This morning, after the text, always after the text, I read the post from Cambria, and he referred to an old poem. The dream of the Rood is one of the first religious Christian poems in English. From a people who had been northern Pagans, who venerated the ancient trees, and had killed men on gallows for to appease Odin and Thor.
Who saw Christ sacrificed for them. Who could see beyond nature. Who had faith, newly won, and new that they had been the thralls bound my nature to cycles of revenge and recompense. The reason that the Northern Pagans were good at war is that they were constantly at war. There was no peace.
And it is peace that allows the olives and grapes to grow. It is peace that builds a civilization. This is what we English were like: this is the first love of Christ. We must remember the height from which we hav fallen.
It seemed that I saw a most wondrous tree
born aloft, wound round by light
brightest of beams. All was that beacon
sprinkled with gold. Gems stood
fair at earth’s corners; there likewise five
shone on the shoulder-span. All there beheld the Angel of God,
fair through predestiny. Indeed, that was no wicked one’s gallows,
but holy souls beheld it there,
men over earth, and all this great creation.
Wondrous that victory-beam – and I stained with sins,
with wounds of disgrace. I saw glory’s tree
honored with trappings, shining with joys,
decked with gold; gems had
wrapped that forest tree worthily round.
Yet through that gold I clearly perceived
old strife of wretches, when first it began
to bleed on its right side. With sorrows most troubled,
I feared that fair sight. I saw that doom-beacon
turn trappings and hews: sometimes with water wet,
drenched with blood’s going; sometimes with jewels decked.
But lying there long while, I,
troubled, beheld the Healer’s tree,
until I heard its fair voice.
Then best wood spoke these words:
“It was long since – I yet remember it –
that I was hewn at holt’s end,
moved from my stem. Strong fiends seized me there,
worked me for spectacle; cursèd ones lifted me.
On shoulders men bore me there, then fixed me on hill;
fiends enough fastened me. Then saw I mankind’s Lord
come with great courage when he would mount on me.
Then dared I not against the Lord’s word
bend or break, when I saw earth’s
fields shake. All fiends
I could have felled, but I stood fast.
The young hero stripped himself – he, God Almighty –
strong and stout-minded. He mounted high gallows,
bold before many, when he would loose mankind.
I shook when that Man clasped me. I dared, still, not bow to earth,
fall to earth’s fields, but had to stand fast.
Rood was I reared. I lifted a mighty King,
Lord of the heavens, dared not to bend.
With dark nails they drove me through: on me those sores are seen,
open malice-wounds. I dared not scathe anyone.
They mocked us both, we two together. All wet with blood I was,
poured out from that Man’s side, after ghost he gave up.
Much have I born on that hill
of fierce fate. I saw the God of hosts
harshly stretched out. Darknesses had
wound round with clouds the corpse of the Wielder,
bright radiance; a shadow went forth,
dark under heaven. All creation wept,
King’s fall lamented. Christ was on rood.
The blogger blames the Romantics, for they worshipped nature and spurned the God behind them. This was the project of the Enlightenment, to spurn God: to remove him from polite conversation. The poets showed their contempt in their lives: they were truly mad, bad and dangerous to know. But the philosophers worshipped reason, not the God who made it. They were worse. Far worse.
Who saw that the bloody cross was also “adorned with garments, decked with gold?” Our people saw such a vision. That vision was and is the epitome of beauty and truth. It was the task of the great despoilers, the Shelleys, Keats, Byrons, Voltaires, and Rosseaus, to create a new beauty and a new truth. In the beginning of the onslaught, Satan’s minions were excellent counterfeiters. The anti-poetic triumvirate wrote well, and Voltaire and Rosseau could turn a clever phrase. But there is an incredible moral ugliness at the core of the anti-poetical poets such as Keats, Shelley, and Byron and the anti-Christian philosophers such as Voltaire and Rousseau. Subsequent generations of anti-poetical wordsmiths and anti-Christian philosophers have followed in their train, but they lack the verbal gifts and the cleverness of their satanic predecessors. Of course they no longer need verbal gifts or clever repartee any more. First evil is opposed, then when the evil doers will not go away without a fight, evil is tolerated. Then, over time, evil is embraced and becomes intertwined with the good until the good is blended out of existence like weeds blend the good fruits of the earth out of existence.
The European people live in Satan’s unweeded garden because they no longer see beauty and truth in the cross of Christ. They have been blinded by the glittering façade of modernity while failing to look behind the façade to the superficial rotten core of liberalism. What Karl Barth said of Feuerbach we must say of the liberals: We have heard them speak, and we have heard something that is disgustingly, nauseatingly trivial. We will always be the captives of the honest trifles, the disgustingly, nauseatingly evil trivialities of the devil, when we fail to see the cross of Christ as the penultimate of beauty and truth.
Cambria Will not Yield
How does this link? Today’s text is one of those that saved Luther. It saved Augustine. For we are crucified with him. We live to serve him. As he was raised, so shall we be. The old poets therefore saw the cross as glorious. Greater than any Druidic Yggdrasil.
1What then are we to say? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? 2By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it? 3Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.
5For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. 7For whoever has died is freed from sin. 8But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
We are made for this time. The atheists (including the neolovecraftian, who longs for salvation) are looking at a society that has no place for them, who hates them, for their ancestors were Christians. Pagans believe in retribution, and genetic guilt. For that we have two statements: genetic guilt is as much a lie as genetic trauma, and our retribution is left at the Cross with Christ.
Who bled for my wrongdoing.
But to make peace we have to again preach the cross. We need Christ in our society, we need a revival. Expect the pagans to rage, for they know that their time is short. For either Christ will again allow the nations to turn to him, and bring a harvest of those who realize that progressive neomarxism is intersectional, irrational, and leads to despair and damnation, or he will come again.
It will be as God wills.
And he wants us all to turn to the cross, and seek then to live for him. If the poet made bare wood speak, so much more must we.