The Sodomites Shame and Doom. Laid before them with great Grief and Compassion.
It is with Horror, Poor beguiled Creatures ! that I consider your dreadful Sin and Shame. In all the whole Herd of the Unclean, ye are some of the most Noisome and Scandalous ; insomuch that it does Violence to Christian Modesty, yea, to Common Decency, to make mention of your odious and monstrous Sin. For it is a Sin against the Laws and Instinct of Nature, and ye exceed the very Beasts in Filthiness. And yet as unnatural as your Sin is, it is always double, and two Souls are thereby sunk at once into the very Borders of Hell.
For, what less than this, can be the End of continued Debasement and Depravation of your Nature, to viler Acts of Wickedness every Day than other, more and more alienated from the Life of God, and from his Grace and Favour ; whilst the Chains of your filthy lusts are also more straitly riveted upon you every Day than other, thro’ continual Indulgence of those filthy Lusts which War against the Soul. Your base Sin of this kind will so waste and destroy all that is virtuous and comely in you, that other Impieties will be apt to be advanced to an unusual Height by it : as Rigby’s prodigious Lusts led him to unparallell’d Blasphemies.
The Christian Calling.
But though ye are blinded by your monstrous Sin, others whose Minds are less polluted, cannot but stand amazed to see how widely you have wandered from the Paths of Virtue, and how deeply you are sunk beneath the noble Pitch of Christian Purity. The admirable and divine Grace disdains any filthy Thought or Idea, and will not allow an unchaste Desire or Look. In this way the Noble and Angelick Creature, the Christian, being sanctified by the Holy Spirit of God, lives a most sweet and comfortable Life, possesses his Vessel in Sanctification and Honour, and is exempted from the Perturbations and Pollutions of inordinate and base Lusts. Instead of bestial Inclinations and Disorders, this Spiritual Man is Partaker of the Divine Nature, and feels his Soul more and more enlarged towards God, more resembling of him, and more delighted in his ways. His Breast is as a Holy Altar glowing with celestial Fire, and he hates even the Garment spotted by the Flesh. Being thus cleansed and fitted up, as a Vessel of Honour, he becomes capable of receiving his Portion in the undefiled Kingdom of God for ever.
But ye, O Shameful Creatures ! are the Reverse of all this. Your Souls are as Stables of Unclean Beasts, defiled, deformed, destroyed by the most execrable Abominations. Your Minds are polluted by the filthiest Imaginations, your Affections captivated by the basest Objects, and your Consciences made desolate by the most prodigious Sins. You delight in things which the nastiest of Beasts abhor, and which all those who deserve the name of Men cannot but nauseate to extremity. And you sink daily deeper and deeper into the Mire, and have no Mind or steady Resolution to try to extricate your selves ; for indeed the Pit into which ye are fallen is both deep and narrow, ( as Solomon describes it ) so that, without some marvellous Work of God, ye are likely to perish in it for ever. And the same may be said of all the ways of Lasciviousness and Immodesty ; tho’ they do not reach the utmost height of Debauchery in their kind, yet they are of a debasing, defiling and damning Nature.
Few of the damned have less to defend in their own Sins than you do ; for it is a Riddle to all virtuous Minds how your odious Vice could have any Temptation that would bend a Man to so unnatural a Villany. It could not fill us with greater Disdain to see a Man eating Human Excrement with Dogs, or the most stinking Carrion with Swine, than to consider your most abhorred Sin and Shame.
And this is the reason why your hateful Sin is seldom reproved in Sermons or Books ; a Toilet is so foul that it cannot be touched without offending the Company by the intolerable Stench of it.
Ah poor Creatures ! cheated of the Glory of Angels and the Joys of Heaven, by malicious Fiends and nasty Lusts ; the mighty Advantage you at present reap by it, is a most prodigious Nastiness which the very Goats or Dogs disdain.
Testimony of History.
Your Sin took its Name from the accursed Inhabitants of Old Sodom, whose enormous Lusts pulled upon them a prodigious Destruction ; just as their Sin began, so it ended : in Strange Fire.
The same monstrous impurities are recorded about the Romans, when they left the Honour and Virtue of their Scipios, and degenerated into vile Tarquins. St. Paul speaks concerning this in his Epistle to the Christians of Rome, mentioning some who were given up by God to a reprobate Mind, and to vile Affections, being filled with all Unrighteousness ; so much so, that Men burned with Lust one towards another, &c. Rom. 1. 26, 27. And when they sunk into these Abominations, their Empire declined as low as their Virtue, and they soon came to utter Ruine.
