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THINKINGS, FROM THOMAS CARLYLE. PROPERTY IN LAND.-Men talk of selling' Land. Land it is true, like Epic Poems and even higher things, in such a trading world, has to be presented in the market for what it will bring, and as we say be sold :' but the notion of selling,' for certain bits of metal, the Iliad of Homer, how much more the Land of the World-Creator, is a ridiculous impossibility ! We buy what is saleable of it nothing more was ever buyable. Who can, or could, sell it to us! Properly speaking, the Land belongs to these two : To the Almighty God; and to all His Children of Men that have ever worked well on it, or that shall ever work well on it. No generation of men can or could, with never such solemnity and effort, sell Land on any other principle : it is not the property of any generation, we say, but that of all the past generations that have worked on it, and of all the future ones that shall work on it.
PUFFERY.—Consider, for example, that great Hat seven-feet high, which now perambulates London Streets; which my friend Sauerteig regarded justly as one of our English notabilities; “ the topmost point as yet,” said he, “would it were your culminating and returning point, to which English Puffery has been observed to reach !”—The Hatter in the Strand of London, instead of making better felthats than another, mounts a huge lath-and-plaster Hat, seven-feet high, upon wheels ; sends a man to drive it through the streets ; hoping to be saved thereby. He has not attempted to make better hats, as he was appointed by the Universe to do, and as with this ingenuity of his he could very probably have done ; but his whole industry is turned to persuade us that he has made such ! He too knows that the Quack has become God. Laugh not at him, O reader; or do not laugh only. He has ceased to be comic ; he is fast becoming tragic. To me this alldeafening blast of Puffery, of poor Falsehood grown necessitous, of poor HeartAtheism fallen now into Enchanted Workhouses, sounds too surely like a Doom'sblast! I have to say to myself in old dialect : “God's blessing is not written on all this ; His curse is written on all this !" Unless perhaps the Universe be a chimera ;some old totally deranged eightday clock, dead as brass ; which the Maker, if there ever was any Maker, has long ceased to meddle with ?-To my Friend Sauerteig this poor seven-feet Hat-manufacturer, as the topstone of English Puffery, was very notable.
THE ETERNAL FUTURE.—What went before and what will follow me, I regard as two black impenetrable curtains, which hang down at the two extremities of human life, and which no living man has yet drawn aside. Many hundreds of generations have already stood before them with their torches, guessing anxiously what lies behind. On the curtain of Futurity many see their own shadows, the forms of their passions enlarged and put in motion ; they shrink in terror at this image of themselves. Poets, Philosophers, and founders of states, have painted this curtain with their dreams, more smiling or more dark, as the sky above them was cheerful or gloomy; and their pictures deceive the eye when viewed from a distance. Many jugglers, too, make profit of this our universal curiosity : by their strange mummeries they have set the outstretched fancy in amazement. A deep silence reigns behind this curtain ; no one once within will answer those he has left without; ail you can hear is a hollow echo of your question, as if you shouted into a chasm. To the other side of this curtain we are all bound : men grasp hold of it as they pass, trembling, uncertain who may stand within it to receive them. Some unbelieving people there have been, who have asserted that this curtain did but make a mockery of men, and that nothing could be seen because nothing was behind it ; but to convince these people, the rest have seized them, and hastily pushed them in.
CHARACTER OF THE ESTABLISHED CLERGY.-Who does not see that these men are more ministers of the government, than ministers of the gospel ; and that by flattering the authorities and favouring the dominion of princes and men in authority, they endeavour with all their might to promote tyranny in the commonwealth, which otherwise they should not be able to establish in the church. This is the unhappy agreement we see betwixt church and state.-John Locke.
BLUEBELL AND PRIMROSE.
You are but exiles here!
To beautify and cheer!
And gazed through clouds of dew:
And tinged you with its hue.
I love you far too well!
Still deck the mossy dell!
THE KINGLIEST CROWN.
Win scorn, as flames draw air,
God's image bravely bear,
Still springeth from the cloud;
But pain's fire-chariot rode:
And stars bejewel darkness,
And strength in suffering's starkness :
SONNET, TO SPENSER.
W. MOY THOMAS.
CONSERVATISM.-0 my Conservative friends, who still specially name and struggle to approve yourselves Conservative,' would to Heaven I could persuade you of this world-old fact, than which Fate is not surer, That Truth and Justice alone are capable of being conserved' and preserved ! The thing which is unjust, which is not according to God's Law, will you, in a God's Universe, try to conserve that! It is so old, say you ? Yes, and the hotter haste ought you, of all others, to be in to let it grow no older! If but the faintest whisper in your hearts intimate to you that it is not fair,-hasten for the sake of Conservatism itself, to probe it rigorously, to cast it forth at once and for ever, if guilty. IIow will or can you preserve it, the thing that is not fair? 'Impossibility' å thousand fold is marked on that. And ye call yourselves Conservatives, Aristocracies :-ought not honour and nobleness of mind, if they had departed from all the Earth elsewhere, to find their last refuge with you! Ye unfortunate! The bough that is dead shall be cut away, for the sake of the tree itself. Old ! Yes, it is too old.-Carlyle.
