A perfect revolution

Daily Reading for February 17 • Ash Wednesday

Repentance itself is nothing else but a kind of circling; to return to Him by repentance, from whom by sin we have turned away. . . which circle consists of two things; which two must needs be two different motions. One is to be done with the whole heart; the other with it broken and rent: so as, one and the same it cannot be.

First, a turn, wherein we look forward to God, and with our whole heart resolve to turn to Him. Then, a turn again, wherein we look backward to our sins, wherein we have turned from God: and with beholding them, our very heart breaketh. . . . These two between them make up a complete repentance or a perfect revolution.

From Sermon Four on Repentance by Lancelot Andrewes, preached Ash Wednesday, 1619; quoted in Christian Teachings on the Practice of Prayer: From the Early Church to the Present, edited by Lorraine Kisly (Boston: New Seeds, 2006).

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