THEY SAY (10 OF 17)

by Clarence E. Macartney

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Strange Texts but Grand Truths (10 of 17)
"They Say"
Clarence E. Macartney
Nehemiah 6:6

When Aaron Burr at the end of his long life, during
which he had tasted the cup of honor and distinction
and also drained the dregs of bitterness and
humiliation, lay dying in a boarding house at Port
Richmond, Staten Island, a friend who was waiting upon
him, reporting to him some rumor, commenced by saying,
"They say." At that Burr interrupted her and said, "My
dear, never use that word. It has broken more hearts
than any other."

Very likely Burr's protest and remark had something to
do with his own experience. His character, in spite of
his great inheritance as a son of the second president
of Princeton and as a grandson of one of America's
greatest thinkers, Jonathan Edwards, left much to be
desired, down to the very end of his life. The sorrows
and adversities through which he had passed,
especially the death at sea of his beloved daughter
Theodosia, which, he said, had severed him from
mankind, had softened him, but apparently had not
reformed his manner of life. Nevertheless, Burr was
probably painted a great deal blacker than he really
was. He himself knew the wound that can be inflicted
by a careless and ill-considered, "They say," and he
was not wrong when he declared that this is a phrase
that has broken more hearts than any other. How many
friendships it has destroyed, how many incurable
wounds it has inflicted, and how many lives it has

Nehemiah is one of the grandest characters of the Old
Testament. Commissioned by Artaxerxes, the king of
Persia, to be the governor of Jerusalem and to rebuild
its walls, he had returned to Jerusalem with a company
of exiles. Nehemiah was grieved and shocked at the
ruin into which Jerusalem had fallen. After he had
made a midnight ride about the city and a survey of
its walls and gates, he called together the leaders of
the returned exiles and s ...

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