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a web of many textures

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Mrs. Partington, in speaking of one who had enjoyed
the blessing of good sight up to a late period of her
life, said “she never had a speck on in her life.” What
a consolation it would be for us, when we get into the
vale of years, if, in “looking back o'er the scene of our
errors,” we could say the same in a moral sense, with
never a speck on our escutcheon to reproach us! Alas!
the best of us, in such position, would see many dark
specks, and our life, like a pear over-ripe, prove to be
infected with many unsound spots. The best of men
have so little to be proud of! — even those who are


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laboring so hard in behalf of fallen man now-a-days may
be found to have the blemish that all possess, in common.
This is comforting to sinners who are crowded
down by disadvantageous circumstances, who see the
shaky tendency of those better than they, and take
courage. The suspicion of a speck redeems the humanity
of the very perfect man. We do not love what the
world calls perfection. It has no heart beneath its
jacket; the throb of sympathy is not there; it has no
recognition of kindred weaknesses; it forgets old ties
and old obligations. We like to think of the worthies
who have lived of yore in this light of imperfection —
to think of men with a speck or so on them, be it never
so small. To think of Washington, and Paul, and Peter,
as men, makes us love them better than though they
were myths. St. Peter's impetuosity and Paul's temper
endear them to us; and after reading the denial scene,
we say, “Peter, you acted like a man;” and his penitence
was more manly still.