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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Extracts from Amiel’s Journal
Spring—Universal Religion
By Henri Frédéric Amiel (1821–1881)
 
Translation of Mary Augusta Ward

MAY 22D, 1879 (Ascension Day).—Wonderful and delicious weather. Soft, caressing sunlight,—the air a limpid blue,—twitterings of birds; even the distant voices of the city have something young and springlike in them. It is indeed a new birth. The ascension of the Savior of men is symbolized by the expansion, this heavenward yearning of nature…. I feel myself born again; all the windows of the soul are clear. Forms, lines, tints, reflections, sounds, contrasts, and harmonies, the general play and interchange of things,—it is all enchanting!  1
  In my courtyard the ivy is green again, the chestnut-tree is full of leaf, the Persian lilac beside the little fountain is flushed with red and just about to flower; through the wide openings to the right and left of the old College of Calvin I see the Salève above the trees of St. Antoine, the Voirons above the hill of Cologny; while the three flights of steps which, from landing to landing, lead between two high walls from the Rue Verdaine to the terrace of the Tranchées, recall to one’s imagination some old city of the south, a glimpse of Perugia or of Malaga.  2
  All the bells are ringing. It is the hour of worship. A historical and religious impression mingles with the picturesque, the musical, the poetical impressions of the scene. All the peoples of Christendom—all the churches scattered over the globe—are celebrating at this moment the glory of the Crucified.  3
  And what are those many nations doing who have other prophets, and honor the Divinity in other ways—the Jews, the Mussulmans, the Buddhists, the Vishnuists, the Guebers? They have other sacred days, other rites, other solemnities, other beliefs. But all have some religion, some ideal end for life—all aim at raising man above the sorrows and smallnesses of the present, and of the individual existence. All have faith in something greater than themselves, all pray, all bow, all adore; all see beyond nature, Spirit, and beyond evil, Good. All bear witness to the Invisible. Here we have the link which binds all peoples together. All men are equally creatures of sorrow and desire, of hope and fear. All long to recover some lost harmony with the great order of things, and to feel themselves approved and blessed by the Author of the universe. All know what suffering is, and yearn for happiness. All know what sin is, and feel the need of pardon.  4
  Christianity, reduced to its original simplicity, is the reconciliation of the sinner with God, by means of the certainty that God loves in spite of everything, and that he chastises because he loves. Christianity furnished a new motive and a new strength for the achievement of moral perfection. It made holiness attractive by giving to it the air of filial gratitude.  5
 
 
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