NO state is more dreary than that of the repentant sinner, when first he understands where he is, and begins to turn his thoughts towards his Great Master whom he has offended. Of course it is tempered with comfort and hope, as are all acts of duty; and on the retrospect, far from being distressing to dwell upon, it will be even pleasant. But at the time it is a most dreary state. A man finds that he has a great work to do, and does not know how to do it, or even what it is, and his impatience and restlessness are as great as his conscious ignorance; indeed, he is restless because he is ignorant. There is great danger of his taking wrong steps, inasmuch as he is anxious to move, and does not know whither. Let me now make some remarks upon certain faults into which he is likely to fall.
But, observe, I am supposing a really sincere and earnest mind, not a languid, dreaming, halting, double-minded penitent, who repents a little and not much. Such a one is certainly not in danger of becoming enthusiastic or superstitious; he has not the power of being intemperate or wayward in his grief, and has little need of guidance. Nor does what I am saying apply to persons of sound judgment or calm temperament, who though they do truly repent, yet repent with the reason rather than with the feelings.
Sermons on Subjects of the Day 4