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is an opening of the eyes of the mind to contemplation and joy, and there is an opening of the eyes of the body to shame and confusion. He promises them the former, but intends the latter; and so cheats them, giving them an apple in exchange for paradise; as he deals by thousands now a days. Satan with ease puts fallacies upon us by his golden baits, and then leads us to, and leaves us in, a fool's paradise. He promises the soul honour, pleasure, and profit, but pays the soul with the greatest contempt, shame, and loss that can be. By a golden bait he laboured to catch Christ; he shews him the beauty and the bravery of a bewitching world, which doubtless would have taken many a carnal heart; but here the devil's fire fell upon wet tinder, and therefore took not: these tempting objects did not at all win upon his affections, nor dazzle his eyes, though many have eternally died of the wound of the eye, and fallen for ever by this vile strumpet the world, who by laying forth her two fair breasts of profit and pleasure has wounded their souls, and cast them down into utter perdition. She has, by the glistering of her pomp and preferment, slain millions; as the serpent Scytale, who, when she cannot overtake the fleeing passengers, does, with her beautiful colours, astonish and amaze them so, that they have no power to pass away till she has stung them to death. Adversity has slain her thousands, but prosperity her ten thousands.
Now the remedies against this device of the devil, are these—
Rem.X. Keep at the greatest distance from sin, and from playing with the golden bait that Satan holds forth to catch you; for this you have in Rom. xii. 9; Abhor that which is evil, cleave to that which is good. When we meet with anything extremely evil, and contrary to us, nature abhors it, and retires as far as it can from it. The Greek word that is there rendered abhor, is very significant; it signifies to hate it as hell itself, to hate it with horror.
Anselm used to say, that if he should see the shame of sin on the one hand, and the pains of hell on the other, and must of necessity choose one, he would rather be thrust into hell without sin, than go into heaven with sin; so great was his hatred and detestation of sin. It is our wisest and our safest course to stand at the furthest distance from sin; not to go near the house of the harlot, but to fly from all appearance of evil. The best course to prevent falling into the pit, is to keep at the greatest distance. He who will be so bold as to attempt to dance upon the brink of the pit, may find, by woful experience, that it is a righteous thing with God, that he should fall into the pit. Joseph keeps at a distance from sin, and from playing with Satan's golden baits and stands. David draws near and plays with the bait, and falls, and swallows bait and hook with a witness. David comes near the snare, and is taken in it, to the breaking of his bones, the wounding of his conscience, and the loss of his God.
Sin is a plague, yea, the greatest and most infectious plague in the world; and yet O how few are they who tremble at it, who keep at a distance from it! Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? As soon as one sin had seized upon Adam's heart, all sins entered into his soul and overspread it. How has Adam's one sin spread over all mankind. Wherefore by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned, Rom. v. 12. Ah, how does the father's sin infect the child, the husband's infect the wife, the master's the servant! The sin that is in one.man's heart is able to infect a whole world; it is of such a spreading and infectious nature.
The story of the Italian, who first made his enemy deny God and then stabbed him, and so at once murdered both body and soul, declares the perfect malignity of sin. And O that what has been spoken upon this head, may prevail with you to stand at a distance from sin.
Rem. 2. Consider that sin is but a bitter-sweet. That seeming sweet which is in sin will quickly vanish, and lasting shame, sorrow, horror, and terror, will come in the room thereof, Though wickedness be sweet in his mouth, though he hide it under his tongue, though he spare it and forsake it not, but keep it still within his mouth, yet his meat in his bowels is turned; it is the gall of asps within him, Job. xx. 12—14. Forbidden profits and pleasures are most pleasing to vain men, who count madness mirth. Many long to be meddling with the murdering morsels of sin, which nourish not, but rend and consume the belly, the soul that receives them. Many eat that on earth, which they digest in hell. Sin's murdering morsels will deceive those that.devour them. Adam's apple was a bitter-sweet; Esau's mess was a bitter-sweet, the Israelite's quails a bitter-sweet, Jonathan's honey a bitter-sweet, and Adonijah's honey a bitter-sweet. After the meal is ended, comes the reckoning. Men must not think to dance and dine with the devil, and them to sup with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven; to feed upon the poison of asps, and yet that the viper's tongue shall not slay them. When the asp stings a man, it does first tickle him so that it makes him laugh, till the poison by little and little goes to the heart, and then it pains him more than ever it delighted him. So does sin. It may please a little at first, but it will pain the soul with a witness at last; yea, if there were the least real delight in sin, there could be no perfect hell, where men shall most perfectly be tormented with their sin.
