THE EVIL of EVILS: OR, The Exceeding Sinfulness OF * SIN.
JOB. 36. 21. later part.
—For this hast thou Chosen rather than Affliction.
That it's a very evil Choice, to choose Sin rather than Affliction.
IN these words is drawn up Elihues false Charge against holy Job wherin he did shamefully scan dalize this man of God, concer¦ning whom the Lord himsel gives in this Letter testimonial That he was perfect and upright, one that se•e• God a•Page 2 schewed Evil, Job 1. 1. And yet Elihue speaks here to this effect against him, That he chose Iniqui∣ty rather than Affliction; that he should see less Evil in Sin, then he did in Affliction: that for his Affliction he was troubled but for his Sin he was not Afflicted; that the burthen of his Affliction lay heavy as a talent of •ead upon him, but his Sin was lighter than a Feather. Or thus, Thou hast Chosen Iniquity, rather than Affliction; whereas God requires of thee to give him glory in thy humble submission unto him in thy Pati∣ence, under his mighty hand, thou hast behaved thy self stubbornly and stoutly, and hast denyed to give God the glory of his Soveraignty, Maje∣sty, Holiness, Justice, and Purity; and this thou hast Chosen rather than to be content to lie un∣der the Afflicting hand of God: which way so ever it be taken, it was a heavie Charge had it been true; So for it to be alleadged against any Souls, That they Chuse Iniquity rather than Affliction, is a great and heavy Charge.
The Doctrinal truth which ariseth from the * words thus opened, is this, That it is a very •v• Choice for any soul under heaven, to choose the least Sin, rather then the greatest Affliction. Better be under the greatest Affliction then be under the guilt or power of any Sin: it is true, that neither Sin, nor Affliction is to be Chosen: Affliction in it self is an Evil, and Sin is an Evil, but the object of the Will is good, and choice is of the Will, therfore nei¦ther (barely considered as in themselves) can be chosen; but because of some Evils, the less in comparison of the greater, may come under a Page 3 notion of good, and so may be somtimes chosen the Will cannot chuse any thing but under the notion of good, either real, or in appearance: and though Affliction be in it self an evil, yet in regard of Sin, it may come under the notion of good, and that's to be chosen rather than Sin: Now this is the work I have to do, to make out this Conclusion to you, That any Affliction is to be chosen rather than any Sin; that there is more evil in any Sin, the least sin, than in the greatest Affliction.
My principal business is, To charge mens Consciences with the evil of their sin, and shew to them how much evil there is in sin: all men are a raid of afflictions, and troubled at affliction, but wher's the man or woman that fears sin, and ••yes from it as from a Ser•ent, and is troubled at sin more then any affliction? That there is more vil in sin than in affliction, in the General (I sup¦pose is granted of all, none dare deny it; but because they do not see how this is, they have not convincing Arguments to bring this truth with power unto their Souls: but I hope before I have done with this Point, that I shal make it clear to every ones Conscience, That there is more evil in sin, than in affliction; not only more evil in sin, than in outward trouble in the world but more evil in sin, than in al the miseries and torments of Hel it self: Suppose that God should bring any of you to the very brink of that bot¦tomless Gulf and open it to you, and there you should see those damned Creatures lie sweltring under the wrath of the infinite God, and there Page 4 you should hear the dreadful and hideous cryes and shreeks of those that are under such soul amazing, and soul-sinking torments through the wrath of the Almighty; yet I say there is more evil in one sinful thought, than there is in all these everlasting burnings: and that is that which I shal endeavor to clear and prove to every mans Conscience, that we shal not only see it an ill Choice that we chuse sin rather than affliction, but (if it come in competition) to chuse sin ra∣ther than al the tortures and torments of Hell, howsoever many of you admit of sin upon very easie terms; yet the truth is, That if it should come into competition whether we would en∣dure al the torments that there are in Hell to all eternity rather than to commit one sin, I say, if our Spirits were as they should be, we would ra∣ther be willing to endure al these torments, than commit the least sin. And Brethren do not think this is a high strain, for that com to speak in the Name of God come not to speak Hyperbollical∣ly, to raise Expressions higher than the things are in their reality; no, I come not for that end, and I should take the Name of God in vain if I should do so, therfore I dare not raise things be∣yond that which they are in reality in them∣selves: Therfore know, Whatsoever I shal say unto you in this thing, that they are not Words or Expressions, but I speak as in the name of God as I would take it upon mine own Conscience, having to deal between God and you in this great work, and in this place to deliver this truth, That there is more evil in the least Sin, Page 5 than in al the miseries that possible a Creature is capable of, either here or in Hel besides: I hope if I shal make out this to you, you wil then be∣leeve that sure you have not yet understood the sinfulness of Sin, that yet the burthen of Sin hath not lain upon you to be felt as the burthen of sin▪ Now then that I may fully convince you, That there is more Evil in the least Sin, than in any Affliction.
The Servants of God, have Chose the most dreadful Afflictions rather than the least Sin.
FIrst, Those Servants of God that have been guided by the Wisdom of God, to make their Choice, they have rather chose the sorest and most dreadful Afflictions in this world than willingly to commit the least sin: as now, if you would but turn your thoughts to what you have read or heard of the Martyrs, what hideous, and grievous torments did they suffer; the boyling of their bodies in scalding Lead, laying of their naked backs upon hot Gridirons, and •ending and tearing their Members a pieces with Horses, the pulling of their flesh off from their Bodies with Pinchers, and others by red hot burning Tongs, their enduring their flesh to be scorched with broyling of it, first on the one side, and afterward on the other side; Yea, weak Women have endured this, To have their Page 6 flesh harrowed with stones and sharp irons, to have their bodies flayed, and then thrown into rivers of cold ice; and a thousand more what∣soever Hel and wicked men could devise: they were content to endure al this, and certainly could they have devised ten thousand times more exquisite torments then they did, they would have been content to have endured that, and whatsoever else, rather than to act against their Consciences the least sin, and they accoun∣ted this to be a good Choice, when as they saw Sin against their Consciences on the one hand, and al their torments on the other, they did ra∣ther embrace these tortures, then embrace that sin; and for this their Choice they are renowned in the hearts of the Saints to al generations: yea, the holy Ghost doth witness, That they have a good Report, Heb. 11. Those that suffered saw¦ing asunder, and scourging, and went up and down in Sheeps-skins and Goats skins, in leather Breeches and Doublets, and suffered the spoy¦ling of their goods and of al that they had, these had a good Report, and the Holy Ghost com∣mends them for their Choice. Many of you when it comes to it wil be loather to loose a groat than commit a sin, loather to endure the least shame or a nick-name, than to commit a sin: Are there not many Servants here, or Chil∣dren, wil tel a Lye (when they have done an e∣vil) rather than suffer a little shame in the Fa∣mily from their Parents, or Masters, or fellow Servants, and Children. What a difference is there between thy heart, and the heart of the Page 7 Martyrs? they could endure al tortures on their Bodys that could be devised, rather than to com∣mit any known sin against their Consciences; and thou wilt venture to commit a known sin a∣gainst thy Conscience, rather than to be found out in some fault, and have an angry word, or a little shame: If it be but to gain two pence they wil tel a Lye, and are willing to chuse sin rather than endure the least trouble; a mighty differ∣ence between thee and them. You know how it was with Paul, when he speaks of Afflictions these be his Expressions, but light and momentary, but for a moment, but they work an exceeding weight of Glory: (mark) light Afflictions, what were they? you would account them heavie if they were upon you. Blessed Paul (that great vessel to bear the name of God as great an instrument of Gods glory as any in the world except Christ himself, and yet this Paul) was whipt up & down as if he had been a Rogue, put into the Stocks, had not Cloaths to cover his nakedness, had not Bread to eat, and was accounted the off scouring of the world; and yet he accounts all this but Light: But when he comes to Sin, that is heavie, Oh wretched man that I am! Thus he gives a dreadful shreek at sin; see what a difference he makes between Affliction and Sin, and accounts it abun∣dantly more evil to be in sin, than in affliction. And so Christ himself▪ that is the Wisdom of the Father, and therfore could not chuse but judge right, and yet he was content for the sake of poor Souls, to come and under go al kind of Af∣fliction, and Pain, and Sorrow, so as to be made Page 8 a man of Sorrows, according as the Scripture speaks; How was he content to have his Body whipt and scourged, was laughed at and scorned, and though he was possessor of Heaven and Earth, yet had not a house to put his head in; yea, to bear the wrath of God for the Sin of man, to be made a Curse for man, under the Curse of •he Law, and to be under that pain & extremity through the wrath of his Father, when he sweat great drops of Bloud? all this Christ would en∣dure: But now if it had been to have commit∣ted the least sin to have saved al the World, Christ would never have done it: though Christ could be content to suffer all kind of Miseries, yea, the wrath of his Father; yet had it been to have committed the least sin, Christ would have let al the World be Damned eternally rather than he would have done that, there is so much evil in it. Afflictions taken in the strength and latitude of them, yet they have no greater evil in them then Christ is capable of. I say, take them in the strength and latitude of them, cer∣tainly there was never any Affliction since the world began endured like Christs, and yet these be no other than Christ, God and Man, is capable of; and it may stand with the blessedness of his Divinity, That that person, both God and Man, could be under such Afflictions: Christ was con∣tent with these, He made his Soul an offering for Sin: But sin is so great an evil, that Christ is not ca∣pable of it; Christ never entertained the least thought of it, but cast it off if it came to him: therfore certainly there is more evil in the least Page 9 Sin, than there is in the greatest Affliction: The Afflictions that Christ indured, though they were not every way the same with the damned in hell, yet certainly there was the wrath of God as really and truly upon Christ, as truly as upon the damned in hell, as really though I say not in every kind in the same way and manner; and therefore see, Christ was Capable of that evil, of the wrath of the Almighty upon his Soul, and yet not capable of Sin, he was willing to undergo that, and yet not to have the least guilt of Sin applied to him; and therefore certainly there is more evil in the least Sin, than in the greatest Affliction.
There is some good in Affliction, but none in Sin: First, no good of Entitie: Secondly, No good of Causality: Thirdly, No good principle from whence Sin can come: Fourthly, No Good anexed as is to Afflictions, viz. 1 Of Promise. 2 Of Evid•nce. 3 Of Blessing. Also Five different workings of the hearts of the Saints under Sin and under Affliction: Fifthly, It's not capable of any Good, 1 Adde all the good to sin that all the Creatures in heaven and earth have, yet it cannot make sin good. 2 Good ends though 1. to help against temptation, 2. to do good to others, 3. to glorifie God cannot make sin good. 4 God can not make sin good. Sixthly, It's not comparitively good.
WEL, for further Arguments, though this one thing were enough to stop all mouths in the world, and make e¦very Soul subscribe and acknowledg that there is greater Evil in the least Sin, than in any Affliction: I shal be large in this Argument, because it is of wonderful Concern∣ment, to stop men in their course of Sin, and to humble them for sin, and make them resolve against sin, and to see their miserable estate in sin, and so see their need of Christ.
First, I shall fully make it out, That Affliction is to be chosen rather than sin.
- 1 First, Because there is some good in Afflicti¦on, but none in Sin.
- 2 Because Sin hath more Evil in it, than Af¦fliction.
This Second I shal shew in the following Chapters.
First, Affliction hath some good in it, but sin hath none: You know what David saith, Ps. 119 71. It is good for me that I have been Afflicted; thus he spake of Affliction: But when St. Paul speaks of Sin, he saith, In me (that is in my flesh) dwelleth no good, Rom. 7. as if he should say, So far as I am Unregenerate, in my Unregenerate part there is no good at all; he cals sin by the name of flesh; there is no good at all in Sin.
First, There is no good of Entity or Being; all things that have a Being, there is some good in them; for God hath a Being, and every thing that hath a being hath some good in it, because it is of God; but Sin is a Non Entity, a no being: Its rather the deprivation of a Being then any being at al; & here is a great mystery of Iniqui∣ty, That that which is a Non-entity in it self, yet should have such a mighty efficacy to trouble heaven and earth. This is a great Mystery.
Secondly, It hath no good of Causallity: that is, Sin is so evil, as it can bring forth no good: Afflictions bring forth good: Sin is such an evil as it cannot be made good: not an instrument for good: Afflictions are made instrumental for good.
Page 12Object. No, wil you say, Cannot God bring good out of sin? And doth not God bring good out of sin?
Answ. To this I Answer, True, God brings good out of sin, that is Occasionally, but not In∣strumentally: He may take occasion to bring good out of sin committed: but (mark) God never makes sin an instrument for good; for an instrument comes under somwhat as an Effici∣ency: for an instrument gives some power to∣wards the Effect; but thus God never useth sin, God never made sin an instrument of any good; that is, that sin should have any power any influ∣ence into that good effect that God brings out of it as Afflictions have; God doth not only take occasion by Afflictions to do his people good, but he makes them Channels to convey the Mercies to their Souls: And thus Afflictions have an in∣strumental efficacy in them, to do men good: Therefore saith the Holy Ghost in Heb. 12. He Chastens them for their profit, that they might be par∣takers of his holiness: The greatest good the Creature is capable of, Affliction is made often∣times the instrument to convey: And in Isa. 27. By this the iniquity of Jacob shal be purged: That is, by this as an instrument; but sin is never thus: Sin is never sanctified by God to do good to any Soul: Afflictions are sanctified by God to do good; therefore sin is a greater evil than afflicti∣on: sin is so evil that it is not capable of any work of God to sanctifie it for good; but no Page 13 Afflictions are so evil but that they are capable of a work of God to sanctifie the•…r abundance of good. This is the Second.
