Everybody trades, speculates, cheats. The shepherd boy on the mountains talks of piastres from morning till night; so does the muleteer on the road, the farmer in the field, the artisan in his shop, the merchant in his magazine, the pasha in his palace, the kady in the hall of judgment, the mullah in the mosque, the monk, the priest, the bishop- money, money, money! the desire of every heart, the theme of every discourse, the end of every aim. Everything, too, is bought and sold. Each prayer has its price, every sin its tariff. Nothing for nothing, but everything for money- at the counter of the merchant, the divan of the judge, the gate of the palace, the altar of the priest. Now our Lord was an Oriental, and grew up among just such people; but who can or dare say that there is the faintest shadow of this mercenary spirit in His character? With uncontrolled power to possess all, He owned nothing. He had no place to be born in but another man's stable, no closet to pray in but the wilderness, no place to die but on the cross of an enemy, and no grave but one lent by a friend. At His death He had absolutely nothing to bequeath to His mother. He was as free from the mercenary spirit as though He had belonged to a world where the very idea of property was unknown. And this total abstinence from all ownership was not of necessity, but of choice; and I say that there is nothing like it, nothing that approaches it, in the history of universal man. It stands out perfectly and divinely original. 

 

 

from pages 397- 398, The Land and the Book