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festations in the world, or to the real “The immense longevity of the early incongruity in the evidence at our com- generations of mankind was eminently mand, or to any other cause, but the favourable to the preservation of pristine fact at least seems to me to be beyond traditions. Each individual, instead of doubt that our modes of dealing with being, as now, a witness of, or an agent the Homeric poems in this cardinal re- in, one or two transmissions from father spect have been eminently unsatisfac- to son, would observe or share in ten tory. Those who have found in Homer times as many. According to the Hethe elements of religious truth, have re- brew chronology, Lamech the father of eorted to the far-fetched and very extra- Noah was of mature age before Adam vagant supposition, that he had learned died; and Abraham was of mature age them from the contemporary Hebrews, before Noah died. Original or early or from the law of Moses. The more witnesses remaining so long as standards common and popular opinion has per- of appeal, would evidently check the haps been one which has put all such rapidity of the darkening and destroying elements almost, or altogether, out of process."--Vol. ii. p. 2. view,-one which has treated the Im. mortals in Homer as so many imper

It is characteristic of Mr Glad. sonations of the powers of nature, or

stone's mind- of his readiness to else magnified men, and their social life, assume his premises—that he does as in substance no more than as a reflec. not for a moment glance at the question of his picture of heroic life, only tions which he knows must arise gilded with embellishments and enlarged in every second reader of this parain scale, in proportion to the superior graph. He is content to cover himelevation of its sphere. Few, compara- self with the broad shield of orthotively, have been inclined to recognise in the Homeric poems the vestiges of a

doxy. But many very excellent real traditional knowledge, derived from

Christians receive the earlier chapters the epoch when the covenant of God

of Genesis in an allegorical sense, and with man, and the promise of a Messiah, many learned critics assign this porhad not yet fallen within the contracted tion of the sacred writings to a date forms of Judaism for shelter, but entered later than would answer the purposes more or less into the common conscious. of Mr Gladstone. All this he may ness, and formed a part of the patrimony have it in his power utterly to refute. of the human race. “ But surely there is nothing impro- him some word in support of pre

But surely we might expect from bable in the supposition that in the

mises which are to support all his poems of Homer such vestiges may be found. Every recorded form of society subsequent conclusions, more espebears some traces of those by which it cially as it is evident, from the above had been preceded; and in that highly quotation, that he is greatly influenced primitive form which Homer has been by the consideration that, taking his the instrument of embalming for all stand on the literal interpretation of posterity, the law of general reason the earlier chapters of Genesis, he obliges us to search for elements and ought to find the traditions recorded vestiges belonging to one more primitive in them extending into heroic Greece. still. And if we are to inquire in the But it is not only the true and Iliad and the Odyssey what belongs to pure idea of an eternal, creative, and antecedent manners and ideas, on what beneficent Deity that is supposed to ground can it be pronounced improbable be “the starting point from which that no part of these earlier traditions should be old enough to carry upon them

the human mind had to run its career the mark of belonging to the religion of religious belief and speculation ; which the Book of Genesis represents as

we are referred to certain Messianic brought by our first parents from Para- prophecies, especially to Gen. c. iii., dise, and as delivered by them to their v. 15, which are supposed in some immediate descendants in general? The way to be incorporated into the Hebrew chronology, considered in con- mythological figures of Minerva and vection with the probable date of Homer, Apollo. We find this to be altowould even render it difficult or irra- gether a fanciful supposition. tional to proceed upon any other supposition.

Standing next to the The general view, then, which will be patriarchal histories of Holy Scripture, given in these pages of the Homeric Theowhy should it not bear, how can it not mythology is as follows: That its basis bcar, traces of the religion under which is not to be found either in any mere the patriarchs lived ?

human instinct gradually building it up


from the ground, or in the already formed the pattern that human nature affordsystem of any other nation of antiquity, ed."-P. 32. but that its true point of origin lies in the ancient Theistic and Messianic tradi

This general view our author protions which we know to have subsisted

ceeds to develop more particularly, among the patriarchs, and which their kin or more in detail, in the following and contemporaries must have carried manner. It is really not our fault with them as they dispersed, although if the reader finds the exposition obtheir original warmth and vitality could scure : we have done our best in the not but fall into a course of gradual selecting of our quotations. efflux, with the gradually widening distance from their source. To travel be- “ The earliest Scriptural narrative preyond the reach of the rays proceeding sents to our view, with considerable disfrom that source was to make the first tinctness, three main objects. These are decisive step from religion to mythology. respectively-God, the Redeemer, and

