It was a sure sign he was forgiven for his irreverent try at changing the age-old ritual of greeting card purchasing.
Often the ass was a mere incident in the Feast of Fools; but sometimes he was the occasion of a special festival, ridiculous enough to modern notions, but by no means intended in an irreverent spirit.
Thus, according to Jewish tradition, there are eighteen7 passages in which the older scribes deliberately altered the text on the ground that the language employed was either irreverent or liable to misconception.
But irreverences of this kind, as well as the frequent burlesque citations of the Bible, whether commendable or not, had been, were, have since been, and are common in writers whose orthodoxy is unquestioned; and it must be remembered that the later Middle Age, which in many respects Rabelais represents almost more than he does the Renaissance, was, with all its unquestioning faith, singularly reckless and, to our fancy, irreverent in its use of the sacred words and images, which were to it the most familiar of all images and words.
Though it is the duty of a minister to warn against irreverent or profane participation in the Lord's Supper, he himself has no right to exclude any one from communion; that can only be done as the act of himself and the elders duly assembled in session.
Ancient poetry and mythology suggest, at least, that husbandry was once a sacred art; but it is pursued with irreverent haste and heedlessness by us, our object being to have large farms and large crops merely.