Imágenes de páginas

as a monument of the humanity, charity, and thus leading them, as it were, by the hand, Christianity of this sort of men for ever. through all the forms and classes, all the

Now, such a temper or principle as these varieties and modes of villainy, till at length and the like passages do import, I call a pecu- they make them ten times more the children liar malignity of nature; since it is evident, of the devil, than of themselves. Now, I say, that neither the inveterate love of vice, nor if the unparalleled wickedness of the age yet the long practice of it, and that even should at any time cast us upon such bleagainst the reluctancies and light of conscience, mishes of mankind as these, who, while they can of itself have this devilish effect upon the thus treat their children, should abuse and mind, but as it falls in with such a villainous usurp the name of parents, by assuming it preternatural disposition as I have mentioned. to themselves ; let us not call them by the For to instance in the particular case of parents low, diminutive term or title of sinful, wicked, and children, let a father be never so vicious, or ungodly men ; but let us look upon them yet, generally speaking, he would not have as so many prodigious exceptions from our his child so. Nay, it is certain, that some, common nature, as so many portentous aniwho have been as corrupt in their morals as mals, like the strange unnatural productions vice could make them, have yet been infi- of Africa, and fit to be publicly shewn, were nitely solicitous to have their children soberly, they not unfit to be seen : for certainly where virtuously, and piously brought up: so that, a child finds his own parents his perverters, although they have "begot sons after their he cannot be so properly said to be born, as to own likeness,” yet they are not willing to be damned into the world ; and better were breed thein so too.

it for him by far to have been unborn, and Which, by the way, is the most pregnant / unbegot, than to come to ask blessing of those demonstration in the world, of that self-con- whose conversation breathes nothing but condemning sentence, that is perpetually sound- | tagion and a curse. So impossible, and so ing in every great sinner's breast; and of that much a paradox is it, for any parent to iminward, grating dislike of the very thing he part to his child his blessing and his vice too. practises, that he should abhor to see the same And thus I have despatched the first genein any one, whose good he nearly tenders, and ral thing proposed for the handling of the whose person he wishes well to. But if now, words, and shewn in five several particulars, on the other side, we should chance to find a what it is that brings a man to such a dispofather corrupting his son, or a mother de- sition of mind, as to take pleasure in other bauching her daughter, as (God knows such men's sins. I proceed now to the monsters have been seen within the four seas) Second, which is, To shew the reasons why we must not charge this barely upon a high a man's being disposed to do so, comes to be predominance of vice in these persons, but attended with such an extraordinary guilt. much more upon a peculiar anomaly and base And the first shall be taken from this, that ness of nature : if the name of nature may be naturally there is no motive to induce or allowed to that which seems to be an utter tempt a man to this way of sinning. And cashiering of it ; a deviation from, and a con this is a most certain truth, that the lesser the tradiction to, the common principles of hu- temptation is, the greater is the sin. For in manity. For this is such a disposition, as every sin, by how much the more free the strips the father of the man; as inakes him will'is in its choice, by so much is the act sacrifice his children to Moloch ; and as much the more sinful. And where there is nothing outdo the cruelty of a cannibal or a Saturn, to importune, urge, or provoke it to any act, as it is more barbarous and inhuman to damn there is so much a higher and perfecter dea child than to devour him. We sometimes gree of freedom about that act. For albeit read and hear of monstrous births, but we the will is not capable of being compelled to may often see a greater monstrosity in educa any of its actings, yet it is capable of being tions : thus, when a father has begot a man, made to act with more or less difficulty, ache trains him up into a beast, making even cording to the different impressions it receives his own house a stew, a bordel, and a school from motives or objects. If the object be exof lewdness, to instill the rudiments of vice tremely pleasing, and apt to gratify it; there, into the unwary, flexible years of his poor though the will has still a power of refusing children, poisoning their tender minds with it, yet it is not without some difficulty: upon the irresistible, authentic venom of his base which account it is, that men are so strongly example; so that all the instruction they find carried out to, and so hardly took off from, within their father's walls shall be only to be the practice of vice ; namely, because the sendisciplined to an earlier practice of sin, to be sual pleasure arising from it is still importuncatechised into all the mysteries of iniquity, ing and drawing them to it. and, at length, confirmed in a mature, grown But now, from whence springs this pleaup, incorrigible state of debauchery. And sure? Is it not from the gratification of some this some parents call a teaching their chil desire founded in nature ? An irregular dren to know the world, and to study men : gratification it is indeed very often ; yet still

