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    I Like this quote I dislike this quoteSABBATH, n. A weekly festival having its origin in the fact that God made the world in six days and was arrested on the seventh. Among the Jews observance of the day was enforced by a Commandment of which this is the Christian version: "Remember the seventh day to make thy neighbor keep it wholly." To the Creator it seemed fit and expedient that the Sabbath should be the last day of the week, but the Early Fathers of the Church held other views. So great is the sanctity of the day that even where the Lord holds a doubtful and precarious jurisdiction over those who go down to (and down into) the sea it is reverently recognized, as is manifest in the following deep-water version of the Fourth Commandment:



Six days shalt thou labor and do all thou art able, And on the seventh holystone the deck and scrape the cable.



Decks are no longer holystoned, but the cable still supplies the captain with opportunity to attest a pious respect for the divine ordinance.

 Ambrose Bierce quotes (American Writer, Journalist and Editor, 1842-1914)
Book: Devil's Dictionary quotes

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    I Like this quote I dislike this quoteSEAL, n. A mark impressed upon certain kinds of documents to attest their authenticity and authority. Sometimes it is stamped upon wax, and attached to the paper, sometimes into the paper itself. Sealing, in this sense, is a survival of an ancient custom of inscribing important papers with cabalistic words or signs to give them a magical efficacy independent of the authority that they represent. In the British museum are preserved many ancient papers, mostly of a sacerdotal character, validated by necromantic pentagrams and other devices, frequently initial letters of words to conjure with; and in many instances these are attached in the same way that seals are appended now. As nearly every reasonless and apparently meaningless custom, rite or observance of modern times had origin in some remote utility, it is pleasing to note an example of ancient nonsense evolving in the process of ages into something really useful. Our word "sincere" is derived from _sine cero_, without wax, but the learned are not in agreement as to whether this refers to the absence of the cabalistic signs, or to that of the wax with which letters were formerly closed from public scrutiny. Either view of the matter will serve one in immediate need of an hypothesis. The initials L.S., commonly appended to signatures of legal documents, mean _locum sigillis_, the place of the seal, although the seal is no longer used

--an admirable example of conservatism distinguishing Man from the beasts that perish. The words _locum sigillis_ are humbly suggested as a suitable motto for the Pribyloff Islands whenever they shall take their place as a sovereign State of the American Union.

 Ambrose Bierce quotes (American Writer, Journalist and Editor, 1842-1914)
Book: Devil's Dictionary quotes

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    I Like this quote I dislike this quoteHope is the struggle of the soul, breaking loose from what is perishable, and attesting her eternity

 Herman Melville quotes (American short-story Writer, Novelist and Poet. Best known for his novels of the sea, including his masterpiece, Moby Dick. 1819-1891)

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    I Like this quote I dislike this quoteHIBERNATE, v.i. To pass the winter season in domestic seclusion. There have been many singular popular notions about the hibernation of various animals. Many believe that the bear hibernates during the whole winter and subsists by mechanically sucking its paws. It is admitted that it comes out of its retirement in the spring so lean that it had to try twice before it can cast a shadow. Three or four centuries ago, in England, no fact was better attested than that swallows passed the winter months in the mud at the bottom of their brooks, clinging together in globular masses. They have apparently been compelled to give up the custom and account of the foulness of the brooks. Sotus Ecobius discovered in Central Asia a whole nation of people who hibernate. By some investigators, the fasting of Lent is supposed to have been originally a modified form of hibernation, to which the Church gave a religious significance; but this view was strenuously opposed by that eminent authority, Bishop Kip, who did not wish any honors denied to the memory of the Founder of his family.

 Ambrose Bierce quotes (American Writer, Journalist and Editor, 1842-1914)
Book: Devil's Dictionary quotes

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    I Like this quote I dislike this quoteJESTER, n. An officer formerly attached to a king's household, whose business it was to amuse the court by ludicrous actions and utterances, the absurdity being attested by his motley costume. The king himself being attired with dignity, it took the world some centuries to discover that his own conduct and decrees were sufficiently ridiculous for the amusement not only of his court but of all mankind. The jester was commonly called a fool, but the poets and romancers have ever delighted to represent him as a singularly wise and witty person. In the circus of to-day the melancholy ghost of the court fool effects the dejection of humbler audiences with the same jests wherewith in life he gloomed the marble hall, panged the patrician sense of humor and tapped the tank of royal tears.



The widow-queen of Portugal Had an audacious jester Who entered the confessional Disguised, and there confessed her.



"Father," she said, "thine ear bend down -- My sins are more than scarlet: I love my fool --blaspheming clown, And common, base-born varlet."



"Daughter," the mimic priest replied,

"That sin, indeed, is awful: The church's pardon is denied To love that is unlawful.



"But since thy stubborn heart will be For him forever pleading, Thou'dst better make him, by decree, A man of birth and breeding."



She made the fool a duke, in hope With Heaven's taboo to palter; Then told a priest, who told the Pope, Who damned her from the altar! --Barel Dort

 Ambrose Bierce quotes (American Writer, Journalist and Editor, 1842-1914)
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    I Like this quote I dislike this quoteMUMMY, n. An ancient Egyptian, formerly in universal use among modern civilized nations as medicine, and now engaged in supplying art with an excellent pigment. He is handy, too, in museums in gratifying the vulgar curiosity that serves to distinguish man from the lower animals.



By means of the Mummy, mankind, it is said, Attests to the gods its respect for the dead. We plunder his tomb, be he sinner or saint, Distil him for physic and grind him for paint, Exhibit for money his poor, shrunken frame, And with levity flock to the scene of the shame. O, tell me, ye gods, for the use of my rhyme: For respecting the dead what's the limit of time? --Scopas Brune

 Ambrose Bierce quotes (American Writer, Journalist and Editor, 1842-1914)
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    I Like this quote I dislike this quoteSCRAP-BOOK, n. A book that is commonly edited by a fool. Many persons of some small distinction compile scrap-books containing whatever they happen to read about themselves or employ others to collect. One of these egotists was addressed in the lines following, by Agamemnon Melancthon Peters:



Dear Frank, that scrap-book where you boast You keep a record true Of every kind of peppered roast That's made of you;



Wherein you paste the printed gibes That revel round your name, Thinking the laughter of the scribes Attests your fame;



Where all the pictures you arrange That comic pencils trace -- Your funny figure and your strange Semitic face --



Pray lend it me. Wit I have not, Nor art, but there I'll list The daily drubbings you'd have got Had God a fist.

 Ambrose Bierce quotes (American Writer, Journalist and Editor, 1842-1914)
Book: Devil's Dictionary quotes

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