by J.C. Ryle
Reader never trifle with little sins. A small! leak will sink a great ship, and a small spark will kindle a great fire, and a little allowed sin, in like manner, will ruin an immortal soul. Take my advice, and never spare a little sin. Israel was commanded to slay every Canaanite, both great and small. Act on the same principle, and show no mercy to little sins…
Depend on it, no wicked man ever meant to be so wicked at his first beginnings. But he began with allowing himself somelittle transgression, and that led on to something greater still, and thus he became the miserable being that he now is.
There are two ways of coming down from the top of a church steeple: one is to jump down, and the other is to come down by the steps; but both will lead you to the bottom. So also there are two ways of going to hell: one is to walk into it with your eyes open–few people do that; the other is to go down by the steps of little sins; and that way, I fear, is too common. Put up with a few little sins, and you will soon want a few more. Even a heathen could say, “Who ever was content with only one sin?” And then your course will be regularly worse and worse every year.
Well did Jeremy Taylor describe the progress of sin in a man: “First it startles him, then it becomes pleasing, then easy, then delightful, then frequent, then habitual, then confirmed: then the man is impenitent, then obstinate, then resolves never to repent and then he is damned.”
Reader, the devil only wants to get the wedge of a little allowed sin into your hearts, and you will soon be all his own. Never play with fire. Never trifle with little sins.
by J.C. Ryle