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[57] own standards of ethics were far higher than those of church and state, he took the part of the spirit against the letter, and of the living truth against the fossilized lie. And the result was that which no prophet has ever escaped. He was persecuted and hounded. He was called an infidel and blasphemer and Sabbath-breaker. He was accused of stirring up the people and stimulating insurrection among the slaves. But he stood firm, remembering the injunction to rejoice and be exceeding glad, for so had they persecuted the prophets which were before him.

Garrison was a prophet, too, in the character of his work. His denunciation of wrong was in the language of Isaiah and Amos; he had their fiery spirit and unmeasured tongue. It is easy to argue that this temper is unkind and unchristian, but I confess that I like it, when it has no personal intent. Take away the “woes” which Jesus pronounced against pharisaism and hypocrisy, and you leave his character enfeebled. Somehow a loving heart and strong language against evil can contrive to thrive together. And in private life Garrison was all kindliness, devoted to his wife and children and friends, and in turn almost adored by them. Nor, so far as I know, did he ever use harsh words towards any man to his face, and if he erred in this respect

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William Lloyd Garrison (2)
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