Thus your fathers were made

Fellow citizens of the saints, of the household of God, being built upon the foundation

Of apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself the chief cornerstone.

But you, have you built well, that you now sit helpless in a ruined house?

Where many are born to idleness, to frittered lives and squalid deaths, embittered scorn in honeyless hives,

And those who would build and restore turn out the palms of their hands, or look in vain towards foreign lands for alms to be more or the urn to be filled.

Your building not fitly framed together, you sit ashamed and wonder whether and how you may be builded together for a habitation of God in the Spirit, the Spirit which moved on the face of the waters like a lantern set on the back of a tortoise.

And some say: ‘How can we love our neighbour? For love must be made real in act, as desire unites with desired; we have only our labour to give and our labour is not required.

We wait on comers, with nothing to bring but the songs we can sing which nobody wants to hear sung;

Waiting to be flung in the end, on a heap less useful than dung.’

You, have you built well, have you forgotten the cornerstone?

Talking of right relations of men, but not of relations of men to God.

‘Our citizenship is in Heaven’; yes, but that is the model and type for your citizenship upon earth.

When your fathers fixed the place of god,

And settled all the inconvenient saints,

Apostles, martyrs, in a kind of Whipsnade,

Then they could set about imperial expansion

Accompanied by industrial development.

Exporting iron, coal and cotton goods

And intellectual enlightenment

And everything, including capital

And several versions of the Word of God:

The British race assured of a mission

Performed it, but left much at home unsure.

Of all that was done in the past, you eat the fruit, either rotten or ripe.

And the Church must be forever building, and always decaying, and always being restored.

For every ill deed in the past we suffer the consequence:

For sloth, for avarice, gluttony, neglect of the Word of God,

For pride, for lechery, treachery, for every act of sin.

And of all that was done that was good, you have the inheritance.

T.S. Eliot

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