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Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
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me, I turn to another class; a small one, so far as I know, but
not, therefore, to be overlooked. I mean the timorous or carping
few who doubt the tendency of such books as "Jane Eyre:" in whose
eyes whatever is unusual is wrong; whose ears detect in each protest
against bigotry -- that parent of crime -- an insult to piety, that
regent of God on earth. I would suggest to such doubters certain
obvious distinctions; I would remind them of certain simple truths.

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.

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