Use 13. If there be so much evil in sin, Then its a fearful thing for any to be instrumental to draw others to sin.
WEE are now to finish that Tractate about the greatness of the evil of Sin: It hath been an Argument that hath much encreased in our hands, like un∣to the bread, the Loaves that Christ did break unto the People, that in the verie breaking did multiplie; and so hath this Argument done: but we are now to put a period to it. Manie Uses you know hath been made alreadie, as Co∣rollaries and Consequences, from that great Do∣ctrine of the evil of Sin, that Sin is a greater evil than Affliction: The last day the especial aim and intention of the Application was, Therefore Page 492 to drive Sinners to Jesus Christ, seeing there is so much evil in Sin more than in all Affliction: Oh what need have we (who are such great Sin∣ners) of Jesus Christ, that is the Propisiation for Sin? I have only one Note to ad further on that, and we shall proceed; it is an Excellent Expression I find in Luther, saith he, There is a great deal of difference between the Consequencia Le∣gis, and Consequencia Evangelii. There is a Consequence of the Law, and that is this, Thou hast sinned, and therefore thou must be dam∣ned: But the Consequence of the Gospel is this, Thou hast sinned, therefore go to Jesus Christ; that is the Argument the Gospel uses from Sin. But passing by all we have said con∣cerning that Use, we proceed to further Appli∣cations that are behind. Four or Five Uses we are to speak of, and then we shall have done with the Point: I will be brief upon the first Two or Three, and the Two last we shall stick most upon.
Ʋse XIII. If there be such evil in Sin as you have heard, Hence then it is a fearful thing for any one to be instrumental to draw others to sin. All that hath been said in the opening of the evil of sin, must needs speak very terribly unto all that ever have been any way instruments to draw o∣thers to sin in all their lives. Now, Oh that God would speak to every man and womans Conscience in this Congregation, that are consci∣ous to themselves, that ever they have been any cause to draw others to sin: Is there not Page 493 one whose Conscience presently at the naming of this Use doth even tell you, well, now God speaks to me, for certainlie there hath been some that I have drawn to sin, that I have been a means to further sin in. If any one of you have ever been a means, by counsel, or advise, by approbation, by perswasion, by encourage∣ment, by abetting of any, by joyning with any in anie sinful course to draw them to sin; know, that God speaks to you.
First, God tells you this; That if you had been born to do mischief, you could not do a greater mischief than this is; if you had been the means to undo men and women in their outward Estate, it had been nothing so much; but thou hast what in thee lies, been a means to undo an immortal soul; yea; and to cause them to sin against the infinite God; so that thou art guiltie of everie sin thou hast been a means to draw others to, and thou art worse than those that have sinned; for thy act in draw∣ing them to it, is a dreadful evil, and then that which they have done is thine too: Hast not thou sins of thine own enough to answer for be∣fore the Lord, but thou must have the sins of a∣nother also? Dost thou know what thou hast done, in enticing others to sin? either to un∣cleanness, drunkenness, to companie keeping, and breach of the Sabbath, and other sins: Per∣haps thou hast brought them to pilfering and purloining, and many other particulars, and o∣ther waies that might he named; for indeed if we should enlarge our selves in this Point, it Page 494 might well require a whol Treatise, but we must contract our thoughts. It may be there are some in this Congregation, that have been a means to draw others to sin, and they be now in Hell at this instant for that sin thou wert a cause of. What a sad thing is this for any man or wo∣man, to have this to lay to heart; I know I have drawn such and such to sin, I have been a means (at least) to further sin in them; well, they be dead and gone, and they manifested no repen∣tance before they died, and therfore for ought I know, yea, it is much to be feared that they be now in Hell, and now a tormenting for that verie sin I was the cause of, and if the Lord gives me wages according to my works, I must thi∣ther to them: What? shall they be in▪ Hell for the sins I brought them to, and shall I escape? is it anie way likelie and probable, but that I must follow, when as they be there for the sins I brought them to? what shall the Accessarie be condemned and executed, and shal not the Prin∣cipal? I am the Principal, and the other is but the Accessarie. Certainly there had need be a mightie work of humiliation, for thou art in ex∣ceeding danger that art the cause of bringing a∣nie other to sin, for it is that must needs lie ex∣ceeding heavie upon the soul of anie man and woman; if God never give you a sight of this great evil; certainlie you perish: but suppose God do give you the sight of so great an evil, and you begin to be humbled; Oh this very medi∣tation wil cause your humiliation to be full of bitterness, and will cause it to be very hard for Page 495 you to lay hold upon mercie and pardon; when you shall think thus, Ah were it for my own sins only I were to answer for, I might have greater hope; but there be others sins I drew them in∣to, and they be condemned perhaps, and in Hel, and how shall I escape condemnation my self? I do not say that there is an impossibilitie of pardon, for the Grace of God is infinite; and were it not infinite, it were impossible for such a soul to perish, and thou (that art the cause of it) come to be saved: I say, there is a possibi∣litie, but it is as if it were through the fire, if e∣ver thou escape; do but thou consider, if it should be, that thou shouldest die in impeniten∣cie also, as the other did, and that thou didest go to Hell, when you two should meet at the day of Judgment, and he should see thee, the cause that drew him to sin, Oh what a grief it would be to thee, how would he curse thee and the time that ever he saw thy face? that ever he lived in that Familie where thou livedst? It may be some Parents have been a means to draw by counsel and advice, the Child to sin; Oh the Child when he sees his Parent at the Day of Judgment; how will he curse the time that e∣ver he came from such Loyns? and such a wo∣mans Womb? Oh that rather he had been the off-spring of a Dragon, and the generation of a Viper, than from the Loyns of such a man and woman; you encouraged me to such and such waies of sin, to opposition, and hatred, and spea∣king evil against the People of God, the Ser∣vants of God that were strict in their way; and Page 496 now you and I must perish eternally: sure in Hell they will be readie to cast fire-brands in one anothers faces that have been the cause of sin in one another in this world: and so Husband and Wife, that lie in one anothers bosoms, if they be the cause of any sin in one another, it may cause woful terror to them, and appear worse than if a Serpent had lay in their bosom; for those that draw others to sin, do worse mischief than any Serpent or Viper in the world can do. You had need look to it betimes (I shall wind it up with this one Note) Whosoever hath been the cause to draw others to commit any Sin; know this, That the least that can be required, if God do give thee a sight of thy sin, and to be humbled for it, if thou doest go away out of the presence of God, as having an Arrow darted in∣to thy bosom for this, then I say, go away with this one Note: You be bound to make some restitution in a spiritual way as much as you can.
