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He trembles not before the storms of the future, since he anticipates the calm which will follow them; he hates not, contradicts not, strives not, since his knowledge of mankind and their faults is too great, his love of them too strong within him. I cannot but follow his footsteps with inward reverence, and look upon him with wonder as he calmly and dispassionately separates the chaos of our to-day's life into its diverse provinces. Had I but found a single sentence of his which I must except from this judgment which is pronounced on all his writings, I should have been led to doubt all the rest, and should not have ventured to utter a word; but long acquaintance has confirmed me in my judgments, and from my thoughts of this man I can readily understand that in other times there may in reality have been teachers with whom their scholars shared every fortune, since to them everything must have seemed uncertain and unreal without the spirit of the man whom they followed. I will not say that I felt any such blind resignation in myself.
Emerson is an American; the rough nationality of his people will require a long time to reach the level of ours; we stand higher than the Americans, what benefits them cannot be so unrestrictedly made use of for us. Emerson appears to me of more importance in the light of a man of character than when I contemplate him as an author only.
It is certainly no misfortune that in intellectual things, where a false reputarion is so cheap, a genuine one should be so difficult to acquire. There, neither money nor fine words avail. Before we acknowledge the power of conviction in an author we defend ourselves with both our hands and our feet, and seek every possibility of escape. We scarcely make up our minds to this acknowledgement with the dead, on no account with the living. We are not will. ing to consider ourselves of less account than all others. If an author lays claim to no more than a momentary notice this we accord without stint, that is to say, we speak, praise and admire, and they whose judgment is in reality the true one that abides and endures, either allow the words to pass them without notice or join faintly in our praise, taking care meanwhile, however, to reserve an easy means of egress through which to retreat with their consciousness. If however you block up their way of retreat ther. they become earnest and resist. One will not so easily surrender one's freedom. In the one instance one was a magnanimous master and the praise that one accorded a gracious gift, here however one becomes the recipient of charity ; the man requires not our thanks, he is indifferent to our praise—we receive and enjoy and are ashamed not to give anything in return.
Emerson, however, has thus far scarcely brought us to this dissension, not in its remoteness even. He is as good as unknown, and has but just commenced to interest a few. The translation of his works is a task which is not so easily accomplished; nothing has ever cost me so much pains as the attempt I made to reproduce one of his works in real German. He does not write, he seems to speak; at first you see no plan, no order, and look in amazement for the cohesion of the sentences which seem to stand one against another all so strange and rough hewn, and yet firmly worked together in a comprehensive whole. Soon we discover the perfect symmetry with which he develops his thoughts and the logical sequence in them, where at first they appear to deviate widely from the straight path. It is not the symmetry of a wall tree where the gardener directs the branches where and how to grow, but rather that of a healthy beech tree, where the growth spreads itself and branches out apparently without regularity, but finally forms a most beautiful bower, and not the smallest twig is superflous or misplaced.
A short time since I found Emerson's Essays in the hands of a lady to whom I had hitherto vainly recommended them. She had a thousand excuses for not reading the book. She demonstrated to me that we possessed in Goethe quite as much, or even more, than according to my own showing was afforded us by Emerson ; moreover, the work was by no means called for with us, especially if he were indeed what I had described him. Furthermore, she had read in the book and found quite common thoughts, such as she had long since entertained and only had not given expression to them.
Of Goethe she was not in the wrong. This man's spirit which might have driven thousands of mills and water wheels, exists for the most part only in the fountains and waterfalls in which they occasionally delight.
In short, Emerson remained unread. Now she commenced him suddenly of her own accord. “ He was, to be sure, very remarkable. He frequently made the most surprisingly simple observations through which the most complicated thoughts found a solution.”
I listened quietly to this and rested satisfied. Not long after she took me seriously to task, and, to my astonishment, communicated to me her admiration of the man so fully and convincingly, that I sat there as though I were the subject for conversion. She was impatient that I did not fully consent to her opinion, and gave me to understand that she finally comprehended him better, and appreciated him more fully than I myself. This experience has repeated itself. With pleasure I allow myself, here and there, to be instructed as to Emerson's worth.
