LETTER:How to live a life

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From Mr Stephen Howarth

Sir: It was very refreshing to read, among the discussions of the existence of heaven and hell, Fr Dobbie's sensible and sensitive observation "I cannot and will not believe in a God who is more unpleasant than I am." (Letters, 16 January.)

Something very similar was said equally well by a contented non-Christian, the antiquarian Sir William Hamilton, husband of Emma Hamilton and (probably compliant) cuckold of Lord Nelson. All his life, Hamilton used religious terms to express his personal creed, and one day distilled his tolerant wisdom into three short, memorable sentences:

My study of antiquities has kept me in constant thought of the perpetual fluctuation of everything. The whole art is really to live all the days of our life; and not with anxious care disturb the sweetest hour that life affords - which is the present. Admire the Creator, admire all His works, to us incomprehensible, and do all the good you can upon earth, and take the chance of eternity without dismay.'

Amen to that.

Yours sincerely,

Stephen Howarth



16 January