« PreviousContinue »
mal understanding, which takes cog. nisance of all natural science, and must be employed in all metaphysical reasoning, whether analytic or constructive, as it is of matter itself. Wbat Coleridge alleges as a quality of the “ pure reason,” that it often presents a contradiction to the understanding, of which he gives this instance
* BEFORB Abraham was, I AM"is really and truly a quality of spirit, as was long ago maintained by the pe. netrating Jesuit, who gave a regular intellectual form to the obscure spi. ritual intuitions of Ignatius Loyola.
Must we not suppose, then, that the Apostles, partakers in the ideas of their times, were enlightened only to the extent of the age in which they lived, and were partakers also in its ignorance and its errors; and that this ignorance and these errors were re. moved in those matters only which apa pertained to the work confided to them; that though made wise in all that was necessary to the success of their sacred mission, and the salvation of man-in all that concerned the transcendant character and wonderful mission of their divine Master, and the glad message which he came to preach, they shared, to the very last, in the popular notions, the narrow views, and the prejudices of their countrymen on many subjects? We find that, even after the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, it required a vision froin heaven to correct Peter's narrow views of the extent of the Gospel dispensation, and induce him to preach Christ unto the Gentiles.--Acts, x. 28–34. Nay, even after this, the Apostle Paul, as he himself relates (Gal. ii. 11-14), had to withstand him to his face at Antioch,“ because he was to be blam. ed,” and “walked not uprightly according to the truth of the Gospel,” but, for fear of the Jewish converts, used “dissimulation” in departing from and declining to eat with the Gentile converts. Again, we find the Apostle Jude quoting a passage from the book of Enoch (Jude, 14), a translation of which is now before the world; and the apocryphal, and even absurd character of which, is admitted by all scholars. And, if they were permitted to continue thus long ignorant, in matters which appear, at least in some measure, connected with the work of their mission, how
much more so in one which was supposing the theory of disease to be the true one-rather a question in medical science, or at most in psychology, than one having any practical bearing on morality or religion. Our Lord did not come to enlighten mankind in matters of science. He left untouched the false systems which he found prevailing in astronomy and the other departments of knowledge connected with external nature- and the same in what concerned man himself. Neither in metaphysics, nor physiology, nor psychology, the border land which lies between the two, did he vouchsafe any instructions to his followers. Nay, of that world of spirits which lies beyond the grave, the solemn reality, the sublime character, the awful importance of which he enforced with such surpassing power, and to prepare mankind for which was the object of his whole mission of his death as well as of his life-of this spi. ritual world how much has he reveal. ed? Of detail, absolutely nothing: a few pregnant hints and suggestive parables-a few awful figures-a few burning words, admirably well adapted burning words, admirably to influence man's moral conduct, but not at all to satisfy his curiosity, or enable his intellect to construct any systematic scheme. We observe our Lord even checks a natural but an illtimed curiosity on subjects which seemned intimately connected with the mission on which he was sending his Apostles, and a full revelation upon which would, it might a priori be supposed, have inspired them with additional ardour, and contributed to their success; and this because, in his fulness of knowledge, both of the course of future events, as marked down in the divine counsels, and of the constitution of the human mind, he foresaw that such knowledge was not good for them. “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons which the Father hath put [kept] in his own power."Acts, i. 7. We can now appreciate the profound wisdom of this reserve. Had the Apostles been informed that more than eighteen centuries must elapse before the Lord should come again to restore the kingdom of Israel, and crown his faithful followers, what effect would such information have had upon their burning faith? Where would have been the ardour which led them and their successors to pour out
their blood with joy for the hope that was set before them? Man ever stands in need of things that are near, as powerful motives to influence him. Remoteness, whether of time, or place, or causality, like the actual effect of space upon attraction, weakens, and ultimately annihilates, the motive in Auence of all things upon him. And so it must be pre-eminently in the effect of man's impressions of the rela. tion which exists between the invisible and the visible. His impressions cannot, indeed, change the nature of that relation, or affect its reality ; nor can the specific nature of that relation it. self, whether it be direct or indirect, immediate or mediate, with but one or with a thousand intervening stages of causality, or instrumental agency, between the first term of the series and the last, the invisible moral cause and the visible physical effect, render it one jot less true, less solemn, less terrible in its results to man. But man's impressions of the greater or lesser length of this series of intervening causalities and agencies, must ma. terially affect the influence which this relation shall have upon his own conduct as a motive of action. For, con stituted as he is to be vividly affected only by that which is near-to look upon the remote, indeed, almost with as much indifference as though it had no existence-he may come to regard a causality, wbich, though most intensely real, has to pass through many intervening links, the necessary connexion between which he cannot discern or appreciate, as vague, and indefinite, doubtful in its operation, and undeserving of his regard.