the foundation of it is, and must be, some appetite in nature inclining him to this; and thing natural : so that the sum of all is this, that would otherwise render himr uneasy to that the naturalness of a desire is the cause himself, should he not thus triumph in that the satisfaction of it is pleasure, and another's folly and confusion ? No, certainly; pleasure importuues the will ; and that which this cannot be so much as pretended. For he importunes the will, puts a difficulty in the may as well carry his eyes in another man's will's refusing or forbearing it. Thus drunken- head, and run races with another man's feet, ness is an irregular satisfaction of the appetite as directly and naturally taste the pleasures of thirst; uncleanliness an unlawful gratifica- that spring from the gratification of another tion of the appetite of procreation; and covet- | man's appetites. ousness a boundless, unreasonable pursuit of Nor can that person, whoever he is, who the principle of self-preservation.' So that accounts it his recreation and diversion to see all these are founded in some natural desire, one man wallowing in his filthy revels, and and are therefore pleasurable, and upon that another made infamous and noisome by his account tempt, solicit, and entice the will. In sensuality, be so impudent as to allege for a a word, there is hardly any one vice or sin of reason of his so doing, that either all the enordirect and personal commission, but what is mous draughts of the one, do or can leave the the irregularity and abuse of one of those two least relish upon the tip of his tongue; or that grand natural principles, namely, either that all the fornications or whoredoms of the other, which inclines a man to preserve himself, or do or can quench or cool the boilings of his that which inclines him to please himself. own lust. No, this is impossible. And if so,

But now, what principle, faculty, or desire, what can we then assign for the cause of this by which nature projects either its own plea- monstrous disposition? Why, all that can be sure or preservation, is or can be gratified by said in this case is, that nature proceeds by another man's personal pursuit of his own quite another method; having given men such vice? It is evident, that all the pleasure that and such appetites, and allotted to each of naturally can be received from a vicious action, | them their respective pleasures; the appetite can immediately and personally affect none and the pleasure still cohabiting in the same but him who does it; for it is an application subject; but the devil, and long custom of of the pleasing object only to its own sense ; sinning, have superinduced upon the soul and no man feels by another man's senses new, unnatural, and absurd desires - desires And, therefore, the delight that a man takes that bave no real object -- desires that relish from another's sin, can be nothing else but a things not at all desirable ; but, like the sick. fantastical, preternatural complacency arising ness and distemper of the soul, feeding only from that which he has really no sense or feel upon filth and corruption, fire and brimstone, ing of. It is properly a love of vice as such ; and giving a man the devil's nature, and the a delighting in sin for its own sake ; and is devil's delight - who has no other joy or hapa direct imitation, or rather an exemplification piness, but to dishonour his Maker, and to of the alice of the devil, who delights in destroy his fellow-creature – to corrupt him seeing those sins committed, which the very here, and to torment him hereafter. În fine, condition of his nature renders him incapable there is as much difference between the pleaof committing himself. For the devil can sure a man takes in his own sins, and that neither drink, nor whore, nor play the epicure, which he takes in other men’s, as there is though he enjoys the pleasures of all these at between the wickedness of a man, and the a second hand, and by malicious approbation. wickedness of a devil. If a man plays the thief, says Solomon, "and 2. A second reason why a man's taking steals to satisfy his hunger,” (Prov. vi. 30,) pleasure in the sins of others comes to be though it cannot wholly excuse the fact, yet attended with such an extraordinary guilt, is, it sometimes extenuates the guilt. And we from the boundless, unlimited nature of this know there are some corrupt affections in the way of sinning. For by this a man contracts soul of man, that urge and push him on to a kind of an universal guilt, and, as it were, their satisfaction, with such an impetuous sins over the sins of all other men ; fury, that when we see a man overborne and while the act is theirs, the guilt of it is equally run dowu by them, considering the frailty of his. Consider any man as to his personal human nature, we cannot but pity the person, powers and opportunities of sinning, and comwhile we abhor the crime. It being like one paratively they are not great ; for, at greatest, ready to drink poison, rather than to die with they must still be limited by the measure of thirst.

