Myths in Stone: Religious Dimensions of Washington, D.C., Part 3
Washington, D.C., is a city of powerful symbols—from the dominance of the Capitol dome and Washington Monument to the authority of the Smithsonian. This book takes us on a fascinating and informative tour of the nation's capital as Jeffrey F. Meyer unravels the complex symbolism of the city and explores its meaning for our national consciousness. Meyer finds that mythic and religious themes pervade the capital—in its original planning, in its monumental architecture, and in the ritualized events that have taken place over the 200 years the city has been the repository for the symbolism of the nation.
As Meyer tours the city's famous axial layout, he discusses many historical figures and events, compares Washington to other great cities of the world such as Beijing and Berlin, and discusses the meaning and history of its architecture and many works of art. Treating Washington, D.C., as a complex religious center, Meyer finds that the city functions as a unifying element in American consciousness. This book will change the way we look at Washington, D.C., and provide a provocative new look at the meaning of religion in America today. It will also be a valuable companion for those traveling to this city that was envisioned from its inception as the center of the world.
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Page 196 - The prayers of both could not be answered — that of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has his own purposes. " Woe unto the world because of offenses! for it must needs be that offenses come ; but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh...
Page 55 - But what is government itself but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.
Page 196 - South this terrible war, as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondman's two hundred and fifty years -of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid...
Page 71 - To this place, and the kindness of these people, I owe everything. Here I have lived a quarter of a century, and have passed from a young to an old man. Here my children have been born, and one is buried. I now leave, not knowing when or whether ever I may return, with a task before me greater than that which rested upon Washington.
Page 196 - Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes.
Page 116 - In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The government will not assail you. You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors. You have no oath registered in heaven to destroy the government, while I shall have the most solemn one to "preserve, protect, and defend it.
Page 116 - Why should there not be a patient confidence in the ultimate justice of the people? Is there any better or equal hope in the world? In our present differences is either party without faith of being in the right? If the Almighty Ruler of Nations, with his eternal truth and justice, be on your side of the North, or on yours of the South, that truth and that justice will surely prevail by the judgment of this great tribunal of the American people.
Page 63 - No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the affairs of men, more than the people of the United States. Every step, by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency...
Page 147 - Perhaps the strongest feature in his character was prudence, never acting until every circumstance, every consideration, was maturely weighed; refraining if he saw a doubt, but, when once decided, going through with his purpose, whatever obstacles opposed. His integrity was most pure, his justice the most inflexible I have ever known, no motives of interest or consanguiniry, of friendship or hatred, being able to bias his decision.
Page 171 - Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just ; that his justice cannot sleep forever...