“If ravens are driven away from carrion, they love to abide within scent of it.
If you would be free from sin–then avoid the temptations which lead to it!”
This first sentence is a grim parable, but all too true. We have seen those who dared not enter the devil’s house–linger long around his doors! The old woman in the fable could find no wine in the jar–yet loved to smell at it. It is a clear proof of the love of human nature to evil that, when restrained from actual sin–men will rehearse their former exploits, and dote on the lusts which they indulged years ago! If they cannot have a fresh dish from Satan’s kitchen, they will have his crumbs, sooner than go without!
Our author gives sage advice at the outset, when he says: To avoid sin–avoid temptation.
He who does not want to be wounded, should keep out of battle.
He who does not want to be tossed about, should not go to sea.
He who does not want to be burned, should keep away from the fire.
If men get into the train which runs to the terminus of iniquity–they must expect to be carried to their journey’s end.
If I stand in the way of sinners, I shall soon run with them.
Oh to possess a godly fear, which shall lead me rather to go ten miles out of the way, than pass by the place of temptation!
It is well to keep out of the smell of sin, for the very odor of it is baneful.
If we seek a temptation–we shall soon find it. And within it, like a kernel in a nut, we shall meet with sin!
Oh that we had the wit to see this, and were more firmly resolved not to stand in the broad road that leads to destruction, or even go near it–lest we should become regular travelers upon it! “Keep to a path far from the adulteress, do not go near the door of her house!” Proverbs 5:8
Lord, give me prudence. As I would not devour the carrion of sin, give me grace that the most distant scent of it shall at once sicken me, and cause me to keep my steps as far from it as possible!
“Blessed is the man who does not . . .
walk in the counsel of the wicked,
or stand in the way of sinners,
or sit in the seat of mockers.” Psalm 1:1
(Charles Spurgeon, “Flowers from a Puritan’s Garden” 1883, adapted)