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See Sin For What It Is

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 sweet will appear most bitter, and that which appeared most beautiful will appear most ugly, and that which appeared most delightful will then appear most dreadful to the soul.

Ah, the shame, the pain, the gall, the bitterness, the horror, the hell that the sight of sin, when its dress is taken off, will raise in poor souls! Sin will surely prove evil and bitter to the soul when its robes are taken off. A man may have the stone who feels no fit of it. Conscience will work at last, though for the present one may feel no fit of accusation. Laban shewed himself at parting. Sin will be bitterness in the latter end, when it shall appear to the soul in its own filthy nature. The devil deals with men as the panther doth with beasts; he hides his deformed head till his sweet scent hath drawn them into his danger. Till we have sinned, Satan is a parasite; when we have sinned, he is a tyrant.

O souls! the day is at hand when the devil will pull off the paint and garnish that he hath put upon sin, and present that monster, sin, in such a monstrous shape to your souls, that will cause your thoughts to be troubled, your countenance to be changed, the joints of your loins to be loosed, and your knees to be dashed one against another, and your hearts to be so terrified, that you will be ready, with Ahithophel and Judas, to strangle and hang your bodies on earth, and your souls in hell, if the Lord hath not more mercy on you than he had on them.

Oh! therefore, look upon sin now as you must look upon it to all eternity, and as God, conscience, and Satan will present it to you another day!

—Thomas Brooks
The Complete Works of Thomas Brooks, 1:17.

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The Progression of Sin

The degeneration of human nature is such that it not only practice sins, but glories in them.

Man fallen is but man inverted and turned upside down; his love is where his hatred should be, and his hatred where his love should be; his glory where his shame should be, and his shame where his glory should be.

Many count strictness a disgrace, and sin a bravery. The apostle saith, “They glory in their shame” (Phil. 3:19). It cometh to pass sometimes through ignorance; men mistake evil for good, and so call revenge valour or resolution, and prosperity in an evil way the blessing of providence upon their zealous endeavours, and presumptuous carelessness a well-built confidence.

God charged it upon his people that they had made great feasts of rejoicing when they had more cause to mourn: “The holy flesh is past from thee; when thou dost evil, then thou rejoicest” (Jer. 11:15). Usually, by our fond mistakes, thus it is we are blessing and praising God when we have more cause to humble and afflict our souls.

Sometimes it is through stupidness and sottishness of conscience; when men have worn out all honest restraints, then they rejoice in evil, and delight in their perversities (Prov. 2:14). The drunkards think there is a bravery in their strength to pour in wine, and can boast of the number of their cups; the soaken adulterer of so many acts of uncleanness; the swearer thinketh it the grace of his speech to interlard it with oaths; and proud persons think conceited apparel is their best ornament.

Good God! whither is man fallen! First we practise sin, then defend it, then boast of it. Sin is first our burden, then our custom, then our delight, then our excellency.

—Thomas Manton
Adapted from The Complete Works of Thomas Manton, 4:395–396.

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