Katie asked:

What do you suppose he means??? "In this world, shipmates, sin that pays its way can travel freely and without a passport; whereas Virtue, if a pauper, is stopped at all frontiers." This chapter and sermon alone is so packed with wisdom. I feel i am missing the meaning on this one though. Any thoughts??

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Jake Halkovic Melville is referring to or rather commenting upon the disparity in treatment one receives as a traveler. Specifically, here, he means to suggest that wealth absolves one of many otherwise unpardonable sins--in that wealth often abjures speculation. One such example, in keeping with the fabric of the text, would be the suspicion a wary captain might level upon a traveler who is very nearly bereft of money--"Why do you wish to book passage; what is your ultimate destination; what do you do for a living?" etc. However as is the case with Melville's example: Jonah, a fat purse will often coerce an otherwise skeptical captain to turn a proverbial blind eye-- perhaps a need of funds outweighs his erstwhile discerning nature.

Do we often suspect a man in a tailored suit of shoplifting? Do we not defer to such individuals by habit? Wealth is, universally, a sign of power--to overanalyze or to question the source or intention of such wealth is often to place one's self at the mercy thereof.

By contrast, a lack of wealth often prohibits one from moving about freely, however virtuous one might be or however noble one's aspirations might prove. A ship's captain may be impressed by your wish to transport a large store of grain to a famished region--but unless you are likewise capable of supplying the currency to move it--you will in nowise move the captain also. After all, ships are not inexpensively maintained and he has a business to oversee.

Hope this helps.
Chad To rephrase: "In this world," a traveler "that pays" is allowed to go anywhere ("freely and without a passport"), whereas a poor traveler "is stopped" everywhere along the way.

In this case, the two "travelers" are Sin and Virtue, meaning that a person's moral stature makes no difference.
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