Quotes from The Doctrine of Repentance

The Doctrine of Repentance by Thomas Watson is a treasure trove of great quotes about turning from our sin.  Some of the best are captured below and a more extensive list is available here (though there are far too many to list).

  • Look upon sin in its nature, and it will appear very hateful. See how Scripture has penciled it out: it is a dishonoring of God (Rom. 2.25); a despising of God (I Sam. 2.30); a fretting of God (Ezek. 16.43); a wearying of God (Isa. 7.13); a breaking the heart of God, as a loving husband is with the unchaste conduct of his wife: ‘I am broken with their whorish heart’ (Ezek. 6.9). Sin, when acted to the height, is a crucifying Christ afresh and putting him to open shame (Heb. 6.6), that is, impudent sinners pierce Christ in his saints, and were he now upon earth they would crucify him again in his person.
  • Affliction can take away life; sin takes away the soul (Luke 12:20).
  • The very day a Christian turns from sin he must enjoin himself a perpetual fast. The eye must fast from impure glances. The ear must fast from hearing slanders. The tongue must fast from oaths. The hands must fast from bribes. The feet must fast from the path of the harlot. And the soul must fast from the love of wickedness. This turning from sin implies a notable change.
  • A man may restrain the acts of sin, yet not turn from sin a right manner. Acts of sin may be restrained out of fear or design, but a true penitent turns from sin out of a religious principle, namely, love to God. Even if sin did not bear such bitter fruit, if death did not grow on this tree, a gracious soul would forsake it out of love to God. This is the most kindly turning from sin. When things are frozen and congealed, the best way to separate them is by fire. When men and their sins are congealed together, the best way to separate them is by the fire of love. Three men, asking one another what made them leave sin: one says, I think of the joys of heaven; another, I think of the torments of hell; but the third, I think of the love of God, and that makes me forsake it. How shall I offend the God of love?
  • Till sin be bitter, Christ will not be sweet.
  • If prayer does not make a man leave sin, sin will make him leave prayer.
  • As the plough, when it breaks up the ground, fits it for the seed, so when the heart is broken up by repentance, it is fitted for remission, but it does not merit it. God will not save us without repentance, nor yet for it. Repentance is a qualification, not a cause. I grant repenting tears are precious. They are, as Gregory said, the fat of the sacrifice; as Basil said, the medicine of the soul; and as Bernard, the wine of angels. But yet, tears are not satisfactory for sin. We drop sin with our tears, therefore they cannot satisfy. Augustine said well: I have read of Peter’s tears, but no man ever read of Peter’s satisfaction. Christ’s blood only can merit pardon. We please God by repentance but we do not satisfy him by it. To trust to our repentance is to make it a savior. Though repentance helps to purge out the filth of sin, yet it is Christ’s blood that washes away the guilt of sin. Therefore do not idolize repentance.  Do not rest upon this, that your heart has been wounded for sin, but rather that your Savior is been wounded for sin. When you have wept, say with him: Lord Jesus, wash my tears in thy blood.
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