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any thing that he ought to have insisted on for his preservation. And therefore, upon a review of his folly in neglecting those thoughts of God, and the love of Christ, which through the assistance of the Holy Ghost might have kept him from his scandalous fall, he wept bitterly. And this is the common way of the working of the deceit of sin, as unto particular evils. It lays hold on the mind suddenly, , with thoughtfulness about the present sin, possesseth it, takes it up, so that either it recovers not itself at all to the considerations mentioned, or if any thoughts of them be suggested, the mind is so prepossessed and filled, that they take no impression on the soul, or make no abode in it. Thus doubtless was David surprised in the entrance of his gre sin. Sin and temptation did so possess and fill his mind with the present object of his lust, that he utterly forgot, as it were, those considerations which he had formerly made use of, when he so diligently kept himself from his iniquity. Here therefore lies the great wisdom of the soul, in rejecting the very first motions of sin, because by parlies with them the mind may be drawn off from attending unto its preservatives, and so the whole rush into evil.
[3.] It draws away the mind by frequency and long continuance of its solicitations, making as it were at last a conquest of it. And this happens not without an open neglect of the soul, in want of stirring up itself to give an effectual rebuke in the strength and by the grace of Christ unto sin, which would have prevented its prevalency. But of this, more shall be spoken afterward. And this is the first way whereby the law of sin acts its deceit against the soul. It draws off the mind from attendance unto its charge and office; both in respect of duty and sin. And so far as this is done, the person is said to be drawn away, or drawn off. He is tempted, every man is tempted, when he is thus drawn away by his own lust, or the deceit of sin dwelling in him. And the whole effect of this working of the deceitfulness of sin may be reduced unto these three heads.
1st. The remission of a universally watchful frame of spirit unto every duty, and against all, even the most hidden and secret actings of sin.
2dly. The omission of peculiar attending unto such duties as have an especial respect unto the weakening and ruin of the whole law of sin, and the obviating of its deceitfulness.
3dly. Spiritual sloth, as to a diligent regard unto all the especial concernments of duties and sins. When these three things, with their branches mentioned, less or more, are brought about, in or upon the soul, or so far as they are so, so far aman is drawn off by his own lust, or the deceit of sin.
There is no need of adding here any directions for the prevention of this evil, they having sufficiently been laid down in our passage through the consideration both of the duty of the mind, and of the deceit of sin.
The working of sin by deceit to entangle the affections. The ways whereby
it is done. Means of their prevention, The second thing in the words of the apostle ascribed unto the deceitful working of sin is its enticing. A man is drawn away and enticed. And this seems particularly to respect the affections, as drawing away doth the mind. The mind is drawn away from duty, and the affections are enticed unto sin. From the prevalency hereof a man is said to be enticed, or entangled as with a bait; so the word imports. For there is an allusion in it unto the bait wherewith a fish is taken on the hook which holds him to his destruction. And concerning this effect of the deceit of sin, we shall briefly shew two things :
1. What it is to be enticed, or to be entangled with the bait of sin, to have the affections tainted with an inclination thereunto, and when they are so.
2. What course sin takes, and what way it proceedeth in, thus to entice, ensnare, or entangle the soul.
For the first,
(1.) The affections are certainly entangled when they stir up frequent imaginations about the proposed object which this deceit of sin leadeth and enticeth towards. When sin prevails, and the affections are gone fully after it, it fills the imagination with it, possessing it with images, likenesses, appearances of it continually. Such persons
devise iniquity and work evil on their beds,' which they also practise when they are able, when it is in the power of their hand, Micah ii. 1. As in particular, Peter tells us that 'they have
eyes full of an adulteress, and they cannot cease from sin;' 2 Pet. ii. 14. that is, their imaginations are possessed with a continual representation of the object of their lusts. And it is so in part where the affections are in part entangled with sin, and begin to turn aside unto it. John tells us that the things that are in the world, are the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life,'1 Epist. ii. 16. The lust of the eyes is that which by them is conveyed unto the soul. Now it is not the bodily sense of seeing, but the fixing of the imagination from that sense on such things that is intended. And this is called the eyes, because thereby things are constantly represented unto the mind and soul, as outward objects are unto the inward sense by the eyes. And oftentimes the outward sight of the eyes is the occasion of these imaginations. So Achan declares how sin prevailed with him, Josh. vii. 21. First he saw the wedge of gold, and Babylonish garment, and then he coveted them. He rolled them, the pleasures, the profit of them, in his imagination, and then fixed his heart upon the obtaining of them. Now the heart may have a settled, fixed detestation of sin; but yet if a man find that the imagination of the mind is frequently solicited by it, and exercised about it, such a one may know that his affections are secretly enticed and entangled.
