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Fools Mock at Sin

Fools Mock at Sin

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
EDITED BY REV. EDWARD ATKYNS BRAY


FROM HOPKINS *.


PROVERJIS XIV, 9. Fools make a mock at sin.
EDITED BY REV. EDWARD ATKYNS BRAY


FROM HOPKINS *.


PROVERJIS XIV, 9. Fools make a mock at sin.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jul 09, 2014
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FOOLS MOCK AT SI

EDITED BY REV. EDWARD ATKYS BRAY
FROM HOPKIS *.
PROVERJIS XIV, 9. Fools make a mock at sin.
Generally speaking, we are to expect but little or
no connexion in the Book of Proverbs. Other
parts of Scripture are like a rich mine^ v\^here the
precious metal runs in a continued vein. But this
is like a heap of pearls ; which, though they are
loose and unstrung, are not therefore the less va-
luable.
There are two things in sin, impiety and folli/ :
and lawfully may we scorn the one, whilst we can-
not but hate and detest the other. And a due
admixture of scorn and indignation is not only well
calculated to enkindle our zeal for God^ but may
often be a requisite temper for him who is to reprove
* Ezekiel Hopkins, Bishop of Londonderry, was born about
163a, and died at the age of 57.
s
258
confident and audacious sinners. But to laugh afe
the wickedness of others, and to make their guilt
and shame our mirth and recreation, is as unchris-
tian as it is inhuman : for we may as well laugh at
their damnation, as at that which will lead them to
it
/ How glorious was man among created beings,
before sin debased and sullied him — the friend of
God, the Lord of the creation— till sin despoiled
him of his excellence, and made him who was
almost equal to the angels, worse even than the
very beasts that perish. Canst thou, then, laugh
and make a mock at that which has ruined and
undone thi/ self sls well as others. Thi/ nature is
deformed as much as theirs. When we look abroad
into the world, and observe the abominable wicked-
ness that is every where committed, what else do we
behold in it but the woeful effects of our oimi cor-
rupt nature ? We here discover what we are our-
selves : for, as in water, face answereth to face,
80 doth the heart of man to man. More reason,,
therefore, have we to lament the sins of others than
to make our sport of them; since we ourselves,
without the restraining grace of God, are but too
prone to imitate and perhaps exceed them.
Consider, then, how impious, how desperately
wicked are they who tempt others to sin, that they
may raise a scene of mirth out of the ruins of their
souls ; or who sin themselves, and purchase the
damnation of their own souls, merely that they ma^f
259
make sport for others. And yet, how many are
there that will spare neither God nor Scripture,
neither heaven nor religion, if they present but an
opportunity for their wit. However sacred, how-
ever venerable — nothing can escape them, if they
can but turn it into ridicule — wretches ! who dare
to violate the most tremendous mysteries of reli-
gion, and expose their God to scorn, his oracles to
contempt, and their own souls to eternal perdition ;
for the praise and admiration of fools, who think
they commence wits by applauding blasphemy !
Too many, alas ! there are, who, not content with
laughing at the sins of others, make a mock, also,
at their own, and think the commission of them a
matter even of the most trifling nature. The
slightest provocations, the easiest temptations, are
sufficient to make them rush boldly into the com-
mission of sin. Any slight and trifling gain, any
short and transitory pleasure, is fully sufficient to
make them venture upon whatever crime either the
devil or their own depraved hearts shall suggest to
them.
How hard, then, must it necessarily be to bring
them to any real sorrow or compunction ! Though
even the dreadful threaten ings that are denounced
in God's holy word, and all the woes and curses of
God's justice, be directed against them ; yet will
they still hold fast their confidence and boldness ;
and cannot, or will not, be persuaded that God
should be angry for such trivial causes.
s2
260
And too frequently, even if they should happen
to -be sensible of the truth of these considerations,
they til ink that a slight and formal repentance will
suffice to make amends for all. They pacify their
consciences, and think they can appease Go cZ also,
by crying his mercy ; and consider it as easy to
repent of their sins, as it is to commit them.
If we would know the cause that induces the
wicked to make so light of their sins, we shall find
that it is because they see so few instances of God's
wrath and vengeance in this world. And those rare
ones that cannot but be seen and acknowledged,
they are ever more willing to impute to chance,
than to the retribution of divine justice. Because
God winks at them for a time, they conclude that he
is blind ; or, at least, that he does not greatly dis-
approve when he does not speedily punish. It
would be somewhat difficult, indeed, to answer this
argument, were this present life the appointed
time of recompence. But, though thou art daily
adding to thy sins, and feelest not now the effects
of God's wrathful indignation ; yet know, that the
storm is gathering around thee. And, when thou
launchest forth into the boundless ocean of eternity,,
then will it break upon thee in tempestuous fury,
and drovvn thy soul in perdition and destruction.
Another cause that makes the wicked think so
lightly of sin, is, that it cannot affect God with any
real injury ; for, as he is not benefited by our ser-
