For the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them like wool: but my righteousness shall be for ever, and my salvation from generation to generation. Isaiah 51:8.
I found, among the articles of clothing I needed, some woolen goods which at first appeared all right, but when brought to the light and shaken thoroughly, revealed the destructive work of moths. Had we not made close inspection, we should not have discovered their depredations. The moth is so small a creature as to be scarcely observable; but the traces of its existence are apparent, and the destruction that it makes with fur and woolen goods shows that it is a practical worker, although out of sight and unsuspected.
Thinking of the secret but destructive work of these moths reminded us of some human beings we had known. How often our hearts have been pained by some sudden revelation in the outward actions of those for whom we had hoped better things, bringing to light their true character, that had heretofore been hidden from the sight of all! When held up before the light of God’s Word, the character is found to be like the moth-eaten garment, which, when shaken out and examined, reveals the destructive work that has been going on secretly for years….
It took time for the moth to do its work of destruction so quietly in the dark; and it takes time, little by little, for a child or youth to be easy and happy and feel secure in a course of prevarication, a course of sin hidden from human eyes. Any one act, either good or evil, does not form the character, but thoughts and feelings indulged prepare the way for acts and deeds of the same kind…. Be careful not to let your feet take the first step in any evil way. If you will lay the foundation for your character in a pure, virtuous life, seeking help and strength from God, your character will not be like the moth-eaten garment, but it will be firm and solid.55The Youth’s Instructor, December 15, 1886.