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he is not benefited by our services, so he is not wronged by our iniquities.

It is true, could our sins reach God, could they dethrone him or rend off any of his glorious attributes from his immutable essence, there might then be great reason why God should so severely revenge them, and we for ever detest and abhor them: but, since his glory is free from any stain, and his being from any wrong and prejudice, our sins are nothing to him; nor is there any reason we should judge them heinous and provoking.

It is true, O Sinner, thy sins can never invade God's essence: that is infinitely above the attempts of men or devils. But, yet, every wicked wretch would, if he could, dethrone God. Sinners would not have him be so holy, nor so just, as he is; not so holy in hating of their sins, nor so just in punishing of them: that is, they would not have him to be God; for it is necessary that God should be as he is. Sinners do really contradict God's purity, rebel against his sovereignty, violate his commands, defy his justice, provoke his mercy, despise his threatenings, and hinder the manifestations of his glory to the world. And is all this nothing? Every sinner hath so much poison and venom in him, that he would even spit it in the face of God himself, if he could reach him: but, because God is in himself secure from their impotent assaults, sin shews its spite against him in what it can; defaceth his image wherever it comes; abolisheth all structures and lineaments of God in the soul; and would banish his name, his fear, his worship from off the face of the whole earth. And, therefore, thou, who art guilty of this rebellion against the Great Majesty of Heaven, canst thou yet think thy sins to be slight and inconsiderable; and not worth, either the cognizance or the vengeance of the Almighty? Believe it, the day is coming, and will not tarry, when that guilt, which thou now carriest so peaceably in thy bosom; and which, like a frozen and benumbed serpent, stirs not, nor stings not; shall, when heated with the flames of hell, fly in thy face, and appear in all its native and genuine deformities and horror, and overwhelm thy soul with everlasting anguish and torment: and, then, but too late, then wilt thou exclaim against thyself, as being worse than a fool or madman, for thinking so slightly of and making a mock at that, which hath eternally ruined and destroyed thee.

And, having thus shewed you briefly, that wicked men do make light of sin, and the inducements that tempt them to it, I shall now,

3. Shew you their great and inexcusable Folly in so doing.

And, certainly, never was any insensate man, never any that was wholly abandoned by his reason and understanding, guilty of a greater folly than this is.


(1) Is it not most egregious folly and madness, for any to do that, which yet they hope they shall live to repent that ever they did?

This is such a folly, as all the extravagancies of fools could never match: and yet this, most wicked men are guilty of. They boldly rush into sin, only upon this presumptuous confidence, that they may hereafter be sorry that now they did it. In which, their folly is doubly notorious:

In that they venture upon a certain guilt, in hope of an uncertain repentance. And,

In that they take up their unprofitable sins, upon so great and burdensome an interest.

[1] In that they venture upon a certain guilt, in hopes of an uncertain repentance.

For, either God may cut thee off, O Sinner, in the very act of that sin, which thou intendest to repent of hereafter: or, if he afford thee time for repentance, he may withhold his grace; and, in his just and righteous, but yet fearful judgment, seal thee up under hardness and impenitency, that thou shalt go on, treasuring up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath: Rom. ii. 5. And if either of these, through the righteous judgment of God, should happen unto thee, what a deplorable fool wilt thou prove thyself to be, that sinnest out of hopes of repentance, and of a repentance which perhaps will never be granted! Alas! how many hath God, in his signal vengeance, cut off, by some remarkable stroke; with an oath, or curse, or blasphemy in their mouths, scarce fully pronounced! How many, with their drunken vomits in their very throats! How many, while their souls have been burning with their lustful embraces, have even then been cast into hell, and burnt up with everlasting fire! Or, if vengeance should spare thee for a while, O Sinner, yet thou knowest not how soon it will strike thee. It is great folly to expect the warning of a sick bed: death often surprises by sudden casualties, or by some diseases as sudden as casualties;

and there are many ways of dying, besides consumptions, agues, and dropsies, the lingering forerunners of an approaching dissolution. But, if God should cast thee down upon a sick bed, he may justly visit thee, who hast neglected thy soul in thy health, with such distempers as may make thee not only unfit, but such as may render thee incapable of doing thy last kind office for it. It is folly to expect the admonition of old age. Alas! the almond-tree doth not every where flourish: Eccl. xii. 5. and it is not one, to many thousands, that lays down a hoary head in the bed of the grave: Prov. xvi. 31. But, grant thou couldst be assured of the continuance of thy life; yet, is it not egregious folly, to sin in hope of repenting; when every act of sin will make thy repentance the more difficult, if not impossible? the older thou growest, still the more desperate is thy case: for thy sins will be the more rooted and habituated in thee, and thy heart the more hardened to resist the grace of God: so that, upon all accounts, thy repentance is most uncertain; and, the longer thou continuest in sin, still the more unlikely and improbable. And then judge, thou thyself, whether it be not extreme madness and folly, to make so light, or no account of sinning, because thou makest account of repenting.


