The greatest sinner that you know!
(William Law, "A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life")
"This is a true saying, and worthy of all acceptance: 'Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners'—and I am the worst of them all." 1 Timothy 1:15
You may truly look upon yourself to be the greatest sinner that you know in the world. For though you may know many people to be guilty of some gross sins with which you cannot charge yourself—yet you may justly condemn yourself as the greatest sinner that you know, because you know more of the folly of your own heart, than you do of other people's hearts. You can charge yourself with various sins, that only you know of yourself, and cannot be sure that others are guilty of them.
So that as you know more of the folly, the degradation, the pride, the deceitfulness and vileness of your own heart, than you do of any one's else—so you have just reason to consider yourself as the greatest sinner that you know; because you know more of the greatness of your own sins, than you do of other people's sins.
God Almighty knows greater sinners than you are; because He sees and knows the circumstances of all men's sins. But your own heart, if it is faithful to you, can discover no guilt so great as your own.
Perhaps that person who appears so odious in your eyes, would have been much better than you are—had he been altogether in your circumstances, and received all the same favors and graces from God that you have. And therefore the greatest sinner that you know, must be yourself.
This is a very humbling thought.
A serious and frequent reflection upon this truth will mightily tend to . . .
humble us in our own eyes,
make us very sensible of the greatness of our own guilt,
and very tender in censuring and condemning other people.