a man's acting, and the term of his duration. But when a man shall, with a sober, sedate, And a man's active powers are but weak, and diabolical rancour, look upon and enjoy him his continuance in the world but short ; so self in the sight of his neighbour's sin and that nature is not sufficient to keep pace with shame, and secretly hug himself upon the ruins his corruptions, by answering desire with proof his brother's virtue, and the dishonours of portionable practice. his reason, can he plead the instigation of any For to instance in those two grand extra

so that

vagances of lust and drunkenness : surely no himself; and so become chargeable with, and man is of so general and diffusive a lust, as to accountable for, a world of sin without a prosecute his amours all the world over ; and figure. let it burn never so outrageously for the pre 3. The third and last reason that I shall sent, yet age will in time chill those heats, assign, of the extraordinary guilt attending a and the impure flame will either die of itself, man's being disposed to take pleasure in other or consume the body that harbours it. And men's sins, shall be taken from the soul's preso for intemperance in drinking, no man can paration and passage to such a disposition; be so much a swine as to be always pouring for that it presupposes and includes in it the in, but in the compass of some years he will guilt of many preceding sins. For, as it has drown his health and his strength in his own been shewn, a man must have passed many belly ; and after all his drunken trophies, at periods of sin, before he can arrive to it; and length drink down himself too; and that, cer have served a long apprenticeship to the tainly, will and must put an end to the devil, before he can come to such a perfection debauch.

and maturity in vice, as this imports. It is a But now, for the way of sinning which we collection of the guilt of a long and numerous have been speaking of, it is neither confined train of villainies, the compendium and sum by place, nor weakened by age ; but the bed total of several particular iinpieties, all united rid, the gouty, and the lethargic, may, upon and cast up into one. It is, as it were, the this account, equal the activity of the strongest very quintessence and sublimation of vice, by and the most vegete sinner. Such an one may which, as in the spirit of liquors, the malignity take his brother by the throat, and act the of many actions is contracted into a little murderer, even while he can neither stir a compass, but with a greater advantage of hand nor a foot; and he may invade his strength and force, by such a contraction. neighbour's bed, while weakness has tied him In a word, it is the wickedness of a whole down to his own. He may sin over all the life, discharging all its filth and foulness into adulteries and debauches, all the frauds and this one quality, as into a at sink or comoppressions of the whole neighbourhood, and, mon shore. So that nothing is or can be so as I may so speak, he may break every com- properly and significantly called the very sinmand of God's law by proxy, and it were fulness of sin, as this. And therefore no well for him if he could be damned by proxy wonder, if, containing so many years' guilt in too. A man, by delight and fancy, may grasp the bowels of it, it stands here stigmatized by in the sins of all countries and ages, and by the apostle as a temper of mind rendering an inward liking of them communicate in men so detestably bad, that the great enemy their guilt. He may take a range all the of mankind, the devil himself, neither can world over, and draw in all that wide circum nor desires to make them worse. I cannot, I ference of sin and vice, and centre it in his need not say any more of it. It is indeed a own breast. For whatsoever sin a man ex condition not to be thought of (hy persons tremely loves, and would commit if he had serious enough to think and consider) without opportunity, and, in the meantime, pleases the utmost horror. But such as truly fear himself with the speculation of the same, God, shall both be kept from it, and from those whether ever he commits it or no, it leaves a sins that lead to it. stain and a guilt upon his conscience; and, To which God, infinitely wise, holy, and according to the spiritual and severe accounts just, be rendered and ascribed, as is most due, of the law, is made, in a great respect, his own. all praise, might, majesty, and dominion, So that by this means there is a kind of trans both now and for evermore. Amen. migration of sins, much like that which Pythagoras held of souls. Such an one to be sure it is, as makes a man not only (according to the apostle's phrase) a “partaker of other men's sins," but also a deriver of the whole

SERMON XVIII. entire guilt of them to himself; and yet so as to leave the committer of them as full of

OF THE HEINOUS GUILT OF TAKING guilt as he was before.

