In at least one movie version of "A Christmas Carol" (wth Reginald Owen as Scrooge) the young Scrooge is a fairly normal, if somewhat unhappy, young man. The movie makes the point that his avarice, with its insidious and corrosive side effects, came on silent cat feet over many years until it had dissolved all his humanity and enslaved him under a cruel despot. He probably never realized something had taken possession of him. If error typically announced itself by kicking in our front doors and stomping rudely all over our mental homes with muddy hobnail boots we would certainly take the intruder by the scruff of its neck and throw it out on its keester. Except that evil more often comes politely, subtly, to the door of consciousness all smiles and a shoe-shine, with an appealing and seductive sales pitch, smoother than a hot cup of rich cocoa on a freezing winter night.
Setting a diligent and never-flagging watch is no task for the odd moment, but are we always cognizant of the terrible cost of not doing so? Not only do the little foxes spoil the vines, but as James observes (3:5) "Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!" The slightest compromise with mortal mind is a very slippery slope whose dangers are too often obscured in tawdry blandishments. Our dear Master has admonished us ". . . what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch".
Ah, when to the heart of man
Was it ever less than a treason
To go with the drift of things,
To yield with a grace to reason,
from "Reluctance" by Robert Frost
We must also be alert that we do not allow ourselves to be bamboozled by the compromises of others, however much we might admire or respect them. We need to recognize a sandcastle when we see one, no matter how attracively caparisoned it may be. Quite by happenstance an exerpt from an old Sentinel dropped onto my desk. If I seem to be one who doesn't know when to simply give it a rest and leave my tired hobbyhorse to munch his oats peacefully in his stall, I can only say I would rather be condemned for protesting too much than too little and simply drifting along apathetically with the flow. I humbly recommend any reader's attention to the notice "From the Directors" in either the March 1977 Journal or March 5, 1977 Sentinel. My suggesting the value of context in a recent "poem" which touched on the now dreaded subject of full-text Bible lessons also seems to have been pre-validated by the 1977 notice. The sow's ears of grotesqueries and unjustified mutations, no matter how effusive the fulsome puffery which preceded them, should never be granted unquestioned silk-purse legitimacy.