To the most hardened criminal there may come moments when conscience awakens and remorse attacks. The importance of repentance is specially insisted upon in the Christian religion, the exponents of which exhort men to repent of their sins and follies and lead the life their God teaches them to lead.
Two thieves were crucified at the same time as Christ, and the one who repented of his sins, even in the hour of death, was allowed to enter into Paradise with Christ.
True repentance implies not only regret for the past, but an earnest desire to do better in the future, and to make amends for the wrong that has been done, however great the cost.
The boy who has deceived his master cannot be said to have truly repented until he has confessed his deceit, and is willing to undergo the punishment of his offence, however severe it may be.
The man who by unfair means has deprived another of his property or estate, has not truly repented, however bitter his remorse, until he has restored everything to the rightful owner.
Terrible as may be the punishments which must be under gone by those who have committed crimes, terrible as may be the agony of relinquishing that on which the heart is set, yet far more terrible is the state of mind of the man who has irreparably injured another.
We think of Dr. Johnson in advanced years standing in the market-place where from pride he had refused to stand, as a boy, to take the place of a father who was unfit to go.
What must have been his feelings when he saw his father die with the memory of his unkind act in his heart, when there was longer any chance of blotting out that memory by filial devotion!