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...for, and founded by Jesus. By the side of the false, cold, and impossible idea of an ostentatious advent, he conceived the real city of God, the true "palingenesis," the Sermon on the Mount, the apotheosis of the weak, the love of the people, regard for the poor, and the re-establishment of all that is humble, true, and simple. This re-establishment he has depicted as an incomparable artist, by features which will last eternally. Each of us owes that which is best in himself to him.Let us pardon him his hope of a vain apocalypse, and of a second coming in great triumph upon the clouds of heaven. Perhaps these were the errors of others rather than his own; and if it be true that he himself shared the general illusion, what matters it, since his dream rendered him strong against death, and sustained him in a struggle to which he might otherwise have been unequal?
We must, then, attach several meanings to the divine city conceived by Jesus. If his only thought had been that the end of time was near, and that we must prepare for it, he would not have surpassed John the Baptist. To renounce a world ready to crumble, to detach one's self little by little from the present life, and to aspire to the kingdom about to come, would have formed the gist of his preaching. The teaching of Jesus had always a much larger scope. He proposed to himself to... Renan, Ernest
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