"A morally good man John is, but very little of the leaven of true righteousness"
Etching from the Bowyer Bible illustrating the parable of the leaven - Credit: Jan Luyken
This reference is rather mystifying as ‘leaven’ tends to have negative connotations in the Bible and is seldom associated with righteousness. An exception to this is Matthew 13:33, which says, “Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened”. Heaven, therefore, comes to fruition from small beginnings, just as the addition of a little leaven to dough causes it to ferment. Rev. Wringhim’s argument is that John Barnet lacks the basic catalyst that could convert his whole being to a state of righteousness. That he fails to understand the negative connotations of leaven, however, points up a highly subjective understanding of the Bible.