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as a monument of the humanity, charity, and Christianity of this sort of men for ever.

Now, such a temper or principle as these and the like passages do import, I call a peculiar malignity of nature; since it is evident, that neither the inveterate love of vice, nor yet the long practice of it, and that even against the reluctancies and light of conscience, can of itself have this devilish effect upon the mind, but as it falls in with such a villainous preternatural disposition as I have mentioned. For to instance in the particular case of parents and children, let a father be never so vicious, yet, generally speaking, he would not have his child so. Nay, it is certain, that some, who have been as corrupt in their morals as vice could make them, have yet been infinitely solicitous to have their children soberly, virtuously, and piously brought up: so that, although they have "begot sons after their own likeness," yet they are not willing to breed them so too.

Which, by the way, is the most pregnant demonstration in the world, of that self-condemning sentence, that is perpetually sounding in every great sinner's breast; and of that inward, grating dislike of the very thing he practises, that he should abhor to see the same in any one, whose good he nearly tenders, and whose person he wishes well to. But if now, on the other side, we should chance to find a father corrupting his son, or a mother debauching her daughter, as (God knows such monsters have been seen within the four seas) we must not charge this barely upon a high predominance of vice in these persons, but much more upon a peculiar anomaly and baseness of nature: if the name of nature may be allowed to that which seems to be an utter cashiering of it; a deviation from, and a contradiction to, the common principles of humanity. For this is such a disposition, as strips the father of the man; as makes him sacrifice his children to Moloch; and as much outdo the cruelty of a cannibal or a Saturn, as it is more barbarous and inhuman to damn a child than to devour him. We sometimes read and hear of monstrous births, but we may often see a greater monstrosity in educations: thus, when a father has begot a man, he trains him up into a beast, making even his own house a stew, a bordel, and a school of lewdness, to instill the rudiments of vice into the unwary, flexible years of his poor children, poisoning their tender minds with the irresistible, authentic venom of his base example; so that all the instruction they find within their father's walls shall be only to be disciplined to an earlier practice of sin, to be catechised into all the mysteries of iniquity, and, at length, confirmed in a mature, grown up, incorrigible state of debauchery. And this some parents call a teaching their children to know the world, and to study men:

thus leading them, as it were, by the hand, through all the forms and classes, all the varieties and modes of villainy, till at length they make them ten times more the children of the devil, than of themselves. Now, I say, if the unparalleled wickedness of the age should at any time cast us upon such blemishes of mankind as these, who, while they thus treat their children, should abuse and usurp the name of parents, by assuming it to themselves; let us not call them by the low, diminutive term or title of sinful, wicked, or ungodly men; but let us look upon them as so many prodigious exceptions from our common nature, as so many portentous animals, like the strange unnatural productions of Africa, and fit to be publicly shewn, were they not unfit to be seen: for certainly where a child finds his own parents his perverters, he cannot be so properly said to be born, as to be damned into the world; and better were it for him by far to have been unborn, and unbegot, than to come to ask blessing of those whose conversation breathes nothing but contagion and a curse. So impossible, and so much a paradox is it, for any parent to impart to his child his blessing and his vice too.

And thus I have despatched the first general thing proposed for the handling of the words, and shewn in five several particulars, what it is that brings a man to such a disposition of mind, as to take pleasure in other men's sins. I proceed now to the

Second, which is, To shew the reasons why a man's being disposed to do so, comes to be attended with such an extraordinary guilt. And the first shall be taken from this, that naturally there is no motive to induce or tempt a man to this way of sinning. And this is a most certain truth, that the lesser the temptation is, the greater is the sin. For in every sin, by how much the more free the will is in its choice, by so much is the act the more sinful. And where there is nothing to importune, urge, or provoke it to any act, there is so much a higher and perfecter degree of freedom about that act. For albeit the will is not capable of being compelled to any of its actings, yet it is capable of being made to act with more or less difficulty, according to the different impressions it receives from motives or objects. If the object be extremely pleasing, and apt to gratify it; there, though the will has still a power of refusing it, yet it is not without some difficulty: upon which account it is, that men are so strongly carried out to, and so hardly took off from, the practice of vice; namely, because the sen sual pleasure arising from it is still importuning and drawing them to it.

