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Transcendental Ideas

Lydia Emerson

"Transcendental Bible"

"Abstract of New Bible," Recorded by Ellen Emerson in her Life of Lydia Jackson Emerson
She writes: ""The talk began to be of a kind which we can guess at from Mother's 'Transcendental Bible,' a document which pleased Father and which was mentioned often. I always in childhood dumbly wondered what it was that Mother would speak of by that name and Father called 'The Queen's Bible.' [Emerson called Lidian 'Queenie.'] He always laughed when he thought of it . . . ."

Whole Duty of Man

Never hint at a Providence, Particular or Universal. It is narrow to believe that the Universal Being concerns itself with particular affairs, egotistical to think it regards your own. Never speak of sin. It is of no consequence to 'the Being' whether YOU are good or bad. It is egotistical to consider it yourself; who are you?

Never confess a fault. You should not have committed it and who cares whether you are sorry?

Never speak of Happiness as a consequence of Holiness. Do you need any bribe to well-doing? Cannot you every hour practise holiness for its own sake? Are you not ashamed to wish to be happy? It is egotistical--mean.

Never speak of the hope of Immortality. What do you know about it? It is egotistical to cling to it. Enough for the great to know that "Being" Is. He is quite content to drop into annihilation at the death of the body.

Never speak of affliction being sent and sent in kindness; that is an old wives' fable. What do you know about it? And what business is it of ours whether it is for our good or not?

Duty to your Neighbour

Loathe and shun the sick. They are in bad taste, and may untune us for writing the poem floating through our mind.

Scorn the infirm of character and omit no opportunity of insulting and exposing them. They ought not to be infirm and should be punished by contempt and avoidance.

Despise the unintellectual, and make them feel that you do by not noticing their remark and question lest they presume to intrude into your conversation.

Abhor those who commit certain crimes because they indicate stupidity, want of intellect which is the one thing needful.

Justify those who commit certain other crimes. Their commission is consistent with the possession of intellect. We should not judge the intellectual as common men. It is mean enough to wish to put a great mind into the strait-jacket of morality.

It is mean and weak to seek for sympathy; it is mean and weak to give it. Great souls are self-sustained and stand ever erect, saying only to the prostrate sufferer "Get up, and stop your complaining." Never wish to be loved. Who are you to expect that? Besides, the great never value being loved.

If any seek to believe that their sorrows are sent or sent in love, do your best to dispel the silly egotistical delusion.

If you scorn happiness (though you value a pleasant talk or walk, a tasteful garment, a comfortable dinner), if you wish not for immortal consciousness (though you bear with impatience the loss of an hour of thought or study), if you care not for the loss of your soul (though you deprecate the loss of your house), if you care not how much you sin (though in pain at the commission of a slight indiscretion) if you ask not a wise Providence over the earth in which you live (although wishing a wise manager of the house in which you live), if you care not that a benign Divinity shapes your ends (though you seek a good tailor to shape your coat), if you scorn to believe your affliction cometh not from the dust (though bowed to the dust by it), then, if there is such a thing as duty, you have done your whole duty to your noble self-sustained, impeccable, infallible Self.

If you have refused all sympathy to the sorrowful, all pity and aid to the sick, all toleration to the infirm of character, if you have condemned the unintellectual and loathed such sinners as have discovered want of intellect by their sin, then are you a perfect specimen of Humanity.

Let us all aspire after this Perfection! So be it.

Thanks for excerpt to Chris Graham.

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