The eighth book of Mr Jeremiah Burroughs. Being a treatise of the evil of evils, or the exceeding sinfulness of sin. Wherein is shewed, 1 There is more evil in the least sin, than there is in the greatest affliction. 2 Sin is most opposite to God. 3 Sin is most opposite to mans good. 4 Sin is opposite to all good in general. 5 Sin is the poyson, or evil of all other evils. 6 Sin hath a kind of infiniteness in it. 7 Sin makes a man conformable to the Devil. All these several heads are branched out into very many particulars.
Burroughs, Jeremiah, 1599-1646., Goodwin, Thomas, 1600-1680.


Sin hath a kind of Infiniteness in it: Opened in Seven Particulars. First, Because nothing but an Infinite Power can overcome it. Secondly, Sin hath a kind of infiniteness, because it hath an infinite desert in it, ex∣pressed in Three Particulars: 1 The desert of the loss of an infinite Good. 2 It deserves to put an infinite distance between God and thee. 3 It deserves infinite misery. Thirdly, Sin hath a kind of infinite Evil, because there is required an infinite Price to make an Attonement between God and Man. Fourthly, There is a kind of infinite Evil in Sin, because we must hate it infinitely. Fifthly, Sin is an infinite Evil, because it is the Ʋniversal Cause of all Evil. Sixthly, The Scripture make use of Evil things, to set out the Evil of Sin. Seventhly, There's an infiniteness in Sin, be∣cause the Scripture set out Sin, by Sin it self.

A Fifth General Head that was Propounded in the beginning is this: Sin hath a kind of Infiniteness of Evil in it.

Page  345 It is true, we must acknowledg that nothing but God can be properly said to be infinite: There is not an infiniteness in a strict sense in sin, for then certainly all the Mercy of God, and all the Power of God, could never overcome it, if properly and absolutely sin had an infiniteness in it; therefore I do not say it is properly infi∣nite. Well, but there is a kind of infiniteness, it comes exceeding neer to infiniteness (if we may so speak, though it is somwhat improper to say it comes neer, but we must speak so as we can to our own apprehensions, you shall see in the opening what I mean) As thus, There is a kind of infiniteness of evil in sin beyond all bounds.

First, Because there is nothing but infinite Power can overcome it. Take the least sin that any man or woman lies under the power of; nothing but the infinite Power of God can overcome that sin: and this is the reason that many that have had many convictions of conscience of the evil of sin, many resolutions against sin, many Vows and Covenants, and Promises they have made a∣gainst sin: Oh when they are sick, now they see the evil of sin, now they promise if God will re∣store them▪ they will never do the like; and they speak from their hearts, they do not only dallie, but they do verily think they will never come in companie more, and commit sin more because it is so evil: but when they be well, they be under the power of sin as before, and al their resolutions and experiences, and all their own strength and power, and all the means they Page  346 have, are nothing; though sin be opened to be never so vile, and they be convinced thereof, yet al comes to nothing. Certainly there is more dreadful evil in sin than we be aware of; and all the pleasure and profit we have by sin can ne∣ver countervail that evil that is in sin: and this they see, and therefore promise and hope they shal never commit such sins again. Perhaps there hath been such thoughts in your hearts, may be God hath had some beginnings to come in by his Power into your souls: this is the way of Gods coming in to the hearts of men and wo∣men, when he comes to convince and give them such resolutions. But know, all thy resolutions cannot overcome sin; perhaps you may forbear for the present, the acts of sin a while may be restrained; but nothing but the infinite Power of an infinite God can overcome any one sin, any one lust, Sin shall not have Dominion over you, Rom. 6. 14. for you are not under the Law, but under Grace, saith the Holy Ghost: as if he had said, if you be not now under the Grace of the Gospel, in which the infinit Power of God comes upon the soul to deliver them from the Dominion of Sin, Sin would for ever have Dominion over you; but sin shall not have Dominion over you, be∣cause you be not under the Law, but under Grace: It is the Grace of the Gospel through which this infinite Power of God comes upon your hearts, that keeps sin from having Domini∣on over you. This is the first, there is a kind of Infiniteness in it, because nothing but the infi∣nite Power of God can overcome it.