With astonishment I observe that he also gains opponents, and watch the character of the reproaches made against him. The old experience is confirmed, that one is but seldom in a position to comprehend a character as a whole, and from it judge the individual. We avail ourselves only of detached traits here and there ; at best we but observe a few connected ones : for the most part, however, we view only disconnected sentences which we disengage for the purpose very much as we would liberate individual fishes from a great net in which they seem to be foundering about, and which we must first classify, after our fashion, in order to know what properties they possess. Then are found only contradictions, the false, the glittering, the affected assuming the ingenuous, that, long since put away, are brought forth as of importance, in the most uncalled-for manner; everywhere blame is manifest in full
But in spite of all this we have still a feeling of this man's pure
sentiments, of the absence of all vanity in his presence, of the earnestness of his convictions, and, what is ever the noblest, of his love for mankind, which ennobles his words and makes them fruitful.
I doubt not this feeling will take deeper root, and that when his character is better understood his works will be more widely read.
THE FOUR GOSPELS.
Article XIV. The Marvellous Narratives.
(II.- Direct application to Gospel text.
Idea of the Mytb.)
AVING, in our last article, concluded our discussion of the laws of evi
dence and testimony applicable to miraculous or marvellous narratives, we come now to concern ourselves directly with the Gospels, and to ask the question,– What are the marveilous stories of the Gospels? How are they to be regarded and how explained ?
There are three chief methods which have been, and are still, actually employed to describe or explain the miracles of the Gospels. These are1. The Thorough-going Supernatural. 2. The Naturalistic. Mythical.
1. The Supernatural method takes all the accounts literally, both as to the marvellous facts themselves, and as to the explanation of them on the ground of the direct interference and extraordinary action of Deity. This view is denied and rebutted by our argument and conclusion concerning the laws of testimony, gives in Arts. XI., XII., XIII., and therefore need no longer occupy our attention.
2. The Naturalistic (otherwise called the Rationalistic) method accepts as literally as possible the facts recorded, but denies the writers' supernatural mode of accounting for them, and strives in all cases to reduce them to embellished or figurative narratives of possible physical events. This mode of interpretation (best represented by Paulus' critical works), may now be regarded as generally abandoned by good critics and all who understand the nature and importance of historical evidence. It gives merely a mass of ingenious hypotheses; but generally many other hypotheses would serve as well, and at the best hypothesis is not history. Paulus' Commentary may be compared to the multitude of absurd conjectural emendations which appeared in the text of Shakespeare in the last century, wherein the Poet was made to say on every page what he never dreamt of. The naturalistic interpretation “allows conjecture to supply deficiencies of record; adcpts individual speculations as a substitute for real history, and seeks by vain endeavors to represent
that as natural which the narrative describes as supernatural.”
The attempt is to explain how the events narrated could perhaps have taken place; the result is much ingenuity but no history. De Witte very properly contends that we can derive bistory only from the narrative. To invent history is only to increase the legendary lore. If e. g., God's covenant with Abraham be denied as a matter of fact (Gen. xv.), we have no means of explaining it away as a vision. The narrative says it was a covenant.