“To this divine tradition there were the Evil One. Nor do we pass even added, in rank abundance, elements of through the Book of Genesis without merely human fabrication, which, while finding that it shadows forth some mysintruding themselves, could not but also terious combination of Unity with Trinextrude the higher and prior parts of ity in the Divine Nature. religion. But the divine tradition, as it “ From the general expectation which was divine, would not admit of the prevailed in the East at the period of the accumulation of human materials until Advent, and from the prophecies colit had itself been altered. Even before lected and carefully preserved in Rome men could add, it was necessary that under the name of the Sibylline Books, they should take away. This impairing we are at once led to presume that the and abstraction of elements from the knowledge of the early promise of a Dedivine tradition may be called disintegra- liverer had not been confined to the tion.

Jewish people.”—P. 39. “Before the time of Homer it had already wrought great havoc. Its first

Mr Gladstone cannot surely mean steps, as far as the genesis of the mytho.

that the Trinity suggested here of logy throws light upon them, would ap- God, the Redeemer, and the Evil pear to have been as follows : Objec- One, is anywhere the Trinity of the tively, a fundamental corruption of the Holy Scriptures. If he leaves this idea of God, who, instead of an omni- impression, it must surely be the repotent wisdom and holiness, now in the sult of some obscurity of language. main represented on a large scale, in After some further account of these personal character, the union of appetite

traditions--of which it seems the Siand power; subjectively, the primary idea of religion was wholly lost. "Adam, bylline books of Rome are called in says Lord Bacon, was not content with as evidence—he proceeds : universal obedience to the Divine will as “Let us now observe how these trahis rule of action, but would have another ditions severally find their imperfect and standard. This offence, though not ex- deranged counterparts in the heroic age aggerated into the hideousness of human of Greece. depravity in its later forms, is represented First, as to the Godhead. without mitigation in the principles of " Its Unity and Supremacy is reproaction current in the heroic age. Hu- sented in Jupiter, as the administrator man life, as it is there exhibited, has of sovereign power. much in it that is noble and admirable, The combination of Trinity with but nowhere is it a life of simple obe- Unity is reproduced in the three Kronid dience to God.

brothers, Jupiter, Neptune, Pluto, or “When the divine idea, and also the Aidoneus-all born of the same parents, idea of the relation between man and his and having different regions of the maMaker, had once been fundamentally terial creation severally assigned to them changed, there was now room for the in

by lot. troduction without limit of what was Next, as to the Redeemer, merely human into religion. Instead of The first form of this tradition is reman's being formed in the image of God, presented chiefly in Apollo. But neither God was formed in the image of man. the various attributes which were conThe ancient traditions were made each to ceived as belonging to the Deliverer, nor assume a separate individual form, and the twofold manifestation of his characthese shapes were fashioned, by mag- ter as it appears in Holy Writ, could, we nifying or modifying processes, from must conclude, be held in combination

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by the heathen mind. The character, But it is about these Dii Majores, therefore, underwent a marked disinte- Minerva and Apollo, that Mr Gladgration by severance into distinct parts; stone gathers all his marvellous suband while it continues, in the main, to tleties. With the Talmud on one form the groundwork of the Homeric side, and his Homer on the other, he Apollo, certain of its qualities are apparently transferred to his sister Diana, and revels in ingenious analogies. He others of them are, as it were, repeated makes distinction between gods of in her.

tradition and gods of invention. “ The second form of the tradition is Minerva and Apollo are gods of trathat of the Wisdom or Logos of the Gos- dition, Venus and Mars of invention. pel of St John ; and this appears to be In elaborating this distinction, he represented in the sublime Minerva of appears to us to forget or to rememthe Homeric system.

ber at pleasure what Homer really “ Lastly, Latona, the mother of the

says of these his two favourite deities. twin deities Apollo and Diana, appears to But, without insisting on this, we represent the tradition of the woman

find' Mr Gladstone drawing a quite from whom the Deliverer was to de

arbitrary line between what may or scend. “Thirdly, with respect to the Evil

may not be of human invention, or, One

in other words, the spontaneous and

normal product of the human mind. But perhaps we have already given In one sense, all the gods of Homer our readers sufficient to reflect upon are probably traditional,--that is, for one time. They would like to they were the invention of other take breath and pause a little at the times. He has brought his own adaspect in which Apollo and Diana ditions to these traditional invenand Latona are here presented to tions, often enough, perhaps, of a them. This Latona, who represents, very inconsistent character. But we are elsewhere told, the general there is no greater difficulty in beidea of " honoured maternity"--and lieving a Minerva the goddess of wis

