CHAP.  4.

The second use of the former Doctrine for the Converted, that they sin no more;
and to keep them from sin, Seven Considerations are given them.


In the second place, the point may serve for warning to those who are already washed from their sins, that they defile their souls no more, who having been cured by [[76]] cast. Yet those few enlightened souls whose eyes have been happily opened by spiritual eye-salve to “turn from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God,” behold a double deformity and ugliness in so foul a monster, deceitfully dressed in the devil’s counterfeit colours, and gilded over garishly in his personated angelical glory.

3. It is most filthy: far filthier than the most offensive collection of all the most filthy, fulsome, and loathsome things in the world. And it must needs be so; for whatever a man can conceive to be most contrary, distant, and opposite to the infinite clearness, purity, sweetness, beauty, and goodness of God; all that and much more is sin in the highest degree. Hence it is, that in the scriptures it is compared to the filthiest mire, in which a sow will lie down to cool and cover herself; to the loathsome vomit, not of a man, but of a dog (2 Pet. ii, 22); to the unsavoury poisonous damp which rotten carcasses exhale out of opened graves (Rom. iii, 13); to menstruous filth (Ezek. xxxvi, 17); to the dirt under the nails, or the offensive exudations of the body, or the putrefied matter of some pestilent ulcer; to the very refuse which nature having severed from the purer part of the meat, thrusts out of the stomach and casts into the draught; to the filthiness, pollutions, and impurities of the world, so called by a singularity, for sin is the transcendent filth of the world (2 Pet. ii, 20); to all the uncleannesses for which the purifications, cleansings, washings, and sprinklings were appointed in the Levitical law; to abomination itself (Ezek. xxii, 2). Nay, and yet further, which makes for the further detestation of sin, whereas all outward filth defiles only the body, this of sin, by the strength and contagion of its insinuating poison, soaks through the flesh and the bone, and enters and eats into the very “mind and conscience” (Tit. i, 15), defiles the pure and immortal soul of man. How long might we cast dirt into the air before we were able to infect the bright shining beams of the sun! Yet so filthy is sin, that at once with a touch it infects the soul, a clearer and purer essence than it, and that with such a crimson and double-dyed stain, that the flood of Noah, when all the world was water, could not wash it off. Neither at that last and dreadful day, when this great universe shall be turned into a ball of fire for the purifying and renewing of the heaven and the earth, yet shall it have no power to purge or cleanse the least sin out of the impenitent soul; nay, the fire of hell, which burns night and day even through all eternity, shall never be able to raze it out.

4. It is most infectious, spits venom on all sides far and [[77]] wide; corrupts everything it comes near. By reason whereof it is fitly resembled to leaven (Matt. xvi, 12; 1 Cor. v, 6); to a canker (2 Tim, ii,); to the leprosy, which filthy disease quickly overspreads the whole body (Numb. xii, 10), infects the clothes, the very walls of the house (Levit. xiv, 37), and their posterity (2 Kings v, 27). The first sin that ever the sun saw was so pregnant with soul-killing poison, that it hath polluted all the sons and daughters of Adam that were ever since, and will still by the irresistible strength of the same contagion poison all their natures to the world’s end. Nay, at the very first breaking out it suddenly blasted, as it were, both heaven and earth, and so stained the beauty of the one, the brightness of the other, and the original orient newly burnished glory of the whole creation, that from that hour it hath groaned under the burthen of that vanity and deformity to which this first sin bath made it subject; and will travail in pain under the bondage of the same corruption (Rom. viii, 19-22), until it be purged by fire in the great day of the Lord (2 Pet. iii, 10, 11). If but one sin be doated upon delightfully and impenitently, like a lump of leaven it sours all the soul; defiles the whole man, and everything that proceeds from him; his thoughts, desires, affections, words, actions, and that of all sorts, natural, civil, recreative, religious. It doth not only unhallow his meat, drink, carriage; his buying, selling, giving, lending, and all his other dealings in the world, even his ploughing, “the ploughing of the wicked is sin” (Prov. xxi, 4); but also turns all his spiritual services and holiest duties, his prayer, hearing, reading, receiving the sacrament, &c. into abomination. If but one raging corruption in a minister, magistrate, master of a family (as lying, swearing, filthy talking, scoffing at religion, opposition to godliness, sabbath-breaking, a humour of good-fellowship, or the like) represent itself to the eye of the world in his ordinary carriage, and hang out as a rotten fruit in the sight of the sun, it is wont fearfully to infect or offend by a contagious insinuation and ill example all about him; to diffuse its venom to his family, amongst his sons and servants, over the parish where he lives, all companies where he comes, yea, the whole country round about, especially if he be a man of eminence and place.

