The kingdoms of Israel and Judah were two of the many states of this ancient Syrian world; and it was the premature and permanent overthrow of these worldly commonwealths and the extinction of all the political hopes which had been bound up with their existence as independent polities that brought the religion of Judaism to birth and evoked the highest expression of its spirit in the elegy of the suffering Servant, which is appended in the Bible to the book of the prophet Isaiah. Judaism, likewise, has a Mosaic root which in its turn sprang from the withering of the second crop of the ancient Egyptian civilization. I do not know whether Moses and Abraham are historical characters, but I think it can be taken as certain that they represent historical stages of religious experience, and Mose’s forefather and forerunner Abraham received his enlightenment and his promise at the dissolution, in the nineteenth or eighteenth century before Christ, of the ancient civilization of Sumer and Akkad –the earliest case, known to us, of a civilization going to ruin. These men of sorrows were precursors of Christ; and the sufferings through which they won their enlightenment were Stations of the Cross in anticipation of the Crucifixion. That is, no doubt, a very old idea, but it is also an ever new one.

If religion is a chariot, it looks as if the wheels on which it mounts towards Heaven may be the periodic downfalls of civilizations on Earth. It looks as if the movement of civilizations may be cyclic and reccurent, while the movement of religion may be on a single continuous upward line. The continuous upward movement of religion may be served and promoted by the cyclic movement of civilizations round the cycle of birth, death. birth.