Now, the influence of Satan, and consequently of sin in man's miseriesa great and important truth-was clear enough to the eyes of the disciples, when manifested in the form of one or more of his subject devils entering into and torturing the bodies of their fellowmen, and perverting their reason. The evidence of Christ's divine mission - another great and important truth-was clear and convincing, when binding the strong man, as it were, before their eyes, he cast out the afflicting daimons by his mere word. The testimony to his personal divinity was powerful and immediate, when the departing spirits cried out, and confessed, through the mouths of the possessed, that he was the Son of God.
But if, in lieu of thus permitting them to learn and hold essential truths, in a form suited to their degree of culture, our Lord had taught his disciples, imbued as they were with the notions of their age and nation, that the declarations of the possessed regarding their own demoniacal character, were the results of previous associations ; that the appearances supposed to arise from the actual indwelling of one or more individual devils, were the effects of general laws operating upon an organisation subjected through sin, and the consequent dominion of the evil one, to derangement, pain, and final decay; and were only a portion of the bitter inheritance of fallen humanity, proceeding from Satan, in the same manner as death proceeds from him, through a causality too mysterious, too universal, and too remote from man's apprehension, for them to understand, and requiring an equally universal and mysterious, and, to them, incomprehensible power, to arrest its devastations, and restore its ruins ;if, in his cures, he had acted in accordance with the information thus given, and, omitting all condescension to their prejudices, or to the illusions of the diseased, proceeded to unfold the occult page of knowledge, which connects moral with physical evil, to illumine the lines of transition from sin to disease, and explain the mediate agencies through which the Sinless One could cause the blind to see, the lame to walk, the dead to arise, and the lunatic and epileptic to sit clothed in their right mind; - if, moreover, he had informed his disciples that the knowledge manifested by these parties of his person and dignity-when not derived from public rumour - proceeded not, as they supposed, from an indwelling foreign spirit, but from that awakening of a higher spiritual insight within dual man himself, which is often the result of a weakening or derangement of the bodily life, whether through fasting, contemplation, disease, or the near approach of death, and is a special concomitant of peculiar abnormal and reversed conditions of being; and that utterances made in such a state of awakened spiritual vision, which may have a certain irresistible force upon it, to recognsie the divine beauty of holiness when placed in its presence, constitute as powerful testimonies to the truth
as the imagined cries of devils, whose tendency must ever be rather to deceive man, and to deny their Lord. Had such been our Lord's proceeding (upon the hypothesis of this being the true view of the subject), what would have been its effect upon the disciples and the Jewish people? Could they have comprehended—would they have believed-would they have glorified their Master, as in their own simple view they were enabled to do? This question, we think, must be answered in the negative; and if so, it would afford a full explanation of the economy observed by our Lord in the instruction of his followers, whose moral perceptions he came to purify, and whose faith and courage he raised to the most heroic elevation ; but whom be found and left in ignorance on all matters of mere science, or curious and unprofitable inquiry; and many of whose prejudices and weaknesses, even in religious questions, he left to be gradually dispelled by the indirect and remote, but ultimately unfailing, operation of the great principles which he laid down for their guidance.
The language of Scripture itself necessarily suggests these questions to a reflective mind; for the absolute identity of some of these possessions with lunacy and long-standing disease, recurring in periodical paroxysms, is there set forth in express words. In Matthew, xvii. 15, we have a certain man addressing the Lord thus:“ Lord have mercy on my son, for he is A LUNATIC, and sore vexed : for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water."
