If you neglect to instruct [children] in the way of holiness, will the devil neglect to instruct them in the way of wickedness? No; if you will not teach them to pray, he will to curse, swear, and lie. If ground be uncultivated, weeds will spring.
“A father out of indulgence may pass by a failing when his son waits upon him; for instance, suppose he should spill the wine and break the glass; but surely he will not allow him to throw it down carelessly or wilfully.”
Every one can see that there is a grave distinction between sins of infirmity and wilful transgressions. A man may splash us very badly with the wheel of his carriage, as he passes by, and we may feel vexed, but the feeling would have been very much more keen if he had thrown mud into our face with deliberate intent. By the grace of God, we do not sin wilfully. Our wrongdoing comes of ignorance or of carelessness, and causes us many a pang of conscience, for we would fain be blameless before our God. Wilfully to offend is not according to our mind. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil. Deliberation and delight in sin are sure marks of the heirs of wrath. Sin in believers is a terrible evil, but there is this mitigation of it, that they do not love it, and cannot rest in it. The true son does not wish to do damage to his father’s goods; on the contrary, he loves to please his father, and he is himself grieved when he causes grief to one whom he so highly honors. O my Lord, I pray thee let me not sin carelessly, lest I come to sin presumptuously. Make me to be watchful against my infirmities, that I may not fall by little and little.
*** Taken from C. H. Spurgeon, Flowers from a Puritan’s Garden, Distilled and Dispensed (New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1883), 18.