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  23


Ʋses: And Nine Consectories of excellent use, viz 1. Sin is not the Work of God. 2. Sins promises are all Delusions. 3. Sin cannot be the Object of a rational Creature. 4. Nothing thats good should be ventured for Sin. 5. Nothing thats good to be made serviceable to Sin. 6. The mistake of making Sin the chiefest good. 7. Time spent in Sin lost. 8. The wicked, useless members. 9. Sin need no debate whe∣ther to be done, or not.

HEnce we see for our Instruction, that that maxime many have, hath nothing to do in point of sin; to wit, of two evils you must chuse the least: True, in regard of the evil of Affliction, comparing one Affliction with another, so we may chuse the least; but this cannot have truth in matter of Sin, that of two Sins we may chuse the least; because though one Sin be less than another, yet the least Sin can never come under the notion of good com∣paritively. As all other evils be good compara∣tively, though never so great evils, yet compa∣ratively they may be good. Yet Sin can have no goodness any way comparatively. Therefore of two evils we must not chuse the least, in this sence.

1 Because Sin in it self is sinful: And

2 Because, Chusing the least can never be a Page  24 means to prevent the greater, but rather to make way for the greater. And Brethren ob∣seive it, (for it may be useful in the course of our lives) God never brings any man or woman to such straits, that of necessity they must chuse one Sin, chuse this or the other Sin. When two Sins shall stand in competition, we may conceit such straits to our selves, yet there is no such real straits. Though God doth bring men into such straits that of necessity they must chuse one affliction, either this or that affliction: So David was brought into such a strait, that he must chuse Famine, Sword, or Pestilence; yea, God doth never bring men into such straits, that of necessity they must chuse this or that Sin; thou deceivest thine own heart if thou thinkest thou art brought into such a strait. Therefore this is a vain thing, and savors of an exceeding carnal heart, when men are doing that which is evil, for them to say, I were as good do this as worse: As for instance now, Suppose some keep at home upon the Lords day and mend their Cloaths, if any rebuke them, they will say, Better do this than worse; better do this than go to the Ale-house: this is true, but this savors of a carnal heart, to think that you must chuse one Sin ra∣ther than another; thou must not chuse any of them, both of these are evil, though one may be less evil than the other. Or if some spend their time in Play, when they are rebuked, they put it off with this shift, Better do this than worse: and so they go abroad and spend their time in seeing Playes; and say, Better do this Page  25 then worse; 'tis yet true though this be not so great a sin as others, if it be a sin it must not be done upon any terms; and thou deceivest thine own heart in this conceit, that thou wert better do this than worse, for sin cannot be good, and so not to be chosen at any time. Thus we see there is no good in sin, and a great deal of good in affliction.

Hence there follows these Nine Consectorys, of ex∣lent use for us.

First Consectory.

If there be no good in sin; then certainly sin is not the work of God, for God saw all his works and they where very good, but sin hath no goodness in it, therefore not of God. God disclaims it.

The Second Consectory.

If this be so, then hence whatsoever promises sin do make to any people, Certainly they be al but delusions. Why? Because sin is not good in any kind: Sin can bring no good to any soul If any one say; Oh but sin bring pleasure; and doth it not bring profit, and honors in the world? do not many live in high esteem in the World by sinfull courses? have they not pleasures and delights in sinful Courses; But cur∣sed be the Pleasures, Honors, Profits that come in by sin. Certainly if sin promise any good, it deludes you, & thy seduced heart deceivs thee, Page  26 and thou dost feed upon ashes: for there is no good in sin.

The Third Consectory.

Hence it follows, That no sin can be the object of the will of a Rational creature; because the true object of the will, for it to close withal, is good. Oh the desperat deceit in the hearts of men in the world, that whereas God hath made the will, (and put it into a rational soul) to be of that nature, that the only object of it, is good one way or other, yet they are so miserably mistaken that they chuse sin under colour of good: certainly there is no good in sin.

The Fourth Consectory.

