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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

Cash and Credit               169

their high calling.   Nobody who doubts any of this is worth
talking with.

The question is, where is this Heavenly Kingdom, and
what way are we to take to find it ? Happily the answer is
easy, for we are not likely to go wrong if in all simplicity,
humility and good faith we heartily desire to find it and
follow the dictates of ordinary common-sense.

The Philosopher

He should have made many mistakes and been saved often
by the skin of his teeth, for the skin of one's teeth is the
most teaching thing about one. He should have been, or at
any rate believed himself, a great fool and a great criminal.
He should have cut himself adrift from society, and yet not
be without society. He should have given up all, even
Christ himself, for Christ's sake. He should be above fear or
love or hate, and yet know them extremely well. He should
have lost all save a small competence and know what a
vantage ground it is to be an outcast. Destruction and Death
say they have heard the fame of Wisdom with their ears, and
the philosopher must have been close up to these if he too
would hear it.

The Artist and the Shopkeeper

Most artists, whether in religion, music, literature, paint-
ing, or what not, are shopkeepers in disguise. They hide
their shop as much as they can, and keep pretending that
it does not exist, but they are essentially shopkeepers and
nothing else. Why do I try to sell my books and feel regret
at never seeing them pay their expenses if I am not a shop-
keeper ? Of course I arn, only I keep a bad shop—a shop
that does not pay.

In like manner, the professed shopkeeper has generally a
taint of the artist somewhere about him which he tries to
conceal as much as the professed artist tries to conceal his
shopkeeping.

The business man and the artist are like matter and mind.
We can never get either pure and without some alloy of the
other.