What the Editors Are Reading

Not a find, but an old friend, is Malcolm Muggeridge.  I am reading a collection of his essays called Time and Eternity, and his golden spiritual autobiography, Confessions of a Twentieth-Century Pilgrim, written after he and his wife, past their four-score years, had been received into the Catholic Church.  I cannot read the latter without a twinge of guilt, because even in his agnostic years, Muggeridge was a praying man, and he saw the sublime madness of the Christian Faith, as far as the world will see it.  He saw the temptation of Christ in the desert as an offer of the one thing the world worships most, which is power, and Christ’s rejection of that, which meant ultimately that the powers of the world would have to crucify Him.  But thereby did He triumph, says Muggeridge, and gave to the world its 2,000 years of inspiration in the truth that such power is impotent, and that love must defeat that power.  Life, as he calls it, will defeat Legend, though Legend has all the bright lights and the noise and the media and the schools and universities.

Muggeridge’s work is all the more powerful because he writes about what he himself has seen: He was present in Moscow and the Ukraine when Stalin collectivized the farms and reduced that breadbasket of Europe into a killing field and a vast weed-overgrown vacancy.  His tutor when he was a...

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