Use 7. If there be so much evil in sin, how dreadful a thing it is for men or women to delight in sin.
Use VII. IF there be so much evil in sin as you have heard, mark then fur∣ther what follows: What a dread∣ful thing is it for men and women to delight in sin, and rejoyce in sinful waies, to make a sport of sin: What infinite impudency is this for a Creature to make merry and rejoyce in Sin against God? Hast thou nothing to be merry withal? Hast thou no∣thing to rejoyce in but sinning against the Al∣mighty? What? shall there be so much revea∣led to thee concerning the dreadful evil of thy sins, and yet you so far from being convinced, Page 463 that there is so much evil in it, as you rather look upon it, as having more good in it, than there is in God himself, and Christ, and Heaven, and all the glorious things of eter∣nal life? for so doth everie man and woman that makes anie sinful way their chief joy; I say, they are so far from being convinced of so much evil in it, as hath been declared, as that they do rejoyce in it, as if there were more good in it, than there is in God himself, or Christ, or anie thing revealed in the Word concerning the trea∣sures of the riches of the grace of God in Christ; this is horrible wickedness: it is an horrible evil in thy heart, that such an evil as sin is, should be so suitable to thy heart; that there should be a∣nie suitableness between thy heart, and so great an evil as sin is: yea, note that thou hast a verie cursed heart, that should be suitable to that which is so evil; a verie poysonous heart, that there should be so much agreement between that which is so poysonous, and the temper of thy heart: True, a toad will take poison, and it is suitable to it, it lives upon it, and takes delight in it, as you do in meat and drink: Now those that can make Sin their meat and drink; as Christ saith, It is meat and drink to do the Will of my Father; so it is meat and drink to manie ungodly men and women to do wickedlie. Now here∣by thou art declared to be a toad, to be of a ve∣nemous nature, that hast such a suitableness be∣tween thy Nature and Sin. Sure nothing but a venemous toad can delight in poison: so no∣thing but a heart more venemous and loath som Page 464 than a toad is to the daintiest Ladie in the world to put a toads head to their mouth; I say, none but such a heart can take delight in a sinful and ungodlie way. Suppose there were a suitable∣ness between the corrupt humors in thy soul and sin; yet now thou hast heard so much of the e∣vil of it, it is a cursed madness in thee to take delight in it, because it is suitable to thy Nature: What canst thou delight to drink sweet poison? because poison is sweet, and comes to be suita∣ble because of the sweetnesse? If thou know it to be poison, and strong poison, what a madnesse were it in thee, to drink a ••ll draught only be∣cause 'tis sweet? There is the same madnesse in all men and women in the world that can take pleasure in sin, because there is sweetness in it, and the suitablenesse of it unto their corrupt na∣ture. There is not only difference, but contra∣rietie between thy heart and a godlie mans; a godlie man or woman had rather suffer all the torments in the World, than endure that which thou makest thy chief Joy. What a contrariety to God, and the Nature of God? what a differ∣ence between the Nature of God and thee? That which is a burthen to the Spirit of God, is the most delightful thing in the world to thy spirit. Yea, what a desperate heart hast thou, that that which murthered Christ, thou canst delight in. Certainlie where there is delight and plea∣sure in Sin; Sin increaseth infinitelie; there must be most desperate increase of Sin. For as it is with grace, those men and women that have gracious hearts, and come to make the waies of Page 465 godliness their delight once; Oh they grow up in godliness; no men and women grow up in godliness so as these do that come to make the waies of God their delight. If you would grow up in grace, make the waies of God your de∣light, and then you will grow in grace. So con∣trarilie, those men and women that come to make anie waies of Sin their delight, and joy of their hearts, they grow up in sin, in a most dread∣ful manner. And be it known unto you, that according unto the measure of your delight in Sin, so shall be the bitterness and torment that you shal indure herafter. As Rev. 18. 