Rem. 3. Solemnly consider, that sin will usher in the greatest and the saddest losses that can be upon our souls. It will usher in the loss of that divine favour that is better than life; and the loss of that joy that is unspeakable and full of glory; and the loss of that peace that passeth understanding; and the loss of those divine influences by which the soul has been refreshed, quickened, raised, strengthened, and gladdened; and the loss of many outward desirable mercies, which otherwise the soul might have enjoyed.
It was a sound and savoury reply of an English captain at the loss of Calais, when a proud Frenchman scornfully demanded, 'When will you fetch Calais again,' he replied, ' When your sins shall weigh down ours.' O England, my constant prayer for thee is, that thou mayst not sin away thy mercies into their hands, who cannot call mercy, mercy, and who would joy in nothing more than to see thy sorrow and misery, and to see that hand make thee naked, which has clothed thee with much mercy and glory.
Rem. 4. Seriously consider, that sin is of a very deceitful and bewitching nature. Sin is from the greatest deceiver; it is a child of his own begetting; it is the ground of all the deceit in the world, and it is in its own nature exceeding deceitful. But exhort one another daily, while it is called to day, lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin, Heb. iii. 13. It will kiss the soul, and pretend fair to the soul, and yet betray the soul for ever. It will, with Dalilah, smile upon us, that it may betray us into the hands of the devil, as she did Sampson into the hands of the Philistines. Sin gives Satan a power over us, and an advantage to accuse us and to lay claim to us, as those that wear his badge. It is of a very bewitching nature; it bewitches the soul where it is upon the throne, that the soul cannot leave it, though it perish eternally by it. Sin so bewitches the soul, that it makes the soul call evil good, and good evil; bitter sweet, and sweet bitter; light darkness, and darkness light; and a soul thus bewitched with sin, will stand it out to the death at the sword's point with God. Let God strike, :and wound, and cut to the very bone, yet the bewitched soul cares not, fears not, but will still hold on in a course of wickedness, as you may see in Pharaoh, Balaam, and Judas. Tell the bewitched soul, that sin is a viper that will certainly kill when it is not killed, that sin often kills secretly, insensibly, eternally; yet the bewitched soul cannot, and will not cease from sin. i:!_.
When the physicians told Theotimus, that except he did abstain from drunkenness and uncleanness, he would lose his eyes; his heart was so bewitched to his sins, that he answers, ' Then farewell sweet light.' He had rather lose his eyes than leave his sins. So a man bewitched with sin, had rather lose God, Christ, heaven, and his own soul, than part with his sin. O therefore for ever take heed of playing or nibbling at Satan's golden baits.
Dev. 2. The second Device of Satan to draw the soul to sin, is by painting sin with virtue's colours. Satan, knows that if he should present sin in its own nature and dress, the soul would rather fly from it, than yield to it, and therefore he presents it unto us, not in its own proper colours, but painted and gilded over with the name and shew of virtue, that we may the more easily be overcome by it, and take the more pleasure in committing it. Pride he presents to the soul under the name and notion of neatness and cleanliness; and covetousness, which the apostle condemns for idolatry, to be but good husbandry; and drunkenness to be good fellowship; and riotousness under the name and notion of liberality; and wantonness. is a trick of youth.
Now the remedies against this device of Satan, are these—
Rem. 1. Consider that sin is never a whit the less filthy, vile, and abominable by its being coloured and painted with virtue's colours. A poisonous pill is never a whit the less poisonous, because it is gilded over with gold; and a wolf is never a whit the less a wolf, because he has put on a sheep's skin; and the devil is never a whit the less a devil, because he appears sometimes like an angel of light.. So neither is sin any whit the less filthy and abominable, by its being painted over with virtue's colours.
Rem. 2. Consider that the more sin is painted for thunder the colour of virtue, the more dangerous it is to the souls of men. This we see evident in these days, by those very many souls that are turned out of the way which is holy, and in which their souls have had sweet and glorious communion with God, into ways of highest vanity and folly, by Satan's neat colouring over of sin, and painting forth of vice under the name and colour of virtue. This is so notoriously known that I need but name it. The most dangerous vermin are too often to be found under the fairest and sweetest flowers; and the fairest glove is often drawn upon the foulest hand; and the richest robes are often put upon the filthiest bodies; so are the fairest and sweetest names upon the greatest and the most horrible vices and errors that are in the world. O that we had not so many sad proofs of this amongst us!
Rem. 3. Look on sin with that eye, with which within a few hours we shall see it. Ah, souls, when you shall lie upon a dying bed, and stand before a judgment seat, sin shall be unmasked, and its dress and robes shall then be taken off, and then it shall appear more vile, filthy, and terrible, than hell itself. Then that which formerly appeared most