The eighth book of Mr Jeremiah Burroughs. Being a treatise of the evil of evils, or the exceeding sinfulness of sin. Wherein is shewed, 1 There is more evil in the least sin, than there is in the greatest affliction. 2 Sin is most opposite to God. 3 Sin is most opposite to mans good. 4 Sin is opposite to all good in general. 5 Sin is the poyson, or evil of all other evils. 6 Sin hath a kind of infiniteness in it. 7 Sin makes a man conformable to the Devil. All these several heads are branched out into very many particulars.
Burroughs, Jeremiah, 1599-1646., Goodwin, Thomas, 1600-1680.
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THE EVIL of EVILS: OR, The Exceeding Sinfulness OF SIN.*. [Reader, •…is Trea∣ise was first Prea∣ched at Stepney, neer Lon∣don, on the Lordsday mornings t was be∣gun Nov. 29. 1641 and fini∣shed Feb. 27 1641. It is thought good o give the Reader Notice hereof, in espect to ome Ex∣pressions •…d in 〈◊〉 Trea∣•…e.]
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Sin is a striking against God. 1 The sinner wisheth God were not so Holy, &c. 2 It seek the destruction of God. Also sin is a wronging of God.

THirdly, Sin is a striking against God. I told you sin was an opposing of God, and all his waies: but now I say, Sin is a striking at God; at the very life of God. A man may fight with another, and yet not seek to take away his life, to destroy him; but sin strikes at the very Being of God. I remember an expression in the 24 of Levit. 16. speaking of the Blasphemer that blasphemed the Name of God; the words are translated in the Latine, He did strike through the Name of God: Certainly Sin is a striking of God. Indeed God is not a Body that we can strike through him with our hands; but God is a Spirit, and so the Spirits of men may by their sins strike through God Him∣self: so strike at God (observe it) as for the maintenance of thy sin, thou dost wish God might cease to be God; this is horrible wicked∣ness you wil say indeed What will you say to such a wickedness as this, that it should enter into the heart of any Creature, Oh that I might have my lust, and rather than I will part with my lust, I had rather God should cease to be Page  51 God; rather than I would leave my lust, I had rather God should be no more; this is horrible wickedness. But what wil you say if I convince your consciences that this is in your bosoms, that you have been guilty of this sin? yea in some measure, every sin may justly be charged with this, that rather than the sin should not be committed, thou wouldst rather have God to cease to be. You will say, Lord, have mercy upon us, though you have told us some other things hard, and strict, and yet they seem to be true; but you shal never make me beleeve this, all the men in the world shal never make me to beleeve this; that I should be guilty of so much wickedness, as to be set upon my lusts so, as to desire rather God not to be God at all, rather than I lose my lust; I hope there is not such wickedness in me. I beseech you hearken, and I hope to convince you that there is so much wickedness in the heart of man; that they be set upon their sins so, that they had rather God were not God at all, than they lose their lusts; and to this end, observe these two things.

1. First, Do you not think it in the nature of a sinner, so far as sin prevails in his heart, to come to this (so far as sin prevails I say) that he could wish God were not so holy as he is: hated not sin so much as he doth; that he were not so just, and so strict, and severe against sin as he is: Is not this in every sinners heart in the world' Certainly you deceive your selvs if you do not own this; I say so far as sin prevails in your hearts, could not you wish that God were not Page  52 so holy, to hate those sins you love, and not so just, to be so severe against sin as he is, is not this in your hearts? It is impossible for any Creature to love any thing, and yet not wish that another did not hate it so much as he doth. Well, if there be this in thee, that thou lovest such a sin, that thou couldest wish God did not hate it so much as he doth, that he were not so just, holy, and severe against sin as he is; this is to wish in thy heart that God were no God at al, that the Life of God, and Being of God were gone: so that thy heart in this sinful frame and disposition of it, it is no other but to strike at the very Being of God: For it is the work of the heart wishing that God were not God, for if he did not (as I told you) hate sin as much as he doth, he could not be a God at al. Now this is plain, and there is scarce any one bosom, but is guilty of this, scarce any of you, but may lay your hand upon your hearts and say, This Breast of mine is guilty of this, that when my heart is set upon any evil way, I could wish that God were not so holy to hate this; I had rather God should like of this: I hear of Gods Justice, but doth not my heart rise against Gods Justice? and I could wish that God were not so just as he is: Certainly there is this in some degree or other; therfore charge your hearts with this; and know, That so far as you have been guilty of this, you have struck at the Being of God; and this horrible wickedness is charged upon you, That your hearts have been set so far upon sin, that you could wish God had not been God ra∣ther Page  53 than you lose your sin. You would think it a horrible wickedness for any man to be so far in lust with another woman, as to wish his Wife dead, that he might have his fill of lust with that woman; this were a horrible wickedness; and yet this is in your hearts, to wish God had no Being, so that you might have your sin: especi∣ally those that be prophane ones, they, if they could have their wish, would desire there were no God at al. The Scripture saith, That the fool saith in his heart, that there is no God at all. That man or woman that could wish that there were no God at all, so he might have his lust; and to wish God were not so holy, and did not hate sin so much as he doth, so he might have his lust; this is a horrible wickedness. Oh that God would make thee fall down and think, Oh the horrible wickedness and abomination of my heart, that I should be set so far upon any base lust, as to wish that God were not God rather than I not be satisfied with my lust; and yet this is in sin, I and in every sin, so far as it pre∣vails in thy heart.

