He that contemneth small things shall fall by little and little.—ECCLESIASTICUS xix. I.

  One finger’s-breadth at hand will mar
  A world of light in heaven afar,
  A mote eclipse a glorious star,
      An eyelid hide the sky.


A single sin, however apparently trifling, however hidden in some obscure corner of our consciousness,—a sin which we do not intend to renounce,—is enough to render real prayer impracticable. A course of action not wholly upright and honorable, feelings not entirely kind and loving, habits not spotlessly chaste and temperate,—any of these are impassable obstacles. If we know of a kind act which we might, but do not intend to, perform,—if we be aware that our moral health requires the abandonment of some pleasure which yet we do not intend to abandon, here is cause enough for the loss of all spiritual power.


It is astonishing how soon the whole conscience begins to unravel, if a single stitch drops; one little sin indulged makes a hole you could put your head through.