[2] Suppose it were most infallibly certain, that thou shalt repent; yet none, but Fools, will take up the pleasures of sin upon the sorrow, anguish, and bitterness of a true and hearty repentance.

Dost thou seriously consider what Repentance is? It is not a transitory wish; a warm sigh; or a languishing "Lord, have mercy," in a distress, or on a sick bed: and yet even these cannot be without judging and condemning themselves for Fools, when they sinned. No: but repentance is the breaking of the heart: a rending of the very soul in pieces. The usual preparatives to it are ghastly fears and terrors, sharp and dreadful convictions, that will even search thy very bowels, break thy bones, and burn up thy very marrow within thee. More especially doth God deal thus terribly with veteran, old, confirmed sinners; making repentance more bitter to them than to others, that they may see and confess themselves Fools, in indulging themselves in their sins, in hopes of repenting for them. Say, then, when the Devil and thine own lusts tempt thee to any sin; say, "If I commit this sin, either I shall repent of it, or I shall not: if I

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never repent of it, as it is a hazard whether I shall or no, what is there in sin, that can recompense the everlasting pain of damnation? if I shall repent, what is there in the sin, that can recompense the anguish and bitterness of repentance?" This is such an unanswerable dilemma, that all the craft and subtlety of hell can never solve. And, if we would but always keep this fixed in our minds, it were impossible that ever we should make light of sin. While thou thus arguest, thou arguest solidly and wisely: but, to say " I will sin, because perhaps I may repent," is quite below the meanest capacity, that ever owned the least glimpse of sense and reason.

(2) Is it not folly to make a mock at that, which will be sure to pay thee home, and to make a public mock and scorn of thee to the whole world?

How many have their sins and vices made infamous among men! They are a shame and a reproach to all, that are but of a civil and sober converse; and as much lost to reputation, as they are to virtue. But however, certainly all wicked and ungodly men shall be made a public scorn and derision to all the world, both God, angels, and men. God will mock at them: he tells them so expressly: for so the Wise Man speaks: Prov, i. 25, 26. Because ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof; I also will laugh at your calamity, and mock when your fear cometh: When your fear cometh as a desolation, and your destruction cometh like a whirlwind. All their sins and deeds of wickedness shall then be exposed to the open view and contempt of Saints and Angels, who shall subscribe to the righteous doom of their condemnation. Devils will then upbraid their folly; and triumph, that they have outwitted them into the same most miserable and deplorable state with themselves. Think now, O Sinner! how wilt thou be able to hold up thy guilty head, and thy amazed and confounded face? Whither, oh whither canst thou cause thy shame to go, when men and angels shall point and hiss at thee; and thy folly shall be proclaimed as loud as the last trumpet, which heaven and earth and all the world shall hear?

(3) Is it not the foolishness of folly itself, to make light of that, which will for ever damn thee ?

Art thou such an idiot, as to account hell a trifle, and damnation itself a slight matter? What is it then, that makes thee think sin so small and trifling a thing? For hell, eternal wrath are certainly entailed upon it.

and death, and Consider what

a most cutting reflection it will be to thee in hell, when thou shalt for ever cry out upon and curse thyself for a wretched Fool, that ever thou shouldst make light of those sins which would damn thee. What was there in them, for which thou hast forfeited heaven and everlasting happiness; but only a little. impure, brutish pleasure? And, now that it is passed and gone, what remains of them; but only the bitter remembrances ? Certainly, thou wilt, ten thousand times, and for ever, call thyself an accursed Fool for so doing, when it is too late to help it. Be persuaded therefore now, to be wise betimes for your souls: else you also will, when there is no redress, curse your own folly, that hath brought upon you all those extremities of woe and anguish.

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