Monstrous. Hideous. Mischievous. Odious. Pernicious. Poisonous. Vicious. Villainous. Heinous. Obnoxious. Venomous. Tedious. Treacherous. Impetuous. Ruinous. Murderous. Dangerous. Lascivious. Injurious. Infectious. Vexatious. Serious.

Bet you didn’t know so many words ended with “-ous” did you?

“So, what’s the point? Is this a blog or a thesaurus?”

OK, the point is that this is a sample – yes, just a sample – of words that the Puritan Ralph Venning used to describe “sin” in his book Sin, The Plague of Plagues. Although the Puritans didn’t win too many prizes for Book Title of the Year, they did speak to contemporary events, with this book being published shortly after The Great Plague of London that killed over 100,000 people.

“A book on sin? Why would anyone want to write that? And why would anyone want to read it?”

Anticipating such objections, Venning wrote in his introduction that “it cannot but be extremely useful to let men see what sin is: how prodigiously vile, how deadly mischievous, and therefore how monstrously ugly and odious a thing sin is. Thus a way may be made:

  • For admiring the free and rich grace of God.
  • For believing in our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • For vindicating the holy, just and good law of God, and his condemnation of sinners for breaking it.
  • For hating sin, and repenting for and from it, thereby taking a holy, just and good revenge on it and ourselves.
  • That we may love and serve God at a better rate than we ever did in the little and short time of innocence itself.
  • And, lastly, that this black spot may serve to set off the admirable, incomparable and transcendent beauty of holiness.

So, why not take some time to mediate on each of these ugly -ous words. And let them lead you to the beauty of three other -ous words: that God is gracious, that Christ’s blood is precious, and that we are righteous in Him.

Now that’s miraculous!


And if you’re looking for books on the subject here are Top 10 Puritan Books on Sin and Top 10 Modern Books on Sin.