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.
Table of contents | Add to bookbag
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.]
Page  57


How sin wrong God: 1 In his Attributes. 2 Relati∣on of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. 3 His Counsels. 4 In the End for which God hath done all he hath done. And First, Sin wrong Gods Attributes: 1 His All-sufficiency, shewd in two particulars. 2 It wrong his Omnipresence, and Omnisciency. 3 Sin wrong his Wisdom. 4 Wrong his Holiness. 5 Sin wrong God in setting mans will above Gods. 6 Sin wrong Gods Dominion. 7 Sin wrong Gods Justice. 8 Sin wrong God in his Truth.

THis was that which we proposed in the third place; but we shall handle it in this fourth place, that we may enlarge upon it. But how doth sin wrong God? The wrong you do to God by sin, is such wrong, that if all the Angels in Heaven, and Men in the World, would be content to endure thousands of yeers of torment in Hell to make up that wrong, it could not be; any one sin that you commit doth such wrong to God. How doth this appear? To make it out, I shal shew unto you four things.

  • 1 How sin doth wrong God in all his Attributes.
  • 2 How it wrongs God in his Personal Relations, Fa∣ther, Son, and Holy Ghost.
  • Page  58 3 How it wrongs him in his Counsels, in that order he hath set in the World in all Creatures.
  • 4 How it wrongs God in the very End for which he hath done all that he hath done, in the end of all his Works, even his Glory.

First, Sin wrongs God in his Attributes: As thus,

First, Sin doth hold forth this, That there is not a sufficiency of good in God, for the satisfy∣ing of a soul; this language is apparant in every sin, and it holds this forth; so far as sin doth ap∣pear, it holds this forth before all, and speaks this language, That there is not enough good in God, That is, the Blessed, Glorious, Al-suf∣ficient Eternal, Unchangable good and Fountain of all good: yet sin makes this profession, That there is not enough good in God to satisfie this soul: or else why doth the soul depart from him in any sinful way, and go to the Creature for any good, if there be enough in God himself? Now there is great wrong done to that blessed God, who is goodness it self; for any Creature to hold this forth, That there is not sufficient good there, but that the Creature must be fain to seek for it elswhere out of God. So long as we seek comforts in the Creature in order to God, we seek for it in God, though in the Crea∣ture, if in order unto God: but when we come to seek for any good, any comfort in any way of sin (as no sin can be committed, but there is this in it) Though deliberately you do not Page  59 say, that you think there is not comfort enough in God, but you will have it in this sinful way, you do not say so: but there is this in thy wal∣king in the way of sin, God seeth this in the Na∣ture of every sin. Would not a Father think it a wrong to him, or a Master think it a wrong, to have his Son, or his Servant, go and complain to his Neighbor and say, he hath not meat e∣nough? That wrong you would think your Child doth to you, in going to shark at your Neighbors door for meat; this you do to God when you go to sin: As if you should say, not∣withstanding there is so much said of the infinit goodness of God, and that infinite satisfaction in Him; for my part I find not enough in Him, I must have it elswhere. This is a wrong to Gods Al-sufficiencie in this first regard.

Secondly, A sinner, going in waies of sin, wrongs God thus; he holds this forth, That there is more good to be had in a sinful lust, than there is to be had in all the glorie and excellen∣cie in the infinite blessed God. This you will say is a wrong, if this can be made out that there is this evil in sin, holding this forth, That there is more good to be had in a base sinful lust, than in all the glorie in Heaven, and comfort in God. Certainly this is so, and God seeth it so; and except God be satisfied for this sin in Christ, God will charge this upon thy soul another day, that hast been guilty of this great sin. And that I may cleer it to your Conscience, That in eve∣ry evil way there is this: Thus it appears;

