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gospels nothing is said of one of the disciples himself going to the grave on hearing to port of the women; according to Luke, Peter went thither, found it empty and retail wondering; and, from Luke (24 chap. 24 y.) it appears that other disciples beside la went thither in a similar manner: according to the fourth gospel Peter was accompaniet John, who on this occasion was convinced of the resurrection of Jesus, Luke saus Peter made his visit to the sepulchre after he had already been informed by the stead the angelic appearance; but in the fourth gospel the two disciples go to the grave leta Mary Magdalene can have told them of such an appearance ; it was only when she had po ceeded a second time to the grave with the two disciples, and when they had returned to again, that stooping into the sepulcbre she saw, according to this gospel, two gli white, sitting, the one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus lain, by whom she was asked, why she wept? and on turning round she beheld Jesus bin self; a particular of which there is a fragmentary notice in Mark ( 16 chap. 9 r.) with the additional remark, that she communicated this news to his former companions.”
Haying viewed the divergencies in the narratives collectively, as the presented by Strauss, let us ponder awhile on the consistency of eacă narrative separately.
Matthew is so indistinct as to leave us in doubt whether he means ths, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary,' beheld the earthquake, the angel descend from heaven, roll back the stone and sit upon it, and the keepers, for fear of the angel, shake, and become as dead men. If he means that they did behold these circumstances, our wonder arises at the thoughs that the women did not become 'as dead' as well as the keepers ; but dar surprise is still greater that so striking a series of circumstances is unknown to the other Evangelists. Could they have failed to narrate it, if it were known to them ? lf Matthew does not mean so much,-but merely intends to convey that the women found the angel sitting on the stone, and that the more striking circumstances took place before their arrival at the sepulchre,—then, where is the witness for the earthquake, &c.? —for we have already seen that Matthew's peculiar story about the watch and their report to the Sanhedrim is incredible. Lastly, after the angel has announced the resurrection of Jesus to the women, he charges them to go quickly and tell it to the disciples, with the direction that they shal see Jesus in Galilee ; but before they can reach the disciples, Jesus appear to them himself, and repeats the direction! Yet there was no need of this repetition, no need of the instant appearance of the risen Christ to confirm their faith, for they were departing 'quickly' from the tomb, with 'fear and great joy.' Who does not perceive that the legend has grown in wonder, here? First, the angel has been seen, and said so and so; but afterwards, as credence in the marvellous grows, it is set down that Jesus himself appeared.
Mark, when examined by himself, has also his inconsistencies. His three women, ('Salome' being added to the two mentioned by Matthew) come wondering 'who shall roll them away the stone,' but find it already rolled away. They see no one sitting upon it, but on entering into the sepulchre they see a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment. This young man, although Mark never calls him'an angel is evidently the same traditional being described with more of the marvel. lous by Matthew, for he addresses the women almost in the exact words of that supernatural personage. The women go out quickly, and flee-but there is no relation of Jesus meeting them, as in Matthew. Mark's inconsistency is afterwards strikingly displayed. As if smitten with an afterthought, or feeling it necessary to make his narrative square with some other report which he had heard or read, he adds, 'Now when Jesus vas
isen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, &c. Yet he had already said of the three women, of whom Mary Magdaene was one, Very early in the morning the first day of the week, they ame unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun! 1 Luke gives proof of the easy growth of the marvellous: the young man ias grown into two men in ‘shining garments, with him. He adds to his celation of what was seen by the women, that “Then Peter arose, and ran
into the sepulchre, &c.,' a point of his narrative we must especially compare with that of his successor,
John opens with the statement which had evidently reached the ears or eyes of Mark, when he corrected himself, or attempted to do so-namely, that Mary Magdalene came early the first day of the week, 'when it was yet dark,' unto the sepulchre. But if Mark had willed to correct himself entirely by John, he ought to have crossed out the relation about the three uomen-for John knows nothing about it. Some critics, indeed, seize Mary Magdalene's words (John, 20 ch. 2v.) “we know not where they have laid him," as proof that she had been accompanied by other women; but if it be so, why does not John say so ?-and again how comes Mark to correct himself into a mistake? Whether alone or accompanied, Mary Magdalene runs from the sepulchre, according to John, without seeing any thing more than that the stone was taken away. Yet she tells Peter and the other disciple whom Jesus loved,' that Jesus was taken away out of the sepulchre. The difference between the Third and Fourth Gospels becomes now remarkable. Luke introduces Peter alone, who, he says, (21 ch. 12, v.)ran unto the sepulchre; and stooping down he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and departed, wondering in himself at that which was to come to pass. Not so John: according to him, (20 chap. yy. 3 to 8.)
"Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre. So they ran both together; and the other disciple did outrun Peter and came first to the sepulchre. And he stooping down, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. Then cometh Simon Peter following bim, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, and the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed."
(To be continued in next number.)
THE PHILOSOPHY OF DEATH.
BY RICHARD OTLEY.
Shakspere's Julius Cæsar. Why should man fear that which he cannot know ? So long as man lives he is not in death; if he be immortal, death is being born into new life ; and in this new life he does not, cannot, suffer death, for still living, he cannot know death ; and, if mortal only, he will be as he was before birth. Besides, the arrangements of universal animated nature are such, that one generation must of necessity give place to its successor. This, therefore, being of the necessity of nature, there can be nothing more to fear in dying than in being born; the one is the unconscious commencement of being, and the other, the termination of man's conscious existence,-at least, so far as man has expe. rience and knowledge. What, then, can there be to fear in death? Life, so long as it is accompanied with enjoyment and happiness, is desired and desi. rable; hence man hopes for its continuance. But often sickness, and the infirmities of old age, change the hope of life into the desire of death. The fear of death does not, therefore, seem natural to man. A strong and almost irresistible love of life is implanted in the nature of man, and is indispensable for the preservation of his organic existence; but this is not the fear of death, it is the love of life. Whence, then, spring those rumours of the fear of death ? Let us endeavour to trace them to their origin, and to dispel them by the light of reason and truth.
The love of life is indispensable to man's being. It is the hope anchor which retains him in the ocean of existence, in the midst of the sunshine, calms, and storms, which surround him. He also shuns pain, and desires pleasure. These feelings, passions, and propensities, have been seized upon by those who profess to be man's instructors, and his pliant nature has been wrought to their designs and his own wretchedness. These effects are, however, for the inost part artificial, as is every invention or system which originates entirely with man. Any passion, feeling, or propensity, may be cultured to excess; and excess is either mental or corporeal deformity. Where fear predominates, there is cowardice; where bravery is in excess, there is brutality. Fear has been the great instrument in governing, or rather mis-governing, mankind; but its dominion is fast passing away. Sound intelligence will dispel gloomy forebodings; and, amongst these, will be the unnatural fear of death. The regions of darkness have been conjured into an unreal existence, and by the magical powers of an un healthy imagination, have been peopled with spectres, ghosts, and demons, which nowhere exist, but in the trembling souls of intoxicated fanatics. Yet, even with all these supernatural agencies at work, men have risen superior to any fear of the future; for it is only reasonable to conclude, arguing from analogy, that the same economy which governs this world governs all time and space; and, therefore, there is nothing in the universe to fear.
Who, then, are the men who have not feared to die? And who are the men who should stand in fear of death ? Whole nations of men have not feared death; nay, have even subdued that love of life so strongly implanted in the human heart, that they have esteemed it a less evil to die than to live in dishonour, or in the endurance of suffering that made life not desirable. The phrase " to live," implies enjoyment; or, at least, a preponderance of happiness over suffering. Thus, the value of life may be fixed, as that of any other possession ; although it is that which gives value to every other. The Spartans, a republican people of ancient Greece, were trained to despise pain, and commenced battle with feelings which elevated them above the fear to die. The Romans, when they fought against the Macedonians under King Perseus, when they could not, for some time, at least, break up the terrible phalanx, voluntarily flung themselves upon the enemy's spears, in the hope of reaching him with their swords, and fearlessly met their inevitable fate. In modern times, the Mahomedans have devoted themselves to death, in obedience to a fanatic or an impostor, or to a religion founded upon and upheld by error. The Hindoos, fired by a false and delusive enthusiasm, haye sacrificed life as if it had been a gift unwor
thy of the Divinity. And the superstition of our own day and country has not been without dying witnesses to the influences of a living delusion, of fallacious hopes and fears. Of these influences, the most remarkable examples are given by Professor Mallet, quoted by Volney in his excellent and eloquent “ Lectures on History," It appears from what Mallet records, that Harold, king of Denmark, who reigned about the middle of the tenth century, founded a town on the coast of Pomerania, called Julin or Jomsburgh. The colonists were prohibited from mentioning the word fear, even in the most imminent dangers. False fears make men slaves politically and mentally ; they are the manacles that bind down their bodies and souls to human power and usurpations. This legislator, however, hushed this servile passion into silence , for some of the Jomsburghers 'made an irruption into the territory of Hacco, a Norwegian chieftain, and were vanquished, notwithstanding the obstinacy of their resistance. A number of the most distinguished of the party having been made prisoners, were, agreeably to the custom of the times, condemned to death. This sentence, instead of affecting them, inspired them with joy. The first contented himself with saying, without changing his countenance, or testifying the least mark of alarm—“Why should not the same thing happen to me that happened to my father ? he died, and I must die also.” The second said, that he knew the laws of Julin too well to pronounce any word that indicated fear. The third died with the same fortitude. The fourth returned a longer, a more remarkable answer :-“I suffer willingly,” said he, "and this moment affords me the greatest satisfaction. I only beg that my head may be cut off as quickly as possible. It has frequently been disputed at Julin, whether we retain any of our senses after decapitation ; I shall therefore hold this knife in one hand, and if, after I am beheaded, I lift it up against you, that will prove I am not entirely deprived of understanding ; if I let it fall, that will prove the contrary. Hasten, then, and decide the question !" Trochil, the executioner, cut the head off at one blow, and the knife fell to the ground. Three others died with the same tranquillity and immoveable firmness.
