Tag Archives: Ralph Venning

Give the devil and sin an inch!

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Give the devil and sin an inch!

(Ralph Venning, “The Plague of Plagues!” 1669)

Beware of such sins as the world calls little sins! They say: “What harm is there in an innocent lie?” Alas, what a contradiction this is! Can a lie be innocent? One says, “Oh, it is only a trick of youth!” Yes, but it is such a trick as may cost you going to Hell! Another “deceives his neighbor and says: I am only joking!” Proverbs 26:19. Yes, but he who sins in jest or makes a jest of sin–may be damned in earnest!

Consider that no sin against a great God, can be strictly a little sin–though compared with a greater one, it may be. But however little it is–to account it so, makes it greater. 

The nature of the greater sin is in the least sin. A spark of fire, or a drop of poison–have the nature of much more sin. 

God has severely punished sins that have been looked upon as little sins, indeed, some of them well-meant sins–as when Uzzah took hold of the Ark when the cart shook (2 Samuel 6:6,7). When men only looked into the Ark–it cost them dearly! “The LORD killed seventy men from Beth-shemesh because they looked into the Ark of the LORD!” (1 Samuel 6:19). Gathering a few sticks on the Sabbath was severely punished! (Numbers 15:32-36). 

These seem to be small matters–but in sin, we must not consider so much what is forbidden–as why it is forbidden, and whoforbids it.

Besides, a little sin makes way for a greater sin–just as a little boy-thief entering a house, makes way for a man-thief to enter. 

It is hard to sin once and only once–to commit one little sin and only one. Give the devil and sin an inch–and they will take a mile! Vain babbling increases to more ungodliness. A little leak in a ship, may by degrees fill it with water and sink it. The Devil does not much care by what sins we go to Hell, whether small–or great; whether by religious formality–or open immorality.

If a man makes no conscience of little sins, to which the temptations can be only little–then how little conscience is he likely to make of great sins, to which there are greater temptations? 

If Judas betrays his Lord for thirty pieces of silver–then what would he not do for more? 

Beware then of little sins!


Seeing that we deserve nothing–we should be content with, and thankful for anything!

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Seeing that we deserve nothing–we should be content with, and thankful for anything!

(Ralph Venning, “The Plague of Plagues!” 1669)

It has been every man’s lot to come into and go out of this world naked–to show that he has no right to anything, but lives on the alms of God’s charity and grace. All that we have or hold between our birth and death–is the mere gift of God. 

God might choose whether He would allow us anything or not; and when He has given–He may take back again, and none of us has cause to say anything but what Job said: “Naked I came into the world–and naked I shall return. The Lord has given–and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord!” Job 1:21 

All that we have, our food and clothing and belongings–are only lent to us. Therefore, seeing that we deserve nothing–we should be content with, and thankful for anything.

“For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” 1 Timothy 6:7-8


I am the Devil–I am a deceiver! I will lead you into Hell!

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I am the Devil–I am a deceiver! I will lead you into Hell!

(Ralph Venning, “The Plague of Plagues!” 1669)

“No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light!” 2 Corinthians 11:14 

The Devil disguises himself as an angel of light–that he may more effectually lead us into darkness. If he were to come like a devil, like an enemy–then everyone would run from him. But he comes masked and puts on the face of a friend–and so he tricks and cheats us. Indeed, he prevails more by his wily subtleties–than by his power. 

If the Devil had come to Eve and spoken to her as follows: ‘I was once a glorious angel and lived above in the Court of Heaven–but I have sinned and am now cast down to Hell. Eat the forbidden fruit–and you will be like me!’ Would this have succeeded? Surely not!

Thus if he came and tempted men to sin, by telling them that sin is the sure way to Hell–would this prevail with them to sin? No! The Devil is a subtle old serpent–he cloaks and paints sin. He covers his hook with a bait–and draws men in before they are aware of it. He is a deceiver–and lest he should be known, he puts on a false garb and disguises himself as an angel of light.

He dare not say, “I am the Devil–I am a deceiver! I will lead you into Hell!“–for that would spoil his wily schemes.

“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves” Matthew 7:15 


Hold your hand in this fire!

Hold your hand in this fire!

(Ralph Venning, “The Plague of Plagues!” 1669)

“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account!” Hebrews 4:13

Take heed of what men call secret sins. There are only too many who continue in wickedness, because as they think, no one knows how wicked they are. They are drunkards–but it is in the night. They are immoral–but it is in the dark. Their mystery of iniquity trades in the works of darkness and in the dark. Indeed, if men could sin and no eye see them–then they might sin securely; but this is a falsehood as well as a mistake.

Once a young maiden was tempted to be unchaste. The person who solicited her, promised to do great things for her if she would yield.

