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.]
Page  96

CHAP. XIX.

A Fifth Corollarie.] Hencesie a way to break your hearts for Sin. And also to keep you from Tempta∣tion.

FIfthly, A fifth Corallarie. Hence is this, If Sin be so much against God as you have heard, then here you may find a means and way both how to break your hearts for sin, and how to keep your selves against temptation for the time to come: I put them both together for brevitie. This is the strongest way and means I can shew you to break your hearts. Would you fain break your hearts for sin? Oh saith some, what a hard heart have I? Many put up papers complaining of the hardness of their hearts, and desire the Minister and Congregation to seek God to break their hearts: well, Would you fain have bro∣ken hearts? have your hearts troubled in such a manner as you may give glorie to God? This is the way. There is two waies to humble the heart for sin, There is looking upward unto God, and seeing whom it is thou hast sinned a∣gainst: And looking downward to thine own miserie, and what thou hast deserved by sin. Now many altogether pore downward, and look nothing but downward to sin, and what is the desert, and punishment, and miserie; but Page  97 their hearts though they be troubled and vexed, yet they are not kindly broken (as I shewed be∣fore) but now if you would have your hearts kindly broken for sin (for this is one use of Dire∣ction, that we may get our hearts broken for sin) look upwards and behold him whom you have pierced: That is, behold,

1 God in his infinite Glorie, and what an in∣finite blessed Being God is, and how worthy of all the honor the Creature can give: set this before your Eyes in a fixed and setled way.

2 Look upon God, in all the relations God hath to you, as your Creator from whom you had your being; as he that preserves your be∣ing everie moment; look upon him as your Lord, infinitlie above you, at whose mercie you wholly lie: Thus view God, and see him in his glorie, and the relations he hath to you; and thus by beholding God in such a manner is an e∣special way to work stronglie upon the heart. For hereby I come to see, as it were, the present evil of Sin; the other is but onlie a sight of the evil of Sin to come; as when a man or woman looks upon Sin as bringing Hell, that is but onlie to look upon that evil of Sin that is to come hereafter. But we know that present things do most affect; as now any good thing, if it be to come, it doth not take the heart so much as a present good. As when the soul makes the good of the Promises to be present, then they affect the soul; but if the soul look upon them as to come, they do not so much affect: So if the evil of Sin be look't upon as bringing Hell Page  98 and miserie, this is looked upon as to come here∣after, so that it may be avoided; but if I look up∣on Sin as against God, then I look upon Sin as a present evil upon me, that flows from the very nature of sin, and cannot be avoided, and this evil is even now upon me, and doth as immedi∣atly flow from the Nature of Sin, as light doth from the Sun it self: And now looking thus up∣on Sin, is a mightie means to break the heart.