7. it is said of Babilon, So much as she hath glorifed her self, so much torment give her: So God will say of all sinners, that hath taken pleasure in unrighteousnesse; So much as you have rejoyced in sin, so much torment give that soul. Yea, the time will come that God will take as much delight in your de∣struction, as you have delighted in sinning a∣gainst him. Prov. 1. latter end, God will laugh at their destruction, and mock when their fear cometh: Is there never a man or woman here in this con∣gregation that hath committed sin and laughed at it? or made some others commit sin and laugh at it? I speak to you as in the name of God, Is there not one man or woman whose Conscience tels them, I have sworn an oath, or told a lye, and laughed at it? made another drunk and laughed at it? Dost thou laugh at sin? rejoyce at sin? take heed, come in quicklie, thou hadsi need fall down and mourn bitterlie at Christs feet; otherwise certainlie thou art the man or Page 466 woman at whose destruction God will laugh a∣nother day. It were thy wisdom rather to howl and cry out in anguish of Spirit, because of Sin, than to make it matter of jollitie and joy; Let us all take heed of making our selves merrie with sin: We must not play with edge tools: There is a notable place we have Prov. 26. 18, 19. As a mad man, who casts fire brands, arrows, and death, so is the man that deceaves his neighbor, and saith, Am I not in Sport? I beseech you consider this text, ma∣ny of you will cozen and cheat your neighbors, and when you have done, make a jest, and mock of it that you cozened and cheated: so what the holie Ghost speaks to such a man, and this Scripture culs out that man and woman whosoe∣ver they be that ever deceaved their neighbor. And afterwards when they come among their companions, laughed at it. As mad men or wo∣men (mark what the text saith) who casts fire-brands, arrows, and death; so is the man that deceives his neighbor, and saith, Am I not in Sport? and it is but a jest, and a matter of no∣thing, and can jeer him, when he hath done: mark, this is a mad man that casts fire-brands, ar∣rows, and death; Oh that God this day, would cast a fire-brand, and arrows, and every sentence of death upon thy heart that hast been guiltie of this, and not humbled to this day for it, Oh it is the fool as I have shewed, makes a mock of sin. What? Canst thou commit a wickednesse, be drunk, or unclean, or filthie, and then thou af∣terward go and tell thy companions, and make a sport, or a mock at sin? Thou art one of the Page 467 fools in Israel, and God this day casts shame in thy face; thou hast shame cast in thy face even by the Almightie this day out of his Word. Certainlie Brethren, if we understand what the evil of Sin is, when we are in any company, where men and women be never so merry; if there were but one wilful sin committed among them, anie one apparent sin, it were enough to damp all the joy that day; and indeed it should be so. We reade of David when he carried the Ark, a gracious work, and there was but one sin committed, in touching the Ark unadvisedly, and it damped all the joy. And certainlie, it was the sin from which there was more cause of damping the joy, than from the punishment; for there was more evil in the sin, than in the punishment: Now you shall have many men and women in merrie Meettings, and Companie, they be merry, and eat, and drink, and laugh: well, but abundance of sin is committed in the Com∣panie, but not one whit dampt all that day; but can go on in their mirth, and tales, and laughing; go on as freelie and fullie, as if there were no sin committed. Be it known to you this day from the Lord, any of you that have been in anie Companie, merrie and jollie, and yet sin hath been committed before your eyes, and you have heard it with your ears, if it have not dampt your joy and mirth; know your hearts be not right with God; and it is a sign your hearts have been vile, cursed hearts, that when you have seen sin committed in your companie, yet you can go on with joy. Suppose in your company, Page 468 in the midst of your mirth, one takes a knife and stabs himself into the heart; would not this damp your joy? would you goon in your mirth still? would not all your joy be gone? when you be in companie and hear one swear, if you had eyes you would see them even stab them selves to the heart: and there is more Evil in this, than in the other; and yet you can go on in your joy and mirth, though since you sate down there hath been fortie oaths sworn there. We reade in the 2 Sam. 13. 