The New Jerusalem eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 322 pages of information about The New Jerusalem.
of arts and arms praised by the Greek poets; the historic heritage of both descended only to the Greek Fathers.  In those wild times and places, the thing that preserved both was the only thing that would have permanently preserved either.  It was but part of the same story when we passed the hoary hills that held the primeval culture of Crete, and remembered that it may well have been the first home of the Philistines.  It mattered the less by now whether the pagans were best represented by Poseidon the deity or by Dagon the demon.  It mattered the less what gods had blessed the Greeks in their youth and liberty; for I knew what god had blessed them in their despair.  I knew by what sign they had survived the long slavery under Ottoman orientalism; and upon what name they had called in the darkness, when there was no light but the horned moon of Mahound.  If the glory of Greece has survived in some sense, I knew why it had ever survived in any sense.  Nor did this feeling of our fixed formation fail me when I came to the very gates of Asia and of Africa; when there rose out of the same blue seas the great harbour of Alexandria; where had shone the Pharos like the star of Hellas, and where men had heard from the lips of Hypatia the last words of Plato.  I know the Christians tore Hypatia in pieces; but they did not tear Plato in pieces.  The wild men that rode behind Omar the Arab would have thought nothing of tearing every page of Plato in pieces.  For it is the nature of all this outer nomadic anarchy that it is capable sooner or later of tearing anything and everything in pieces; it has no instinct of preservation or of the permanent needs of men.  Where it has passed the ruins remain ruins and are not renewed; where it has been resisted and rolled back, the links of our long history are never lost.  As I went forward the vision of our own civilisation, in the form in which it finally found unity, grew clearer and clearer; nor did I ever know it more certainly than when I had left it behind.

For the vision was that of a shape appearing and reappearing among shapeless things; and it was a shape I knew.  The imagination was forced to rise into altitudes infinitely ancient and dizzy with distance, as if into the cold colours of primeval dawns, or into the upper strata and dead spaces of a daylight older than the sun and moon.  But the character of that central clearance still became clearer and clearer.  And my memory turned again homewards; and I thought it was like the vision of a man flying from Northolt, over that little market-place beside my own door; who can see nothing below him but a waste as of grey forests, and the pale pattern of a cross.



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The New Jerusalem from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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