Poor, miserable, paltry works of a polluted worm!

(Philpot, "The Loss of All Things for Christ's Sake")

"We are all infected and impure with sin. When we
 proudly display our righteous deeds, we find they
 are but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither
 and fall. And our sins, like the wind, sweep us away."
        Isaiah 64:6

We once thought that we could gain heaven by
our own righteousness. We strictly attended to
our religious duties, and sought by these and
various other means to recommend ourselves
to the favor of God, and induce Him to reward
us with heaven for our sincere attempts to obey
His commandments.

And by these religious performances we thought we
would surely be able to make a ladder whereby we
could climb up to heaven. This was our tower of
, whose top was to reach unto heaven, and
by mounting which, we thought to scale the stars.

But the same Lord who stopped the further building
of the tower of Babel, by confounding their speech
and scattering them abroad on the face of the earth;
began to confound our speech, so that we could not
pray, or talk, or boast as before; and to scatter all
our religion like the chaff
of the threshing floor. Our
mouths were stopped; we became guilty before God;
and our bricks and mortar became a pile of confusion!

When, then, the Lord was pleased to discover to our
souls by faith, His being, majesty, greatness, holiness,
and purity; and thus gave us a corresponding sense of
our filthiness and folly; then all our creature religion
and natural piety
which we once counted as gain, we
began to see was but loss; that our very religious duties
and observances, so far from being for us, were actually
against us; and instead of pleading for us before God as
so many deeds of righteousness, were so polluted and
defiled by sin perpetually mixed with them, that our
very prayers were enough to sink us into hell
, had
we no other iniquities to answer for in heart, lip or life.

But when we had a view by faith of the Person, work,
love, and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, then we began
more plainly and clearly to see, with what religious toys
we had been so long amusing ourselves
, and what is
far worse, mocking God by them.

We had been secretly despising . . .
  Jesus and His sufferings,
  Jesus and His death,
  Jesus and His righteousness,
and setting up the poor, miserable, paltry
works of a polluted worm
in the place of
the finished work of the Son of God.