Page  347 Secondly, There is a kind of Infiniteness in it, Because it hath an infinite desert, it doth deserve that which is infinite: There is an infinite desert in it, therefore a kind of infiniteness in it. As thus, the infinite desert of Sin, may be set out in these three Particulars:

1 The desert of the loss of an infinite Good, all the good in God: By every sin thou dost deserve to be deprived of that good there is in God; that desert comes upon thee, to lose all the good there is in the infinite God, not in this or that particular good, but in the Infinite God, and all the good in him.

2 Every Sin doth make an infinite breach be∣tween God and you; not only you do deserve to lose all the good in God, but it puts an infinit distance between God and thee. Abraham could say to Dives when Lazarus was in his bosom, there is a great gulph between you and us: There is a great gulph between the sinner, and those that are godly; but what a gulf is there between God himself and a sinner? If there be such a gulf between Abraham and Dives, surely a greater gulf between God himself, and a sin∣ner.

3 The desert of Sin is Infinite, In regard of the Infiniteness of misery, and pain, and tortures that sin de∣serves, which becaus they cannot possibly be infinit in de∣gree, for it is impossible for a finite Creature to bear any one moment, pains infinite in degree: But because it deserves infinite torment, it must therefore be infinite in time, because it cannot be infinite in degree: and so it is infinite this way, in durati∣on, Page  348 because it cannot be infinite in degree: thus sin is infinite. Certainly that which makes such an infinite loss, and such an infinite breach, and brings such infinite tortures; this must be an in∣finite evil in a kind.

Thirdly, Sin is a kind of infinite evil, Because there is required an infinite price to make an attone∣ment: nothing can make an attonement between God and a sinner, but an infinite price paid. You may think when you have sinned, it may quickly be made up again: Every Fool can sin, can be drunk, be unclean, and wicked; but when you have sinned, how will you get it away? All the Angels in Heaven, and Men in the world cannot do it; all the Creatures in Heaven and Earth connot get away one sin: You let out your thoughts idlely; take the guilt of one sin, of an idle thought, I say, it is beyond the power of al the Angels in Heaven, and Creatures in the World to get away that Sin: it must be an infi∣nite price; there must be more done for to get away the guilt of this sin, than if God should say, here is a poor Creature hath sinned, and is guil∣ty, I will make ten thousand worlds for his or her sake, and they shall be all given that I may manifest my mercie towards them: Now if God do but deliver thee from one Sin, he doth more for thee, than if thou shouldest hear him speak from Heaven, and say, he would do all that for thee: for you know what the Apostle saith, 1 Pet. 1. 18. For as much as you know that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, as Silver and Gold from your vain Conversation, received by tradition from Page  349 your Fathers, but with the precious Blood of Jesus Christ as of a Lamb without spot or blemish▪ not with Gold and Silver▪ if it were Gold and Silver, all the Gold and Silver in the world would not redeem one; but it was with an infinite price with which you were redeemed: and mark, from your vain Conversation; he doth not say, your vain wic∣ked, notorious Idolatry, but vain Conversation; yea, and that vain Conversation which you might have some plea for, received from the tra∣dition of your fathers: you will keep your old Cu∣stoms you received from your Fathers, received a great while ago; you crie out of new things, new kind of waies, now I am sure I have lived this thirtie, or this fourtie years, and I never knew such things, and heard of such things, and so you will rest on the Traditions of your Fore fathers: Mark what the Scripture saith, spea∣king of those that were delivered from their vain Conversation, and the vanities received by Tradition; these were redeemed by the precious Blood of Jesus Christ, not with Gold and Silver: though you stick to them as being such as you received from your Fathers, yet know all the world cannot deliver you from the guilt of one of these vain Conversations: If you knew all you would see there were so much evil in one sin, as required a price to ransom you from it of more worth than Heaven and Earth, yea, than ten thousand Heavens and Earths: there must be a price laid down of infinite worth: And observe this before you go away; there may be a price laid down to ransom a Captive, Page  350 and this price may Note not so much the great∣ness of the deliverance, as the worth of the per∣son for whom this price is laid down; because the person is worthy, not from the miserable∣ness of the bondage, but the greatness of the person: But it is not so here, the reason of the greatness of the price for your ransom, is not from the worthiness of the person, we be poor, vile, dirt, and dross, and filthy before God: what if you were all buried to all eternity, what great matter were it? But God hath paid a great price to note the greatness of your misery, and evil you have brought upon your selves by reason of sin, and therefore this is the price of our ransom. This is the third thing wherein the infiniteness of sin appears.

