Mead, C. The Inhabitant shall not say, I am sick: the People that dwell therein shall be forgiven their Iniquities, Isai. London, Printed for Dor. Christian Reader, THe provident care of God is manifested toward his People in the present Preservation of, and provision for them. For although many now living, do through mercy enjoy able Teachers and Instructors; yet do they owe to him the Name of Father, as an Instrument of their Conversion.
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To the Reader. And I think amongst all the Treatises of this blessed man, Mr. That which is the undoing of those who think themselves no small Christians, is resting in a bare notion of the Creatures emptiness, Sins filthiness, Christs Fulness, and having some high towering speculations concerning the Nature and Object of Faith: and to be able to discourse of these things in company, and upon occasion, is the Religion of the World, and more especially of our Formal Professors.
Many mens thoughts language, and lives are such, that if they were certain there is no God, no Sin, no Hell, no wrath to be feared, no Grace to be minded and attained, no Judgment day when they must give an account, they could not be worse than they are, nor do worse than theydo; Oh the horrid Athiesm bound up in mens hearts, and they see it not, how else durst men be so prophane in their lives under Gospel light? In a word, how durst men walk without God in the world, at least without secret prayer and communing with their own hearts, dayes, weeks, months, years together?
Page 1 Chap. Also Five different workings of the hearts of the Saints under sin, and under affliction. The Scripture cals it, 1 Enmity. Also sin is a wronging of God. How sin wrongs God in his personal Relations. Sin wrong God in the End for which he hath made all things. First, See the several expressions of Scripture: 1 He was sorrowful to death. Secondly, See the effects of Christs being in an Agony: 1 He fell grovelling on the ground.
Thirdly, There is eight Considerations of Christs sufferings. Sin is most opposite to Mans Good; and far more opposite to the Good of man than Affliction. Sin is more opposite to mans good than affliction, for that sin makes all the Creatures of God at enmity with a sinner. Sin is a greater evil to man than affliction, because it puts a man under the Curse of God. Sin is the Seed of Eternal Evil, therefore more hurtful to man than affliction.
An Use thereof, Then see that those men are deceived that think to provide well for themselves by sin. Sin is worse than affliction, because it hardens the heart against God, and the means of Grace. Use 1 Then see the maliciousness that is in sin. Use 2 To pitty those that go on in sinful wayes.
Use 3 Let sin be dealt hardly with. Fourthly, Sin is the shame of all Evils. Fifthly, The Eternity of all Evil comes from Sin. First, Because nothing but an Infinite Power can overcome it.
Secondly, Sin hath a kind of infinitness, because it hath an infinite desert in it, expressed in Three Particulars: 1 The desert of the loss of an infinite Good. Thirdly, Sin hath a kind of infinite Evil, because there is required an infinite Price to make an Attonement between God and Man. Fourthly, There is a kind of infinit Evil in Sin, because we must hate it infinitely.
First, Sin is of the same Nature with the Devil. Secondly, Sin is from the Devil. Fourthly, Sinning is a fulfilling the will of the Devil. Fifthly, Sin sells the Soul to the Devil. Sixtly, Sin, it turns the Soul into a Devil. How the delivering up to Satan can be for the saving of the Soul. First, Against those that have slight thoughts of trouble of Conscience, which ariseth either from gross Ignorance, or Atheism, or desperate slighting of God.
Secondly, Trouble of Conscience is the beginning of eternal death. Thirdly, Those that have slight thoughts of trouble of Conscience, can never prise Christ. Fourthly, Those that have slight thoughts of trouble of Conscience now, shall one day alter their opinion. Fifthly, It were just with God to let those sinkunder the burden of Conscience that have slight thoughts of it now. Sixtly, Those that have slight thoughts of trouble of Conscience, those very thoughts do take away a chief restraint from sin.
Seventhly, Slight thoughts of trouble of Conscience for sin, are, 1 A high degree of Blasphemy. Melancholly prevails on men by degrees, but trouble of Conscience many times comes suddenly, as lightening. The more Melancholly any hath, the less able are they to bear outward affliction; but the more trouble of Conscience, the more able to bear outward afflictions.
Melancholly puts a dulness upon the spirits of men, but trouble of Conscience for sin puts a mighty activity upon mens spirits. Trouble of Conscience cannot be cured the waies melancholly may. First, If a man be prosperous by sin, if a man raise himself to a prosperous condition by any sinful way, let such men consider three things: 1 What is got by sin, it cost dear. Secondly, When men come to be more sinful by their prosperity: explained in three Particulars: 1 When prosperity is fuel for their sin.
Use 3. Use 4. If there be so much Evil in sin, this justifie the strictness and care of Gods People against sin. Two Directions to those that make conscience of smal sins. First, Be even in your waies, strict against all sin. Secondly, Be very yeilding in all Lawful things. Use 5. If there be so much Evil in Sin, hence then is justified the dreadful things spoken in the Word against sinners. Use 6. If there be so much Evil in sin, it shew the miserable condition of those whose hearts and lives are filled with sin.
Use 7. If there be so much Evil in sin, how dreadful a thing it is for men or women to delight in sin. LIX Use 8. If there be so much Evil in sin, then every soul is to be humbled for sin. Use 9. If there be so much Evil in sin, this should be a loud cry to stop men, and turn them from sin. If there be so much Evil in sin, then turn to Christ, and bless God for Christ. Use If there be so much Evil in sin, then it is of great concernment to be Religious betimes, and thereby prevent much sin.
