Having thus acknowledged what I owe those who haveaided and approved me, I turn to another class; a smallone, so far as I know, but not, therefore, to beoverlooked. I mean the timorous or carping few whodoubt the tendency of such books as ‘Jane Eyre:’ in whoseeyes whatever is unusual is wrong; whose ears detect ineach protest against bigotry—that parent of crime—aninsult to piety, that regent of God on earth. I wouldsuggest to such doubters certain obvious distinctions; Iwould remind them of certain simple truths.Conventionality is not morality. Self-righteousness isnot religion. To attack the first is not to assail the last. Topluck the mask from the face of the Pharisee, is not to liftan impious hand to the Crown of Thorns.These things and deeds are diametrically opposed: theyare as distinct as is vice from virtue. Men too oftenconfound them: they should not be confounded:appearance should not be mistaken for truth; narrowhuman doctrines, that only tend to elate and magnify afew, should not be substituted for the world-redeemingcreed of Christ. There is—I repeat it—a difference; and itis a good, and not a bad action to mark broadly and clearlythe line of separation between them.3
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