PLEASURE IN OTHER MEN'S SINS. From whence we see the infinitely fruitful and productive power of this way of sinning; how it can increase and multiply beyond ali

PART II. bounds and measures of actual commission, and how vastly it swells the sinner's account

“Who, knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit

such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but in an instant. So that a man shall, out of all

bave pleasure in them that do thein." - Rom. i. 32. the various, and even numberless kinds of villainy, acted by all the people and nations The sense of these words I shewed, in the round about him, as it were, extract one preceding discourse, fell naturally into this mighty, comprehensive guilt, and adopt it to one proposition, namely,





That the guilt arising from a man's delight of such doctrines could have, but the depraing or taking pleasure in other men's sins, or vation of men's manners! For, if some men (which is all one) in other men for their sius, teach wicked things, it must be that others is greater than he can possibly contract by a should practise them. And if one man sets commission of the same sins in his own per another a copy, it is no doubt with a purpose

that he should write after it. The prosecution of which I stated upon Now these doctrines are of two sorts. these three things,

1. Such as represent actions, that are in First, To shew what it is that brings a man themselves really wicked and sinful, as not so. to such a disposition of mind, as to take plea 2. Such as represent them much less sinful, sure in other men's sins.

as to their kind or degrees, than indeed they Secondly, To shew the reasons why a man's being disposed to do so, comes to be attended For the first of which, to instance in one with such an extraordinary guilt.

very gross one, instead of many, take the Thirdly and lastly, To declare what kind doctrine of those commonly called Antinoof persons are to be reckoned under this cha- mians, who assert positively, that believers, or racter.

persons regenerate, and within the covenant The two first of which being despatched of grace, cannot sin. Upon which account, already, I proceed now to the third and last. no wonder if some very liberally assume to Concerning which, I shall lay down this themselves the condition and character of begeneral assertion, — That whosoever draws lievers, for then they know that other mighty others to sin, ought to be looked upon as one privilege belongs to them of course. But delighting in those sins that he draws them what? May not these believers cheat and lie, to. Forasmuch as no man is brought to do commit adultery, steal, murder, and rebel? any thing, especially if it be ill or wicked, Why, yes, they may; and nothing is more but in order to the pleasing of himself by it: common than to see such believers do such it being absurd and incredible, that any one things. But how then can they escape the charge should venture to damn himself hereafter, for of all that guilt that naturally follows from that which does not some way or other gra such enormities? Why, thus: you must in tify and please him here. But to draw forth this case with great care and accuracy distinthis general into particulars.

guish between the act of lying and the sin of 1. First of all: Those are to be accounted lying, the act of stealing and the sin of stealing, to take pleasure in other men's sins, who and the act of rebellion and the sin of rebelteach doctrines directly tending to engage lion. Now, though all these acts are frequent such as believe them in a sinful course. For and usual with such persons, yet they are sure there is none so compendious and efficacious a (as they order the matter) never to be guilty way to prepare a man for all sin as this: this of the sin. And the reason is, because it is being properly to put out the eyes of that not the quality of the action that derives a which is to be his guide, by perverting his qualification upon the person, so as to render judgment; and when that is once done, you him such or such, good or bad; but it is the may carry him whither you will. Chance antecedent quality or condition of the person must be his rule, and present appetite his that denominates his actions, and stamps them director. A man's judgment or conscience is good or evil. So that they are those only who the great spring of all his actions; and conse are first wicked, that do wicked actions. But quently to corrupt or pervert this, is to derive believers and the godly, though they do the a contagion upon all that he does. And there- very same things, yet they so much outwit fore we see how high a guilt our Saviour the devil in the doing of them, that they never charges upon this in Matt. v. 19,– “Whoso commit the same sins. But you will say, ever shall break one of these least command how came they by such a great and strange ments, and shall teach men so, shall be called privilege? Why, they will tell you, it is the least in the kingdom of heaven :" that is, because they are not under the obliging power in truth shall never come thither. And we of the law. And if you ask farther, how they find the great sin of the Pharisees was, that come to get from under that common obligathey promoted and abetted the sins of other tion that lies so hard and heavy upon all the men, taught the devil's doctrine out of Moses's rest of the world, they will tell you it is from chair, and by false descants upon the divine this, that believers, instead of the law, have precepts, cut asunder the binding force of the Spirit actually dwelling in them, and by them; so that, according to their wretched an adinirable kind of invisible clock-work comments, men might break the law, and yet moving them, just as a spring does a watch ; never sin against it. For in Matt. xv. 5, 6, and that immediately by himself alone, withthey had taught men how to dishonour their out the mediation of any written law or rule parents” without any violation of the fifth to guide or direct, and much less to command commandment. Thus they preached : and or oblige them. So that the Spirit, we see, what design can any one imagine the authors is to be their sole director, without, and very