A Fourth thing to discover a kind of infinite∣ness of evil in Sin is this, That Sin, it is so evil, that let there be never so much hatred against it in thy soul, let there be as much hatred against it as possibly can be; yet there is enough evil in sin to raise this hatred higher and higher, if it were possible to an infinite hatred: therefore there is a kind of infiniteness in it. If Sin were but a meer finite Evil, then there might be some bounds and limits set to the hatred of our sin; but that cannot be, there can be no bounds nor limits set to the hatred of our sin, but we are to hate it more and more still, and if we could, grow to an infinite hatred: therefore there must be some kind of infinite Evil in it. Other things be not so; we may set bounds to our hatred in other things: but when it comes to sin, there is no limits to be set to the hatred Page  351 of it. As Brethren thus, It doth note the infi∣niteness of goodness that there is in God, why? Because we are to love God, and our love to God must be without any bounds at all: we love him thus much, and still our love is to go further, and higher and higher, and if possible to raise our love to be infinite, because he is an infinite good who is the object of our loves. So hatred on the other side; we are to hate sin, we are to hate it more and more, and still grow up in hatred, and never set bounds to our hatred: why doth not this as well argue a kind of infinit∣ness in fin? And here then Brethren by the way you may have a note of your true love to God, and true hatred against Sin, whether it be right or no: as now, If you will know if you love God truly, then you set no bounds to your love, not only to your love to him, but to your love to his waies, and your love to Grace, and Christ, and the like, you set no bounds: That man or woman that would be Religious but so far, and saith, why will you be so strict, and so hot? and sets bounds to the working of their hearts in Religious waies; let such men and women know, their Religion is in vain, it is but meerly a Natural one. I remember a Speech Seneca a Heathen hath, though he applies it another way, yet he makes it appear, he had some un∣derstanding of this Truth, saith he, Would you know when desires be Natural, and when not Natural? If they be Natural, then they be in bounds, and you set limits to them; but when they break bounds, then they be no more Natural: But he applies it to sinful de∣sires Page  352 (for he knew no better than desires at the highest, as they had some Naturalness in them) and saith he, speaking of sinful desires so long as you keep your desires in certain bounds, they be Natural and good, but when once you let them out beyond bounds, they be no more Na∣tural. We may very well applie it to speak of the Work of Nature, and the Work of Grace: Would you know whether the ground of your desires, or work, be Natural, or Supernatural? You may know them by this, If you propound limits, thus far you will go; this certainlie is a Natural work: But when the heart lets out it self to God without any limits or bounds; this is a Supernatural work. So you dislike sin, and Oh you would not commit it; but this is the Question, Whether your dislike or hatred be Natural or Supernatural? If Natural, then there be some limits and bounds you propound, that is, you will not commit such gross sins, and live in such open sins; and upon such and such grounds, you will abstain from such and such Sins: But if there be a Supernatural work, your hearts are set against all sins with a kind of infi∣niteness, without anie bounds or terms, you will set no bounds to your hatred of anie Sin: that man or woman that so hates Sin, as to set no bounds at all unto their hatred, and will ad∣mit it upon no terms; this is a Supernatural hatred. Manie are against Sin Naturally; but in that true hatred, it is so boundless, that there must be no bounds set to your hatred: it evi∣dentlie shews Sin to have a kind of infinitness of evil in it.

Page  353 Fifthly, Sin hath a kind of infiniteness in it in that it is the Ʋniversal Cause of all Evil: As God appears to be an infinite good, because he is the universal cause of all good; this doth much set out the infiniteness of Gods goodness in that he is the universal cause of all good So it doth set out the infiniteness of Sin, in that Sin is the universal cause of all evil, all evils flow from it. This is the Fifth Thing.

Sixthly, There is an infiniteness of Evil in Sin; it appeareth thus, That as the infiniteness of good in God is shaddowed out unto us by all good things, and in as much as we and the Scripture makes use of all good things to shaddow out the goodness of God, this ma∣nifests an infiniteness of good in him: So in as much as the Scripture maks use of all kind of Evil things, only to set and shaddow out the evil in sin; this makes it ap∣pear there is a kind of infiniteness of Evil in it: As thus, That all those Creatures, Vipers, Serpents, Dogs, Cockatrices, Dragons, Wolves: all dead∣ly Creatures the Scripture makes use of but to shaddow out the evil in Sin. As if the Holy Ghost should say, do you see any evil in such Creatures that you account the worst: put them all together, and that is in Sin and more. So take all kinds of uncleanness, the vomit of a dog menstruous Cloaths, all this doth but shaddow out the evil in Sin. Look at sicknesses, leprosies, plague, and death it self, and darkness, any hidious evil, all these do but shaddow out the evil of Sin. We might mention many more to shew you the evil of Sin. And in that the Scrip¦ture makes use of so many evil things to shew Page  354 the evill of Sin. This shews Sin hath a kind of infiniteness in it.