LIBERTY.- "To be a Man is at all times in all countries, a title to liberty; and he who doth not assert it deserves not the name of a Man.—Mujor Cartwright.
VOTING BY BALLOT.—The author of the law, by which votes in the Roman Senate were taken by ballot, was one Gabinius, a tribune of the people. It gave a very considerable blow to the influence of the nobility, as in this way of balloting it could not be discovered on which side the people gave their votes; and took off that restraint they before lay under, by the fear of offending their superiors.--Melmoth's Pliny.
TRUE SELF-INTEREST.-They who have been so wise in their generation, as to regard only their own supposed interest at the expense and to the injury of others, shall at last find, that he who has given up all the advantages of the present world, rather than violate his conscience and the relations of life, has infinitely better provided for himself, and se. cured his own interest and happiness. -Bishop Butler.
CRITICAL EXEGESIS OF GOSPEL HISTORY,
ON THE BASIS OF STRAUSS's ‘LEBEN JESU.' A SERIES OF EIGHT DISCOURSES ; DELIVERED AT THE LITERARY INSTITUTION, JOHN
STREET, TOTTENHAM COURT ROAD, AND AT THE HALL OF SCIENCE, CITY ROAD, ON
BY THOMAS COOPER,
(Continued from last number.) The national legends of the Jews attributed miracles of all kinds to Moses, Elijah, and others, the fore-runners of Messiah ; and the believers in the Messiahship of Jesus, therefore, naturally expected miracles from him. The Four Gospels narrate numerous instances of his miraculous power; yet, two things are remarkable: first, that a couple of general notices excepted (Acts, 2 ch. 22 v. and 10 ch. 38 v.) the miracles of Jesus appear to be unknown in the preaching and epistles of the apostles,--and every thing is built on the supposed fact of his resurrection : secondly, Jesus himself censures the seeking for miracles, refuses to comply with the demands for a sign, and declares that no sign shall be given to that generation but the sign of the prophet Jonas. Whether we ought on these, as well as on other accounts, to doubt the authenticity of the numerous histories of miracles in the Gospels, a close examination only can enable us to decide.
1. The Demoniacs, it was agreed, should be the first class of miracles, to which our attention should be directed. In the Fourth Gospel, be it observed, there is not one instance of this class of miracles, while in the first three Gospels the demoniacs are represented as the most frequent objects of the curative powers of Jesus. Many modern divines attempt to lessen their difficulties by contending that Jesus only complied with the prevailing notions of his time and country, while addressing himself to the cure of the demoniacs. But he so often, in his parables and general discourses, speaks of the power of evil spirits over man, as to leave us in 10 doubt that he really partook of the prevailing notions of his time on the subject of demoniacal possession. The Jewish view, formed after the captitivity, was that the fallen angels of Genesis (6 ch.) the souls of their offspring the giants, and of the great criminals before and after the deluge, frequently attached themselves to human souls, and inhabited human bodies. Whether this were the popular view in the time of Christ does not appear from the Gospels, where the demons are merely stated to belong to the household of Satan. The word "lunatic' is sometimes used to denote the persons dispossessed of demons, by Christ. They are, in other words, persons whose nervous system is deranged, epileptics with sudden falls and convulsions, and maniacs whose self-consciousness is disturbed and who act with fury against themselves and others. Methods of cure, in conformity with their idea of the nature of the disease, were adopted by the Jews---for even Jesus himself is stated to admit that the Jewish exorcists worked these cures (Matth. 12 ch. 27 v.) These methods consisted of adjuration in the name of God, or of angels, with certain forms said to be derived from Solomon. Fumigations, roots, stones, and amulets, traditionally handed down as used by him, were also in use. It is not at all unlikely that these methods had a frequent curative effect in such cases : the disease really lying in the nervous system, by exciting a belief in the patient that the demon could not retain his hold before a form of conjura, tion, it might often effect the cure of the disorder.
But we read of Jesus that without conjuration by any other power, and without the appliance of any further means, he expelled the demons by his word. Three of these cases are especially remarkable.
(1.) The cure of a demoniac in the synagogue of Capernaum, has the position of the earliest miracle performed by Jesus, in Mark (1 ch. 21 v.) and Luke (4 ch. 31 v.); while in the Fourth Gospel, the conversion of water into wine is stated to be “the first miracle that Jesus did.” In the synagogue of Capernaum, Jesus produces a deep impression by his teaching-a demoniac cries out, in the character of a demon possessing him, that he will have nothing to do with him, and that he knows Jesus to be the Messiah who has come to destroy them, i. e. the demons - Jesus commands the demon to hold his peace and come out of the man, which happens amidst cries and convulsions, and to the great astonishment of the people at the power displayed by Jesus.
Such is the relation. But who gives it? We do not know-for we have no clear evidence as to the writers of the account. What is an “ unclean devil ”? (Luke 4 ch. 33 v.) How can one spirit, or distinct intelligent existence, take possession of, or absorb the consciousness of another? “ And when the devil had thrown him in the midst, he came out of him, and hurt him not.” (Luke 4 ch. 35 v.) How could “the devil throw him in the midst”? How did the observers distinguish “ the devil" before he came out, so as to know that it was he who was so throwing the man ? How did “the devil come out of him ? What came out of him ? Of what colour, size, shape, was it? If spirits cannot be seen, how did the spectators know that the devil “ came out of him" ?