5. It is extremely evil[1]. A far greater evil than the eternal damnation of a man; for when he hath laid many millions of years in the lake of fire and under the dominion of the [[78]] Yet those few enlightened souls whose eyes have been happily opened by spiritual eye-salve to “turn from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God,” behold a double deformity and ugliness in so foul a monster, deceitfully dressed in the devil’s counterfeit colours, and gilded over garishly in his personated angelical glory.

Text Box: 43. It is most filthy: far filthier than the most offensive collection of all the most filthy, fulsome, and loathsome things in the world. And it must needs be so; for whatever a man can conceive to be most contrary, distant, and opposite to the infinite clearness, purity, sweetness, beauty, and goodness of God; all that and much more is sin in the highest degree. Hence it is, that in the scriptures it is compared to the filthiest mire, in which a sow will lie down to cool and cover herself; to the loathsome vomit, not of a man, but of a dog (2 Pet. ii, 22); to the unsavoury poisonous damp which rotten carcasses exhale out of opened graves (Horn. iii, 13); to menstruous filth (Ezek. xxxvi, 17); to the dirt under the nails, or the offensive exudations of the body, or the putrefied matter of some pestilent ulcer; to the very refuse which nature having severed from the purer part of the meat, thrusts out of the stomach and casts into the draught; to the filthiness, pollutions, and impurities of the world, so called by a singularity, for sin is the transcendent filth of the world (2 Pet. ii, 20); to all the uncleannesses for which the purifications, cleansings, washings, and sprinklings were appointed in the Levitical law; to abomination itself (Ezek. xxii, 2). Nay, and yet further, which makes for the further detestation of sin, whereas all outward filth defiles only the body, this of sin, by the strength and contagion of its insinuating poison, soaks through the flesh and the bone, and enters and eats into the very “mind and conscience” (Tit. i, 15), defiles the pure and immortal soul of man. How long might we cast dirt into the air before we were able to infect the bright shining beams of the sun! Yet so filthy is sin, that at once with a touch it infects the soul, a clearer and purer essence than it, and that with such a crimson and double-dyed stain, that the flood of Noah, when all the world was water, could not wash it off. Neither at that last and dreadful day, when this great universe shall be turned into a ball of fire for the purifying and renewing of the heaven and the earth, yet shall it have no power to purge or cleanse the leapt sin out of the impenitent soul; nay, the fire of hell, which burns night and day even through all eternity, shall never be able to raze it out.

4. It is most infectious, spits venom on all sides far and [[79]] wide; corrupts everything it comes near. By reason whereof it is fitly resembled to leaven (Matt. xvi, 12; 1 Cor. v, 6); to a canker (2 Tim, ii, 17); to the leprosy, which filthy disease quickly overspreads the whole body (Numb.10), infects the clothes, the very walls of the house (Levit. xiv, 37), and their posterity (2 Kings v, 27). The first sin that ever the sun saw was so pregnant with soul-killing poison, that it hath polluted all the sons and daughters of Adam that were ever since, and will still by the irresistible strength of the same contagion poison all their natures to the world’s end. Nay, at the very first breaking out it suddenly blasted, as it were, both heaven and earth, and so stained the beauty of the one, the brightness of the other, and the original orient newly burnished glory of the whole creation, that from that hour it bath groaned under the burthen of that vanity and deformity to which this first sin hath made it subject; and will travail in pain under the bondage of the same corruption (Rom. viii, 19-22), until it be purged by fire in the great day of the Lord (2 Pet. iii, 10, 11). If but one sin he doated upon delightfully and impenitently, like a lump of leaven it sours all the soul; defiles the whole man, and everything that proceeds from him; his thoughts, desires, affections, words, actions, and that of all sorts, natural, civil, recreative, religious. It doth not only unhallow his meat, drink, carriage; his buying, selling, giving, lending, and all his other dealings in the world, even his ploughing, “the ploughing of the wicked is sin” (Prov. xxi, 4); but also turns all his spiritual services and holiest duties, his prayer, hearing, reading, receiving the sacrament, &c. into abomination. If but one raging corruption in a minister, magistrate, master of a family (as lying, swearing, filthy talking, scoffing at religion, opposition to godliness, sabbath-breaking, a humour of good-fellowship, or the like) represent itself to the eye of the world in his ordinary carriage, and hang out as a rotten fruit in the sight of the sun, it is wont fearfully to infect or offend by a contagious insinuation and ill example all about him; to diffuse its venom to his family, amongst his sons and servants, over the parish where lie lives, all companies where he comes, yea, the whole country round about, especially if he be a man of eminence and place.

