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Grasping for good things, can make us a bad thing.
Imagine a church leader currying political favor to the point he hardly speaks of anything but his patronage. So it is now, so it was in Jane Austen’s time. A pastor’s daughter she knew the good and the bad in ministry. Jane Austen lashes the false parson, the placeholder, the social climber, driving him out of the temple.
Pride - Prejudice - Mr - Collins - Parsons
Pride and Prejudice’s Mr. Collins, one of the more odious parsons this side of the oleaginous Rev. Obadiah Slope, reduces marriage to social contract. He loves his patroness more than any wife and he is happy to propose until the role of wife is filled. This might seem irrelevant to the rest of us. We are not eighteenth century men seeking ministerial placement from wealthy landowners. We can laugh and groan at the follies of Collins, because surely we are nothing like him.
Right? Yet Collins is an educated man, a putatively pious man, a man doing good things badly. A difficult temptation is the (normally) good deed done by means that undermine any good that could come from the action. Collins serves, but his service is overwhelmed by the flattery and mental foolishness he adopted to get his job. A man cannot stop braying even when he has somehow convinced the world he is not an ****.
The Road to Collins
How does an educated man, a religious man, become like Mr. Collins?
Career - Service
He puts career over service.
Collins needs preferment to live in the manner to which he wishes to become accustomed. As a result, his entire life has been reduced to currying favor with those who have the money and power he needs. He is a man who can go to a ball and spend his entire time...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Eidos
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