When St. Paul's Cathedral was being built, its famous architect, Sir Christopher Wren, had posted in different parts of the structure this notice: "Whereas among laborers and others that ungodly custom of swearing is so frequently heard to the dishonor of God and to the contempt of His authority, and to the end that such impiety may be utterly banished with these works which are intended to the service of God and the honor of religion, it is ordered that profane swearing shall be a sufficient crime to discharge any laborer that comes to the call."
To the builder of St. Paul's and those other noble temples associated with his name, profane words spoken by the builders desecrated and profaned the holy place. If that is true of the temple made with hands, how much more is it true of that most wonderful temple of all, the temple not made with hands—man himself!
William Cowper has a satirical piece in which he imagines a Persian listening to an Englishman swearing and, mistakenly thinking that he must be worshiping and praying, since he uses the name of God so frequently, asks him for an interest in his prayers.
A Persian, humble servant of the sun,
Who, though devout, yet bigotry had none,
Hearing a lawyer, grave in his address,
With adjurations every word impress,
Supposed the man a bishop, or at least,
God's name so much upon his lips, a priest;
Bow'd at the close with all his graceful airs,
And begg'd an interest in his frequent prayers.
A heathen coming to America and hearing people "pray" might get the idea that we are a much more devout and religious people than we are!
Woodrow Wilson liked to speak of his godly ministerial father, Dr. Joseph R. Wilson, for many years a distinguished Presbyterian minister in the South. Among the anecdotes he related of him was this: "He was once in a company of men where they were having a heated discussion. In the midst of it one let out a profane expletive. Then, seeing Dr. Wilson there, he offered him an apology, saying, 'Sir, I had forgotten that you were present. Please pardon me.' Dr. Wilson's reply was, 'It is not to me that you owe your apology, but to God.'"
A coachman, pointing to one of his horses, said to a traveler, "That horse, sir, knows when I swear at him."—"Yes," replied the traveler, "and so does your Maker."—Selected
The American Indians have not one single oath in their mother tongues. They do swear now, but they swear in English and French. Their wonderful reverence for the Great Spirit kept their language undefiled by profane words.—Selected
THE RECTOR—"It's terrible for a man like you to make every other word an oath."
THE MAN—"Oh, well, I swear a good deal and you pray a good deal, but we don't neither of us mean nuthin' by it."
FIRST DEAF MUTE—"He wasn't so very angry, was he?"
SECOND DEAF MUTE—"He was so wild that the words he used almost blistered his fingers."
The little daughter of a clergyman stubbed her toe and said, "Darn!"
"I'll give you ten cents," said father, "if you'll never say that word again."
A few days afterward she came to him and said: "Papa, I've got a word worth half a dollar."
Very frequently the winter highways of the Yukon valley are mere trails, traversed only by dog-sledges. One of the bishops in Alaska, who was very fond of that mode of travel, encountered a miner coming out with his dog-team, and stopped to ask him what kind of a road he had come over.
The miner responded with a stream of forcible and picturesque profanity, winding up with:
"And what kind o' trail did you have?"
"Same as yours," replied the bishop feelingly.—Elgin Burroughs.
A scrupulous priest of Kildare,
Used to pay a rude peasant to swear,
Who would paint the air blue,
For an hour or two,
While his reverence wrestled in prayer.
Donald and Jeanie were putting down a carpet. Donald slammed the end of his thumb with the hammer and began to pour forth his soul in language befitting the occasion.
"Donald, Donald!" shrieked Jeanie, horrified. "Dinna swear that way!"
"Wummun!" vociferated Donald; "gin ye know ony better way, now is the time to let me know it!"
"It is not always necessary to make a direct accusation," said the lawyer who was asking damages because insinuations had been made against his client's good name. "You may have heard of the woman who called to the hired girl, 'Mary, Mary. come here and take the parrot downstairs—the master has dropped his collar button!'"
Little Bartholomew's mother overheard him swearing like a mule-driver. He displayed a fluency that overwhelmed her. She took him to task, explaining the wickedness of profanity as well as its vulgarity. She asked where he had learned all those dreadful words. Bartholomew announced that Cavert, one of his playmates, had taught him.
Cavert's mother was straightway informed and Cavert was brought to book. He vigorously denied having instructed Bartholomew, and neither threats nor tears could make him confess. At last he burst out:
"I didn't tell Bartholomew any cuss words. Why should I know how to cuss any better than he does? Hasn't his father got an automobile, too?"