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Christ has done for us, while guiding them, as it were, into his footsteps, one presents to them new motives for admiring, for adoring his infinite goodness, for loving and practising his religion, and for attaching themselves to him as to the only Saviour.
Once more, then, I went to Palestine, only to adore, to weep, and to pray. I purposed not to measure the sacred monuments with the compasses of incredulity: plenty of travellers have taken that task upon themselves. Most of them hurry through Palestine with such speed, that their imagination is obliged to supply what has escaped their fugitive observation. In spite, however, of that spirit of the age, which makes them write with such levity of monuments so venerable, their hearts are not unmoved. Religion will assert her rights. Their hearts have throbbed while they were ascending Calvary; when they beheld the ensanguined rock on which the Saviour of the world yielded his last breath to reconcile Earth with Heaven; when they visited that sacred tomb, which his victorious foot has overstepped. But this emotion of heart soon subsided: the mind took up the pen which pride presented to it.
I wrote these letters amid the scorching sands of the desert, on the tops of arid mountains, on board a ship tossed by the waves, beneath a tent, upon a dromedary, in a grotto, stretched in a cell upon a bed of pain; but I think that I have never lost sight of the presence
of my God: I have always striven to make known His love to men, and to kindle in their hearts the love of Him.
I have seen Bethlehem and Calvary, Nazareth and the unbelieving city; I have travelled those now desolate routes where the Son of Man strewed so many favours and relieved so many afflictions. Seated on the scattered stones of the sanctuary, kneeling in the Stable at Bethlehem, humbly prostrate in the Tomb of our Saviour, I have noted down the diverse and multiplied emotions with which my soul was filled. Amid those mighty ruins, piled up here and there by the hand of Providence, the prophetic words of Isaiah and Jeremiah seemed still to ring in my ears; and more than once my tears flowed at these religious recollections. Then did I think of the fair land of France, and implore the mercy of God in behalf of that country, in places that remain everlasting witnesses of his severe justice.