Men are not blamed for such actions as they perform ignorantly and casually, whatever may be the consequences. Why? but because the principles of these actions are only momentary, and terminate in them alone. Men are less blamed for such actions as they perform hastily and unpremeditatedly than for such as proceed from deliberation. For what reason? but because a hasty temper, though a constant cause or principle in the mind, operates only by intervals, and infects not the whole character. Again, repentance wipes off every crime, if attended with a reformation of life and manners. How is this to be accounted for? but by asserting that actions render a person criminal merely a they are proofs of criminal principles in the mind.
Vice leaves repentance in the soul like an ulcer in the flesh, which is always scratching and lacerating itself; for reason effaces all other griefs and sorrows, but it begets that of repentance, which is so much the more grievous, by reason it springs within, as the cold and hot of fevers are more sharp than those that only strike upon the outward skin.
Repentance should be with joy. If repentance is sincere, the person will be joyful even though he is humble. If repentance is insincere, the person will be depressed and irritable and will react with anger toward people who speak with him.
The moment you can make a very simple discovery, viz., that obligation to God is your privilege, and is not imposed as a burden, your experience will teach you many things - that duty is liberty, that repentance is a release from sorrow, that sacrifice is gain, that humility is dignity, that the truth from that which you hide is a healing element that bathes your disordered life, and that even the penalties and terrors of God are the artillery only to protection to His realm.
People in our culture have a morbid tendency to avoid blame, because they do not wish to take the trouble to change their conduct in any way: blame-avoidance and blame-transference are therefore endemic amongst us. These are substitutes for repentance and renewal.
He that feels himself alarmed by his conscience, anxious for the attainment of a better state and afflicted by the memory of his past faults, may justly conclude that the great work of repentance has begun.