“He said to me, ’Hapgood, the remedy’s the old remedy. The old God. But it’s more than that. It’s Light: more light. The old revelation was good for the old world, and suited to the old world, and told in terms of the old world’s understanding. Mystical for ages steeped in the mystical; poetic for minds receptive of nothing beyond story and allegory and parable. We want a new revelation in terms of the new world’s understanding. We want light, light! Do you suppose a man who lives on meat is going to find sustenance in bread and milk? Do you suppose an age that knows wireless and can fly is going to find spiritual sustenance in the food of an age that thought thunder was God speaking? Man’s done with it. It means nothing to him; it gives nothing to him. He turns all that’s in him to get all he wants out of this world and let the next go rip. Man cannot live by bread alone, the churches tell him; but he says, “I am living on bread alone, and doing well on it.” But I tell you, Hapgood, that plumb down in the crypt and abyss of every man’s soul is a hunger, a craving for other food than this earthy stuff. And the churches know it; and instead of reaching down to him what he wants—light, light—instead of that, they invite him to dancing and picture shows, and you’re a jolly good fellow, and religion’s a jolly fine thing and no spoilsport, and all that sort of latter-day tendency. Damn it, he can get all that outside the churches and get it better. Light, light! He wants light, Hapgood. And the padres come down and drink beer with him, and watch boxing matches with him, and sing music-hall songs with him, and dance Jazz with him, and call it making religion a Living Thing in the Lives of the People. Lift the hearts of the people to God, they say, by showing them that religion is not incompatible with having a jolly fine time. And there’s no God there that a man can understand for him to be lifted up to. Hapgood, a man wouldn’t care what he had to give up if he knew he was making for something inestimably precious. But he doesn’t know. Light, light—that’s what he wants; and the longer it’s withheld the lower he’ll sink. Light! Light!’”
“Well, I make no extra charge for that (said Hapgood, and helped himself to a drink). That’s not me. That’s Sabre. And if you’d seen him as I saw him, and if you’d heard him as I heard him, you’d have been as impressed as I was impressed instead of lolling there like a surfeited python. I tell you, old Sabre was all pink under his skin, and his eyes shining, and his voice tingling. I tell you, if you were a real painter instead of a base flatterer of bloated and wealthy sitters, and if you’d seen him then, you’d have painted the masterpiece of your age and called it The Visionary. I tell you, old Sabre was fine. He said he’d been thinking all round that sort of stuff for years, and that now, for one reason and another, it was beginning to crystallize in him and take form and substance.