Sin is opposite to all Good, and therefore a greater evil than any Affliction, opened in five things: 1 Sin take away the Excellency of all things: 2 It brings a Curse upon all: 3 Sin is a burden to Heaven and Earth, and all Creatures: 4 Sin turn the greatest Good into the greatest Evil: 5 Sin (if let alone) would bring all things to confusion.
THirdly, Sin is opposite to all Good in General. Sin is opposite to God, and to our selves; and I say in the third place, It's against all kind of Good, and therefore a greater evil than any affliction: Now for that there be five things to be opened: only in the general, take Page 320 this sure Rule, There must needs be more evil in Sin than in any Affliction, because there is no other evil, but is opposite to some particular good; an Affliction is opposite to the particular good contrarie to that affliction: but Sin is op∣posite to everie good; not only is Sin opposite to the contrarie vertue, but it is opposite to e∣verie good, so Divinitie teacheth us; though Heathens in Moralitie teacheth, that one Sin is opposite to the contrarie vertue, but Divinitie teacheth, that one Sin is opposite to everie Ver∣tue, and everie Good: which appears in Five things.
First, Sin spoils all Good, takes away the Beauty and Excellency of all Good whatsoever: It may be said of any thing that hath an Excellencie when Sin comes, as its said of Reuben, Gen. 49. 4. His Ex∣cellency is gone, is departed, he shall not excel: there∣fore Rom. 8. 20. it is said (through the Sin of man) All Creatures be subject to vanity, the whol world is put under vanitie through mans Sin. Now then it appears by that, that the Lustre, and Beautie, and Excellencie of Glorie of all things in this world, are spoiled by the Sin of man, for all is put under vanitie by Sin; and Sin not only makes the heart vain, and so is against our selves, but all things in the world is put un∣der vanitie by Sin; the Excellencie of thy E∣state, of thy Parts, the Excellencie of any Crea∣ture thou doest enjoy, all is spoiled through Sin: therfore Tit. 1. 15. it is said, All things be unclean to the sinner: saith he, To him that is unclean, al things are unclean. This is the first, Your Sin is opposite to al Good, spoils al Good.
Page 321 Secondlie, Sin brings a Curse upon all: I ope∣ned before how it puts man under a Curse; but now I am to shew how it brings a Curse upon the whol World, Gen. 3. Cursed shall the Earth be for thy sake; and so by the same reason upon the whol World that thou hast to do withal: not only the Sinner, but through mans sin the world is under a Curse; and therefore it is a most dan∣gerous thing for any man or woman to seek af∣ter happiness in the things of the world, when as the whol world is under a Curse, and wilt thou seek thy happiness in that which is under a Curse? no mervail though the Devil himself be called the god of this World; why? because the world is accursed through the Sin of man: Sin brings a Curse upon the whol World.
Thirdly, Sin is a burden to Heaven and Earth, to all Creatures: Rom. 8. 22. The whol Creation groans and travels in pain to be delivered, and that through the Sin of man. Now what is the evil of Sin, when it is so weightie, that it makes the whol frame of Heaven and Earth to groan to bear the burden of it? It may be thy Sin is light to thy Soul, thou earriest it lightlie, but as light as it is to thee, it is such a heavie burden to Heaven and Earth, and the whol Frame of the Creation, that if God did not hold it by his mightie Pow∣er, it would make it not only shake, but fall down.
Fourthly, Sin turns the greatest Good into the greatest Evil, therefore opposite to all Good. As thus, Take the greatest good of man in pro∣speritie: the more prosperitie thou hast, though Page 322 a fruit of Gods Bountie, yet thy Sin turns it to the greatest evil to thee: As if Poyson get in Wine, it works more strongly than in Water: so Sin in a prosperous Estate, usually works more strongly to turn it to a greater evil, than Sin in a lower Estate. Poor men by Sin, have their Water poysoned; and rich men by Sin, have their Wine poysoned: Now poysoned Wine hath more strength than poysoned Water. And it turns not only prosperitie, but the best means, not only the means of grace, but the better any means is thou injoyest, the more evil it is turned into to thee, except the means take away the sinfulness of thy heart: if thou retainest the sin∣fulness of thy heart, the more powerful Sermons thou hearest, and the more glorious Truths laid open, the worse will be thy condition, and thou wilt one day curse the time that ever thou hadst such means. Yea, Sin turns God to be the grea∣test evil, and makes him the greatest evil in all his Attributes: And Christ himself (though in∣finitely good) to be the greatest evil: Christ is a stumbling stone to wicked men, and laid by God a stumbling stone: What! Christ the pre∣cious Corner stone, that hath infinite Treasures of all Excellencie, in whom the Fulness of the God head dwels bodilie, yet this Christ a stum∣bling stone, and the greatest evil through sin to wicked men; so that one day they will curse the time that ever they heard of Christ. So Sin is opposite to all good, because it turns the grea∣test good to the greatest evil.
