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XXIII.
HUMAN RESPECT.

I will pay my vows to the Lord before all his people.... Lo, I will not restrain my lips.... I have not concealed thy mercy and thy truth from a great council. (Psalms CXV. and XXXIX.)

That which you hear in the ear, preach ye upon the housetops.... Whosoever shall confess me before men, I will also confess him before my Father who is in heaven. (St. Matthew, c. X., vv. 27-32.)

1. Charity towards your neighbor, tolerance for his opinions, indulgence for his defects, compassion for his errors, yes; but no cowardly and guilty concessions to human respect. Never allow fear of the ridicule or contempt of men to make you blush for your faith.

2. We are not even forbidden to call one human weakness to the assistance of another that is contrary to it: men do not like to contradict 177 themselves, and they dread to be considered fickle. Well, then, in order that no person may be ignorant of the fact that you are a christian, once for all boldly confess your faith and your firm resolve to practise it, and let it be known that in all your actions your sole desire is to seek the glory of God and the good of your neighbor. Let this profession be made upon occasion in a gentle and modest manner, but firmly and positively; and you will find that subsequently it will be much easier for you to continue what you have thus courageously begun. (Read Chapters I. and II., IVth Part of the Introduction to a Devout Life.)

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