Hence it follows, that nothing that is good should be ventured for sin, why? because sin hath no good: and will you venture the loss of good to get that which hath no good; sure if sin have no good in it, then there should not be the loss of any good ventured for it. You would not venture at Sea or Land, any good for that which hath no good. Oh how infinite∣ly be men deoeived, that venture the loss of God, peace of conscience; loss of Credit, health, estate, loss of all for their lusts. Oh this is a mighty mistake, thou hast ventured the loss of a great deal of good, for that which hath no good at all. Know this day God presents to thy soul the desperate delusions of it, what? Page  27 wilt thou lose God, Heaven, and Christ, and al for that which hath no good? but thus do many venture all the good in God, in Christ, in Heaven, in eternal life; they are laid on the one side as it were, and their lusts on the other; and they will venture the loss of all that good that they may attain the supposed good in sin. What hast thou done Oh Man or Woman; that hast vetured the loss of all good for that which hath no good at all, nay all evil in it?

The Fift consectory

It follows, if there be no good at all in sin, then we ought to make nothing that is good to be any way serviceable to our sin; as thus we must not take the good creatures of God and make them serviceable to our lusts that have no good at all; take not the faculties of your souls and members of your bodyes to make them serviceable to your lusts. Oh how do Men and Women abuse the good things of God to make them serve their corruptions. Yea Brethren, there be many that abuse the ordinances of God, the dutyes of Gods worship, the graces of Gods spirit, to make them serviceable to their lusts; to serve their pride, and self ends, and self seek∣ings. Do but think of it, if it be a great wicked∣ness to take meat and drink, any of Gods good Creatures and make them serviceable to thy lusts, Oh how great a wickedness is it to take the graces of Gods spirit, working of Gods spirit, enlargment in prayer, and following of sermons, Page  28 and profession of Religion, to make these serve thy lusts that have no good at all in them?

The Sixt Consectory.

Hence (if sin have no good at all in it) fol∣lows this; How be they mitaken that make sin their Chiefest good as thousand thousands in the world, their chief good that their hearts are set upon, is, satisfying themselves in some base lust. I put it to your souls this day as in the name of God, what is it that thy heart is set upon as thy chiefest Good? is it not that height of wickedness that I speak of? Such a secret lust thou livest in? that thou venturest thy eternal estate upon? Oh wickedness above measure.

The Seventh Consectory.

Hence followeth this then, That all the time that we spend in a sinfull estate is all lost time. Oh look to this you yong ones, all the time that you spend in the vanity of your youth is all lost time; and you that have lived til you are old, & a long time in a sinful estate, you have lost all your time. Oh the time upon which Eternity depends is all lost; for you have spent it in the wayes of sin, that hath no good in it.

Page  29

The Eight Consectory

If sin have no good in it, then all wicked men that live in the wayes of sin, are useless members in the world; burthens upon the earth; unprofitable members, that go on in the wayes of sin, that neither have nor can have anie good.

The Ninth Consectory.

Lastly, if sin have no good at all in it; hence then when ther is a temptation to sin there needs no deliberation about it, whether it should be admited or not; if once thou knowest it to be a sin, thou needest not Reason the condtion of admition or not, or what will follow, but presently reject it, without deliberation. Why? because there is no good in it; any thing that hath but a little good, we may (though a greater good be offered) deliberate the business before we accept of the one, & cast off the other, but if there be no good there needs no deliberation, if any thing be pro∣nounced to be sin, to be prejudicial to the estate of thy soul, This must not be deliberated upon. Therfore this is a vain plea that men have, what kind of * Government must we have if this be taken away? First examine if this be evil or not evil that we have, if evil, it must be rejected without deliberation what we must have in the stead. Indeed if it▪ were good we might deliberate, but if be it evil and Page  30 a sin, it must be cast off without deliberation. Brethren, it is of great use this I speak of, be∣cause that strength sin hath usually got, is from deliberation about it. I beseech you observe this; Take heed for ever of reasoning with Temptation, of consulting and casting about in your thoughts, what will become of it? what trouble may come by this if I hearken not to this? Take heed of reasoning, if the Devil do but get you to reason about it, he hath got it half granted already: you need not reason with any temptation, but cast it off presently, because sin hath no good in it. Oh that God would convince al our hearts of these things.