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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

352                 Reconciliation

that every one should be either self-effacing or truthful to
the bitter end reduces life to an absurdity. If we seek real
rather than technical truth, it is more true to be considerately
untruthful within limits than to be inconsiderately truthful
without them. What the limits are we generally know but
cannot say.

There is an unbridgeable chasm between thought and
words that we must jump as best we can, and it is just here
that the two hitch on to one another. The higher rules of
life transcend the sphere of language ; they cannot be gotten
by speech, neither shall logic be weighed for the price
thereof. They have their being in the fear of the Lord and in
the departing from evil without even knowing in words what
the Lord is, nor the fear of the Lord, nor yet evil.

Common straightforwardness and kindliness are the
highest points that man or woman can reach, but they should
no more be made matters of conversation than should the
lowest vices. Extremes meet here as elsewhere and the
extremes of vice and virtue are alike common and un-
mentionable.

There is nothing for it but a very humble hope that from
the Great Unknown Source our daily insight and daily strength
may be given us with our daily bread. And what is this but
Christianity, whether we believe that Jesus Christ rose from
the dead or not ? So that Christianity is like a man's souló
he who finds may lose it and he who loses may find it.

If, then, a man may be a Christian while believing himself
hostile to all that some consider most essential in Christianity,
may he not also be a free-thinker (in the common use of the
word) while believing himself hostile to free-thought ?