29. at the feast of Davids Sons, Absaloms inviting of Amnon to dinner, Absa∣lom bids his servants, whem Amnon was merrie, to strike him to the wall; and they did so: and then every one of the King's Sons gat up, and all their mirth was done, though they were very merrie before. So if your hearts be right when you are in companie, and hear one swear, or blaspheme Gods Name, or speak against Reli∣gion, it would be as much as if one were stab'd in the room, all the mirth of that day would be gone if your hearts were right. And do not think this too strict, that sin committed by others should damp your joy: Certainlie, the thing is most reasonable, and apparent as possibly can be, to convince anie mans Conscience, that under∣stands what the Evil of Sin means: and yet ma∣ny of you have not onlie continued your joy, but have been joyful and jocond, the rather be∣cause sin is committed in the companie. As sup∣pose one make a jest upon Religion, and scorn Profession, you laugh with them, and make mer∣rie with them. When one makes a lye upon Re∣ligion, Page 469 you can laugh and be merrie: Oh cer∣tainlie, if you have anie Conscience at all, you cannot but be this day convinced of horrible sin against God. Suppose thou wert in merrie com¦panie, and thou shouldest hear of a certain, that tydings is come, that thy Ship is cast away, and that thou hast lost all that ever thou didst ven¦ture in that Ship, wouldest not thou give over▪ wouldst thou go on? wouldst not thou say it is time for me to be gone now? and dost thou not account more the hazard of thy own soul? and the soul of thy brother? than of thy Goods? Certainlie, thy heart cannot be right with God. Oh! take heed than in your merrie Meettings; we do not denie but men and women may be ioyful, and eate, and drink together, and de∣light themselves in the Creature, but it must be so, that it must be without apparent sin: I know there will be natural infirmities in anie action; but I speak of open and apparent wickednesse; joy must not be when there is apparent wicked∣nesse. You think godlie people are not for So∣cietie and good-fellowship; indeed you cannot expect they should be joyful and merrie, but that they should rather be melancholly and hea∣vie, and sad in your companie, when they see so many sins committed there: what would you have them merrie when they see the companie inbrue their hands in their fathers bloods? would you have the Son merrie, when the companie imbrue their hands in his Fathers blood? Cer∣tainlie everie godlie man or woman, when they come in companie, and see so manie sins commit∣ted, Page 470 they do actuallie and reallie see you stab and imbrue your hands in Gods blood: when you rejoyce in the Lord, they can be as merrie and joyful as anie of you all: and have sweet comfort in your companie; but not when sin is there committed. Manie of you when you have been in merrie companie, when you are gone, you can report, Oh we were to day in such a place, and we had such merrie companie, it would do ones heart good to be among them; we were so merrie and jocund, we had a brave time. Well, but was there no apparent wicked∣nesse committed in your companie? never an oath sworn? no excess in the Creature in drink∣ing? no ribaldry talking? you never think of that, as if that were nothing at all, it did not a∣bate the least of thy joy: Certainlie thy heart is not right, thou knowst not what sin means, thou must know it after another manner.
One Particular more, because tis useful, and these * merry times are most pleasing among the yonger people, when they come abroad in com∣pany, they will make a sport of sin, and think no∣thing of it. I will apply one text of Scripture to that sport of yong men, when they seek to make one another drunk, or swear, and speak wickedlie, and rejoice in it: 'tis just like that sport, 2 Sam. 14. Abner saith to Joab, Let the yong men arise and play before us: and observe what play this was; then there arose and went over twelve men of Benjamine, which pertained to Ishbosheth the Son of Saul, and twelve of the servants of David, and they caught every one his fellow by the head, and thrust Page 471 his sword in his fellows side, so they fell down together: and this was their play. So it is with yong men, many times when they come into companie, yong prophane men, they come to play, and make sport, but it is in the furtherance of Sin one in another; and they do but as it were take the sword and thrust it in one anothers bowels, and what in them lies, to be their ruine and eter∣nal destruction for ever.