'This is the path which leads to death:
Men first leave off private prayer;
then they neglect
the due observance of the Lord's day;
then they gradually let slip
from their minds the very idea
of obedience to a fixed law;
then they actually allow
themselves things which
their conscience condemns;
then they lose the direction
of their conscience, which,
being ill used,
at length refuses to direct them.
And thus, being left by
their true inward guide,
they are obliged to take
another guide, their reason,
which by itself knows little
or nothing about religion;
then their blind reason
forms a system of right or wrong
for them, as well as it can,
flattering to their own desires,
where it is not actually corrupt.
such a scheme contradicts Scripture,
which it is soon found to do;
not that they are certain to perceive this themselves;
they often do not know it,
and think themselves still believers in the Gospel,
while they maintain doctrines which the Gospel condemns.
But sometimes they perceive that their system is contrary to Scripture;
and then, instead of giving it up, they give up Scripture, and profess themselves unbelievers.
Such is the course of disobedience, beginning in slight omissions, and ending in open unbelief.'
John Henry Cardinal Newman
Painting by Blonskaya, in US public domain due to age (PD-US)