(J. R. Miller, “The Way of Safety“, 1912)
“Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from hidden faults. Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression.” Psalm 19:12, 13
Here the Psalmist prays to be kept from committing presumptuous sins. He knows the danger there is in such sins–and so pleads to be held back from them, that is, from willful, conscious, high-handed sins.
Mark the teaching, too, that these presumptuous sins spring out of the minute hidden faults. From hidden, obscure, undiscovered faults–come presumptuous sins.
A slight moral weakness–grows into an evil tendency;
and the evil tendency indulged–develops into a loathsome vice;
and the loathsome vice–ripens into a presumptuous sin!
We need to guard against carelessness concerning ‘little sins’. The hidden fault lurking in the nature–may grow into a presumptuous sin!
Sow a thought–and you will reap an act;
sow an act–and you will reap a habit;
sow a habit–and you will reap a character;
sow character–and you will reap a destiny!
The course of sin is terrible! The little beginnings of sin–grow into appalling consequences! Be afraid of little sins and temptations.
There are some people who are always courting danger. Sin seems to have a fascination for them. One of the petitions of the Lord’s Prayer is, “Lead us not into temptation.” To expose ourselves needlessly to temptation, is presumption! Yet there are many who do this. They play with fire–and wonder why they are burned! They dally with ‘little sins’, and end in shameful degradation at the last! They pay the penalty in moral and spiritual ruin.
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