often contrary to, the written law. An excel presumptions. And what a sin-encouraging lent contrivance, doubtless, to authorize and doctrine that is, that avouches them for such, sanctify the blackest and most flagitious actions is sufficiently manifest from hence, that althat can proceed from man. For since the though every sin of infirmity, in its own motions of the Spirit (which they so confi- nature, and according to the strict rigour of dently suppose themselves to have) cannot so the law, merits eternal death, yet it is certain, much as in things good and lawful, by any from the gospel, that no man shall actually certain diagnostic, be distinguished from the suffer eternal death barely for sins of infirmotions of a man's own heart, they very easily mity: which being so, persuade but a man make a step farther, and even in things un that a regenerate person may cheat and lie, lawful conclude thé motions of their own steal, murder, and rebel, by way of infirmity, hearts to be the impulse of the Spirit; and and at the same time you persuade him also, this presently alters the whole complexion of that he may do all this without any danger an action that would otherwise look but very of damnation. And then, since these are scurvily, and makes it absolutely pure and oftentimes such desirable privileges to flesh unblameable, or rather perfect and merito- and blood, and since withal every man by rious. So that let a man have but impudence nature is so very prone to think the best of and wickedness enough to libel his Maker, himself and of his own condition, it is odds and to entitle the Spirit of God to all that hé but he will find a shrewd temptation to bedoes or desires, surnaming his own inclinations lieve himself regenerate, rather than forbear and appetites (though never so irregular and a pleasurable or a profitable sin, by thinking impure) the Holy Ghost, and you may, upon that he shall go to hell for committing it. very sure grounds, turn him loose, and bid Now this being such a direct manuduction to him sin if he can. And thus much for the all kind of sin, by abusing the conscience with first sort of doctrines, which, once believed, undervaluing persuasious concerning the malike the floodgates of hell pulled up, lets in á lignity and guilt even of the foulest, it is deluge and inundation of all sin and vice upon evident that such as teach and promote the the lives of men. And if this be the natural belief of such doctrines, are to be looked upon effect of the doctrines themselves, we cannot as the devil's prophets and apostles; and there in all reason but infer, that the interest of the is no doubt, but the guilt of every sin, that, teachers of them must needs be agreeable. either from pulpit or from press, they in

2. The other sort of doctrines tending to fluence men to the commission of, does as engage such as believe them in a sinful course, certainly rest upon them, and will one day be are such as represent many sins, much less, as severely exacted of them, as if they had as to their kind or degree, than indeed they actually and personally committed it them

Of which number is that doctrine, that selves. asserts all sins committed by believers, or per And thus I have instanced in two notable sons in a state of grace, to be but infirmities

. doctrines, that may justly be looked upon as That there are such things as sins of infirmity, the general inlets, or two great gates, through in contradistinction to those of presumption, which all vice and villainy rush in upon the is a truth not to be questioned ; but in hypo- manners of men professing religion. But the thesi, to state exactly which are sins of infir- particulars into which these generals diffuse mity, and which are not, is not so easy a themselves, you may look for and find in work. This is certain, that there is a vast those well-furnished magazines and storedifference between them; indeed, as vast as houses of all immorality and baseness, the between inadvertency and deliberation, be- books and writings of some modern casuists, tween surprise and set purpose : and that who, like the devil's amanuenses, and secrepersons truly regenerate have sinned this latter taries to the prince of darkness, have published way, and consequently may sin so again, is as to the world such notions and intrigues of sin evident as the story (already referred to by us) out of his cabinet, as neither the wit or wickof David's murder and adultery, sins acted edness of man, upon the bare natural stock not only with deliberation, but with artifice, either of invention or corruption, could ever study, and deep contrivance. And can sins, have found out. that carry such dismal marks and black symp The writings both of the Old and New Testoms upon them, pass for infirmities? for sins tament, make it very difficult for a man to be of daily incursion, and such as human frailty saved; but the writings of these men make and the very condition of our nature in this it more difficult, if not impossible, for any world is so unavoidably liable to, (for so are

one to be damned : for where there is no sin sins of infirmity,) that “a righteous man may

there can be no damnation. And as these fall into them seven times in a day," and yet, men have obscured and confounded the naaccording to the merciful tenor of the cove tures and properties of things by their false nant of grace, stand accepted before God as a principles and wretched sophistry, though an righteous man still? No, certainly, if such are act be never so sinful, they will be sure to infirunities, it will be hard to assign what are strip it of its guilt, and to make the very law


« AnteriorContinuar »