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Literature a Pillar of Strength
           LITERATURE A PILLAR OF STRENGTH.         147

is any one thing calculated to make one nation jealous
of another, it is the achievement now being made in this
direction. Modern nations are vying with each other
in trying to overreach the strides of ancient ones, while
faithful devotees of that glorious age once so full of life
and thought, still sing the praises of their fathers and
chant the songs they composed; not simply because
they love them, but because connected with and em-
bodied in them is that richness which gave birth to
higher sentiment and nobler purposes. Trace backward
as far as you can find one sign of art and literature, and
you will find all interest clustering around those germs
of thought that found expression in the rude literature
of the first type. Though but an imperfect alphabet,
as soon as it meant expression of interests, purposes and
will, then were there worshippers to enshrine it.
  Every nation that has attempted to build up its in-
terests, to develop its resources and become famous and
powerful without making as one of its pillars a high
standard of literature, and worked up to the same, has
suffered inglorious defeat. It is no fault in nature that
empires have fallen, that kingdoms have tottered and
that principalities have been dethroned--such was but
the natural result of the mistaken idea that moved men's
lives. The grave in which Egyptian glory was buried
was that chasm in which she smothered her love for
literature, and followed men rather than principles. It
was no excuse that their original characters were mere
hieroglyphics, and their tablets clay and stone.
  Every character carried with it some idea, every
group of strange looking marks meant the expression
of some thought that stood out as a message to some
one else; and if Egypt had but followed up that line,
improved on her first production, reproduced in regular
order one after another, preserved as sacred her first,
and yielded to none in her last, her name would have


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African Methodist Episcopal Church Review, Vol. 10, Num. 1

Literature a Pillar of Strength


Volume:  10
Issue Number:  01
Page Number:  146
Date:  07/1893


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