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Today's Stichomancy for Stephen Colbert

The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from An Open Letter on Translating by Dr. Martin Luther:

that there might be more good?" which is what that one divisive spirit of our time was doing. Should one reject St. Paul's word because of such `offense' or refrain from speaking freely about faith? Gracious, St. Paul and I want to offend like this for we preach so strongly against works, insisting on faith alone for no other reason that to offend people that they might stumble and fall and learn that they are not saved by good works but only by Christ's death and resurrection. Knowing that they cannot be saved by their good works of the law, how much more will they realize that they shall not be saved by bad works, or without the law! Therefore, it does not follow that because good works do not

The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Shadow Line by Joseph Conrad:

first of all, and you may be sure that I shall see to it that every one of you on board here does his duty to that end. This is all I have to say--for the present."

He was on his feet by this time, but instead of taking his dismissal he remained with trembling, indignant lips, and looking at me hard as though, really, after this, there was nothing for me to do in common decency but to vanish from his outraged sight. Like all very simple emotional states this was moving. I felt sorry for him--almost sympa-


The Shadow Line
The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge by Ambrose Bierce:

fitting frock coat. He wore a moustache and pointed beard, but no whiskers; his eyes were large and dark gray, and had a kindly expression which one would hardly have expected in one whose neck was in the hemp. Evidently this was no vulgar assassin. The liberal military code makes provision for hanging many kinds of persons, and gentlemen are not excluded.

The preparations being complete, the two private soldiers stepped aside and each drew away the plank upon which he had been standing. The sergeant turned to the captain, saluted and placed himself immediately behind that officer, who in


An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge
The fourth excerpt represents the element of Earth. It speaks of physical influences and the impact of the unseen on the visible world, and is drawn from Vailima Prayers & Sabbath Morn by Robert Louis Stevenson:

the sun, make us eat them and drink them for our diet. Blind us to the offences of our beloved, cleanse them from our memories, take them out of our mouths for ever. Let all here before Thee carry and measure with the false balances of love, and be in their own eyes and in all conjunctures the most guilty. Help us at the same time with the grace of courage, that we be none of us cast down when we sit lamenting amid the ruins of our happiness or our integrity: touch us with fire from the altar, that we may be up and doing to rebuild our city: in the name and by the method of him in whose words of prayer we now conclude.

FOR SELF-FORGETFULNESS