LETTUCE, n. An herb of the genus Lactuca, Wherewith, says that pious gastronome, Hengist Pelly, God has been pleased to reward the good and punish the wicked. For by his inner light the righteous man has discerned a manner of compounding for it a dressing to the appetency whereof a multitude of gustible condiments conspire, being reconciled and ameliorated with profusion of oil, the entire comestible making glad the heart of the godly and causing his face to shine. But the person of spiritual unworth is successfully tempted to the Adversary to eat of lettuce with destitution of oil, mustard, egg, salt and garlic, and with a rascal bath of vinegar polluted with sugar. Wherefore the person of spiritual unworth suffers an intestinal pang of strange complexity and raises the song.
HEART, n. An automatic, muscular blood-pump. Figuratively, this useful organ is said to be the esat of emotions and sentiments --a very pretty fancy which, however, is nothing but a survival of a once universal belief. It is now known that the sentiments and emotions reside in the stomach, being evolved from food by chemical action of the gastric fluid. The exact process by which a beefsteak becomes a feeling --tender or not, according to the age of the animal from which it was cut the successive stages of elaboration through which a caviar sandwich is transmuted to a quaint fancy and reappears as a pungent epigram the marvelous functional methods of converting a hard-boiled egg into religious contrition, or a cream-puff into a sigh of sensibility --these things have been patiently ascertained by M. Pasteur, and by him expounded with convincing lucidity. (See, also, my monograph, The Essential Identity of the Spiritual Affections and Certain Intestinal Gases Freed in Digestion --4to, 687 pp.) In a scientific work entitled, I believe, Delectatio Demonorum (John Camden Hotton, London, 1873) this view of the sentiments receives a striking illustration and for further light consult Professor Dam's famous treatise on Love as a Product of Alimentary Maceration.
RELIGION, n. A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable. What is your religion my son inquired the Archbishop of Rheims. Pardon, monseigneur, replied Rochebriant I am ashamed of it. Then why do you not become an atheist; Impossible I should be ashamed of atheism. In that case, monsieur, you should join the Protestants.
Religions are conclusions for which the facts of nature supply no major premises
TRINITY, n. In the multiplex theism of certain Christian churches, three entirely distinct deities consistent with only one. Subordinate deities of the polytheistic faith, such as devils and angels, are not dowered with the power of combination, and must urge individually their clames to adoration and propitiation. The Trinity is one of the most sublime mysteries of our holy religion. In rejecting it because it is incomprehensible, Unitarians betray their inadequate sense of theological fundamentals. In religion we believe only what we do not understand, except in the instance of an intelligible doctrine that contradicts an incomprehensible one. In that case we believe the former as a part of the latter.
DRUIDS, n. Priests and ministers of an ancient Celtic religion which did not disdain to employ the humble allurement of human sacrifice. Very little is now known about the Druids and their faith. Pliny says their religion, originating in Britain, spread eastward as far as Persia. Caesar says those who desired to study its mysteries went to Britain. Caesar himself went to Britain, but does not appear to have obtained any high preferment in the Druidical Church, although his talent for human sacrifice was considerable. Druids performed their religious rites in groves, and knew nothing of church mortgages and the season-ticket system of pew rents. They were, in short, heathens and --as they were once complacently catalogued by a distinguished prelate of the Church of England --Dissenters.
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