But if it be meant that the danger was in the genius, we deny it altogether. Burns's genius was the one good thing he had, and it was always, as it always must be, good, and only good, the leaven of uncontaminate heaven in him that would not let him sink contentedly into the sty of oblivion with the million other tipplers and loose-livers of his century.
The village of his origin had an undesirable reputation, for its inhabitants were loose-livers, and the scandal of the surrounding countryside. But even in this environment the monk's family had made themselves conspicuous by their low and unmentionable customs.
There were adulterers, secret loose-livers among them. Are there none now-a- days? They were covetous. Are no religious professors covetous now-a-days? They crept into widows' houses, and, for a pretence made long prayers. Does no one do so now? There would, of course, be among them, as there is among all large religious parties, as there is now, a great deal of inconsistent and bad conduct.