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according to the apostle, to "crucify again the Lord of life." If any of these things were attempted against a majesty upon earth, it were enough to make the offender's flesh to be plucked off with pincers, to have him torn in pieces with wild horses, to pull down his house, and sow the place with salt, and make his whole lineage infamous. If such an offence were committed by one man against another, betwixt whom the difference is not great, being both equal in nature, it were very heinous; what shall it deserve, being committed against God, the Lord and Creator of all, whose immense greatness is infinitely distant from the nature of his creature? O good God! who is able to express what a sinner doth against thee and himself! He despises thy majesty, razes out thy law from his heart, contemns thy justice, scorns thy threats, despises thy promises, makes a solemn renunciation of thy glory, thou hast promised him; and all to bind himself an eternal slave to Satan, desiring rather to please thine enemy than thee, who art his Father, his Friend, and all his good, desiring rather to die eternally, by displeasing thee, than to enjoy heaven for ever, by serving thee.

Let us now see where, and in what place, a sinner presumes to sin, and be a traitor unto God; it is even in his own world, in his own house; and knowing that his Creator looks upon him, he offends him: if a sin were committed where God could not see it, it were yet an enormous fault; but to do an injury to his Creator, before his face, what an unspeakable impudence is it! If he who sins could go into another world, where God did not inhabit, and there, in secret under the earth, should sin after such a manner, as only himself should know it, yet it were a great boldness; but to sin in his own house, which is this world, what hell doth it not deserve? For a man only to lay his hand upon his sword, in the palace of a king, is capital, and deserves death. For a sinner then, by his sins, to spurn and crucify the Son of God, in the house of his Father, and before his face, what understanding can conceive the greatness of such a malice? And therefore David, with reason, dissolved himself into tears, because he had sinned in the presence of God, and with a grief which pierced his heart, cried out, "I have done evil before thee." Besides this, we not only sin against God in his own house, but even in his arms, whilst we are

upheld by his omnipotence: if there were a son so wicked, who, whilst he was cherished in his mother's bosom, should strike her, and endeavour to kill her, every one would think that a most impious child: how, then, dares man offend God, who sustains, preserves, and hath redeemed him?

The heinousness of this malice in sin is much augmented, by the helps which a sinner uses to effect it; for he turns those very Divine benefits, which he hath received from God, against him who gave them. The sense which men usually have of ingratitude, is most apprehensive; if to forget a benefit be ingratitude, to despise it is an injury; but to use it against the benefactor, I know not what to call it this does he who sins, making use of those creatures, which God created for his service, to offend him; and converts his Divine benefits into arms against God himself! What could we say, if a king, to honour his soldier, should make him a knight, arm him with his own arms, should gird his sword about him with his own hands, and that the soldier, so soon as he was possessed of the sword, should draw it against the king, and murder him? This wickedness, which seems impossible amongst men, is ordinary in man towards God; who, being honoured so many ways by his Creator, and enriched with so many benefits, as much as in him lies bereaves God of his honour, and desires to bereave him of his life his understanding, which he received from God, he uses in finding out a way to execute his sin; with his hands he performs it, and, with all his power, offends him who gave them.

But if we shall consider why man does this, it is a circumstance which will amaze us at the malice of it. Why doth a sinner thus offend against his God? Wherefore does he despise his Creator? Wherefore is he a traitor unto the Lord of the world? Wherefore doth he abhor his Redeemer? What reason hath he for so monstrous a wickedness? It is only for a base and filthy pleasure, for a foolish fancy of man, because he will, and no more. O horrid insolence! O mad fury of men, which, without a cause, so grievously offend their Creator; and, by their sins, provoke so good and gracious a God!

The manner also of our sinning would astonish any, who should seriously consider it; it is with so much impudence,

pride, and contempt of God, after having heard so many examples of his chastisements executed upon sinners, after having seen that the most beautiful and glorious of all the angels, and, with him, innumerable others, were thrown from heaven, and made fire-brands in hell, for one sin, and that only in thought; after having seen the first man, for one sin, banished from the Paradise of pleasure, into this valley of tears, despoiled of so many supernatural endowments, and condemned to death; after having known that so many have been damned for their offences; after that the Son of God had suffered upon the cross for our sins; after all this, to sin is an impudence never heard of, and an intolerable contempt of the Divine justice.

