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.]

CHAP. XVII.

The Third Corollarie.] That but few are humbled as they should for Sin. 1 It will not be deep enough except it be for Sin as its against God. 2. It will not Sanctifie the Name of God. 3 It will not be lasting. 4 Else it will never make a divorce between Sin and the Soul.

THirdly, That which follows hence, That Sin is so much against God as hath been shewed, We see that there are but very few that are humbled for sin aright: It will follow from hence, I shall make it out from the Point, That if Sin be of this nature so much against God as you have heard, certainly there are few people Page  85 in the world are humbled for sin aright. There are many people that are troubled for sin, and will cry out of their sin, are struken with many feares and terrors for sin, and yet never hum¦bled for sin aright, and it is clear from that you have heard out of this Point. Why? Because that Humiliation for sin that is aright, it must needs be an humiliation for it as it is the grea∣test evil of all; and it is the greatest evil as it is against God himself. Now the humiliation of most in the world it is not so much for this, be∣cause sin is so much against God, because it op∣poseth God, strikes at God, and wrongs God so much: This is not the thing that doth usually take the hearts of men and women▪ in their trouble for sin; but for the fear of the wrath of God, and of Hell, and an accusing Conscience that doth flash the very fire of Hell in their faces; this troubles them. And well were it for many that they were but troubled so far; true, this trouble is that which God doth many times bless, and there is great use of it, but this is not all; no nor the chief trouble of the Soul for sin. These fears and horrors (I say) are not the chief; the chief of all is the humiliation of the soul for sin, as it is against God; then is the heart humbled aright for sin, when it appre∣hends how by sin the soul hath been against the infinite glorious first-Being of all things. All other humiliations in the world is not sufficient without this. For,

1 It is not deep enough, there can be no hu∣miliation deep enough, except the soul be hum∣bled Page  86 for sin, as it hath sinned against God: yea, though the heart be so burdened with fears and horrors as to be sunk down into despair, yet I do not call that a depth of humiliation, it is not from the depth of humiliation that the soul de∣spairs, for certainly (consider what I say Bre∣thren) there is a mistake in this, to think that those that despair are humbled too much: no, despair is for want of humiliation, for despair and pride may stand both together; for the De∣vil is proud; you will say as proud as Lucifer; The Devils despair, they be the most despairing Creatures in the world, and yet the most proud Creatures in the world; therefore despair doth not come from the depth of humiliation, but rather from the want of humiliation. Certain∣ly the hearts of men and women in despair fly a∣gainst God, many times flies most desperately and proudly against God: in despair therefore the heart is not humbled enough when it hath only terrors and fears, except it be humbled for sin when it seeth it against the Majestie of God as here hath been opened to you: nothing doth cast down the soul so low in true humiliation as the sight of sin against God. Oh what have I done against God? what hath my life been a∣gainst that infinite, glorious, eternal first-Being of all things? When the soul comes to see that effectually, then it falls down, and falls down low too. Certainly Brethren, the heart is never humbled throughly till it come to feel the bur∣den of sin to be heaviest there where it is heavi∣est; mark, I say, till the heart feel the burden Page  87 of sin to be heaviest where it is heaviest, it is not brought low enough: but the burden of sin it is heaviest as it is against God, rather than as it is against the good of the Creature; that though it be a wonderful burden, yea (if God put not under his hand) an intollerable burden if the Conscience only apprehend sin as against the good of the Creature; but the apprehension of sin as against God is a great deal more, it doth shew the burden of sin, and make the burden of sin to be far more weighty than the other can possibly be.

2 The Apprehensions of sin any other way but this, it doth not so sanctifie the Name of God as this doth. When the soul shall be cast down before the Lord for sin, as it is against himself, as it is against his glory, as it hath wron∣ged him; I say, that this doth sanctifie the Name of God a great deal more than any other humiliation doth: for other humiliation, other trouble for sin (for I will rather call it trouble for sin than humiliation) if this be not in it, there may appear in it much self-love, and a for∣ced perplexitie of spirit: But now the Name of God is not sanctified so as when the heart shall fall down and be humbled because that God hath been wronged, his Attributes wronged, because he hath been opposed in his glory. Now this humiliation doth especially lift up the Name of God, and sanctifie the Name of God.