If there be so much Evil in sin, then there ought to be no pleading for sin. If there be more Evil in sin than in affliction, then when sin and affliction meet they make a man most miserable.
Being of Reprehension to six sorts of People. First, It reprehends those that are more afraid of Affliction than Sin. For 1 This may be without change of Nature. Also two Answers to an Objection of those that think they avoid sin for fear of Hell: 1. Those that avoid sin meerly for fear, never come to love the Command that forbid the sin.
They are willingly ignorant of many sins. Those that avoid sin, and not out of fear; even when they fear, God will destroy them; then they desire God may be glorified.
Those that avoid sin out of fear, do not see the excellency of Godliness, so as to be inamored with it. Thirdly, It reprehends those that will sin to avoid affliction.
Fourthly, It rebukes such, as when they are under affliction, they be more sensible of affliction than of sin. Also there is five Discoveries whether mens affliction or sin trouble them. Fifthly, It reprehends those that get out of affliction by sinful courses, and yet think they do well. Sixthly, It reprehends those, that after deliverance from affliction, can bless themselves in their sins.
Or thus, Thou hast Chosen Iniquity, rather than Affliction; whereas God requires of thee to give him glory in thy humble submission unto him in thy Patience, under his mighty hand, thou hast behaved thy self stubbornly and stoutly, and hast denyed to give God the glory of his Soveraignty, Majesty, Holiness, Justice, and Purity; and this thou hast Chosen rather than to be content to lie under the Afflicting hand of God: which way so ever it be taken, it was a heavie Charge had it been true; So for it to be alleadged against any Souls, That they Chuse Iniquity rather than Affliction, is a great and heavy Charge.
Many of you when it comes to it wil be loather to loose a groat than commit a sin, loather to endure the least shame or a nick-name, than to commit a sin: Are there not many Servants here, or Children, wil tel a Lye when they have done an evil rather than suffer a little shame in the Family from their Parents, or Masters, or fellow Servants, and Children.
You know how it was with Paul, when he speaks of Afflictions these be his Expressions, but light and momentary, but for a moment, but they work an exceeding weight of Glory: mark light Afflictions, what were they?
Thus he gives a dreadful shreek at sin; see what a difference he makes between Affliction and Sin, and accounts it abundantly more evil to be in sin, than in affliction. Afflictions taken in the strength and latitude of them, yet they have no greater evil in them then Christ is capable of. First, I shall fully make it out, That Affliction is to be chosen rather than sin. This Second I shal shew in the following Chapters.
First, Affliction hath some good in it, but sin hath none: You know what David saith, Ps. Paul speaks of Sin, he saith, In me that is in my flesh dwelleth no good, Rom. This is a great Mystery. Secondly, It hath no good of Causallity: that is, Sin is so evil, as it can bring forth no good: Afflictions bring forth good: Sin is such an evil as it cannot be made good: not an instrument for good: Afflictions are made instrumental for good.
No, wil you say, Cannot God bring good out of sin? And doth not God bring good out of sin? To this I Answer, True, God brings good out of sin, that is Occasionally, but not Instrumentally: He may take occasion to bring good out of sin committed: but mark God never makes sin an instrument for good; for an instrument comes under somwhat as an Efficiency: for an instrument gives some power towards the Effect; but thus God never useth sin, God never made sin an instrument of any good; that is, that sin should have any power any influence into that good effect that God brings out of it as Afflictions have; God doth not only take occasion by Afflictions to do his people good, but he makes them Channels to convey the Mercies to their Souls: And thus Afflictions have an instrumental efficacy in them, to do men good: Therefore saith the Holy Ghost in Heb.
He Chastens them for their profit, that they might be partakers of his holiness: The greatest good the Creature is capable of, Affliction is made oftentimes the instrument to convey: And in Isa. This is the Second. But now if this be so that want of afflictions may come from Gods wrath and the being put into affliction may come from Gods love, certainly then there is not so much evil in affliction as is in sin; for it can never be said so of sin.
The Evil of Evils
If we do but consider. The Evil of Evils: The Exceeding Sinfulness of Sin Oh this is a mighty mistake, thou hast ventured the loss of a great deal of good, for that which hath no good at all. If all the strength of all the men that ever were since the beginning of the world, evlis all the Angels in Heaven were put into one, and he had but that weight jeremuah him that Christ had, it rvil have made him sink down into eternal despair: Thus he gives a dreadful shreek at sin; see what a difference he makes between Affliction and Sin, and accounts it abundantly more evil to be in sin, than in affliction. I said before, sin was continually working against God; but now I say. Oh that God would convince al our hearts of these things.
The Evil of Evils, or the Exceeding Sinfulness of Sin
Nikomi Sin cannot be the Object of a rational Creature. This is the sore displeasure of God against them, that God I say should not look upon the Angels that he hath made glorious Creatures, the most excellent of all the work of his hands: How doth this appear? Because there is no Attribute abused to be an Abettor to Sin, more than the Mercie of God is; and its abused and made to harden the hearts of men and women in Sin, no Attribute so much abused. These fears and horrors I say are not the chief; the chief of all is the humiliation of the soul for sin, as it is against God; then is the heart humbled aright for sin, when it apprehends how by sin the soul hath been against the infinite glorious first-Being of all things. God made all things good, very good, and all that one Creature might be serviceable to another; as one wheel to a curious Watch is serviceable to another, and all to bring about the end of the Workman; so God in his eternal Will and Counsel hath set all things in that proportion and order that he may fetch about his own end.