[Crusader's Gate]George Herbert: "The Church-porch"

Day 7: Morning


The cheapest sinnes most dearely punisht are;

Because to shun them also is so cheap:

For we have wit to mark them, and to spare.

O crumble not away thy souls fair heap.

   If thou wilt die, the gates of hell are broad:

   Pride and full sinnes have made the way a road.

     The little, insignificant, habitual sins are most severely punished because it is also easy to avoid them. We have the common sense and ability to know what they are, more than enough. Don't break up your soul's ample possession into little pieces. If you are going to die and be damned, you may as well commit sins large enough to go through the broad gates of hell. Pride and the other infamous, cardinal sins have made the trail a highway.

     We sell ourselves with thousands of little sins, offenses that can be avoided, because they are small and within our ability to evade, to face or to defeat. "Crumble not away thy souls fair heap." Little vices like erosion wearing the mountain of the soul away little by little. Frost cracking it. Weeds forcing it apart. A little at a time. It is better to take a sledge hammer, an earth mover, pride, theft and destroy it dramatically, impressively. Little sins and large both lead to Hell; the width of the gates and the road can handle the large.

     We overlook the little, unimportant errors, transgressions against God's Love. We rail over the major flaws of character, the deficits of the environment, the deficiencies of family, the overwhelming accidents that lead to harm. We spend too much time on the faults that can not be corrected, the irretrievable errors of the past, the wrongs done by others that we have no control of, worry over future possibilities. But the thousands of faults that we let pass, even though we see them every day, go unchallenged, unvanquished.

© 1997 J. R. Arner

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