The result of Hardy’s management was that Tom made a clean breast of it, telling everything, down to his night at the ragged school, and what an effect his chance opening of the Apology had had on him. Here for the first time Hardy came in with his usual dry, keen voice, “You needn’t have gone so far back as Plato for that lesson.”
“I don’t understand,” said Tom.
“Well, there’s something about an indwelling spirit which guideth every man, in St. Paul, isn’t there?”
“Yes, a great deal,” Tom answered, after a pause; “but it isn’t the same thing.”
“Why not the same thing?”
“Oh, surely, you must feel it. It would be almost blasphemy in us now to talk as St. Paul talked. It is much easier to face the notion, or the fact, of a demon or spirit such as Socrates felt to be in him, than to face what St. Paul seems to be meaning.”
“Yes, much easier. The only question is whether we will be heathen or not.”
“How do you mean?” said Tom.
“Why, a spirit was speaking to Socrates, and guiding him. He obeyed the guidance, but knew not whence it came. A spirit is striving with us too, and trying to guide us–we feel that just as much as he did. Do we know what spirit it is? Whence it comes? Will we obey it? If we can’t name it–we are in no better position than he–in fact, heathens.” –Tom Brown at Oxford
While in prison awaiting execution, the hero of Shakespeare’s Cymbeline, Posthumus Leonatus, has a vision of life, love, and a glorious future that does not make any logical sense, considering that he has been sentenced to death. Yet, he decides to believe in the vision:
Tis still a dream, or else such stuff as madmen
Tongue and brain not; either both or nothing;
Or senseless speaking, or a speaking such
As sense cannot untie. Be what it is,
The action of my life is like it, which
I’ll keep, if but for sympathy.
What is our faith if it can be seen? That type of faith is not faith. Satan always works on mankind through the pride of intellect. And he seldom fails, because man,
Dress’d in a little brief authority,
Most ignorant of what he’s most assur’d
His glassy essence, like an angry ape,
Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven
As makes the angels weep; who, with our spleens,
Would all themselves laugh mortal.
Satan played Adam and Eve for suckers by telling them they were too intelligent to believe in a fairy tale about a tree of knowledge. And they ate thereof, because who wants to be stupid? The entire history of the Christian church, which is the history of the European people because they are the Church of Christ, is one of back-sliding to the “intelligence” of Adam and Eve. When I think well of the ancient Greeks, I think of Sophocles and Aeschylus, whose works were heartfelt pleas for a personal Savior who was more humane than their pagan gods. When I think ill of the ancient Greeks, I think of Plato, Aristotle, and the Greek philosophical tradition. That tradition is not Greece. That philosophical tradition, which was picked up by the Christian churchmen, is the ‘pride of intellect’ tradition of Satan, which tells us that the Christ story is a stupid fairy tale that only idiots believe in. Those two opposed traditions have always been at war within the mystical body of the church. All brave souls must fight that battle – to adhere to the foolishness of God or to adhere to the wisdom of men. That is the question. One road leads to His Father’s house while the other leads to hell. By the latter half of the 20th century, it looked like the European people were no longer capable of resisting Satan’s appeal to their intellectual pride. What they had to be so inordinately proud of escapes me. What were the achievements of the 20th century Europeans? Did they produce a Rembrandt? A Handel? A Shakespeare? No, but they did produce total war, legalized abortion, sexual license, negro worship, and every other evil under the sun that goes with liberalism. But of course those evils pale in contrast to the great good that science has wrought – how can we call a culture evil that has given us microwave ovens, automobiles, and computers?
By the 21st century it was, as the businessmen say, a done deal. There was almost – we’ll come back to that ‘almost’ later – complete agreement that the ‘smart’ way, the way of Satan, was the right way to proceed. The liberal left has institutionalized the ideals of the French Revolution with the negroid race at the center of their utopia of equality, in which the ‘more equal’ colored races exterminate the unequal white race. The supposed opposition to the liberal left are the conservatives and the alternate right. But the conservatives want to conserve a moderate Jacobinism, which is an entity that never has been and never can be, while the alternative right wants to go back to the pagan, Celtic, Nordic, Greco-Roman ‘glory’ days of Europe. Even if such a return was possible, it would not be desirable, because the final word of the great poets of antiquity was that life, without a personal savior, was not worth living. But the return to genuine paganism is not possible for the European. Something happened in between the pagan twilight, celebrated by Yeats, and the 21st century, the century of institutionalized Satanism. The in-between? It was the enthronement of Christ in the hearts of the European people. That enthronement, which has been rejected and denied by the modern Europeans, is still an obstacle to the alternative righters, who want to be happy pagans. They can’t be like unto the real European pagans, because of Him. So what do they settle for? They become, like their leftist cousins, rationalized pagans. They have made a conscious rational decision to invoke their Celtic, Nordic, etc. past, devoid of the God-Man, who is the only reason we should care about the pagan Europeans. The real European pagans were not rationalists, and the best of them left paganism to bend their knees to Christ.
