Wednesdays with Watson is a weekly reading taken from my favorite Puritan writer, Thomas Watson. This week’s selection is taken from A Body of Divinity.
Sin is evil in its effects.
[I] Sin has degraded us of our honour. Reuben by incest lost his dignity; and though he was the first-born, he could not excel. Gen. 49:4. God made us in his own image, a little lower than the angels; but sin has debased us. Before Adam sinned, he was like a herald that has his coat of arms upon him: all reverence him, because he carries the king’s coat of arms; but let this coat be pulled off; and he is despised, no man regards him. Sin has done this, it has plucked off our coat of innocence, and now it has debased us, and turned our glory into shame. ‘And there shall stand up a vile person.’ Dan. 11:21. This was spoken of Antiochus Epiphanes, who was a king, and his name signifies illustrious; yet sin degraded him, he was a vile person.
 Sin disquiets the peace of the soul. Whatever defiles, disturbs. As poison tortures the bowels, corrupts the blood, so sin does the soul. Isa. 57:21. Sin breeds a trembling at the heart; it creates fears, and there is ‘torment in fear.’ 1 John 4:18. Sin makes sad convulsions in the conscience. Judas was so terrified with guilt and horror, that he hanged himself to quiet his conscience. And is not he like to be ill cured, that throws himself into hell for ease?
 Sin produces all temporal evil. Jerusalem has grievously sinned, therefore she is removed.’ Lam. 1:8. It is the Trojan horse, that has sword and famine, and pestilence, in its belly. Sin is a coal, that not only blacks, but burns. Sin creates all our troubles; it puts gravel into our bread, wormwood in our cup. Sin rots the name, consumes the estate, buries relations. Sin shoots the flying roll of God’s curses into a family and kingdom. Zech. 5:4. It is reported of Phocas, that having built a wall of mighty strength about his city, there was a voice heard, ‘Sin is within the city, and that will throw down the wall.’
 Sin unrepented of brings final damnation. The canker that breeds in the rose is the cause of its perishing; and corruptions that breed in men’s souls are the cause of their damning. Sin, without repentance, brings the ‘second death,’ that is mars sine morte, Bernard ‘a death always dying,’ Rev. 20:14. Sin’s pleasure will turn to sorrow at last; like the book the prophet did eat, sweet in the mouth, but bitter in the belly. Ezek. 3:3. Rev. 10:9. Sin brings the wrath of God, and what bucket or engines can quench that fire? ‘Where the worm never dies, and the fire is not quenched.’ Mark 11:44.
Use one: See how deadly an evil sin is, and how strange is it that any one should love it! ‘How long will ye love vanity? Psa. 4:2. ‘Who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine.’ Hos. 3:1. Sin is a dish men cannot forbear, though it makes them sick. Who would pour rose-water into a kennel? What pity is it so sweet an affection as love should be poured upon so filthy a thing: as sin! Sin brings a sting in the conscience, a curse in the estate; yet men love it. A sinner is the greatest self-denier; for his sin he will deny himself a part in heaven.
Use two: Do anything rather than sin. Oh, hate sin! There is more evil in the least sin than in the greatest bodily evils that can befall us. The ermine rather chooses to die than defile her beautiful skin. There is more evil in a drop of sin than in a sea of affliction. Affliction is but like a rent in a coat, sin a prick at the heart. In affliction there is…some good: in this lion there is some honey to be found. ‘It is good for me that I was afflicted.’ Psa. 119:71.…‘Affliction is God’s flail to thresh off our husks; not to consume, but to refine.’ There is no good in sin; it is the spirit and quintessence of evil. Sin is worse than hell; for the pains of hell are a burden to the creature only; but sin is a burden to God. ‘I am pressed under your iniquities, as a cart is pressed under the sheaves.’ Amos 2:13.
Use three: Is sin so great an evil? Then how thankful should you be to God, if he has taken away your sin! ‘I have caused thy iniquity to pass from thee.’ Zech. 3:4. If you had a disease on your body, plague or dropsy, how thankful would you be to have it taken away! Much more to have sin taken away. God takes away the guilt of sin by pardoning grace, and the power of sin by mortifying grace Oh be thankful that this sickness is ‘not unto death;’ that God has changed your nature, and, by grafting you into Christ, made you partake of the sweetness of that olive; that sin, though it live, does not reign, but the elder serves the younger; sin the elder serves grace the younger.