Sortes Sacrae

The penultimate essay in Sabine Baring-Gould’s 1869 collection Curiosities Of Olden Times is entitled “Sortes Sacrae”, wherein we find this:

“It is not an uncommon case, now-a-days, for pious persons at times of great perplexity, to seek a solution to their difficulties in their Bibles, opening the book at random and taking the first passage which occurs as a direct message to them from the Almighty…

“The 11th chapter of Proverbs, which contains thirty-one verses, is often taken to give omen of the character of a life. The manner of consulting it is simple; it is but to look for the verse answering to the day of the month on which the questioner was born. The answer will be found in most cases to be exceedingly ambiguous.”

Elsewhere in the essay, Baring-Gould suggests that such augury from the Bible is by no means reliable, but I know better, and it was with trembling hands that I turned to Proverbs, Chapter 11, in the King James Version of course, and read verse 29:

“He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart.”

This, then, is the infallible omen of my life. Henceforth I shall conduct all my affairs, sacred and profane, in accordance with these words. I suggest all Hooting Yard readers do likewise, yea, unto the Last Trump. If you are not sure how to follow the guidance as revealed unto you in Proverbs, several years spent as an anchorite in a sea-bashed cave will sort you out good and proper.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.