“ for that reason, we presume, was re

dom to be invented by man, than a venged on Niobe by the slaughter of Venus the goddess of love. Whether all her children-is indeed a very ob- we consider Minerva to have been scure goddess, and lies open to many originally one of the great natureinterpretations. She is sometimes goddesses, who assumed, in Homer's represented as the wife, sometimes system, a quite personal and ethical as the concubine, of Jupiter-suffers character, or whether we consider her strange persecutions from Juno—and to have been, from the commencebecomes the mother of Apollo and ment, an impersonation of heavenly Diana. Turning to the classical wisdom-the wisdom of Zeus-in dictionary of Dr W. Smith, we find either case, there seems nothing bethat she represents, and very aptly, yond the bounds of human inven“the obscure,” or “the concealed ; tion. that, in fact, her legend seems to in- It is curious to notice with what dicate nothing else than the issuing dexterity our ingenious author copof light from darkness. The night trives to extract materials for a theoever precedes the day. Such simple logical system, and special prerogaexplanations are not to be accepted tives for these deities, out of the mere by Mr Gladstone. Scarce will he incidents of a poem, out of descripallow the heathen imagination to tions and events in which the artist, have any independent play or exer- and not the theologian, was manicise. “ The rainbow of Holy Scrip- festly at work. tures,” he tells us, “is represented in the Homeric Iris." The rainbow

“Both Minerva and Apollo are genercomes after rain ; and the god of the ally exempt from the physical limitations, clouds and the shower could hardly which the deities

of invention are as gen

and from the dominion of appetite, to have been provided with a more

erally subject. Though, when a certain likely messenger. This is surely as

necessity is predicated of the gods in genprobable a process of thought as the eral, they may be literally included within converting a sign of God's will into it, we do not find that the poet had them a messenger of the god.

in his eye apart from the rest, and the

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particular liabilities and imperfections are is, that all the poets find it conrenever imputed to either of them indivi- nient to treat this attribute of dually. What is said of them inclusively gigantic stature in a very capricious with others, is in reality not said of them at all, but only of the prevailing disposi: occasionally introduced, but it would

manner. It is a grand image to be tion of the body to which they belong; be extremely embarrassing to have to just as we are told in the Iliad that all the gods were incensed with Jupiter be

deal constantly with beings of enor

mous bulk. Mars covers seven acres cause of his bias towards the Trojans, when we know that it was in reality only when he falls : the image pleased the some amongst them of the greatest weight poet, and when the god was down and power. Neither Apollo nor Minerva upon the earth, it was no matter how eats, or drinks, or sleeps, or is wearied, or huge he was ; seven acres would lie is wounded, or suffers pain, or is swayed as quietly as one ; he was managewith passion. Neither of them is ever out- able there. But Homer did not make witted or deluded by any deity of inven- him seven acres high when fighting tion, as Venus is, or even Jupiter is, by with Diomed. Our own Milton deals Juno, in the Fourteenth Iliad.”

in the same manner with great But Minerva and Apollo sit at the height. His archangel stalks before feasts of the gods. T'o omit them us for a moment in gigantic proporwould have been thought a great ons, but the imagination is not indignity; for Homer's gods have tasked to keep such a conception little else to do than to feast, except constantly before it. when they are intermeddling with Homer, the poet of war, could Greeks and Trojans; and all the hardly have done honour to Minerva, deities, with Jupiter at their head, his favourite goddess, unless he had set forth to enjoy the sacrifices of invested her with martial attributes. the Ethiopians. But “what is said These martial attributes are thus acof them inclusively is really not said counted for by Mr Gladstone :of them at all.” It is nowhere hint

* Partly in relation of Minerva to Mars, ed-except in Mr Gladstone's book

whom she punishes or controls, but more that Minerva and Apollo enjoyed the particularly in the use of the magnificent sacrifices made to them in any more symbol of the Ægis by Minerva and refined manner than Jupiter and Apollo, we appear to find that developJuno. Not swayed by passion !” ment of the martial character which has One sees very little else than passion been mentioned above as included among and favouritism in any of the gods ;

the Jewish ascriptions to the Messiah.. and Minerva is often in a tower

P. 95. ing passion, and sometimes terribly The case is past comment. Yet sulky, as when she and Juno, after the manner in which Apollo, and having mounted the car, and galloped Diana, and Latona are treated, is half-way to the plains of Troy to take perhaps even still more extraordipart in the combat, are compelled by nary. Apollo, Mr Gladstone observes, Jupiter to return, and unharness the kills with his unerring arrows; Diana steeds, and sit down quietly on their also has the same direct power of inchairs in Olympus.

flicting death on women.

