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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

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Unprofessional Sermons

Is it in photographer's nature to do so ? When David found
himself in the cave with Saul he cut off one of Saul's coat-
tails ; if he had had a camera and there had been enough
light he would have photographed him; but would it have
been in flesh and blood for him neither to cut off his coat-tail
nor to snap him ?

There is a photographer in every bush, going about like a
roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.


Teach me to live that I may dread
The grave as little as my bed.

This is from the evening hymn which all respectable
children are taught. It sounds well, but it is immoral.

Our own death is a premium which we must pay for the
far greater benefit we have derived from the fact that so
many people have not only lived but also died before us.
For if the old ones had not in course of time gone there would
nave been no progress ; all our civilisation is clue to the
arrangement whereby no man shall live for ever, and to this
huge mass of advantage we must each contribute our mite ;
that is to say, when our turn comes we too must die. The
hardship is that interested persons should be able to scare us
into thinking the change we call death to be the desperate
business which they make it out to be. There is no hardship
in having to suffer that change.

Bishop Ken, however, goes too far. Undesirable, of course,
death must always be to those who are fairly well off, but
it is undesirable that any living being should live in habitual
indifference to death. The indifference should be kept for
worthy occasions, and even then, though death be gladly
faced, it is not healthy that it should be faced as though it
were a mere undressing and going to bed.