3 Take any other humiliation, and it is not such an abiding humiliation as this is; this hu∣miliation Page  88 for sin will more abide upon the Spirit than any other doth, many are troubled for sin, have a great deal of horror and perplexity of Spirit in some fits, in some moods, at some times; but this their trouble is but for a flash, and it goes away, vanisheth and comes to nothing: when trouble is only from the apprehension of danger and miserie in it felf, I say it usually va∣nisheth and comes to nothing; why? Because when there comes but any thing to make you to think that this danger may be in any degree o∣ver, or that things are not so bad as I was afraid, now the trouble presently vanisheth upon that. In times of sickness, the soul apprehends it self in danger of perishing, I am now going, I see my self at the brink of the Pit; now the soul is troubled for sin, but when the danger appea∣reth to be a little over, the trouble for sin cea∣seth. But when the soul is troubled for sin as against God, this trouble cannot but abide, though afflictions be gone, yet my trouble a¦bide. What's the reason many people upon their sick beds be so troubled for sin (as they think) and cry out, Oh! if God ever restore them, they will never do as they have done, and yet as soon as they are well they fall to their sin again: here is the reason, Because only their danger troubled them. But now let the soul be kindly humbled for sin as against God, Oh I have wronged God that infinite Deitie, that in¦finite glorious First Being of all things; let such an one be in sickness or in health, whatsoever condition such an one is in, the trouble abides Page  89 upon the spirit, yea Brethren it abides upon the spirit even then when the soul hath hope sin shal be pardoned, yea when the soul knows certain∣ly sin shal be pardoned, yet will the humiliation abide upon the heart of such a man or woman There's a great mistake in the world in the mat∣ter of trouble for sin; they think Repentance or mourning for sin, is but one act, that if once they have been troubled for sin, they need ne¦ver be troubled any more It is a dangerous mistake, for we are to know, true sorrow for sin, true repentance, is a continual act that must abide all our lives: and it is not only at that time when we are afraid that God will not pardon our sins, when we be afraid we shall be damned for our sins, but when we come to hope that God will, yea when we come to know that God hath pardoned our sins, yet then it will a∣bide, only working in another manner, and it must needs be so if the heart be humbled for sin thus against God, for suppose God come in and graciously tell the soul, though thou hast wron¦ged me, yet through the Mediation of my Son, I will forgive thee; will this quiet the soul so as it will be no more troubled and sorrie for sin? No. Now the sorrow comes in another way: And is this the God I have wronged, the graci¦ous merciful God I have wronged, that notwith∣standing all the wrong I have done him, that when he had my soul at an advantage, and might justly have sent me down to the nethermost Hell, and will he yet pardon though no good∣ness in me? and yet will he have such thoughts Page  90 of mercy, as to send his own Son to make up that wrong, and satisfie for the evil I have done? Oh now the heart bleed afresh upon this, and mourns more than ever it did before. Many can say of this, that after they have apprehen∣ded their sin to be pardoned, then their souls have mourned and melted more than ever they did before in the apprehension of horror and fear of Gods wrath; and all upon this, because they did not see sin to be an evil only as it brings danger of punishment, but they did see the evil of sin as against a God, as I have wronged God, stroke at the infinite glorious first-Being of all things; and this will abide upon the heart: therefore this is another manner of trouble for sin than the other; and because this trouble for sin is so effectual, and so good, therefore it is that I have endeavored the more to open unto you how sin is against God: Therefore when I come to the other to shew how it is against our selves, I shal be but brief in that because I know that this is the Principal.

4 The trouble for sin if it be apprehended e∣vil any other way but this (or if this be not chief) cannot be so good, because there is no trouble for sin but this that ever will make a de∣vorce between sin and the soul; all other trouble will not do it unless this come in. And indeed it is to admiration to consider how strong the union between sin and the soul is, and how hard to make the devorce; that take a man or a woman that apprehends never so much the wrath of God against sin; take a man Page  91 that lies as it were scalding in Gods wrath, his conscience burning and bringing even Hell to him, that he cries, and roars, in the anguish of his soul for sin; one would think certainly this man will never have to do more with sin, that is in this horror and anguish, and trouble for sin, certainly he will never keep company, be drunk, be unclean, or cozen any more: But this may be to the admiration of Men and Angels, to see how men and womens hearts are set upon sin, that notwithstanding al that anguish and horror, that they have many times for it, yet they will to it again, and that as greedily as ever; yea, and somtimes more greedily: for if once a man (consider I beseech you what I say) hath over∣come the trouble of conscience for Sin, and fallen to it again, he will then be more greedy; he will slight conscience then, and scorn at con∣science then, and make nothing of it if once he have out stood conscience. As an unruly horse, if he have but once cast his Rider, then let him come on his back he cares not for him, he con∣temns him, he will quickly throw him off a∣gain: So when the stubborn unruly lusts of a mans heart have once cast off conscience, that a man or woman have been once under terrors of conscience for sin, and yet fall to it again, such a mans condition is very lamentable; I say not wholly desperate, I dare not say so, for Gods thoughts are higher than ours as high as the Heaven is above the Earth: but this mans con¦dition is very lamentable: there is this strength in sin in the soul, that all the terrors in the world Page  92 will not breed a devorce between sin and the soul. But when once the soul can come to say with David, Against thee, against thee only have I sinned; in my Sins I have gone against that God who is so infinitely above all praise and glorie: This is the humiliation; if any thing make a devorce between Sin and the Soul this will do it. This is the third Corollarie, That therefore there be verie few humbled for Sin aright, because not thus humbled.