Besides, what greater scorn and contempt of God than this; that God, who is worthy of all honour and love, and the devil, who is our professed enemy, pretending both to our souls, the one to save them, the other to torment them in eternal flames, yet we adhere to Satan, and prefer him before Christ, our Saviour and Redeemer; and that so much to our prejudice, as by the loss of eternal glory, and captivating ourselves unto eternal torments and slavery! The manner also of sinning aggravates the sin, as the sinner doth, by losing thereby eternal happiness; though he who sins much, lost nothing, yet the offence against God were great; but well knowing the great damages and punishments likewise that attend sin, and the evident hazard he runs, and yet to sin, is a strange impudence. If we shall consider when it is that we sin, we shall find this circumstance no less to aggravate our offences than the former: because we now sin, when we know that the Son of God was nailed unto the cross, that we should not sin; when we know that God was incarnate for us, humbled himself to be made man, and subjected himself unto death, even the death of the cross, for our redemption: to sin after we had seen God so good and obliging unto us, with those not to be imagined favours, is a circumstance which ought much to be pondered in our hearts, and might make us forbear the offending of so loving a Father. And that Christian, who sins after all this, is to be esteemed worse than a devil; for the devil never sinned against that God, who had shed his blood for him, or who had pardoned so much as one sin of his. When those

sinned who were under the law of nature, they had not seen the Son of God die for their salvation, as a Christian hath; and there is no doubt but Christians will deserve new torments, and greater than those who have not had the knowledge of God, nor received so many benefits from him.

Let us consider about what sin is committed, and we do offend God. It is about complying with a sensual gust, which, in the end, bereaves us of health, of honour, of substance, and even of pleasure itself; suffering many days of grief for a moment of delight; about things of the earth, which are vile and transitory; and about goods of the world, which are false, short, and deceitful. What would we say, if, for a thing of so small value as a straw, one man should kill another? No more than a straw are all the felicities of the world, in respect of those of heaven; and for a thing of so small consideration, we are traitors to God, and crucify Christ again; and that a thousand times, as often as we sin mortally against him.


Lastly consider whom we offend; it is God, who is most perfect, most wise, immense, omnipotent, and infinite. We sin against him who infinitely loves us, who suffers us, who heaps his benefits and rewards upon us; to do evil to those who make much of them, even wild beasts abhor it; what is it then for thee to injure him, who loved thee more than himself? Who hath done thee all good, that thou shouldest do no evil? Fear then this Lord, reverence his majesty, love his goodness, and offend him no more. Sin is so evil, that it is every way evil; behold it on every side, it still seems worse. It is not only evil, as it is an injury to God, but it is evil in itself, in its own nature; for if there were no God, or that God were not offended with it, yet it were a most horrid evil, the greatest of all evils, and the cause of all evils. In regard of this deformity and filthiness of sin, the philosophers judged it to be abhorred above all things, and those who denied the immortality of the soul, and the providence of God, affirmed that nothing should make them commit it; and there have been some amongst them who have suffered great extremities, to avoid a vicious act: Damocles, as Plutarch writes, chose rather to be boiled in scalding water than to consent to a filthy act; for which reason is Hippo celebrated amongst the Greek matrons, who chose rather to die

than offend. These were Gentiles, who saw not hell open for the punishment of sinners, nor fled from sin, because it was an offence unto God, but only for the enormity and filthiness it had in itself: this made them endure prisons and tortures, rather than admit it. What should Christians then do, who know how much sin is offensive to God? Certainly they ought rather to give a thousand lives, than once to injure their Creator by committing an offence, which not only Gentiles, but even nature, hath in horror, which hath planted in brute beasts, although they cannot sin, yet a natural aversion from that which looks like sin.

Pliny admires the force of lightning, which melts the gold and silver, and leaves the purse which contains it, untouched; such is sin, which kills the soul, and leaves the body sound and active; it is a flash of lightning sent from hell, and such leaves the soul which it hath blasted.

Sin, though it were the best thing of the world, yet, for the evil effects it produces, it ought to be avoided more than death; it bereaves the soul of grace, banishes the Holy Ghost, deprives it of the right of heaven; makes him unworthy of Divine protection, and condemns a sinner unto eternal torments in the other world, and in this to many disasters; for there is neither plague, war, famine, nor infirmity of body, whereof sin hath not been in some sort the occasion. And therefore those who weep for their afflictions, let them change the object of their tears, and weep for the cause, which is their sin.

I will therefore from henceforth resolve, that although I were certain that men should not know my sins, and that God would pardon them; yet I will not offend for the very filthiness of sin.



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