Retinium has not been added to eyewash as I once proposed, but the added ingredient specialists have just come up with silentium. This remarkable additive is compounded with cough syrup to muzzle the sufferer’s bark. I am engaged in a consumer’s research project to determine whether silentium stops coughing altogether, or enables one to cough silently, after the fashion of a genteel sneeze.

Many other applications suggest themselves. What effect does silentium have on squealing automobile tires? Can silentium be prescribed for infant formulas? Will high-octane silentium make mufflers obsolete? Is there a market for silentium lipstick? What about candy bars with silentium for free distribution to neighborhood children? “Silentium in the Sunday School” is a promising topic for a master’s degree in religious education.

Since silence is golden, its dollar value has soared of late. If the developers of silentium appreciate this, they may revolutionize television with commercials of profound silence, presenting scenes of gentle showers to suggest the quiet of the nasal drip when silentium reigns.

Silence seems so desirable in the din of our lives that it may require an effort to remember that silence in itself is neither good nor bad. Carlyle once wrote, “Speech is human, silence is divine, yet also brutish and dead: therefore we must learn both arts.”

In the Bible, silence appears more often as a judgment than as a blessing. A wasted land has the silence of the grave; the enemies of God are silenced by his wrath. Afflicted saints cry that God should not be silent. The Bible puts too much emphasis on the word of God to make silence the supreme blessing. The climax of worship is not to be dumb with awe but to cry hallelujah. ...

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