Secondly, It must needs be thus, because it it is the nature of Contraries, to seek the destru∣ction of one another, as it is the nature of fire to seek the destruction of water; so of any thing contrary to another it is the Nature of it to seek the destruction of the contrary. But now you have heard there is nothing contrary to God (to speak properly) but only sin; and if sin be the only contrary that God hath, then certainly sin doth seek the destruction of God, so much as it Page  54 can: though it be true, a sinner can never do God hurt, nor cannot hinder Gods working, or Being at al: whatsoever become of this wretch, though he be destroyed, and perish to al Eterni∣ty, God will remain blessed for ever. But this is the Nature of sin, to seek the destruction of the Eternal God of glory. Oh charge your hearts with this; do not stay till God come at the day of Judgment to charge you with this; for many poor sinners that went on blind-fold all their daies, and never saw sin what it was, then comes God upon their death bed, and chargeth them with this, and then their hearts are full of hor∣ror. And so at the day of Judgment, when God comes to charge them with this, then they will be amazed, and will see the truth of this. Ther∣fore, seeing God doth it now before the day of Judgment, do you now charge it upon your own hearts, that so you may be humbled. This is the Third Particular, It strikes at God.

Fourthly, Sin wrongs God exceedingly. It doth that wrong unto God, that all the Angels in Heaven, and men in the world cannot make up again. Any one sin, take but the least sin that thou dost commit, I say it doth that wrong unto God, that all the Angels in Heaven, and Men in the World can never make up again: if all the Angels in Heaven, and Men in the world, should come and say, Lord God, this poor wretched Creature hath committed this sin this day, O Lord we are content to suffer ten thousand yeers torment in Hell, to satisfie for that wrong that is done to thee by this man or womans sin; God Page  55 would say, it cannot be done by all Men and An∣gels, they can never make up this wrong: and yet (as I shall shew hereafter) God wil have this wrong made up, or thou must perish Eter∣nally. Many men plead thus, Who can chal∣lenge me and say, I have wronged them in al my life; they think this enough: well, suppose thou hast lived so, that thou hast not wronged man, either in word or deed; Oh but thou hast wronged God, the Living Eternal God can charge thee (though man cannot) that thou hast done him that wrong that all the Creatures in the world cannot make it good. It were a sad thing if a man had done that wrong to a King∣dom, that all the Blood in his Veins, and in ten thousand generations more could not make up again, he would be weary of his life. You have done that wrong to the God of Heaven, that all the Angels in Heaven, and Men in the World can never make up again. Well, to conclude, Though the things be hard, and sad to think on, God knows I treat in tender bowels and compassion to you: and I do not know that ever I spake to any people in the world with more compassion, and that in this particular: And know, though I speak of these things now, yet if God give liberty, I shall be as glad and willing to be large in shewing you the riches of the grace of the Gospel in Christ: and Gods mer∣cy in Christ. And I hope your hearts will be as free and large in this, as I am in speaking of this. And if I were now treating never so much of the riches of Gods mercy in Christ, I could not Page  56 do it with more Bowels of Compassion than I do this: but I do this that you may come to know your selves; that you may come to know Christ; that Christ may be precious in your thoughts: For the special end of Christs coming was, To take away sin, to deliver from sin; ther∣fore we must know sin, and charge our souls with sin, that Christ may be precious. There∣fore if any soul shal go away and say, Wo to me what have I done? yea then, such a soul is fit to hear of the Doctrine of grace and mercy in Christ, and that in due time (if God give liber∣ty) may be declared to such a soul. But now for the present I beleeve this is a necessary point for you to know; and this is that (though some may perhaps rise against it) that thousand thousands wil have cause to bless God for to all eternity when it is preached home upon their Consciences by the Spirit of the Lord which convinceth of the sinfulness of sin.