(Essentials of European Literature)

When James Sandy Rose, foreign correspondent for the Northern Atlantic Herald, died, the newspapers printed only a part of the circumstances surrounding his death. Among his personal effects was a diary which threw more light upon his private experience and belief. In this diary Rose related how he had gone to the Luxembourg and had noticed a peculiar light shining through the windows of the Church of Saint-Sulpice. His curiosity aroused, he went into the church and discovered a man standing before the statue of the Virgin. At first glance the man was very ordinary looking, but when he looked at Rose there was something striking and attractive in his appearance. Rose merely called the man “He” in long passages of the diary that reported a discussion between them on philosophical and religious subjects.

This strange man strongly resembled the Jesus that many artists have painted. Rose followed the man out into the garden, which had suddenly become clothed in summer foliage. There they met three beautiful women, one of whom was called Elise. In that pastoral setting their conversations concerning divinity, religion, and philosophy continued. In a short interlude between discussions Rose and Elise had an affair.

“He” informed Rose that Epicurus and Spinoza were nearer to “Him” than anyone else, including the saints. “He” also told the reporter that the gods are superior but not immortal—they merely live longer. Destiny...

(The entire section is 443 words.)