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brief notice of the astonishment of the people ; but Matthew and Mark pursue the subject by making the disciples, when alone with Jesus, ask him why they were not able to cast out the demon. In Mark, Christ's answer is “ This kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting”—but Matthew adds these words of Christ after a short discourse on unbelief, and the power of faith. The divergencies here are especially worth notice, since they unfold to us how the real sayings of Christ—whether consisting of figures, in the Oriental style, or striking moral maxims—were borne down on the stream of tradition, and attached, in the lapse of time, and by transmission into various localities, sometimes to one part of his supposed history, and sometimes to another. The words of Matthew (17 ch. 20 v.) Because of your unbelief,” are neither in Mark nor Luke : Matthew's words “ If ye have faith as a grain of mustardseed, &c” (same verse) attached to this narrative of the demoniac are, by Luke, given as a short stray fragment (17 ch. 6 v.) unconnected with any narrative of a miracle,—and with the variation of a "sycamine tree" instead of a “mountain”: Mark gives the sentence on the faith which removes mountains as the moral of the history of the cursed fig-tree, where Matthew also has it a second time: there, however, it is totally out of place, as we shall see when we come to that narrative. Thus we are left without positive knowledge of the occasion on which this figurative saying of Jesus was really uttered.
(3). The cure of the possessed Gadarenes, (or Gergesenes) is, for several reasons, the most startling of all these stories of demoniacal possession,-for, in this instance, we have not only several divergencies of the evangelists, (Matt. 8 ch. 28 v., Mark, 5 ch. 1 v., Luke, 8 ch. 26 v.) but many demons instead of one, and their entrance into the herd of swine—(so often felt to be a scandal by divines !)-instead of a simple departure of a demon from the human body.
After a stormy passage across the sea of Galilee to its eastern shore, Jesus meets (according to Mark and Luke) a demoniac who lived among the tombs, and was subject to outbreaks of terrific fury against himself, and others. But, according to Matthew, there were “ two possessed with devils.” Harmonists have resorted to many expedients in order to get rid of the difficulty here; but without success. It is not simply a question of number, for Matthew's idea of a plurality of demons is evidently grounded on his 'fact of a plurality of men. He says nothing about the demons being 'Legion'—and his narrative simply reads as if each man were possessed with a devil : any one reading his narrative, by itself, could have no other understanding of it. It is no reply, then, to tell us that ' Matthew's two includes the one of Mark and Luke. The harmonists would render us a better service by endeavouring to discover for us, whether Matthew's mention of a plurality of men gave rise to the idea of a vast plurality of demons, and so this idea became incorporated in two later Gospels,—or, whether the Gospel named after Matthew be later than that named after Luke, and the writer of our first Gospel being less credulous, in this particular, than the writer of the third, rejected his ' Legion' story, and reduced the number of the demons to two, giving them, at the same time, just so many human bodies to tenant. But the 'harmonists' leave us without harmonizing the difficulty : this is the first discrepancy, then, in this narrative.
The uncalculating nature of legend is always apparent. The demoniacs are made to recognise Jesus at once as the Messiah ; but how they could have learnt that he had any such reputation seems impossible—since they are represented as so exceeding fierce" that no one could come near them! Again : in Matthew, the demoniac, stricken with terror, deprecates the unwelcome approach of Jesus ; in Luke, he addresses Jesus, when arrived, as a suppliant ; in Mark, he eagerly runs to meet Jesus, while yet at a distance,
difficulties are greater when we enquire—When did Jesus command the demons to come out ? From Matthew, the answer would be After the men had spoken. But in Mark and Luke, the narrative is so involved that one cannot extract the answer with absolute clearness: here, at first, the pith of the incident seems to be, that the demoniac had instantaneously recognised and supplicated Jesus ; but the narrator drops his original idea, and reflecting that the prayer of the demon must have been preceded by a severe command from Jesus, he corrects his previous omission, and remarks that Jesus had given his command in the first instance !
Mark and Luke, after the command, add that Jesus said · What is thy name ?' and the answer was · Legion, according to Luke-Legion, for we are many,' according to Mark. Matthew, as already remarked, has no part of this episode. But if his were the earlier Gospel, a later writer might think it requisite to make the number of evil spirits equal the number of swine-of which Matthew had said there a
herd of many." The legend thus increases in wildness, till no story in the Thousand and One Nights can be more incredible: a great nunber of demons possessing one human organisation and subjecting and filling its consciousness! The possibility of this by one devil was incomprehensible enough ; but what rational man can be expected to prostrate his reason before this Legion-piled story?
