Barrès Maurice - The faith of France

Author : Barrès Maurice
Title : The faith of France Studies in spiritual differences & unity
Year : 1918

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Foreword. Milton said: "A good book is the precious life-blood of a master-spirit embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life." Here is a book which has in it the precious life-blood of many fearless and devoted spirits - brave boys and steadfast men of France, who have offered themselves in valiant sacrifice to withstand the German idolatry of Thor and Odin which seeks to dominate the world by brute force. I beg you to read this book, my Catholic friend, my Protestant brother, my Hebrew companion, my Socialist comrade. Here is something which is good for all of us. Let us learn to live by the positive of our faith, not by the negative. M. Maurice Barres, the author of this book, - he would call himself the editor, - is one of the most distinguished French men of letters. I if you knew him personally, as I do, you would appreciate the significance of this book. Beginning his career in Hterature as an extreme devotee of "art for art's sake," he became interested in the public affairs of his country and particularly of his own province, Lorraine, and without losing his artistry as a writer, advanced to a patriotic enthusiasm. He also became strongly attached to the spirit and principles of religion, and worked earnestly for the welfare of the Catholic churches in France, especially in the line of an endeavor to save many of the older buildings, which had historic beauty and interest, from falling into neglect and ruin. In this book he shows himself a believer in that faith which makes men willing to lay down their lives in defence of liberty, humanity, and honor. In February, 1917, I was in a little hopital de transit on the front beyond Verdun, where the German shells were breaking around us. The commandant said, '*I want you to meet my spiritual helpers." He introduced me to three chaplains, two Catholic priests and one Protestant pastor, working together in perfect fellowship for the comfort of the wounded and the peace of the dying. That was a union sacree which would have been incredible before this cruel war brought all creeds to the sense of human service. Here, in this book, are the letters and diaries of all sorts and conditions of men of France - Catholics, Protestants, Socialists, Traditionalists, Freethinkers. . They all breathe the same spirit, teach the same lesson : Que Vepreuve de votre foi, plus precieuse que For perissahle (qui cependant est eprouve par le feu) , ait pour resultat la louange, Vhonneur, et la gloire. ''That the proof of your faith, more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried by fire, may be found with praise and glory and honour." (I Peter, 1:7.) This cruel pagan war which Germany has forced upon the world has deepened the sense of true religion in every heart that owns allegiance to a holy, righteous, loving Power above itself. No faith, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Socialist, is worth holding unless it can meet the test of self-sacrifice. That test brightens every faith that is true. I love and commend this book because it reveals the blood-sealed testimony of France to this eternal truth. Henry van Dyke. ...

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