« السابقةمتابعة »
thou hearest not. . . . . I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death.” (vers. 1, 2, 14, 15.)
And in Psalm lxix. :“ Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul. I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me. I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried : mine eyes fail while I wait for my God." (vers. 1--3.)
“Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness : and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none. They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.” (vers. 20, 21.) “For they persecute him whom thou hast smitten; and they talk to the grief of those whom thou hast wounded.” (ver. 26.)
And in Isaiah liji. the heaviest verse is this :“It pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: he shall make his soul an offering for sin.” (ver. 10.)
It was in his soul, therefore, that the sufferings of Christ were chiefly endured. Of the sensitiveness of this part of his nature we have many proofs. Take that wonderful one, of the resurrection of Lazarus. He knew the end from the begin. ning. He knew that Lazarus would die, and that he should recall him from the tomb. Yet the grief of Martha and Mary affected his heart. “He groaned in the spirit and was troubled.” “Jesus wept.” What or who was it that wept ? Not that godhead which was “ before the world”; but the human soul of Mary's son. And so, when“ he beheld the city and wept over it;" when he “had compassion on the multitudes," and when he so graciously remembered Peter, “Go tell my disciples, and Peter;" we see, at every step, the sympathy and kindness of Him who permitted His apostle to say, “We are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones.” (Eph. v. 30.)
We behold, then, a human being,-a man, born of the Virgin Mary ;-one who had committed no sin; and could not, on his own account, feel any kind of remorse. His soul was not agitated, as we often see men agitated, in all ages, by the loss of friends, or of fortune, or by the failure of hopes or prospects. He was not naturally of a timid or fearful character; for he calmly and resolutely looked forward to his coming fate; spoke of it, and finally went forward to meet it. Whence, then, came this intense mental suffering? How came heart and soul to faint and die under the heavy weight laid upon them? Exactly such a death-i.e., a death by broken heart, in the sight of hundreds of beholders, probably never took place at any other time, or any other place. Such cases of broken heart as are recorded, are all intelligible, and easily accounted for. They have, in every case, arisen from the grief and pain of some heavy calamity. In Jesus' case, the mere fact of dying a martyr's death was the only visible calamity, and thousands of martyrs have met such a death without any great perturbation of mind. The fact, then, of which we are now speaking, needs explanation. How came Jesus to suffer such sorrow, heaviness, grief of mind, and mental agony, as at last crushed his human nature, and produced a death not caused by the crucifixion, but caused by the bursting or breaking of the heart? This is the phenomenon to be accounted for. The different hypotheses which have been put forward, in various attempts to account for it, must be described and scrutinized in another paper.
NOTES ON “IRONY." ARCHBISHOP TRENCH, in his most interesting chapter on the morality of words, remarks, “How many words men have dragged downwards with themselves, and made them partakers more or less of their own fall. Having, originally, an honourable significance, they have yet, with the deterioration and degeneration of those that used them, or those about whom they were used, deteriorated and degenerated too. What a multitude of words, originally harmless, have assumed a harmful, as their secondary, meaning; how many worthy have acquired an unworthy.” He mentions as instances of this, among many others, 'crafty,''cunning': wordsin which originally nothing of crooked wisdom was implied, but only knowledge and skill. To these, we think, with much proprietý might be added “ Irony.” Its fate, indeed, has been more than usually hard ; for even in the language which gave it birth, it seems never to have been used in what we conceive was the simplicity of its original meaning. A secondary signification, of some kind or other, apparently attaches to it from the very first. He who talked with others at any length, or in any connected strain, weaving words together, was, so far as we can trace the matter, looked upon by the Greeks as not using language in perfect simplicity, but as having some object or meaning which had to be gathered from other indications : this meaning might be perfectly legitimate and proper, or it might not; there might be deception contemplated, or nothing might be further from the wish or intention of the speaker, and no attentive and intelli. gent listener ought to carry away a mistaken impression of what was meant. For such a mode of speech, a language so copious and so abounding in subtle and exquisite distinctions as Greek would require a class of words apart, and found them in derivatives of eipw, as contradistinguished from many other terms by which speaking was designated. Much in the same way we find that in Latin a term so neutral in itself as verba dare, to give words, means to deceive; and, so far as we are aware, has that meaning, and that meaning only, attaching to it. There was no essential reason in the nature of things why the phrase should be the equivalent of deceit; but so it was held to be, and so it has passed down to us. In the absence of any more satisfactory etymology of Irony, there seems a fair amount of plausibility, if not more, about this, sufficient to entitle it to consideration until displaced by something more authentic and satisfactory.
Passing over, however, such speculations, it will be our object to show in what sense or senses the term Irony may be, and has been, from time to time understood; and what illustrations of these meanings may be furnished from Scripture.
In its every day acceptation, it has come to mean almost any kind of mockery or jesting, bitter and sarcastic; this mockery may, or may not, be of a refined and superior character; but even this loose and imperfect definition does not embrace all that comes under the denomination of Irony. In this is the last and lowest use of the term to which it has reached by a process of gradual degeneration ; when we look for instances of it in Scripture, we must seek them in such cases as the cruel mockery practised upon our Blessed Lord by the Roman soldiery in His hour of agony, when they plaited the crown of thorns and put it on His head, and the reed in His right hand, and bowed the knee before Him, saying, Hail King of the Jews!
