(From “Things That Endure”)
“Little things make perfection.” In nothing is this more true, than in character and conduct. There are many people who in great matters of principle, and in the cardinal virtues — are without fault; yet the luster of whose life is dimmed, by their countless little blemishes and flaws.
One man who is upright and steadfast, with the firmness of a rock — is hard to live with at home, because of his irritability or his despotic disposition.
Another is full of great benevolent and philanthropic schemes, doing good in many ways — yet those who know him most intimately, discover in him an almost utter lack of the sweet graces and amenities, which are the true adornment of a Christlike life.
It is in the little things, that most of our failures are made. Little faults thoroughly penetrate our characters.
Little sins ruin many a life.
There is a species of little white ants in Africa, which work desolation wherever they go. One may leave his chair at night and go to bed. In the morning the chair is there, apparently in good condition — but let him sit down on it, and it falls with him, in a heap on the floor! During the night, the white ants have eaten the inside out of the legs, seat and frame. Houses are in like manner destroyed. The timbers are bored through and through — until one day the building tumbles to the ground!
Just so, there are human lives which seem strong and right to men’s eyes — but countless infinitesimal faults and sins, eat away their substance, until they fall at last in hopeless ruin!
There is no doubt that the largest part of the pain and heartache endured in the world, is caused by multitudinous little failures in lovingness — by little, needless hurts and unkindnesses — rather than by life’s great and conspicuous sorrows.
It is not enough, therefore, that we seek to be true, honest and just, in all our life. We should learn all the lessons of love, so that in every disposition and temper and word, in every shade of expression — we shall be Christlike.