( Originally Published 1902 )
THE white ant is a destructive little creature, eating most kinds of vegetable growth, and boring his way into wood and cutting it to pieces. A gentleman in one of the cities of France gave a dinner, and while the guests were at the table the floor gave away, and table, dishes, food, guests, furniture, and everything in the room fell into the cellar below. These white ants had eaten into powder the supports of the floor, so silently and swiftly that the accident came without any warning.
So-called little sins have sharp teeth, and cut far into the wood, and dam-age the supports of character. It is seldom that a great solitary sin ruins the character of a good man. It is the small habits of evil, the secret thoughts, and first variations from duty, which, growing, do their work silently and un-noticed, and eventually break out into some awful overt act, which shocks the tottering structure and throws character and reputation into ruin. The little white ants of evil thoughts and first habits are dangerous things to be reckoned with. In Africa, the natives have discovered a black ant which takes pleasure in killing the white ant, and when the white vandals appear they send out the black warriors to put an end to them. The thoughts and little habits of good must drive out the evil ones if the character would be preserved.