Letters and Religion

Letters and Religion

Letters and Religion

Letters and Religion

Excerpt

The operation of reading a book is so familiar that we discount the mystery involved in it. Suppose that, instead of reading the page, we held the bound volume to our ear and it spoke to us. None of all the wisdom and pleasure of literature, whether sacred or profane, lies in the text we read, but spins and dances unimaginably in the chambers of the brain, in that camera obscura where all things meet. Thoughts that date from Egypt are here, and sights seen yesterday; the memories of childhood, and the words of Hamlet, Ezekiel, Job, Wordsworth, Alfred de Musset. And this stage and show-house of the brain, in which the plot of our life passes, is the greenroom of the Universe. Here divine force puts on its bright harness of idea, and enacts plays that clarify and expound us to ourselves: they mediate between us and truth, till we come to see that we, too, are but walking portions of the invisible.

The Greek and Latin classics will never be forgotten. The reasons for this are so obvious and so multifarious that they cannot be summarized . . .

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