Smaller virtues and lesser vices

(Hannah More, "Practical Piety")

"Hate everything that is evil, and hold tight to everything that is good." Romans 12:9

It is important for the Christian . . .
  to practice the smaller virtues,
  to avoid scrupulously the lesser vices,
  and to bear patiently with minor trials.

Smaller virtues and lesser vices make up a large part of human life, and fix and determine our moral character.

The smaller virtues are the threads and filaments which gently but firmly tie the Christian graces together. The acquisition of even the smallest virtue, is actually a conquest over the opposite vice, and doubles our moral strength.

Faults which we are accustomed to consider as small, are apt to be repeated without reservation. The habit of committing them is strengthened by the repetition. Frequency renders us at first indifferent, and then insensible.

The hopelessness attending a long-indulged habit generates carelessness, until the power of resistance is first weakened, then destroyed.

The Christian knows of no small faults. He considers sins, whatever their magnitude, as an offense against his Maker. Nothing that offends God can be insignificant.

Nothing can be trifling that makes a bad habit fasten itself to us!

Do small faults, continually repeated, always retain their original weakness?

Is a bad temper which is never repressed, not worse after years of indulgence, than when we first gave the reins to it?

Does the habit of exaggeration never lead to falsehood, or never move into deceit?

Before we determine that our small faults are innocent, we must try to prove that they shall never outgrow their initial dimensions. We must make certain that the infant shall never become a giant!

"Hate everything that is evil, and hold tight to everything that is good." Romans 12:9

Sow a thought — and you will reap an act;
sow an act — and you will reap a habit;
sow a habit — and you will reap a character;
sow character — and you will reap a destiny!