Thirdly, Sin hath greater evil than Affliction in the rise of it; there is no good principle whence sin comes, but there are good princi¦ples from whence Afflictions arise: as thus, Whom he loves he chastens, he chastens every Son whom he receives; so that Chastisement hath a principle of Love, but it cannot be said whom God Loves he suffers to fal into Sin, that this can be a fruit of his Love: it can never be said that it is a fruit of Gods love that such a man or woman commits sin; but it may be said it is a fruit of Gods Love that such a man or wo¦man is afflicted, therefore there is more good in Afflictions than there is in Sin. Nay, observe this, Many times God doth not afflict a man or woman because he doth not Love them, but it can never be said God suffers not a man or woman to sin because he doth not love them: I say, There is many a man or woman goeth on in a prosperous Condition, and they meet not with such Afflictions as others meet withal; and the Reason is, Because God hath not such a love to them as to other men, but it cannot be said thus, That there be such men that keep them selves from such sins that others do wallow in, & therfore they do it because God hath not such a love to them as to others, it cannot be said so; but it may be said such be not afflicted so much as others because God doth not love them as well as others: It is a dreadful fruit of Gods hatred Page 14 that he doth not afflict them, but it is not a fruit of his hatred •ot to let them fall into sin. I re∣member a Speech an Ancient hath upon that place of Hosea, I will not punish their Daughters when they commit Adultery, Hos. 4. 14. saith he, Oh dismal wrath of God that God will not afflict them and punish them! But now if this be so that want of afflictions may come from Gods wrath and the being put into affliction may come from Gods love, certainly then there is not so much evil in affliction as is in sin; for it can never be said so of sin.
Fourthly, There is no good anexed to sin as is to affliction: as thus, 1 Not the good of promise: 2ly Not the good of Evidence: 3ly Not the good of Blessing anexed to Sin as is to Affliction.
1. As now Afflictions hath abundance of Pro∣mises, I wil be with you in the Fire and in the Water: And by this shal the iniquity of Jacob be purged: and I could spend the remainder of the Book to open the many great Promises God hath annexed to Afflictions: but God hath not annexed any Promise of good to Sin; when God afflicts then you may challenge Gods Promise, Psal. 119. 75. saith David, In very faithfulness hast thou afflicted me, O Lord: this is but a fruit of thy Promise Afflictions: and thou art faithful in Afflicting, but sin hath no Promise annexed to it: Yet it may be you wil say that all shal work together for the good of them that love God: But this doth not go in way of a Promise; this Scripture will not beat it, though it be true God may occasionally work good to his people Page 15 by Sin; but this Scripture cannot bear it, that there is any Promise for it in that place: For, First it is against the Scope of that Text, for the Scope of that place is to uphold the hearts of Gods people in Afflictions: For he saith, All things: but Sin is no thing; and all things work together: and so he speaks of that which hath an Efficacy in it, that will together with God, work for good; but sin hath not any Efficacy to work on, for God will not work by that. That is one thing then, Affliction hath the good of Promise annexed to it, but so hath not Sin: therefore there is some good in Affliction, but none in Sin.
2ly. Affliction hath the good of Evidence: God makes our Afflictions signs of our Son ship and Adoption; If you be not afflicted then are you Bastards, and not Sons: And Phil. 1. Be not troubled, or terrified: trouble of the Saints is an evidence of Salvation to them, but a token of their perdition who are the terrifiers or troublers of them, but a sign of your Salvation: But it is not so of sin.
3ly. Further, There is a Blessing propounded to Afflictions, Blessed be those that mourn, and blessed be the man whom thou Chastisest and teachest in thy Law; but there is no blessing al∣lowed to Sin, it is not capable of it: there is not that good annexed to sin that is to affliction; and therefore Affliction is to be Chosen rather than Sin.
And from hence see the different working of the hearts of the Saints under their Sin, and under their Affliction; That follows from this Page 16 Head, That there is some good annexed to Af∣fliction that is not to Sin.
1. First, Hence it follows, That the Saints can Cry to God with Liberty of Spirit under Affliction, but they cannot under Sin: They can go to God, and tell God their Afflictions, and Challenge God with a holy boldness in Afflicti∣ons; but who can go to God and Challenge God because he hath told a Lye, or the like? Doth this make them go with a holy boldness to God, and Challenge Gods Promise, because I have committed such and such a sin?
Secondly, When Affliction doth come, a gra∣cious heart can kiss the rod and accept of the punishment of his sin, but now a gracious heart can never be well pleased with his sin, can never accept of sin, though God punish one sin with another sometimes, yet I say, there cannot be a well pleasedness with sin, and a kissing of that.
Thirdly, A gracious heart may rejoyce in Affliction, and have abundance of comfort in Afflictions, account it all joy (saith the Holy Ghost) when you fall into trials and afflictions, but now he can never rejoyce in sin, no man can rejoyce in sin though God should turn sin to ne∣ver so much good: one cannot rejoyce in sin, and have that comfort he may in affliction.
Fourthly, A gracious heart may bless God for Afflictions, bless God that ever he did Cast him into an afflicted estate; but he can never bless God for putting him into a sinful estate, though God do work good out of it: Nay further, Page 17 That good a gracious heart hath sometimes by afflictions may incourage him to be more willing to go into affliction again when God calls him to it, but if a gracious heart should get good occa∣sionally by sin, yet this good cannot incourage him to fall into sin again, this were a desperate wickedness if he should.
Fifthly, A gracious heart may desire of God that he would not take away Affliction till it be sanctified, and that he would continue it till it be sanctified; but no man may or ought to pray thus, Lord, continue me in this sin till I am hum∣bled: therefore you see there is abundance of difference between affliction and sin, one hath a great deal of good annexed to it, and the other hath none at all.
5. Sin it is so evil that it is not capable of any good at all; the air though it be dark, yet it is capable of light; that were a dismal darkness that were not capable of light to come to it: and that which is bitter, though never so bitter, yet it is capable of receiving that which will sweeten it: that which is never so venemous, yet is capable of such things as will make it wholsom; but sin is so dark that it is uncapable of light; so bitter, as there is no way to make it sweet; so venemous as it is no way capable of any wholsomness: now for the clearing of this, consider these three Things:
1. Put all the good in heaven and earth, and in all the Creatures in heaven and earth toge∣ther: Suppose the quintiscence of all the good of all the Creatures of heaven and earth were Page 18 put together, and bring that to sin, and ad it to it, it would not make it good: no, sin would re∣main still as evil as before it was. Now that must needs be poyson indeed, that bring all the sove∣raign things in the world and put to it, yet there would not be a deminishion of the least strength of that poyson, and so it is with sin: Therfore (I beseech you Brethren observe it) those men and women be mightily mistaken, that think (I have been a sinful creature indeed, but now I wil amend and reforme and be better) that by adding some good to their former sinful Lives, it will make all good: Oh! know that there is so much evil in sin, that the addition of all the good of all the creatures in heaven and earth cannot make it less evil than before; so that you must not only now think to live better & ad good unto your former evil, but you must take a course for the taking away of the former evil, for the delivering you from the guilt and stain and filth of your former sin.
2. Sin is not capable of good; All those good ends that any men have in the Cōmission of sin, yet do not make their sin the better: that can∣not make sin good, because they have good ends: as thus,
There may be Three good ends some may think they have in the Com∣mission of sin.
1 They may perhaps think that by Com∣mission of some sin they may further some Page 19 grace, do good to others, or glorifie God; there may be such deceit in the heart: as thus,
1 They may think such a sin will help such a Grace, and help against such a temptation, and such a sin may help my humility; and it is ordi∣nary this temptation (when in trouble of Con∣science) make away thy self, and then thou wilt sin no more; for so long as I live I shall sin a∣gainst God, & therfore make away thy self and so cease to sin: But know, if thou lay violent hands upon thy self, and think thou shalt have this good by it to sin no more; yet thy sin is wicked and abominable, though thou put this good end upon it, though it were possible to in crease Grace never so much by the least sinful thought, we must not commit this least sinful thought for never so good an end, as to help forward such a Grace.
2 A Second end may be to do good to others, and I say if it were possible, if a man might be a means to save the whole world if he would commit one sin, if he could save the whole world from eternal Torments by the Commissi∣on of one sin, you should suffer the whole world to perish rather than commit one sin, there is so much evil in sin. It is the expressi∣on of Augustine in a Tractate of his concerning an officious Lye, a friend of his wrote to him to Answer this Question about telling of a Lye, Whether he might not tell a Lye, to do good to another man? Many think, What though I do tell a Lye so I do another good; indeed if I may do hurt Page 20 then I must not, but if I may do good, may I not tell a Lye, (well) this Question was brought to Augustine, and saith he, Thou must not tell a Lye to save the whole world: this was his Answer. Sup∣pose that the Soul of thy Father, Mother, or Child, (this is but a supposition) or the like, should lie upon it to be saved, or damned if thou wilt commit one sin, suppose such a temptation should come, thou must not commit one sin, though the soul of thy father or mother, or all the world lay upon it; now it is another man∣ner of thing to commit a sin to gain a groat; Oh now by a deceitful word I may have this gain, if it were twenty shillings, thou must not venture upon sin to save the world; therefore not to gain six pence or a shilling: Certainly these be the truths of God, and for one to come and speak these things in a solemn manner in the presence of God if it were not upon deliberati∣on and good search, it were a great boldness; and therefore certainly beleeve there is such e∣vil in Sin: and though you pass by a thousand idle thoughts and evil actions and they be gone with you and you make little of them: but if you did know what the evil of Sin were, you would look upon them with amazement, and cry out, Lord what have I done! Men and wo∣men go abroad, and before they come home meet with Company, and there swear many Oaths commit lewdness, have told lyes, and done wickedness; Oh did they but know what they have done that day, they would come home wringing their hands and ready to tear Page 21 their hair, and lie tumbling upon the very ground for the evil that they have done.
3. Further, We must not commit sin though for the glory of God: for many put this end up∣on it: as the Papists, this is their Principle, To advance the Catholick Cause they think they may do any wickedness, murther Princes, blow up Parliaments, keep no Faith, Promises, Oathes: take liberty to rise in Rebellion, to commit all outrages, and cut all the Protestants throats; and to advance the Catholick Cause take the Sacrament upon it, and yet think be∣cause tis for so good an end (as they conceive) therefore they may commit any wickedness. It is certain God needs not the Devil to help his Cause: but suppose by sin Gods glory might be furthered in some particular, yet we must not com∣mit the least sin for the greatest glory of God that can be imagined: so much evil there is in sin. And ther∣fore, for such that many times strain their Con∣science to do that which their Consciences have regreet upon, and their Conscience told them they should not do it, yet meerly upon this pre∣tence, that they might do service in the Church, Oh their Ministry is dear, to do good to Souls, to preach to so many Souls, by this means God may have glory, and hereupon they venture to strain their Consciences to have liberty to Preach; this certainly is a great evil, we must not strain our Consciences in any thing to com∣mit the least sin upon imagination of the grea∣test glory that can be brought to God. Good ends put upon sins, cannot make them better. This is the Second thing.
Page 22 Fourthly, All the good that God himself can bring from sin, can never make sin good: such evil there is in it, that the infinite power and goodness of God can never make sin good: true, God may destroy Sin, Yet that which is Sin all the power of God cannot make that good: Such evil there is in Sin. This is a Fifth thing.
6. There is no good in Sin, not Comparative∣ly. That is, Though it be true one Sin is less than another; yet no sin is good in comparison of another. In Affliction, as one affliction is less than another, so one affliction is good in com∣parison of another: a less affliction is good in comparison of a greater; and all affliction is good in comparison of Sin. But in Sin, though one Sin be less than another, yet the least Sin is not good in comparison of the greatest: and take the least Sin of all it is not good in compa∣rison of any Affliction. And you shall see how this is Useful to us.
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.
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 mi•taken 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.
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.
There is more Evil in the least Sin, than in the greatest Affliction, Opened in six Particulars, being the General Scope of the whol Treatise.
TO go on to that which remains. I am yet further to make out to you, That Sin is worse than Affliction. First I have shewed, that there is no good at all in Sin; and there is good in Affliction.
Page 31 Now Secondly, There is more Evil in the least Sin, than there is in the greatest Affliction.
This I am now to make out unto you in these Six Particulars.
- First, Sin is most opposite unto God himself, the chiefest Good.
- Secondly, Sin is most opposite unto Mans good: Affliction is not so opposite to the good of the Crea∣ture as Sin is.
- Thirdly, Sin is opposite unto all Good in General; and so will be discovered to be an Ʋniversal Evil.
- Fourthly, Sin, it is the Evil of all other Evils; it is that which is the very venom and poyson of all other Evils whatsoever, therefore greatest.
- Fifthly, There is a kind of Infinitness in sin, though not properly Infinite, it cannot be so, yet in the Nature of it, it hath a kind of infinitness.
- Sixtly, The Evil of it is discovered, In the con∣formity sin hath with the Devil; there is no Creature that conspires against God, but only Devils and Sinful Men.
These be the Six things to be opened, for the discovery of the evil of sin: And I beseech you seriously attend to what shall be delivered in these, for I hope before I have done to make it appear to every ones Conscience that shall vouchsafe to read, attend, and consider what I say, that sin is another manner of business than the World thinks it to be. Oh that your hearts might come to see your selves to be as you are, Page 32 in an ill Case, in a worse condition than you ima∣gin: and 〈◊〉 beseech you give way to this, and be willing to hear it, for though it seem a hard Doctrine, yet it is a Soul saving Doctrine; and for want of this, many thousand thousands of Souls perish, because they never understood what sin meant: Many thousands in •ell if they had known what sin had been, it might have de∣livered them from everla••ing flames. God hath reserved you alive, and who knows but for this end, To understand what sin is, that so your hearts may be humbled, and so everlasting∣ly saved through Christ. Brethren, but that the way to understand sin, is the way to be hum∣bled for sin; and to be humbled for sin, is the way to have sin pardoned, and the Soul saved, I should never treat upon such a Do∣ctrine as this is: therefore I beseech you mark what I say, and see whether I do not make out these things I undertake.