For this you know (I shewed before) in a mans temporal Estate when you have wronged, you must make restitution; if you will have mercie, you must make up the wrong as you are able: much more here, when you have wrong∣ed any in their souls; a Soul wrong calls for Spiritual Restitution, as well as Body wrong, or Estate wrong, calls for a Bodilie, or Estate Restitution.
Quest. What do you mean (will you say) by this Spiritual Restitution?
Page 497Answ. This I mean, That if those be alive that thou hast drawn to sin, thou art bound to this part of Restitution; that is, To go to them and to undo what possibly thou canst what thou hast done; and now to tell them of the evil of that sin, and to do them all the good for their Souls that possibly thou canst: Now to shew to them, how God hath convinced thee, and what the work of God hath been upon thee, and how heavie and dreadful sin hath been made to thee, and to beseech them for the Lords sake, to look to themselves, and to consider of their estates, and to repent of that their sin, that you were the cause to bring them to: And so, if there be anie means in the world wherbie thou canst do good unto their Souls, thou art bound to do it; yea, to them, their children, their friends, as you are bound to make restitution unto the next friends and heirs of those that you have wronged in their goods, if the partie wronged be dead. So if those should be dead thou hast drawn to sin, sup∣pose when thou wast yong, thou drewest such a man to drunkenness, adulterie, or the like, and they be dead and gone; thou art bound to do good to the souls of their Children: for know, according to the nature of the wrong, must the Restitution be; One text is observable for this, to shew that according to the nature of the wrong must the restitution be to the utmost that can be, Exod. 22. 5. If a man shall cause a Field, or Vinyard to be eaten, and shall put in his Beast, and shall feed in another mans field: of the best of his own field, and of the best of his own vinyard shall he make restitu∣tion.Page 498 This is the scope of the holy Ghost in this text of Scripture, That if anie one shall wrong another in his vinyard, or his field, he shall make restitution: (and mark what the text saith) not in anie slight manner, but of the best of his field, and vinyard: he must not say, I warrant my Cattel did not do any hurt, but eat a little of the worst, and I will make restitution of the worst; no, but must make restitution of the best of his field and vinyard: he must not think to get off with a barren peice of ground, but with the best must he make restitution. This shews what a full restitution God will have. So then if a man hath wronged his neighbor in his vine∣yard, tis not enough for him to say, I will make restitution in my barren ground; no, but out of his vinyard must he make restitution; so if he have wronged his neighbor in his field, he must not go and say, I will give a part of the Com∣mon, but of the best of his field must he make restitution; so if he have wronged another in his estate; he must give of his estate: and if the wrong be to the soul, the restitution must be to the soul; according to the wrong must be the restitution: And I beseech you be convinced of this, All the sorrow in the world is not sufficient, without you make restitution; this is so cleer out of the word, and even by the light of nature and of Conscience, that they may easilie con∣vince themselves, whosoever doubts of the thing; nothing in Religion more cleer than this is, therefore restitution is required by God of thee, as ever thou wilt expect to find mer∣cie.
Page 499 This Argument (if God be pleased to set it home) will make many men and women, who when they were yong, were ring leaders to wic∣kedness to others, Oh how forward would they be to good now, they would be ring-leaders to good to others now. I pronounce it as in the name of God, you can have no assurance of the truth of Repentance, except there be some in∣deavor in some degree to be as forward for God, now as thou hast been in the waies of sin before, if you have been Ring-leaders to the sin of Sabbath breaking, you must be Ring-leaders to draw others to keep the Sabbath; and if you have been Ring-leaders to ungodli∣nesse, you must be forward to draw others to godlinesse. Oh take heed of this, it is a woful thing to draw others to sin, seeing there is so much evil in sin as there is.