5. It is extremely evil[2]. A far greater evil than the eternal damnation of a man; for when he hath laid many millions of years in the lake of fire and under the dominion of the [[80]] second death, he is never the nearer to satisfaction for sin. Not all those hellish flames through all eternity can possibly expiate the stain or extinguish the sting of the least sin: nay, the very destruction of all the creatures in the world, of men and angels, heaven and earth, is a great deal less ill than to offend God with the least transgression of his laws. For all the creatures of ten thousand worlds, were they all extant, come infinitely short in excellency of worth of the heart’s blood of Jesus Christ; and yet without the effusion of it, no sin could ever have been pardoned, nor any soul saved. A man would think it a lesser evil to tell a lie than to lie in hell; but hear Chrysostom: “Although many think hell to be the supreme and sorest of all evils, yet I think thus, and thus will T daily preach, that it is far more bitter and more grievous to offend Christ than to be tormented with the pains of hell.

6. It is full of most fearful effects.

First; it deprives every impenitent (1.) Of the favour and love of God, the only fountain of all comfort, peace, and happiness, which is incomparably the most invaluable loss that can be imagined. (2.) Of his portion in Christ’s blood, of which though the drops, weight, and quantity be numbered, finite, and measurable, yet the person that shed it hash stamped upon it such height of price, excellency of merit, invaluableness of worth, that he had infinitely better have his portion in that sweetest well-spring of life and immortality, than enjoy the riches, pleasures, and glory of the whole world everlastingly; for a bitter-sweet taste of which for an inch of time, he villainously trampleth under foot, as it were, that blessed blood, by wilfully cleaving to his own ways, and furiously following the swing of his own sensual heart, even against the check and contradiction of his grumbling conscience. (3.) Of the most blissful presence, freedom, and communication of the Holy Ghost, and all those divine illuminations, spiritual feastings, sudden and secret glimpses and glances of heavenly light, sweeter than sweetness itself, wherewith that good Spirit is wont to visit and refresh the humbled hearts of holy men. (4.) Of the fatherly providence and protection of the blessed Trinity, the glorious guards of angels, the comfortable communion with the people of God, and all the happy consequents of safety, deliverance, and delight that floweth thence. (5.) Of the unknown pleasures of an appeased conscience, a jewel of dearest price, to which all human glory is but dust in the balance. Not the most exquisite extraction of all manner of music, vocal or instrumental, can possibly convey so delicious a touch and taste to the [[81]] outward ear of a man as the sound and sense of a certificate brought from the throne of mercy by the blessed Spirit, sealed with Christ’s blood, to the ear of the soul, even amidst the most desperate confusions in the evil day, when comfort will be worth a world, and a good conscience more valuable than ten thousand earthly crowns. (6.) Of all true contentment in this life; of all Christian right and religious interest to any of the creatures. For never was any sound joy or sanctified enjoyment of anything in the world found m that man’s heart which gives allowance to any lust, or lies delightfully in any sin. (7.) Of an immortal crown, the unspeakable joys of heaven, that immeasurable and endless comfort which there shall be fully and for ever enjoyed with all the children of God, patriarchs, prophets, apostles, martyrs, Christian friends, yea, with the Lord himself, and all his angels with Christ our Saviour, that Lamb slain for us, the Prince of glory, the glory of heaven and earth, the brightness of the everlasting light in a word, of all those inexplicable, nay, inconceivable excellences, pleasures, perfections, felicities, sweetnesses, beauties, glories, eternities above.