Sin most opposite to God the chiefest Good, opened in four Heads: 1. Sin most opposite to Gods Nature 2. Sin opposite in its working against God. 3. Sin wrong God more than any thing else. 4. Sin strikes at Gods Being.
FIrst, It is most opposite to God who is the chiefest Good. The meanest Capacity may easily understand, That which is most opposite to the chiefest good, that must needs be the chiefest evil: I suppose the wea∣kest in this Congregation will understand this way of Reasoning, that evil that is most opposit to the chiefest good, that must needs be the chiefest evil; but sin is that which is most oppo∣site to God, who is the chiefest good, and ther∣fore must needs be the chiefest evil. That then is that I must make good.
Quest. How doth it appear that sin is most opposite to the chiefest good?
Answ. Brethren, When I have made out this, I shal shew sin to be very sinful, and the greatest venom of sin lies in this one thing I am now o∣pening. Should I tel you never so much of the evil of sin, in the danger that comes by it, Hell Page 34 that follows it: should I write a Book about Hel and Damnation for sin, it hath not so much to humble the Soul in a saving manner, as this I now treat about: perhaps I might scare you in preaching of Hell and Damnation, but discove∣ring this I now speak of, the opposition sin hath unto God; it hath more in it to humble the Soul in a saving manner, and to cause the Soul to feel sin to be most evil where it is most evil; to be the greatest burden where it is most waighty. This Point I say hath more power in it than any other; therefore let me set upon this, and see how I make this good, That sin is most opposite to God the chiefest good. There be these four things discover the truth of this.
- First, Sin in its own Nature, is most opposite to the Nature of God.
- Secondly, Sin in the Working of it, is a continual working against God. The Nature of sin is opposite to Gods Nature, and the wor∣king of sin is most opposite to God.
- Thirdly, Sin, it doth wrong God more than any thing else.
- Fourthly, Yea, Sin strikes at the very Being of God so far as it can do.
So then let us sum it up again: That which in its own Nature is most opposite to God, 2ly That which in its working, is continually wor∣king against God, 3ly That wch doth most wrong God, and 4ly That which strikes at the very Being of God Himself, that must needs be the greatest evil: but so doth sin.
Sin in it self opposite to God, shewed in five things, 1. Nothing directly contrary to God but sin: 2. God would cease to be God if but one drop of sin in Him: 3. Sin so opposite to God that he cease to be God if He did but cause sin to be in another: 4. He should cease to be God if he should but approve it in others: 5. Sin would cause God to cease to be, if he did not hate sin as much as he doth.
FIrst, That sin in it self is most opposite to God. To understand this, take these five things; and they rightly understood will make it as cleer as the Sun at noon day.
1 The Nature of sin is so opposite to God, that there is nothing so contrary to Him as sin God hath nothing but sin contrary to him (take it so•) therfore it must needs be opposite; for God hath nothing contrary to His own Nature but sin, it is the only contrary, the only opposit to God. There is nothing perfectly contrary to another, but it is so contrary as there is nothing but that which is so contrary as that is; for that is the rule of Contraries, that there must be one to one: there may be diversity and difference of many things to one; but an absolute perfect Contrariety, can be only of one to one. Now there is nothing contrary to Gods Nature but Page 36 only sin; God hath no object that he can look upon contrary to himself in all the World, but only sin: For there is nothing else except sin, but it is from God, and by God, and for God: Now that which is from Him, and by Him, and for Him, cannot have contrarity to Him: but Sin is neither from Him, nor by Him, nor for Him; but that is directly contrary unto Him: therfore there is more evil in Sin than in any o∣ther thing. It is not so with Affliction, Affliction is from God, and by God, and for God, and is not contrary unto God, because it is from Himself.
2 Sin is so opposite to God, that if it were possible that the least drop of it could get into Gods Nature, God would instantly cease to be a God, He could not continue one moment to be a God any longer; such evil there is in sin. If there should be such a Poyson, that if one drop of it should come into the Ocean, all the whol Ocean would be at an instant poysoned; yea, all destroyed and anihilated in one instant; you would say that were a very fearful Poyson. If a drop of Poyson should be so poysonful, that if one drop of it got into Heaven, that then pre∣sently the Sun, Moon, and Stars would fal down, and be anihilated; you would say this were a venemous Poyson. Certainly if but one drop of sin should get into God, the infinite Being of God would instantly cease to be. The Sea, though vast, is not infinite; the Heaven, though vast, is not infinite; the infinite God would have no Being at all if sin should get into God; therefore it is very evil: Therfore (also) we Page 37 ought to have holy thoughts of God, seeing sin is so infinitely contrary to his Nature.
3. So opposit is sin to God, that if God should be but the cause of any sin in any other; He would instantly Cease to be a God. It strikes at the very life of God, He would cease to be God, he could be God no longer if he should be the Cause of any sin in any other. We had need take heed therefore how we father sin upon God, that he should be the cause of sin, for such is the evil of sin that God must cease to be, if he should be but any cause to give any efficacy to sin in us. Indeed for Afflictions God will own that, he saith in Amos 3. 6. Is there any evil in a City and the Lord hath not done it? and in Mich.〈◊〉. 3. it is said there that God deviseth evil: If there be no evil in the City but God doth it, yea (saith the Prophet) God deviseth evil; there is no evil of punish∣ment, but God deviseth it, God will be con∣tent to own it, to be the Author of all the tor∣ments, of the damned in hel, God will own; God will say I have done it, and I am the Author of al the torments of al the damned in hel; but such is the evil of sin, if God were the Author of that, He could not be God any longer but would cease to be God.
4. Such is the evil of sin, that if God should but approve of it and like it, if he should but like it when another have commited it, even that would cause him to cease to be God. Wick∣ed men be ready to think because God is patient and long suffering, that God is of the same judg∣ment Page 38 with themselves, Psal. 50. 21. Because I held my Peace thou thoughst that I was altogether such an one as thyself; but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes; it is the just temper and frame of wicked and ungodly men to this day; because God holds his peace, and comes not upon them to revenge sin presently; they be ready to think that God approves sin, and is of their judgment.
Indeed (saith a wicked man) many Ministers cry out of sin that it is very grievous, but I hope God wil give liberty to my wayes and walkings, sure God is not against them, he approves of them; otherwise why should God suffer me in them, and be so patient towards me in them? Oh! know when thou hast any such thought of God as this, thou blasphemest God: If that were true that thou thinkest, That God did ap∣prove of thy wicked wayes, God must cease to be God, God would be God no longer.
Quest. Why? How doth this appear?
Answ. This is the Reason of it: Because then God were not infinitely holy, and holiness is Gods Being; and if God be not infinitely holy, he is not God at all, but ceaseth to be presently. Which is impossible, and blasphemous to think.
5. Such is the evil of sin, so opposite to Gods Nature, that if God did not hate sin as much as he doth, he would cease to be a God, not only if he did allow of it, and like of it; for he may permit it in his Creature and not like of it: But Page 39 I say, If God did not hate sin so much as he doth hate it, if it could be conceived that God could but hate sin somwhat less than he doth (I say) he would instantly cease to be a God; he could not remain to be God one moment if he did cease to hate sin in any degree less than he doth.
Quest. Why? How doth this appear?
Answ. Thus; If God cease to hate sin (I do not speak of the manifesting of his hatred, but that which is his nature, that is proportionable to hatred, as we say) if God did not hate it so much as he doth, then he did not hate sin infi∣nitely, for there cannot be any infinite and less than infinite stand together, these two cannot ever stand, that it should be infinite and less then so and remain infinite, if it be infinite it remains so; if there should be a degree under that, it must be finite: Now if Gods hatred to sin were less than it is, it would be but a finite hatred, and if it were a finite hatred, then God could not be infinitely holy; for infinite holiness must needs have infinite hatred against sin. I be∣seech you observe this, for you are ready to think, Though God be against sin, and hate it, yet I hope God hates it not so much as many Ministers make of it, tush God is not so much against sin as they speak of; though its true when we do a miss we must cry God mercy, and pray God to forgive us; yet to make so much of sin as they do; and that God sets himself so much against it as they say; this is but their opi∣nion; Page 40 and he hopeth God doth not hate it so much as they say. Oh! Brethren take heed of this opinion, for if God should hate sin less then he doth, he should cease to be; either he must hate sin with infinite hatred, or he ceaseth to be God: So evil and opposite is sin to Gods Na∣ture.
And if these things be true, there is a great deal of evil in sin. If there be nothing so oppo∣site to God as Sin; and if but the least drop of sin should get into God, it would make God cease to be God; and if he should be but the cause of any sin in his Creature he would cease to be God; and if he should but like it in his Creature, he would cease to be God; and if he should but hate it less then he doth, he could not be God: but al this is true; Then we had need take heed to our selves, and think certainly there is more evil in my heart, more opposition in my heart against God than I have been aware of. What say you now? Will you venture to commit sin for a groat or six pence, if there be so much opposition against God in it? Were it not better to be under any Affliction than under the guilt of Sin, if there be in it such opposition to God? This is the First general Head, nothing is so opposite to God as Sin: I say Sin is most opposite to God.
The workings of Sin is alwayes against God. The Scri¦pture calls it, 1 Enmity. 2 Walking contrary 3 Fighting. 4 Resisting. 5 Striving. 6 Rising against God.
SEcondly, As the nature of Sin is opposite to God; so in the workings of Sin there is a continual working against God; A sinful heart that is alwayes stirring and working, is alwayes working againk God: And therefore you shall observe these several Expressions the Holy Ghost hath concerning Sin.
1 The holy Ghost calls it, Enmity to God, Rom. 8. 7. The wisdom of the flesh (the best part the flesh hath) is enmity against God.
2 Yea, The holy Ghost saith it is a walking contrary unto God, Levit. 26. you shall have it there in many places If you walk contrary unto me: 21. and 28. vers and divers others.
3 It is a fighting against God, Acts 5. 39. and Acts 23. 9. in these two places rejecting of the Gospel is called a fighting against God.
4 And in Acts 7. 51. You do alwayes resist the holy Ghost; there is a company of men naturally walk contrary; resisting, and fighting against God. We see we had need take heed of oppo∣sing the Ministery of the Gospel, for while you do that, you fight against God. You think you do but oppose such and such men, but half a dozen in the parish that you oppose but certain∣ly Page 42 the opposing the Golpel is not a fighting a∣gainst us men, but against God: you may turn it off with what names you will, and put what pretences you wil upon it, let me tell you, They that strike upon the lanthorn, offer violence to the Candle therein.
5 Sin, in Scripture is called striving against God, Isa. 45. 9. Wo unto him that striveth with his Maker: Let the potsheard strive with the potsheards of the earth: So far as Sin doth prevail in thy heart, or in thy life, so far thou art guilty of striving with thy Maker.
6 A rising against God: By Sin the Soul doth rise against God. And for that you have an Ex∣pression in the 2. Micah, 8. Even my people of late are risen up as an Enemy. these be strange expressions; enmity, walking contrary, striving, fighting, re∣sisting, rising against God; and yet this is in Sin. But that I may open it further, I shall shew how sin doth fight, strive, and rise against God.
How sin resist God: 1 It's a hating of God. 2 It's rebellion against God. 3 It's a despising of God.
FIrst, Sin doth resist God in his Authority; in his Soveraignty, in his Dominion over the Creature; the language of Sin is, God shall not reign. It is the setting of the Will of a base wretched Creature, against the will of the infi∣nite, eternal, glorious God. And is there not evil in this? though it may be thou doest not on purpose do so, set thy will against God, yet it is Page 43 so in sin, there is the setting of thy will against the will of the infinite eternal God: resisting the Soveraignty, and Majesty, and Dominion of the infinite God. Yea, thou doest resist-God in his Law, thou resisteth and opposeth God in that righteous Law of his, which he gave thee to obey.
Quest. But how is this in every Sin? It may be in some great and notorious sins this may be, but is this fighting against God, striving, and rising, and walking contrary to him, (and so of the rest) is this in every sin?
Answ. For that I Answer, 1 That every Sin comes from the same root, and look what ve∣nom there is in any one sin, for the nature of it, it is in every sin, though not for its degree: 'Tis true, one sin may have a higher degree of evil in it than another, but every sin is invenomed with the same evil: That which is the venom of any one sin, is the venom of all; all comes from the same root. As in a Tree, there is more Sap in an Arm of the Tree, than in a little Sprig; but the Sprig hath the same Sap for kind that the Arm of the Tree hath, and it al comes from the same root. So though there be more venom in some gross, crying sins, than in some others; yet there is no sin but hath the same Sap, and the same venom, for the kind, that every sin hath, that the worst sin hath.
