague­sores. The hypocrite is against painting of faces, but he paints holiness. He is seemingly good so that he may be really bad. In Samuel's mantle he plays the devil. Therefore the same word in the original signifies to use hypocrisy and to be profane. The hypocrite seems to have his eyes nailed to heaven, but his heart is full of impure lustings. He lives in secret sin against his conscience. He can be as his company is and act both the dove and the vulture. He hears the word, but is all ear. He is for temple­devotion, where others may look upon him and admire him, but he neglects family and closet prayer Indeed, if prayer does not make a man leave sin, sin will make him leave prayer. The hypocrite feigns humility but it is that he may rise in the world. He is a pretender to faith, but he makes use of it rather for a cloak than a shield. He carries his Bible under his arm, but not in his heart. His whole religion is a demure lie (Hos 11.12).

But is there such a generation of men to be found? The Lord forgive them their holiness! Hypocrites are 'in the gall of bitterness' (Acts 8.23). O how they need to humble themselves in the dust! They are far gone with the rot, and if any thing can cure them, it must be feeding upon the salt marshes of repentance.

Let me speak my mind freely. None will find it more difficult to repent than hypocrites. They have so juggled in religion that their treacherous hearts know not how to repent. Hypocrisy is harder to cure than frenzy. The hypocrite's imposthume in his heart seldom breaks. If it be not too late, seek yet to God for mercy.

Such as are guilty of prevailing hypocrisy, let them fear and tremble. Their condition is sinful and sad. It is sinful because they do not embrace religion out of choice but design; they do not love it, only paint it. It is sad upon a double account. Firstly, because this art of deceit cannot hold long; he who hangs out a sign but has not the commodity of grace in his heart must needs break at last Secondly, because God's anger will fall heavier upon hypocrites. They dishonour God more and take away the gospel's good name. Therefore the Lord reserves the most deadly arrows in his quiver to shoot at them. If heathens be damned, hypocrites shall be double­damned. Hell is called the place of hypocrites (Matt. 24.51), as if it were chiefly prepared for them and were to be settled upon them in fee­simple."

From The Doctrine of Repentance, by Thomas Watson


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