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poet to give full reins to his fancy, to meet the majesty of his subject. Whatever an uninspired imagination could do, has accordingly been done. The great objects of nature are grouped together with a happy facility, and we feel a sublime composure while we dwell upon the spectacle. Our minds are exhilarated and delighted; but there is a vacancy left. We admire the stretch and extent of the poet's imagination, and are pleased with such exquisite architecture, composed of such frail and frangible materials. Amidst all this bustle and tumult there is an agent wanting, of sufficient dignity to excite it, and when the real one appears, we wonder why he was ushered in with such preparatory dread. The very Deity, who is the cause of all this disturbance, when he participates in the battle, will act the part of a common soldier or a prophet, as the case may require. We naturally then compare his introduction with his agency, and ascribe exclusively to the poet what he intended should belong to the Deity. The reader may determine from the different impressions made on his own mind, when we produce the passage we oppose, on which side his judgment inclines. John, one of the disciples of our Saviour, is designated a poor and unlearned man, as a fisherman, and who will not therefore be supposed to have recourse to the meretricious ornaments of fancy to emblazon his narrative. His purpose, above all things, was not to write a poem commemorative of the capture of a town, or the death of a hero, but honestly to tell what he saw and what he suffered. It was not his object to swell a fact beyond its proper dimensions by the aid of fancy, but to find words of sufficient dignity to express the grandeur of the fact. Let us now see how this poor fisherinan dares to contend with Homer himself for the palm of sublimity. “And I saw a great white throne, and him who sat thereon, and earth and heaven fled away from his presence, and no place was found for them.” All comment on this noble passage is needless; the imagination totters under a load too ponderous to sustain, and acknowledges the presence of a Deity by such unavailing cfforts. We wish to notice one further peculiarity, one marked, discriminating feature between the two portraits of the Des ity, presented to us in the pages of Homer and of divine inspiration, viz. in the former the august personage, when speaking,
describes not only the task to be done, but the means by which he prepares to attempt its execution. Jove, with all his power and prerogative, is made to speak with all the precision of a mechanic. Homer seems fearful of making his Deity act without means, although he allows him omnipotence; thus it is an omnipotence in words only. The Christian Deity, on the other hand, conscious of the plenitude of his power, scorns such tame auxiliaries. The Jupiter of Homer often trifles with his omnipotence, and dissipates his splendor; in confirmation of which remark, we will cite the following passage, where he imparts consolation to Achilles's horses:
“ Unhappy coursers, of immortal strain,
The horses, it appears by the sequel, derived much consolation from this learned and elaborate comment on the destiny of mortals. The poet, however, takes care to inform us that the consolation did not flow from the discourse itself, 'moral as it undoubtedly was, but from the special intervention of Jupiter.
“ FIe said: and breathing on the immortal horse
And it is not unworthy of observation, that the character of Homer's Jupiter does not stand single and preeminent, but is confounded with that of subordinate divinities. He asks counsel of the other gods; and not unfrequently resigns his own opinion to theirs. When he finally resolves, the other powers testify a reluctant acquiescence, and their homage is paid not to that divinity, but to the thunderbolt he bears. In truth, this seems his only symbol of sovereignty which the minor divinities acknowledge. On the one side we observe external reverence, and, as is the case with all inferior tyrants, covert treachery and fraud. On the other side we discover wavering and indecisive resolutions, enforced by the preeminence of thunder alone. Whenever Jove promulgates his edict, he anticipates opposition, and the liglitning glares in almost every word that issues from his lips. We can but set in opposition to this the first chapter of Genesis throughout. Longinus contents himself with the admiration of one particular passage, whereas the whole bears an uniformity of stamp. The Deity said « let there be light, and there was light;” but he also said, “ let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear, and it was so.” He said “ let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit-tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself upon the earth; and it was so." “ And God said, let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and for years," " and it was 80." 66 And God said let the earth bring forth the living creatures after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth, after his kind, and it was so.”
But Moses in this very chapter has, in one or two instances, deemed this general and comprehensive form of expression too definite and precise. After having given us to understand that the word of the Deity is creative, as manifested by former'examples, he thought it mere surplusage to'recapitulate the idea. He says “ let us make man in our image after our likeness, and let him have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing, that creepeth on the earth. So God created
man in his own imago," ei. llere is truc omnipotence, an omnipotence, pot idly boasted of'in words, and then abandoned in actions; for we are made to understand that the word is the action itself. Moses does not say that man was created as the Deity had ordained by the word of his mouth; but assumes that fact for granted, and simply says So God created man in his own image." There is the same self-conviction of omnipotence in every word that the Christian Deity utters. When the Israelites were pressed by the Egyptians behind, and opposed by the Red Sea in front, they cried to heaven for protection, and the reply to Moses was “ Wherefore criest thou to me? speak to the children of Israel, that they go forward.” The Red Sea formed no obstacle to Almighty Power, and the Deity does not condescend to inform Moses in what manner omnipotence was to be exerted. Our Saviour, at the tomb of Lazarus, maintains the same bold and confident language, and without explaining the inode of his agency, exclaims, “ Lazarus, come forth.” Here, then, the broad distinction is drawn between the Deity of the hcathen and the Deity of the Christian theology. Homer, with all the cfforts of his muse, could not list his imagination to the height of such transcendant agency. lle could not conceive of workmanship destitute of labour; or, to speak more perspicuously, that the word of the Deity should perform what he commanded should be done.
There are many passages in holy writ, that require some nicety of cxamination, before their intrinsic beauties can be discerned-such, for instance, as the present, “light is sown for the. righteous, and joy for the upright in heart.” This clearly imparts that the joys of the just are to be placed beyond the present sphere of existence; the joy is “ sown,” and the harvest is to be l'eaped hereafter. This is not, however, the whole scope of the passage: how beautifully, and yet how succinctly expressed is The plenitude of that joy betokened by a harvest, and how small and insignificant a grain in comparison is our present felicity, denoted by the seed! The incapacity of language to express the extent of Divine attributes is manifested by the reply of our Saviour to the Jews, as grammatically incorrect as the sentiment conveyed is rigidly just. “Then said the Jews unto him, thou
art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, verily, verily, before Abraham was I am." The hu. man character of Christ is by the words “ I am,” sunk in his omnipotence, and an ever-existing Deity is immediately revealed, to whom a “ thousand years are one day,” who measures time not by the past or future, but to whom both the past and future are absorbed in the present. Longinus, in proceeding to enumerate the beauties of Homer, cites the following passage:
• Meantime, the monarch of the watry main
In this resplendent passage we have collected in a mass the sublimity and grandeur of Homer's imagination. The island of