Page  60 Because everie sinful way is a departing from God, and all that good in God: now this in the account of Reason may appear to the weakest capacity, That where there stands two goods propounded, and I depart from one, and chuse the other; by my chusing, though I say nothing, when I chuse the one, when I cannot injoy both together; I do thereby profess I account more good to be in that other I chuse, than in that former I parted from: Thus it is in the waies of Sin, God sets forth himself to the Soul, and shews his goodness and excellencie, as appeareth in all his glorious works; and those that live under the Gospel, as appeareth in his word to them; and God woes the Soul, My Son give me thy heart, and here I am willing to communicate my self to thee, and all that good in me to thy Soul; if I have anie good, anie thing in that infinite Nature of mine, to comfort thy Soul, and make thee happie, here I am willing to let it out and communicate it to thee: Thus God professes to all the world, all the Children of men, to whom at least the Ministerie of the Go∣spel comes, if thy Soul will come in and close with him in that way he reveals to thee, he is readie to communicate that goodness in him to thy Soul to make thee blessed. But now anie man or woman in anie sinful way, though they do not say so, yet they profess by their practice this, That though there be such goodness in thee, yet here is such a sinful lust, I expect more goodness in this than in thy blessed Majestie: Certainly there is this in everie Sin, and God Page  61 seeth it, and God will deal with a sinner accor∣ding to this if he come to answer for his sin him∣self. For (Brethren) thus it stands, we cannot enjoy God and sinful waies both together; so far as any decline to sinful waies, so far they ven∣ture the loss of God eternally, and all that good in God. It may be God may have mercie upon thee, and bring thee into Christ; and Christ may satisfie God for that wrong thou didst to him, this is nothing to thee, but there is this evil in thee, there is not one sinful way that thou clo∣sest with, but thou venturest the loss of all that infinite good to be injoyed in the blessed God, in that sin: here is the evil of sin: And is not this a wrong to God? what is God, if not better than a base lust? The Devil himself is better than a base lust, that is, the Devil hath an Entitie in him, he is of God, though he be a Devil by sin, yet he is a being that is of God; but sin hath no good, and therfore sin is worse than the Devil: It is that which makes the Devil so evil as he is, and yet thou in thy sinful way doest profess, thou accountest more good to be in sin than in all the good of God himself, as if sin were bet∣ter than God himself: For thou venturest the loss of God that thou maiest have thy sinful way. Oh sinner! stop in thy way, and consider what thou doest: and know all thy life long which thou hast lived, hath been nothing else but a continual profession before all the world by thy sinful life, That thou accountest more good in a lust, than all the good in the blessed God to be enjoyed to al Eternitie.

Page  62 II. Thou wrongest God in the way of thy sin thus, in his Omnipresence, and Omnisciency: to put them both together.

1 In that thou darest do that before the very face of God, that God infinitely hates: Is it not a wrong to any King, yea, to your selves though mean, for those that are your inferiors to do that before your face that you hate above all things in the world? thus a Sinner doth, al the wayes of thy Sin are before the very face of God, and they are such things as God infinitely hates, yet thou darest do that before the face of God in some Sin, that thou darest not do before the meanest boy or girle in thy house. What a wrong is this to Gods Omnisciency and Omni∣presence! Nay, perhaps thou darest not do it before a Child of six years old, and yet darest do it before the face of the infinite blessed God, if a man should be afraid to do a thing before any Servant in his house, the very Scullion of the Kitchin, and yet when he comes before the King, doth it there; were not this a wrong to his Majesty, that any dare be so bold before him?

2 Again, Thou wrongest his Omnipresence in this, in that thou darest to cast that which is filthy before his presence, to cast Carrion, a dead Dog, before a Prince, is a wrong: men in sinful wayes do nothing but cast vomit and filth before the presence of a most holy▪ God: thus thou wrongest God in his Omnipresence and Om∣nisciency.

