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M.Besant E.Walter
Jerusalem, the city of Herod and Saladin

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M.Besant E.Walter
Jerusalem, the city of Herod and Saladin
page 284



fatigues and dangers of war, the hard fighting and physical suffering of a campaign under the sun of Syria ; and, which is very significant, he appears to have invoked a curse upon all who refused to obey the summons, and follow to the Holy War. The first Crusaders set off with light and buoyant hearts ; they were marching, they thought, to certain conquest ; the walls would fall down before them : it was a privilege and a sacred pleasure to have taken the sign of the Cross. The second army started with gloomy forebodings of misery and suffering ; they were going on a penitential journey ; they were about to encounter perils which they knew to be terrible, an enemy whom they knew to be countless as the sands of their own deserts, not because they wanted to fight, but because Bernard, who could not err, told them that God Himself laid this penance on their shoulders. Every step that brought Peter's rough and rude army nearer to Constantinople was a step of pleasure : every step that the second army took was an addition to the weariness and boredom of the whole thing. The most penitential of all was the young king, Louis YII. of France,, upon whose conscience there lay the terrible crime of having burned the church at Yitry. For in the church, which he had fired himself, were thirteen hundred men, women, and children, who were all burned with it. The king would fain have saved them, but could not, and when he saw their blackened and half-burned bodies, his soul was sick within him for remorse and sorrow. It was a calamity—for which, however, the king was not, perhaps, wholly responsible—worse than that modern burning of the women of Santiago. In Germany they began to expiate their sins by murdering the Jews, a cheap and even profitable way of purifying the troubled conscience, because they plundered as well as murdered them. Bernard, to his infinite credit, stayed the hand of persecution, and showed the people that this was not,


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