Great illnesses seldom attack the body, without a previous train of premonitory symptoms. Great falls seldom happen to a saint, without a previous course of secret backsliding.
The church and the world are sometimes shocked by the sudden misconduct of some great professor of religion. Believers are discouraged and stumbled by it. The enemies of God rejoice and blaspheme. But if the truth could be known, the explanation of such cases would generally be found to have been private departure from God. People fall in private, long before they fall in public. The tree falls with a great crash, but the secret decay which accounts for it, is often not discovered until it is down on the ground.