Then, swift as grace itself, had come his answer.
He had seen men who had already all that the world could give, men who, he had thought, lusted only for power, go to an unknown and yet a certain death for the sake of a world over which he had thought they cared only to reign—and go with smiles and cheerfulness. And while he still hung in indecision, still hesitated as to whether this or that were the Kingdom of God—this shrinking dream of a world sufficient to itself, or this brightening vision—then the last light had come, and he had seen one to be victor by sheer self-abnegation, by contempt of his own life, by the all but divine power of an ordinary man walking in grace. There had been no rhetoric in that triumph, no promises, no intoxication of phrases, no overwhelming personality such as that which had faced him. There had been nothing but a little quiet personage with a father’s heart, who by his very fidelity to his human type, by the absolute simplicity of his presence had first climbed to the highest point that man could reach, and then by that same fidelity and simplicity, had cast himself down, and in the very hour that followed the unconditional surrender which his enemies had made, had granted them a measure of liberty such as they had never dreamed of. In the name of the Powers, whose super-lord and representative he was, he had abolished the death-penalty for opinions subversive of society or faith, substituting in its place deportation to the new American colonies; he had flung open certain positions in Catholic states hitherto tenable only on a profession of the Christian religion to all men alike; and he had guaranteed to the new colonies in America a freedom from external control and a place among civilized powers such as they had never expected or asked.
This then was the new type of man who had at last conquered the world. It was not a superman that had been waited for so long, not a demigod armed with powers of light; not man raising himself above his stature, building towers on earthly foundations that should reach to heaven; but just man, utterly true to himself and his instincts, walking humbly before his God; looking for a city that has no foundations, coming down to him out of heaven. It was supernature, not superman; grace and truth transfiguring nature; not nature wrenching itself vainly towards the stature of grace. It was man who could suffer, who could reign; since he only who knows his weakness, dares to be strong. . . . Vicisti Galilaee!
Slowly then he had come to see that, as had been told him long before, the kingdoms of this world were already passing into the hands of a higher dominion—and this was the significance of this microcosm of those kingdoms that now lay before his bodily eyes.