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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

34              Elementary Morality

summed up Homer's conception of a god as that of a " super-
latively strong, amorous, beautiful, brave and cunning man."
This is pretty much what a good working god ought to be,
but he should also be kind and have a strong sense of humour,
together with a contempt for the vices of meanness and
for the meannesses of virtue. After saying what I have
quoted above the writer in the Pall Mall Gazette goes on,
"An impartial critic can judge for himself how far, if at all,
this is elevated above the level of mere fetish worship."
Perhaps it is that I am not an impartial critic, but, if I am
allowed to be so, I should say that the elevation above mere
fetish worship was very considerable.

Good Breeding the Summum Bonum

When people ask what faith we would siibstitute for that
which we would destroy, we answer that we destroy no faith
and need substitute none. We hold the glory of God to be
the summum bonum, and so do Christians generally. It is
on the question of what is the glory of God that we join
issue. We say it varies with the varying phases of God as
made manifest in his works, but that, so far as we are our-
selves concerned, the glory of God is best advanced by ad-
vancing that of man. If asked what is the glory of man we
answer " Good breeding "—using the words in their double
sense and meaning both the continuance of the race and that
grace of manner which the words are more commonly taken
to signify. The double sense of the words is all the more
significant for the unconsciousness with which it is passed
over.

Advice to the Young

You will sometimes find your elders laying their heads
together and saying what a bad thing it is for young men
to come into a little money—that those always do best
who have no expectancy, and the like. They will then quote
some drivel from one of the Kingsleys about the deadening
effect an income of £300 a year will have upoii a man. Avoid
any one whom you may hear talk in this way. The fault
lies not with the legacy (which would certainly be better
if there were more of it) but with those who have so mis-