If you by word, or subscription, or furtherance, own any man’s sin, you directly consent to it.
If you neglect any duty which lieth upon you for the cure of his sin, you indirectly consent; for you consent that he shall rather continue in his sin, than you will do your part to help him out of it. Consider therefore how far you are bound to reprove any sin, or to use any other means for the reformation of it, whether it be in the pastor or the people; and if you neglect any such means, your way is to reform your own neglect, and do your duty, and not to separate from the church, before you have done your duty to reform it. But if you have done all that is your part, then the sin is none of yours, though you remain there present.
Richard Baxter and William Orme, The Practical Works of the Rev. Richard Baxter, vol. 5 (London: James Duncan, 1830), 195.
Nathaniel Hawthorne, author of "The Scarlet Letter" (1850), regarded this painting, which William Walters commissioned from Merle in 1859, as the finest illustration of his novel. Set in Puritan Boston, the novel relates how Hester Prynne was publicly disgraced and condemned to wear a scarlet letter "A" for adultery. Arthur Dimmesdale, the minister who fathered her child, and Roger Chillingworth, Hester's elderly husband, appear in the background. Merle's canvas reflects some of the same 19th-century historical interest in the Puritans as Hawthorne's book, a fascination that reached its peak with the establishment of Thanksgiving as a national holiday in 1863. By depicting Hester and her daughter, Pearl, in a pose that recalls that of the Madonna and Child, Merle underlines "The Scarlet Letter"'s themes of sin and redemption. by Hugues Merle [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons