The New Jerusalem eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 278 pages of information about The New Jerusalem.
battle, in that far Eastern land, did indeed justify itself by leading up to a lasting truth; and that it will once again be justified of all its children.  What has survived through an age of atheism as the most indestructible would survive through an age of polytheism as the most indispensable.  If among many gods it could not presently be proved to be the strongest, some would still know it was the best.  Its central presence would endure through times of cloud and confusion, in which it was judged only as a myth among myths or a man among men.  Even the old heathen test of humanity and the apparition of the body, touching which I have quoted the verse about the pagan polytheist as sung by the neo-pagan poet, is a test which that incarnate mystery will abide the best.  And however much or little our spiritual inquirers may lift the veil from their invisible kings, they will not find a vision more vivid than a man walking unveiled upon the mountains, seen of men and seeing; a visible god.

CHAPTER IX

THE BATTLE WITH THE DRAGON

Lydda or Ludd has already been noted as the legendary birthplace of St. George, and as the camp on the edge of the desert from which, as it happened, I caught the first glimpse of the coloured fields of Palestine that looked like the fields of Paradise.  Being an encampment of soldiers, it seems an appropriate place for St. George; and indeed it may be said that all that red and empty land has resounded with his name like a shield of copper or of bronze.  The name was not even confined to the cries of the Christians; a curious imaginative hospitality in the Moslem mind, a certain innocent and imitative enthusiasm, made the Moslems also half-accept a sort of Christian mythology, and make an abstract hero of St. George.  It is said that Coeur de Lion on these very sands first invoked the soldier saint to bless the English battle-line, and blazon his cross on the English banners.  But the name occurs not only in the stories of the victory of Richard, but in the enemy stories that led up to the great victory of Saladin.  In that obscure and violent quarrel which let loose the disaster of Hattin, when the Grand Master of the Templars, Gerard the Englishman from Bideford in Devon, drove with demented heroism his few lances against a host, there fell among those radiant fanatics one Christian warrior, who had made with his single sword such a circle of the slain, that the victorious Moslems treated even his dead body as something supernatural; and bore it away with them with honour, saying it was the body of St. George.

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The New Jerusalem from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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