WHY is "the deaf adder that stoppeth her ears" culpable?
Not, surely, because of any involuntary deafness: but because whatever degree of infirmity she may or may not have labored under, she willed to be and to remain deaf.
Honest difficulties in the way of her hearing may have existed: incomparably beyond them in baneful influence appears to have been the circumstance that she stopped her ears.
We may fairly conclude that had her deafness been absolute she would not have felt any impulse to stop her ears: she could not have apprehended enough to set her against apprehending more.
Because she heard somewhat, she stopped her ears; and because hearing somewhat she took measures to hear no more, therefore she abides condemned.
If because we see her stop her ears we judge and condemn her on that very evidence of her having heard, let us judge ourselves no less honestly.
The responsibility we avoid facing, we have already caught a glimpse of: we are at the least so far cognizant of it as to know that we might ascertain more.