“ There is “Mere attributes of bulk stand at the

no instance, if I remember rightly," bottom of the scale of even human ex

he adds, “ in which any other of the cellence; and it is so that Homer treats gods brings about the death of a them, giving them in the greatest abun- mortal otherwise than by means of dance to his Otus, his Ephialtes, and his second causes.” Neptune could drown Mars. Minerva has them but indirectly a man in his waves, but does not assigned to her; and when arming for strike him dead with his trident. war, Apollo never receives them at all.” Homer perhaps would not have - P. 89.

thought any mortal very safe who Yet at another time Mr Gladstone should get within the reach of that himself reminds us that the helmet trident when the god was in anger. of Minerva was large enough for a But mythologists generally admit whole regiment, and that, when she that Apollo had some peculiar relaascends the car of Diomed, the axle tion to death. Mr Gladstone has the creaks under her weight. The fact peculiar merit of tracing this relation

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to certain Messianic traditions. We and a golden age upon the earth, is are afraid to state precisely what tra- just as indifferent as the rest of the dition ; for sometimes Apollo repre- Olympian deities to the future dessents part of the character of the tinies of man? He who represents Evil One, and sometimes, and more the Messianic tradition should surely generally, part of the character of be a beneficent deity, solicitous to Him who was to destroy death itself ! restore or to produce a happy order We confess ourselves to be utterly of things for man. He should have bewildered.

some mission, some office, or at least “In considering what may have been

some desire for the good of all manthe early traditional source of these re- kind. Not a trace of anything of the markable attributes of the children of kind do we find in the Apollo of Latona, we should tread softly and care- Homer. Neither in him, in Minerva, fully, for we are on very sacred ground. nor in any of the gods, is there the But we seem to see in them the traces of least solicitude for the happiness of the form of One who, as an all-conquering the human race.* King, was to be terrible and destructive

If there is any part of Homer's to his enemies, but who was also, on behalf of mankind, to take away, the sting another, seems the child-like utter

religious system which, more than from death, and to change its iron hand for a thread of silken slumber.”—P. 104. his description of the state and nature

ance of the human imagination, it is Will a solemnity of manner help of the dead. The dead are mere shaus at all through the obscurity in dows of the living; they are mere which our author envelopes us? In memories that go fleeting through a subsequent page he asks many Hades for no intelligible purpose. questions such as these: Why was His dead have nothing to do but to Apollo, thus associated with death, recall the griefs and pleasures of life, likewise the god of foreknowledge and even the recollection of pleasure Why did he, and he only, partake of is a regret. Elysium and Olympus this privilege with Jupiter? Why, itself are open to favoured heroes akin again, should the god of foreknow- to the gods, but as yet there is no ledge be the god of medicine? And Heaven open to moral excellence, and why should the god of medicine also where this human nature itself will absorb into himself the divinity of attain a higher development of goodthe sun? And after asking these ness and intelligence. Yet even here and other questions, he answers them Mr Gladstone must help the imaginby saying that Apollo “represented ation of Homer by some tradition the legendary anticipations of a per- gathered from the sacred Scriptures. son to come, in whom should be com

After mentioning that we have in bined all the great offices in which Homer's after-world the leading ideas God the Son is now made known to of a place of bliss, and a place of torman as the Light of our paths, the ment—though the Tartarus was not Physician of our diseases, the Judge so much for the wicked as for those of our misdeeds, and the Conqueror who had especially offended the gods and disarmer, but not yet abolisher, of death.” Some of these questions which Mr Gladstone asks have re

A further element of indistinctness ceived all the answer that mytholo- if we take into view the admission of

attaches to the invisible world of Homer, gical questions admit of; but now we

favoured mortals to Olympus ; a process also would ask this question, Why is

of which he gives us instances, as in it that Apollo, who represents the Ganymede and Hercules. In a work of legendary anticipation of a Messiah pure invention it is unlikely that Heaven, that is to bring happiness and virtue Elysium, and the under-world would all

When Neptune challenges Apollo to fight for his cause, “O Neptune," he replies, “thou wouldst not say that I am prudent if I should now contend with thee for the sake of miserable mortals, who, like the leaves, are at one time very blooming, feeding on the fruit of the soil, and at another again perish without life. Rather let us cease from combat as soon as possible, and let them decide the matter themselves.” This is the excuse which Apollo puts forward ; " for,” it is added," he was afraid to come to strife of hands with his uncle."

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