Wallace’s Wise Men

Ben-Hur

Lew Wallace (1827-1905) was an attorney, diplomat, politician, soldier, and writer. He became a Union general during the Civil War, serving under Ulysses S. Grant. Wallace was also a governor of New Mexico Territory (1878-81) and U.S. minister to the Ottoman Empire (1881-85). While in New Mexico, he published Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1880). Contrary to Christian tradition, Wallace portrays the wise men as non-astrologers from Egypt, Greece, and India.

  • The happiness of love is in action; its test is what one is willing to do for others. (Melchior)
  • Perfection is God; simplicity is perfection. The curse of curses is that men will not let truths like these alone. (Balthazar)
  • To begin a reform, go not into the places of the great and rich; go rather to those whose cups of happiness are empty – to the poor and humble. (Balthazar)
  • The world is now in the condition that, to restore the old Mizraimic faith, the reformer must have a more than human sanction; he must not merely come in God’s name, he must have the proofs subject to his word; he must demonstrate all he says, even God. So preoccupied is the mind with myths and systems; so much do false deities crowd every place – earth, air, sky; so have they become of everything a part, that return to the first religion can only be along bloody paths, through fields of persecution; that is to say, the converts must be willing to die rather than recant. And who in this age can carry the faith of men to such a point but God himself? To redeem the race … he must make himself once more manifest; HE MUST COME IN PERSON. (Balthazar)
  • When we have found the Lord, the brothers and all the generations that have succeeded them will kneel to him in homage with us. And when we part to go our separate ways, the world will have learned a new lesson – Heaven may be won not by the sword, not by human wisdom, but by Faith, Love, and Good Works. (Balthazar)
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