vices, neither is he wronged by our iniquities.
2GI
Thy sins^ it is true, can never invade God's
essence ; for infinitely is it above the vain attacks
either of men or devils. But yet thou wouldst
dethrone him if thou couldst ; tliou wouldst not
have him be so just and holy as he is ; not so holy
in hating- thy sins, not so just in punishing them :
in a word, thou wouldst not have him to be God.
Sinners (remember) contradict God's purity, they
rebel against his sovereignty, they violate his com-
mands, they defy his justice, they provoke his
mercy, they despise his thrcatenings, and hinder the
manifestations of his glory to the world : and is all
this nothing ? Thou, therefore, who art guilty of
this rebelhon against the majesty of heaven, canst
thou think that thy sins are slight and inconsider-
able, unworthy either of the cognizance or the
vengeance of the Almighty ? Believe it, the day is
coming and will not tarry, when the guilt that thou
carriest so peaceably in thy bosom, and which, like
a frozen serpent, stirs not, and stings not, shall,
when heated by the flames of hell, fly in thy face,
appear in all its native horror, and overwhelm thy
soul with everlasting anguish. And then, but alas !
too late, then wilt thou exclaim against thyself, as
WORSE than s.fool, or madman, for making a mock at
that which has eternally ruined and destroyed thee.
Is it not the very height of folly and of madness
when men rush into sin, upon the presumptuous
confidence, that they may hereafter be sorry that they
have done it. They venture on a certain guilt, ia
262
hopes of an uncertain repentance. But God may
eut thee off, thou rash and thoughtless sinner^ in
the very act of that sin vvhich thou intendest to
repent of hereafter : or, if he afford thee time for
repentance, he may withhold his grace ; and in hi$
just and righteous, but yet fearful judgment, per-
mit thee to go on, treasuring up unto thyself
wrath, against the day of wrath. Alas ! how
many, in his signal vengeance, has God cut off,
with an oath, a curse, or a blasphemy in their
mouths, even before they were pronounced.
If vengeance should spare thee for a while,
yet thou knowest not how soon it may strike thee.
It is folly for thee to expect the warning of a sick
bed. Death often surprises by sudden casualties, or
by diseases equally as sudden. But if God, as thou
wouldst have him, should lay thee on the bed of
sickness, may he not justly visit thee with such
distempers as may make thee incapable of doing*
the last kind office to thy soul which thou hast so
totally neglected in thy health ? It is folly to
expect the admonition of old age. Alas ! the
almond-tree does not every where flourish ; and
it is not one in many thousands who lays down a
hoary head in the bed of the grave. But, granting*
thou couldst be assured of the continuance of thy
life, yet, is it not the most egregious folly to sin
in hopes of repenting, when every act of sin will
make thy repentance the more difficulty, if not im^
possible ?
263
And suppose thou wert also certain thai thou
«halt repent, yet surely none but fools will pur-
chase the pleasures of sin with the bitterness and
anguish of a true and hearty repentance. Dost
thou seriously consider what repentance is ? It is,
not a transitory wish, a deep and anxious sigh, a
piercing exclamation of Lord have mercy upon me
— o — Repentance is the breaking of the heart, a
rending of the very soul in pieces. Say, then,
when thou art tempted by thy lusts ; say, — '' If I
commit this sin, either I shall repent of it, or I
shall not. If I never repent of it (and it is doubt-
ful whether I shall or not,) what is there in the sin,
that can recompense the anguish and bitterness of
repentance?'* But to say, " I will sin; because
perhaps I may repent ;** is below the meanest capa-
city that ever owned the slightest glimpse of reason.
Is it not folly to make a mock of that which will
make thee the public scorn of the whole world?
How many by their sins and vices have become
altogether infamous ! Are they not a shame and a
reproach ; and lost to reputation, as much as they
are to virtue ? Yes ! The wicked shall be the
scorn and the derision of God, of angels, and of
men. God tells them so himself Because j/e have
set at nought all my counsel, and zoould none of
my reproof ; I also will laugh at your calamity^ I
tcill MOCK when your fear cotneth ; when your fear
cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh
us a whirlwind. Then all their deeds of wicked-
S64
ness shall be exposed to the view and the con-
tempt of saints and angels ; who shall subscribe to
the righteous doom of their condemnation. Think,
whither canst thou hide thy shame, when men and
angels shall point at thee with scorn ; and thy folli/
shall be proclaimed, loud as the last trumpet of the
great Archangel, which heaven and earthy and all
the world shall hear ?
What is it, then, that makes thee consider sin a
thing so trifling, when death and eternal wrath are
so certainly entailed on it ? Consider how cutting
will te the reflection, when, writhing amid insuf-
ferable torments, thou shalt curse thyself as a
wretched fool, that ever thou shouldst have made
ight of those sins which could not fail to bring thee
to destruction.
Be persuaded, therefore, O my brethren, to be
wise betimes, even whilst it is called to-daj/, in
securing the salvation of your souls ; lest you also,
when there is no redress, should curse your own
folli/i for bringing upon you all those fearful extre-
mities of eternal and unmitigated anguish.
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