How do we know it was a vision? If we reject the narrative, we have no right to elevate into history our assumption of a total different fact, which is not recorded. Take, for example, in the N. T., the narrative of the feeding of the five thousand. As this stands, we do not see how its miraculous character in the mind of the writers can be denied. It is said by naturalistic interpreters that Jesus distri. buted his small stores, making them go as far as they would, and that by this example the people were induced to share the food which they had with each other, so that all were fed ; and the circumstance is thus made a purely natural one; this view is adopted by the author of “ Fog Bells,” in The Friend for Nov., 1867, p. 341,-adopted with an innocent unconsciousness of all difficulties that would be charming were it not in a critical article. “ Who does not see how the miracle of the five thousand came about?” exclaims the writer as a prelude to the interpretation before mentioned. Now we confess that we do not see; a careful study of the six accounts (for we hold the stories in Mt. xv. and Mc. viii., to be different versions of the same circumstances given in Mt. xiv, and Mc. vi.) does not reveal to us that the Evangelists had any idea they were narrating merely a copy by the people of Jesus' benevolence, excited by a “tumult of love and admiration ; do we find it safe, possibie, or even decent from a critical point of view, to cast out of the text every inconvenient passage, on the ground of “common sense,” as “an impudent modern gloss.”* But the naturalistic interpretation in this case, as in all others, does not really interpret the narrative so much as supplement it or invent another. Thus nothing is said in the gospels about a distribution among the people of food to each other. The narrative says that Jesus and the disciples distributed a few loaves and fishes, and this is all that is in the text ; the naturalistic interpreter interpolates other distributors, viz., those of the multitude who were well provided, and a new object of distribution, viz., their provisions, which may be, perhaps, a pleasant story, but is no more entitled to be considered history than a hundred other suppositions. On the contrary, the 4th Gospel distinctly declares it a miracle (vi., 14, onueiov, a sign, token ; but v. Mc. viii., 11, xvi., 17, Lc. xxiii., 8, et. al., for the signification miracle
A “gloss” is a note, comment, or explanation in the margin, which has crept into the text; and as (see the seventh edition of Tischendorf's Minor Greek Test.) there is not the slightest documentary evidence for the omission of Mt. xii., 40, “common sense” would suggest that under these circumstances it is best not to be too certain that the passage is a "gloss," " impudent" or otherwise. Moreover, we should be glad to learn the writer's sense Of “ Modern," since the passage stands unquestioned in Mss. reaching back to the 4th century.
as being the appropriate and expected token of the Messiah : in the 4th Gospel, this is its only sense ; see ii., 11 ; iv., 54, vii., 31, et. al.), and says, moreover, that the twelve baskets of fragments which were taken up were “the fragments of the five barley loaves which remained over and above unto them that had eaten” (vi., 13). Mc., furthermore, says that the two fishes were divided “ among them all” (vi., 41) and declares that the whole five thousand eat of the loaves (vi., 44). Thus in this case, the naturalistic explanation not only as usual adds its own inventions to the record, but directly contradicts the express language of the record.
Again, take the example of the cure of the man born blind (Jh. ix). Here the naturalistic interpreters rejoice in many opportunities for invention. According to them, the man was not totally blind, since Jesus tells him to go to the pool of Siloam ; the clay was in reality an eye-salve; also when Jesus applied it, he very probably performed some operation on the eye, by friction or otherwise ; finally, the washing in the pool of Siloam is to be understood as a protracted use of the bath, producing a cure after a considerable time (Strauss, Life of Jesus, Part II, chap. ix, $ 95; this critic remarks upon the last point, that “when the closely connected words, be went bis way therefore and washed and came seeing, are stretched out into a process of cure lasting several weeks, it is just as if the words veni, vidi, vici were translated thus,After my arrival I reconnoitred for several days, fought battles at suitable intervals, and finally remained conqueror."); Now, it is obvious that such an interpretation is a mere string of inventions, of no more validity historically than any other set of suppositions. It may have been so; but then, equally as well, it may not; and the evangelist says nothing at all of eye-salves, surgical operations and baths; but only that Jesus made clay with his spittle, put it on his eyes, and directed him to wash in a certain pool, and that he forthwith received sight (ix, 7, 11, 14).
The narrative of the Transfiguration has been an attractive field for the romancing of the naturalistic interpreters. According to them, the story is a vision, a merely subjective experience though supernaturally given (Mt. xvii. 9, Öpaua, a vision, but in general and literally, a sigbt, spectacle, and y. Acts vii, 31 for the literal use of the word : see also its parallels in Mc. ix, 9, å sidov, what they had seen, and in Lc. oudèv úv ópakav, nothing of what they had seen); or a purely natural dream (Lc. ix, 32, “ Peter and those with him were heavy with sleep”; but when they awoke, they saw, etc, dočav avtoŨ K.T.N.; see also the sleep in Gethsemane, Mt. xxvi, 40 parallel ; it seems incredible and improbable that several people should have at once a precisely similar complex dream, therefore it is said that Peter alone had it; but see Mt. xvii, 2, 6, Mc. ix, 4, 6, Lc. ix, 32, 34); or there was a storm while the disciples were asleep, and the lightning and thunder caused in them ideas of splendor and of voices (But see Lc. ix, 32 seq.; they were awake long before the voice came); or it was a phenomenon of electricity or magnetism (But how then account for the men talking with Jesus ?); or, finally, it was a