And then for avoiding sin for the time to come; when Temptation come, you say it is strong, and overcomes me: Now would you a∣void Sin for the time to come in temptations? then do as we reade of Joseph; you know how he beat off the strength of the temptation, and when he might have done the evil in secret; see what prevails with him, Oh how shall I do this great wickedness and sin against God? not, How shal I do this great wickedness, and bring danger and miserie upon me? but, How shall I do this and sin against God? So if you can have your Eye upon sin, and remember what especial things you have heard of the evil of Sin, and when temptations come, you can say, how shall I do this, and sin against God? Oh remember this you Servants that have opportunitie in secret to do evil. Josepth was a Servant, and yet this kept off that temptation from him, when he was a yong man, that is the honor of Joseph, a yong man and a Servant, when the temptation comes, Oh this breaks his heart, How shall I do this and sin against God? So you yong ones and Servants Page  99 go away with this lesson, when any temptations to sin comes, think, Oh! I have heard in such a Point, and out of such a Text, how Sin makes against God, strikes at him, wrongs him, How shall I do this and sin against God? impossible, unreasonable it should be done upon any terms. Set but this one Argument against the most po∣werful temptation, and certainlie it wil prevail. Psal. 97. 10. Ye that love the Lord hate evil: What! do ye hear how sin is against God, strikes at God! that it is evil, not onlie against you, and indan∣gers you, but strikes at God. Oh all you that love God, hate sin; let your hearts be set against sin, because so much against God. Oh Bre∣thren, there be many people do indeed avoid sin, but it is upon poor low grounds, very low and mean be the grounds of many people upon which they avoid sin: There be many, Oh they will not do such and such evils, they will resist a temptation to such and such a sin, why? mark the ground, according as the grounds of men and women are, upon which they do, or stay from doing of a thing; so judg of your hearts; if the grounds be high and raised, then their spi∣rits are high and raised; if their grounds be but low and mean, then their spirits be low and mean: As thus, many abstain from such and such sins, why? Oh if I do it, it will be known, and I shall be made ashamed, therfore I will not do it: It is good to resist Sin upon any terms, but if this be the chief cause, it is a poor low base thing, and argues a great deal of lowness in the heart, to resist sin upon this, Oh if I do this, I Page  100 shall be known, and incur the displeasure of my Father, or Master, or such a dear Friend; it may incur punishment, or it may be I shall be turned out of the Family, and such like Arguments. I say it is true, it is good to bring in all the Argu∣ments we can to oppose sin withal, but when these be the chief things, when these be the on∣ly Grounds, that keeps thee from such wicked∣ness that thy heart is set upon; and thou woul∣dest be glad to tamper withal: couldest thou be sure it should not be known, and thou shouldest not be brought to shame for it, and have the displeasure of such a friend, thou couldest find in thy heart to be medling with it; Couldest thou? Oh! know thou hast a base heart that hast no o∣ther grounds to keep thee from Sin withal. Whereas know if thou be a Christian indeed, and that God hath aright made known sin to thee, thou wouldest rise higher, Oh I am to deal with God, an infinite glorious first-Being, and if it be sin only that strikes at this infinite glorious eternal first-Being of all things, Then I will a∣void sin whatsoever become of me; yea, what∣soever I suffer I will not have to do with it: this is a raised Spirit; this heart is like to stand out against sin: Alas! those poor low grounds up∣on which many resist sin; though they may stand out against sin a little, against a weak temptation, yet if there come a strong temptation, will quickly break through the hedg: Al those poor low grounds and Arguments, temptation will quickly break through them. But when the heart is raised to oppose sin, upon such high Page  101 grounds as this is, Certainly this notes a true raised heart by God, and such an one is like to stand out against temptations, in another man∣ner than others do. And truly when the heart is possessed with this thought, it cannot perhaps parley and reason with the temptation as others can; yea, this one principle of sinning against God, will so fill the heart of a man or woman, that though it doth not stand reasoning and an∣swering every thing, yet it will even burst out, either in tears, and fal a lamenting that it should be pestered with temptation; or burst out into Resolution against it. I remember an excellent Story reported in the Book of Martyrs, you may find it in King Edwards life; that yong Prince, that died at some fifteen years of age, in his time, there were two Bishops (otherwise good, and proved Martyrs, and yet you may see what the best of them were in those times) they came to perswade the King to yeild to a Tol∣leration of the Mass, and it was but for his Sister neither, not for the whole Kingdom, but meer∣ly for his own Sister, to yeild to a Tolleration of it in her Chappel, he stood out against it though yong, thought it a dishonor to God; well, they plead and Reason with him, telling him it was best in State Policy, and other grounds they use to perswade a Tolleration of Popery, (thus you see what kind of men these in these waies are, and if you do not know, yet you are like to know more in this kind about these wayes) but this I bring it for, when the poor King, though yong, having his heart possessed with Page  102 this principle, That he should not do any thing against God, he could not answer the Bishops that came so subtilly; but instead of Answering their Reasons, he burst out with tears, and then they were convinced, and confessed the King had more divinity in his little finger than they had in all their bodies. So I apply it to you yong ones, perhaps temptations to that which is a sin against God, comes subtilly, strengthned with this Argument, and the other Argument; but if you have your hearts possessed with this truth, it is a Sin against God; Oh when you can∣not Answer the particulars of temptation, burst out and weep, and cry either for your conditi∣on, or that you should be pestered with that you know is a sin against God, and say, I had rather lose my life, suffer any thing in the world, than sin against God. If your hearts be filled with this Principle, when temptation to sin comes, you will be ready to burst out and weep before the Lord; and this will be as strong an Answer to temptation as can be, and Satan will quickly avoid, if you can when you find your selves pestered with temptation, and it follows and dogs and pursues you, if you can being filled with this Principle, That sin is against God, if you can get alone, and fall a weeping, and la∣menting, that your hearts are even ready to break, from the consideration of this Principle, this will be the strongest way and means to resist temptation that can be.