But now, from whence springs this pleasure? Is it not from the gratification of some desire founded in nature? An irregular 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 him 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 importunes 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, as directly and naturally taste the pleasures that spring from the gratification of another man's appetites.

ness is an irregular satisfaction of the appetite of thirst; uncleanliness an unlawful gratification of the appetite of procreation; and covetousness a boundless, unreasonable pursuit of the principle of self-preservation. So that all these are founded in some natural desire, and are therefore pleasurable, and upon that account tempt, solicit, and entice the will. In a word, there is hardly any one vice or sin of direct and personal commission, but what is the irregularity and abuse of one of those two grand natural principles, namely, either that which inclines a man to preserve himself, or that which inclines him to please himself.

But now, what principle, faculty, or desire, by which nature projects either its own pleasure or preservation, is or can be gratified by another man's personal pursuit of his own vice? It is evident, that all the pleasure that naturally can be received from a vicious action, can immediately and personally affect none but him who does it; for it is an application of the pleasing object only to its own sense; and no man feels by another man's senses. And, therefore, the delight that a man takes from another's sin, can be nothing else but a fantastical, preternatural complacency arising from that which he has really no sense or feeling of. It is properly a love of vice as such; a delighting in sin for its own sake; and is a direct imitation, or rather an exemplification malice of the devil, who delights in seeing those sins committed, which the very condition of his nature renders him incapable of committing himself. For the devil can neither drink, nor whore, nor play the epicure, though he enjoys the pleasures of all these at a second hand, and by malicious approbation. If a man plays the thief, says Solomon, "and steals to satisfy his hunger," (Prov. vi. 30,) though it cannot wholly excuse the fact, yet it sometimes extenuates the guilt. And we know there are some corrupt affections in the soul of man, that urge and push him on to their satisfaction, with such an impetuous fury, that when we see a man overborne and run down by them, considering the frailty of human nature, we cannot but pity the person, while we abhor the crime. It being like one ready to drink poison, rather than to die with

thirst.

But when a man shall, with a sober, sedate, diabolical rancour, look upon and enjoy himself in the sight of his neighbour's sin and shame, and secretly hug himself upon the ruins of his brother's virtue, and the dishonours of his reason, can he plead the instigation of any

Nor can that person, whoever he is, who accounts it his recreation and diversion to see one man wallowing in his filthy revels, and another made infamous and noisome by his sensuality, be so impudent as to allege for a reason of his so doing, that either all the enormous draughts of the one, do or can leave the least relish upon the tip of his tongue; or that all the fornications or whoredoms of the other, do or can quench or cool the boilings of his own lust. No, this is impossible. And if so, what can we then assign for the cause of this monstrous disposition? Why, all that can be said in this case is, that nature proceeds by quite another method; having given men such and such appetites, and allotted to each of them their respective pleasures; the appetite and the pleasure still cohabiting in the same subject; but the devil, and long custom of sinning, have superinduced upon the soul new, unnatural, and absurd desires - desires that have no real object — desires that relish things not at all desirable; but, like the sickness and distemper of the soul, feeding only upon filth and corruption, fire and brimstone, and giving a man the devil's nature, and the devil's delight—who has no other joy or happiness, but to dishonour his Maker, and to destroy his fellow-creature to corrupt him here, and to torment him hereafter. În fine, there is as much difference between the pleasure a man takes in his own sins, and that which he takes in other men's, as there is between the wickedness of a man, and the wickedness of a devil.

2. A second reason why a man's taking pleasure in the sins of others comes to be attended with such an extraordinary guilt, is, from the boundless, unlimited nature of this way of sinning. For by this a man contracts a kind of an universal guilt, and, as it were, sins over the sins of all other men ¿ so that while the act is theirs, the guilt of it is equally his. Consider any man as to his personal powers and opportunities of sinning, and comparatively they are not great; for, at greatest, they must still be limited by the measure of a man's acting, and the term of his duration. And a man's active powers are but weak, and his continuance in the world but short; so that nature is not sufficient to keep pace with his corruptions, by answering desire with proportionable practice.