The phrase, he is a lunatic, is expressed in the original by a single verb, oshnui oras, literally, he is moon-affected, or he labours under a disease depending on the moon, i.e., recurring, or aggravated, at the lunar periods. We know that this is actually the case with madness; hence the very name lunacy; and, at least in tropical countries, with many other types of cerebral and nervous dis. ease. The intermittent fever of India, as most of our Oriental readers know to their cost, always recurs, or is very much aggravated, at the springs; and so powerful is lunar influence in those latitudes, that long after the fever it. self has been cured, some of its accom. panying symptoms, such as a nervous tremor, pains in the head, side, or feet, weakness of vision, and even, in
some instances, deafness, recur for a short period at the new or full moon, or the springs, and then pass away.
We can understand clearly enough, therefore, this dependence of physical disease upon a physical cause like lu. nar influence, found by observation to be thus powerful; but it is difficult to imagine how the entrance of a wicked spirit into the body of a man, should be at all dependent on the age of the moon. Indeed this case alone, where an affection expressly declared to de pend on lunar influence, and the re. currence of which is stated to have been habitual, from childhood upwards, is at the same time called a daimon and a spirit, is sufficient to make us pause and reflect before we determine too literally the true significance of these popular terms, as employed in the Gospels, more especially when we find a parallel phraseology existing at the present day in the East, among 3 people at nearly the same stage of civilization as the Jews of Herod's day, regarding similar physical affections. And hence it is that we have deemed it requisite to throw out the foregoing suggestions, for the purpose of showing the profound wisdom and harmony of our Lord's conduct in regard to these daimoniacs, on the ground of a purely physical theory. For it is of this very lunatic, this sufferer from the moon's physical influences, that we read_" And Jesus rebuked the devil (daimon), and he departed out of him, and the child was cured from that hour.” In Mark, ix, 17, which, from a comparison of the context, evidently refers to the same case, the father describes his son thus-“Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit: and wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him, and he foameth and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away.” In the 20th verse it is said - Straightway the spirit tare him, and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming.” The two next verses are remarkable, as indicating the long duration of the visitation, and the symptoms of the paroxysm_“And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, OF A CHILD. And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire and into the water, to destroy him." This is the case which Hammond alleges to contain a description of epilepsy, and
which Newcome also pronounces that of an epileptic at the lunar periods.
With regard to the declaration of our Lord, in reference to this same lunatic, that “ This kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting,” it must be connected with what precedes it. When the disciples inquired "Why could we not cast him out?" Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief.” It was, therefore, not from any effect the fasting and prayer bad immediately on the daimon itself, that they were required to resort to them, but to increase that faith which was necessary in themselves, in order to perform the cure. The whole of the Bible shows us that, whenever any work was to be performed, in which the spiritual required to be more than usually awakened and exalted in man, and on which the blessing of heaven, the union of the divine with the human will, was more especially sought, then prayer and fasting were the means resorted to, in order to deaden the bodily life, to quicken the spiritual, and to obtain that benediction, which sanctified and accomplished the purpose of man by making it that of God. The direction of our Lord, therefore, would only be an application to this case of two principles, which we find everywhere maintained in Scripture, especially in the New Testament-yiz., the omnipotence of faith over nature and matter; and the necessity of crucifying the flesh; of bating our own life, and of main. taining an incessant communion, by prayer, with the source of a higher life, in order to raise our wills to a union with the divine will, and thus to awaken within us that spiritual power which triumphs over the material; that wonderful faith, which St. John calls “the victory that over cometh the world,” and of which our Lord emphatically declares, that it can move mountains, and transplant trees into the sea. Faith, indeed, not only in him who works, but in those who benefit by the miracle, appears everywhere absolutely necessary to this victory over matter. In Matt. ix. 22, our Lord tells the woman who touched the hem of his garment,
« Thy faith hath made thee whole.” In Matt. ix. 28, before curing the blind men, he asks them, “ Believe ye that I am able to do this ?” In the same way, we read, in Acts, xiv. 9, of St. Paul, when curing the cripple at Lystra, that “steadfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed,” he then “said, with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked.” Our Lord, indeed, goes so far as to say, in Mark, ix, 23, addressing the father of the lunatic child, “ All things are possible to him that believeth.” And, on the other hand, so fatal is this want of faith, in the party to be benefited by the conquest of material evil, and all cure of disease is such, that we read, in Mark, vi. 5, 6, our Lord himself “could there do no mighty work.” “And he marvelled because of their unbelief.” In like manner, it would appear from our Lord's own words, that had not Martha believed, Lazarus had not been raised from the dead"Said I not unto thee, that if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God ?"-John, xi. 40. And, if any one should doubt this power of faith over matter to be a literal truth, and ask, how is it possible for the moral condition of one man's mind, to exert a command over physical disease in another? (supposing these daimoniac cases to be purely physical]_we would reply by asking, how could the moral condition of Peter's mind exert a command over the waves, and reverse the laws of gravitation so long as faith prevailed; but the moment this gave way to fear, then how became he again the slave of matter, so that he began to sink, and cried out, “Lord, save me, or I perish," meriting that reproach of his Lord, “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?”—Matt. xiv. 31.
