Wiles - by JB Stoney
A sailor expects to reach a direction that is in keeping with his steering. A very slight movement of the helm, a very small deviation at first, if adhered to, will lead to a port very remote indeed from the one which you would have reached if that first slight movement of the helm had been obviated. One point of the compass may seem as nothing, but the farther you proceed according to it, the more definitely are you departing from the port you are bound for. Because it appears little at the inception one is induced to overlook it, and therefore the scripture calls deceivings of this kind "wiles", that is, by-paths, which deviate so little at the beginning from the true course that to raise an objection to it might seem fastidious. If the great divergence which will eventually ensue were seen at first no one with heart or conscience would have submitted to it. Hence it is at the point where the divergence is smallest that the spiritual man, who judgeth all things, proves his knowledge, and refuses to submit to that which in the eyes of the mass seems most trivial. The more the conscience is confined to the exclusive range of the Spirit of God, the less will it meet with support from the general company of saints; but one simple question tests everything—If I pursue this course where will it lead to ?
You do not fear "the fly" which spoils the apothecary's ointment; as in the voyage it is the little wrong turn of the helm which diverts the ship from its course, so does the fly, a thing small in itself, destroy a crop of fairest promise, though it may only attack the leaf. For this there is no remedy but to be preserved from atmospheric influence, and blessed indeed will this year be to you, if you, having found perfect atmosphere in the sanctuary, come forth to act here in everything according to God.