Feast of Bartholomew the Apostle It is often said with a sneer that the God of Israel was only a God of Battles, "a mere barbaric Lord of Hosts" pitted in rivalry against other gods only as their envious foe. Well it is for the world that He was indeed a God of Battles. Well it is for us that He was to all the rest only a rival and a foe. In the ordinary way, it would have been only too easy for them to have achieved the desolate disaster of conceiving Him as a friend. It would have been only too easy for them to have seen Him stretching out His hands in love and reconciliation, embracing Baal and kissing the painted face of Astarte... It would have been easy enough for His worshipers to follow the enlightened course of Syncretism and the pooling of all the pagan traditions. It is obvious indeed that His followers were always sliding down this easy slope; and it required the almost demoniac energy of certain inspired demagogues, who testified to the divine unity in words that are still like winds of inspiration and ruin, [to stop them]. The more we really understand of the ancient conditions that contributed to the final culture of the Faith, the more we shall have a real and even a realistic reverence for the greatness of the Prophets of Israel. As it was, while the whole world melted into this mass of confused mythology, this Deity who is called tribal and narrow, precisely because He was what is called tribal and narrow, preserved the primary religion of all mankind. He was tribal enough to be universal. He was as narrow as the universe.