“He himself experienced our sin, he himself gave his own son, a ransom on our behalf, the Holy for the lawless, the innocent for the guilty, the righteous for the unrighteous, the incorruptible for the corruptible, the immortal for the mortal. For what else than that one’s righteousness could cover up our sin? In who else than in the Son of God alone could our lawlessness and ungodliness possibly be justified? Oh, the sweet exchange! … Oh, the unexpected benefits that the lawlessness of many should be concealed in the one righteous, and righteousness of the one should justify many lawless.”“Epistle to Diognetus,” in The Apostolic Fathers in English, trans. Rick Brannan, 9.2–5. A letter from the late second or possibly early third century.
Sin is likened to the plague from which everyone flies. It is so offensive and loathsome that it separates the nearest relations. Now sin is called the plague of the heart (1 Kings 8.38-39) which is much worse than any sore of the body [and] the most loathsome of diseases.
Ralph Venning, The Sinfulness of Sin, 1669.
Discontent arises from being so very sensible of the evil of affliction and senseless of the evil of sin. People’s bodies are tender, and their senses quick, and therefore even the biting of a flea or the scratching of a pen is presently felt. People are so tender of their reputation, profits and delights, that the least touch in these is a cross to them. Their hearts are so hard, and consciences seared, that they can lie securely under all the curses of God’s book, have mountains of wrath abide on them, and feel nothing. Therefore afflictions lie so heavy because sin lies so easy. Whereas, if a person knew what sin is, and saw at night what wrath he had treasured up all day, he would rather wonder why he was out of hell than murmur that he was in trouble.
Edward Lawrence, Christ’s Power over Bodily Diseases (1672), 153-54.