If a toad or a serpent was put in my food or in my bed!

(John Newton,
Indwelling Sin and the Believer)

"The evil which I would not do — that I do." Romans 7:19

Permit me to tell you a little part, (for some things must not, cannot be told,) not of what I have read — but of what I have felt, in illustration of the above passage.

I would not be the sport and prey of wild, vain, foolish, and vile imaginations — but this evil is present with me! My heart is like an open highway — like a city without walls or gates. Nothing is so false, so frivolous, so absurd, so impossible, or so horrid — but it can obtain access, and that at any time, or in any place! Neither the study, the pulpit, nor even the Lord's table — exempt me from their intrusion.

But if this awful effect of heart-depravity cannot be wholly avoided in the present state of human nature — yet, at least, I would not allow and indulge it — yet this I find I do! In defiance of my best judgment and best wishes — I find something within me, which cherishes and cleaves to those evils, from which I ought to be horrified by, and flee from — as I would if a toad or a serpent was put in my food or in my bed! Ah! how vile must the heart (at least my heart) be — that can hold a parley with such abominations, when I so well know their nature and their tendency.

Surely he who finds himself capable of this, may, without the least affectation of humility (however fair his outward conduct appears), subscribe himself less than the least of all saints, and the very chief of sinners! But the Lord knows how this dead fly taints and spoils my best services, and makes them no better than splendid sins.

This is only a faint sketch of my depraved heart. But though my disease is grievous, it is not desperate; I have a gracious and infallible Physician. I shall not die — but live, and declare the works of the Lord.

But I shall not always be — as I am now! Yet a little while, and I shall be freed from this vile body — which, like the leprous house, is incurably contaminated, and must be entirely taken down. Then I shall see Jesus as He is, and be like Him, and with Him forever!