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Literature and Ideas

homiletics

n.

The Devil's Dictionary

Ambrose Bierce

The science of adapting sermons to the spiritual needs, capacities and conditions of the congregation.

So skilled the parson was in homiletics
That all his normal purges and emetics
To medicine the spirit were compounded
With a most just discrimination founded
Upon a rigorous examination
Of tongue and pulse and heart and respiration.
Then, having diagnosed each one's condition,
His scriptural specifics this physician
Administered — his pills so efficacious
And pukes of disposition so vivacious
That souls afflicted with ten kinds of Adam
Were convalescent ere they knew they had 'em.
But Slander's tongue — itself all coated — uttered
Her bilious mind and scandalously muttered
That in the case of patients having money
The pills were sugar and the pukes were honey.

Biography of Bishop Potter