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Charles Spurgeon's Illustration Collection
Habits: Destructive Power of
The surgeon of a regiment in India relates the following incident:: 'A soldier rushed into the tent, to inform me that one of his comrades was drowning in a pond close by, and nobody could attempt to save him in consequence of the dense weeds which covered the surface. On repairing to the spot, we found the poor fellow in his last struggle, manfully attempting to extricate himself from the meshes of ropelike grass that encircled his body; but, to all appearance, the more he labored to escape, the more firmly they became coiled round his limbs. At last he sank, and the floating plants closed in, and left not a trace of the disaster. After some delay, a raft was made, and we put off to the spot, and sinking a pole some twelve feet, a native dived, holding on by the stake, and brought the body to the surface. I shall never forget the expression of the dead man's face: the clenched teeth, and fearful distortion of the countenance, while coils of long trailing weeds clung round his body and limbs, the muscles of which stood out stiff and rigid, whilst his hands grasped thick masses, showing how bravely he had struggled for life.'
This heart-rending picture is a terribly accurate representation of a man with a conscience alarmed by remorse, struggling with his sinful habits, but finding them too strong for him. Divine grace can save the wretch from his unhappy condition, but if he be destitute of that, his remorseful agonies will but make him more hopelessly the slave of his passions. Laocoon, in vain endeavoring to tear off the serpents' coils from himself and children, aptly portrays the long-enslaved sinner contending with sin in his own strength. 'Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots?'
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Spurgeon, Charles. Entry for 'Habits: Destructive Power of'. Charles Spurgeon's Illustration Collection. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/fff/h/habits-destructive-power-of.html. 1870.
the Week of Proper 9 / Ordinary 14