"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
Creative Commons AttributionEtching 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.