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13th September
2012
written by Jeffrey Long

“Conventionality is not morality. Self-righteousness is not religion. To
attack the first is not to assail the last. To pluck the mask from the
face of the Pharisee, is not to lift an impious hand to the Crown of
Thorns.

These things and deeds are diametrically opposed: they are as distinct as
is vice from virtue. Men too often confound them: they should not be
confounded: appearance should not be mistaken for truth; narrow human
doctrines, that only tend to elate and magnify a few, should not be
substituted for the world-redeeming creed of Christ. There is–I repeat
it–a difference; and it is a good, and not a bad action to mark broadly
and clearly the line of separation between them.

The world may not like to see these ideas dissevered, for it has been
accustomed to blend them; finding it convenient to make external show
pass for sterling worth–to let white-washed walls vouch for clean
shrines. It may hate him who dares to scrutinise and expose–to rase the
gilding, and show base metal under it–to penetrate the sepulchre, and
reveal charnel relics: but hate as it will, it is indebted to him.

Ahab did not like Micaiah, because he never prophesied good concerning
him, but evil; probably he liked the sycophant son of Chenaannah better;
yet might Ahab have escaped a bloody death, had he but stopped his ears
to flattery, and opened them to faithful counsel.”

– Charlotte Bronte from the Preface to Jane Eyre