Sunday, May 25, 2014


Some Remote Geological Era of Human Thought

Logan Pearsall Smith (1865-1946), "Donne's Sermons," Reperusals and Re-Collections (London: Constable & Company Ltd., 1936), pp. 222-255 (at 224):
[T]o the more secular-minded, the old divines, whose severe brows and square faces meet our eyes when we open their great folios, seem, with their imposed dogmas, their heavy and obsolete methods of exposition and controversy, almost as if they belonged to some remote geological era of human thought. We are reminded of Taine's image of them as giant saurians, slowly winding their scaly backs through the primeval slime, and meeting each other, armed with syllogisms and bristling with texts, in theological battle, to tear the flesh from one another's flanks with their great talons, and cover their opponents with filth in their efforts to destroy them.
Id., p. 233, n. 1:
Book-collectors should by the way be warned against collecting old books for their bindings; there are sometimes dangerous spirits imprisoned in these leather bottles.
Id., p. 241:
A preacher or moralist often betrays himself indirectly, for he is apt to see his own faults in others, and to dwell, in his exhortations, on the temptations and weaknesses to which he is especially exposed.

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