There we pause for the present. The field of thought and language which we have to investigate is a wide one, and may not be lightly hurried over: and the special limits to which the requirements of periodical public cation confine us, will only allow us to accomplish a portion of the survey. Its completion must be reserved for another number.
HAROLD, THE LAST OF THE SAXON KINGS.*
It is a real pleasure in these days, of the old novel. But genius will al. when the shelves of the circulating ways, as long as the world lasts, have libraries are crowded with hot-pressed power to sway the minds of men ; and volumes scarcely worth their binding it is impossible for even the most un
when book-making has become a enlightened and superficial of readers, trade in which every tyro dabbles to peruse the pages of any one of Sir when pens and printers are working Bulwer Lytton's productions, without away, like the very devil, for no other being attracted by an irresistible charm ostensible purpose than that of pro- - the charm of pure and classic beauty ducing what, after a few weeks of of deep and romantic interest - with ephemeral existence, speedily passes which he manages to invest the driest into oblivion,--it is pleasant, and very details of history, or the most ordirefreshing to our jaded nerves and nary incidents of life, and which he weary eyes, to hail the work of a man weaves, like a golden tissue, into his of genius; to linger over the bright web of fiction. Who is there that and beautiful images which his pen has hung over the dazzling eloquence can call into existence; to revel in the and deep pathos of “Rienzi" - who brilliant fancies, rich with poetic co. is there that has wept over the ex. louring, and in the splendour with quisite tenderness of « Night and which he has contrived to invest the Morning," or the mournful beauty of ancient records of the dim and dreamy « Zanoni"— who that has lingered over past, to secure to ourselves a tempo. the pages of “ Pelham," where the rary oblivion of the dull incidents and deeper pathos of tragedy is gracefully weary transactions of the unpoetic mingled with the most playful humour present.
-and not felt the breathing, the inde* We have not lived in this world scribable charm, with which this great long enough to remember the sen artist invests whatever subject he sation which the announcement of a touches ? Like the orator of whom our new poem by Lord Byron, or a new own sweet poet has written :novel by the author of Waverley, used to produce ; but it has been described " He rules, like a wizard, the world of the heart, to us by those who have. We, how.
To call up its sunshine, or draw down its showers." ever, do remember-for it is not very long since_ the state of pleasant ex. In laying the scene of a story so far citement into which this capital was back in the ages of antiquity, every au. plunged, when it became known to the thor has many and formidable difficulreading public that the arrival of a new ties to contend with; even the know. historical novel by the author of “ The ledge and learning of antiquaries can Last of the Barons" was daily expect. bring very little to bear upon times 50 ed. We were glad of it ; not that we remote. The memorials which are left had any reason to fear that an old in the ancient chronicles and old lepopular favourite was likely to be dis. gends, are so very vague and unsatisplaced, but we were not without factory, that we have about as clear some degree of apprehension that the and accurate an idea of what our own taste of the age had become so vitiated ancestors did and said, of their social by feeding upon those quaint conceits, and domestic life, eight centuries ago, with which the dishes served up for as we have at this moment of the preits intellectual entertainment are now cise nature of the conversation which so highly seasoned, as to have had its is going on in the moon. We have, relish impaired for the deeper interest, it is true, a few records of their the more healthy and invigorating tone chivalry, their feudal system, their
*“Harold, the last of the Saxon Kings." By the Author of “Rienzi," " The last of the Barons," &c. London : R. Bentley, 1848.