2 Yea, Consider further, That God doth not account sin only according to mans intentions in sinning; what man intends, but what the nature of the sin tends unto, not what I do aim at in my Page 44 sinning, but what my sin doth aim at. There is the end of the agent, and the end of the act, now tis true though the end of a Sinner be not alwaies to strive against God, and f•ght with God, yet the end of his Sin is so, though not of the Sinner; I beseech you observe how God may lay grievous Sins to their charge, and that he doth not account of a mans Sins according to his intentions, but according to that which is in the nature of his Sin as now, you would think it a strange Sin, to charge any man in the world with hating of God, come to any man though the greatest Sinner in the world, the most notori∣ous villain, and charge him thus, Thou art a vile wretch thou hatest the living God; he would revile you and be ready to to spit in your face: and yet it is said, He hates God: In the 1 Rom. the Apostle in the catalogue of Sins (when he would shew the state of all men by Nature, for the first Seven Chapters of the Epistle to the Romans are to shew the nature of the Jews and Gentiles) and among others, he tels them there were those that were haters of God, among other notori∣ous Sins haters of God is one: But I will shew it in a more plainer wav, in the Second Commande∣ment; the veriest villain in the Nation would spit in vour face if you should say he hates God: What say you to him that will seem devoute, and worship God in a more glorious way then he hath appointed; the Scripture saith, he hates God: See the Second Commandement, Thou shalt not make unto thy self an, graven image, nor &c. Thou shalt not bow down thy self to them, nor worship Page [unnumbered] them, &c. for I will visit the Sin of the Fathers upon the Children, unto the third and fourth generation of them that HATE me: Why is this set in the Second Commandement rather than any other? That God will visit the sins of them that hate him, those that sin against the Second Com∣mandement seem to honor God, and to love God more than any other, they be not only content to worship God in that ordinary way o∣thers do, but in a more glorious, and pompeous way; well, it may be the breaker of the second Commandement pretends more love to God than any, and yet there God saith they be those that hate him, so that you see God doth not reek on Sin according to mans intentions. Cer∣tainly the worshippers of Images do not intend to hate God, but God accounts of Sin what it is in its own nature, it is as if God should say, If you wil not worship me according to my way of worship, will not be content with that, but will set up a new devised worship of your own, do you call it what you will, I account it hatred of me.
Secondly, Sin is Rebellion: What man in the world will be convinced that he doth any thing in way of Rebellion against God, and yet mark, God chargeth Sin with Rebellion even in that which they pretend they do all for Gods glory; See in that Example of Saul, 1 Sam. 15. you shall find there, when Saul did but spare •gag and the fat of the Cattel, and pretends to offer Sa∣crifice to God; Samuel comes to him in the name of God, and saith he, Rebellion is as the Sin of Page 46 Witchcraft. Why (might Saul say) Lord, have mercy upon me, is this such rebellion? I did it for the honor of God, I did it to sacrifice to God; and yet the Prophet of God in Gods Name chargeth Saul with rebellion. Now Brethren, Sin you see hath that in its own Nature that is not intended by men in their sinning: Therfore while I speak of the Nature of sin, some may say, Indeed this my be true of sinful, wicked, notorious wretches; but is this true of me? Yea, it may be true of the most civil man or wo∣man in Gods presence this day; God may charge them with hatred and rebellion.
Thirdly, Sin is a dispising of God. Who would acknowledg in the way of sin they de∣spise God? Scarce any in the world is so wicked as to acknowledg they despise God. And yet mark, God chargeth David with this for the commission of that one sin: see the 2 Sam. 12. 9. David did despise God. Well, if hatred, and re∣bellion, and despising of God, though neither of them all be in the intention of the man in com∣mitting of them, yet God seeth it in the Nature of them. So then if sin be a despising of God, rebellion against God, walking contrary, and en∣mity, &c. if there be all this in sin, though in e∣very sin the Creature intend not this, but God seeth this in the root of every sin, in the venom of every sin: Therefore then, you that have gone on in the course of sin, lay but this second thing to heart, That you are those, who have walked in the course of your lives in an opposi∣tion against the infinite dreadful God of all the Page 47 World; against the infinite God, this hath been the course of your life. Truly Brethren, it is enough, this that I speak of, to pluck down the stoutest heart, the wickedest and wretchedest hard heart in the world; for a Minister of God to come and charge them in Gods Name, Thou hast gone on in all thy life hitherto, ever since thou wast born, in a continual opposition to God Himself, unto the infinite Lord, the Eternal first being of all the World; thy life hath been no∣thing but enmity to this God: thou hast as di∣rectly opposed, and striven against, and resisted Him, as ever man did oppose, and resist, and strive with another man, and this thou hast done in the whol course of thy life: Certainly there is more in this to humble a man than any thing that can be spoken to shew him the evil of sin. When Christ would humble Sauls heart, what doth he do? he comes and saith, Saul, Saul, Why persecutest thou me? Alas, thou thinkest thou hast to deal with these poor Creatures, who are not able to right themselves: but be it known to thee, thou hast to deal with Me, the ever living, Eternal God. Why persecutest thou Me? Who art thou Lord? as if he had said, Lord, I did not think I had to deal with thee, who art thou Lord? I am He whom thou per∣secutest. He said no more, but as if should have said thus, Look upon me, I am that great and glorious God that hath thee at an advantage, and can tread thee under My feet: presently Saul fals down (the text saith) trembling, and astonished, and saith, Lord what wilt thou have Page 48 me to do? Oh that it might be so this day, that some heart might fall down trembling, and asto∣nished: and when you get alone, and think on what hath been declared, say, Lord, in the waies of sin have opposed, resisted, and been an Enemy to thee; Oh Lord never thought it, Oh now Lord forgive. It is time, it is time Bre∣thren, to cease resisting of God, and walking con¦trary to God; for he is above you, and wil have the Victory and the glory over all Creatures Oh perhaps thou hast been an old Enemy, an old Sinner, that all thy daies hast walked on in a course of sin; yea, perhaps thy Father hath been an Enemy, thou his Enemy, and thy Fa¦ther his Enemy; an old Adulterer, a Swearer, a wicked opposite to God; and perhaps thou nourishest up Children to be Enemies to God; thou nourishest and breedest up a company of Brats to be Enemies to God; thou breedest them in the waies of sin and wickedness, and so there is a generation of Enemies against God Oh Brethren, that God would but stir your hearts and make you fal down before Him, and see your selves guilty of so great an enmity. Many be ready to excuse themselves and others thus; He is no bodies Enemy but his own, a good natured man, and I am no bodies Enemy but my own: Yes, besides thy own, thou art an Enemy to the Eternal God; and thy waies hath been a way quite contrary to the Eternal God, and this thou art guilty of, and the Lord char¦geth thee with it this day. I remember when Daniel comes to Belshezzar, he comes to him, and Page 49 thinks he hath enough to humble that proud King Belshezzar, when he saith thus to him: That God in whose hands the breath of thy No∣strils, and al thy waies are, that God thou hast not glorified: And it hath a mighty deal of po∣wer to bring down the proudest and stoutest spirit upon the Earth; when God shall give commission to conscience to come and charge him and say; Oh thou wicked wretch, remem∣ber that, that God in whose hands all thy waies, and the Breath of thy Nostrils are, that God thou hast not glorified: and suppose Conscience hath commission to come thus, and say, That God in whose hands the breath of thy nostrils and all thy waies are, that God in all thy life thou hast walked quite cross unto, in all thy life. I say it would have a great deal of power in it to humble the proudest heart in the world. And this is the second particular of the operations of sins workings; it is a going cross to God.
There are two more in this Branch, how sin is opposite to God. Sin wrongs God, and sin is a striking at God. But because the fourth is shor∣ter than the third, I shall begin with the fourth, and make the third last. I said before, sin was continually working against God; but now I say,
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.
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.
How sin wrongs God in his personal Relations. 1 The Father. 2 The Son. 3 The Spirit.
SEcondly, Now for the Personal Relati∣ons of God; Father, Son, and holy Ghost; how they be wronged in way of sin.
First, God the Father. Consider of these in those operations most proper, and especially at∣tributed to them. As now, that attributed to the Father, is the work of Creation: now thou wrongest God the Father in this especial opera∣tion, In that thou abusest the gifts God hath gi∣ven thee; that Body and Soul God hath made, thou abusest it to Gods dishonor; abusest his Creatures; takest Gods own Creatures, and a∣busest them to his dishonor: yea, thy own Page 70 Members that God made thee to honor him withal, thou takest them, and with his own weapons fightest against himself: not only figh∣test against him, but with his own weapons, fa∣culties and gifts he hath given thee, thou figh∣test against him. Thus thou wrongest God the Father in his work of Creation.
Secondly, Thou wrongest Christ in the Work of Redemption.
1 Because the least sin thou committest (if ever it be pardoned) it is that which stab'd Je∣sus Christ to the very heart: I say, thy sin was that which pierced Christ, and brought forth blood and water from him; it was that which whipt Christ; it was that which put Christ to death, that shed the blood of Christ, that cruci∣fied Christ. I may say to every sinner that ex∣pects to be saved by Christ, as Peter in the 2. Acts said to those Jews, Whom you have crucified, and the text saith, that then they were pricked to their hearts. Certain it is, thou sinner (man or woman, whosoever thou art) that dost expect to have part in the blood of Christ, Thy sin cruci∣fied Christ, made Christ cry out upon the Cross, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? What dost thou think of thy sins now? And if thou be such an one as hath never been affected with the Blood of Christ that was shed for thy sins, then thou wrongest the Blood of Christ more, for then thou dost trample the Blood of the everla∣sting Covenant under thy feet, and accountest it a common thing. Most men and women be such that live under the light of the Gospel, that like Page 71 Swine trample the very blood of Christ under their feet, and make nothing of the Blood of Christ, go to the Sacrament hand over head un∣preparedly, and so come to be guilty of the Bo∣dy and Blood of Christ. Certainly these be not strains of wit above the truth and reality of things; there is a reality in it, that thy soul is charged from God this day of wronging Christ the second Person.
Thirdly, Thou wrongest the Spirit of God, in defa∣cing of the work of Sanctification (what in thee lies) in opposing the work of Gods Spirit in thy soul, in resisting the motions of Gods Spirit. Who is there but is guilty of resisting the moti∣ons of the Holy Ghost? Who is there but at some time or other when they have been at the Word, but they have had some stirrings of the Spirit of God within them, when they have heard such and such truths of God? But they have gone to company, and laughed it away, drunk, and played it away talked it away. What a wrong is this to the Holy Ghost? thou wron∣gest the Holy Ghost by defiling thy Body, which should be the Temple of the Holy Ghost.
Sin wrong the Counsels of God in setting that Order in the World that he hath set.
THirdly, Thou wrongest the Counsels of God in setting that order in the world which he hath set. To understand it know this, God in his Eternal Counsel hath set a due order in all his Creatures, they walk in an orderly way to fetch about that end that he himself did intend. As a Workman that makes a curious work, puts everie wheel and piece in a right frame, and due order, that so by that order his Art hath placed in the work, the work may attain unto that end he made it for: So God hath done, he hath made all things by weight and measure in due order. God made all things good, very good, and all that one Creature might be serviceable to another; as one wheel to a curious Watch is serviceable to another, and all to bring about the end of the Workman; so God in his eternal Will and Counsel hath set all things in that pro∣portion and order that he may fetch about his own end. But sin is the thing, and the only thing that break the order of God in the world, and strikes at Gods Work to break it al to pieces what lies in the sinner. If we should suppose that all the cunning Artificers in the whol Nati∣on, Page 73 nay in all the world, should joyn together to make a curious work in a curious frame, per∣haps they have been seven years in making of it, and at length bring it to perfection, and things be made in that order and exactness, that it is to admiration, so that this work is worth more than can be imagined, because of the curious art and order in this work: But suppose now, one should come, and (through ignorance, much more if knowinglie) give it a blow and strike it al to pieces; what a mischievous thing were this? Certainlie there is this in sin, for there is infinite depth of Counsel and Wisdom of God in setting all things in frame, that one thing should be serviceable to another; and at length all should come to be for Gods glorie. Now there is no Creature can break the order God hath made but Men and Angels, none but those Creatures that are capable of Sin. And certain∣lie Sin doth not onlie aim to break Gods order, but doth it actuallie; Sin brings disorder, and doth break the order God hath set: Onlie God by his mightie Power knows how to bring Sin it self to that, that he will have his glorie from it, to take occasion at least by it to bring things into their right order again. But were it not that God were of infinite Wisdom and Power, Sin would break all that curious work God hath made, and bring it all to confusion. Now we know Art and Wisdom ads to anie thing; as suppose some curious Building were all beaten too pieces and Rubbish, there were no Materi∣al less in the Rubbish than in the Building, only Page 74 the art of the workman, the art and the order that makes the Beautie of the work, and the difference in Excellencie from a heap of Rub∣bish. So it is the Order God hath set in the World that makes the Beautie of Gods Work, and Sin doth do all it can to make all the Work of God to be a heap of Rubbish, a meer Con∣fusion. Indeed when there is such a curious piece of work of a workman broke all in pieces on a sudden, if he had so much skill and power instantly to put it in frame again, his art would exceedingly be admired and wondered at. Thus it is with God; Certainly were it not for Gods infinite Wisdom and Power, wherby he can bring all in Order again, sin would bring all to Rubbish; and know thou hast a hand in this that hast a hand in Sin.
Sin wrong God in the End for which he hath made all things.
