“After secret backsliding comes a sin which is publicly reported, and men cry, ‘Shame!’ Yet it is not that one sin, but the general state of the man’s heart which is the saddest part of it. No man becomes bad all at once. True, the single lightning flash slew its victim, but the bolt had not fallen if there had been no previous gathering of the elements into the condition of storm.
The overt scandal is only the development of what was in the man,—the root of the evil lies deeper still. When we hear of a man who has mined his character by a surprising act of folly, we may surmise, as a rule, that this mischief was but one sulphurous jet from a soil charged with volcanic fire; or, to change the figure, one roaring lion from a den of wild beasts.
As you would, on your bended knees, cry day and night that no moral catastrophe may occur to you, beware of the sin which leads to it, beware of the backsliding which culminates in it; for if we have not the cause, the effect will not follow. The Lord will preserve us if, day by day, we cry unto Him to cleanse our way.”
–Charles H. Spurgeon, An All-Round Ministry: Addresses to Ministers and Students. (Accessed here on 01.08.08).