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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

XXIV
The Life of the World to Come

Posthumous Life

i

To try to live in posterity is to be like an actor who leaps
over the footlights and talks to the orchestra.

ii

He who wants posthumous fame is as one who would entail
land, and tie up his money after his death as tightly and for
as long a time as possible. Still we each of us in our own
small way try to get what little posthumous fame we can.

The Test of Faith

Why should we be so avid of honourable and affectionate
remembrance after death ? Why should we hold this the one
thing worth living or dying for ? Why should all that we can
know or feel seem but a very little thing-as compared with
that which we never either feel or know ? What a reversal
of all the canons of action which commonly guide mankind
is there not here ? But however this may be, if we have faith
hi the life after death we can have little in that which is before
it, and if we have faith in this life we can have small faith in
any other.

Nevertheless there is a deeply rooted conviction, even in
many of those in whom its existence is least apparent, that
honourable and affectionate remembrance after death with a
full and certain hope that it will be ours is the highest prize
to which the highest calling can aspire. Few pass through this
world without feeling the vanity of all human ambitions;
their faith may fail them here, but it will not fail them—not

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