Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Romans 6:12
One of Satan’s devices is to present sin as less than it is. ‘Ah’, says Satan, ‘it is but a little pride, a little worldliness, a little uncleanness, a little drunkenness!’ As Lot said of Zoar, ‘It is but a little one, and my soul shall live.’ ‘Alas!’ says Satan, ‘it is just a very little sin that you are troubled by! You can commit it without any danger to your soul. You can commit it and your soul can still live.’ Consider, however, how many ‘small’ sins have received the greatest wrath: the eating of the fruit, gathering a few sticks on the Sabbath, and the touching of the ark. O the dreadful wrath that these sins brought down on the hearts of men! Small sins make way for greater ones. We do not have the power to keep off sins as we please. By yielding to the lesser, we give opportunity for Satan to tempt us in the greater. Augustine tells the story of a man that was of the opinion that the devil made the fly. One said to him, ‘If the devil made flies, then he made worms.’ ‘True’, he said, ‘the devil did make worms.’ ‘But’, said the other, ‘if the devil made worms, then he made birds, beasts, and man.’ He granted all. ‘Thus’, said Augustine, ‘by denying God in the fly, he came to deny God in man and all creation.’ Yielding to ‘lesser’ sins draws the soul to greater. It is a sad thing to depart from God for a trifle. It is the greatest folly to venture hell for a small matter, and to break with God for a little. The less the temptation the greater the sin. For the love of one little sin, some have lost God, ad their souls forever. Many times small sins are more dangerous. Great sins startle the soul, and awaken it to repentance, but little ones breed and work secretly until they trample the soul. Sin grows by degrees until you cannot prevail over it. O that God would open the eyes of a sinner to see the horrid vileness of all sin.
Lovers of theology, and particularly of the Puritans, will welcome this English translation of John Owen’s Latin writings. The major portion of this volume is a history of theology from Adam to Christ. Owen characterizes evangelical theology as a gift of the Holy Spirit generating faith in Christ, holiness through Christ, and worship of Christ.
Appendixed to this important work is Owen’s Defense of Scripture against Modern Fanaticism, which is a defense of the authority and proper interpretation of the Bible against the subjectivism of his day.
“Published in Latin in 1661 as a contribution to international Reformed scholarship, this treatise draws on a very wide range of learning. The final part, in particular, where Owen characterizes evangelical theology as a gift of the Holy Spirit generating faith in Christ, holiness through Christ, and worship of Christ, is pure gold. To have it now – at last! – in English is a great boon. Those with a taste for Owen, or for theology, or (best of all) for both, will read this Puritan proto-Biblical Theology with joy.”
– J.I. Packer