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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

T    Rebelliousness                  333

too much God or too little, and the God has always too little
flesh or too much.

Gods and Prophets

It is the manner of gods and prophets to begin: " Thou
shalt have none other God or Prophet but me." If I were to
start as a god or a prophet, I think I should take the line:
" Thou shalt not believe in me. Thou shalt not have me for
a god. Thou shalt worship any damned thing thou likest
except me." This should be my first and great command-
ment, and my second should be like unto it.*

Faith and Reason

The instinct towards brushing faith aside and being
strictly reasonable is strong and natural; so also is the
instinct towards brushing logic and consistency on one side
if they become troublesome, in other words—so is the instinct
towards basing action on a faith which is beyond reason. It
is because both instincts are so natural that so many accept
and so many reject Catholicism. The two go along for some
time as very good friends and then fight; sometimes one
beats and sometimes the other, but they always make it up
again and jog along as before, for they have a great respect
for one another.

God and the Devil

God's merits are so transcendent that it is not surprising
his faults should be in reasonable proportion. The faults are,
indeed, on such a scale that, when looked at without relation
to the merits with which they are interwoven, they become
so appalling that people shrink from ascribing them to the
Deity and have invented the Devil, without seeing that there
would be more excuse for God's killing the Devil, and so

* " Above all things, let no unwary reader do me the injustice
of believing in me. In that I write at all I am among the damned. If
he must believe in anything, let him believe in the music of Handel,
the painting of Giovanni Bellini, and in the thirteenth chapter of
St. Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians " (Life and Habitt close of
Chapter II).