To the Reader.
THE Creatures vanity and emptiness, the abounding Sinfulness of Sin, and Christs All-sufficiency and Fulness, and how to live the life of Faith in Christ, are Subjects containing the Sum and Substance of Religion, and much treated on promiscuously a∣mongst Divines. And I think amongst all the Treatises of this blessed man, Mr. Jeremiah Burroughs (now triumphing in glory above all sin and sorrow) which have been received with so much accep∣tation amongst the Saints, there hath not been presented to thy view a more Practical Piece than this now under thy Page [unnumbered] hands: And though divers Divines have written and spoken much concerning this Subject, yet in my poor Judgment, this out-goes all of this Nature, that ever my eyes beheld, setting forth with life and spirit the Subject in hand, and brin∣ging it down powerfully in a practical way to convince the Judgment, and work upon the affections of the weakest Reader. That which is the undoing of those who think themselves no small Christians, is resting in a bare notion of the Creatures emptiness, Sins filthiness, Christs Fulness, and having some high towering speculations concerning the Nature and Object of Faith: and to be able to discourse of these things in com∣pany, and upon occasion, is the Religi∣on of the World, and more especially of our Formal Professors. Now the reali∣ty of these confest Principles are not made powerful upon the conscience by the cleerest natural aquired light in the World: but when the Lord is pleased to set home those over-awing, soul bal∣lasting-thoughts Page [unnumbered] of Eternity, then, and never till then, shall we live, act, and walk as a people who acknowledg these Principles of Christianity to be true: Whilst the things of Religion, and thoughts of Eternity lie swimming only in our Brains, they never conquer, com∣mand, and subdue the heart in a way of Practical Obedience. Many mens thoughts language, and lives are such, that if they were certain there is no God, no Sin, no Hell, no wrath to be feared, no Grace to be minded and attained, no Judgment day when they must give an account, they could not be worse than they are, nor do worse than theydo; Oh the horrid Athiesm bound up in mens hearts, and they see it not, how else durst men be so prophane in their lives under Gospel light? how durst they sit so stupidly under the powerful awaking means of Grace? how else could such vile thoughts be cherish'd, and such cur∣sed practises and principles maintained? how else durst men chule sin rather than Page [unnumbered] affliction when they are brought into streights? how otherwise are men more afraid of open shame than of secret sins? In a word, how durst men walk with∣out God in the world, at least without secret prayer and communing with their own hearts, dayes, weeks, months, years together? I am perswaded more souls drop down to Hell in our dayes under the abuse os Gospel Light, than ever did in the gross darkness of Popery; they then better improved their Talents according to the light afforded, and wal∣ked better and more sutably to the light they receiv'd; wheras these Gospel truths which now shines more fully and cleer∣ly in the faces of so many thousands, are not so much improved in a more cir∣cumspect, holy, and humble walking, but rather abused to a more loose and wanton carriage and censorious judging of one another, men sinning the more because grace so much abounds; how could the Saints then love and embrace with singleness of heart? but now the Page [unnumbered] foundations of love are shaken, and a perverse spirit is mingled amongst us; Oh how heavily doth the wrath of God lie upon the Professors of our Age for the abuse of Gospel light, and they feel it not; Gods Administrations in this lat∣ter Age of the World, being more subtil and Spiritual, and therefore more undis∣cernable than in former Ages: Oh how many have we now adaies, who think they walk cleerly in the midst of Gospel Light, magnifying and exalting free Grace, triumphing in their Christian li∣berty, looking upon others as kept in bondage, who come not up to their pitch and practice, and yet are no better than Solomons fools, who make a mock of sin, being conceitedly set at liberty, but really sin and Satans bond slaves: Certainly, till mens consciences be made tender and fearful of the least touches and appearances of evil, they have good cause to suspect, not only the strength, but the soundness of their hearts in Grace: Whilst men are bold with sin, Page [unnumbered] and can put it off at an easie rate of sor∣row, let their attainments seem never so high in understanding the Mysteries of the Gospel, they never yet knew truly what it is to exalt Christ and free Grace, for look in what measure we slight Sin, in the same measure we slight God him∣self in his Persons and Attributes; And how can that great Gospel Duty of wal∣king humbly with God, be expressed? how can Christ be rightly lifted up and advanced in our souls without a right sight and sence of sin? Never wil Christ be wonderful Christ, and Grace won∣derful Grace, till sin be wonderful sin, and experimentally apprehended as out of measure sinful; never till sin be seen and sorrowed for as the greatest evil, wil Christ be seen and rejoyced in as the greatest good; were we once through∣ly convinced of the infinite evil in sin, as containing in it the Evil of all Evils (no∣thing being an evil indeed properly, but as it hath the bitter ingredient and cur∣sed sting of sin in it) how would sin be Page [unnumbered] hated and shunned more than the most deadly poyson, and feared more than the Devil, more than Hell it self? seing no∣thing hath made and founded Hell but sin, nor made the Devil such a black feind but sin; nay, nothing is so much a Hell, I mean a Torment, as sin it self; nothing binds the Creature in such chains of misery as when it is held in the cords of its own sin, Prov. 5. 22. Men look upon sin through false Mediums, and beleeve the reports and interpretati∣ons which the world and the flesh gives of sin, and thus are cheated to their own destruction: Could we but a little lay our Ears to Hell and hear the howlings and yellings of those damned spirits ag∣gravating sin, we should then have a true Comment upon the Subject in hand: Afflictions in this world now and then awaken the conscience, revi∣ving the sight and sence of sin by some grievous pains; but one half hour in Hell, being separated from the comfor∣table presence of all good and blessed•…Page [unnumbered] will make the evil of sin rightly under∣stood. Certainly there's an evil in sin beyond what the largest Created Un∣derstanding is able to fadam, sin being one of those things which can never be punished enough, which appears in that all those unspeakable, unsufferable torments inflicted upon the damned through all Eternity, is but a continual paying this sad debt, and giving satisfa∣ction to Divine Justice for the wrong which sin hath done, in regard Divine Justice shall not otherwise sufficiently in time have taken it's due out of the sin∣ner. Now the Judg of all the world who is the Standard of Justice it self, neither can, nor will do any wrong to his Creature in punishing it more than it's iniquity deserves.
Reader, I shall say no more now, but beseech the Lord to carry home these Truths by his Spirit into thy bo∣som, that there may be a Divine Im∣pression made upon thy heart in reading, sutable to the Authors in preaching, Page [unnumbered] and that thou mayest (out of love to Holiness) so fear and hate sin now, that thou mayest never suffer the ven∣geance of Eternal Fire (the wages of sin) hereafter: Which is the unfeigned and earnest desire of
Thy Souls Well-wisher in Christ Jesus, John Yates.