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ROBERT SOUTH, D.D.
PREBENDARY OF WESTMINSTER,
AND CANON OF CHRIST CHURCH, Oxford.
A NEW EDITION, IN SEVEN VOLUMES.
AT THE CLARENDON PRESS.
CHIEF HEADS OF THE SERMONS.
SERMONS XVII. XVIII.
OF THE HEINOUS GUILT OF TAKING PLEASURE IN OTHER MEN'S SINS.
ROMANS i. 32.
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. Pp. 1. 28.
The sin of taking pleasure in other men's sins is not only distinct from, but also much greater than all those others mentioned in the foregoing catalogue, 1. To arrive at which pitch of sinning there is a considerable difficulty, 6. because every man has naturally a distinguishing sense of good and evil, and an inward satisfaction or dissatisfaction after the doing of either, and cannot quickly or easily extinguish this principle, but by another inferior principle gratified with objects contrary to the former, 3. And consequently no man is quickly or easily brought to take pleasure in his own, much less in other men's sins, 5. Of which
I. The causes are, 1. The commission of the same sins in one's own person, 7. 2. The commission of them against the full conviction of conscience, 9. 3. The continuance in them, 12. 4. The inseparable poor-spiritedness of guilt, which is less uneasy in company, 14. 5. A peculiar unaccountable malignity of nature, 17.
II. The reasons why the guilt of that sin is so great, are, 1. That there is naturally no motive to tempt men to it, 21. 2. That the nature of this sin is boundless and un
limited, 24. 3. That this sin includes in it the guilt of many preceding ones, 26.
III. The persons guilty of that sin are generally such as draw others to it, 29; particularly, 1. who teach doctrines, 29. which represent sinful actions either as not sinful, 30. or as less sinful than they really are, 32. Censure of some modern casuists, 34. 2. Who allure men to sin through formal persuasion or inflaming objects, 36. 3. Who affect the company of vicious persons, 38. 4. Who encourage others in their sins by commendation, 39. or preferment, 41.
Lastly, the effects of this sin are, 1. Upon particular persons; that it quite depraves the natural frame of the heart, 42: it indisposes a man to repent of it, 44; it grows the more as a man lives longer, 45; it will damn more surely, because many are damned who never arrived to this pitch, 47. 2. Upon communities of men; that it propagates the practice of any sin till it becomes national, 48; especially where great sinners make their dependents their proselytes, 49. and the follies of the young carry with them the approbation of the old, 50. This the reason of the late increase of vice, 51.
NATURAL RELIGION WITHOUT REVELATION, SUFFICIENT TO RENDER A SINNER INEXCUSABLE.
ROMANS i. 20.
So that they are without excuse. P. 53.
The apostle in this epistle addresses himself chiefly to the Jews; but in this first chapter he deals with the Greeks and Gentiles, 53. whom he charges with an inexcusable sinfulness, 53. And the charge contains in this, and in the precedent and subsequent verses,
I. The sin; [that knowing God, they did not glorify him as God, ver. 21.] idolatry; not that kind of one which worships that for God which is not God; but the other, which worships the true God by the mediation of corporeal resemblances, 54.
II. The persons guilty of this sin; [such as professed
themselves wise, ver. 22.] not the gnostics, but the old heathen philosophers, 57.
III. The cause of that sin, [holding the truth in unrighteousness, ver. 18.] 59. that the truths which they were accountable for, viz. 1. The being of a God, 60. 2. That he is the maker and governor of the world, 60. 3. That he is to be worshipped, 61. 4. That he is to be worshipped by pious practices, 61. 5. That every deviation from duty is to be repented of, 61. 6. That every guilty person is obnoxious to punishment, 62.
Were by them held in unrighteousness, 1. By not acting up to what they knew, 62. 2. By not improving those known principles into proper consequences, 64. 3. By concealing what they knew, 66.
IV. The judgment passed upon them, [that they were without excuse, ver. 20,] 70. that they were unfit not only for a pardon, but even for a plea, 71. Because,
1. The freedom of the will, which they generally asserted, excluded them from the plea of unwillingness, 72. 2. The knowledge of their understanding excluded them from the plea of ignorance, 73.
From all these we may consider,
1. The great mercy of God in the revelation of the gospel, 75.
2. The deplorable condition of obstinate sinners under it, 77.
OF SACRAMENTAL PREPARATION.
MATTHEW Xxii. 12.
And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither, not having a wedding garment? P. 80.
The design of this parable, under the circumstantial passages of a wedding's royal solemnity, is to set forth the free offer of the gospel to the Jews first, and upon their refusal, to the Gentiles, 80. But it may be more peculiarly applied to the holy eucharist; which not only by analogy, but with propriety of speech, and from the very ceremony of breaking bread, may very well be called a wedding sup