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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

Rebelliousness                 341

and regulating of revenge. Current prices and markets and
commercial regulations are for the taming of gratitude and
its reduction from a public nuisance to something which
shall at least be tolerable. Revenge and gratitude are cor-
relative terms. Our system of commerce is a protest against
the unbridled licence of gratitude. Gratitude, in fact, like
revenge, is a mistake unless under certain securities.

Cant and Hypocrisy

We should organise a legitimate channel for instincts so
profound as these, just as we have found it necessary to do
with lust and revenge by the institutions of marriage and the
law courts. This is the raison d'etre of the church. You
kill a man just as much whether you murder him or hang him
after the formalities of a trial. And so with lust and marriage,
mutatis mutandis. So again with the professions of religion
and medicine. You swindle a man as much when you sell
him a drug of whose action you are ignorant, and tell him it
will protect him from disease, as when you give him a bit of
bread, which you assure him is the body of Jesus Christ, and
then send a plate round for aj subscription. You swindle him
as much by these acts as if you picked his pocket, or obtained
money from him under false pretences in any other way ; but
you swindle him according to the rules and in an authorised
way.

Real Blasphemy

On one of our Sunday walks near London we passed a
forlorn and dilapidated Primitive Methodist Chapel. The
windows were a good deal broken and there was a notice up
offering io/~ reward to any one who should give such informa-
tion as should lead to the, &c. Cut in stone over the door was
this inscription, and we thought it as good an example of
real blasphemy as we had ever seen :

When God makes up his last account
Of holy children in his mount,
'Twill be an honour to appear
As one new born and nourished here.