The Fourth Corollarie.] Its worse to be given up to any way of Sin, than to be given up to the Devil: Quest. How the Delivering up to Satan, can be for the saving the Soul?
A Fourth Corollarie hence is this, That for any man or woman to be left to one Sin, it is worse than to be given up to the Devil. I say, it is a greater evil, a greater judgement for any man or woman to be left to any way of Sin, than to be given up to Satan: is thy soul given up to the power of any one Sin? I dare here as I stand in the presence of God, To speak the truths of God, I dare avow it; you are in a worse condi∣tion than if you should be given up to the devil. I make that good thus, In Scripture, 1 Cor 5. 5. we have an example of one that was given up to the Devil, and that in a right way, there is an Incestuous person that committed that horrible wickedness, not named among the Gentiles, that had his fathers wife and committed Incest with her: the Apostle commands him to be delivered to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit might be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus: He was delivered to Satan; but for the destruction of the flesh; but to the end that he might have his Page 377 Spirit saved in the day of the Lord Jesus: So that the delivering up to Satan was a means ap∣pointed by God to save his soul: But to deliver up any one to the power of Sin, is no means to save his soul, that is a means to damn the soul, and not to save it. So then, you see the reason grounded cleerly upon Scripture, That it is worse to be delivered up unto any sin than to be delivered to the Devil; for he that was delive∣red to Satan, it was for the saving of the soul; but he that is delivered to Sin, it is for the dam∣ning of his soul. This requires a little opening.
Quest. You will say, How can the delivering up to Santan be for the saving of the soul?
Answ. It will be needful for cleering of this, to tell you what this delivering up to Satan was; and the truth is, this delivering up to Satan, or excommunication from the Church, this was a most dreadful thing when done in a right way; it was done when the Church was gathered to∣gether by the power of Jesus Christ: As cer∣tainly where there are a company of Saints, that at least outwardly so appear; a Church, that in a solemn manner is gathered together, through the power of Jesus Christ, having their Elder going before them the Officer of the Church; when they in a solemn manner▪ in the power of Christ, shall cast out any one deservedly from Church Communion; this is a delivering a man or woman to Satan (this is another manner of business than ordinarily we were wont to have, by the Ordinary, or Commis•ary, and Dean, in Page 378 the Prelates Courts; certainly they were but wooden Daggers in comparison of this dreadful Sword, to cut off from the Communion of the Church) it was when the Church was Assem∣bled, not the Commissary and Officers, but when the Church was gathered together, to cut such a one from the Church of Christ, for some vile act; not for not paying of their Fees, or the like, these things only scared people; but if this Censure of Excommunication were in a right way executed, it were the most dread∣ful thing in the world: it is that which hath awed and terrified the most proud and stout sin∣ners; the very sight of anothers Excommunica∣ting, it hath terrified the conscience of those that have been by: It is a delivering them to Satan, and putting them from under the prote¦ction of God, giving them up to the devil, to take power over them, except they come in, and repent: and this is a way to save the soul, because if there be any way in the world to cause men to see their sin, and repent, and be humbled, and come in, this is it; and when no other way would do it, this many times hath done it. And therefore those people that live in such a condition, that want this Ordinance of Excommunication in the right way, want an e∣special means to keep off sin, both to keep them from sin before they are fallen, and of delive∣ring of them from sin when they have fallen in∣to it. But to be given over to the power of sin, is a greater evil than to be delivered to Satan.