‘Late Have I Loved Thee …’

Jesus Rediscovered, by Malcolm Muggeridge (Doubleday, 1969, 217 pp., $5.95), is reviewed by J. D. Douglas, British editorial representative, CHRISTIANITY TODAY, London, England.

At the age of sixty-six, a former editor of Punch and former atheist here traces his late finding of faith. The book is crammed with the highly irregular. Muggeridge’s spiritual enlightenment, he relates, began during a journalistic stint in Moscow, and owes little to the Church as an institution. His credo is sketchy, and he is careful to profess no more than he really believes: “I see only fitfully, believe no creed wholly, have had no all-sufficing moment of illumination.” He is sympathetically agnostic about the Trinity, the Genesis creation story, the Virgin Birth, the Resurrection.

Nonetheless, Muggeridge declares that in some sense he has been a perennial pilgrim on earth, having always had the conviction of being a displaced person (though on page 198 he seems to contradict this). This elicits a sentence at once curious and profound. “My first conscious recollection of life,” he says, “is of walking down the street … (when I was six) in someone else’s hat and wondering who I was.” For man to feel at home in the world would be “the ultimate disaster.”

Muggeridge was ever conscious of the Heavenly Hound’s pursuit. “I knew from the beginning, and turned away. The lucky thieves were crucified with their Saviour; You called me, and I didn’t go—those empty years, those empty words, that empty passion!” It sounds like Augustine (some will find the affinity significant), whom Muggeridge greatly admires. Other ...

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