Wednesday, November 20, 2019


Commentary on a Psalm Verse

Samuel Butler (1835-1902), The Note-Books (New York: E.P. Dutton Co., 1917), p. 212:
Lord, let me know mine end, and the number of my days: that I may be certified how long I have to live (Ps. xxxix. 5).

Of all prayers this is the insanest....The prayer is a silly piece of petulance and it would have served the maker of it right to have had it granted. "A painful and lingering disease followed by death" or "Ninety, a burden to yourself and every one else" — there is not so much to pick and choose between them. Surely, "I thank thee, O Lord, that thou hast hidden mine end from me" would be better. The sting of death is in foreknowledge of the when and the how.

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