TO WATCH AGAINST SIN.
The first eight lines one did commend to me; The rest I thought good to commend to thee.
Reader, in reading be thou ruled by me; With rhymes nor lines, but truths, affected be. 1.
Sin will at first, just like a beggar crave One penny, or one half-penny to have:
But if you grant its first suit, ‘twill aspire, From pence to pounds, and still will mount up higher To the whole soul. Then, if it makes its moan Say, “Here is nothing for you — get you gone!”
For, if you give it entrance at the door, It will come in, and may go out no more. 2.
Sin, rather than ‘twill out of action be, Will pray to stay, though a short space, with thee; “One night, one hour, one moment,” will it cry, “Embrace me in thy bosom or I die!
Time to repent (saith it) I will allow, And help, if to repent thou know’st not how.”
But if you give it entrance at the door, It will come in, and may go out no more. 3.
If begging doth not do, Sin promise will Rewards to those that shall its lusts fulfill:
Some pence in hand, yea pounds, ‘twill offer thee, If at its motion and its beck thou It be. ‘Twill heaven seem to out-bid; and all to gain Thy love, and win thee it to entertain.
But give it not admittance at thy door, Lest it come in, and so go out no more. 4.
If promising and begging will not do, ‘Twill by its wiles attempt to flatter you: “I’m harmless — mean no ill. Be not so shy.”
Will every soul-destroying motion try Its sting will hide, will change its native hue; Vile will not, but a beauty, seem to you.
But if you give it entrance at the door, Its sting Will in, and may come out no more. 5.
Rather than fail, Sin will itself divide; Did thee do this, and lay the rest aside. “Take little ones (‘twill say); throw great ones by,” (As if for little sins men should not die.)
Yea, Sin with ‘t self a quarrel will maintain, On purpose that by it thou mightst be slain.
Beware the cheat, then; keep it out of door:
It would come in, and would go out no more. 6.
Sin, if you will believe it, will accuse What is not hurtful, and itself excuse:
Will make a vice of virtue will say, Good is destructive — doth men’s souls betray!
Will make a law, where God has made men free, And break those laws by which men bounded be.
Look to thyself, then; keep it out of door:
Thee ‘twould entangle, and enlarge thy score. 7.
Sin, is that beastly thing that will defile Soul, body, name, and fame, in little while:
Will make him who some time God’s image was, Look like the devil — love and plead his cause; Like to the plague, Poison, or leprosy, Will fasten, and infect contagiously.
Wherefore beware; against it shut the door:
If not, it will defile thee more and more. 8.
Sin, once possessed of the heart, will play The tyrant — force its vassal to obey:
Will make thee thine own happiness oppose, And offer open violence to those That love thee best; yea, make thee to defy The law and counsel of the Deity.
Beware then; keep this tyrant out of door, Lest thou be his, and so thy own no more! 9.
Sin harden can thy heart against thy God; Make thee abuse his grace, despise his rod:
Yea, make thee run upon the very pikes.
Judgments foreseen bring such to no dislikes Of sinful hazards; no, they venture shall For one base lust, their soul, and heaven, and all.
Take heed then; hold it — crush it, at the door:
It comes to rob thee, and to make thee poor. 10.
Sin is a prison — hath its bolts, its chains Brings into bondage whom it entertains; Hangs shackles on them, bends them to its will, Holds them, as Samsons grinding at the mill:
Will blind them, make them deaf; yea, will them gag, And ride them, as the devil rides his hag.
Wherefore look to it; keep it out of door:
If once its slave, thou mayst be free no more. 11.
Though Sin at first its rage dissemble may, ‘Twill soon upon thee, as a lion, prey:
Will roar, will rend, will tear, will kill outright Its living death will gnaw thee day and night.
Thy pleasures now to paws and teeth it turns; In thee its tickling lust, like brimstone, burns.
Wherefore beware, and keep it out of door; Lest it should on thee as a lion roar. 12.
Sin will accuse — will stare thee in the face; Will for its witness quote both time and place Where thou it didst commit; and so appeal To conscience, who thy facts dare not conceal; But on thee as a judge such sentence pass, As will to thy sweet meats prove bitter sauce.
Wherefore beware; against it shut thy door:
Repent what’s past, believe, and sin no mere. 13.
Sin is the living worm — the lasting fire:
Hell would soon lose its heat, could Sin expire.
Better sinless in hell, than to be where Heaven is, and to be found a sinner there!
One sinless with infernals might do well But sin would make a very heaven a hell.
Look to thyself then — keep it out of door Lest it get in, and never leave thee more. 14.
No match has Sin but God in all the world.
Men, angels, it has from their stations hurl’d:
Holds them in chains, as captives, in despite Of all that here below is called might.
Release, help, freedom from it, none can give But even He by whom we breathe and live.
Watch therefore; keep this giant out of door Lest if once in, thou get him out no more. 15.
Fools make a mock at Sin — will not believe It carries such a dagger in its sleeve. “How can it be (say they) that such a thing — So full of sweetness, should e’er wear a sting?”
They know not that it is the very spell Of Sin, to make men laugh themselves to hell.
Look to thyself then — deal with Sin no more Lest He that saves, against thee shut the door 16.
Now, may the God that is above — That hath for sinners so much love, These lines so help thee to improve, That he to Him thy heart may move; Keep thee from inward enemies, Help thee the outward to despise; Deliver thee from them infernal, And bring thee safe to life eternal. Amen.