Go to church? Yes, if you like, I’m afraid”, she added, blushing rather more deeply as she looked at the stranger again, “that we don’t go as regularly as we should.”“It is a means,” he answered, “one of the means. But perhaps the best for most, and for some almost the only one. I do not say that it matters greatly, but the means cannot both be and not be. If you do not use it, it is a pity to bother about it; if you do, it is a pity not to use it.
The Archdeacon gripped it (the chalice) more firmly, and, keeping his eyes on it, turned to face the others.Something is going on, he said, almost harshly. I do not know what. It may be that God is dissolving it-but I think there is devilry. Make yourselves paths for the Will of God . . .”“Pray,” the Archdeacon cried out, “pray, in the name of God. They are praying against him tonight. . . .”“Against what shall we pray?” The Duke cried.“Against nothing,” the Archdeacon said. “Pray that he who made the universe may sustain the universe, that in all things there may be delight in the justice of His will.”. . . The tower was indeed a tower of defence, though it offered no aggression, and resisted whatever there was to be resisted merely by its own immovable calm.
There is, it seems, a law in things that if a man is compelled to choose between two good actions, mutually exclusive, the one which he chooses to neglect will in course of time avenge itself on him. Rightly considered, this is a comfortable if chastening thought, for it implies that the nature of good is such that it can never, not even for some other mode of itself, be neglected. If ever it is, for whatever admirable reasons, set on one side it will certainly return.
The immortal sadness of youth possessed her, and the sorrow of which youth is not always conscious, the lucid knowledge of her unsatisfied desires. There was nothing, she thought, that could be trusted; the dearest delight might betray, the gayest friendship open upon a treachery and a martyrdom. Of her friends, of her young male friends especially, pleasant as they were, there was not one, she thought, who held that friendship important for her sake rather than for his own enjoyment. Even that again was but her own selfishness; what right had she to the devotion of any other? And was there any devotion beyond the sudden overwhelming madness of sex? And in that hot airless tunnel of emotion what pleasure was there and what joy? Laughter died there, and lucidity, and the clear intelligence she loved, and there was nothing of the peace for which she hungered. . . . Most of all she hated herself. The dark mystery of being that possessed her held no promise of light, but she turned to it and sank into it content so as to avoid the world.
The beginning of Christendom, is, strictly, at a point out of time. A metphysical trigonometry finds it among the spiritual Secrets, at the meeting of two heavenward lines, one drawn from Bethany along the Ascent of the Messias, the other from Jerusalem against the Descent of the Paraclete. That measurement, the measurement of eternity in operation, of the bright cloud and the rushing wind, is, in effect, theology.
The image of a wood has appeared often enough in English verse. It has indeed appeared so often that it has gathered a good deal of verse into itself; so that it has become a great forest where, with long leagues of changing green between them, strange episodes of poetry have taken place. Thus in one part there are lovers of a midsummer night, or by day a duke and his followers, and in another men behind branches so that the wood seems moving, and in another a girl separated from her two lordly young brothers, and in another a poet listening to a nightingale but rather dreaming richly of the grand art than there exploring it, and there are other inhabitants, belonging even more closely to the wood, dryads, fairies, an enchanter's rout. The forest itself has different names in different tongues- Westermain, Arden, Birnam, Broceliande; and in places there are separate trees named, such as that on the outskirts against which a young Northern poet saw a spectral wanderer leaning, or, in the unexplored centre of which only rumours reach even poetry, Igdrasil of one myth, or the Trees of Knowledge and Life of another. So that indeed the whole earth seems to become this one enormous forest, and our longest and most stable civilizations are only clearings in the midst of it.