Thirdly, Thou wrongest God in his way of Page  63 Wisdom, because in Sin thou professest Gods wayes are not wayes of Wisdom, but thou knowest better to provide for thy self, than in that way God hath set thee; how doest thou cast folly on the waies of God, and settest thy shallow way and heart of thine before Gods, as if thou couldest provide for thy self and thy own good more wisely than God hath set thee in a way to do; The Word of God and that re∣vealed in the light of Nature, is nothing else but several beams of the infinite Wisdom of God for the guiding of manking unto happiness and glory; the light of Nature helps somwhat, though it reach not far enough, yet I say, the light of Nature is made up of several beams of Gods Wisdom, but the light of the Word is made up of beams of Wisdom, a great deal more bright than the beams of Nature, now any Sinner that forsakes the waies of God, re∣jects these beams of Wisdom as if they were dark, and doth as if he should say, I know how better to provide by this way. Hence carnal men account the waies of God foolishness, and preaching of the Word foolishness, and the usual title that they give to those that walk more strict than others, is this, What fools they are, nothing but a company of fools that keep such a stir: And it is an ordinary thing in the world for carnal hearts to cast folly upon the waies of God; and for themselves, they can sit at home and applaud themselves in their Wis∣dom, as if they go in a neerer way than others; and why should they be such fools as others? Page  64 And it is usual for Parents that be carnal, to come to their Children and cast folly upon them when they look after the waies of God, some do it openly, but every sin doth cast folly upon God and his blessed way; and in every sin thou settest thy wisdom above Gods Wisdom.

Fourthly, In Sin thou doest cast dirt on the Holiness of God. Holiness is the brightness of of Gods glory, and in the waies of Sin thou castest dirt upon the face of Holiness it self: Gods Nature is pure, thy Sin is filthy and vile, and contrary to him, and doth what it can to darken the brightness of the infinite Holiness of God.

Fifthly, Thou wrongest God in this, That thou settest up thy Will above the Will of God; Gods Will is to be the rule of all the actions and waies of the Creature, but thou comest and set∣test up thy Will above Gods; there is this hi∣dious wickedness in every sin, at least in every wilful Sin when it comes into the will, then the will of man is set up above the will of the infi∣nite and glorious God: do not you account your selves wronged when you will have your will, and a poor boy saith he will have it otherwise? do not you account your selves wronged when he dares set his will before yours? Oh consider this you that are wilful, you cannot bear to have your will crost, to have an inferior, or a Child set their will against yours, you are not able to bear it: Oh consider what you do when you set your will against the will of the infinite God: nay, above it in two regards.

Page  65 1 Because when Gods will is one way, and yours another, you will rather have yours, than God shall have his.

2 Though God doth onlie will that which is right and good, and is content to have his will satisfied in nothing but in things good, you will have yours right or wrong, good or bad; God will have his in onlie that which is righteous and good, if you were set upon your will in that which were good, it were another matter; but in that you will have your will right or wrong, good or bad, as come to men in their passion, and reason with them, why this is not wel, yet say they, I wil; and this carries it: what a proud Spirit is this that dares set up his will against Gods will; good or bad, right or wrong I must have it, and this is in sin.

Sixthly, Sin wrongs God in the Dominion and Power, and Soveraigntie of God, which with men is a verie tender thing, where there is So∣vereigntie, there cannot be endured the least wrong. Men be mightie tender of Power and Sovereigntie; sure if they be so, God may much more be tender of his, which is as the apple of his eye. Let me suggest one Considera∣tion to you, which should make anie mans heart to bleed to consider how God is wronged in the world; and that is this, You shall have poor men and servants, that dare not do anie thing to displease those that have power over them, if but a Master, or Landlord, or Justice of the Peace (especially if it come higher) Oh how they shake and tremble if they be displeased, Page  66 and if anie thing go against their mind they dare not do it; but there is not the basest fellow, the vilest wretch that lives, the poorest worm, but he dares venture to sin against God, blaspheme the Name of God, shakes at the word of a man of power, or a man but a little above him; but he dares fill his mouth with Oaths even in the face of God himself, there he hath courage and valor, and he scorns to be afraid, what to fear an Oath! he hath too brave a Spirit to be afraid of that: Oh horrible wrong to the infinite God! What is anie Superioritie in man so great that men dare not offend them, and yet the poorest Spirit that is, dares wrong and blaspheme the Name of God.

