Samuel Butler & the Psalms On Being Right


“From a worldly point of view there is no mistake so great as that of being always right.”

—SAMUEL BUTLER, 17th-century British satirist

Samuel Butler, (baptized February 8, 1612, Strensham,Worcestershire, England—died September 25, 1680, London) was an English  poet and satirist.  He is most famous as the author of Hudibras, the most memorable burlesque poem in the English language and the first English satire to make a notable and successful attack on ideas rather than on personalities.   The poetic satire is directed against the fanaticism, pretentiousness, pedantry, and hypocrisy that Butler saw in militant Puritanism, hypocrisies that  he attacked throughout his career.

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see James iii:2

2 All of us make mistakes. But if a person never makes a mistake in what he says, he is perfect. 3 But we put a bit into the mouth of a horse to make it obey us, and we are able to make it go where we want, usually. 4 Or in shipping as big as it is and driven by such strong winds, it can be steered by a very small rudder, and it goes wherever the pilot wants it to go, for the most part.

5 So it is with the tongue: small as it is, it can boast about great things and that boastfulness is akin to a small match that lights a forest flame. Watch it carefully you will be the last to know what it has destroyed.

Psalms xii

1 Help us, Lord! There is not a good person left; honest people can no longer be found. 2 All of them lie to one another; they deceive each other with flattery. 

3 Silence those flattering tongues, O Lord! Close those boastful mouths that say,
 4 “With our words we get what we want. We will say what we wish, and no one can stop us.”…. Keep us always safe, O Lord, and preserve us from such people, they will doom us all.

both from the Good News Translation

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