For to instance in those two grand extra

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vagances of lust and drunkenness: surely no man is of so general and diffusive a lust, as to prosecute his amours all the world over; and let it burn never so outrageously for the present, yet age will in time chill those heats, and the impure flame will either die of itself, or consume the body that harbours it. so for intemperance in drinking, no man can be so much a swine as to be always pouring in, but in the compass of some years he will drown his health and his strength in his own belly; and after all his drunken trophies, at length drink down himself too; and that, certainly, will and must put an end to the debauch.

But now, for the way of sinning which we have been speaking of, it is neither confined by place, nor weakened by age; but the bedrid, the gouty, and the lethargic, may, upon this account, equal the activity of the strongest and the most vegete sinner. Such an one may take his brother by the throat, and act the murderer, even while he can neither stir a hand nor a foot; and he may invade his neighbour's bed, while weakness has tied him down to his own. He may sin over all the adulteries and debauches, all the frauds and oppressions of the whole neighbourhood, and, as I may so speak, he may break every command of God's law by proxy, and it were well for him if he could be damned by proxy too. A man, by delight and fancy, may grasp in the sins of all countries and ages, and by an inward liking of them communicate in their guilt. He may take a range all the world over, and draw in all that wide circumference of sin and vice, and centre it in his own breast. For whatsoever sin a man extremely loves, and would commit if he had opportunity, and, in the meantime, pleases himself with the speculation of the same, whether ever he commits it or no, it leaves a stain and a guilt upon his conscience; and, according to the spiritual and severe accounts of the law, is made, in a great respect, his own. So that by this means there is a kind of transmigration 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 entire guilt of them to himself; and yet so as to leave the committer of them as full of guilt as he was before.

From whence we see the infinitely fruitful and productive power of this way of sinning; how it can increase and multiply beyond all bounds and measures of actual commission, and how vastly it swells the sinner's account in an instant. So that a man shall, out of all the various, and even numberless kinds of villainy, acted by all the people and nations round about him, as it were, extract one mighty, comprehensive guilt, and adopt it to

VOL. I.

himself; and so become chargeable with, and accountable for, a world of sin without a figure.

3. The third and last reason that I shall assign, of the extraordinary guilt attending a man's being disposed to take pleasure in other men's sins, shall be taken from the soul's preparation and passage to such a disposition; for that it presupposes and includes in it the guilt of many preceding sins. For, as it has been shewn, a man must have passed many periods of sin, before he can arrive to it; and have served a long apprenticeship to the devil, before he can come to such a perfection and maturity in vice, as this imports. It is a collection of the guilt of a long and numerous train of villainies, the compendium and sum total of several particular impieties, all united and cast up into one. It is, as it were, the very quintessence and sublimation of vice, by which, as in the spirit of liquors, the malignity of many actions is contracted into a little compass, but with a greater advantage of strength and force, by such a contraction.

In a word, it is the wickedness of a whole life, discharging all its filth and foulness into this one quality, as into a great sink or common shore. So that nothing is or can be so properly and significantly called the very sinfulness of sin, as this. And therefore no wonder, if, containing so many years' guilt in the bowels of it, it stands here stigmatized by the apostle as a temper of mind rendering men so detestably bad, that the great enemy of mankind, the devil himself, neither can nor desires to make them worse. I cannot, I need not say any more of it. It is indeed a condition not to be thought of (by persons serious enough to think and consider) without the utmost horror. But such as truly fear God, shall both be kept from it, and from those sins that lead to it.

To which God, infinitely wise, holy, and just, be rendered and ascribed, as is most due, all praise, might, majesty, and dominion, both now and for evermore. Amen.

SERMON XVIII.

OF THE HEINOUS GUILT OF TAKING PLEASURE IN OTHER MEN'S SINS.

PART II.

"Who, knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them."-ROM. i. 32.

