I read these words somewhere, with no recognition of who said them. I was especially impressed by the contrast between "fitful impulse" and "sustained principles." It makes a very stark comparison, doesn't it? Impulse is not all bad, of course. Sometimes it’s called for in order to take advantage of a passing opportunity; and, indeed, there are times when failing to act with haste can be positively disastrous. Still, it cannot be denied that haste always carries with it the dimension of chance. It's certainly possible to make a wrong decision after much deliberation, but it's more probable without any at all.
Several Scriptures immediately come to mind. For instance, Isaiah 28:16b tells us, "[H]e that believeth shall not make haste." One of the great earmarks of a strong faith is the ability to wait. It's tempting to make a move before one is called for, when it seems as though nothing is happening. We would do well to follow Naomi's advice to Ruth: "Sit still my daughter, until thou know how the matter will fall..." (Ruth 3:18). God says in Isaiah 52:22, "For ye shall not go out with haste...for the LORD will go before you..." You see the obvious danger here, don't you?
But not only can we move in haste, often we speak with very little forethought, as well. David admits in Psalm 31:22, "For I said in my haste, I am cut off from before thine eyes..." His first impulse during a difficult time in his life was to strike out, even against God. Bitterness is a terrible thing to harbor, but it's even worse to speak under its influence. God says of someone who is hasty in his words, “…there is more hope of a fool than of him” (Prov. 29:20).
In addition, haste often leads to exaggeration. For example, the Psalmist says in Psalm 116:11, "I said in my haste, All men are liars." Well, it is true that there is not a man or woman who has not at one time or another told a lie. But it's also true that "all liars shall have their part in the lake of fire." So, if all men are liars, we're all sunk! It's very easy to make broad, sweeping statements before thinking them through.
There's a time to make haste; and there's a time to make sure. Be sure you know the difference.