The Backslider in Heart
It is a miserable thing to be a backslider. Of all unhappy things that can befall a man, I suppose it is the worst. A stranded ship, a broken-winged eagle, a garden overrun with weeds, a harp without strings, a church in ruins, all these are sad sights, but a backslider is a sadder sight still. A wounded conscience - a mind sick of itself - a memory full of self-reproach - a heart pierced through with the Lord's arrows - a spirit broken with a load of inward accusation - all this is a taste of hell. It is hell on earth. Truly that saying of the wise man is solemn and weighty, "The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways" (Prov. 14:14).
--J. C. Ryle, A Call to Prayer