Seventhly, There is a wrong to God in his Justice: Sin wrongs God in his infinite Ju∣stice.

1 In that it is not afraid of God; God expects all Creatures should fear him because of his Justice.

2 Thou doest wrong to his Justice, in that by waies of Sin, thou doest as much as in thee lies even accuse the waies of God for unjust-waies, and not equal, but that your waies be more just and equal than Gods. Therefore God in Scrip∣ture reasons the Case with his People, What are not my waies equal, are not your waies unequal? Ezek. 18. 29. Certainly there is this in sin, for if you account not your waies more equal, why chuse you them?

Eightly, You wrong God in his Truth: As if all Gods threatnings against the waies of Sin Page  67 you walk in were nothing but a Tale and a Lie, as if all the Promises God hath made in his word of grace and mercy to poor Sinners that will come in and repent, they were all but a Lie: thus Sin wrongs God in his Truth, Hence it is that a Sinner is in a woful estate, because he hath thus wronged God; he hath therefore all the Attributes of God pleading against him, yea, they are continuallie against thee. Therefore look to it, till your Sins be done away in Christ, and your Souls clensed in him, both night and day all the Attributes of God are pleading a∣gainst thee for to require that wrong you have done to them may be righted upon thee. A man is in a sad condition if he have but divers thou∣sands of men come to plead against him, and these cry out for Justice, justice, upon him! but if a man have a whol Kingdom, and everie one comes and cries Justice! Justice! upon this man that hath wronged this Kingdom, this man is in a woful estate, but I speak of everie Sinner be∣fore God, if that thy sins be not done away in Christ, know it is not a whol Kingdom speaks a∣gainst thee, but all the divine Attributes, al the Attributes of God be continuallie before the Lord, crying out against thee, Justice against this sin; he hath wronged me saith one, and me saith another, and me saith another, and thus, and thus, and thus, and therefore thou art in an evil condition, and it is much that thou should∣est sleep quietlie when all Gods Attributes plead against thee, it is a hard case when the Devil pleads against a man, and but accuse him, and Page  68 plead against him before God, but when all the Attributes of God plead against him (as I might shew you more at large) how woful is his condition.

Object. But you will say, though all the other Attri∣butes plead against me, yet I hope Mercy will plead for me

Answ. But that pleads against thee too, for thou wrongest his Mercie also. Indeed there is no Attribute more wronged by Sinners or∣dinarily than the Mercy of God is. The Mercie of God, doest thou think that shall plead for thee? That is wronged especiallie: Why? Because there is no Attribute abused to be an Abettor to Sin, more than the Mercie of God is; and its abused and made to harden the hearts of men and women in Sin, no Attribute so much abused. The Ju∣stice of God thou thinkest that pleads against thee, but Mercie thou thinkest pleads for thee; Justice is not so much wronged by Sin as Mercie is: The Justice of God is not made an Abettor of Sin: Now that is the greatest wrong that can be for Gods Mercie to be made a means to abet Sin, and to har∣den mens hearts in Sin. It is a great wrong to make use of any Creature to be serviceable to our Sin; if a man make Meat, or Drink, or Cloathes, or anie Creature serviceable to his Lust, it is a wrong to that Creature and to God the Creator of that Creature that thou makest serviceable to thy lust: but if it be a wrong to the Creature, what is it to make the Mercie of Page  69 God serviceable to your lusts? and who is there almost but makes the mercy of God in some de∣gree or other Serviceable to his lusts? It is a horrible thing thus to abuse mercie: how doest thou think the mercie of God should plead for thee when thou doest it such infinite wrong? when thou venturest upon sin because God is a merciful God. Thus you wrong the Attributes of God by sin.