Wednesday, April 03, 2013



John Hill Burton (1809-1881), The Book-Hunter etc. (Edinburgh: William Blackwood & Sons, 1862), pp. 5-6:
True, there are many of our brethren violently ready to proclaim themselves frail mortals, miserable sinners, and no better, in theological phraseology, than the greatest of criminals. But such has been my own unfortunate experience in life, that whenever I find a man coming forward with these self-denunciations on his lips, I am prepared for an exhibition of intolerance, spiritual pride, and envy, hatred, malice, and all uncharitableness, towards any poor fellow-creature who has floundered a little out of the straight path, and, being all too conscious of his errors, is not prepared to proclaim them in those broad emphatic terms which come so readily to the lips of the censors, who at heart believe themselves spotless,—just as complaints about poverty, and inability to buy this and that, come from the fat lips of the millionaire, when he shows you his gallery of pictures, his stud, and his forcing-frames.

No; it is hard to choose between the two. The man who has no defect or crack in his character—no tinge of even the minor immoralities—no fantastic humour carrying him sometimes off his feet—no preposterous hobby—such a man, walking straight along the surface of this world in the arc of a circle, is a very dangerous character, no doubt; of such all children, dogs, simpletons, and other creatures that have the instinct of the odious in their nature, feel an innate loathing.
James Thomson (1834-1882):
Once in a saintly passion
    I cried with desperate grief,
"O Lord, my heart is black with guile,
    Of sinners I am chief."

Then stooped my guardian angel
    And whispered from behind,
"Vanity, my little man,
    You're nothing of the kind."

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