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Charles Simeon on his Third Rule

July 19, 2017

Continuing with Charles Simeon’s Four Rules, this is the one I know as the Third Rule: Smaller sins, if not guarded against, in time will issue in the greatest.  Here is what Simeon had to say about this rule; again, this comes from his Horae Homileticae, on 1 Kings 11:9 – which is on the fall of Solomon.

Solomon might frame some excuse to himself for the sins in which his fall commenced: he worshipped on high places, because the temple was not yet built; he multiplied wives and concubines, because his father had had several before him: he procured much gold, and a multitude of horses, because they would add to the splendour of his court, and perhaps also to his security. But he found at last what a dangerous thing it is to tamper with sin, or to deviate knowingly even an hair’s breadth from the divine commandments. Sin will soon blind the eyes, and harden the heart, and sear the conscience. Sin is a downward road, whereon, if we fall, our descent may soon be accelerated beyond a possibility of recovery. A leak may appear but a small thing; yet will it sink a ship, if left without timely repair. The voice of inspiration suggests to us, “Behold how great a matter a little fire kindleth.” Let us not then account any sin small: let us watch and pray against every deviation from the divine commands: and, from a sense of our own blindness, let us pray to God, “Search thou me, and try me, and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Probably most of us have known someone – perhaps a relative, or friend, or neighbor – who has unthinkingly embarked on sin’s “downward road.”  May we each ask the Lord to lead us “in the way everlasting”, that we might not have our own consciences seared.

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