(2.) This entanglement is heightened when the imagination can prevail with the mind to lodge vain thoughts in it, with secret delight and complacency. This is termed by casuists, 'cogitatio morosa cum delectatione,’an abiding thought, with delight, which towards forbidden objects is in all cases actually sinful. And yet this may be, when the consent of the will unto sin is not obtained; when the soul would not for the world do the thing, which yet thoughts begin to lodge in the mind about. This lodging of vain thoughts in the heart the prophet complains of, as a thing greatly sinful, and to be abhorred, Jer. iv. 14. All these thoughts are messengers that carry sin to and fro between the imagination and the affections, and still increase it, inflaming the imagination, and more and more entangling the affections. Achan
thinks upon the golden wedge, this makes him like it and love it; by loving of it his thoughts are infected, and return to the imagination of its worth, and goodly shew, and so by little and little the soul is inflamed unto sin. And here if the will parts with its sovereignty, sin is actually conceived.
(3.) Inclinations, or readiness to attend unto extenuations of sin, or the reliefs that are tendered against sin when committed, manifest the affections to be entangled with it. We have shewed, and shall yet farther evidence, that it is a great part of the deceit of sin, to tender lessening and extenuating thoughts of sin unto the mind. Is it not a little one ? or, there is mercy provided; or, it shall be in due time relinquished and given over, is its language in a deceived heart. Now when there is a readiness in the soul to hearken and give entertainment unto such secret insinuations arising from this deceit, in reference unto any sin, or unapprovable course, it is an evidence that the affections are enticed. When the soul is willing, as it were, to be tempted, to be courted by sin, to hearken to its dalliances and solicitations, it hath lost of its conjugal affections unto Christ, and is entangled. This is looking on the wine when it is red, when it giveth its colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright;' Prov. xxiii. 31. A pleasing contempletion on the invitations of sin, whose end the wise man gives us, ver. 32. When the deceit of sin hath prevailed thus far on any person, then he is enticed or entangled; the will is not yet come to the actual conception of this or that sin by its consent, but the whole soul is in a near inclination thereunto. And many other instances I could give, as tokens and evidences of this entanglement: these may suffice to manifest what we intend thereby.
2. Our next inquiry is, How, or by what means, the deceit of sin proceeds thus to entice and entangle the affections ? and two or three of its baits are manifest herein.
(1.) It makes use of its former prevalency upon the mind, in drawing it off from its watch and circumspection. Says the wise man, Prov. i. 17. Surely in vain is the net spread in the sight of any bird ;' or before the eyes of every thing that hath a wing, as in the original. If it. hath eyes open to discern the snare, and a wing to carry it away, it will not be caught. And in vain should the deceit of sin
spread its snares and nets for the entanglement of the soul, whilst the eyes of the mind are intent upon what it doth, and so stir up the wings of its will and affections to carry it away and avoid it. But if the eyes be put out or diverted, the wings are of very little use for escape ; and therefore, this is one of the ways which is used by them who take birds or fowls in their nets; they have false lights, or shews of things, to divert the sight of their prey; and when that is done, they take the season to cast their nets upon them. So doth the deceit of sin; it first draws off and diverts the mind by false reasonings and pretences, as hath been shewed, and then casts its net upon the affections for their entanglement.
(2.) Taking advantage of such seasons, it proposeth sin as desirable, as exceeding satisfactory to the corrupt part of our affections; it gilds over the object by a thousand pretences, which it presents unto corrupt lustings. This is the laying of a bait, which the apostle in this verse evidently alludes unto. A bait is somewhat desirable and suitable, that is proposed to the hungry creature for its satisfaction, and it is by all artifices rendered desirable and suitable. Thus is sin presented by the help of the imagination unto the soul; that is, sinful and inordinate objects, which the affections cleave unto, are so presented. The apostle tells us, that there are pleasures of sin;' Heb. xi. 35. which, unless they are despised, as they were by Moses, there is no escaping of sin itself. Hence they that live in sin are said to • live in pleasure;' James v.5. Now this pleasure of sin consisteth in its suitableness to give satisfaction to the flesh, to lust, to corrupt affections. Hence is that caution, Rom. xiii. 14. “Make no provision for the flesh to fulfil the lust thereof. That is, do not suffer your minds, thoughts, or affections, to fix upon sinful objects, suited to give satisfaction to the lusts of the flesh, to nourish and cherish them thereby. To which puspose he speaks again, Gal. v. 16. • Fulfil
not the lusts of the flesh.' Bring not in the pleasures of sin to give them satisfaction. When men are under the power of sin, they are said to fulfil the desires of the flesh and of the mind;' Ephes. ii. 3. Thus therefore the deceit of sin endeavours to entangle the affections, by proposing unto them, through the assistance of the imagination, that