Let any orthodox believer who may be present answer these questions. Will any answer? All are silent! And if all the doctors in divinity in Christendom were present, they would be in the like predicament. And let none be offended because these questions are asked. Remember, we are told that our salvation depends on a belief in a revelation which is affirmed to be attested by these miracles. But what rational man in this nineteenth century can conclude he has any evidence for a miracle here ? If the miracle proves the revelation-what proves the miracle ?
If we are allowed to consider the narratives as wanting in correctness when they appear to present this cure as occurring early in Christ's ministry,-it is not improbable that an epileptic may have been impressed with the wide-spread fame of Jesus and his powerful discourse in the synagogue, until he imagined him to be the Messiah ;-Jesus, in whom the great conception of his own Messiahship was growing, may have spoken to him ;the words may have influenced the poor patient and produced in his nervous frame, at first greater convulsions, (** And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice” -Mark, 1 ch. 26 v.)—until, in his prostrate and exhausted condition, (" thrown him in the midst”) the bystanders concluded that he was delivered ;-or, a lucid interval, and greater or less relief may have succeeded. But the permanence of the cure ? What testimony is there of that? The writers of the Gospels, whoever they were, may have related this as a cure, together with many others, simply because nothing was known either of the after-health or relapse of the epileptic. Of all the cares ascribed to Christ, however, the relief of persons afflicted with nervous disorders of the less rooted kind, appear
to be the most probable and historical. But these are by no means miracles. Nor, although they depicture Jesus as one yearning over the miseries of mankind, and endeavouring to relieve them, do they enhance our conceptions of his mental superiority, inasmuch as they shew him to have merely
received the current mistaken notions of his countrymen with regard to demoniacal possession. Ten thousand such stories could not exalt him in our estimation to the height at which he stands by his sublime moral teaching.
(2.) Another cure of a demoniac is related by Matthew, (17 ch. 14 v.) Mark, (9 ch. 14 7.) and Luke (9 ch. 37 v.) It is that of a boy, whom the disciples could not cure, and occurs on the descent from the Mount of
Transfiguration. Legendary variations are met at the very opening of the story. In Matthew, Jesus having descended from the mountain, appears to join the multitude by accident; in Luke, the multitude come to meet Jesus; and in Mark, the multitude run towards him to salute him. This Jast evangelist, in whom the dramatic tendency will be frequently observed, though not always to the most sensible embellishment of his story, adds, “And straightway all the people, when they saw him, were greatly amazed”! -though what there was in the arrival of Jesus to amaze the multitude, he does not say.
Matthew describes the boy as one who was lunatic; and, indeed, the reference of periodical disorders to the influence of the moon was as common in the time of Christ, and in Palestine, as it has been in our own country at past periods. In Mark, Jesus addresses the supposed demon as a “ dumb and deaf spirit": so that the inarticulate sounds uttered by epileptics in their fits, seem to have been regarded as the dumbness of the demon, and their incapability of noticing any words addressed to them, as the demon's deafness.
At the close of the narrative in Matthew, Jesus ascribes the impotence of his disciples to their deficient faith : Luke omits this; and Mark not only does so, but, interweaves, after his peculiar dramatic style, a by-scene between Jesus and the boy's father; in which an enlarged description of the boy's malady is given,-Jesus puts the tentative sentence “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth,”—and “straightway” the father
“ cries out with tears-Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief”! These are divergencies which mark, still more, the legendary origin of this narrative. And if Mark's adornment of the story could be depended on, it would awaken in us a suspicion that Jesus was by no means confident of his power to cure. Paley says of the Miracles—“ They were not secret, nor momentary, nor tentative, nor ambiguous.” Did we find the first of these narratives about demoniacs free from ambiguity ? The word “ tentative” signifies something done by way of attempt, trial, or experiment. Would not the words which Mark here puts into the mouth of Christ, “If thou canst believe me,” &c. betoken the desire to attempt, companied with a want of full confidence in his own power to cure ?
Let no one suppose that this is an insinuation against the moral excellence of Christ. I unean no such thing. But I desire, above all things, to look into the heart of that young man of Nazareth, so far as the imperfect light of the Gospels enables us to see its inner workings : to behold him struggling with the great enthusiastic conception of his own Messiahship--sometimes feeling less confident of it--and feeling his way towards external proofs of it. I think the Gospels assist us, in some degree, to do this; but amidst their legendary divergencies we cannot always be sure that we have found the right key to the actual experience of the mind and heart of Jesus of Nazareth.
Mark seeks to make the scene more effective by other additions ; he tells us that the people ran together that they might observe what was passing, that after the expulsion of the demon the boy was, “as one dead, insomuch that many said, he is dead;" but that Jesus, taking him by the hand, lifted him up, and he arose.
In conclusion,-Luke dismisses the narrative with a