William Arnot – The Pleasures of Sin – 1858

From Illustrations From the Book of Proverbs

The plague is as rampant in our streets as it is represented to be in the Proverbs. Mankind has sat for the picture: there is no mistake in the outline; there is no exaggeration in the coloring. It is a mirror held up for the world to see itself in. Dark as the lines are in which the importunate, shameless solicitations of a wanton woman are drawn on this page, they are not darker than the reality, as seen in our crowded thoroughfares by day and by night. The vulture, with unerring instinct, scents the carrion and flutters around the place where it lies until an opportunity occurs of alighting upon it and satiating her appetite on the loathsome food. The power of sin lies in its pleasure. If stolen waters were not sweet, no one would steal the waters. This is part of the mystery in which our being is involved by the fall, and it is one of the most fearful features of our case. Our appetite is diseased. If our bodily appetite were so perverted that it should crave for what is poisonous and loathe wholesome food, we would not give ourselves up to each random inclination: the risk of death would be great and valuing life, we would set a guard on the side of danger. But in man fallen there is a diseased relish for that which destroys. Sin, which is the death of a man’s soul, is yet sweet to the man’s taste.