“I will,” he said, “do anything for you!”

“Will you?” she said, “then hold your hand in this fire!”

“Oh, that is unreasonable!” he answered.

“But,” she replied, “it is much more unreasonable that I should burn forever in Hell for your sake! Who would venture his soul to eternal torment–to gratify his own or another’s pleasure and lust?”

We cannot escape God’s sight–any more than we can escape His judgment. He sees us, though like Adam and Eve we cover ourselves with fig-leaves. And He will one day call to us, as He did to them, “Sinner–where are you?”

You cannot flee from His presence. You may more easily hide from yourselves–than from God.

I hope you will say, for I am sure you will see cause to do so, “How shall I do this wickedness–and sin against God!”

“Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him? Do not I fill heaven and earth?” Jeremiah 23:24

Worse Than Devilish!

Worse than devilish!

(Ralph Venning, “The Plague of Plagues!” 1669)

“Fools mock at sin!” Proverbs 14:9 

Those who mock at sin, are worse than fools and madmen!

Tell them, as Lot told his sons-in-law of the danger and judgments which hang over their head–and, as with Lot, you seem to them as one who jokes. Genesis 19:14. They laugh at it, as if God were not in earnest when He threatens sinners–and as if those who preach against sin were deranged. 

“To do evil, is like sport to a fool!” Proverbs 10:23.

There are some who sport themselves on their way to Hell–as if sin were but a recreation! What fools are they–who laugh at their own folly and destruction! It is a devilish nature in us, to mock at the calamity of others–but to laugh at our own calamity, seems to be worse than devilish!

There are many, too many, who mourn under affliction–yet laugh over their sins! They sigh and weep when they feel any burden on their body–but make merry at that which destroys their soul! Can anything be more mad than this–to laugh, mock and make sport at that which eternally wrongs and damns their own souls!

The wicked laugh over their sin now. But if they do not repent–then they will weep forever in Hell over it!

We are all living monuments of God’s goodness and patience!

We are all living monuments of God’s goodness and patience!

(Ralph Venning, “The Plague of Plagues!” 1669)

“The Lord’s loving kindnesses indeed never cease–for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning! Great is Your faithfulness!” Lamentations 3:22-23

If sin is so exceedingly sinful–so contrary to, and displeasing to God–then surely . . .

His patience is exceedingly great,
His goodness is exceedingly rich, and
His long-suffering is exceedingly marvelous
–even such as to cause astonishment!

We are all living monuments of God’s goodness and patience! It is of the Lord’s mercies that all of us are not altogether and utterly consumed–and that in eternal Hell!

Such is . . .

the power of His patience,
the infiniteness of His mercy and compassion,
and the riches of His unsearchable grace!

Consider the multitude of sinners in the world. If it were only one or two sinners–then they might be winked at and passed by. But all the world lies in wickedness (1 John 5:19). There is none righteous–no, not one! If there had been only ten righteous ones–then God would have spared Sodom, although ten thousand sinners might be there. Yet there is not a single man to be found who does not sin. All have sinned–and that continually. What grace, then–what patience is this!

Consider the multitude of sins committed by every sinner. Every sinner commits innumerable sins! If all men had sinned only once–it would have mitigated the matter. Sin, however, has grown up with men. Not a single good thought is to be found in their hearts! (Genesis 6:5) Sin grows up faster than men do–they are old in sin, when still young in years. They are adding iniquity to iniquity, and drawing sin on with cords and ropes, committing it with both hands greedily, as if they could not sin enough! They dare God Himself to judge them. They drink down iniquity like water, as if it was their element and nourishment and pleasure also. Yet, behold, how miraculously patient is God!

God sees sin–He is sensible of it and angered about it–for it grieves and vexes Him. God is able to avenge Himself whenever He pleases–yet He forbears with sinners. Be astonished at it!

It is a wonder that men are spared so long–especially if we consider how quickly God cast the angels that sinned down to Hell!

O the wonder of sovereign grace!

Seeing that we deserve nothing–we should be content with, and thankful for anything!

Seeing that we deserve nothing–we should be content with, and thankful for anything!

(Ralph Venning, “The Plague of Plagues!” 1669)

It has been every man’s lot to come into and go out of this world naked–to show that he has no right to anything, but lives on the alms of God’s charity and grace. All that we have or hold between our birth and death–is the mere gift of God.

God might choose whether He would allow us anything or not; and when He has given–He may take back again, and none of us has cause to say anything but what Job said:

“Naked I came into the world–and naked I shall return. The Lord has given–and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord!” Job 1:21

All that we have, our food and clothing and belongings–are only lent to us. Therefore, seeing that we deserve nothing–we should be content with, and thankful for anything.

“For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” 1 Timothy 6:7-8


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