Secondly. It (loth every hour expose him to all those evils which a man destitute of divine grace may commit, and, unprotected from above, endure. It brings all plagues, (1.) Internal blindness of mind, hardness of heart, deadness of affection, searedness of conscience, a reprobate sense, strong delusions, the spirit of slumber, slavery to lust, estrangedness from God, bondage under the devil, desperate thoughts, horror of heart, confusion of spirit, &c. and spiritual mischiefs in this kind more and more dreadful than either tongue can tell or heart can think; the least of which is far worse than the plagues of Egypt. (2.) External. See Deut. xxviii, 15. (3.) Eternal. See my sermon on the Four Last Things.

Thirdly. By its pestilent damning property and poison, it. turns. heaven into hell, angels into devils, life into death, light into darkness, sight into blindness, faith into distrust, hope into despair, love into hate, humility into pride, mercy into cruelty, security into fear, liberty into bondage, health into sickness, plenty into scarceness, a garden of Eden into a desolate wilderness, a fruitful land into barrenness, peace into war, quietness into contention, obedience into rebellion, order into confusion, virtues into vices, blessings into curses; in a word, all kind of temporal and eternal felicities and bliss, into all kinds of miseries and woe.

7. What heart, except it be all adamant and turned into a rock of flint, but possessing itself with feeling thoughts, and [[82]] a sensible apprehension of the incomprehensible greatness, excellency, and dreadfulness of the mighty Lord of heaven and earth, would not tremble and be strangely confounded to transgress and break any one branch of his blessed laws, especially purposely and with pleasure, or to sin against him willingly but in the least ungodly thought? For, alas! who art thou that liftest up thy proud heart, or whettest thy profane tongue, or bendest thy rebellious course against such a majesty? Thou art the vilest wretch that ever God made, next to the devil and his damned angels; a base and an unworthy worm of the earth, not worthy to lick the dust that lieth under his feet: a most weak and frail creature, earth, ashes, or anything that is nought, the dream of a shadow, the very picture of change, worse than vanity, less than nothing: who, when thy breath is gone, which may fall out many times in a moment, thou turnest into dust, nay, rottenness and filth much more loathsome than the dung of the earth, and all thy thoughts perish. But now, on the other side, if thou cast thine eyes seriously and with intention upon that thrice glorious and highest Majesty, the eyes of whose glory thou so provokest with thy filth and folly, thou mayest most justly upon the commission of every sin cry out with the prophet, “O heavens be astonished at this, be afraid and utterly confounded!” Nay, thou mightest marvel, and it is God’s unspeakable mercy, that the whole frame of heaven and earth is not for one sin fearfully and finally dissolved and brought to nought! For lie against whom thou sinnest “inhabiteth eternity, and unapproachable light. The heaven is his throne and the earth his footstool; he is the everlasting God, mighty and terrible, the Creator of the ends of the earth,” &c. The infinite splendour of his glory and majesty so dazzles the eyes of the most glorious seraphim, that they are glad to adore him with covered faces (Isaiah vi). The devil and all the damned spirits, those stubborn fiends, tremble at the terror of his countenance. “All the nations before him are but as the drop of a bucket. but as the small dust of the balance;” nay “they are nothing to him,” saith the prophet, “yea less than nothing.” “He sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers: the judges, and princes, when he blows upon them are but as stubble before the whirlwind: and he taketh up the isles as a very little thing” (Isa. xl). At his rebuke the pillars of heaven do shake; the earth trembleth, and the foundations of the hills are moved (Psalm xviii, 7); his presence melts the mountains (Nahum i, 5); his voice tears the rocks in pieces; the blast of the breath of his nostrils discovers the channels of waters, [[83]] and foundations of the world (Psalm xviii, 15); when he is angry. his arrows drink blood, his sword devours flesh, and the fire of his wrath burns unto the lowest hell (Deut. xxxii, 22, 42); the heaven is but his span; the sea his handful (Isa. xl, 12); the wings of the wind his walk; his garments are light (Psalm civ, 3, 2); his pavilion darkness (Psalm xviii, 11); his way is in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet (Nahum i, 3). The Lord of Hosts is his name (Jar. li, 19), whose power and punishments are so infinitely irresistible, that he is able with one word to turn all the creatures in the world into hell; nay, even with the breath of his mouth to turn heaven, and hell, and earth, and all things into nothing. How darest thou then, so base and vile a wretch, provoke so great a God?



[1] I understand evil In a general sense, and not as restrained unto, or resident in any species.

[2] I understand evil in a general sense, and not as restrained unto, or resident is any species.