Thus has it been from the Beginning, and so will it be to the End of the World ; whenever Men decline to the Paths of Vice, they dig their own Graves, and push themselves upon the Verge of the Bottomless-Pit. To prevent which, this Paper is charitably put into your Hands ; for, to your Shame, many of your Names and Places of Abode are known : and tho’ they are concealed at present, to see whether you will reform ; some way may be taken to publish you to the World, so that your Scandalous Company may be shun’d by all who regard their Reputation, if ye persist in your inhuman Filthiness. For your Scandalous Haunts are also known, and will ( we hope ) be visited by such as may bring your Crimes to just Punishment.
And when ye shall come to the Shame and Punishment of the Gallows, which our Laws have justly appointed to your Sin : Will ye not be the most wretched and the most unpitied of all Malefactors ? For, to have any considerable tenderness for you, were to have too little Regard to the Honour of Human Nature. While your dearest Friends may have some Pity towards you, yet their Indignation toward your Sin cannot but greatly diminish their Compassion.
Path to Repentance.
If so great a Blessing as any serious Intent of Reformation ever befalls you, ( without which, you will be undone for ever, ) you must set to it with extraordinary Care, Zeal, and Industry, or you will never ( in the ordinary course of things ) reach your Goal.
With God all things are possible, and there is sufficient Grace and Mercy for the greatest Sinner thro’ our Blessed Redeemer : With this Hope, I pray you to observe these few Directions in order to eternal Life.
I. Humble your selves in the Dust before your offended God ; saying ( as in Psalm 73. 22. ), I have been as a Beast before thee ; yea, more enormous than any Brute Creature appears to be. Oh ! admire God’s Patience, and provoke him no more, lest it be to your Confusion.
II. Pray to God continually to enlighten your Mind and purify your Heart by his Holy Spirit, that you may admire and love his Laws, and may hate every false way. This is the Essential part of your Cure, and all your other Endeavours must have an Eye to this, and be subservient.
III. Keep a strict Guard upon your Thoughts and Inclinations. Abstain from all Ideas of this Enormity ; and when any of them arise in your Heart, lift up your Soul in Prayer or Praise to God, or to some good Meditation or Exercise : remembering that to look back wishfully toward Sodom is to relapse into the way of Sin and Ruine.
IV. Be sure to refrain from such Persons and Places as have led you to the former Defilement. Do this, or you do nothing. For no matter what is pretended, the same way will still tend to the same End. For this reason you must discard all vain Books, such as Play-Books, Romances, and Novels ; and all frivolous and debauched Company ; because these tend to create an unchristian Levity in your Mind, and are apt to fill you with such a crowd of idle and vain Speculations as will expose you to sundry Temptations and carnal Impressions.
V. Betake your self seriously and avowedly to God’s Holy Ordinances, to know and experience his saving Grace and Impression upon your Soul, and to press after Spiritual Communion with him. And when once you have tasted how gracious our Blessed Lord is, and how pleasant his ways, and how rapturous the newly opened View and Prospect of his Kingdom. You will hate your former ways as much as the Prodigal Son hated his Swine’s-meat once he had tasted the Pleasures of his Father’s Entertainment and Embraces.
VI. Labour to heighten your Resolution for God, and Indignation against Sin, for the rest of your Life. To do this, frequently load your Sin with its just Aggravations in your Meditations and Confessions before God. Bewail it mournfully and deeply, that you indulged a Vice so contrary to the Light of Nature, and to the Revelation of God’s Will, and the Vows of Religion. That is a thing so destructive of God’s Fear and Love ; it is a Practice which soils, infatuates, and destroys the Soul, and justly deserves both temporal and eternal Death.
‘Tis certain, that both our Love to God, and Hatred of Sin, ought to be advanced to further degrees until our dying Hour. For as God is an Object of infinite Excellency, our Love and Esteem of him ought to be daily more and more advanced ; and our Indignation against every thing that is contrary to God, to be daily more and more heightened.
And for this Reason, all Faithful Lovers of God will do everything they may lawfully do, for the Suppression of those Publick Impieties which tend to the great Dishonour of God in the World. In particular this Sin of Sodom can find no Quarter, except it be amongst such as neither love nor fear God : for both the Laws of God and Men have condemned it to Capital Punishment. And if they will not otherwise be broken from their filthy Practices, all Lovers of God and of Virtue, yea, all those who wish well to their Country and Posterity, cannot but be diligent to trace them out, and bring them to condign Punishment ; in order to prevent those heavy Judgments of God, which may otherwise most justly consume both the Criminals and their Connivers.
But because their Repentance is exceedingly more desirable than their Destruction, this Paper is put into their Hands, with real Christian Charity ; to which I pray God will grant his Blessing, for the Sake of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
Be not deceived, neither Fornicators, nor Idolaters, nor Adulterers, nor Effeminate, nor Abusers of themselves with Mankind, shall inherit the Kingdom of God, 1 Cor. 6. 9.