FOurthly, Sin wrongs God in the End for which he hath made all things, which is his own Glory. Now we know that of all things a man cannot endure to be wronged in his End, when he hath an End to such & such a thing, and aims to bring such and such a thing to pass, though he should be frustrated in regard of some means, this troubles him not, but when he comes to lose his End, this troubles him exceedingly. Thus it is with a sinner, he sets himself against God to do what lies in him that God should lose his End of all that ever he hath done: and if so be God were not Almightie to over power things, certainly sin would quite frustrate God of his End of his Works, for which he did make all things, to wit, his Glory. Now a sinner doth what he can to darken the glory of God, doth in effect stand up and say, if I can help it, God shall have no glory in the world. I say, you that walk on in waies of sin, this you are charged with in the name of God this day, that you are guiltie of this, you have in effect stood up, and as it were said, If I can help it God shall have no glory in the world: and yet it was for his glory that God made all things. Truly Brethren, it Page 76 cannot but be a soul-piercing Consideration for any stout stubborn sinner in the world for to have this one thought (take it with you, and work it upon your hearts, see what it will do) to think thus, Had I never been born, God had never been so much dishonored: this one thought hath a mightie power to pierce the stoutest hearted sinner in the world. Oh! is not God infinitely worthy of all glory and ho∣nor in the world? hath he not made all Crea∣tures for his glory? and if I had never been born, and never had had a being, God should never have been so dishonored, he would have had more glorie if I had never been. If God had made me a Dog or a Toad, a Snake or a Ser∣pent, God should have had more glory than by making me a Man. True, God will bring about his glory, and have more glory from thee ano∣ther way, than if thou hadst been made a Dog or a Toad; but no thanks to thee, thou dost what thou canst in way of sin to hinder his glory, Gods Almightie Power brings this to pass. But if thou goest on in waies of sin, it may be said of thee, that if thou hadest been made a Dog or Toad, God would have had more glory in the world than now he hath in making thee a Man: yea, thou art so far from bringing God glory that thou dishonor'st God as much as in thee lies. And this, if it lies upon the heart as it should is a sad Consideration to humble the proudest heart in the world; to think that thou livest, and God hath no glory by thee, though this be the End for which God made the world. Think Page 77 thus, suppose God should have no more glorie by all the world, than by me, to what end were the world made? Suppose one that lives in a meer Atheistical way, and takes no notice of the Majestie and Glorie of God, but lives only to eat and drink, and play and swear, and the like; now if his conscience tell him this hath been his way, I speak to such a one in these words, sup∣pose God had never had more glory from any Creature than from thee? to what purpose had the world been made? For God that hath wrought so wonderfully and gloriously in rai∣sing such a glorious Edifice and Frame, certain∣ly it was, that he might have some glory from what he hath done. No man works any thing but for some end, and Wisdom directs every man that his end be worth his Labor, that, that which he aims at shall be worth all his work. Now God had some end therefore in making thee, and he must needs have some excellent end; but now, what do I think in my conscience was the End of God in making of the World and me? what was it for no other end but that men and women might live and eat and drink, and lye, and swear, and commit such wickedness? was this Gods end? I put it to your conscience every sinful man or woman; think how hast thou lived? what hast thou done in all thy life? look back to thy former life, and think how hast thou spent it? I have gotten money, and what to do? is it only to eat and drink, and the like? and thou hast lived in a Course of Nature thy Conscience tells thee thus, now I put this to Page 78 thee, Doest thou think in thy conscience this is the end thou livest in the world for? Did God (when from all Eternity he intended to make such a Creature as thou art, to live in such a time in such a place, and preserved thee all this while from such dangers at Sea, or at Land) I say, did God aim at no other end but this that thou shouldest live to do thus? Certainly thy Conscience will condemn thee if thou hast but a heart for to think of it. Thou wert upon thy sick bed, and then thou cryedst to God to spare thee; well, thou didest escape, now I put this to thee, Dost thou think God spared thee, and gave thee thy life, to live to no other end but this? dost thou think this was the only end? Take heed thou dost not go on in waies of cros∣sing God in his end, for God will have his end one way or other. If a man have been at a great deal of cost to deliver another man from misery, redeemed him from Captivitie, and when he hath brought him home, he rails at him that did this for him, and doth him all the mischief he can: And in any mans account he is exceeding∣ly wronged that hath done thus and thus for one that is thereby as it were his Creature, and yet he live and do thus and thus wrong and abuse him. Certainly then, God is wronged when he hath given thee a Body, delivered thee from such and such dangers, and thou livest to no o∣ther end but to satisfie thy lust; thou excee∣dingly wrongest God. This is so cleer, that a man would wonder where mens consciences are, that they live quietly, and that their consciences flies not in their faces continually.
Page 79 Certainly, when God shall enlighten the Conscience, and bring these things with power to their Souls, then Sinners will stand amazed and wonder they saw not this before: These things be so clear, that its a wonder I was so blind, that I had not eyes to see these before, and yet who laies these things to heart? And thus we have done with this First thing in the Explanation, the wrong Sin doth to God in his Nature, working against, and striking at God, and in his Relations, &c. Now there are, I con∣fess, those things I most aimed at in this work behind, therefore I will wind up in a word or two, in some Corollaries, and Consequences, to be drawn from hence: Only thus much, when I have told you Sin is a greater evil than Afflicti∣on; yea, a greater evil than all the torments of Hell, as I said in the beginning. Then you may see by what I have said, how this Truth results out of these Consequences, because it wrongs God, and God is so infinitely good. If anie man be afflicted, or perish in Hell eternally, it is but the good of a Creature, and the comfort of a Creature crossed in this, but in Sin there is the crossing of the good of an infinite God, and of his glory; and there is more good in Gods glory, than in all the Peace and Comfort of all Creatures in the world: and if so, then cer∣tainly there must be more evil in Sin that is cross to Gods glory, than in all pains and torments that are but only cross to the Peace and Com∣forts that are in the Creature: I say, Hence fol∣loweth these Corollaries.
The First Corollarie.] It appears by this, That but few men know what they do when they Sin against GOD.
FIRST from this, Certainly it doth evidently appear that there are but few men that know what they do in sin∣ning against God, nor have not known all this while. It was the Complaint of the Prophet Jeremiah, No man saith, What have I done? Certainly men in waies of sin never say, Oh Lord, what have I done? Give me but that man or woman that have gone on in waies of sin, that have imagin∣ed they have wronged God so much; that they have done so much against the infinite eternal glorious God. They think indeed they have done amiss, what they should not do; but it is another manner of matter, it is not only doing what you should not do, but it is a wrong to the infinite glorious God, and therefore certainly it appears but few men know God, or know Sin; neither know what that God is with whom they have to deal; neither know what sin is, and how it makes against that God with whom they have to deal; if men did only know God, Page 81 it were enough to keep them from sin. And there is a notable place in the 1 John 2. He that saith I know him and keepeth not his Commandements is a liar, and the truth is not in him. If there be any man in the Congregation that saith he knows God, and keepeth not his Commande∣ments, he lies saith the Holy Ghost. What, doest thou know God, man or woman? Sinner, Man or woman doest thou know God, that infinite glorious eternal God, with whom thou hast to do? and not to keep his Commandements, but goest on in waies of sin? Certainly thou art a Liar. It may be many of you are apt to say, We know God, what need we have so much of God Preached? If you say you know God and keep not his Commandements, you are a Liar. But now joyn these together, To know what a glo∣rious God this is, and how sin works against this God. Some knows somwhat of Gods Attri∣butes, and can discourse of him, yet perhaps never knew before how sin made against this God, this is that people fail in; certainly both together hath not been known by most people. I remember a Speech I have read of a German Divine upon his sick Bed; he cryes out thus, In this Disease I have learned what Sin is, and how great the Majestie of God is: These together. We can∣not know what sin is, except we know how great the Majesty of God is; put these toge∣ther, and these Two together, will make men understand that they did never consider of be∣fore, what their lives are, and how people go on in a resolute, inconsiderate way, and know not Page 82 what they do, and what God is. Therefore we may pray as Christ in another case, Father forgive them they know not what they do: poor Creatures they know not what they do; they never ima∣gined what the greatness of the glory of God is.
The Second Corollarie.] The Necessity of our Mediators being God and Man.
SEcondly, Hence appeareth, The Necessity that our Mediator between God and us, must be God as well as Man: great is the mysterie of godliness that God is manifest in the flesh. Well, but what is the reason of this Mysterie of godliness? How comes it to pass that there is a necessity of such a mysterie of godliness for saving of poor Souls? That God must be manifested in the flesh? That God must be Man? That all the Angels in Heaven, and men in the World, could not be a Mediator between God and us, but our Mediator must be truly and verily God as wel as man? What is the reason of this? That that I have been speaking of gives a full reason of it, our sins have so wronged God, hath been so much against God, that it is only God can make up the wrong, onlie such a Mediator as Christ that is both God and Man, that can make it up. Page 83 I suppose most of you know so far in your Cate∣chism, That Christ is God and Man; but sup∣pose I should put this Question to you, you say Christ is God and Man; but give me a sound Reason, Why it is necessary that Christ must be God and Man? Why cannot man be saved by any Savior but such a one as must be verily and truly God and man? I suppose you will give a sound substantial Reason, and say, God Appoin∣ted and hath Ordained it should be so: but though it be Gods will, and God hath ordained it, yet there is another Reason, and this it is; You may say (when you hear Christ was God and Man that mighty Savior) here is the Reason of all that, Because sin doth so wrong and strike at God, and oppose God, that of necessity who∣soever comes to be a Mediator between God and us, must be God as well as man. Therefore the Scripture saith of Christ, his Name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God. Isa. 9. 6. Christ is the mighty God, and the mighty God in the work of Reconciliation, in reconciling God and us together, then he shews himself mighty. Be∣cause if all the world had undertaken to medi∣tate between God and us, such is the breach be∣tween God and us, that all the men in the world could have done no more than if so be you had gone and put a picec of paper to a mighty flame, as if one had a mighty flame coming upon him, and he puts a piece of paper to keep it off; we know that will quickly burn it; he must put some Brass or Iron. So that wrong is done to God by the sin of man, That if all the men in Page 84 world, all the Created Powers in Heaven and Earth, had come to have stood between God and us, to have satisfied God for that wrong sin did to him, it had been but just like a piece of brown paper against a mighty flame. But who∣soever comes to stand between God and us, must be one infinite, as well as that Person is infinite against whom we have offended, and that is Christ the Mediator, the mighty God, God and Man. Oh know the Mediator by which you must be saved must be very God; and the Rea∣son is, Because sin hath done such infinite wrong to God.
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.
The Fourth Corollarie.] Admire the Patience of God in seeing so much Sin in the World, and yet bear it.
FOurthly, If this be so, that sin is so much against God, doth so much wrong God, Hence then we have all cause to stand and admire at the infinite patience of the great God that shall behold so much sin in the world from such poor wretched vile Creatures, and yet shall bear it: 'Tis true, those that do not know how sin doth make against God, strikes at him, and wrongs him; they are not so much taken with the patience of God, and with the long suffering of God: But now that man or woman that comes to know how sin wrongs God, and comes to understand this, such a one cannot but to amazment stand and wonder at Page 93 Gods infinite patience; that such a great God who seeth himself so struck at, fought against, opposed, and wronged by such wretched Crea∣tures, that yet he doth forbear crushing them too pieces presently. I beseech you Brethren consider, do but take along with you what I have said about Sin, how it is against God, and then consider, how all sins that are committed, God is present at it, stands and looks upon it. Do but think somtimes with your selves, when you are among a great concourse of people, a∣mong a company of prophane wretched peo∣ple, as in Markets, Fairs, Taverns, Inns, and Ale-houses, how is Gods Name blasphemed there? What daring of the blessed God? what scorning and contemning of his Word and Sa∣craments and Ordinances? well, and now carry along that thought, how God is wronged in all these, struck at in all this, and what an infinite God this is; and then think how God stands by them, heareth every Oath, seeth every filthy act of Uncleanness, seeth every Drunkard, and yet when the least word of his mouth were e∣nough to sink them to the bottomless-pit; yet God is patient the first, second, and third time; yea, a hundred times: Perhaps thou hast been a Blasphemer twenty years; forty years a Swea∣rer: and when thou comest in company, Oh the wicked Oaths that come from thee! and hidious Uncleanness, and abominable wicked∣ness! and yet God stands by, and looks upon the Swearer, and is patient all the while. Cer∣tainly Brethren, there is no man in all the world Page 94 that is wronged as God is, and yet man is not able to bear wrong from his equal if he have power in his hand to prevent it. What! Shall he wrong me? I will make him know what it is to wrong me. You cannot bear any wrong from your fellow Creature; Oh consider what wrong God hath born from you and others, stand and admire at the infinite patience and long-suffer∣ing of the Lord! Truly Brethren, when any mans Conscience comes to be inlightened and awakened, then the greatest wonder in the world to such a Conscience is the Patience and long-suffe¦ring of God. Oh! that God should be so pati∣ent and long-suffering unto me all this time of my life that I am out of Hell, he stands and wonders that he is out of Hell, and wonders at others, that others should not be affected with the patience of God. Certainly brethren, that wrong is done unto God by sin, as that if any one man that had all the patience of all the men and women in the world, put into his heart; all the patience and meekness that ever was in all the Saints, since the beginning of the world, if it were all distilled into the heart of one man or woman, and suppose that this man or woman were but wronged as God is, it were impossible but that that man or woman should break forth with revenge against those wrongs done to him or her; it were impossible for such an one to bear, so far as he can see himself able (I mean) to right himself, so far he could not bear the wrongs done to him: But now God shews him∣self here to be infinite in patience and long-suf∣fering, Page 95 as well as infinite in any other Attribute of his. Brethren it wil be an especial part of the glory of the great day of Judgment, that when all the wrong that ever was done to God from the beginning of the world by sinners, shal then be opened at the day of Judgment: Alas, we see but little wrong done to God now; we look upon notorious wretches and think they wrong God; now we see but little, but at the day of Judgment, then all the secret villanies and wic∣kedness that ever was committed in secret pla∣ces, since the beginning of the world, in all places of the world; then shal it all appear: And then how will it appear to Men and Angels how God was wronged by his Creature? and then there will be the patience of God seen that he should be so patient so many thousand years together, notwithstanding there was so much wrong done to God and never discovered to man, but God sees it all this whil•… this will be a great part of the glorie of the day or Judgment. If our hearts were e•…ed we would begin now to give God the glorie of 〈◊〉 Patience which we shall see at that day.
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.
A Sixt Corollarie.] If sin be thus sinful, it should teach us not only to be troubled for our own sins, but the sins of others.
