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Journalist Malcom Muggeridge, writing in 1980:

We look back upon history and what do we see?

Empires rising and falling, revolutions and counterrevolutions, wealth accumulating and and then disbursed, one nation dominant and then another. Shakespeare speaks of the “rise and fall of great ones that ebb and flow with the moon.”

In one lifetime I have seen my own  countrymen ruling over a quarter of the world, the great majority of them convinced, in the words of what is still a favorite song, that “God who’s made them mighty would make them mightier yet.”

I’ve heard a crazed, cracked Austrian proclaim to the world the establishment of a German Reich that would last for a thousand years; an Italian clown announce he would restart the calendar to begin with his own assumption of power; a murderous Georgian brigand in the Kremlin acclaimed by the intellectual elite of the western world as wiser than Solomon, more enlightened than Asoka, more humane than Marcus Aurelius.

I’ve seen America wealthier and in terms of military weaponry more powerful than all the rest of the world put together, so that Americans, had they so wished, could have outdone an Alexander or a Julius Caesar in the range and scale of their conquests.

All in one little lifetime. All gone with the wind.

England now part of an island off the coast of Europe and threatened with dismemberment and even bankruptcy.

Hitler and Mussolini dead and remembered only in infamy.

Stalin a forbidden name in the regime he helped to found and dominate for some three decades.

America haunted by fears of running out of the precious fluid that keeps the motorways roaring and the smog settling, with troubled memories of a disastrous campaign in Vietnam and of the great victories of the Don Quixotes of the media when they charged the windmills of Watergate. All in one lifetime, all in one lifetime, all gone. Gone with the wind.

—Malcom Muggeridge, “But Not of Christ,” Seeing Through the Eye: Malcolm Muggeridge on Faith, ed. Cecil Kuhne (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2005), 29-30.

When Ravi Zacharias quotes a version of these memorable words from Muggeridge, he often adds his own appropriate postscript:

Behind the debris of these solemn supermen, and self-styled imperial diplomatists, there stands the gigantic figure of one, because of whom, by whom, in whom and through whom alone, mankind may still have peace: The person of Jesus Christ. I present him as the way, the truth, and the life.

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8 thoughts on “All in One Little Lifetime: All Gone with the Wind”

  1. Brian M. says:

    Great post! I had always associated these words with Ravi Zacharias and was unaware that this was originally penned by Malcom Muggeridge.

  2. Hmmm, great read. I never knew Ravi was quoting.

  3. steve says:


  4. Wesley says:

    What a great post to wakeup to this morning. I know i’ve heard of some of of Muggeridge’s stuff before, but this little gem of a quote is just a wonderful blend of words and truth. Appreciate so much you posting this.

  5. Flyaway says:

    I pray that the world will rely on Jesus and not on the governments! Some day every knee will bow to Him!

  6. kpolo says:

    This is a sermon jam featuring those words narrated by Zacharias:

    Quite well done.

  7. dean says:

    The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the Lord blows on them. Surely the people are grass. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.”
    Isa 40:7&8

  8. Pingback: Glen Davis » …

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Justin Taylor, PhD

Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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