I said: “I will separate myself from the world, O Lord. My soul is white, and I am weary of the sins of men.”
God said: “Your hands are red. How came your soul so white?”
I answered: “Lord, it is a bloody world; and generations of men have suffered from their sins. I have profited by their errors. Have I not seen how evil spots the soul? I have kept mine white.”
“Are all your brethren’s souls now white? ” said God.
I hung my head.
“Go back to your work”; said God. “you have learned in their pains, and you must suffer in their penalties.”
Source: Bolton Hall, “Separate From Sinners,” The Public 1, no. 52 (April 1, 1899): 9.