THE sense of these words I shewed, in the preceding discourse, fell naturally into this one proposition, namely,

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of such doctrines could have, but the depravation of men's manners! For, if some men teach wicked things, it mu be that others should practise them. And if one man sets another a copy, it is no doubt with a purpose that he should write after it.

The two first of which being despatched already, I proceed now to the third and last. Concerning which, I shall lay down this general assertion,—That whosoever draws others to sin, ought to be looked upon as one delighting in those sins that he draws them to. Forasmuch as no man is brought to do any thing, especially if it be ill or wicked, but in order to the pleasing of himself by it: it being absurd and incredible, that any one should venture to damn himself hereafter, for that which does not some way or other gratify and please him here. But to draw forth this general into particulars.

1. First of all: Those are to be accounted to take pleasure in other men's sins, who teach doctrines directly tending to engage such as believe them in a sinful course. For there is none so compendious and efficacious a way to prepare a man for all sin as this: this being properly to put out the eyes of that which is to be his guide, by perverting his judgment; and when that is once done, you may carry him whither you will. Chance must be his rule, and present appetite his director. A man's judgment or conscience is the great spring of all his actions; and consequently to corrupt or pervert this, is to derive a contagion upon all that he does. And therefore we see how high a guilt our Saviour charges upon this in Matt. v. 19, "Whosoever shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven:" that is, in truth shall never come thither. And we find the great sin of the Pharisees was, that they promoted and abetted the sins of other men, taught the devil's doctrine out of Moses's chair, and by false descants upon the divine precepts, cut asunder the binding force of them; so that, according to their wretched comments, men might break the law, and yet never sin against it. For in Matt. xv. 5, 6, they had taught men how “to dishonour their parents" without any violation of the fifth commandment. Thus they preached: and what design can any one imagine the authors

Now these doctrines are of two sorts.

1. Such as represent actions, that are in themselves really wicked and sinful, as not so.

2. Such as represent them much less sinful, as to their kind or degrees, than indeed they

are.

For the first of which, to instance in one very gross one, instead of many, take the doctrine of those commonly called Autinomians, who assert positively, that believers, or persons regenerate, and within the covenant of grace, cannot sin. Upon which account, no wonder if some very liberally assume to themselves the condition and character of believers, for then they know that other mighty privilege belongs to them of course. But what? May not these believers cheat and lie, commit adultery, steal, murder, and rebel? Why, yes, they may; and nothing is more common than to see such believers do such things. But how then can they escape the charge of all that guilt that naturally follows from such enormities? Why, thus: you must in this case with great care and accuracy distinguish between the act of lying and the sin of lying, the act of stealing and the sin of stealing, and the act of rebellion and the sin of rebellion. Now, though all these acts are frequent and usual with such persons, yet they are sure (as they order the matter) never to be guilty of the sin. And the reason is, because it is not the quality of the action that derives a qualification upon the person, so as to render him such or such, good or bad; but it is the antecedent quality or condition of the person that denominates his actions, and stamps them good or evil. So that they are those only who are first wicked, that do wicked actions. But believers and the godly, though they do the very same things, yet they so much outwit the devil in the doing of them, that they never commit the same sins. But you will say, how came they by such a great and strange privilege? Why, they will tell you, it is because they are not under the obliging power of the law. And if you ask farther, how they come to get from under that common obligation that lies so hard and heavy upon all the rest of the world, they will tell you it is from this, that believers, instead of the law, have the Spirit actually dwelling in them, and by an admirable kind of invisible clock-work moving them, just as a spring does a watch; and that immediately by himself alone, without the mediation of any written law or rule to guide or direct, and much less to command or oblige them. So that the Spirit, we see, is to be their sole director, without, and very

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often contrary to, the written law. An excellent contrivance, doubtless, to authorize and sanctify the blackest and most flagitious actions that can proceed from man. For since the motions of the Spirit (which they so confidently suppose themselves to have) cannot so much as in things good and lawful, by any certain diagnostic, be distinguished from the motions of a man's own heart, they very easily make a step farther, and even in things unlawful conclude the motions of their own hearts to be the impulse of the Spirit; and this presently alters the whole complexion of an action that would otherwise look but very scurvily, and makes it absolutely pure and unblameable, or rather perfect and meritorious. So that let a man have but impudence and wickedness enough to libel his Maker, and to entitle the Spirit of God to all that he does or desires, surnaming his own inclinations and appetites (though never so irregular and impure) the Holy Ghost, and you may, upon very sure grounds, turn him loose, and bid him sin if he can. And thus much for the first sort of doctrines, which, once believed, like the floodgates of hell pulled up, lets in a deluge and inundation of all sin and vice upon the lives of men. And if this be the natural effect of the doctrines themselves, we cannot in all reason but infer, that the interest of the teachers of them must needs be agreeable.

2. The other sort of doctrines tending to engage such as believe them in a sinful course, are such as represent many sins, much less, as to their kind or degree, than indeed they are. Of which number is that doctrine, that asserts all sins committed by believers, or persons in a state of grace, to be but infirmities. That there are such things as sins of infirmity, in contradistinction to those of presumption, is a truth not to be questioned; but in hypothesi, to state exactly which are sins of infirmity, and which are not, is not so easy a work. This is certain, that there is a vast difference between them; indeed, as vast as between inadvertency and deliberation, between surprise and set purpose: and that persons truly regenerate have sinned this latter way, and consequently may sin so again, is as evident as the story (already referred to by us) of David's murder and adultery, sins acted not only with deliberation, but with artifice, study, and deep contrivance. And can sins, that carry such dismal marks and black symptoms upon them, pass for infirmities? for sins of daily incursion, and such as human frailty and the very condition of our nature in this world is so unavoidably liable to, (for so are sins of infirmity,) that "a righteous man may fall into them seven times in a day," and yet, according to the merciful tenor of the covenant of grace, stand accepted before God as a righteous man still? No, certainly, if such are infirmities, it will be hard to assign what are

presumptions. And what a sin-encouraging doctrine that is, that avouches them for such, is sufficiently manifest from hence, that although every sin of infirmity, in its own nature, and according to the strict rigour of the law, merits eternal death, yet it is certain, from the gospel, that no man shall actually suffer eternal death barely for sins of infirmity: which being so, persuade but a man that a regenerate person may cheat and lie, steal, murder, and rebel, by way of infirmity, and at the same time you persuade him also, that he may do all this without any danger of damnation. And then, since these are oftentimes such desirable privileges to flesh and blood, and since withal every man by nature is so very prone to think the best of himself and of his own condition, it is odds but he will find a shrewd temptation to believe himself regenerate, rather than forbear a pleasurable or a profitable sin, by thinking that he shall go to hell for committing it. Now this being such a direct manuduction to all kind of sin, by abusing the conscience with undervaluing persuasions concerning the ma lignity and guilt even of the foulest, it is evident that such as teach and promote the belief of such doctrines, are to be looked upon as the devil's prophets and apostles; and there is no doubt, but the guilt of every sin, that, either from pulpit or from press, they influence men to the commission of, does as certainly rest upon them, and will one day be as severely exacted of them, as if they had actually and personally committed it themselves.

And thus I have instanced in two notable doctrines, that may justly be looked upon as the general inlets, or two great gates, through which all vice and villainy rush in upon the manners of men professing religion. But the particulars into which these generals diffuse themselves, you may look for and find in those well-furnished magazines and storehouses of all immorality and baseness, the books and writings of some modern casuists, who, like the devil's amanuenses, and secretaries to the prince of darkness, have published to the world such notions and intrigues of sin out of his cabinet, as neither the wit or wickedness of man, upon the bare natural stock either of invention or corruption, could ever have found out.

The writings both of the Old and New Testament, make it very difficult for a man to be saved; but the writings of these men make it more difficult, if not impossible, for any one to be damned: for where there is no sin there can be no damnation. And as these men have obscured and confounded the natures and properties of things by their false principles and wretched sophistry, though an act be never so sinful, they will be sure to strip it of its guilt, and to make the very law

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