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Judges 10:6 ; Judges 10:10
The dark and the bright sides of the history shift with a rapidity unknown in the latter times of the story 'The children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord,' and 'The children of Israel cried unto the Lord'. Never was there a better instance than in these two alternate sentences, ten times repeated, that we need not pronounce any age entirely bad or entirely good.
It is possibly to this passage that Luther was alluding loosely in the following fragment of his Table-Talk : 'As I sometimes look through my fingers, when the tutor whips my son John, so it is with God; when we are untruthful and disobedient to His word and commandments, He suffers us, through the devil, to be soundly lashed with pestilence, famine, and such-like whips; not that He is our enemy, and to destroy us, but that through such scourging He may call us to repentance and amendment, and so allure us to seek Him, run to Him, and call upon Him for help. Of this we have a fine example in the book of Judges, when the angel, in God's person, speaks thus: I have stricken you so often, and ye are nothing the better for it. And the people of Israel said, Save Thou us but now: we have sinned and done amiss. Punish Thou us, O Lord, and do with us what Thou wilt, only save us now. Whereupon He struck not all the people to death.'
I often went to bed with tears; and after a sleepless night arose again with tears: I required some strong support; and God would not vouchsafe it me, while I was running with the cap and bells.
Goethe in The Confessions of a Fair Saint.
There was some juggling among the officials to avoid direct taxation; and Pepys, with a noble impulse, growing ashamed of his dishonesty, designed to charge himself with £1000; but finding none to set him an example, 'nobody of our ablest merchants' with their moderate liking for clean hands, he judged it 'not decent'; he feared it would 'be thought vain glory'; and, rather than appear singular, cheerfully remained a thief. One able merchant's countenance, and Pepys had dared to do an honest act! Had he found one brave spirit, properly recognized by society, he might have gone far as a disciple.
R. L. Stevenson, Men and Books, p. 321.
The key to all ages is Imbecility; imbecility in the vast majority of men, at all times, and even in heroes, in all but certain eminent moments; victims of gravity, custom, and fear. This gives force to the strong, that the multitude have no habit of self-reliance or original action.
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Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Judges 10". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. https://www.studylight.org/
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