The pride of intellect tells the modern European that he must not bend his knee to anything or anyone. Then why does the leftist liberal genuflect before the negro? And why does the alternative righter bend his knee to reason divorced from the human heart? It’s not the act itself, the bended knee, that is wrong. It is to whom or what we bend our knee. Our people, when they were a people, bent their knees to Christ. Why are we ashamed of them for that submission? I honor them for it, and I kneel as they knelt.
Nikos Kazantzakis, the author of The Last Temptation of Christ, was surprised and hurt when Christians accused him of writing a blasphemous book. He told his Christian critics that he had written the book with a sincere respect and love for the person of Christ. But Kazantzakis could not overcome his rationalism. Yes, he revered the man Jesus Christ, but he did not believe in Christ’s divinity, he did not believe in the God-Man, just as the devotees of Jesus Christ Superstar did not believe in the God-Man.
Whether you betray Christ with a kiss, as men like Kazantzakis and Judas did, or you betray Him with an outright condemnation like Caiaphas, in both instances you have betrayed Him. And that is the essence of liberalism in all its guises. Liberalism is about the betrayal of Christ. All the blather in organized Christianity, which is an adjunct of liberalism, about the racist Europeans is just that – blather. It is a blather used to cover up the new Christ-less Christianity, which is the Christianity of Judas. Our people of ancient times got it right. They worshipped the living God in spirit and in truth. When we reject them, we reject Him. Christianity, minus the European hearth fire, is not Christianity any more than an embalmed corpse is a human being.
Our journey as a people, the Christ-bearing people, is embodied in Europe’s (and therefore the world’s) greatest painter, Rembrandt. In his early years Rembrandt was a very good artist. He did the traditional Christian paintings in imitation of the other great Renaissance painters. But in his later years, Rembrandt’s vision deepened. He no longer painted universal, abstract Christ and Madonna figures. He painted what he saw in the Gospels and his heart – he painted the Christ of the European hearth fire, a God-Man who was “wounded for our transgressions” and “carried our sorrows.” Rembrandt places Christ amongst His people, where all loving hearts can find Him. Anthony asks the Romans why they refuse to mourn for Caesar. Why do we, who once loved a man, a God-Man infinitely greater than Caesar, refuse to abide with Him in that European inn of Emmaus?
I go back and forth on my favorite Dickens’ novel. It is Pickwick Papers when I’m reading Pickwick Papers and it is Little Dorrit when I’m reading Little Dorrit. It’s almost impossible to choose a favorite from the Dickens’ library. But if I was forced to pick one and only one, that one novel would be Great Expectations. I would choose Great Expectations because of Pip’s journey from darkness to light. He desperately wants to be a gentleman. And when he has that status thrust upon him he is at the lowest level of existence. He is ashamed of his home, his hearth fire, where there was Christian love and warmth, because the world considers Joe, the man who reared him and loved him, a simpleton. Later, Pip is ashamed of Magwitch, the man who, in loving gratitude, made him a gentleman in the eyes of the world. When Pip passes from that disgust and loathing of his home and Joe and Magwitch, he is able to love where he ought to love and see our Savior. My children know how much I love that scene in the prison when Pip tells Magwitch that he will stand by him, so they always let me read it when we come to that part of the book: “I will never stir from your side,” said I, “when I am suffered to be near you. Please God, I will be as true to you as you have been to me!” And then comes the death of Magwitch, when Pip, like the European people of happy memory, leaves the darkness of pagan selfishness and goes into His world, the world of divine love that passeth all understanding. “Mindful, then, of what we had read together, I thought of the two men who went up into the Temple to pray, and I know there were no better words that I could say beside his bed, then ‘O Lord, be merciful to him a sinner!’”
We must come home to Ratty’s river, to Stevenson’s land of story-books, to Joe’s forge, and to Dingley Dell farm where the Pickwickians celebrate Christmas. They are all European homes and as such they are sacred, because He, our Lord and Savior, dwells there. Let us remember our divine intuitions: we are from and of sacred Europe, the land of story-books that tells us about our true home, where the King of Story-land lives. The twilight of paganism marked the dawning of Europe. Why have we chosen to return to the darkness of paganism? Where is life and love if it is not and never was incarnate in sacred Europe? If we go deep, if we stand with the people of the Christian European hearth fire, we will not worship negroes, Moslems, or any modern theory of government or religion. We will worship the one true God in spirit and truth. When the apostles’ hearts burned within them on the road to Emmaus, they asked the Lord to abide with them, “for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.” Are we smarter than our ancestors who also asked the Lord to abide with them? Has modern science, psychology, and computers made the Savior, the Christ of the European hearth fire, unnecessary? Only if we have given up our humanity, which seems to be the case. But there is that ‘almost’ I spoke of earlier. There seems to be no faith left on earth, but the Christian heart looks past what seems. Narnia, which is Christian Europe, did exist once. And because of that ‘once upon a time’ Europe, we believe, on faith and faith alone, that there are still Christian European hearts somewhere in this rationalist-pagan darkness. Our honored dead, who are not dead, speak to us still. Our Lord will not leave us comfortless. I love the ending of Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel opera: “And when hope is nearly gone, God’s relief to us will surely come.” +