SIxtly, A Sixt Corollarie, If Sin be so much against God, and wrong God so, Hence it should teach all those that know God, and have a∣ny love to God, to be troubled, not only for their own sins, but for the sins of others, for sin wheresoever they see it. Oh I see the blessed God wronged, fought a∣gainst, stroke at; and this should go neer the heart of all those that have any love to God at all: As with David in the 119. Psalm, 136. Rivers of water run down mine eyes because they keep not thy Laws: 'tis true, every man and woman should especially look to themselves, and their hearts should especially be troubled for their own sins; but mark the Saints that know how sin is against God, their hearts cannot but be wonderfully troubled when they see that God, so dear and precious to them, thus wronged; Rivers of wa∣ter run down mine eyes because they keep not thy Law. Oh when (I put it to thee in the Name of the Lord) in all thy life didst thou shed one tear for the sins of those among whom you live? for the sins of thy Familie? And vers. 158. I beheld the transgressors, and was Page 104 grieved: Oh I was grieved and pained at my heart; yea, thus it will be with thee if thou lo∣vest God. When thou in the Familie, may be thou art a Child, when thou beholdest thy Fa∣ther or Mother Carnal, and spending all their lives without the knowledg of God, and in waies of sinning against God, thou shouldest get alone, and mourn and lament for it: Oh it is that, if any thing in the world, that would break a Pa∣rents heart, if there be a yong Child, a Youth, or a Maid, that God begins to reveal himself unto them, and the Parent speaks, may be against them, and Gods people, and swear, or profane Gods Day, or speak against his Ordinances, though it may be it do not become thee to speak to them; but if thou canst before them, let tears drop from thine eyes; or get alone, and fall down and lament before God, if thou canst by lamenting reprove their sins; that they shall see thee lament for them, this may break their hearts it may be: notwithstanding if it do not break their hearts, it hath this in it; Cer∣tainly, if any thing in the world will stir us and break our own hearts, this should be it, To see God dishonored in the world as he is, though our hearts be never so much hardened other∣wise. There is a Storie of a Child of Cressus that was born dumb, he seeing a Soldier readie to strike at his Father and kill him, the affection to his Father brake the bars of his Tongue, and he cried out, Oh why will you kill the King? Then he cried out thus though he never spake before; but the stroke against his Father made Page 105 him speak. So thou man or woman, shouldest have thy heart dead in other things, and have no mind to speak, yet when you see wretched men and women strike at God, (as they do, as I have shewed in their sin) if thou have any heart in the world; any life in the world, when thou seest this stroke at God, now speak; Oh that should burst all bars asunder. Though thou beest never so meek in thy Familie, and canst bear other things, yet thou shouldest shew that thou canst not bear sin against God. Oh I be∣seech you consider this, and see how neer this comes to you; How many if any thing be done in your Familie against you, or among your neighbors that is against you, you cannot bear it; but you can bear that which is done against God, and never be troubled at it. As many a Master, let the Servant neglect his work, and displease him, he cannot bear it; but let his Ser∣vant be wicked, and break the Sabbath, denie God his time, let his Servant perhaps swear, or do such wickedness, he goes away and saith it may be, Why do you so? or, you should not do so; or it may be, takes no notice of it: Cer∣tainlie that man knows neither God nor sin, or hath little relation to God that takes so little notice of that done against God; and yet that done against himself, he cannot bear it. Take this along with you, If you have anie relation to God, your hearts will be more troubled for the wrong done to God by your Children and Servants, than when your selves are wronged by your Servants or Children. Oh how manie Page 106 men and women would go and wring their hands to their neighbors and friends, Oh! ne∣ver man or woman so miserable as I! my own Child out of my bowels wrongs me, and doth what hurt he can to me! this is accounted mat∣ter of bitter lamentation: But now why should not thy heart melt and lament when thou canst say, Oh the Child out of my Loins and Bowels, how doth he wrong the blessed God of all the world? Oh that I should be so miserable to bear in my Bowels one an Enemie to the infinite blessed God! Oh that an Enemie to God should ever come out of my Loins! My thinks this should move tender hearted Mothers, to see that they should bring forth such that should go on in waies of enmitie against God himself. Sup∣pose one out of your Bowels should be a Traitor to the Parliament, and do mischief to the State, would not this trouble you, that one out of your Bowels should be a Traitor to the Common∣wealth? this would be a grievous vexation. Now is it not more if that thou hast a wicked Child, one out of thy Bowels that strikes at God, and is a Traitor to the God of Heaven? these do more mischief than to destroy a whol Nation; I say, if a man should live to destroy, to undo a whol Land for their outward estate, there were not so much evil in it, as in one sin against God. You would say, that were a Misereant that should be born to undo a whol Nation, and wo to me that I should bear one that should live to do such mischief to undo a State: Now if thou bear one that strikes against God, and wrongs Page 107 God in waies of sin, this should trouble thee as much as the other: therefore never be at quiet till thou see some work of grace, till thou see the heart of thy Child called in. I remember Augustine saith this of his Mother, and I pro∣pound this for Mothers example, he being verie wicked a while, and his Mother godlie; Oh it grieved her heart that she should have a Child go on in such wickedness against God, and she praid and wept, so that Augustine saith of her, after God had enlightened his eyes to consider what she did for him, saith he, I perswade my self my Mother did as much labor, and endure as much pain for my second Birth, as ever for my first Birth: this is his testimonie of her, that by her prayers and tears for her Childs Salvation that was wicked, he did verilie beleeve it cost her as much labor for the second Birth, as for the first: upon which, when she comes and complains to Ambrose of her Child, well saith he, Be of good comfort, surely a Son of so many prayers and tears can hardly pe∣rish; and he did not indeed, for he proved a worthie Instrument of Gods Glorie afterward in the Church. Now is there anie Mother in this Congregation that can say, I have labored as much, and it hath cost me as much pain for the second Birth of my Child, as ever it did for the first? Certainlie did you know what sin were, and how against God, it would cost you a great deal of travail when you see your Children wic∣ked, and much prayer and cost, that you might not have a Child an Enemie to God, a Traitor to the Crown, Scepter, and Dignitie of Jesus Christ. Page 108 Oh Brethren, doth it not pitie your souls to see that infinite, blessed, holy, dreadful God so much wronged in the world as he is. It should move us to pitie to see any Saint, a man or a woman of an excellent gracious Spirit, to see such a soul a∣bused and wronged; as Solomon saith, there was a wise man in the City and not regarded, though he delivered the Citie; to see but one man of wisdom that hath but any excellencie in his Spi∣rit to be wronged, it should trouble any ingeni∣ous heart. But then I reason thus, if it would be, and should be such a trouble to any ingeni∣ous heart to see any one man of a gracious Spirit wronged and abused, then how should it trou∣ble any ingenious, any gracious heart in the world to see the infinite blessed glorious God to be wronged in the world by sin, as I have alrea∣die shewed he is in everie sin, when I discovered to you how sin is against God that I might pos∣sess your hearts with this Principle, for I know no Principle of greater power through the strength of Christ to do good upon your Spirits than this.
A Seventh Corollarie.] If Sin hath done thus much against God, then all that are now converted had need do much for God.
SEventhly, Another is this, If Sin have done so much against God, and so much wronged God, hence it follows, That all those that have heretofore lived in a sinful way, and God hath now been pleased to enlighten them, and work upon their hearts, had need now do much for God: This follows cleerly, thou didst heretofore live in waies of sin, and what didst thou do in all this? Nothing but strike at God, and wrong God all that time of thy Natural Estate, till God opened thine eyes, and awakened thy conscience: Oh think now what a deal of wrong have I done to God all my life, if I have done nothing else? well, now God opens thine eyes, Oh now thou hadst need to do much for God. If God have shewed himself, and given hopes of mercie, and that he hath pardoned me; this will certainly prevail with any heart that God hath turned: What! have I done so much against God here∣tofore! Oh I have cause to seek the honor of God upon my hands and feet all my daies, that if I can do any thing for God: What! I such a vile wretch, and yet out of Hell! yea, and hope Page 110 to be pardoned! Oh any thing I can do for him, though to creep upon my hands and feet all my daies in this world, to suffer all the hardships in the world, shame, loss of estate, any thing in the world; no matter how great and hard the suffering be that God calls for. There is infinite Reason I should do and suffer all for God, for I have wronged God by sin, and thus we shall turn sin to grace as it were, and of Poyson make an Antidote against poyson, by ta∣king advantage by sin to be more obedient un∣to God. You that have been swearers and wronged God that way, now sanctifie Gods Name the other way: You that have broken so many Sabbaths, now sanctifie Sabbaths: true, all that you can do cannot make up the wrong, but that will shew thy good will, that thou wilt do what thou canst, and manifest to God and all the world, That if thou hadst ten thousand times more strength than thou hast thou couldest lay it out for God; and certainly any man or wo∣man that have been great sinners, if God have humbled them and pardoned them, they wil be great Saints for the time to come: Carry this home with you, any that have been vile, per∣haps you think you have grace because you are not so vile as heretofore you have been; but certainly if you have grace, there will be a pro∣portionableness between the holiness of your lives now, and your wicked life before; you will take advantage, I have wronged God so be∣fore, now I must live thus and thus: It will be so between man and man, if one have wronged Page 111 you, and you have pardoned him, you expect he should do, what he can for you: Thus it should be with God and you, you have wronged God, others have sinned as well as you, and others sins have been furthered by you; this now should inflame your hearts, I have sin enough in my self, and I have been the cause of it in thousand thousand sins in others, my sins strike against God, yea, and I have caused others to sin and strike against God: now if I could draw some from sin, I should think it the happiest thing in the world; I would creep upon my hands and knees to draw others from sin to God, to be in love with the waies of God, and of Re∣ligion. Oh you that have been forward in sin, don't think it enough that now you be troubled for your sins and leave them; but know, you must do for God now as much as you have done against him; he requires it of you: Oh go to your friends, and acquaintance, and kindred, and labor to draw them off from sin; tell your kindred, and friends, and acquaintance, Oh Brother, that you did but know what sin means; Oh Sister, that you did but understand what it is to sin against God: God hath shewed me in some measure; yea, I that went on in such and such sins; Oh I see how I struck at God, and what an evil this is; Oh that God would enlighten your eyes: Come and hear the Word, I thought lightly of sin before, now I have gone and heard, and God hath shewed me what it was; Oh that God would make you see: And pray for them, and take no nay, but to them again and Page 112 again, that so you may do somwhat for God as you have done abundance of wrong against God.
The Eight Corollarie.] If Sin doth so much against God, hence see why God manifest such sore displeasure against sin as he doth: 1 Against the Angels that sinned. 2 Against all Adams Posterity. 3 See it in Gods giving the Law against sin. 4 See it in Gods punishing sins that are accounted smal. 5 See it in Gods destroying all the world for sin. 6 See his displeasure in punishing sin eternally.
EIghtly, This is one Consequence follows, If sin be so great an evil as you have heard, so much against God, wrongs God so much as it doth, and strikes at God; Hence then we see the reason why God manifests such sore dis∣pleasure against sin. We find (Brethren) most dreadful manifestations of Gods displeasure a∣gainst sin, and the ground and bottom of them is in these things which you have heard opened unto you. And indeed did you understand and beleeve what hath been opened unto you con∣cerning sins opposition of God, you could not then wonder at Gods manifestation of his dis∣pleasure against sin. There are manifold Mani∣festations of Gods displeasure against sin, which Page 113 when they be spoken of, and opened unto peo∣ple that do not understand the dreadful evil that is in sin, they stand and wonder at it, and think, Oh they be hard and severe things. When Mi∣nisters reveal the threatnings of God against sin, Oh say they, God forbid, we hope God is more merciful than so; and all because they appre∣hend not what dreadful evil there is in sin. That soul that apprehends and beleeves these parti∣culars that have been opened unto you, cannot but justifie God when they hear the revelation, and the manifestation of the displeasure of God against sin. As now in these Particulars: That which hath been delivered is the bottom and ground of these that we shall mention, and we see the reason of all these. As
First, That dreadful manifestation of the displeasure of God against the Angels that sinned against him: there is that revelation of the displeasure of God against the Angels, that might cause all our hearts to tremble before the Lord at the very thought and hearing of it. I beseech you con∣sider, you who think that God is only a God of Mercie, and God is not so severe against sin as many Ministers would make him; do but attend to what I shall say unto you, how God hath ma∣nifested his displeasure against sin in the Angels: Consider of these five or six Particulars, I will but onlie mention them.
1 That God should cast so manie glorious Creatures as the Angels are, for ever from him∣self, considering the Excellencie of their Na∣ture.
Page 114 2 Consider their Multitude.
