Westminster Larger Catechism
Q.151. What are those aggravations that make some sins more heinous than others?
A. Sins receive their aggravations,
1. From the persons offending
2. From the parties offended
|3. From the nature and quality of the offense: if it be against ... public or private admonition [y], censures of the church [z], civil punishments [a]; and our prayers, purposes, promises [b], vows [c], covenants [d], and engagements to God or men [e]: if done deliberately [f], wilfully [g], presumptuously [h], impudently [i], boastingly [k], maliciously [l], frequently [m], obstinately [n], with delight [o], continuance [p], or relapsing after repentance [q].|
public or private admonition [y],
[y] Proverbs 29:1 He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.
censures of the church [z],
[z] Titus 3:10 A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject;
Matthew 18:17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
civil punishments [a];
[a] Proverbs 27:22 Though thou shouldest bray a fool in a mortar among wheat with a pestle, yet will not his foolishness depart from him.
Proverbs 23:35 They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.
and our prayers, purposes, promises [b],
[b] Psalm 78:34 When he slew them, then they sought him: and they returned and enquired early after God. Ver.35 And they remembered that God was their rock, and the high God their redeemer. Ver.36 Nevertheless they did flatter him with their mouth, and they lied unto him with their tongues. Ver.37 For their heart was not right with him, neither were they stedfast in his covenant.
Jeremiah 2:20 For of old time I have broken thy yoke, and burst thy bands; and thou saidst, I will not transgress; when upon every high hill and under every green tree thou wanderest, playing the harlot.
Jeremiah 42:5-6 Then they said to Jeremiah, The LORD be a true and faithful witness between us, if we do not even according to all things for the which the LORD thy God shall send thee to us. Ver.6 Whether it be good, or whether it be evil, we will obey the voice of the LORD our God, to whom we send thee.— Ver.20 For ye dissembled in your hearts, when ye sent me unto the LORD your God, saying, Pray for us unto the LORD our God; and according unto all that the LORD our God shall say, so declare unto us, and we will do it. Ver.21 And now I have this day declared it to you; but ye have not obeyed the voice of the LORD your God, nor any thing for the which he hath sent me unto you.
[c] Ecclesiastes 5:4-6 When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. Ver.5 Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay. Ver.6 Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error: wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands?
Proverbs 20:25 It is a snare to the man who devoureth that which is holy, and after vows to make enquiry.
[d] Leviticus 26:25 And I will bring a sword upon you, that shall avenge the quarrel of my covenant, etc.
and engagements to God or men [e]:
[e] Proverbs 2:17 Which forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God.
Ezekiel 17:18-19 Seeing he despised the oath by breaking the covenant, when, lo, he had given his hand, and hath done all these things, he shall not escape. Ver.19 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; As I live, surely mine oath that he hath despised, and my covenant that he hath broken, even it will I recompense upon his own head.
if done deliberately [f],
[f] Psalm 36:4 He deviseth mischief upon his bed; he setteth himself in a way that is not good; he abhorreth not evil.
[Matthew Henry: "It is bad to do mischief on a sudden thought, much worse to do it with design and forethought."]
[g] Jeremiah 6:16 Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.
[h] Numbers 15:30 But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously, whether he be born in the land, or a stranger, the same reproacheth the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people.
Exodus 21:14 But if a man come presumptuously upon his neighbour, to slay him with guile; thou shalt take him from mine altar, that he may die.
[i] Jeremiah 3:3 Therefore the showers have been withholden, and there hath been no latter rain; and thou hadst a whore’s forehead, thou refusedst to be ashamed.
Proverbs 7:13 So she caught him, and kissed him, and with an impudent face said unto him, etc.
[k] Psalm 52:1 Why boastest thou thyself in mischief, O mighty man?
[l] 3 John 10 Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words, etc.
[m] Numbers 14:22 Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice;
[n] Zechariah 7:11-12 But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear. Ver.12 Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant-stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the LORD of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the LORD of hosts.
with delight [o],
[o] Proverbs 2:14 Who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the frowardness of the wicked.
[p] Isaiah 57:17 For the iniquity of his covetousness was I wroth, and smote him: I hid me, and was wroth, and he went on frowardly in the way of his heart.
or relapsing after repentance [q].
[q] Jeremiah 34:8-11 This is the word that came unto Jeremiah from the LORD, after that the king Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people which were at Jerusalem, to proclaim liberty unto them; Ver.9 That every man should let his man-servant, and every man his maid-servant, being an Hebrew or an Hebrewess, go free; that none should serve himself of them, to wit, of a Jew his brother. Ver.10 Now when all the princes, and all the people, which had entered into the covenant, heard that every one should let his manservant, and every one his maidservant, go free, that none should serve themselves of them any more, then they obeyed, and let them go. Ver.11 But afterward they turned, and caused the servants and the handmaids, whom they had let go free, to return, and brought them into subjection for servants and for handmaids.
2 Peter 2:20-22 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. Ver.21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. Ver.22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.