And then, the climax!—The devils entered the swine (two thousand they were, the graphic Mark says--but we must not ask for his authority !) by the permission of Jesus, and the whole herd ran down violently into the sea, and were drowned! Who, that thinks it creaitable to possess an understanding, can humiliate himself to profess a belief in the reality of such a story, even as the condition of his salvation? Who does not perceive that such a story cannot make a part of a 'Divine Revelation"? We cannot, with Woolston, charge Jesus with injury done to the proprietors of a herd of swine. We reject the narrative as a mere legend; and cannot permit it to soil his pure moral character. The questions--How came the devils out? How did they enter into the swine ? What evidence had the spectators either of the coming out, or of the entering in ?-are not necessary: the legend contains its own refutation in its monstrousness; and divines would be inexpressibly glad if the New Testament did not contain it. To them it is a grievous eyesore: to the determined and rational enquirer, it serves as a caution against receiving other legends, less revolting to reason, in the Gospels-since it marks the utter credulousness of the writers, whoever they were.
With some reflections of Strauss, on the fact that there are no stories of deliverance from demoniacal possession in the Fourth Gospel, we may conclude our brief enquiry into the credibility of the first class of miracles:
"If in conclusion we cast a rapid glance at the gospel of John, we find that it does not even mention demoniacs and their cure by Jesus. This omission has not seldom been turned to the advantage of the apostle John, the alleged author, as indicating a superior degree of enlightenment. If, however, this apostle did not believe in the reality of possession by devils, he must have had, as the author of the fourth gospel, according to the ordinary view of his relation to the synoptical writers, the strongest motives for rectifying their statements, and preventing the dissemination of what he held to be a false opinion, by setting the cures in question in a true light. But how could the apostle John arrive at the rejection of the opinion that the above diseases had their foundation in demoniacal possession? According to Josephus it was at that period a popular Jewish opinion, from which a Jew of Palestine who, like John, did not visit a foreign land until late in life, would hardly be in a condition to liberate himself; it was, according to the nature of things and the synoptical accounts, the opinion of Jesus himself, John's adored master, from whom the favourite disciple certainly would not be inclined to swerve oven a hair's breadth. But if John shared with his contemporaries and with Jesus himself the notion of real demoniacal possession, and if the cure of demoniacs formed the principal part, nay, perhaps the true foundation of the alleged miraculous powers of Jesus ; how comes it that the apostle nevertheless makes no mention of them in his gospel? That he passed over them because the other evangelists had collected enough of such histories, is a supposition that ought by this time to be relinquished, since he repeats more than one history of a miracle they had already given; and if it be said that he repeated these because they needed correction,--we have seen, in our examination of the cure of demoniacs, that in many, a reduction of them to their simple historical elements would be very much in place. There yet remains the supposition that, the histories of demoniacs being incredible or offensive to the cultivated Greeks of Asia Minor, among whom John is said to have written, he left them out of his gospel for the sake of accommodating himself to their ideas. But we must ask, could or should an apostle, out of mere accommodation to the refined ears of his auditors, withhold so essential a feature of the agency of Jesus? Certainly this silence, supposing the authenticity of the three first gospels, rather indicates an author who had not been an eye-witness of the ministry of Jesus; or, according to our view, at least one who had not at his command the original tradition of Palestine, but only a tradition modified by Hellenistic influence, in which the expulsions of demons, being less accordant with the higher culture of the Greeks, were either totally suppressed or kept so far in the back ground that they might have escaped the notice of the author of the gospel.”
(To be continued in nect number.)
THE LEICESTER MOVEMENT ; or Voices from the Frame and the Factory, the
Field and the Rail. (Leicester.) THE FRAME WORK-KNITTERS' ADVOCATE. (Nottingham.) The Snow; on Leeds subjects, addressed to Leeds Loiners, and to all whom it
may or ought to concern. (Leeds.) Here are three new penny periodicals—(the first and second' weeklies,' and the third a monthly:----)which have just sprung up in three of our manufacturing towns. This is exceedingly gratifying. It proclaims, most unmistakeably, the growth of intelligence.
The first and second papers are serious ; and aim at serious things-the amelioration of the social condition of the working-classes. There must be some ó parlous' wags in Leeds; and, one may calculate, that their waggery will be felt by the people whose catastrophes they tickle—while the hearty Leeds Loiners will laugh outright at the fun.
EASTERN LIFE, PRESENT AND Past. By Harriet Martineau. This book contains so much that is of the most intense interest to the thinker -it is so entirely unlike common volumes of travels--as to make one wish that it could he printed cheaply, and put into the hands of every intelligent workingman in England. Since that is not done, no error can be committed by extracting some of its choicest reflective passages.
