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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

Reconciliation                349

drunkard or a debauchee, and I have no more respect for him
than I have for the others.

We all like to forgive, and we all love best not those who
offend us least, nor those who have done most for us, but
those who make it most easy for us to forgive them.

So a man may lose both his legs and live for years in
health if the amputation has been clean and skilful, whereas
a pea in his boot may set up irritation which must last as
long as the pea is there and may in the end kill him.

Forgiveness and Retribution

It is no part of the bargain that we are never to commit
trespasses. The bargain is that if we would be forgiven we
must forgive them that trespass against us. Nor again is it
part of the bargain that we are to let a man hob-nob with us
when we know him to be a thorough blackguard, merely on
the plea that unless we do so we shall not be forgiving him his
trespasses. No hard and fast rule can be laid down, each
case must be settled instinctively as it arises.

As a sinner I am interested in the principle of forgiveness;
as sinned against, in that of retribution. I have what is to me
a considerable vested interest in both these principles, but
I should say I had more in forgiveness than in retribution.
And so it probably is with most people or we should have had
a clause in the Lord's prayer : " And pay out those who have
sinned against us as they whom we have sinned against
generally pay us out."

Inaccuracy

I am not sure that I do not begin to like the correction of
a mistake, even when it involves my having shown much
ignorance and stupidity, as well as I like hitting on a new
idea. It does comfort one so to be able to feel sure that one
knows how to tumble and how to retreat promptly and
without chagrin. Being bowled over in inaccuracy, when I
have tried to verify, makes me careful. But if I have not
tried to verify and then turn out wrong, this, if I find it out,
upsets me very much and I pray that I may be found out
whenever I do it.