Seventhly, As Gods infinite goodness is set out thus, that he is his own Happiness and Blessedness; in this God doth appear to be infinitely good, because he is his own good and happiness, there is no higher good to be the goodness of God; no higher blessedness to be the bles∣sedness of God but himself; because he is infinitly good and blessed. So the Scripture sets out to us the Evil of Sin by it self, because there is no greater evil to set Sin out by, but by it self: Therfore this shews there is a kind of infiniteness of evil in Sin. And therefore you have that of Rom. 7. 13. Was that then that was good made death to me? God forbid, but Sin that it might appear sin working death in me by that which was good: that Sin by the Commandement might become EXCEEDING SINFƲL. He doth not say that sin might appear to be Excee∣ding miserable: but that it might become Excee∣ding Sinful: So that the sinfulness of Sin is that which sets out the evil of Sin more than any o∣ther thing doth. It was the Speech of the Hea∣then Seneca, It is the punishment of Sin, to have Sin: So it is the reward of Vertues to have them. Godliness in it self is the Excellency of a man; and Sin in it self is the misery of a man: and this is a Proof of this, That there is a kind of infiniteness of evil in Sin.

Now then by all these Seven Discoveries of the evil in Sin, having a kind of infiniteness in it, this one thing comes fully and powerfully from them; That for to fall into sin again, and for to be prevailed withal by any such temptation as Page  355 this, Oh it is no great matter, if I do no worse than this, I hope it is well, and others do worse: I say, to yield again to the commission of any sin upon such a temptation, is a great wicked∣ness. What dost thou make any comparison in sin, and use any such words, when thou hast heard it, or read it proved to thee, that Sin hath a kind of infiniteness of evil in it. Nay, which I thought to have finished here, but cannot now come to it, but shal in the next Chapter shew the reference Sin hath to the Devil; this shews the greatness of Sin above all Evils: Sin is that which makes the Soul conformable to the Devil. Afflictions doth not, they make the soul confor∣mable to Jesus Christ: I suppose you know that place, Phil. 3. 10. mark there the difference be∣tween Sin and Affliction, Paul there accounted all things dung and dross for the Excellency of the know∣ledg of Christ: and what more? That he might be found in him, and that he might know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his suffe∣rings being made conformable unto his death. He did desire above all things to have the fellowship of his sufferings, and to be conformable to his death: he accounts all the world as dung and dross to be conformable to Christ by Afflictions, or suffe∣rings. It is true, it may be many account all the world to be nothing, to be conformable to Christ in Glory in Heaven. But here is the work of Grace (and I beseech you observe this in the conclusion, and carry it away) That a gracious heart accounts all the world dung and dross to be con∣formable to Jesus Christ in his sufferings; there is so Page  356 much excellencie and glorie in the Sufferings of Jesus Christ. Now you see the wide difference between Afflictions and Sin: Sin makes a man conformable to the Devil; Afflictions make a man conformable to Jesus Christ. I would have shewed wherein, in several Particulars, how sin makes us conformable to the Devil: I will but name this one now, and that which might be enough to make every soul out of love with Sin, in that by Sin thou joynest with the Devil, and conspirest with the Devil against God himself. There is no Creature that is a¦gainst God, but Men and Devils: The Devil was Gods first Enemie, and now man comes in and conspires with the Devil. Now we account it a great evil if you had a Child; and if there were but one Traitor in the Common wealth, and you hear, Oh my Child is joyned with this Traitor, and conspireth against me and the State. Before sinful Man, there was but one sort of sin∣ful Creatures in the world, the Devils: now by Sin, Man comes in, and joyns in conspiracie a∣gainst the blessed God; and so one Generation after another: perhaps the Father comes and conspires with the Devil, and then the Child; and so along in a Succession. And this should come neer our hearts to humble us for our sins and wickedness, that in this we be those that of all Creatures that ever God hath made, conspire with the Devil against the blessed God, the Fountain of all Good.