3 Consider, That the Chains of darkness that they be cast into, are eternal Miseries.
4 Consider, That this was but for one sin.
5 And consider, That this was but the first sin that ever they committed.
6 Lastly, consider, That God should not now enter so much as into any parley with them a∣bout anie terms of peace; nor never would, nor never will: This is the sore displeasure of God against them, that God (I say) should not look upon the Angels that he hath made glorious Creatures, the most excellent of all the work of his hands: And when there were manie thou∣sand millions of them, for so the Scripture speaks of Legions, even in one man Legions of Devils: though there were thousands and mil∣lions of such glorious Creatures that God made; and these were in Heaven about his Throne, be∣holding his glorie, and when these committed but one sin against him, never but one before their Fall, and the first that ever was committed; they had no example before them of Gods wrath, but upon the verie first sin, though it were but one that all these glorious Creatures committed, they were presentlie cast down from Heaven, and of Angels made Devils, and reserved in Chains of eternal darkness: And so is God set against them all for that one first sin, that he would never enter into any parley with them, to be reconciled upon any terms; never to consider of any terms of peace, but cast them away from him unto eternal torments without Page 115 anie recoverie; this is the dreasul displeasure of God against sin. Now Brethren, this I speak of, is that which there is no doubting or contro∣versie about; anie one that knows the Scripture knows this. In some things there may be con∣troversies about them; but no Divine that hath knowledg of anie thing of Scripture, but will confess this that I speak of; and if you know not this, certainlie you were never acquainted with the Scripture: Though other Points be controverted, yet none that know Gods Word make question of this, this is cleerlie granted of all. And the consideration of this might strike abundance of fear & terror into the hearts of wicked and ungodlie men and women, to think, Lord, how have I thought of thee al this while, and have looked upon God as a merciful God, that though I have sinned, I have thought things would not be with me as I have heard by such and such Ministers; but this day I have heard, such was the sore displeasure of the in∣finite God against Sin, that when he had to deal with those glorious Angels for one sin, he cast thousands of them into eternal Miserie, and up∣on no terms will be reconciled, nor never will. You think if you sin against God, you will crie God mercie, and so hope God wil pardon: true, there is a difference between Man-kind and the Angels, because we have a Mediator, and they have not; but most people that speak of crying to God for mercie, they look upon God, as Gods Nature meerlie being merciful, and not through a Mediator; they do not understand the necessi∣tie 〈1 page duplicate〉Page 114〈1 page duplicate〉Page 115Page 116 of a Mediator between God and them, but they apprehend that that God that made them wil hear their crie: Now God made the Angels and they were more noble Creatures than you abundantlie; now the Angels that sinned but once, for that one sin are cast for ever, and God resolves, though they should crie and shreek, and shed thousands of tears for sin, God wil ne∣ver hear them; Gods displeasure against sin is so great: certainlie then sin is a dreadful evil. Suppose a Prince were so wrath with a great companie of his Nobles, that he casts a great multitude of them into a Dungeon, and there they endure torment, and the King would not vouchsafe so much as to enter into a parley, to be reconciled upon any terms; everie one would say, surelie 'tis some great matter that hath provoked the King: if they understand this Prince is verie Just, and withal verie merciful; to be sure he would do none any wrong, but were verie merciful above al men in the world; and yet for but one offence he should cast these his Nobles down into a Dungeon to be tormen∣ted, and would by no means be reconciled: e∣verie one would conclude, certainlie there was much evil in that offence if it deserved thus much; and certainlie for the Prince to deal thus with them there was much in it: Would you not make such a conclusion from thence? then learn to make such a conclusion from Gods dea∣ling with the Angels; That seeing God is Just, and can do no Creature wrong; yea, God is in∣finitely merciful, and yet he doth cast his noble Page 117 Creatures, those Creatures that were the high∣est that ever he made any Creature, for one sin without any means of Reconciliation: Certain∣lie Sin hath more evil in it than men are aware of, for though God hath not dealt thus with Man-kind, yet he might; there is so much evil in sin that God might have done thus with anie of us; and had it not been for the Mediation of his Son, we had been thus irrecoverably misera∣ble to all eternitie.
Secondly, Consider, That for one sin in our first Parents (and not in our own persons) that all the Children of men by Nature are put in such an estate to be Children of wrath, and liable to eternal misery, and that for the sin of our Parents: that will shew the won∣derful Justice of God: How unsearchable are his Judgments, and his waies past finding out! Cer∣tainlie God is infinitelie displeased with Sin, that when the first Parents of Man-kind did of∣fend, then upon that all their Posteritie to the end of the world are put into a damnable condi∣tion, all of them are children of wrath, and heirs of eternal perdition as in themselves. Certainlie my Brethren, this is a truth, and none can denie it that understand Scripture, and if you do not understand this, you have not under∣stood a great and necessarie Truth of the Word of God, that is necessarie to eternal life, That all Man-kind are by the sin of their first Parents put into a condemned estate, so as they are all the children of wrath by nature as the Scripture saith: so that we are not onlie in danger of Gods eternal wrath through the sin that we in Page 118 our own persons do actually commit, but though we had never committed any actual sin in our own persons, yet the sin of our first Pa∣rents is enough to make us children of wrath, and be our eternal ruine. Certainlie there is a great deal of evil in sin more than the world thinks of, when it shall so provoke God as that he shall have such displeasure to put all Man-kind to be in the state of Children of wrath for the sin of our first Parents. This is a second Ma∣nifestation of Gods displeasure against sin.
Thirdly, A third Manifestation of Gods dis∣pleasure against sin is in that fiery Law (as the Scripture cals it) that God hath given for forbidding and threatning of sin. Consider the dreadful man∣ner of Gods giving the Law, that it was with Fire, Lightning, Thunderings, and Earthquakes, and Smoke, so as the Scripture saith Moses did shake and tremble at the very sight of the dread∣fulness of the Law when it was first given. That was only to set forth thus much to us, That if the Law that God gave be broken, that then God will be very dreadful to those that break it; therefore he gives it at first in such a dreadful manner. It may be many bold presumptuous sinners think it nothing to break the Law of the infinite eternal God; but in that God gives the Law in such a dreadful manner as you may read in the 19. of Exodus, how dreadfully God gave the Law; God doth thereby declare to all the world, how dreadful sinners are to expect him to be, if they do break the Law. But especial∣ly consider that dreadful Curse annexed to the Page 119 Law, Cursed is every one that abides not in every thing that is written in the Law; to do that which the Law of God pronounces to be done: a curse to every one that doth any thing at any time that shall break it. That there should be such a dreadful Curse annexed; this manifests the sore displeasure of God against sin.
Fourthly, A fourth Manifestation of the sore displeasure of God against sin (all this but to shew you further how Sin is a greater evil than Affliction) the Manifestation I say of Gods dis∣pleasure against sin is seen, in that we find in Gods word God hath so severely pun•sh'd some sins that do ap∣pear to us to be very smal, little sins: and yet God hath been exceedingly severe against those sins which appear to us to be exceeding smal: To instance in three.
1 In 1 Sam. 6. 19. there you have this exam∣ple, that the men of Beth-sh••esh, when the Ark came to them they did but look into the Ark out of curiositie, for ought we know for no other end but meerly out of curiositie: Now because the Ark was a holy thing, and none but the Priests of God were to meddle with it, God did presently at an instant slay fiftie thousand, and three score and ten men of them: Upon this the text saith, these men beholding this severi∣tie of God for this offence, they all said, Oh! who shall stand before the holy God! If God be so holy that he cannot bear so smal a sin as this did ap∣pear to men, that but for looking into the Ark so many thousands shall be slain presently: who can stand before the holy Lord! Many of you Page 120 have slight thoughts of the Lord and his Holi∣ness, and think you may be bold and presump∣tuous, you venture upon greater offences than this was; but these men upon the venturing upon this one thing, above fiftie thousand are slain presently: This is the displeasure of God against sin, though very smal to our thoughts.
2 Again, A second example you have in Uzzah that did but touch the Ark out of a good inten∣tion, as being ready to fall, yet that not being according to the Law, God struck him with death presently; it cost him his life, he was struck with sudden death. We are terrified when we see one fall down suddenly: now upon that offence, though he had a good meaning, and good intention, yet God brake in upon him with his wrath, and struck him dead presently. Consider this you that think you have good meanings, and good intentions, yet not doing according to the Law; the least breach of the Law, though we have a good meaning, doth provoke the wrath of God, and God when he pleaseth lets out this his wrath.
3 A third example you have in that poor man that we reade of, who did but gather sticks upon the Lords day, and by the Command of God from Heaven this man must be stoned to death: You would think these things little matters. Alas poor man, he might have need of them: How many of you venture upon other manner of things upon the Lords Day, profaning of it? and yet God speaks from Heaven, and gives command to have this man stoned to death. Now Brethren, though Page 121 it be true, that God doth not alwaies come upon men for such little sins, it may be to make known his Patience and long-suffering. Per∣haps the Lord doth let others go on for a long time in greater sins: but yet God by a few such examples doth declare to all the world what the evil of the least sin is, and how his displeasure is out against the least sin. If he do forbear, that is to be attributed to his patience and long-suf∣fering, but not to the littleness of the sin, or the littleness of the evil that is in that sin. This is a Fourth.
Fifthly, A fifth thing wherein God manifests his displeasure against sin, is in those dreadful and hidious Judgments that the Lord executes abroad in the world that we have the stories of in the Scripture, and all Ages: As that God should come and drown a whol world except eight persons, all the whol world swept away and drowned. And so that God should command fire and Brimstone to come down from Heaven, and burn and con∣sume whol Cities, Sodom and Gomorrah, and the Cities adjoyning; yea, and all the men, women, and children, but only Lot, and those few with him. And so the fire to come down upon those Captains and their Fifties, 2 Kings, 1. And the Earth swallowing up Corah, Dathan, and Abiram. There is no Age but hath some one or other dreadful example of His Judgments against Sin. The wrath of God is revealed from Heaven a∣gainst all unrighteousness. Now Brethren, though some people have scaped, and these manifestations of Gods Judgments are not so ge∣neral Page 122 and ordinary; yet when they are but now and then, God manifests what his displeasure is against Sin, and what might be to all that Sin a∣gainst him.
Sixthly, A sixt manifestation of Gods displea∣sure against Sin, is in those eternal torments and mise∣ries in Hell that the Scripture speaks of: the worm that never dies, and the fire that never goes out: when you hear Ministers speak of fire that never is quenched; for poor people to lie burning in fire thousands of thousands of years in eternal flames, scalding under the wrath of God; you stand agast at the dreadfulness of these expressi∣ons. Certainly these are only to reveal the dis∣pleasure of God against sin, because there is no finite time can be sufficient to manifest to the full the displeasure of God against sin: therfore those that perish, must perish eternally.
A Seventh discovery of Gods displeasure against sin, opened from the sufferings of Christ. First, See the several expressions of Scripture: 1 He was sorrowful to death, 2 He began to be amazed, 3 He began to be in an Agony. Secondly, See the effects of Christs being in an Agony, 1 He fell grovelling on the ground, 2 He swet drops of blood, 3 He cries to God if it be possible to let this cup pass from me. Thirdly, There is eight Considerations of Christs sufferings.
SEventhly, And that is greater than all that hath been said: Put all the former six together; His dealings with the Angels, and with Man-kind; The dreadful giving of the Law; His dreadful Judgments for smal sins; And examples of his wrath abroad in the world; And the eternal torments in Hell: Put all these six together, and yet I say all these six is not so much to manifest the displeasure of God against sin as this one that now I shall tell you of: and if there be any thing in the world that should make us to see the evil of sin, it should be this; if any thing make our hearts to shake and trem∣ble at the evil of that sin of which it is so much guiltie, then this I say that now I speak of should do it; and that is this, The dealings of God Page 124 the Father with his Son: when Jesus Christ that was the second Person of the Trinity, God blessed for ever, came to be our Mediator, and to have but our sins im∣puted unto him; and according to Scripturs phrase, to be made sin: Do but then take notice how God deals with him, how God manifests himself to his own Son, when his own Son did but take mans sin upon him, to answer for it: do but then consider how God the Father did deal with him. The Scripture saith, he did not spare his Son, but let out the vials of his wrath upon him in a most dreadful manner. If we do but consider,
First, that Christ God blessed for ever should come and be in the form of a Servant, should be a man of sorrows as the Scripture speaks, that in the whol course of his life should live a con∣temptible life before men, and undergo grie∣vous sufferings. But because I must hasten, do but look upon Christ in his Agony, and upon the Cross at his death, and there you will see the dreadful displeasure of God against sin, and in nothing more than that. True, there is the bright glass of the Law wherein we may see the evil of sin: but there is the red glass of the suf∣ferings of Christ, and in that we may see more of the evil of sin than if God should let us down to Hell, and if there we should see all the tor∣tures and torments of the damned in Hell, see them how they lie sweltring under Gods wrath there; it were not so much as beholding sin through the red glass of the sufferings of Jesus Christ, and that of his Agony. And give me Page 125 leave a little to shew to you how God let out himself against his Son when he came into the Garden; and a little before when he was to die and suffer upon the Cross. And for this consider these two things:
First, The several Expressions the holy Ghost useth in the several Evangelists for the setting out of those dread∣ful things Christ suffered as a fruit of Gods displeasure upon him.
1 One Evangelist saith that Christ was very * sorrowful even to the death, Mat. 26. 38. he began to be (the word in the Original signifies) compassed about with sorrows, to have sorrows round about him, and as it were beset and be∣sieged with grief; and it was to the very death, usque ad mortem, sorrowful to the very death: What was it for? upon the apprehension of the wrath of his Father, which he was to endure for the sin of man: he was sorrowful to the death in the apprehension of it. You it may be upon the sight of sin content your selves with some slight little sorrow. You will it may be, when * you are told of sin, cry, Lord have mercy up∣on me, I am sorry for it, and so pass it away. But Christ when God comes to deal with him, he makes his soul to be compassed about with sor∣rows, sorrowful to the death for our sins.
2 Another Evangelist tels us he began to be amazed, Mark, 14. 33. that is, when Christ came to drink the Cup of the wrath of his Father, due for our sins, he stood amazed at the sight of the dreadfulness of that Cup he was to drink of; because he knew what Gods wrath was, he un∣derstood Page 126 what it was before he drunk of it; and this made him stand amazed at it. Many sinners hear Gods wrath, and this makes them fear, but they be not amazed at it, they can pass it away and they be not affected with it afterward; be∣cause they understand it not, they know not what it is for a Creature to stand before the wrath of an infinite Deity: Who knows the power of thy wrath? saith the Scripture: therfore they be not amazed. But Christ that knew full well what the wrath of God was, and saw to the bot∣tom of it, he understood to the dregs what that Cup was; and he stood amazed at the sight of it when he was to drink it.
