Tuesday, July 29, 2008

There is a way which seemeth right unto a man,

Fools make a mock at sin: but among the righteous there is favour.

See here, How wicked people are hardened in their wickedness: they make a mock at sin. They make a laughing matter of the sins of others, making themselves and their companions merry with that for which they should mourn, and they make a light matter of their own sins, both when they are tempted to sin and when they have committed it; they call evil good and good evil , turn it off with a jest, rush into sin and say they shall have peace though they go on. They care not what mischief they do by their sins, and laugh at those that tell them of it. They are advocates for sin, and are ingenious at framing excuses for it. Fools make a mock at the sin-offering (so some); those that make light of sin make light of Christ. Those are fools that make light of sin, for they make light of that which God complains of, which lay heavily upon Christ, and which they themselves will have other thoughts of shortly. How good people are encouraged in their goodness: Among the righteous there is favour; if they in any thing offend, they presently repent and obtain the favour of God. They have a goodwill one to another; and among them, in their societies, there is mutual charity and compassion in cases of offences, and no mocking.


There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

We have here an account of the way and end of a great many self-deluded souls. Their way is seemingly fair: It seems right to themselves; they please themselves with a fancy that they are as they should be, that their opinions and practices are good, and such as will bear them out. The way of ignorance and carelessness, the way of worldliness and earthly-mindedness, the way of sensuality and flesh-pleasing, seem right to those that walk in them, much more the way of hypocrisy in religion, external performances, partial reformations, and blind zeal; this they imagine will bring them to heaven; they flatter themselves in their own eyes that all will be well at last. Their end is really fearful, and the more so for their mistake: It is the ways of death, eternal death; their iniquity will certainly be their ruin, and they will perish with a lie in their right hand. Self-deceivers will prove in the end self-destroyers.

Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth is heaviness.

This shows the vanity of carnal mirth, and proves what Solomon said of laughter, that it is mad; for, There is sadness under it. Sometimes when sinners are under convictions, or some great trouble, they dissemble their grief by a forced mirth, and put a good face on it, because they will not seem to yield: they cry not when he binds them. Nay, when men really are merry, yet at the same time there is some alloy or other to their mirth, something that casts a damp upon it, which all their gaiety cannot keep from their heart. Their consciences tell them they have no reason to be merry, they cannot but see the vanity of it. Spiritual joy is seated in the soul; the joy of the hypocrite is but from the teeth outward. There is worse after it: The end of that mirth is heaviness. It is soon over, like the crackling of thorns under a pot; and, if the conscience be awake, all sinful and profane mirth will be reflected upon with bitterness; if not, the heaviness will be so much the greater when for all these things God shall bring the sinner into judgment. The sorrows of the saints will end in everlasting joys, but the laughter of fools will end in endless weeping and wailing.

The Righteous and the Wicked Contrasted.

The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself.

The misery of sinners will be an eternal surfeit upon their sins: The backslider in heart, who for fear of suffering, or in hope of profit or pleasure, forsakes God and his duty, shall be filled with his own ways; God will give him enough of them. They would not leave their brutish lusts and passions, and therefore they shall stick by them, to their everlasting terror and torment. He that is filthy shall be filthy still. "Son, remember," shall fill them with their own ways, and set their sins in order before them. Backsliding begins in the heart; it is the evil heart of unbelief that departs from God; and of all sinners backsliders will have most terror when they reflect on their own ways, The happiness of the saints will be an eternal satisfaction in their graces, as tokens of and qualifications for God's peculiar favour: A good man shall be abundantly satisfied from himself, from what God has wrought in him. He has rejoicing in himself alone, As sinners never think they have sin enough till it brings them to hell, so saints never think they have grace enough till it brings them to heaven.

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