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Light Thoughts of Sin

For a little while I will expatiate upon the frequent causes of presumption in a Christian.

2. Again, light thoughts of sin will engender presumption. When we are first converted, our conscience is so very tender, that we are afraid of the slightest sin. I have known young converts almost afraid to proceed a step, lest they should put their feet in the wrong direction. They will ask advice of their minister, and difficult cases of moral casuistry will they bring before us, such as we hardly know how to answer. They have a holy timidity, a godly fear, lest they should offend against God. But alas; very soon the fine bloom upon these first ripe fruits is removed by the rough handling of the surrounding world. The sensitive plant of young piety turns into a willow in after life, too pliant, too easily yielding. It is sadly true, that even a Christian will grow by degrees so callous, that the sin which once startled him and made his blood run cold, does not alarm him in the least. I can speak from my own experience. When first I heard an oath, I stood aghast, and knew not where to hide myself; yet now I can hear an imprecation or blasphemy against God, and though a shudder still runs through my veins, there is not that solemn feeling, that intense anguish, which I felt when first I heard such evil utterances. By degrees we get familiar with sin. The ear in which the cannon has been booming will not notice slight sounds. The men who work in those huge vessels, the hammering of which causes immense noise, cannot at first sleep, for the continual din in their ears, but by-and-by, they, when they are used to it, think nothing of it. So with sin. First, a little sin doth startle us. Soon we say, “Is it not a little one?” like Lot did of Zoar. Then there comes another, larger, and then another, until by degrees we begin to regard it as but a little ill; and then you know, there comes an unholy presumption, and we think we stand. “We have not fallen “say we, “we only did such a little thing; we have not gone astray. True, we tripped a little, but we stood upright in the main. We might have uttered one unholy word, but as for the most of our conversation, it was consistent.” So we palliate sin; we throw a gloss over it, we try to hide it. Christian, beware I when thou thinkest lightly of sin then thou hast become presumptuous. Take heed, lest thou shouldst fall. Sin-a little thing! Is it not a poison! Who knows its deadliness? Sin-a little thing! Do not the little foxes spoil the vines? Sin-a little thing! Doth not the tiny coral insect build a rock that wrecks a navy? Do not little strokes fell lofty oaks? Will not continual droppings wear away stones? Sin-a little thing! It girded his head with thorns that now is crowned with glory. Sin-a little thing! It made him suffer anguish, bitterness, and woe, till he endured “All that incarnate God could bear, with strength enough, and none to spare.”

It is not a little thing, sirs. Could you weigh it in the scales of eternity, you would fly from it as from a serpent, and abhor the least appearance of evil. But alas I loose thoughts of sin often beget a presumptuous spirit, and we think we stand.

Charles H. Spurgeon- A Caution to the Presumptous, A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, at Exerter Hall Strand, May 13, 1855

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