3 Another Evangelist hath this Expression, * ('tis in Luke 22. 44.) Christ began to be in an Agony: Now the word Agony, signifies a strife, a combat; it is taken from the word that stgnifies a com∣bate in Battel. Christ was in an Agony, in a Combate: Combate, with what? with whom? With the Wrath of God, he saw coming out up∣on him to sink him; he saw the Curse of the Law come out upon him; he saw the infinite Justice of God, of the infinite Deity come out upon him: and he was in an Agony, in combate with the infinite Justice and wrath of God, and the dreadful Curse of the Law, and so Christ came to be in an Agony. These be the three Ex∣pressions of the Evangelists.
Secondly, Consider the Effects of Christs being in an Agony, and apprehending the wrath of his Father for sin.
1 One Effect was this, you shall find it in the Page 127 story of the Gospel, that the text saith, he fell gro∣velling upon the ground upon the apprehension of Gods wrath and displevsure upon him for sin, which he was to suffer: he fell down grovelling upon the ground. When he that upholds the Heavens and the Earth by his Power, now falls gro∣velling upon the Earth, having the weight and burden of mans Sin upon him he falls upon his face, he falls to the ground. Certainly Bre∣thren, Christ had that weight and burden upon him, that would have prest all the Angels in Heaven, and Men in the World down to the bottomless gulf of despair: If all the strength of all the men that ever were since the beginning of the world, and all the Angels in Heaven were put into one, and he had but that weight upon him that Christ had, it would have made him sink down into eternal despair: for had not Christ been God as well as Man, he could never have born it, but would have sunk down eter∣nally: But the burden and weight was so great that he sinks down to the ground.
2 A second effect of Christs bearing the wrath of God for Sin is this, He sweat great drops of blood; the word in the Original is Clodders of Blood; Blood thickned into Clods. Never was there such a sweat; it was in the Winters night, a cold night, abroad upon the ground in a cold Win∣ters night, and he had nothing else upon him to make him sweat but the burden of sin, and the weight of the wrath of God being upon him, he being under that burden sweat, and such a sweat as made the very blood break through his very Page 128 Veins and run to Clodders, and so run down upon the ground Clodders of Blood: and all this but upon the apprehension of the wrath of God his Father against him for our Sin. Now you know when Porters be under great Burdens, somtimes they sweat; but never did any sweat like this sweat of Christ, being under the weight of mans Sin, sweat so as Clodders of Blood should fall from him: One would think fear should rather draw in the Blood; fear na∣turally draws in the blood to the heart: there∣fore it is that men and women when they are skar'd, and are afraid, they are so pale in their Countenance; fear causeth paleness in the out∣ward parts, because the blood retires to the heart when they be afraid. But such was the amazement upon Christ, upon the apprehension of the wrath of his Father for Sin, that it sends out blood in Clodders trickling down his sides.
3 And then a third expression which shew the effect of Gods wrath on Christ, is the Prayer of Christ; Christ doth as it were shrink under this weight and burden of sin, and cries to God, if it be pos∣sible let this Cup pass from me. When we cry with vehemency, we say, if it be possible let it be thus or thus; but Christ cries out so three times. We may apprehend Christ taking as it were the Cup of the wrath of his Father in his hand, and because he knew it was the end wherefore he came into the world, that he must drink of it for satisfaction for mans Sin; and being willing to save Man-kind, that he knew could not be saved but he must drink the Cup, he takes it in his Page 129 hand readie to drink it; but beholding the hi∣diousness and dreadfulness of this Cup, and knowing what was in it, he puts it away, and cries, Father if it be possible, let this Cup pass: but now he sees if he did not drink it, all the Chil∣dren of men must be eternally damned; for such was our miserie, if Christ had not drunk this Cup, we had all eternally perish't; there∣fore Christ puts it to his mouth again (as it were) the second time; but yet seeing what dreadful∣ness was in this Cup, and he knowing it, he takes it away again, and cries, If it be possible, let this Cup pass: but yet having love to Man-kind, being loth to see so many thousands of poor Creatures perish eternally, he puts it to his mouth again a third time; and yet seeing the dreadfulness of it, puts it away again, and yet saith, If it be possible let it pass. This might make a man tremble to think that he shall (as Job saith 21. Job) drink of the wrath of God: Thus it was with Christ, and all this while he did not drink it: But afterwards when he comes to the Cross, there he drunk the Cup of Gods wrath, and there he cries out with another cry more bitter than all the other, and that is, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? so that he appre∣hends himself forsaken. Oh the wrath of the Almighty that then was upon the Spirit of Jesus Christ at that time: What! for the son of God blessed for evermore thus to cry out, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me! Oh you Heavens how could you be able to behold such a Specta∣cle as this was, or the Earth be able to bear it! Page 130 Truly, neither Heaven nor Earth were able; for the Scripture saith, that the Sun withdrew his light, and was darkened so many hours; it was from twelve to three, that the Sun with∣drew his light and did not shine, but there was dismal darkness in the world as not being able to behold such a Spectacle as this: and the Earth shook and trembled, and the Graves ope∣ned, and the Rocks clove in sunder, the very stones themselves were affected with such a work as this; and the vale of the Temple rent asunder: these things were done upon Christs bearing of the Wrath of his Father for Sin. Here you have the fruits of Gods displeasure for sin, and in this you may see, surely sin must needs be a vile thing that causeth God the Fa∣ther thus to deal with his own Son, when he had mans sin upon him.
Thirdly, Consider yet further, for there is much in it, and if this do not shew the evil of sin, and cause you to fear and tremble, those that be guilty of sin, and their consciences tell them so; if their hearts tremble not, certainly their hearts be hard, and their minds be blinded, and little hopes can they have for the present of e∣ver having their parts in these sufferings of Christ; what shall Christ suffer such sufferings, and wilt thou go away and have slight thoughts of sin? shall sin be so great a burden to Christ, and wilt thou be so merry under it? Certainly you see it is more than you were aware of: for you to say, I trust in Jesus Christ, and hope to be saved by Jesus Christ; you see how Christ felt Page 131 sin, the Scripture saith he was made a Curse: Were it not we had it from the holy Ghost, no man or Angel durst say so, that Christ should be made a Curse; in the abstract, not Cursed, but made a Curse: What! he that was God and Man, by the sin of man was made a Curse! Oh the displeasure of God against sin! But yet to give it you a little more fully, see these Aggra∣vations, and you will say, certainly the displea∣sure of God was great against his Son.
1 As first, All that Christ suffered he perfectly knew it long before he suffered, and yet it was so dreadful unto him. Oh Brethren, there be many men and women understand nothing at all of the wrath of God against sin, these think there is no great matter in it: Of all the men and women in the world, when they come to suffer this wrath, it will be dreadful to them, because it come unex∣pectedly; they that went on merrily and cheer∣fully in the waies of sin, and for the wrath of God, never thought of it; now then when the wrath of God comes on them, it will be more dangerous and intollerable: This is the reason why many people when their consciences are awakened upon their sick Beds, then they de∣spair, crying and roaring under Gods wrath and rage with despair: Why? Because they never in their lives came to understand the dan∣ger of sin, and of Gods wrath for sin; and be∣cause it comes now suddenly upon them, they be not able to bear it. But it was not so with Christ, Christ understood this long before; he knew what it would be before he took our Na∣ture, Page 132 and he knew what it would be when he came in humane Nature to undertake it. Those men and women that know not what storms and tempests are, it is grievous to them when they come to know them suddenly; when they are in the midst of a storm or tempest at Sea, Oh they are grievous: but Marriners that know be∣forehand what they are like to meet withal, it is not grievous to them. But Christ though he knew it beforehand, yet how dreadful was it to him when it came?
2 Consider, Christ had no sin in himself to weaken his strength, and take away his strength, and so make the burden greater; he had no sin but only by imputati∣on. But now when the wrath of God comes upon us, we having so much sin in our Natures, this weakens us, and will therefore make the burden of Divine wrath so much the more in∣tollerable to us: For as it is with a sound man, If a great weight be laid upon a man healthful and strong, he feels not the burden of it; but if you lay the same weight upon a man very sick and weak through distemper of body, it is grievous to him: So here, If the weight of Sin were so grievous to Christ that had no di∣stemper of weakness, how grievous will it be to a sinner that is distempered, and so weakened with sin? If the shoulders of a Porter be sore, and all the Skin off, and a boyl upon his shoul∣der, how grievous would the burden be then? So it is with us, when God comes to lay the bur∣den of his Wrath upon us, we be but weak Creatures at the best, but through the distem∣per Page 133 of sin in our hearts we are more weak and more unable to bear: because we be sore, and have boyls of sin; this makes Gods wrath much more dreadful; but it was not so with Christ.
3 Christ had absolute perfect Patience, there was not the least impatiency in Christ: therefore when Christ that had perfect Patience, and yet did thus cry out and sweat, and was thus sorrowful under it, surely there was some fearful burden in this. Some men and women will lie and roar out under some pains, and it may be it is great, but had they perfect patience, they would not make such dolor and out-cries: it is through the weakness of their Patience that they make such out-cries, and manifest such sence of their affliction. But Christ made not such out-cries through impatiency.
4 Consider, Christ had the strength of an infinite Deity to support him: He had the strength of God, he was God and Man, he had the strength of the Divine Nature to support the Humane Nature which no Creature can have as Christ had; for there was an Hypostatical union between the Divine and Humane Nature at that time, and yet notwithstanding the Hypostatical union of both Natures, yet Christ expresseth himself thus, and is thus sensible of the Wrath upon him for the sin of Man.
5 Consider, Christ was the Captain of all that were to suffer hereafter: and therfore he would if he had had no more upon him than that which the humane Nature could have born, have manife∣sted (one would think) abundance of Resoluti∣on Page 134 and Magnanimity, and not have cried out so: and surely had there not been the suffering of the Wrath of the Deity, and the Curse of the Law in it; certainly he that was the Captain of all that were to suffer, he would have manife∣sted it to be a light burden he met withal; for there be many Martyrs have suffered outward∣ly as great Extremities as ever Christ did, for outward torture, and born them with joy; therfore seeing the Martyrs many of them suffe∣ring greater tortures to their bodies, and have born them with Joy; no sorrow, nor crying out, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? nor, If it be possible, let this cup pass, but endured them with a great deal of Joy. Now how comes it to pass that the Martyrs did bear them with such joy, and Christ the Captain of them all falls to the Earth, and cries out so? Certainly there was more in Christs sufferings than in all the suffe∣rings in the world, more of the displeasure of God.
6 Consider, That it was through the strength of Christ that all that ever did suffer were inabled to suffer what they did undergo. Now if Christ had that strength, that through him all the Martyrs were inabled to suffer what they did; certainly Christ had abundance of strength in himself to suffer when he came to it: How comes it to pass then that the strength whereby they were inabled to suffer being from Christ, they mani∣fested not that horror and trouble that Christ himself did? Certainly therefore Christ suffe∣red other manner of things than they did.
Page 135 7 Consider this, Christ did know what an infinit good his sufferings would do: that by suffering he should save so many thousands, reconcile God and man, glorifie his Father, that he should do the greatest work for God and his Father that e∣ver was; that by his sufferings there should be that work done that should be matter of eternal praise, and Hallelujahs of the Saints and Angels eternally in the Heavens: And yet though Christ knew and understood what good should be done by his sufferings, yet see how sensible he was of the greatness of it. One would have thought the good he saw to be done should much have lightened it; and so certainly it did.
8 Consider, Christ did know his sufferings were to continue but a litle while; though they were extream, yet that they should last but for a few hours, and then he should be glorified. And yet though he did under∣stand his sufferings were to last but a few hours, and then himself should come to glory; yet for all this they were thus hidious and dreadful to him. Oh Lord, then how hidious shall the suf∣ferings of the damned be to them, when as eve∣ry damned soul that goes to Hell, knows cer∣tainly how he must lie to all eternity; after thousands of thousands, and ten thousand milli∣ons of years; after so many thousands of years as there be drops in those mighty Waters which you sail over; yet the time is no more expired than the very first moment they enter'd into those miserable torments.
Consider of this thus you that have to do in Page 134 the great Waters, consider how many drops there might be in the Sea, as big as the bill of a Bird could carry, and that this Bird should be supposed once in a thousand years to carry away one drop, yet this Bird would sooner empty that mighty Sea than the torments of the dam∣ned should be at an end. Oh how dreadful will it be to them when as Christs tortures which he did endure but a little while, made him to cry out so. Oh Brethren, put all these together and then know the evil of sin. Oh that we could apprehend it now before we come to feel it. For this is the end for which I speak of these things and present them before you, that you may now know them, and never come to feel expe∣rimentally what they be. Blessed be those that in hearing tremble and beleeve, and do not come to know by experience that dreadful evil in them. If God should in his infinite wisdom have studied (as one may so speak) from all E∣ternity to have found out a way to have presen∣ted sin to be dreadful to the Children of men, we could not conceive how infinite Wisdom should from all eternity have found out an Ar∣gument to manifest the evil of sin more, or so much as in the sufferings of Jesus Christ: So that in them God doth as it were say, Wel, I see wretched Men and Women will not beleeve the evil of sin; well, among other Arguments, I will have one, that if possible, shall Convince all wicked hard hearts in the world to make them see what sin is, and that is in my Son, in my dealings with my Son; and that wrath of Page 137 mine I shall lay upon my Son; this shall make it appear to them what sin is. Now if God have done this on purpose to render Sin odious and abominable, and a most dreadful Evil; Oh wo then to that Soul, that after all this shall go on in waies of Sin pleasingly and delightfully, and easily entertain Sin.