The excess of impiety which has broken down the banks of common civility and modesty, at first led my thoughts to these ensuing subjects. The spirits of men are leavened with atheism, and their lives are stained with debauchery. I do not know what to call them but baptized heathens. I am sure the floods of sin are risen, even to a deluge. There is a generation among us of whom I may say, that they militate against religion. They are so exceedingly profane that they esteem the Bible to be a fable, and would jeer all holiness out of the world! The "prince of the power of the air" now works in the children of disobedience, Ephesians 2:2.
In our Savior's time, many men's bodies were possessed with demons. But now, people's souls are possessed. One is possessed with a blasphemous devil, another with a spiteful devil, another with a drunken devil. This is one great sign of the approach of the last day: "iniquity shall abound," Matthew 24:12. Men's lusts have grown fierce and insatiable and, like vipers, lie sucking them! But Oh, how dire and tremendous will the effects of sin be!
"They were brought low for their iniquity." Sin is such a trade, that whoever follows is sure to go bankrupt. What did Achan get by his wedge of gold? It was a wedge to cleave asunder his soul from God! What did Judas get by his treason? He purchased a halter! What did King Ahaz get by worshiping the gods of Damascus? They were the ruin of him and all Israel, 2 Chronicles 28:23. Sin is first pleasant, and then tragic! I may fitly apply those words of Solomon to sin, Proverbs 7:26. "She has cast down many wounded." Oh, what a harvest of souls is the devil likely to have! Isaiah 5:14, "Hell has enlarged itself." It is greedy to make room for its guests. It is a matter of grief, to think that the dragon should have so many followers, and the Lamb so few!
Cyprian brings in the devil insulting Christ thus: "As for my followers, I never died for them as Christ has died for His. I never promised them as great a reward as Christ has done to His; yet I have greater numbers than He, and my followers venture more for me than His do for Him!"
Some sin out of ignorance, but even the blind can find the way to hell. But most sin out of choice. They know the forbidden dish, but they lust after it, though in the day they eat thereof, they shall surely die!
My design in this small treatise is to give check to sinners, and sound a pious retreat in their ears, to make them return from the hot pursuit of their impieties. If notwithstanding all my admonitions, they will run counter to the Word of God, and prostitute themselves to their sordid lusts, they are soul-suicides, and their blood will be upon their own head! God will say to them in anger, "If you die, you die. If you are killed, you are killed." Zechariah 11:9
I have, at the request of some friends, made this discourse public. I acknowledge it is not inflated with rhetorical huffing and puffing, embellished with flowers of eloquence. Paul's preaching was "not with enticing words of wisdom, but in the demonstration of the Spirit and power," 1 Corinthians 2:4. Plainness is ever best in beating down sin! When a wound festers, it is fitter to lance it, than to cover it with silk.
Reader, that God will bless these few meditations to you, and make them operative upon your heart, is the prayer of him who is your friend, and studious of your eternal welfare,