But some persons will demand, have not those men who have discarded the dogmas of the priesthood, feared to die? If they have, who have implanted this fear in the infant mind, and cherished it in its growth for their own selfish and impious purposes ? For that must be impious, which is in opposition to the universality of human happiness; and goodness, and benevolence, and purity, in the next state of existence, must be preceded by purity, benevolence, and goodness in this. Falsehood, forgeries, and impostures can only be in requisition to support errors and earthly power, employed to degrade and brutalize the human species. Death is the scare-crow to terrify poor mortals from partaking of the fruits of the earth, as it is employed to frighten the irrational fowls of heaven. The fables of the miserable deaths of those who have nobly determined to think independently for themselves, are miserable forgeries, invented to alarm and terrify the weak and the timid. None are, however, exempt from the same fate, for as Homer sings :
“Men bear resemblance unto Autumn leaves,
It is thus that every organised being comes into succession and falls decay.
If death be so natural and inevitable, why should it be so inuch feari Is it because man's faith is not according to a particular standard! When is the right, infallible faith to be found ? Man's life is too brief and litet to find it ; the trumpet gives an uncertain sound; yet each faith gives the promise of a peaceful end. Alas! how the poor souls will be undeceived when it is too late—when there is no redemption. The Mahomedan's pas ful end, say the Christians, will be an eternal death ; the Pagan's hoped Heaven will be rewarded with endless torments; the Catholic's expectatin of interminable happiness will, say the Protestants, be met with unutterale woe and darkness ; and the Catholic laments over the souls which have ba doomed to Hell since the Reformation. Oye, who sleep in faith, be trx deceived. God is not mocked by the false teachings of men. Either them! who profess those faiths cannot go to heaven ; or, if they can, then the holding of any particular faith, or the not holding of it, is of no avail ; ali he who has no faith is on equal grounds with the most credulous and confiding And if there be no hope, with or without faith, then all must perish togethe which is too monstrous and absurd a conclusion, but naturally flows from the teachings and incongruities of faith.
But those who have no faith must die without the consolations of religion So do the greatest portion of the human race, for we must bear in mind the grand distinction between what each man calls bis genuine religion, and grovelling and degrading superstitions ; and as the numerous superstitions clothe the human family as with an infected garment, from these no consolstions can be derived, worthy of the namc; or a false and delusive religie furnishes an antidote to the fear of death equally efficacious with that whics claims to be true. The man who has attained to a correct knowledge of the system of the universe, and of the existences or natures that surround him, has nothing however to fear in death. That eminent and illustrious pian, Washington-a free-thinker in his private notions and opinions—when he came to die, solicited none of the consolations of the priesthood or religion, but requested his friends to retire from the room, and expired alone. A death truly worthy of a great man-a warrior who fought for the rights and liberties of a rising nation-he solicited not, nor needed the poisoned chalice of priestly condolence and consolation. Mirabeau, in the last aspirations of life, desired to be placed near a window, so that he could look from it ca those beautiful creations of nature which perfume the air and delight the ere and heart; he thus, to quote the language of the Hebrew writing, fell asleep with his forefathers. And the heathen, semi-Christian, Plato, says (in the Timæus) that “the death caused by wounds and disease is painful and violent -while that which follows old age, as the end agreeable to nature, is of all deaths the least irksome, and attended rather by pleasure than pain.”
From the great body of the priesthood, who are spread over the face of the earth, men can have no rational hope of succour or consolation in that hour which closes the busy scenes of life; they are physicians without skill, and their medicines are delusions and impostures. They have either neglected their duties, or are wilfully ignorant, or what is much more wicked, are deceivers in the name of the Divinity. If therefore any of the human race should fear to die, it is those who have consummated offences of the deepest criminality, or of the darkest and most vicious designs. To enslave men's