In the extract that follows, Miss Martineau presents us with those striking features of Osiris which shew how nearly he resembles the legendary Christ (not the real and historical Jesus of Nazareth). She has been visiting the sacred island of Phile-said to contain the sepulchre of Osiris ; and the visit awakens a train of reflection of which the following is a part
“I believe that, except the Supreme, Osiris was the only deity who was never named. When Herodotus has described the scourgings and lamentings which follow the sacrifices at the feast of Isis, he adds that it is not permitted to him to tell in whose honour they scourge themselves and lament. And again, in describing the images of the dead, prepared for the guidance of the embalming process, Herodotus says that the best represents, as he is told, Him whose name he has an objection to utter. And thus he always speaks of Osiris, by reverent allusion, and never by name.—The reagon of this peculiar sacredness of Osiris, above all gods but the Supreme, was his office of Judge of the living and the dead. That which made him so universally and eminently adored was his being the representation, or rather the incarnation, of the Goodness of the Supreme. The plurality of deities in Egypt arose from the practice, for popular use, of deifying the attributes of the Supreme God. We have thus seen liis creative Spirit or Will embodied in one god; and the creative art,-or Artisan Intellect,-in another: and we shall meet with more. His primary attribute, his Goodness, was embodied in Osiris, who left his place in the presence of the Supreme, took a human form, (though not becoming a human being), went about the world, doing good to men, sank into death in a conflict with the Power of Evil ; rose up to spread blessings over the land of Egypt and the world, and was appointed Judge of the Dead, and Lord of the heavenly region, while present with his true worshippers on earth, to do them good. Such were the history and functions of Osiris, as devoutly recorded by the Egyptians of several thousand years ago. And here, in Philæ, was his sepulchre, where the faithful came in pilgrimage, from the mighty Pharoah to the despised goat-herd, for a long course of centuries.--He was especially adored for other reasons than his benefactions : as being the only manifestation on earth of the Supreme God. This made him superior to the Eight great gods, after whom he ranked on other accounts. How the manifestation was made in a human form without an adoption of human nature, was one of the chief Egyptian mysteries ; the ideas of which will now, I fear, never be offered to our apprehension.--Upon his death he passed into the region of the dead,-(borne there, as the sculptures represent, by the four genii of Hades) - and then, having passed through its stages, was raised to the function of Judge.
“ Among the allusive names of Osiris were those of “ Opener of good,” “Manifester of grace,” and “Revealer of truth :” and the description of him was, in the ancient words, * full of grace and truth.” He obtained the victory after his death over the Evil Principle which had destroyed him : and it was in his name, which they then assumed, that the virtuous, after judgment, entered into the state of blessedness which they shared with him. The departed, men and women alike, were called Osiris : this spiritual namo hetokening that they were now in that state where sex was abolished, where no marriage existed, but human beings had become pure as the heaven-born inhabitants.
"When it is said that Osiris was the only manifestation of the Supreme upon earth, it must be understood that this means the only manifestation by a native heavenly resident. For all animated beings were supposed to be emanations from the Centre of Life. The great Emanation doctrine which has spread so far over the world was certainly a chief point of faith in Egypt at a very early date; and it is believed that Pythagoras, recognising it in all their observances which were expositions of doctrine, adopted it from them, and thence sent it on through distant countries and future ages. Plutarch ascribes to the belief of this doctrine the peculiar observances with regard to animals in Egypt. The passage is too well known to need citing here : but it is valuable, not only as testifying to this great fact of the Egyptian mind, but as showing that persons comparatively ancient were wiser than too many of ourselves in seeing in their practice of what we call Brute worship something deeper and more serious than we have been taught to look for. Plutarch cites Herodotus as saying that whatever beings have been endowed with life and any measure of reason are to be regarded as oftluxes, or portions of the supreme wisdom which governs the universe : so that the Deity is not less strikingly represented in these than in images of any kind made by the hand of man.--Porphyry declares “ the Egyptians perceived that the Divinity entered not the human body only, and that the Soul dwelt not, while on earth, in man alone, but passed in a measure through all animals.”—Thus Osiris was not the only manifestation of the universal Soul; and so far shared the lot of the humblest worm bred in the mud of the Nile ; but he was the only member of the heavenly society, the only one of the sons of the Supreme, who came upon earth to make him known : and he thus took rank above them all.
" It is impossible not to perceive that Osiris was to the old Egyptians what the Mossiah is to be to the Jews; and what Another has been to the Christians. The nature, character, and offices of Osiris, and the sacred language concerning him are so coincident with those most interesting to Christians as to compel a very careful attention on the part of enquirers into Egyptian antiquities. Various solutions of the extraordinary fact have been offered. Some who hold to the literal historical truth of the book of Genesis suggest, as their conjecture, that Noah may have foreknown everything relating to the coming of Christ, even to the language which should be used concerning him by sacred writers : and that his descendants may have communicated all this to the ancient Egyptians, who made a god out of the prophecy and its adjuncts. Others have endeavoured to make out such personal intercourse between Pythagoras and some of the Hebrew prophets on the one hand, and the Egyptian priests on the other, as inight account for the parallelism in question. Others would have us understand it by concluding that the latest Egyptian priests were disciples of Plato, and put their own Platonising interpretations on the character of Osiris, as the Platonising Christians did on that of Christ. Others again, who see that Ideas are the highest subject of human cognisance, the history of Ideas the only true history, and a common holding of Ideas the only real relation of human beings to each other, believe that this great constellation of Ideas is one and the same to all these different peoples ; was sacred to them all in turn, and became more noble and more glorious to men's minds as their minds became strengthened by the nourishment and exercise of ages.”
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