With greater accuracy, Bishop Thirlwall, in an admirable essay* in the Philological Museum, remarks, "The most familiar species of irony may be described as a figure which enables the speaker to convey his meaning with greater force, by means of a contrast between his thought and his expressions, or, to speak more accurately, between the thought which he evidently designs to express, and that which his words properly signify.” This seems to be an expansion of the definition of Quintilian, who explains that it is employed when“ contrarium ei quod dicitur intelligendum est.”+ In this sense it is said to be essentially a weapon of controversy, and to add weight and point to the gravest part of an argument. Of this species of
* Philolog. Museum, vol. ii., p. 483.
+ Quintil. xi. B. 2.
irony we have a striking illustration in Eccles. xi. 7–10: “ Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun: but if a man live many years, and rejoice in them all ; yet let him remember the days of darkness; for they shall be many. All that cometh is vanity. Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth ; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes : but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.” Another well known instance, but combined with a much larger infusion of indignant sarcasm, is that wherein, as Bishop Hall remarks in his Contemplations, the grave and austere Elijah held it not too light to flout the zealous devotion of the priests of Baal, when he laughed at their tears, and played upon their earnest, “ Cry aloud, for he is a God; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is travelling, or he is sleeping, and must be awaked.” He adds,—and we do not think that the admonition should be lost sight of in the times of foolishness in which we are living,~"Scorns and taunts are the best answers for serious idolatry; holiness will bear us out in disdainful scoffs, and bitterness against wilful superstitions." All will re. member with what powerful effect Latimer drove before him the follies of Rome, with this effectual weapon. As we would wish these remarks to be suggestive rather than exhaustive, and to lead those who are studying their Bibles to a more intelligent appreciation of the contents of the Word of God, we refrain from accumulating further examples which may readily be recognised as they occur.
What Bishop Thirlwall terms dialectic irony does not much bear upon what we have more immediately in view, but we are anxious to submit it as a most valuable comment upon a most important branch of the general subject. This explanation is,“When a writer effects his purpose by placing the opinion of his adversary in the foreground, and saluting it with every demonstration of respect, while he is busied in withdrawing, one by one, all the supports on which it relies, and he never ceases to approach it with an air of deference, until he has completely undermined it, when he leaves it to sink by the weight of its own absurdity.” It would be difficult to give a more succinct and accurate account of the method employed by Socrates in the dialogues of Plato, where, assuming the character of an ignorant learner, he asks information from those who know, or profess to know, better than himself. The same weapon of dialectic irony was wielded with consummate skill by Pascal in his Lettres Provinciales. Now, as such irony is not concentrated in insulated passages, but pervades every part of a lengthened argument, we do not find corresponding instances of it in Holy Scripture. It would be foreign to the general temper of the word of God, which reproves, rebukes, admo. nishes, counsels, pleads, nay at times condescends to argue with rebellious men, but could not be expected to carry on a protracted controversy of such a nature with those who are as the small dust of the balance in His sight. .
There is yet again another species of irony, which, following once more the guidance of Bishop Thirlwall, may be defined as practical irony. For instance, “a man of superior understanding often finds himself compelled to assent to propositions which he knows, though true in themselves, will lead to very erroneous inferences in the mind of the speaker, because either circumstances prevent him from subjoining the .proper limitations, or the person he is addressing is incapable of compre. hending them. So again, a friend may comply with the wishes of one who is dear to him, though he foresees that they will probably end in disappointment and vexation, because he conceives that he has no right to decide for another, or because he thinks it probable that the disappointment itself will be more salutary than refusal.” We have a striking illustration of this in the scene where Nathan listens to David in his blind unconscious pronouncing sentence of condemnation upon himself, which may be well worth comparing with the fearful utterances of Edipus, in the midst of his real blindness and wretchedness, and fancied wisdom and greatness, exclaiming,
τον άνδρ' απαυδώ τούτον όστις εστί γης
thod', k. 7...* Another still more awful is to be found where He who, with surpassing intelligence, exempt from all human passions, and foreseeing all the consequences of the actions of men, even to the utmost futurity, listened from His throne on high to the infuriate multitudes crying out in frenzied accents, “His blood be on us, and upon our children.” Another striking exemplification of this practical irony occurs in the dealings of Abram with Lot. No doubt the patriarch must have fully known what the choice of his brother's son would be; although it is not expressly mentioned in the brief account furnished in Holy Writ, he must have been fully conscious of the dangerous influences of the cities of the plain, and may often have warned him of them to no purpose; still he had no right to decide for him, and therefore he left him to pitch his tent towards Sodom. A yet more apposite illustration is supplied to us in the conduct of the father in the
“That man I banish, whosoe'er he be,
From out this land, whose power and throne are mine,
Soph. Ed. Tyr. 236, &c.