Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Path to Unbelief

'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,
and presumptuous 
where it is not actually corrupt.
No wonder 
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)


  1. Powerful words! The next time we think we don't have time to pray, maybe we ought to remember that skipping prayer is the first step in the downward spiral.

    Thanks for posting this!


    1. That's what got to me, Patti - it's that first step.


  2. As Patti said powerful words... such a powerful image.

    1. The words jumped out at me, Brenda.. so strongly that I hope they never leave.

  3. This is perfect in the slippery slope of bad habits I struggle with!! And that painting is perfect in expressing the posture of disobedience!!! Love it! Thanks for this...I needed it....God Bless.