To rely upon our own talents is a cause of great loss. For, when a Superior, a preacher, or a confessor, places confidence in his own prudence, knowledge, and intelligence, God, to make him know and see his insufficiency, withdraws from him His help, and leaves him to work by himself. Whence it happens that all his plans and labors produce little or no fruit. This is often the cause why our undertakings fail. -St. Vincent de Paul
This is clearly seen in the crossing of the Red Sea by the Israelites and the Egyptians. The former placed all their confidence in God, and crossed successfully. The latter placed theirs in their horses, and were drowned.
St. Francis de Sales managed all the affairs that God entrusted to him, with success. The cause of this was that he trusted never to his own ability, but wholly to Divine Providence; and he never hoped to succeed in a business if he had any other reliance than this.
St. Philip Neri used to say: “If a person voluntarily puts himself in the way of sin, saying, I shall not fall, I shall not commit it, it is an almost certain sign that he will fall to the ruin of his soul.”
Text from A Year With the Saints (New York: P.J. Kenedy & Sons, 1891).