Fifthly, and Lastly, Sin is the greatest evil, Page 323Because if let alone, it would bring all things to Confu∣sion: Therfore it is said, by Christ all things sub∣sists; were it not for Christ who sets himself a∣gainst the evil of sin, al things would be brought to Confusion: 1 Joh. 5. 19. The whole world lies in wickedness: Just as a Carrion lies in slime and filth, and there rots; so the whol world would be in the same case that the Carrion is that lies in filth and brought to confusion; were it not that God hath his number of Elect, and they keep the world from confusion. Now put all these together, sin spoils all, brings a Curse up∣on all, is a burthen to heaven and earth, turns the greatest good to the greatest evil, and would bring all things to Confusion if let alone: This is the evil of sin in Opposition to all good. There be but Three more, and they be, 1 To shew how sin is the evil of all evils whatsoever. 2 Hath a kind of infiniteness in it. And, 3 It hath Reference to the Devil: But these I can∣not come to in this Chapter, but shall in the fol∣lowing to conclude all; much you have read of the evil of sin, and how it is above all affli∣ctions; afflictions are of a lower nature: Oh Brethren, This is that we should seek for and prise, to injoy those means, that may lessen sin, and oppose wickedness among us: And of all others these be the two great means to crush sin, and bring down, or make it less in all places; the great Ordinance of the Magistracy, and the great Ordinance of the Ministry. Now (as I told you before) Reproach hath come to our Nation through sin, and from whence is it sin Page 324 hath grown to that height it hath, but because there hath been corruption in both, great Cor∣ruption in Magistracy, and Ministery, among us. As we read of Dan and Bethel, two Calves set up there: Dan signifieth Judgement; and Bethel The house of God. So there was great Corruption in Dan and Bethel places of Judgement Magi∣stracy, and Bethel the house of God in the Mi∣nistry. Now it hath pleased God of late, to be∣gin to be merciful to us, this way; through that great Ordinance of good, he hath appointed for us, The Assembly of Parliament, to purge both Dan and Bethel, Magistracy, and Ministry, to cast out Corruption from places of Judgement, and the House of God. And as we are to bless God for this; so we are to further this work of theirs, and stand by them to the utmost that we are able in all good wayes those Worthies of God in that great Assembly for the finishing of that Work which they have begun: and that our sins and wickedness may be done away from among us. And for that which hath been done, certainly God hath received much praise, and we have cause to bless God for it. And those that have gone on in a good way according to what the Law doth permit them they are to be incouraged. And in a more especial manner, you that be the especial means of good to this Land, I mean in regard of Safety, and your im∣ployment; the Marriners, in whom much of the Strength of this Nation consists, for our Walls be Water and Wooden Walls: Seas and Ships be the Walls of this Land, and therefore much Page 325 of the Good, and of the Safety, and Prosperity of this State depends upon those. And if God stir up their hearts to the maintainance of their Protestation, and Parliament, and Liberties, and to set themselves against Popery and Supersti∣tion, and to incourage the Parliament in their good way; this is that we be to bless God for, and incourage you in. We reade in Judges 5. se∣veral Tribes when the People of God were in straits, would not go up but had many excuses: others did go to help in the Cause of God, Judg. 5. 14. See how many excuse themselves, but especially in the 16. Vers. Why abodest thou a∣mong the Sheep-folds to hear the bleatings of the •locks? Oh Ru•en said, We must not leave House and Cattel, we must not go out: And Giliad abode beyond Jordan; and Dan abode in Ships; some think Dan did not live neer the Sea, but thought they ran to Ships and abode there: And Asher continued by the Sea shore, and abode in his Breaches: He pleads thus, We must continue our business, in making Fences against the Sea; we have many Breaches, and we must continue there and look to our business. But Zebulon and Naphtali they jeoparded their lives to the death in the high places of the field. Who be those two Zebulon and Naphtali that were full of cou∣rage and zeal, when others were-full of Pleas and would not venture their lives? Who be these that ventured their lives? These two were the especial Tribes of Marriners that were forward rather than others. That these were Marriners appears Matt. 4. 15. The Land ofPage 326 Zebulon and Nephtali by the way of the Sea beyond Jordan these that lived by the Sea. Others would not stir that lived by the Sea, but Zebulon and Nephtali, these joparded their lives: Now mark, God seems to remember this: they did not jeopard themselves in a good Cause in vain: God remembers it many hundred years after. When Christ comes, the first Tribes that seem to be inlightned were these; the people that sate in darkness saw a great light, and to them that sate in the region and shadow of death, light is sprung up: they sate in darkness, a company of poor Marriners, exceeding ignorant of the ways of God; and Christ comes first to them, and brings light to them. It may be God might aim to shew Mercy to these Tribes the rather for this that they did in appearing in a good Cause, though it were with jeopardy to themselves. So go you on, and in a good Cause appear and ven∣ture your selves to assist these Worthys of ours in whom so much of our good conssists, and God will remember this in Spiritual Mercies. Would you have the means of Grace continued, and the means of Light come to them that sit in dark∣ness; if you would have the blessing of Zebulon and Nephtali, then be Zebulons and Nephtalies to go out, whatsoever excuses others have, and jeopard your selves for the good, of this Com∣mon-wealth.