Other men's sins
(Thomas Brooks, "The
Crown and Glory of Christianity,
HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness", 1662)
By other men's sins, a holy man is
put in mind of the
badness of his own heart. Bernard makes mention of an
old man, who, when he saw any man sin, lamented and
wept for him; and being asked why he grieved so, for
other men's sins, answered, "He fell today—and I may
fall tomorrow!" The falls of others puts a holy man in
mind of the roots of sinfulness which are in himself.
Other men's actual sins are as so many glasses, through
which a holy man comes to see the manifold seeds of sin
which are in his own heart—and such a sight as this
cannot but melt him and break him.
A holy heart knows that the best way to keep himself
pure from other men's sins, is to mourn for other men's
sins. He who makes conscience of weeping over other
men's sins—will rarely be defiled with other men's sins.
A holy heart looks upon other men's sins as their bonds
and chains—and this makes him mourn. Ah, how can
tears but trickle down a Christian's cheeks, when he sees
multitudes, fast bound with the cords of their iniquity,
trooping to hell? Who can look upon a sinner as a bound
prisoner to the prince of darkness—and not bemoan him?
If holy people thus mourn for the wickedness of others,
then certainly those who take pleasure in the wickedness
of others—who laugh and joy, who can make a sport of
other men's sins—are rather monsters than men! There
are none so nearly allied to Satan as these—nor any so
resemble Satan as much as these! (The devil always joys
most—when sinners sin most!) To applaud them, and take
pleasure in those who take pleasure in sin—is the highest
degree of ungodliness!