It is a long cry from Florence to Patmos, and there is no...

It is a long cry from Florence to Patmos, and there is no obvious connection between Machiavelli and Paul the apostle, yet it was the dweller in Florence of whom it was said that his citizenship was of the world, whilst it was the apostle to the Gentiles who explained the true meaning of citizenship, and the prisoner in Patmos who drew the picture of the true city, whose builder and maker is God. Now it is the moralist in the publicist, Lord Morley insists, that always interests mankind, and it was because of this that Machiavelli has been termed a citizen of the world, for, as Lord Morley dryly adds, he was an unquestionable moralist, even if of a very peculiar sort. The apostle to the Gentiles also was a publicist, possibly the greatest publicist who ever lived, and he was also a great Christian moralist. The correspondence of the two men may, indeed, be expressed in the antithesis that the one showed the world what citizenship should not be, and the other, what true citizenship was.

The gulf between the teaching of Machiavelli and Paul was no broader than that between the Florence of the Renaissance and the New Jerusalem. From the windows of his house beyond the lovely Ponte Vecchio, close by the great wall surrounding the gardens of the Pitti, the famous Florentine looked out over perhaps the most beautiful city in all Italy. Here everything that the genius of man could do to make a paradise of marble, of carving, and of fresco, had been done, and, as a result, the accomplishment of the lust of the eyes had been accompanied by the unrestrained indulgence of the lusts of the flesh, so that unbridled sensuality, murder, and unfaithfulness were the most ordinary social incidents. Poisons men sold as freely as sweetmeats, and the bravo with his stiletto was as much a popular hero as the toreador in Spain, or the gladiator in ancient Rome.

The Christian Science Monitor

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